April 30, 2013


FL: Local attorney discovers he is fighting a prosecutor paid by a private company.  So, private corporations are adding privately funded prosecutors to the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office.  Really?  Do we have Monroe County prosecutors whose salaries are paid by private companies?  “Indirectly, yes, and that deal is unconstitutional,” says local defense attorney Jiulio Margalli. Margalli is referring to an agreement, entered into last December, by which the Guidance/Care Center (GCC) and Monroe County Coalition (MCC), both private entitles, are paying the State Attorney’s Office for a special prosecutor to “increase prosecutions of DUI cases.”  The Blue Paper

LA: The Great Takeover: The New Orleans Public Schools in Post-Katrina Louisiana. A writer recently hailed federal and state education reform as a new civil rights movement. But the word reform, which means “the improvement . . . of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory,” can hardly be applied to the recent changes in educational law. Most of these changes are not for the better. Instead, they create a separate and wholly unequal educational system masquerading as choice, which serves to destabilize and discredit public schools in the name of improvement and to make state funds accessible to a wide range of individuals and corporations with little or no oversight. This article examines recent legislation that dramatically expanded state takeover of schools after Hurricane Katrina, shows how the changes are contrary to educational research on effective schools, and points to some examples of schools and programs gone awry under this new regime. Louisiana Voice

MD: Untold health risks of privatizing Citizens-Montevu. This is of concern to so many of us now because our county commissioners are moving rapidly to sell Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. Montevue is home for some 75 elderly and frail Frederick County residents, 60 of whom have extremely limited resources, if any, and whose support is subsidized by us, the taxpayers of this county.  The Frederick News Post

IL: Illinois American, Aqua Illinois Push Bill To Privatize Municipal Water Systems, Automatically Raise Rates To Finance Purchases. Legislation moving quickly through Springfield would allow the state’s biggest private water companies, Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois, to fast-track takeovers of municipal water systems and automatically charge current customers higher rates to fund those conquests, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) warned Monday. Citizens Utility Board PR


IL: Legal fight settled over Chicago parking meters.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he was able to tweak a deal to privatize the city’s parking meters that has proven to be a national embarrassment even as he acknowledged that the city is stuck for the next 71 years with a contract he inherited and despises…. Emanuel, who called his proposal an effort to “make a little lemonade out of a big lemon,” said he was able to secure from Chicago Parking Meters LLC an agreement to stop charging for parking in the city’s residential neighborhoods on Sundays. But to get that concession, Emanuel had to give one: Metered parking hours will be extended an hour until 10 p.m., as well as an additional three hours in the trendy near North Side. The Seattle Times

NJ:  Commentary: Why privatize the New Jersey Lottery? By all accounts, the New Jersey Lottery is enormously successful. Last year, it brought in $2.7 billion, a record and a 4.5 percent increase over last year. So why does Chris Christie want to privatize it? As far as deals go, this one stinks. First of all, it’s a 15-year contract – a long time to be in bed with a partner you’ve just met. Second, only one company bid for the contract – GTECH, a controversial Italian firm that has already been involved in one kickback scheme in New Jersey, and is dealing with a lawsuit in Illinois after taking over their lottery.  NewsWorks

TX: Group opposes privatization proposal at UT. Opponents of a proposed effort to privatize some nonacademic jobs at the University of Texas will hold a press conference at noon Tuesday on the west mall of the campus to discuss their concerns about decreases in service and potential job losses for longtime university employees….Parking and food service were the two areas explicitly mentioned as having potential for savings through third-party vendors, but SOCC member and UT student Sydney Dwoskin said the group is worried most service job classifications would eventually be targeted, resulting in job loss or dramatically reduced pay and benefits. Her group is lobbying to stop any privatization and to have UT President Bill Powers solicit student and community involvement on such matters. Austin Business Journal

HI: Public-private authority bill dies. Hawaii lawmakers have killed a measure that would have created a new agency called the Public-Private Partnership Authority. A panel of negotiators met Friday and decided to defer the bill. Maui News