(43rd in a series of posts on parking)
Gadfly is a peaceful man. Does yoga. Meditates. OMMMMMmmmmmmmm
Gadfly hates to see others not at peace. And the leases, the damn discount leases for space in the New St. Garage for Lehigh University and St. Luke’s Hospital disturb the peace. Mightily.
Mark them Exhibit 3.
There is such snarly talk about the leases. They are obviously a vigorous point of contention. They stick in craws. But there is no definite response from BPA. And Gadfly thinks there could be. Should be. And if there is no definite response, snarliness escalates. Not good. Gadfly, as you all know, likes good conversation that builds community!! Can BPA commit to reasonable discussion of these leases? After getting clearly out in the open who did ‘em and why (the wounds of past history that haven’t healed), one can move on to should we rethink them, are we locked in, can we do something now, can we renegotiate, how would the institutions react to change, what are the risks? Instead, conversation stops or get slurred.
Councilperson Van Wirt asked the question about renegotiating now directly to Desman on Sept 20. See the video (begin at approx 10:15) (end at approx 2:50). Desman says the leases get re-evaluated every 2-3 years. VW says that’s now. Desman says, “next year potentially if the Authority comes to ask our opinion, it will be that it evaluate its monthly contract policy and make adjustments.” So that’s next year not now, and that’s if BPA asks Desman’s opinion, and that’s no guarantee what kind of adjustments. And, most importantly, that’s Desman giving opinion that BPA wouldn’t have to accept. BPA was sitting right next to Desman at that moment and could have commented but didn’t.
But do Lehigh and St. Luke’s even have leases that can be evaluated and adjusted every 2-3 years? The matter gets a little more complicated if you look at the minutes of the wonderful May 3, 2016, Council meeting (p. 19) (wave of the Gadfly wings to Louise Kelchner) where Atty Broughal says the 57 spaces dedicated to Lehigh and St.Luke’s will be evaluated in 5 years (not till 2021?) but not after that (?!). Confusion needs to be cleared up on this point of exactly what’s in the leases and when they are evaluated. Desman’s response to Van Wirt may not be possible. We need to know.
Gadfly wants to get into Councilman Reynolds’ point at the Oct. 10 meeting about factoring in other things Lehigh does for (pays for?) in the City when thinking about their discounted lease rate and how making changes in this instance is like politics in the Middle East! Honest to God, I thought all night about his analogies to this and what happens in a multi-kid family (Gadfly was father of six young ‘uns, all rambunctious boys) when one is treated a certain way and not others. Good stuff. O, the memories.
But must move on.
Why can’t BPA simply say, for instance, that Lehigh’s lease ends on such a date, and we promise to raise the rates to market value? Or raise them to some point. Or that we are going to reevaluate those leases every x years, like clockwork. Or we promise to come back to Council at that time and share our thinking? Or something. Say something. And then let’s have the (good!) conversation (that builds community!). Why cannot BPA say something definitive, binding, in writing about the lease issue to get us off this sticking point? And satisfy the contentious “what about the leases?” chorus. And let some heat cool down. Offer something concrete, BPA, please!
One thought on “Exhibit 3: The Lehigh University and St. Luke’s Hospital Leases (43)”
It is indeed infuriating when people who are paid to serve the public seem to have no interest in doing so.
If you want answers, file a Public Record / right to know request with BPA, requesting a copy of the 2 leases. Specify a digital copy, so they can’t charge you a copying fee. They have to respond within 5 business days, and there is no legal exemption that applies to a lease that is already operative.