January 16, 2013


PA: Public vetting of potential lottery privatization deal appears to go administration’s way

Finally given the chance to ask questions, political observers expected state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to spar over the pending contract with a British firm to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery. Instead, they heard three-plus hours of relatively polite exchanges.  PhillyBurbs

NY: NYC Bus Strike Kicks Off to Fight Privatization of Yellow Buses

The president of the union representing New York City school bus drivers announced earlier this week that a citywide strike will be starting Wednesday morning. This will be the first time in more than three decades that NYC’s largest union for school bus drivers will strike…. The city wants to cut transportation costs and has put bus contracts with private bus companies up for bid. The union is criticizing lack of employee protections, fearing current drivers may lose their jobs once contracts expire in June.  The Nation

MS: Senate committee approves charter school bill

Legislation to expand charter schools in Mississippi is once again moving forward, with the state Senate Education Committee approving Senate Bill 2189 on a split vote Tuesday. Senators said they expect the bill to come to the Senate floor Wednesday. MySanAntonio.com

FL: Group wants private prisons to rehab Fla. inmates

A group with strong business ties urged Florida lawmakers to divert nonviolent felons into privately operated prisons for substance abuse and mental health treatment to cut costs and help prevent them from returning to crime when they are released. The proposal by the Florida Smart Justice Alliance drew opposition from public employee unions representing guards and other prison workers. They questioned the safety of private prisons as well as cost savings claimed by the alliance.  San Francisco Chronicle

CA: Parents seek to take control of failing Los Angeles school

Critics of the parent trigger law say it can divide communities and lead to the privatization of public schools, while proponents say it empowers parents to improve their children’s educational opportunities.  Reuters

MN: Privatization at Wirth Park

…In return for raising $3,000,000, The Loppet wants a 25 year lease on the new Welcome Center and 22.5 surrounding acres. The Loppet would serve as “Developer” subletting the building to tenants like a restaurant, a bike shop, a winter sports store, offices, etc. It appears The Loppet would keep all building revenue. The Loppet would also have naming rights to the building and all interior areas. Finally, the MPRB would “credit” the Loppet’s annual rent payments for 20 years, total value $3 million.  Twin Cities Daily Planet

When Public Outperforms Private in Services

Ten years ago, BP was the darling of the energy world — the unprofitable duckling transformed by privatization under the government of Margaret Thatcher into a highly profitable swan. But then, in 2005, a BP refinery in Texas City blew up, killing 15 and injuring around 170. In 2006, a leak in a BP pipeline spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. And in 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 and resulted in the biggest offshore oil spill in the history of the United States…. Long dormant in the United States, the debate has acquired new urgency as governments from Washington to statehouses and city halls around the country consider privatizing everything from Medicare to the management of state parks as a possible solution to their budget woes. New York Times

Aaron Swartz – a Fighter Against the Privatization of Knowledge

Two colleagues and friends of Aaron Swartz talk about his activism and vision of technology in the service of a more democratic and just society. The Real News