The Ghost of Scandals Past

Previous "creative financing" debacles should haunt city officials who've approved a risky $1 billion lease of Muni streetcars

"At the end of the day, we came to a conclusion that the best types of protections were to require the full light of day to be shone on these things as they were being entered into. You've got to have high levels of disclosure at the front end," said Dan Cowin, director of municipal finance for the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We want to require clearly that municipalities' treasurers and their councils come to grips with what a leasing policy ought to look like, how they're going to manage risk. All these things would be part of such a policy."

What's going on in Ontario might be of interest to S.F. officials who have been so eager to push through a multimillion-dollar lease of Muni's Breda light-rail cars that they seem to have closed their eyes to precisely whom or what they are getting involved with.

In the world of creative municipal financing, when one closes one's eyes, ghosts may appear.

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