September 6, 2013


On Privatization’s Cutting Edge. Everyone, I suppose, dislikes parking meters. Chicagoans hate them even more. That’s because Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2008 struck a deal with the investment consortium Chicago Parking Meters LLC, or CPM, that included Morgan Stanley, Allianz Capital Partners and, yes, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Abu Dhabi, to privatize our meters. The price of parking—and the intensity of enforcement—skyrocketed. The terms were negotiated in secret…Finally, in 2010, Forbes reported that in fact the city had been underpaid by a factor of ten.Well, Chicagoans, Tom Geoghegan is here to tell you that the whole damn thing is illegal under the Illinois Constitution—and most other constitutions, too. He’s in the middle of a suit to have the whole thing torn up. The argument is driven by the legal theory that “a seventy-five-year-agreement to run parking meters is an unconstitutional restriction on the police power—the sovereign right of the city to control its public streets and ways…. This is a very traditional, conservative, really, argument: what the City of Chicago did was not sell the meters. They sold the police power of the city.”  The Nation

Why charter schools need better oversight. Charter schools were designed to allow founders the freedom to design and run schools as they wish outside the traditional school system bureaucracy. Here’s a case for why some of that freedom needs to be reined in. Washington Post

IL: Emanuel halts Midway lease talks. After picking two finalists for a lucrative lease of Midway Airport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration Thursday abruptly halted its efforts to take the transportation hub private. Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said one group vying for the deal dropped out “in the past day or two,” and the mayor decided not to proceed. Chicago Tribune

TX: How the GOP will lose Texas. Case in point, Governor Rick Perry’s push for a massive land-grabbing network of multi-modal NAFTA superhighways called the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). It would have taken over 580,000 of private Texas farm and ranch land, some of it prime land that requires very little water to grow crops, and handed it over to a private, foreign toll operators in 50-year sweetheart deals known as public private partnerships (P3s). Just the first TTC corridor would have displaced one million Texans. The TTC wasn’t proposed to solve urban congestion, but to handle the influx of imports due to NAFTA and free trade in order to facilitate the free flow of people and goods across the Texas-Mexico border.  San Antonio Express           

PA: Hey, Gov. Corbett, it’s time to drop privatizing the Pa. Lottery. As reporter Jan Murphy noted, the Lottery last year had record sales of almost $3.7 billion and provided more than $1 billion to fund vital programs for senior citizens in every community in our Commonwealth. Despite the success, Gov. Tom Corbett continues to pursue a plan to turn this valuable asset over to Camelot Global LLC, a company based in the United Kingdom.

PA: On tap: Liquor privatization, transportation and more is lined up. FINAL LAP? Will the state-owned liquor stores survive another legislative session? “I think folks are finally realizing that transportation funding, the safety of our roadways and bridges, has become conditioned upon the passing, or held hostage by the passage, of wine and spirits passing,” Costa said this week. “…In the House, where it seems everything hinges for now, the coalition-building continues. Watchdog. org