March 25, 2013


GA: Privatization mandate likely to be dropped from MARTA bill. The options Jacobs cites are several unrelated Senate bills that he’s amended to include his MARTA language. For his scheme to succeed, however, the Senate would need to agree to his amendments. To clear that hurdle, Jacobs seems resigned to dropping the most contentious measure from his legislation: a provision to force the transit agency to privatize a number of key functions, including human resources and technical support. “We would bring it back next year,” he says of the privatization mandate. Atlanta Magazine

TX: Fort Worth mayor, council explore privatizing some water services. A recently appointed Water Utility Task Force will explore ways for the city of Fort Worth to reduce water costs, including the possibility that some water services or management may be privatized. The city said it is reviewing a number of different departments but that the water department –– with more than 900 employees –– was the only one big enough to warrant a task force and outside evaluation. WFAA

ME: Maine Voices: Highway privatization law compromises public oversight of Maine roads. In 2010, with little public notice or opportunity for public comment, Maine enacted a highway privatization statute written by and for Maine’s asphalt lobby: Cianbro Corp., Maria Fuentes of the Maine Better Transportation Association and John Melrose, former Department of Transportation commissioner. There are three bills active in the Legislature to “fix” various elements of our hurriedly written, poorly vetted privatization statute, but the action that is appropriate is outright repeal. Press Herald

VA: Companies estimate value to Virginia of privatization bids. The Virginia Port Authority board will choose Tuesday whether to step up negotiations of one or two proposals to privatize state-run ocean terminals. Daily Press

PA: What Tom Corbett has to give up to get liquor privatization. Corbett’s under increasing public pressure — now from fellow Republicans — to do something about Medicaid. And with the Guv searching for a policy win headed into 2014 (and booze would be a serious feather), allowing a limited form of Medicaid expansion after getting concessions from D.C., might just be the ticket to get him what he wants. PennLive

PA: Pennsylvania Study Finds Halfway Houses Don’t Reduce Recidivism. The study by the Pennsylvania Corrections Department found that 67 percent of inmates sent to halfway houses were rearrested or sent back to prison within three years, compared with 60 percent of inmates who were released to the streets. The study examined 38 privately run and 14 state-run halfway houses. The results for both categories were discouraging, said Mr. Wetzel, the state corrections chief. New York Times

CA: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushes to privatize LA Zoo, Convention Center. With less than 100 days left in his term, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making one last big push on two of his signature proposals – privatizing operations at the Convention Center and the Los Angeles Zoo. The city’s unions, meantime, oppose the proposals and know time is on their side. They are trying simply to delay the matters until after July 1, when a new mayor and City Council will be sworn in. Los Angeles Daily News

OH: Cincinnati plan to privatize parking sparks backlash. But critics, including a consumer watchdog group, call the arrangement an indirect tax increase. Others say city leaders pushed the deal through too quickly. They are skeptical of selling public parking to balance the city budget. And they fear higher costs will discourage people from coming downtown, which is experiencing a renaissance. Plain Dealer

NC: Decker: I’m looking at privatizing N.C. Commerce Dept.. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker outlined the concept of transforming the state Commerce Department into essentially a private marketing and sales organization. She also raised the possibility that the regional partnership organizations might not survive.  The Business Journal