September 16, 2013


Diane Ravitch: School privatization is a hoax, “reformers” aim to destroy public schools…Though they speak of “reform,” what they really mean is deregulation andprivatization. When they speak of “accountability,” what they really mean is a rigid reliance on standardized testing as both the means and the end of education. When they speak of “effective teachers,” what they mean is teachers whose students produce higher scores on standardized tests every year, not teachers who inspire their students to love learning. When they speak of “innovation,” they mean replacing teachers with technology to cut staffing costs. When they speak of “no excuses,” they mean a boot-camp culture where students must obey orders and rules without question.  Salon

IL: How parking meters killed privatization of Chicago’s Midway Airport…. This time, Emanuel insisted that any lease be capped at 40 years, instead of 75 years. He wanted revenue shared with the city, instead of going entirely to the winning bidder, and he demanded a Travelers’ Bill of Rights, which would have capped parking and food prices and required the winning bidder to provide a clean terminal with snow- and ice-free entrances. Emanuel also wanted a guaranteed number of restrooms. He appointed a board of outside advisers, including aldermen and labor and business leaders (including Martin Nesbitt, the chairman of PRG Parking Management and one of President Obama’s closest friends). But making so many demands scared away some prospective investors. Sixteen initially expressed interest in submitting bids; in the end, all but one pulled out. Citing the lack of a competitive bidding process, Emanuel pulled the plug. Washington Post (blog)

IL: Judge orders City Hall to pay $60 million in garage-privatization case. Cook County judge has rejected an attempt by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration to overturn a nearly $60 million arbitration award City Hall owes the private company that operates four city-owned parking garages…. A panel of independent arbitrators found earlier this year that former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration violated the city’s 99-year, $563 million deal with Chicago Loop Parking when it allowed a competing public garage to open in the new Aqua building, about a block away from the nearest privately run garage.  Chicago Sun-Times           

FL: Bill Cotterell: Is privatization cheaper and better?….. It’s simple math that, to make money, the privateers have to hire smaller staffs, pay them less and cut services as much as the courts will allow.  Tallahassee Democrat (blog)

CA: Foothill-Eastern Toll Road Driving Toward Largest Bankruptcy Since Detroit’s: Report. The Foothill-Eastern Toll Road, a.k.a. Route 241, is reportedly nearing the biggest default in the $3.7 trillion municipal market since Detroit’s record bankruptcy….Comparing the financial state of the Foothill-Eastern Toll Road and the Motor City madness comes not from the dirty hippies and unwashed surfers who have banded together to save Trestles but that anti-capitalism tool known as Bloomberg Businessweek. The report cites a consultant to California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s Debt and Investment Advisory Commission saying earlier this summer that the TCA risks default on $2.4 billion in debt. To put that in perspective, the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy, the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy at the time, totaled $1.7 billion.  OC Weekly (blog)

CA: Westminster Councilwomen Slam Caltrans Push For Converting 405 Freeway Into Toll Road …Councilwoman Carey told the Caltrans official that Westminster citizens “are angry beyond words” about turning the 405 into a mechanism for private toll-road profit and firmly asserted, “We will not tolerate it.” OC Weekly (blog)            

WA: Union For Federal Prison Officers Strongly Opposes Privatization Initiative. The American Federation of Government Employees’ Council of Prison Locals today denounced a plan by the Bureau of Prisons to privatize the supervision of hospitalized inmates in Elkton, Ohio area community hospitals. The contracting-out plan would replace federal correctional officers certified in Basic Prisoner Transport with employees from a private security firm to supervise inmates during hospital stays….  “This is yet another example of trying to save money at the expense of community safety,” said CPL President Eric Young. “It’s unacceptable to take an inmate into the community without being supervised by trained federal correctional officers. This plan must be stopped.”  The Herald

MA: Marty Walsh: Bulldoze Government Center, privatize City Hall. Mayoral candidate Marty Walsh is pushing a dramatic downtown development plan which would put a new City Hall under private ownership and open up Boston’s most coveted site to a hotel, apartments and stores. Boston Herald