April 5, 2013


Privatized Water Systems More Costly Than Loans. In these deals, the private company will give the local government what is effectively an upfront loan for control of the water system, while ratepayers, not the municipality, are expected to repay the loan through rate increases and other fees. “Water system concession contracts are a new form of predatory lending, targeting cash-strapped, financially desperate cities and towns,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Because they do nothing to address the source of budget problems, long-term water system leases just use fiscal smoke and mirrors to obscure them, transferring a municipality’s money woes to local taxpayers through rate increases.” eNews Park Forest

IL: Economic development privatization plan hit. The state’s top economic development official told lawmakers on Thursday that legislation calling for privatizing some functions of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would increase bureaucracy and diminish accountability. Chicago Tribune

OH: Opponents of parking plan deliver petition. City Council approved a measure to outsource the city’s parking. The plan would give he city $92 million up front and $3 million year. However, a group of citizens filed a lawsuit against the city and Judge Robert Winkler granted a permanent injunction to stop the city from moving forward with the plan. The citizens want the issue on the November ballot and circulated a petition.  Fox19

TX: Bill would give sheriff power — again — to veto jail privatization. After more than a year of studying whether to privatize the Harris County jail, staff concluded that “the potential benefit is not sufficient reason to make a change at this time.” That’s according to a confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Chronicle, that said that farming out management of the state’s largest lockup to a private operator would not only be risky, but might not save much money. Houston Chronicle

CA: Los Angeles Is for Sale… Dirt Cheap! Mayor Villaraigosa thinks the private owners would do a better job of making money off the zoo, and he’s probably right. They’re not exactly raking in the merch money with sales pitches like this one that I sincerely heard for plush animals: “Bring some meaning into your life with a monkey, a snake, or an alligator!” And they have people passing out Raisin Bran-commercial-style scoops of kettle corn (or as the kids at the zoo call it: “ammunition”) for free, rather than making like Krispy Kreme and pumping the aroma into everyone’s faces. VICE

CA: City Mngr Files Suit Against Trash Privatization Opponents. KMJ News has learned exclusively that Fresno City Manager Mark Scott has filed a lawsuit alleging that opponents of privatizing residential trash pick-up are making misleading and false statements in their ballot arguments. KMJ Now

LA: Voters growing tired of Jindal’s politics, report says. The poll also found opposition to privatizing the state hospital system, one of the Jindal administration’s moves. Opelousas Daily World