March 7, 2013


CA: How Corporate Reformers Explain Big Loss in Los Angeles. While we were celebrating Steve Zimmer’s thrilling win over Kate Anderson in the Los Angeles school board race, the corporate reform crowd had to figure out how to spin this embarrassing defeat. Inconvenient facts: The billionaires put together about $5 million to beat Steve Zimmer, who is a member of the school board in his first term. Steve is an independent thinker who dared to propose oversight for charters and a moratorium on new charters until the board had established some means of holding them accountable.  Diane Ravich’s Blog

CA: What’s driving privatization of public transit?  As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for. California Watch

NY: Comptroller skeptical on costs of privatizing LIPA. The state comptroller’s office has weighed in on the notion of LIPA as a private entity, telling a State Senate investigations panel that it has “serious ongoing issues” with LIPA’s financial condition, while questioning the costs of going private. Newsday

OH: Cincinnati’s City Council votes to privatize parking. Cincinnati City Council voted today (5-4 decision) to turn over Cincinnati’s parking to a private company for the next 30 years. In return, the city will receive annual payouts and a $92 million dollar lump sum. . . After council voted, Hamilton County Judge Robert Winkler placed the decision on hold after a group of concerned citizens filed suit to block the decision. The group wants the matter decided on a voter ballot.

OH: Ohio’s public-private jobs agency report raises questions. But the Ohio Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in the JobsOhio constitutionality case. What Jones calls “misunderstandings” aren’t surprising to Dale Butland with Innovation Ohio, a liberal leaning think tank. He says JobsOhio’s annual report actually raised more questions than it answered.  “We still don’t know how much public money has been spent. We still don’t know how JobsOhio calculates its return on investment, which means also have no idea whether the investments that JobsOhio has made have been good or bad. And we still don’t know, in the end, how many jobs we’re going to have, or how many jobs have actually been created.”  WKSU News

PA: Allentown City Council rejects another attempt to have residents decide 50-year lease. Another attempt to empower Allentown voters to decide the city’s planned 50-year lease of its water and sewer systems went nowhere at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting. . . Such an ordinance would give the city’s voters the final word and could reverse any approval of the lease by council.  WFMZ Allentown

OR: Oregon liquor agency faces troubling questions, inside and out. The internal struggles come at a time when the OLCC is under a higher level of scrutiny from state lawmakers and city of Portland officials, who think the agency has been less than responsive to complaints about problem bars. There’s also an underlying worry about the possibility of a ballot measure to privatize liquor sales, as happened last year in Washington. Currently, the OLCC is the third biggest revenue source for the state, behind income taxes and the Oregon Lottery.

UT: Opinion: Beware of any move to privatize Utah’s prisons. Ever notice how Utah legislators like to keep their hottest and most controversial bills under wraps until the very end of the annual session? This time around, though, the bill opens the door for private companies to submit requests for proposals to build and operate a new prison. . .Private prisons have been around for quite a while, and they’ve proven to be a terrible idea. Salt Lake Tribune