May 28, 2013


LA: Privatization review bill shelved by Louisiana Senate committee. A bill requiring a more thorough review of privatization plans was shot down by a Louisiana Senate committee Monday. The measure, opposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration, had already received unanimous approval of the state House.

LA: Louisiana government is making itself off limits to the public: Opinion. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s aides recently fought and defeated efforts to repeal a broad public records exception — passed at Jindal’s behest in 2009 — that keeps hidden documents related to the governor’s “deliberative process.” Various state departments improperly invoke that deliberative process exception to shield records. Jindal has even extended the exception to LSU, a dubious practice that allowed university officials to withhold records about state hospital budget cuts and the university’s privatization plans for those hospitals.

IL: Aldermen steam over Emanuel’s parking-meter deal. Lots of questions are raised as the City Council opens debate on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed revisions to the city’s parking meter lease. But mayoral aides say they’ve done the best they can. A mini standoff continued at City Hall Friday, as a group of aldermen raised new questions about a plan that Mayor Rahm Emanuel says would improve the city’s controversial parking meter lease deal. Mayoral aides asserted the deal is as good as Chicagoans are going to get.

MI: DIA’s art collection could face sell-off to satisfy Detroit’s creditors. The once unthinkable is suddenly thinkable. Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering whether the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be considered city assets that potentially could be sold to cover about $15 billion in debt…. Liquidating DIA art to pay down debt likely would be a monstrously complicated, controversial and contentious process never before tested on such a large scale and with no certain outcome. The DIA is unusual among major civic museums in that the city retains ownership of the building and collection while daily operations, including fund-raising, are overseen by a nonprofit institution. Detroit Free Press

PA: Pa. lawmaker: Don’t privatize prison service. A number of Pennsylvania state legislators are opposing a Department of Corrections plan to outsource mental health services at 27 state prisons, saying it could put prison workers and communities at risk. The state could contract out as many as 187 positions now filled by Department of Corrections employees to save money and improve services, according to corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton. The positions include licensed psychologist managers, licensed psychologists, and psychological services specialists.

NY: Reducing Some City Parks to the Status of Beggars. Those who defend privatization are candid. Ask about inequity and they talk of commodities; the emerald brilliance of Central Park draws tourists. The High Line is a brooch in the luxury transformation of Chelsea. As for Flushing Meadows? When told that partisans hoped to transform a homely asphalt-ringed fountain into a grass-edged lake, John Alschuler Jr., co-chairman of the Friends of the High Line, offered an exasperated sigh. In his day job, he lobbies to place a U.F.O.-size professional soccer stadium in the midst of that Queens park. Cities, he said, no longer pay for parks properly. Such exuberant hopes will not be realized in my life, he said, or that of my child. Find a corporate sponsor, he suggested. So condescension passes as realism. New York Times

NY: Lawsuit Accuses the City and Lincoln Center of Privatizing a Public Park. A handful of New York residents and environmental activist groups are suing the City of New York, the Parks Department, and Lincoln Center over the use of Damrosch Park, a 2.44-acre park on the Upper West Side. The lawsuit claims that the city has effectively, but illegally, handed over management of the park to Lincoln Center, and that the events the performing arts center holds there — including the iconic Fashion Week — have taken over the space and rendered it unusable for the public.

NY: Governor proposes privatization of LI’s utilities. Following months of deliberation regarding the future of the Long Island Power Authority, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed legislation that would privatize Long Island’s utility operations.

CA: Malibu beaches? There’s an app for that. Environmental writer Jenny Price has spent years helping the public find its way to beaches disguised as private property. She has partnered with Escape Apps to create the Our Malibu Beaches smartphone app, designed to steer beachgoers to entryways that often hide behind trees, padlocks and fake “Closed for repairs” or “No parking” signs.,,, “You have these miles of beachfront in Malibu. It’s one of the most egregious examples of privatization of public space in Los Angeles.”

Los Angeles Times