December 12, 2012


CA: New UC logo: A sad sign for higher education

The University of California’s rebranding shows the institution as a start-up hub not a place of learning. U.C. recently unveiled their new logo.…But as Bady notes, the intentions behind the image update had little to do with pleasing university students and staff, but rather aimed to appeal to the California governor and big tech corporations for funding by presenting the academic institution as a hub for the area’s start-up scene. “They really are trying to rebrand the university to resemble a flavor-of-the-month startup,” wrote Bady.

CA: Orange County toll roads under review by California

When it opened during the 1990s, Orange County’s $2.4-billion tollway system was touted as an innovative way to build public highways without taxpayer money…. But far fewer people are using the turnpikes than officials predicted, which means the highways generate far less revenue than expected to retire their debts.  There have long been questions about the long-term financial viability of the San Joaquin Hills and Foothill-Eastern corridors. But those concerns have now heightened, and a government oversight panel chaired by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer has launched a formal inquiry into whether the roads can cover mounting interest payments to private investors who purchased tollway bonds. Los Angeles Times

PA: When Foundations Go Bad

Money talks. And sometimes money buys contracts with companies that have an agenda to privatize our public schools. That appears to be the case with Philadelphia’s prominent William Penn Foundation: last week parents in that city accused the venerable foundation of contracting with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to develop a plan to close dozens of public schools while opening many more charter schools. They charge the foundation and consulting company with essentially acting as lobbyists to influence policy decisions in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s why we should care in the rest of Pennsylvania when good foundations go bad.

IN: Editorial: Just how good was that Indiana Toll Road deal?

Indiana has gotten a lot of infrastructure work done with the $3.8 billion it got for leasing the Indiana Toll Road to a private concessionaire, so it has to be conceded there were big benefits to the deal. But did those benefits outweigh the costs in lost revenues to Hoosiers? News Sentinel

OH: State Officials Approve $142,000 For Marketing Controversial Ohio Turnpike Privatization Plan

State officials have approved $2.85 million to study a controversial proposal to lease the Ohio Turnpike. Now, Watchdog 10 has discovered that a chunk of that money will be used for marketing. According to a state contract with consultant KMPG, its subcontractor, Columbus-based Fahlgren-Mortine is approved 5 percent of the total contract. That comes to about  $142,500 for marketing. Watchdog 10 attended a meeting the Governor had with reporters to ask the spending is a wise use of tax dollars. A spokeswoman for Gov. John Kasich answered instead. Connie Wehrkamp said that the money is an appropriate use of tax dollars.

OH: PG Giving Out Parking “Tickets” To Try To Kill Parking Privatization

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who gave out bananas to try to get Chiquita to stay in Cincinnati, tomorrow plans a press conference in Clifton to urge residents to contact City Hall and express their displeasure with City Manager Milton Dohoney’s parking proposal. The manager wants to contract the parking system out to a private company for at least $40 million up front plus annual lease payments for 30 years. He used $21 million of the parking money to help fill the $34 million deficit. Sittenfeld, with community leaders, will pass out “tickets” to put on cars that tell drivers how to let City Hall know they don’t like Dohoney’s plan.

Lawmaker calls for suspending privatization of airport screening operations

The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee wants the Obama administration to halt privatization of airport security screening operations until the costs and any benefits can be determined.  Washington Post

When government does things better than private enterprise

The government’s scale and ability to look beyond narrow self-interest make its involvement in many programs the smart choice. Medicare is a prime example.Los Angeles Times