June 4, 2013


IL: Emanuel’s parking meter plan clears key vote. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s changes to the much-hated parking meter privatization contract are now headed for the full City Council, after easily clearing a key committee vote on Monday. The plan passed out of the Finance Committee on a 15 to 6 vote, despite some aldermen’s concerns that the changes could lead to another windfall for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, which runs the city’s 36,000 metered spaces. Under Emanuel’s proposal, the city would save about $25 million a year from lowered reimbursement costs it pays to CPM whenever a meter is taken out of service, whether for street construction or a festival. But Emanuel also inserted provisions to stop charging for Sunday parking in most neighborhoods, in exchange for making drivers feed the parking meters longer during the rest of the week. WBEZ

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. Philly.com

NY: Group fights Massena hospital privatization. Efforts to privatize Massena Memorial Hospital are facing opposition. The hospital is currently owned by the town of Massena. Hospital leaders want to privatize, in large part to save money on state pension costs. North Country Public Radio

CA: Fresno gears up for privatization election. In the weeks leading up to a special election about trash privatization in Fresno, Calif., the campaign is heating up on both sides. …The special election, set to take place June 4, was one of two choices forced on City Council after a petition drive by union leaders and other opponents successfully held up the measure. The city’s other option was to kill the deal completely. Waste Recycling News

LA: Rep. Norton wants LSU Board to slow LSU hospitals takeover plan. A Louisiana state representative says hundreds of jobs could be in jeopardy in Shreveport and Monroe if a private bid to take over the management and operations of LSU hospitals goes through…..But Norton and others fear the potential loss of jobs and a negative impact on quality of patient care — especially for the neediest — should the privatization plan go through. KSLA-TV

Privatizing the public space. What worries me is unaccountable privatization of government functions. This isn’t just an issue of being a smart city: when governments outsource basic functions, such as tax and fee collection (e.g., Chicago giving up parking revenue), they are transferring money and power to unaccountable private entities. In Chicago, the city now has a very difficult time allowing free parking when that would be desirable because that is a violation of their contract–it actually has to pay fines (on top of not collecting revenue). Contrast that with Boston which, after the bombings, allowed free parking in the shutdown areas to help businesses. Smart or not, there is a distressing trend towards the privatization of governance–and if you’re not an owner, you’re a customer. The concept of rights-possessing citizen doesn’t enter into the equation. MiketheMadBiologist

Privatization Is America’s Path To Poverty & Indentured Servitude (VIDEO). CNN iReporter and political commentator Cliff Olney puts the aim of the Right and the Republican Party’s zeal for a constancy of privatizing government little by little into real world perspective. He decided to bring to the forefront a story that goes under the radar but that is happening throughout the country. Daily Koz

New Study Proposes Hybrid Public-Private Postal Service. A new study by a nonpartisan Washington think tank recommends a radical new solution to the problems faced by the United States Postal Service in the form of a public-private partnership. In the report released Monday, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation argues that all but “final mile” mail delivery should be opened up to private competition and the size of the postal service should be drastically reduced to meet the realities of the digital age…. Atkinson acknowledges the plan would mean that 40 percent of the more than 500,000 postal workforce would lose their jobs and possibly half of the more than 30,000 post offices would close.  Newsmax.com