November 7, 2012


AZ: Arizona defeats ballot measure contesting Grand Canyon ownership

Arizona voters on Tuesday defeated a ballot measure contesting ownership of the Grand Canyon and other federal lands in the state, handing another defeat to the “sagebrush revolt” by Republicans in Western states. Proposition 120, which lost by a 2-to-1 margin, would have amended the state’s constitution to declare Arizona’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over the “air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries.”  Chicago Tribune

LA: Vote rescheduled on La. health outsourcing plan

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is returning to lawmakers this week to ask for approval to outsource a state employee health insurance plan. Jindal’s top budget adviser shelved a vote last week when it became clear the contract between the Office of Group Benefits and Blue Cross/Blue Shield didn’t have enough votes to win passage. The meeting comes after two Republican members on the House committee were ousted from the panel, a day after they sided with opponents of Jindal’s outsourcing proposal.  CBS News

IL:  To Chicago’s mayor, some jobs are worth more than others

When the state of Illinois announced it was giving a multimillion-dollar tax break to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—one of the world’s wealthiest brokerage firms—the mayor hailed it as a boon for the local economy. The truth is that CME is cutting jobs as it moves toward electronic trading. In contrast, the mayor recently decided to pink-slip 34 city workers in a privatization deal that he says makes government more efficient. Yet the city’s only saving $100,000 by replacing these middle-class jobs—most held by black south- and west-siders—with part-timers. In short, he hails tax breaks for millionaires as economic development, and firing working-class Chicagoans as reform.  Chicago Reader

TN: TN lawmakers vying over funding for charter schools, vouchers

Tennessee lawmakers are preparing for a pitched battle over education in the upcoming session — specifically, who’s best at providing it and whether it’s right to put public education into private hands. Republicans will offer up bills that would strip local school boards of authority to approve charter schools and would grant private-school vouchers to families who couldn’t otherwise afford to pay tuition. Democrats oppose both, but the GOP heavily dominates both the state House and Senate. Democrats hope to gain allies among rural Republicans in counties where charter schools haven’t taken hold. Funneling public money to private interests could leave rural districts underfunded, they contend.   The Tennessean

CA: What’s at Stake When Billionaires Try to Buy Our Democracy

What happens if they have a free pass?  For all Californians, an open door to privatization or further underfunding of basic public services we all count on, including schools, police and fire protection, libraries, and street and other infrastructure repairs.  Huffington Post

Column: ‘Big government’ is the best way to provide necessary services

Privatizing government services doesn’t promote free-market values, because conservative politicians are creating private enterprise that is dependent on government contracts for their existence. The case of prisons in New Jersey is indicative of the growing conservative movement to privatize government and undermine necessary public services.  Public programs, if run correctly and efficiently, can provide necessary services and operate at a fraction of the cost of privately run enterprise. By maintaining necessary and basic services within the public realm and therefore removing the profit motive, you remove any possibility of cutting corners in order to maximize profits. Certain aspects of society should not be subjected to the corrosive repercussions of profit-seeking entities.  The Pitt  News