April 26, 2013


NJ: Treasurer: Lottery contract ‘a good deal’ for NJ. Treasurer Andrew Eristoff told the Assembly Budget Committee that the 15-year deal with the lone bidder, a joint venture named Northstar New Jersey, is good for the state….Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat running for governor, said Christie’s motivation for handing over a portion of the lottery is strictly financial; the administration is counting on the up-front payment to come through before the current budget year ends on June 30. She said Christie is using the one-time payment to plug a budget hole though he’s frequently criticized Democrats, including his predecessor, Gov. Jon Corzine, for their use of so-called one-shots. San Francisco Chronicle

PA: Allentown approves $220 million lease of water system to Lehigh County Authority. Opposition to the proposal has been fierce and has continued right up to the vote. That opposition has included concerns about privatizing the system – somewhat allayed with the nonprofit authority’s winning bid – but many opponents claim the city has refused to allow the public full access to the bidding process.  Council chambers were nearly full and during public comment period speakers lined up out the door of the auditorium. Opponents have said the city didn’t provide enough information to the public to properly weigh alternatives. Eichenwald and some of the other speakers were concerned that no information was made public about the other bids prior to the vote, and said the city will face lawsuits and possible sanctions for violation of the state Sunshine Act. The Express Times

NY: NYS proposal would give PSEG near control of LIPA. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering a plan that would give a New Jersey company nearly complete control of the Long Island electric system.  Cuomo secretary Larry Schwartz said state officials are in discussions with PSEG. It’s already set to take over management of Long Island’s electric grid in January. Newsday

AL: Opinion: Birmingham Airport case: When is public business none of the public’s business? The specific question is whether the publicly owned, tax-supported Birmingham Airport Authority can turn over a $200 million building project to private companies such as Brasfield & Gorrie and the KPS Group, and then use those private companies to shield its business from public view. The bigger question is this: Can any public entity outsource the public’s business, and then claim, merely by hiring somebody to do its job, that it is not the public’s business anymore? Those are critical questions at a critical time, for the move toward privatization has already put much public work in shadow.  AL.co

ID: Protests filed against aquifer recharge plan. More than 20 individuals and groups, including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Western Watersheds Project and the Idaho Conservation League, have filed protests against a plan to use unclaimed water in the Big Wood River to recharge the local aquifer and sell that water to irrigators during the summer….. She said the ICL also objects to “privatizing and monetizing a public resource in a way that hasn’t been done in Idaho.” Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

Calls to Privatize the FAA Follow Controller Furloughs and Airport Delays. It didn’t take long for calls to privatize the FAA to surface following the agency’s announcement on Sunday that due to sequester cuts of $637 million (out of its $16 billion budget), all 47,000 of its employees, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, were being furloughed. The resulting delays were especially noticeable at high-traffic centers like New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Los Angeles. FAA Administrator Michael Hurta said his agency “could find no other way” to respond to the mandated cuts but to inflict maximum pain on travelers dependent upon schedules and efficiency.  The New American