December 5, 2012


FL: Fla. prison medical outsourcing mostly rejected

A judge on Tuesday blocked plans to privatize health care services in three of Florida’s four prison system regions, but the state said it would appeal. Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that funding for such major policy changes must be approved by the full Legislature rather than a panel of just 14 lawmakers.  San Francisco Chronicle

FL: Federal government has 90 days to decide if Florida can privatize Medicaid

…A “90-day clock” was triggered in late November, meaning the federal government has to make a decision by the end of February on one portion of the managed care proposal pertaining to senior citizens requiring long-term care. The HHS department still hasn’t indicated when it will rule on the wider proposal to move nearly all of Medicaid patients to managed care, the News Service of Florida said. The decision to convert Medicaid to a managed care system was a controversial one. Miami Herald

IL: Will public works decisions be made in private?

They were appointed last summer to be the gatekeepers in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s program to build public works projects with billions of dollars in private investment…. But as the board moves closer to being asked to sign off on plans to improve the city’s infrastructure with private dollars, questions still remain about how transparent and open to the public those decisions will be. At the crux of the debate is Emanuel’s insistence that the board be a nonprofit organization and not a city agency. The board is applying for federal approval to become what’s known as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under Internal Revenue Service rules. The ramifications for the public have less to do with federal tax laws than with how the board figures in Emanuel’s selection of private business partners hoping to see a healthy profit on an investment in Chicago government.  Chicago Tribune

MD: Montgomery official wants state to halve ICC tolls

County Councilmember Phil Andrews, a long-time ICC opponent, said in a letter Monday to the MdTA that the 18-mile, all-electronic toll road between Gaithersburg and Interstate 95 has had little effect on relieving congestion on other roads since pening one year ago. An end-to-end ride during rush hour costs $4 for a car. “MdTA foolishly assumed ‘price was no object’ for the general public when it set its toll rates for the ICC,” Andrews wrote. “Many people, whose tax dollars helped [pay] for this road, are unable to afford the tolls or are deterred by the high tolls.” Baltimore Sun

CA: Final tally shows Fresno County privatization ballot measure fails

The effort to fast-track the privatization of public services in Fresno County has failed. Supporters of the privatization initiative, Measure O — including its author, Supervisor Debbie Poochigian — had been holding out hope that the initiative’s narrow defeat on Election Day would be reversed by the thousands of absentee ballots counted since. But the final vote count released Tuesday shows the countywide measure losing 51% to 49%. Tuesday was the state deadline to finalize election results.  Fresno Bee

OpEd: The People’s Beach

By increasing the value of shoreline property and encouraging rampant development, the trend toward privatizing formerly public space has contributed in no small measure to the damage storms like Hurricane Sandy inflict. Tidal lands that soaked up floodwaters were drained and developed. Jetties, bulkheads and sea walls were erected, hastening erosion. And sand dunes — which block rising waters but also profitable ocean views — were bulldozed.   New York Times