April 16, 2013


WI: Wisconsin to pay $6.3 million more annually for LogistiCare replacement. State taxpayers will be shelling out an extra $6.3 million per year for medical transportation for Wisconsin Medicaid recipients once MTM Inc. takes over for LogistiCare, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of bids. Just a few years ago, state officials estimated that having a private firm dispatch rides would save the state $4 million a year. The Journal Sentinel analysis raises questions about whether the privatization really saves state taxpayers money. Journal Sentinel

IL: Chicago City Council effort to regulate privatization bogs down. Introduced last November by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance has been bottled up in Ald. Dick Mell’s (33rd) Rules Committee, even though a majority of the City Council members have signed on as co-sponsors. The ordinance would require a hearing on privatization proposals involving an asset valued at $250,000 or more. It also would require a cost-effectiveness study, competitive bidding and other reforms. Until now, plans to privatize services or assets have tended to stay under the radar until the last moment, keeping public scrutiny to a minimum.  Chicago Sun Times

NY: Privatization of the Commons in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York – Part I….But last month, quietly, and without any public notification, Washington Square Park too fell victim to the Bloomberg Administration’s penchant for privatizing “the commons,” and management and control of the famed “town square” was handed over to a newly created private Conservancy, whose director also just happens to take home a salary from … take a guess… the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.  Huffington Post

PA: Third Pa. state agency points to potential legal problems in Corbett’s private lottery deal. The chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board wrote in a letter last month that the proposed contract documents are ambiguous and do not say clearly what kinds of new gambling Camelot Global Services would be allowed to operate.  As a result, it is impossible to say whether it infringes on the gaming board’s authority under state casino gambling laws or creates illegal forms of gambling, the board’s top lawyer, Douglas Sherman, wrote.  The Republic

ID: Company that runs Idaho’s largest private prison says employees falsified staffing records. A private company that operates Idaho’s largest prison acknowledged Thursday that its employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records over seven months last year in violation of its contract with the state. Corporation of America is the latest in a string of staffing problems alleged or being investigated at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise. Earlier this year, the Idaho Department of Correction asked state police to investigate staffing discrepancies at the lockup.  Washington Post

CA: Conservative Think Tank Questions Toll Road Agency’s Unsustainable Financial Plan. For the second time in four months, the financial condition of Orange County’s Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), the public agency that has been trying for years to pave a toll road through San Onofre State Beach, is being called into question This time, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative think tank based in San Francisco, has released a new analysis of TCA’s finances that concludes “the operations of these toll roads presently appear to be unsustainable and likely have been unworkable from their inception.” The report explains that TCA’s shaky financial plans and debt structure will make its financial status worse, “likely forcing a default or another restructuring.”  NRDC Swithboard

Legislative fiscal analysts question Jindal budget. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office told the Senate Finance Committee that some of the savings the governor expects through anti-fraud efforts and privatization initiatives seem to be overstated, which could throw the 2013-14 budget proposal out of balance. Shawn Hotstream, with the fiscal office, said the governor’s budget for the fiscal year opening July 1 might have underestimated how much money it will cost to operate the LSU hospitals under anticipated privatization deals. San Francisco Chronicle

NH: New Hampshire Views: Private prisons were a terrible idea. Prison privatization was probably not going to happen in New Hampshire any time soon, but that doesn’t mean the state wasted the $171,000 it spent on a consultant to study the question.mIndeed, after months of reviewing four companies’ proposals to build and/or operate prisons in New Hampshire, the consultant, MGT of America, and state officials issued two reports last week that made clear just how bad an idea this was. One can only hope that it is dead beyond hope of resurrection. Concord Monitor

MD: Maryland Gives Up On Traffic Camera Reform. Photo enforcement firms also ended the day with a celebration after their investment paid off with the defeat of all legislation that might have imposed limits or quality checks on their ticketing operations…. The money flowing to Annapolis, not counting cash infusions from the insurance industry and other pro-camera lobbyists (view 2009 lobbying cash), had the intended impact. Supporters of reform started the session with significant momentum. A scandal in Baltimore revealed that more than five percent of speed camera tickets went to vehicle owners who were not speeding. A legislative audit blasted the reliability of the State Highway Administration’s freeway photo radar program. Local jurisdictions have been openly flouting provisions of the existing photo enforcement statute. TheNewspaper.com



April 15, 2013


NC: NC’s HHS secretary looking for payers to help her privatize Medicaid. Many are concerned a push toward privatization will deny care to patients as for-profit companies look to cut costs. MedCity News

NC: Opinion: McCrory privitization kick is a bad idea. “Governor Pat McCrory appears to be on a privatization spree that could have  serious implications for jobs and health care in North Carolina,” writes Chris Fitzsimon on his blog at NC Policy Watch. “And none of it seems very well thought out.’ News Observer

LA: AG says Jindal doesn’t need legislative approval to privatize LSU hospitals. Gov. Bobby Jindal doesn’t need legislative approval to privatize the LSU public hospitals, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said Thursday. Alexandria Town Talk

NJ: NJ to award contract in lottery privatization. New Jersey’s Treasury Department announced plans on Friday to award a sales and marketing contract for the state lottery to a private company….New Jersey has the nation’s eighth largest state lottery. The lottery grossed $2.8 billion in revenue last year. The state Senate passed a measure last month giving the Legislature a say in plans to privatize the lottery. San Francisco Chronicle

AL: Privatizing public schools: Alabama Accountability Act could create all sorts of problems….It is an interesting idea; however, the end result in many Black Belt counties would be three state-subsidized school systems. There would be the white school private school that came into being when the schools were integrated. There would be the new private school for the less affluent (mostly black) students that would be created under Campbell’s plan. And there would be the public school, if by that time a public school still existed….It would be a twisted trail to follow, but if it came to pass (a very big “if”) it would accomplish the goal of those who are putting money into the Black Alliance. It would privatize public education. Anniston Star

TN: Editorial: Privatizing TVA bad idea for region and whole nation. The Obama administration plans to conduct a “strategic review” of TVA to determine whether all or part of the federal corporation should be sold to the private sector. The proposal is part of the administration’s Creating a 21st Century Government initiative, which focuses on cutting waste, streamlining agencies and other reforms. We do not need a strategic review to know the privatization of TVA — which is more than just a utility — is not in the best interests of its 9 million customers or the American public as a whole. This is not the first time a privatization proposal has been floated, and it is still bad idea. Knoxville News Sentinel

CA: Fresno trash fight starts in court. Supporters and opponents of Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s effort to outsource the city’s home garbage-collection service will gather Monday morning in front of Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda to claim the other side’s got it all wrong. Fresno Bee

IA: OUR OPINION: Idea of privatizing workforces raises concerns….Radig’s most recent proposal is to privatize workforces, excluding directors, at the Art Center and Pubic Museum. He proposes the Art Center Association and Museum and Historical Association raise funds for salaries and benefits. Savings for the city, he estimates, would total some $800,000, no insignificant sum…..Because we question the ability of their boards to raise the additional revenue necessary to cover salaries and benefits, we believe this idea would negatively impact the quality and quantity of public programming at the Art Center and museum. Because we appreciate the importance and value to local quality of life of a strong Art Center and museum, we believe the city should seek to avoid diminishing them. Sioux City Journal



April 11, 2013


AL: President Obama’s proposed budget could privatize TVA. TVA provides power to more than 480,000 homes in North Alabama. A Tennessee lawmaker says if it’s privatized customers could see their electric bills rise. President Obama’s latest budget proposal includes a review into the Tennessee Valley Authority. WAAY

MA: No noon meal for kids in debt at middle school. Students at an Attleboro, Massachusetts, middle school went hungry this week, if they had a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch cards. Five cents of debt was enough for cafeteria employees at the Coehlo Middle School to instruct kids at least one day this week to dump out the food they would have normally eaten. About 25 children left the lunchroom with empty stomachs, said Whitson’s Culinary Group in a statement. The company runs the school’s cafeteria. Principal Andrew Boles apologized and blamed the culinary company.  WJAR

FL: The dark side of Parent Trigger. The crusade to privatize public education continues gaining ground in the Florida Legislature, where the controversial bill to have a traditional neighborhood school transformed into a charter school, among other options, sails at full speed under the premise of empowering parents to turn around a school that’s failing their children. Many legislators — some with strong economic ties to the charter school industry — promise the moon when describing the bill known as the Parent Trigger Act. Nonetheless, they present little evidence of its success. Because the fact is that there is none. Miami Herald

IN: Stand With Indiana University Strikers. On April 11th and 12th, while the Indiana University Board of Trustees holds its annual meeting, students and staff throughout the statewide system will walk out of class and off the job to protest critical issues plaguing higher education across the country—from sky-rocketing tuition costs to privatization schemes to barriers facing undocumented students. The Nation

NJ: Newark Students Walk Out To Protest Privatization Plans And Budget Cuts. Though Governor Chris Christie refers to students protesting his privatization plans as drug mules, the students of Newark decided yesterday to stand up for their right to an education and walked out of class to protest the attack on their public school system. Firedoglake

CO: Privatization of U.S. 36 maintenance, operations launches highway into new era. Starting later this year and lasting until 2063, U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder will be maintained and operated by a private consortium known as Plenary Roads Denver…. But public-private partnerships, or P3s, do not sit comfortably with everyone…. Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst for tax and budget policy with PIRG and author of “Private Roads, Public Costs,” said his analysis of P3 road projects in Indiana and Chicago found that private investors would recoup their investments in less than 20 years even though the P3 deals had terms of 75 and 99 years, respectively. “The state of Colorado might think it’s wiser than the Wall Street financiers on this, but it’s the Wall Street financiers’ job not to lose on these kinds of bets,” Baxandall said. “It’s very hard to know what the traffic patterns will be in the future. CDOT should make sure that any contract it signs should give it leverage to adjust the terms according to changing circumstances.”  Daily Camera

NC: Governor McCrory’s stated reasons for privatizing NC’s award-winning Medicaid program are simply false. In announcing his plan to privatize North Carolina’s award-winning Medicaid program, Community Care of NC, Governor Pat McCrory laid out five key reasons that in his view privatization is necessary.  The only problem?  None of them hold up under the even the most cursory scrutiny.  The Progressive Pulse

Failed Privatizations — the Thatcher Legacy. What concerned voters were the results of privatization that Mrs. Thatcher had not warned them about. Prices did not decline proportionally to cost cuts and productivity gains. Many services were cut back, especially on the least utilized transport routes. The largest privatized bus company was charged with cut-throat monopoly practices. The water system broke down, while consumer charges leapt. Electricity prices were shifted against residential consumers in favor of large industrial users. Economic inequality widened as the industrial labor force shrunk by two million from 1979 to 1997, while wages stagnated in the face of soaring profits for the privatized companies. The tax cuts financed by their selloff turned out to benefit mainly the rich.  OpEdNews.com


April 10, 2013


Study Documents Optimism Bias In Toll Road Traffic Forecasts. Toll roads around the world are struggling. Moody’s Investment Services on March 21 warned of a possible downgrade of the SH130 toll road in Austin, Texas because the 50 percent fewer people used the road than projected. In Virginia, the newly opened 495 high occupancy toll lanes have continued to disappoint officials. None of this is surprising according to a Virginia group, the Reston Citizens Association, which earlier this year released an extensive study of the problems inherent in toll road forecasting. A review of 104 toll roads around the world showed toll roads suffered from “optimism bias” that results in traffic forecasts being inflated by 25 to 30 percent, on average. The problem is more acute in the United States, where twenty-six toll roads reported 109 percent inflation in their forecasts, according to a National Highway Cooperative Research Program review. TheNewspaper.com

Thatcher’s Privatizations Cast a Long Shadow. Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, reshaped modern Britain by selling state-owned companies into private hands, paving the way for a spate of such dispositions around Europe and the world that continues, even here, three decades later. Wall Street Journal

PA: How a Bucks County GOP feud could affect liquor privatization. The bad blood is decades old, personal and could affect Gov. Tom Corbett’s attempt to privatize the state liquor system. PennLive.com

PA: Why is the Pa. Convention Center a privatization target? Is it because Gov. Corbett advocates privatizing government services and wants a win now that his plans to farm out the state lottery and State Stores have slowed? “I didn’t feel pressure from the commonwealth to do this,” Gregory J. Fox, the Philadelphia lawyer who chairs the center’s board, said. Sure, Corbett’s deputy chief of staff, Kathleen Bruder, represents the state at board meetings. Is it because the would-be private managers are politically connected? Philly.com

NC: GOP called privatizing Commerce “incredibly dumb and dangerous” when Democrats proposed it. Republican Gov. Jim Martin once called the replacement of the Department of Commerce with a public-private partnership “an incredibly dumb and dangerous idea.” That was back in 1988 when Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan, his opponent in the governor’s race proposed something very similar to what GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is now recommending. At a rally on top of a downtown Charlotte parking deck, Jordan proposed creating a NC. Economic Development Corp which would be run by a panel of private citizens appointed by the governor. News and Observer

NC: $53M spent on N.C. toll roads ‘lost’. A total of $53.7 million in North Carolina taxpayer money has been spent on planning three toll roads that could be scrapped. Triangle Business Journal

 IL: Will Emanuel back privatization transparency measure?. Community and public interest groups are calling on Mayor Emanuel to support a privatization transparency ordinance that is expected to be considered by the City Council Rules Committee on Wednesday. The Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance, submitted last November by Alderman Roderick Sawyer (7th) and sponsored by 32 aldermen, would require a cost-effectiveness study and public hearings when the city seeks to contract out services and operations. Newstips

LA: Poll shows drop in Jindal’s favorability ratings. A statewide survey found that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval rating sank to 38 percent following recent state budget cuts, public hospital privatizations and a proposed rewriting of the state’s tax code. Pollsters with Southern Media and Opinion Research found “pessimism over the state’s direction” among voters, findings that a separate, unrelated poll by LSU also tracked. The Advocate

MD: Maryland has passed measure to facilitate public-private partnerships. The legislation creates a streamlined process for the private sector to take part in building public roads or buildings, so participants would have a better understanding of what to expect. State estimates have projected additional public-private partnerships could contribute up to 6 to 10 percent of Maryland’s $3.1 billion annual capital budget and create as many as 4,000 new jobs. Washington Post

April 9, 2013


CA: San Fernando Valley’s Ivy Academia charter school founders convicted of embezzling public funds. A jury convicted the founders of the San Fernando Valley-based Ivy Academia charter school Friday of embezzling public money and filing false tax returns. Tatyana Berkovich and her husband, Yevgeny “Eugene” Selivanov, were charged with using $200,000 in public school funds for personal expenses and for a private school they owned.  Daily News

TX: Fastest Toll Road in Financial Trouble. San Antonio Express News is reporting SH 130, the toll road that stretches from Seguin to Georgetown, is not making the money expected….Now,  Moody Investor Service says it may downgrade the credit rating of the SH 130 Concession Company, the private company that backed the making of this toll road. Reports indicate if the road does not make more money it may not be able to pay its debts, which include a $430,000 federal loan.  FoxSanAntonio.com

NY: Nursing home politics. A day after the legislature again stalled the vote on McCoy’s plan to privatize the Colonie facility, GOP-sponsored robocalls began hitting in the districts of four Democratic legislators on Saturday. Albany Times Union

NC: Gov. McCrory seeks to privatize much of Commerce Department. The Partnership for Prosperity, headed by a board of directors that McCrory would chair, would oversee small business development, entrepreneurship, international investment, imports and exports and travel and tourism. The nonprofit will leverage existing state funds to get the private sector more involved in economic development, McCrory and Decker said. Eventually, they said, less state money will be needed to run programs now handled by the Department of Commerce and regional groups that receive state funding. WRAL.com

NC: 3 questions that Governor McCrory needs to answer about his privatization scheme. According to one recent report, states that have adopted public private partnerships for their economic development efforts have seen the misuse of taxpayer dollars, questionable incentive awards to failing companies, the appearance of pay-to-play incentive granting to those companies providing financial support to the partnership, and frequent lack of transparency and accountability with how the partnership spends taxpayer dollars. And to top it all off, many of these partnerships haven’t proven to be very effective in generating the job creation results promised. The Progressive Pulse

IN: Top Ind. senator wants funding for new toll road. A key Indiana senator wants funding for a proposed toll road around Indianapolis’ congested Interstate 465 bypass – a proposal that was dropped in 2007 amid strong public opposition. WSBT-TV


April 8, 2013


Arkansas wants to privatize its Medicaid Expansion: Is this the start of a trend? How do you get recalcitrant Republicans like Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to support expanding Medicaid, which is a key feature of Obamacare? The answer is to do it through privatization.  Philly.com

6 Reasons to Be Wary of Public-Private Partnerships. Little or no democratic oversight; Competition stifled; Public sectors are saddled with the risk; The voice of the community is missing; Opportunities missed for community benefits and; Absence of strategic planning.  Huffington Post

NC: NC health secretary on privatizing Medicare: Transparency is ‘pretty dangerous’ The Republican North Carolina Department Health and Human Services (DHHS) secretary this week told reporters asking for information about the state’s plan to privatize Medicaid that “transparency can get pretty dangerous.” Raw Story

NC: Medicaid privatization risky for poor, disabled. Gov. Pat McCrory rolled out an ambitious but dubious plan to privatize North Carolina’s Medicaid system….The primary stated purpose of the plan is to transfer the financial risks and cost overruns of the Medicaid system from the state and its taxpayers to the for-profit companies that would receive the bids to administer the services. But the surest way for these managed care corporations to ensure profitability would be to limit access to health care and cut critical medical services to the state’s poor, elderly and disabled people.  Rocky Mount Telegram

TX: Traffic On Speedy Texas Toll Road Falls Well Short Of Expectations. Texas 130, a toll road whose 85-mile-per-hour speed limit is the fastest in the country, has drawn about half the number of drivers expected in its first months of operation and Moody’s Investor Service says that performance is poor enough that the private company that built it faces a downgrading of its credit rating. KWTX

VA: Virginia Residents Protest Against Toll Roads. Unlike most “not in my backyard” efforts, the group is not protesting an actual expansion of the interstate. The I-395 toll project is an effort to re-stripe the existing footprint of lanes that are for carpool use during rush hour and free for anyone to use during off-peak hours. Once converted to tolling, the lanes will run for the profit of Transurban, an Australian corporation.  TheNewspaper.com

FL: Budget would privatize all DOC health services. Both House and Senate versions of the state’s $74 billion budget contain provisions to privatize prison health services in facilities across the majority of the state. Tallahassee.com

OH: Police, Firefighters Angry Over Role in Parking Plan. The battle to privatize parking in Cincinnati was evident today in Cincinnati council chambers. The mayor says the parking plan is the only way to save police and fire jobs. but others are saying not so fast.  On Thursday night, police and fire union leaders told Local 12 they’re tired of being the sacrificial lambs when it comes to solving the budget problem. While council met to talk about options to avoid the cuts – opponents to the parking plan turned in more than 19,000 signatures to put the parking issue on the ballot.   WKRC TV Cincinnati

OH: Ohio State parking privatization hits bumps in year 1. The parking privatization on Ohio State’s campus has been described as smooth by some university officials, however the first academic year under the transition hasn’t gone off without a hitch. The Lantern



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

April 4, 2013


NH: New Hampshire drops bid to privatize state’s prisons. The state announced yesterday that it has dropped its bid to privatize the state’s prisons because none of the four companies that wanted the job showed they could meet court-ordered requirements for inmate care. The private prison companies also proposed wages and benefits that are half what security staff at the prisons earn now, according to two reports on the bids released yesterday by the state Department of Administrative Services and Department of Corrections. Concord Monitor

WI: Educator Who Challenged Scott Walker’s Vouchers Agenda Wins 61-39 in Wisconsin. When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced that he would use his upcoming budget to expand private-school voucher programs, even some Republican legislators objected. But the loudest objection to Walker’s approach, and to the broader national push to shift taxpayer dollars away from public education and toward private experiments, came from Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers. “This has to stop,” he said. “The state cannot continue to play favorites. We can and must meet our constitutional obligation to invest in all of our kids.” Today’s election offered voters a crystal clear choice between two very different philosophies about education,” the superintendent declared on election night.  OpedNews

VA: Pro ports privatization group accused of campaign finance violation. A group that produced robocalls promoting the now-sunk port privatization efforts was accused of campaign finance violations by a watchdog group in Washington for election-season TV ads in Ohio. CBEG put out two robocalls — one that slammed former Virginia International Terminals CEO and president Joe Dorto as overpaid, and one that characterized the privatization plan as an effort of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.. But a year earlier the group bought at least $896,000-worth of TV ads slamming President Barack Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.  Daily Press

PA: Corbett’s continued lottery privatization pursuit is robbing seniors, Democratic senator says. Sen. Mike Stack, D-Philadelphia, calls Gov. Tom Corbett’s lottery management privatization effort “the worst example of government waste.” Stack was reacting to a Pennlive report about the Corbett administration’s spending at least $2.85 million so far on consultants who have assisted it with exploring the idea of privatizing the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. PennLive

NE: Board of Regents hires consulting firm to help with health center privatization. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has hired Deloitte consulting to answer its questions about Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s proposed plan to privatize student health care at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since Perlman presented his privatization plan to the community, health center employees have jumped ship, seeking employment at other areas around campus to maintain benefits or simply seeking work elsewhere. Roughly a dozen employees have left the health center, including a couple physicians, the lead pharmacist, marketing coordinator and insurance coordinator. Daily Nebraskan

Occupy the Department Of Education Returns to DC. Liberal education luminaries including Diane Ravitch, a former assistant education secretary, and Central Park East schools guru Deborah Meier, will be in Washington as part of a four-day “Occupy the Department of Education” event organized by United Optout, a group that came together last year in the flurry of other Occupy Wall Street events. They’ll be part of non-stop speechmaking from teachers, educators, students, and parents, decrying such things as high-stakes testing and the move towards privatizing public education. Mother Jones



April 3, 2013


TN: Crucible of Change in Memphis as State Takes On Failing Schools. Most of the schools will be run by charter operators. All will emphasize frequent testing and data analysis. Many are instituting performance pay for teachers and longer school days, and about a fifth of the new district’s recruits come from Teach for America.  New York Times

LA: Civil Service panel approves hospital outsourcing. A Gov. Bobby Jindal administration plan to outsource the health care services provided by LSU’s public hospital in Baton Rouge received approval Tuesday from the state Civil Service Commission, paving the way for employee layoffs. San Francisco Chronicle

MS: Bill would allow private contracts for Miss. DHS. The Mississippi House on Tuesday passed the final version of a bill to let the Department of Human Services hire private contractors to collect overdue child support. But lawmakers said House Bill 1009 would not stop at child support collections. Opponents said the bill is so broadly written that it would allow DHS to privatize a wide range of its duties. Seattle Post Intelligencer

NY: Washington County workers getting laid off in trash privatization. More than 200 additional county employees face layoffs this year as the county moves toward privatizing Pleasant Valley nursing home and most of the Public Health Department. Post Star

Fitch: Virginia Port Decision May Hurt Other Privatizations. Virginia Port Authority’s decision to discontinue negotiations with two potential lessors of its ocean terminals may create negative momentum for other large port privatization projects because of the length of the negotiation, the strong brand names of the bidders, and the meaningful pricing that was considered. It would have been the first privatization of a major U.S. port facility. In our view, the privatization of smaller, individual terminals is less likely to be affected. Fort Mills Times

Will charter schools survive the charter movement?. Just as states across the country are ramping up efforts to increase the number of charters, loosen government regulations of these schools and transfer accountability responsibilities from local boards and education administrative bodies to charter enthusiasts, proponents of charter schools are calling for tougher oversight of these schools that would result in many more of them being closed down. Washington Post

April 2, 2013


Traffic Cameras Draw More Scrutiny by States. Critics of photo enforcement often paint a picture of government overreach. Though drivers can appeal their tickets, some claim the cameras violate the constitutional right to face their accuser. Others say they are an invasion of privacy. Many contend that local governments — as well as the companies that manufacture and maintain the equipment, some in exchange for a percentage of the revenue rather than a flat fee — are more interested in money than in safety, pointing to studies indicating that the cameras may actually cause accidents. New York Times

OH: Cincinnati Parking Privatization Must Go to Vote. A Cincinnati plan to privatize parking to close a municipal budget gap must be put to a public referendum, an Ohio state court judge ruled, blocking the initiative. The proposal calls for the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to take charge of street spaces for 30 years and those off street for 50 years, with the ability to subcontract their management. In exchange, the authority would pay Cincinnati $92 million now and an estimated $3 million annually for 30 years. Bloomberg

NC: Charlotte-region economic developers: Careful with privatizing NC Commerce. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker’s recent talk of privatizing her department has Charlotte-region economic developers raising concerns. In his Monday Memo email, Ronnie Bryant, president and chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, hints that wholesale moves in the privatizing direction may be ill-advised.  Charlotte Business Journal

MI: Commission rejects union appeal, upholds privatization of nursing aid jobs. The Michigan Civil Service Commission has rejected union appeals and upheld the privatization of about 150 nursing aide jobs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. At the hearing, veterans and state workers testified that more than 600 veterans who live at the home are endangered by low staffing levels and inadequate care under the contractor, J2S Group. The contract workers are paid about $10 an hour, roughly half what the state workers were paid, and J2S has had problems filling full-time positions and retaining employees, officials confirmed. Detroit Free Press

MI: Commission upholds privatization at veterans’ home. A state commission has rejected union appeals and upheld the privatization of about 150 nursing aide jobs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans as part of a cost-cutting effort. The Michigan Civil Service Commission heard two appeals from Michigan AFSCME Council 25 last month in Lansing. According to information released Monday, the commission upheld the decision to privatize the jobs. San Francisco Chronicle           

PA: Corbett’s lottery privatization tab for consultants nears $3 million. Senior citizens may stand to pay a substantial cost in lost services if Gov. Tom Corbett’s effort to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery’s management goes nowhere. Already, the costs of the consultants hired to assist the Corbett administration in that endeavor exceed $2.85 million, said Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery. PennLive.com

PA: Hearing planned on state liquor system privatization. The privatization of the state liquor store system will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday. Scranton Times-Tribune           

NE:  After privatization, Bryan Health turns University Health Center into morgue. When University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior English major Mike Jones walked into the University Health Center Friday afternoon, he was met with a surprise. UHC, which recently came under the control of Bryan Health, had become a morgue. “I needed to go to the health center to see if I had mono,” Jones said. “But the lady at the front desk told me they’d only be able to serve me if mono eventually killed me.” The health center “revamp,” according to Bryan Health officials, was a cost-saving measure. Daily Nebraskan

How a contracting official scammed more than $30M. Until recently, Army Corps of Engineers program manager Kerry Khan had millions of dollars, mistresses in three states and a taste for high-end cars and liquor, according to court records.  Federal Times