February 25, 2013


LA: Jindal’s $24.7 billion budget relies heavily on privatization of LSU hospitals

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s $24.7 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year will plug a $1 billion-plus hole with a mix of so-called “one-time money,” assumptions of large savings from the privatization of public hospitals, and anticipated money from the sale of state property and proceeds from lawsuits filed by the state. . .Many lawmakers received the proposal with skepticism, with some worrying about the impact it would have on the state’s public hospital system. They also raised concerns that the proposed sales and agreements it relies on might not come to fruition. NOLA.com

IL: Charter Schools and Disaster Capitalism

The right-wing, free market vision of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman informed the blueprint for the rapid privatization of municipal services throughout the world due in no small part to what author Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism”. . . There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder? They create a crisis. Each year, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) projects a billion dollar deficit. The announcement grabs headlines and the Board of Education announces that they must make serious cuts. These cutbacks are never at the top. The Board cuts education programs, after-school activities, and forces more classroom costs onto its employees. . . Charter schools become the “solution” lying around for parents who want to keep their students close to home in a school that will not be closed the following year.  Salon

TX: Internal review rejects idea of privatizing county jail

Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study by staff from the county budget office, purchasing office and County Attorney’s Office. Commissioner Steve Radack had suggested the county consider privatizing the jail in 2010, and the court voted to accept proposals in April 2011, when the county had begun laying off scores of staff in a lean budget year. Houston Chronicle

AZ: Rally against toll roads at Arizona Capitol

Arizona is one of a dozen states that have no toll roads. But this is no time to fall asleep at the wheel, warns the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council. That could change in the near future, taking a big bite out of Arizonans’ pockets and our freedoms, a council spokesman said. . . To blow the horn about possible tolls and user fees on Arizona roads, the council has called a rally at the state Capitol for next Wednesday. Organizers hope hundreds of owners of vehicles — from high-dollar customs to retro-restored muscle cars to daily drivers — will show up to warn lawmakers to steer clear of any such plans. Arizona Republic

CA: Bloomberg’s meddling in LA Unified races is paying for junk ads

The wealthy New York mayor’s $1-million contribution to the Coalition for School Reform is helping fund attack ads in L.A. that distort the truth and misinform voters. They said he should mind his own business, and they called this another example of an attempt by rich guys to privatize public schools, or at least turn them over to their charter school cronies. Los Angeles Times

CA: Editorial: Privatization might save money, but it costs accountability

But it’s a reminder that privatizing government services — often touted as a move to cut costs and red tape, and in the case of Redding Community Access Corp. originally intended to untangle city government from broadcasting controversies — also has costs. Not least, the public loses the accountability the law has built around government institutions — rigorous accounting of spending, public meetings and the ability to bump misguided decision-makers out of office at the next election. And when things go sideways, we sure notice how important all those rules were. Record-Searchlight

Civil Rights Group Slams House Republicans for Attempting to Privatize the US Postal Service

From ColorOfChange.org: The United States Postal Service is a critical service for Black and low-income communities, and it must be protected. The end of Saturday mail delivery would create delays for Veterans’ and Social Security checks, putting people who are already struggling to make it to the end of the month at even greater risk. And a full 46% of Black Americans, who lack access to high-speed Internet in their homes, rely on the post office for basic communication with the outside world. PostalNews

Privatizing cops: Because of budget cuts, “even police protection is more accessible to those with cash.”

Economic experts, and the president of the United States, have been emphasizing stimulus spending, not austerity, to get us out of the Big Recession mess BushCo created. But Republicans have insisted on cut after cut after cut. All those Big Bad Government Jobs that the GOP keeps wailing about? Those include police officers, the very men and women who, you know, protect us from the “bad guys with guns.” So cities and towns all over America are slashing their police forces because of deep budget cuts, the ones that have proved disastrous time after time. Political Carnival