August 23, 2013


CA: Jerry Brown Considers Prison Alliance Between Private Company, Union. Under the plan …. the for-profit prison giant Corrections Corporation of America would lease one or more of its prisons to the state, which would in turn use California prison guards and other public employees to staff the company’s facilities. By transferring state prisoners to these privately owned structures, the state would have enough space to comply with an order by a panel of federal judges in 2009 that said overcrowded state prisons were jeopardizing the health and safety of inmates…Critics of Brown’s proposal include prison reform advocates and champions of the state’s beleaguered social safety net programs, who may lose funding as state payments for the prison expansion rise. The governor’s proposals, which also include sending California inmates to out-of-state prisons and county jails, could cost the state $300 million to $800 million each year, by various estimates. Huffington Post

KY: Kentucky Republicans seizing on charter school issue. Republicans in Kentucky are pressing the state to allow charter schools, saying state policy on the issue could determine whether the next generation succeeds. Any future Kentucky governor who ignores education, and the benefits that many think charter schools would bring, would be holding the state back, said former Louisville Metro Council member Hal Heiner, who is considering a run for governor in 2015. The Courier-Journal

MN: County moves ahead with privatization of mental health services. Goodhue County will seek proposals from third parties to privatize the Mental Health Center and related services. HHS Board members reiterated a need for caution in the RFP process, and that the board should give prospective candidates enough time to research the mental health needs in the county before responding. Republican Eagle

VA: Op-Ed: Why Too High Greenway Tolls Violate State Statute. The toll rates on the 14-mile road between Dulles Airport and Leesburg are among the most expensive in the world. The Greenway was built in the late 1990s by a public-private partnership, with $144.2 million of equity invested. In 2005, the holding company that operates the Greenway, TRIP II, was sold by the original ownership consortium to the Australian investment bank, Macquarie.  Evidence shows that the high level of Greenway tolls violates Virginia statute and embodies the failure of collaboration between the public and private sectors on this project. Leesburg Today

IL: City commission to decide fate of shuttered Chicago public schools. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is appointing an advisory committee to decide what to do with nearly 50 shuttered Chicago Public Schools that residents fear could be turned into charter schools or sit vacant and become magnets for crime…. As for the charter theory, Milhouse said, “I can’t say that, if that community says they want to make it a charter school that we would say no. That hasn’t been given to me as a parameter to stop any community from turning it into a charter school.” Several of the 13 panel members — who will not be paid for their service — have ties to Emanuel and to former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Chicago Sun-Times

NY: Privatization threatens New York City’s public housing system….To climb out of its fiscal hole, NYCHA proposed a sweeping land lease plan earlier this year. This initiative would effectively allow for the construction of luxury high rises on public-housing properties that have been historically occupied by the city’s poor. According to recently released design plans, this “infill development” would saddle eight NYCHA projects with new privately run developments. The city emphasizes that while a lease would typically last 99 years, it would technically not amount to a sale of NYCHA land—a distinction critics write off as mere political semantics.  In These Times