July 22, 2013


OH: Prison oversight – editorial. Gov. John Kasich and state lawmakers are pushing a plan to privatize more prison operations — a risky move that will demand far greater oversight by the administration, legislators, and citizens. Ohio has hired a private vendor to start feeding its 50,000 prisoners. That company’s track record includes billing for food it doesn’t serve, using substandard ingredients, and even creating disturbances because of its meals. Toledo Blade

MI: Is Detroit’s Bankruptcy Really a Feeding Frenzy for Privatization? Frank Hammer is a retired GM employee and former President and Chairman of Local 909 in Warren, Michigan….. There have been a lot of conversations under the emergency manager, and certainly now under bankruptcy, about all the city assets that can be put up in a fire sale to help the city, supposedly to help the city pay off their debts. So they’re talking about, for example, selling what’s a very cherished public park in the middle of the Detroit River called the Belle Isle. They’re talking about selling that. They’re talking about selling the art collection that’s housed [incompr.] Detroit Institute of Art, which is apparently worth millions, and so that they’re going to just have a feeding frenzy privatizing what previously were understood to be public assets. And that’s partly what I see coming down the pipe.  TheRealNews.com

IL: Private Colorado-based firm to run Port of Chicago. A Colorado company has been awarded a 62-year lease to run the Port of Chicago and will make major infrastructure upgrades that will modernize the rundown facilities, city and Illinois state officials said…..Other privatization efforts in Chicago have been controversial. The city’s aldermen faced much criticism for hastily approving a 75-year deal in 2008 under former Mayor Richard Daley that made Chicago’s parking rates among the most expensive nationwide. Emanuel, who acknowledged the parking deal became a national embarrassment, recently pushed for free parking on Sundays as a concession.With the port deal, Emanuel emphasized that officials conducted a competitive bidding process. The Broe Group is a family-owned international investment and management company. Kansas City Star

IL: Mammogram Clinics Lose Funding. The city of Chicago has more plans to privatize public health services after losing a grant that helped to pay for thousands of mammograms for the uninsured.  Free mammography screenings were paid for, in part, by a federal grant administered by the state of Illinois.  CLTV

DC: Metro union aims to block DC plan to privatize buses. Metro’s biggest union is trying to rally support from pro-union groups and local community organizations to stop the District from privatizing some of its bus routes now run by the transit agency. Washington Post

LA: State employee layoffs rise. About 3,800 rank-and-file state employees lost their jobs during the fiscal year that ended June 30 as state government’s workforce continued to shrink, according to a state Civil Service report issued Thursday. The layoffs affected nearly 10 percent of the state’s classified employees during the 2013 fiscal year. Most of the civil servants lost their state jobs when the Jindal administration privatized operation of LSU hospitals in south Louisiana. The Advocate

CO: The impacts of privatizing the turnpike. A few months ago, the Colorado Department of Transportation reached a 50-year deal with a private consortium to handle the improvement, maintenance and operation of U.S. 36…. Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst for tax and budget policy with PIRG and author of the report, considers the U.S. 36 plan a “mixed bag.” “There are a lot of positive things about this project,” he said, “but the private financing is essentially just a high-priced loan. Instead of raising more of their own public revenue to finance the road, the state will make larger annual payments to the private road builders.” Boulder Weekly

PA: Heard off the Street: Pennsylvania’s beer distributors cool to privatizing. While lawmakers consider changing the maligned, misunderstood system, few harbor illusions privatization will change how much people drink. Pittsburgh Post Gazette