March 21, 2008

1. Consumer watchdogs push for FCC auction investigation
2. Privatizing aerial refueling
3. Priv. security guards go unpaid but stay at federal posts
4. Louisiana: Potential causeway sale ‘ridiculous’
5. Penn. drops bid to privatize forensic mental-health services
6. Rights of protesters violated, judge rules

News Summaries
1. Consumer watchdogs push for FCC auction investigation
Consumer watchdog groups and some lawmakers want to know why the block
of spectrum reserved for public safety in the Federal Communications
Commission’s 700 MHz auction didn’t hit its reserve price. On
Wednesday, a coalition of nine consumer advocacy groups, including the
Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and the Media Access
Project, sent a letter to the chairman of the FCC asking the agency to
investigate whether the public safety requirements for "d" block
license were too stringent. The groups also want the FCC to study
whether plans for the shared public-private network are even still
viable. CNET
2. Privatizing aerial refueling
Now we have private contractors providing in-flight refueling services.
Their biggest customer is the U.S. Navy. That’s because the navy has
long depended on the U.S. Air Force for most of its aerial refueling
needs. But the air force tankers are so heavily used with the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, that the navy often finds itself at the end of
the line and out of luck.

3. Priv. security guards go unpaid but stay at federal posts
Even though their paychecks bounced and the company that employed them
is in bankruptcy, private security guards continue to work at federal
facilities around San Diego.
4. Louisiana: Potential causeway sale ‘ridiculous’
Three Jefferson Parish Council members on Thursday voiced opposition —
sometimes incredulous — to Parish President Aaron Broussard’s
preliminary talks to sell or lease the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to
an international consulting firm. "That Causeway is a public bridge. It
belongs to the public," Councilman John Young said. "I’m just
flabbergasted that it’s even being considered." Their comments came
after The Times-Picayune reported that at least three meetings have
been held in recent months to discuss selling or leasing the Causeway
to The Shaw Group, a Baton Rouge engineering, design and management
firm that has had a high profile in Jefferson Parish since Hurricane
Katrina. Times-Picayune
5. Penn. drops bid to privatize forensic mental-health services
After reaching a cost-saving agreement with union leaders, the state
plans to end its efforts to privatize and consolidate forensic services
in state hospitals serving people with mental illnesses. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
6. Rights of protesters violated, judge rules
The Bush administration violated the public’s right to free speech by
keeping protesters far removed from the 2005 inaugural parade, a judge
ruled yesterday. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman found that the
National Park Service violated its own regulations by giving the
inauguration’s private organizers preferential treatment and
extraordinary control over access to Pennsylvania Avenue. The
Presidential Inaugural Committee roped off most of the parade route and
allowed only those with tickets inside: largely a crowd of Bush
administration donors, supporters and friends coming to celebrate the
start of President Bush’s second term. "The inauguration is not a
private event," Friedman said in his ruling. "The National Park
Service, on behalf of the PIC, cannot reserve all of Pennsylvania
Avenue for itself, leaving only the Ellipse and the northern part of
John Marshall Park to protesters." Washington Post