July 25, 2013


CA: Appeals denied, Berkeley Post Office for sale. Despite appeals from a united City Council, state legislators, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee and dozens of community groups and individuals, the United States Postal Service announced July 18 that it will sell the historic downtown Berkeley Post Office. “While I am sympathetic to the concerns raised by the concerned parties … I will not set aside the Postal Service’s April 19th decision” to sell the post office, USPS Vice President Tom A. Samra stated in a letter posted at the building. San Jose Mercury News

CA: Privatizing the Botanical Gardens – opinion. “This vote means we are basically privatizing 55 acres of Golden Gate Park and handing it over to a nonprofit with no public accountability,” Harry Pariser, a longtime resident of the Inner Sunset, activist, and author told the Bay Guardian. “Essentially we’re allowing the government to make us show an ID to come onto public land. It’s also going to be a space where there’s going to be a lot more commercial activity. I think inevitably there is going to be fees for everyone.” San Francisco Bay Guardian

MI: Restaurants at rest stops? Michigan puts out feeler. The state Department of Transportation on Thursday put feelers out to companies looking to form public-private partnerships involving rest stops, freeway lighting and bridge construction. Ideas could include opening restaurants and buying advertising space. If successful, the state may look to make money at rest stops along U.S. 131 in west Michigan and U.S. 23 in the southeastern part of the state. One privatization deal could involve all 18,400 lights on the state’s freeways. The Detroit News

OH: Lawsuit Seeks To Shut Down Speed Cameras. Earlier this month a Hamilton County, Ohio judge declared Elmwood Place in contempt of court for ignoring a ruling that found speed cameras to be an unlawful “scam.” A group of lawyers is seeking to replicate that legal success by shutting down the automated ticketing machines in New Miami, a village of 2000 residents located twenty miles to the north, with a class action lawsuit filed on Friday….. Optotraffic began issuing citations last October in return for a cut of the fine revenue. The lawsuit argues that Optotraffic supplies hearsay evidence to the court and denies an innocent motorists a realistic opportunity to defend themselves. TheNewspaper.com

Time to Decide: Concentrated, Privatized Wealth or Shared Prosperity – opinion. Journalist Ted Koppel summarized the privatization trend: “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another…. We’ve privatized a lot of what our military is doing. We’ve privatized a lot of what our intelligence agencies are doing. We’ve privatized our very prison system in many parts of the country. We’re privatizing the health system within those prisons. And it’s not working well.” The Real News Network