May 29, 2013


GA: Privatizing parks may mean charging for more services. Five Georgia state parks, including two in north Georgia, will be soon be completely managed by private, for-profit firms. The Florida-based Coral Hospitality will manage the properties. The state will still own the parks, which are now run by the Department of Natural Resources….. State officials say the move is a financial necessity. The plan may involve charging for services that are now free. Access North Georgia

CO: Boulder City Council urges caution in privatizing parks services. Boulder should be careful about privatizing parks and recreation services and not forget community expectations for additional athletic fields and other parks facilities, City Council members said Tuesday. The Daily Camera

IL: Privatizing Education in Chicago. The Chicago Board of Education voted last week to close 50 of the city’s public schools as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to save more than $500 million, or half the district’s deficit.…. Diane Ravitch, assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, a historian of education and best-selling author of more than 20 books, says the move shows that people “have come to accept the idea that closing schools is a reform strategy.” …“This is not about saving money,” Ravitch told “Democracy Now!” on Tuesday. “It’s not about giving kids a better education, because there’s solid research that shows that most of the kids who moved in from a closed school to another school, there was no change at all for them. This is really about a privatization movement that’s underway across the country, and I think that Rahm Emanuel wanted to be the biggest, the baddest and the boldest by closing the most schools.”   Truthdig

LA: LSU privatization deals approved for 4 hospitals. The LSU Board of Supervisors has approved contracts to privatize four more of its public hospitals, in agreements  still missing key financing details.  The Republic

NY: New York City Public Libraries Attack Alert. By generating budget shortfalls for state and local governments, the financial crisis has given people like mayor Bloomberg the opportunity to make cuts to popular social services like libraries. Why is FIRE interested in budget cuts? Because they reduce money needed for maintenance and thus make the library system appear too large for the city to handle (they also reduce public services, thus making them less popular). The Brooklyn Public Library, for example, has “a $230 million backlog of deferred maintenance, barely dented by the $15 million annual allotment of capital funding.” NakedCapitalism

TX: Fort Worth Floats Idea of Privatizing Water Services. In March, the city of Fort Worth appointed a task force to see whether the city might save money by putting some of its water services in public-private partnerships. City officials say nothing has been decided, but experts are already weighing in on the issues that cities could face if they privatize some of their water services and the kinds of opposition that could emerge from residents. Texas Tribune

TX: Threats to Privatize Neighborhood Schools Continue. The private interests pushing to take over neighborhood are still hard at work at the capitol trying to attach pieces of their agenda to other bills that are still alive in the legislative process. One example is SB 1718, the so-called “achievement district” bill authorizing state takeover of neighborhood schools rated low-performing and handover of those schools to private charter operators. One attempt already has been made—and thwarted—to add that bill to another, unrelated piece of legislation since it was killed as a stand-alone bill in the House Tuesday night. More such attempts can be expected to revive defeated measures on the privatizers’ agenda. Texas AFT