September 17, 2013


USDA’s Reckless Plan to Privatize Food Safety. The government limits line speeds so that plants can’t push for more profits at the expense of worker and food safety. And it stations inspectors in slaughterhouses to make sure sick animals don’t become part of the food supply. That might change. Under the pilot program used in five hog processing plants for over a decade, the government reduced the number of USDA inspectors. The companies hired some of its own inspectors to replace the USDA ones. And line speeds increased by 20 percent.  PR Watch           

Colleges Clash with Towns over the Cost of Public Services. With increased financial pressures on municipalities across the country, as well as on places of higher learning, town-versus-gown squabbles over Pilot payments — an acronym for payments in lieu of taxes — are increasingly common and often contentious.  New York Times

TN: Labor unions oppose privatizing TVA. Organized labor may have backed President Obama, but America’s biggest unions don’t like the idea he floated in April to consider selling the Tennessee Valley Authority. Chattanooga Times Free Press

PA: Corbett’s stalled liquor privatization plans revving up again. With the Legislature scheduled to come back to session next week, sides again are lining up for and against Gov. Tom Corbett’s stalled plan to sell the state liquor store system and open up beer sales. Capitol Ideas

PA: Likely LG Hopeful Morganelli Takes Aim at Liquor Privatization. Potential Democratic lieutenant governor candidate and current Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli held a press conference this morning at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to discuss Gov. Tom Corbett’s liquor privatization plan. Morganelli opened his remarks with an anecdote about a 19-year-old who lost control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, killing himself and two 18-year-old passengers….Through this anecdote, Morganelli explained his opposition to Corbett’s liquor privatization plan, which he said will lead to an unsafe access to alcohol by young people. PoliticsPA

OR: Washington-style liquor privatization would hurt Oregon revenue. Privatizing liquor sales in Oregon would put a crimp in state revenue and “shut out” a growing craft distillery industry, the chairman of the state liquor agency told a panel of lawmakers Monday morning.

WI: Private schools against school accountability bill. Private schools participating in the new voucher program voiced their opinions against a bill that would hold the schools accountable for poor student achievement.  UW Badger Herald

IL: Make way for Ventra as technology, privatization displace CTA workers. After months of build-up, the new system premiered last week. Coming a few days after Ventra’s launch was another announcement  – the elimination of 149 positions at CTA. About one-third of the jobs the Chicago Transit Board voted to remove will become redundant because of Ventra. Instead of administrators or managers employed by CTA dealing with the current payment system, the fare collection system has been outsourced to the San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems. ChicagoNow (blog)

NJ: Newark charter school contract with K12 Inc. shows influence of for-profit companies in public schools…. New Jersey law allows for-profit companies to play a big role in public schools. One thing they can’t do is run the place. But charter school experts and one lawmaker said it’s sometime hard to tell if the rules are being followed, and K12’s involvement with Newark Prep is one of those instances. Hunterdon County Democrat