June 14, 2013


MI: Detroit eyes privatization of trash hauling. Representatives from Waste Management Inc. and Republic Services Inc. have met with officials in Detroit as the city’s emergency financial manager explores privatizing residential trash hauling. Waste & Recycling News

NY: New York cautioned about public-private partnerships. For the second time since 2011, the New York state comptroller is recommending strong oversight and taxpayer protections for transportation contracts known as public-private partnerships…. “If New York allows private companies to finance public infrastructure projects, they should protect taxpayers and include safeguards to avert costly mistakes down the road. This may seem like an easy-money solution to a complex and growing problem, but poorly structured agreements have significantly cost taxpayers in other states.”  Land Line Magazine

VA: Transurban approves transfer of Pocahontas toll road to lenders. TRANSURBAN Group has decided to transfer ownership of the poorly performing Pocahontas Parkway toll road in the US state of Virginia to the asset’s lenders. The company last year wrote down the value of the asset to zero. A related $138.1 million impairment charge brought the company’s profit for the year to June 30, 2012, down to $54.9m from $112.5m a year earlier. The Australian

CA: San Bernardino recall targets say it’s about water control. Officials targeted by a recall effort and their allies are increasingly making one specific charge: that it is all about taking control of the city’s water resources for the personal gain of the developers behind the recall…. “I am opposed to the sale of the City’s Water System to any private for-profit company,” reads the counterpetition, paid for by a committee led by former Mayor Evlyn Wilcox. “I am opposed to the removal of any City official who is committed to keeping the City’s Water System under the jurisdiction of and operated by The City of San Bernardino.” San Bernardino Sun

CA: Stop the Privatization and Permanent Fees at San Francisco Botanical Garden! Hidden within the mountains of paper are legislation which will strikeout a single line, makingethe fees at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum permanent, and a contract privatizing these 55 acres by handing over control for the next 30 years to San Francisco Botanical Garden Society….Control by the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has already caused gates to be shut, taxpayers put on the hook for unnecessary yet expensive new signage, ticket booths, and a $725,000 grant agreement in 2012, plus a $400,000 grant agreement in 2011. Bay Area Indymedia

The Human Equivalent of the $640 Toilet Seat. Does privatization work as predicted by the neo-liberal ideologues? According to a report by Elaine Grossman at the Global Security Newswire, the Pentagon now employs about 700,000 service contractors, most of whom do work that was traditionally done by civil servants and military personnel. While contract service employees comprise 22% of the Defense Department’s workforce, they now account for 50% of the workforce cost, by the Pentagon’s own admission. That is because these contractor employees cost two to three times as much per year as the average civil-service employee. CounterPunch



June 13, 2013


VT: Vt. lawsuit spotlights privatization versus access. A lawsuit by a Brattleboro publisher and the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont is raising a question about what happens to the idea of access to public records when government services are privatized. Prison Legal News of Brattleboro says it’s been stymied in its efforts to get information about settlements of suits brought by inmates against the Corrections Corporation of America. That private company is doing Vermont state business by housing inmates from Vermont at its prison in Kentucky. NECN

OH: Court OKs Cincinnati’s plan to privatize parking. A court ruling today cleared the way for Cincinnati to move forward with a controversial parking privatization plan to help offset a budget shortfall and kick-start major redevelopment projects, allowing city leaders to avoid what likely would have been a nasty campaign to win voter approval. …Under the parking plan, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority would pay the city $92 million upfront and at least $3 million annually for 30 years. In exchange, the port would gain control over street parking for 30 years and off-street parking for 50 years.  The plan would mean higher parking rates and longer meter hours, although increases would be capped. Columbus Dispatch

CA: Fresno’s Measure G defeated : ‘ It’s a victory , ‘ union leader says. More than a week after Fresno residents went to the polls to decide Measure G, a new vote count shows the effort to privatize city trash has failed. The updated tally, released Wednesday at 3 p.m., has the privatization measure down by 801 votes. Fresno Bee

MI: State says privatization bill violates rules. A Republican lawmaker’s attempt to give more leverage to private companies that bid to provide state services has met with resistance from state officials who fear the idea violates state bidding principles. Lansing State Journal

MO: Missouri Appeals Court Strikes Down Red Light Camera Ordinance. Missouri’s second-highest court on Tuesday ruled the St. Louis municipal ordinance authorizing the use of red light cameras is invalid. St. Louis adopted the photo ticketing ordinance in 2005, without the permission of the state legislature…. American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the private company in charge of the program, began issuing $100 red light camera tickets in 2007. One of the early recipients, Alexa Smith, filed suit after her car was accused of making a right-hand turn on red. Smith paid the fine under the threat of “further legal action by the city of St. Louis” if she failed to do so. Several others joined her in a class action.  TheNewspaper.com

WI: Private-School Tax Credits: Welfare for the Rich? Wisconsin not only wants to join the more than handful of states that give families tax breaks for sending their kids to private schools, its lawmakers are proposing what would be the most generous tax deduction of them all. Governing

PA: Pa. Gov. Corbett presses Senate to send him a liquor privatization bill. Gov. Tom Corbett must be hearing the reports that deep fractures exist within the Senate Republican Caucus over a liquor privatization plan. Patriot-News

NJ: Court blocks CWA’s request to put state’s lottery privatization contract on hold. The Christie administration is allowed move forward with its plan to have a private firm to take over parts of the New Jersey lottery after a state appellate court denied a request by the state’s largest public workers union to block the deal. But the court said it will speed up the process of hearing the Communication Workers of America’s appeal of the contract.  Hunterdon County Democrat

When Your Government Job Isn’t Yours Anymore. Tennessee’s 1,600 IT employees are about to undergo a major reclassification that will open up all of their jobs to competitive bid and push them to reapply for the new positions…Tennessee isn’t the first to overhaul its workforce in such a way. Two somewhat recent examples include Colorado, where Gov. John Hickenlooper asked those in the highest-level, non-appointed executive positions to reapply at the expiration of their contracts in 2011; and Hillsborough County, Fla., which widdled 106 financial and support jobs down to 90 reclassified positions.  Governing

Booksellers for the Post Office. You’ve heard all the gibberish regarding the demise of the post office and the need to privatize the service but guess what? In some areas they are doing better than they ever have! Seattle Post Intelligencer


June 12, 2013


Connecting the Dots on PRISM, Phone Surveillance, and the NSA’s Massive Spy Center. The article also sheds light on the enormous privatization not only of the intelligence agencies but now also of Cyber Command, with thousands of people working for little-known companies hired to develop the weapons of cyber war, cyber targeting, and cyber exploitation. The Snowden case demonstrates the potential risks involved when the nation turns its spying and eavesdropping over to companies with lax security and inadequate personnel policies. The risks increase exponentially when those same people must make critical decisions involving choices that may lead to war, cyber or otherwise. Wired

Paul Ryan told me he wants to privatize Medicare but the President won’t let him. I asked Paul Ryan “Congressman how are your plans to privatize Medicare going?”  Assuming I was a supporter he responded “We will need a new President first.”  I told him that “I like our current President, I liked Medicare and hope it will be available for me when I retire.”  He chuckled and I walked on.  Blue Virginia

NE: Lancaster County mental health services privatized. Three private agencies soon will take over mental health services that Lancaster County has been providing for about 3,500 low-income people with serious mental illnesses. San Francisco Chronicle

PA: Legislators Seek to Block Prison Mental Health Services Privatization. A bill that would allow 27 Pennsylvania state prisons to outsource mental health services has encountered heavy opposition from state legislatures who are saying such action would put local communities at risk. Correctional News

PA: Mayor Nutter Prefers Privatization to Public Schools – opinion. The irony of Philadelphia’s turn to privatization is that Philadelphia had the most extensive trial of privatization of any city in the nation about ten years ago. The district schools outperformed the privately managed schools, which lost their contracts. But that predated the charter movement, which is now hyped as having a secret formula to raise test scores at a lower cost. Diane Ravitch’s Blog

LA: After 2 prior vetoes, Jindal signs Medicaid transparency bill. Lawmakers will get more oversight of health care programs privatized by Gov.  Bobby Jindal, after a three-year struggle for the information. The Republic

CA: Save the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park – opinion. Ask any San Franciscans of a certain age about Golden Gate Park, and they will wax on about the days when every museum in the park was free and they could spend a day visiting all of them. Over the years, while still receiving public subsidies, every institution has been privatized and the entry fees raised to ludicrous levels. The latest being the semi-privatized Conservatory of Flowers, which is now employed as a cash cow for the Parks Alliance, an organization funded and controlled by wealthy elites. San Francisco Bay View


June 11 , 2013


Secrets and privacy both under attack by private sector workers, expers say.  “The privatization of national security work for government is much more extensive today than during the Nixon-Kissinger era,” said John Dean, the former White House counsel who was caught up in the Watergate scandal. New York Daily News

Snowden Fallout Should Trigger Privatization Debate. ‎The debate over whether Snowden is a lawbreaker or treasure has just begun. That’s but a sideshow. A more important debate focused on the privatization of U.S. government functions should also begin. The small government crowd has been dismantling or “right-sizing” government and federal employees for quite some time in the quest to achieve efficiencies…The BAH affair also raises the question about the basic “outsourcing” of national security to the private sector. It doesn’t sit well that a company responsible to the whims of Wall Street is doing the work of the NSA, which is supposed to be the savviest technology unit of federal Washington. O’Dwyer’s PR News           

Pa. liquor privatization drive hits wholesale snag. What may end up derailing the Republicans’ drive to privatize Pennsylvania’s sale of wine and liquor is not who gets to sell it — but who gets to deliver it. The Mercury

LA: Civil service panel agrees to LSU hospital deals. The Civil Service Commission reversed course Monday and agreed to privatization plans for four LSU hospitals, with nearly 4,000 layoffs set to take effect June 23. The commission’s 3-2 vote was the final step needed for Gov. Bobby Jindal to turn over management of university-run hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles to private hospital operators in the local communities. The decision changed course from less than a week earlier, when the commission stalled the plans. NECN

Wal-Mart’s Slow-Motion Privatization. Members of the family have contributed heavily toward efforts to expand charter schools and privatize American education. That doesn’t appear to have changed following the death of John Walton in a 2005 plane crash – in fact it seems to have accelerated.  Seeking Alpha           


June 10 , 2013


CA: ‘No’ votes take lead on measure to privatize trash service in Fresno. Votes against a measure that would privatize garbage service in Fresno to raise revenue for the cash-strapped California city took a slim lead on Friday as election officials continued counting ballots. Reuters

CA: Power shift possible at Fresno City Hall If trash outsourcing measure fails. This public comeuppance of Fresno’s mayor would take the form of a stunning citywide rejection of her effort to outsource home trash service. Swearengin, who was easily re-elected to a second term last year, invested her political capital in the garbage venture, which now appears headed for defeat at the ballot box. The effect would be to shift power at City Hall to a City Council bloc with Democratic Party roots.  Fresono Bee

NJ: CWA to appeal Christie’s plan to privatize parts of the NJ lottery. New Jersey’s largest public workers union has filed a notice of appeal in state Superior Court in Trenton protesting the Christie administration’s plan to have a private company take over parts of the state lottery. Hunterdon County Democrat

LA: LSU hospital deals pulled from agenda. The LSU Board of Supervisors pulled from its Friday agenda approval of deals that would privatize the operations of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa and Pineville. It is unclear when the agreements with private partners will again come up for board approval. The Advocate

PA: No road funding – letter. I have been a critic of the campaign that the Post-Gazette continues to wage to privatize the Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits stores — a campaign waged in spite of mounting evidence that privatization is bad fiscal and public health policy. However, I have to agree with you that linking privatization with transportation funding is a shortsighted idea. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

IA: Will Shenandoah privatize water/sewer departments? That was the issue at hand during a special meeting of the Shenandoah city council Tuesday. Representatives from PeopleService, as well as the water and wastewater departments addressed the council on the pros and cons of privatizing public services.  SW Iowa News

June 7, 2013


OH: The Lessons of the Megalomaniac University President. If you want a glimpse into what has gone wrong with higher education in America, look no further than the brilliant career of E. Gordon Gee, who as of July 1st will be the ex-president of the Ohio State University…If he had been born at another time, Gee might have sold patent medicines or swampy real estate or a new political party. Instead, he spent the last three decades selling the ever-bigger business of American higher ed.  TIME

IL: Chicago Parking Meter Deal: City Council Approves Mayor’s Tweaks To Contract Despite Concerns. The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to approve a proposed rework of the city’s controversial parking meter deal. The council voted 39-11 in favor of the plan pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor claims the tweaked plan could save the city $1 billion bills in the years ahead. The City Council’s Finance Committee had already approved the plan in a 14-5 Monday vote. Huffington Post

WI: Voucher changes draw public criticism, private praise. Area public education officials say the proposed statewide school voucher expansion would deal another blow to districts already reeling from past budget cuts. La Crosse Tribune

LA:  Gov. Bobby Jindal signs bill eliminating public’s right to vote on leasing Jefferson hospitals. Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill that eliminates the public’s right to vote on leasing Jefferson Parish’s two hospitals to outside interests, the governor’s office said Wednesday. That leaves only a local ordinance giving voters a direct voice in the current move to privatize West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero and East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie. NOLA.com

 L: Florida: Court Allows State to Privatize Prisons’ Health Care. The First District Court of Appeals is giving the state’s prison agency the green light to privatize health care services. The court ruled Wednesday that a lower court judge was wrong to block plans for outsourcing in three of Florida’s four prison system regions. The state tried to move ahead with the privatization effort last year, but it was challenged by three unions representing some 2,600 state employees who stand to lose their jobs. A judge in December sided with the union because the privatization plan had been approved by a budget panel instead of the full Legislature. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the agency would begin to carry out the privatization effort after the new state budget takes effect on July 1. New York Times

PA: Union Fights Liquor Privatization With New Ads (With Video). The United Food and Commercial Workers Wine and Spirits Council is airing two new television ads with corresponding radio segments as part of their effort to halt GOP plans to privatize the state liquor stores. PoliticsPA           

PA: Fix roads, don’t politicize them – editorial. Privatization is a bad idea and the plan to hold up funds for highways and bridges unless the Senate yields on privatization is a bad idea. The two issues are not remotely connected. Playing politics with roads and bridges — and drivers’ safety — is irresponsible. Whether or not the the liquor stores are privatized is not a life or death issue. We like things the way they are, but Pennsylvanians could live with privatization. The solidity of the state’s infrastructure is an entirely different matter. It has been an issue for many years; delaying action even longer is not a viable option. When the House comes to its senses and passes the roads-and-bridges bill, both it and the Senate will have to beware of politicizing the process. Lancaster Newspapers

Corporate Takeover of Public Education. Independent research in recent months has documented that the nation’s wealthiest philanthropic foundations are steering funding away from public school systems, attended by 90 percent of American students, and toward “challengers” to public education, especially charter schools…. The extent to which these groups will go to supplant the public school system is deeply disturbing. Huffington Post

June 6, 2013


LA: Civil Service Commission rejects hospital privatization plans. The state Civil Service Commission on Wednesday narrowly rejected privatization plans for four LSU hospitals that would lead to the layoff of some 3,000 state employees. Some commissioners complained about the lack of information provided by LSU as they were confronted with making such a major decision…. If LSU moves forward with the contracts after a commission denial, the commission would have standing to go to court to file an injunction challenging the pacts, Templet said. The Advocate

LA: Jindal’s Moe, Larry and Curly privatizing Louisiana’s hospitals. Depending upon which source you consult, there are from four to six essential components of a contract that make the document legally binding. The LSU Board of Stuporvisors apparently is unaware of any of them. Bayoubuzz

CA: Slim lead in vote to privatize trash collection in Fresno, Calif. Privatizing the service would raise at least $14 million over several years for Fresno from the company taking on the work from the city. But the shift would cost about 120 city employees their jobs, which prompted city employees’ unions to contest the ballot measure. Reuters

FL: Fla. appeals court approves prison outsourcing. A Florida appeals court is giving the state’s prison agency the green light to privatize health care services. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that a lower court judge was wrong to block plans for outsourcing in three of Florida’s four prison system regions. A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says the agency will begin to carry out the privatization effort after the new state budget takes effect on July 1. Miami Herald

FL: Alex Friedmann: For-profit prisons are not necessary. In a recent op-ed, “Prison privatization can provide real benefits,” Temple University professors Simon Hakim and Erwin Blackstone discussed their recent research that found cost savings and equal or better performance by for-profit prison companies. …Unfortunately, the professors neglected to mention that their research lauding the benefits of prison privatization was funded by members of the private prison industry, according to a press release issued by Temple University. Likewise, their study itself, which has not been published or peer-reviewed, fails to reveal that it was funded by private prison firms. Sun-Sentinel

PA: Lawmakers pan potential privatization of prison mental health services. A tentative proposal to privatize mental-health services in Pennsylvania’s prisons is drawing opposition in the Legislature. witf.org

June 5, 2013


PA: Last hearing on privatizing State Stores highlights sticking points. With the end of Tuesday’s third and final hearing on privatizing the state-run wine and spirits stores – as well as changing the way beer is sold – Gov. Corbett and the legislature now have to figure out whether they can agree on a plan. The clock is ticking. Both sides want to seal a deal before the July 1 deadline for a new state budget. Philly.com

CA: Privatizing UC Instruction. If a controversial, and groundbreaking, bill passes the state legislature this summer, many students at UC Berkeley and other University of California campuses won’t be doing some of their basic coursework on campus anymore. As of next year, they also may be enrolled in classes that aren’t taught by UC faculty. Instead, they will be taking classes online, produced by for-profit companies — and getting full college credit for them….. But opponents of SB 520, including multiple faculty organizations, argue that it will allow for-profit educational companies to gain access to public colleges and universities that they would not otherwise have, and thereby undermine the quality of higher education in California. East Bay Express

CA: Anti-National Park Interests Misled Sonoma City Council. Supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect the Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area today charged that opponents of the Obama Administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law. California Majority Report

CA: Fresno trash-privatization vote too close to call. The vote to privatize trash collection in Fresno, Calif., was in a near dead heat late Tuesday night. The results of voting on Measure G, which would outsource the city’s residential waste collection, were too close to call hours after the polls closed. Waste & Recycling News

IN: Opinion: See those Toll Road lane markers? My husband and I drove from Chicago to South Bend in a rainstorm the other night. It was nerve-wracking mostly because the paint on the Indiana Toll Road was very pale and frequently nonexistent. In the state where I came from, this would bring shame on public officials. But how does that work when a public good is in private hands?  South Bend Tribune

LA: Hospital ER goes as part of privatization deal. The Louisiana Legislature has agreed to close the inpatient beds and emergency room at LSU’s hospital in Lake Charles, turning it into an outpatient clinic as part of a planned privatization deal. San Francisco Chronicle

OH: Plan to Privatize Food Services at State Facilities. More than 500 people employed by the state of Ohio are holding their breaths right now, to find out if they’ll have a job come Friday. WKRC

Republicans Decide Socialism Is Awesome After Obama Proposes Privatizing TVA. In fact, the company generates hundreds of millions of dollars of tax-equivalent revenue each year! So obviously our right-wing President Barack Obama has proposed selling off the TVA to the private sector in his 2014 budget proposal, and the socialist Republicans in Congress are hell-bent on stopping him! Wonkette (satire)


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


June 3, 2013


Raising Ugly Questions About Privatization. I finally read Rachel Maddow’s really interesting book called Drift, and in it she analyzes how easy it has become for America to go to war. And one of the primary elements of this — and this overlaps with my own thinking — is that by allowing corporations to perform what used to be considered public services, government leaders can enter conflicts without the encountering public resistance like the ones that marked conflicts in the last part of the twentieth century. Many government and even military jobs are now outsourced to private companies, and Maddow concludes that the need to sell the public on a war is diminished because many of the functions and services formerly performed by the U.S. military are subcontracted to corporations. Huffington Post

OH: Speed Cameras Tear Apart Ohio Town. The controversy began in September 2012 when the village allowed Optotraffic to begin issuing $105 tickets using a portable speed camera with a 40 percent cut of the revenue going to the private company. Tickets were being issued at a rate that would have generated $2 million per year, or over $1000 per resident. “Businesses have lost customers who now refuse to drive through Elmwood,” Judge Robert P. Ruehlman explained in a March ruling. “Churches have lost members who are frightened to come to Elmwood and individuals who have received notices were harmed because they were unable to defend themselves against the charges brought against them.”  theNewspaper.com

IL: Parking meter contract left no clever ways out, alas. What if, to turn the screws on the private parking meter company that has Chicago in a vise of its own, the city imposed an exorbitant, crippling tax on parking meter revenues? It was an idea submitted by one of my readers, and I put it to the city’s top lawyer, Corporation Counsel Steve Patton, and the city’s chief financial officer, Lois Scott, when they visited the Tribune on Thursday afternoon. Chicago Tribune

WI: UW parking ramps and dorms, but not sports palaces, could end up for sale. That proposal, supported by Gov. Scott Walker and advanced by the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee last week, would give the governor broad authority to sell state-owned properties, including facilities operated by the UW System. It would cut the UW System’s Board of Regents out of the process but would require a cost-benefit analysis and legislative approval for any sale…. In addition to potentially losing control over many of its buildings, UW campuses also could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue if the state sold or leased parking ramps and other self-supporting facilities. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noam Chomsky on Democracy and Education in the 21st Century and Beyond Falcone: Do we as a nation have a reason to fear an assault on public education and the complete privatization of education?  Chomsky: It’s part of the way of controlling and dumbing down the population, and that’s important. Much has to do with the catastrophe that’s looming, mainly environmental catastrophe. It’s very serious. It’s not generations from now; it’s your children and your grandchildren. And the public is pretty close to the scientific consensus. If you look at polls, it will say it’s a serious problem; we’ve got to do something about it. Government doesn’t want to, and the corporate sector not only doesn’t want to, it’s strongly opposed to it. So now, take for example ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. It’s corporate funded, the Koch brothers and those guys. It’s an organization which designs legislation for states, for state legislators. And they’ve got plenty of clout, so they can get a lot of it through. Now they have a new program, which sounds very pretty on the surface. It’s designed to increase “critical thinking.” And the way you increase critical thinking is by having “balanced education.” “Balanced education” means that if you teach kids something about the climate, you also have to teach them climate change denial. It’s like teaching evolution science, but also creation science, so that you have “critical thinking.” All of this is a way of turning the population into a bunch of imbeciles. That’s really serious. I mean, it’s life and death at this point, not just making society worse.  Truthout