July 26, 2013


Housing Crisis: Developers Vie to Replace Barracks and Dorms. While an ever-growing number of developers have been gravitating to student housing for some time, lured by a largely recession-proof investment fueled by students who take out what are essentially guaranteed loans (borrowers may default, but they can never escape by declaring bankruptcy), now developers have started to target singles’ military housing as a new and potentially lucrative market. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, a developer has built the military’s first private housing complex for single service members on an army base in Fort Meade, Maryland….. The other question is whether service members can afford to pay for something that used to be free. Especially considering that a lot of lower-ranking soldiers, both single and coupled, have trouble paying their bills as it is—it’s not uncommon for military families to use food stamps.  New York Observer

San Jose Conference Fueling Private Space Industry. The annual New Space Conference has become a center of gravity for the dozens of companies, inventors and enthusiasts who see profits in outer space…..Now even a lobbying group has taken up the cause of the growing space industry. The Tea Party In Space sees privatizing what lies beyond the atmosphere as a necessary element of fiscal responsibility. CBS San Francisco

Detroit: Donald Cohen Warns of Privatization, Calls for Bailout. As Detroit officials discuss a “fire sale” of public assets and services to private interests in the wake of the city’s $18 billion Chapter 9 bankruptcy last Thursday, some conservative politicians and business leaders may realize their dreams of “running government more like a business” after all. Truth-Out

NE: Nebraska making progress on child welfare. Pristow, who was hired in March 2012, has been dealing with a system left in turmoil by the failure of the state’s 2½-year experiment in privatizing the child welfare system. The effort began in late 2009 with goals of improving care and reducing the numbers of children in out-of-home care.  By the end of February 2012, four of the five private agencies had lost or dropped their contracts, citing inadequate reimbursement from the state. The goal of improving care for children went unrealized, and the state lost foster families and service providers. Omaha World-Herald

MN: University of Minnesota moving along with Teach For America deal. No decision has been made on the proposed partnership between the University of Minnesota and Teach for America, but some graduate students said they believe an unofficial agreement has already been decided…. In addition to concerns about the training program, the press release from graduate students said “the partnership would contribute to the increasing privatization and exploitation of public schools in communities most affected by racism and state violence.” Twin Cities Daily Planet

MI: Bill would ease privatization. House Bill 4549: Ban government competition with private enterprises (“yellow pages test”) . Introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster (R) to prohibit government agencies from competing against private enterprises, or subsidizing any charitable or non-profit institution using government support to do this. Activities normally provided by government would be exempted, including public schools, “essential services” and “necessary services” as defined in the bill. “Vital services,” including things like food stores, drug stores, child care, elder care, and telecommunications services could only be provided if there were no private sector alternatives. Privatization of essential and necessary services would be explicitly allowed. A private enterprise could sue to obtain an injunction forcing the government competitor to stop, and to seek compensatory damages. Governments already providing commercial goods or services would be grandfathered, but could not expand. HollandSentinel.com