May 24, 2013


54 nations, including the US, agree to expand private development of toll roads. Ministers from 54 nations on Thursday opened the door to worldwide expanded private development of toll roads, rail lines and other projects… But the declaration of support for so-called public-private partnerships also raises many questions about whether corporations will yield too much control over public roads – or whether public entities could be exposed to financial risks in these agreements.  Fort Worth Star-Telegram

IL: Report: Daley’s Staff Sensed Parking-Meter Woes. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s staff was aware of major problems with the city’s parking-meter privatization deal in 2010 — a year and a half before the costly issues publicly surfaced, according to hundreds of pages of documents released Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration….. As early as May 2010, in the second year of the 75-year meter-privatization contract, Daley aides questioned Chicago Parking Meters’ disability-parking reimbursement claims, the newly released records show. Over the next three years, the company demanded nearly $56 million for the free disability parking — an amount fueled in part by able-bodied drivers using relatives’ placards, or fake or stolen ones, to avoid paying escalating meter costs. Chicago Defender

IL: Diane Ravich: Chicago School Closings: The Largest in US History. Never in U.S. history has a local school board–or any other board, appointed or elected–chosen to close 49 public schools. Never. That’s what the Chicago Public Schools did yesterday…..He is wantonly destroying public education. He is punishing the teachers’ union for daring to strike last fall. He will open more charter schools, staffed by non-union teachers, to pick up the kids who lost their neighborhood schools. Some of them will be named for the equity investors who fund his campaigns. Diane Ravitch’s blog

IL: Brown: Are Chicago Housing Authority changes common sense or attack on poor?….They argue CHA could best serve the need for public housing by preserving the developments that have so far been spared the wrecking ball… “The model of demolition of public housing, followed by privatization is not a model that has worked,” said Leah Levinger, executive director of the Chicago Housing Initiative. Levinger is also among those raising a red flag about hints of major policy changes in the Plan Forward, most prominently the possibility of “term limits” for public housing residents. Chicago Sun-Times

NY: Court rejects union’s effort to block sale of Onondaga County’s Nursing Home. The legal challenge was filed earlier this year by the CSEA, which represents more than 400 workers at the nursing home on Onondaga Hill….The union had also argued the Legislature exceeded its authority by abolishing the Van Duyn workforce in the county budget…. “We still believe privatizing the nursing home is very detrimental,” he said.

NY: Ulster County Executive Michael Hein calls for privatizing adult mental health. Ulster County Executive Michael Hein on Thursday unveiled a plan to outsource mental health services for adults to the same not-for-profit agency that has provided adult mental health services to Dutchess County residents since 1996. Kingston Daily Freeman

LA:  Opinion: Hospital privatization costing state…[T]he financial costs to Louisiana to implement privatization are mounting daily it seems, and many millions of this debt will be annually recurring costs. Take, for example, the additional $13 million that the state will incur to pay off the recent bond sale to fund LSU health care facility construction projects. And the additional $42 million to privatize the six southern Louisiana LSU-managed hospitals according to a review by the Legislative Auditors office. Shreveport Times

WI: Opinion: Expansion of school vouchers will dismantle public education. According to Murphy’s Law, if you tinker around with something long enough, it will eventually break. That describes the governor’s and certain legislators’ proposal to expand school vouchers in Wisconsin. If passed, it will become another major setback for public education. What a 1-2 knockout punch — cuts to funding for education followed by the expansion of school vouchers — it could be. Wisconsin State Journal