October 24, 2013


Report: Privatized State Development Agencies Create Scandals Instead of Jobs. Three years ago, four newly elected governors decided to outsource economic development functions to “public-private partnerships” (PPPs). Joining a handful of other states’ PPPs, these experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures characterized by misuse of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay, questionable subsidy awards, exaggerated job-creation claims, lack of transparency, and resistance to oversight. Those are the cautionary conclusions of a study issued today by Good Jobs First, looking at eight states with existing PPPs and another one proposed.  “Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs” is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org. It is a follow-up to a study issued in February 2011. PR Newswire    Cincinnati CityBeat

CA: New College Course Prices Slammed as “Toll Road” for Priviledged Students. Long Beach City College is the first in the state to participate in a pilot program that would charge higher fees for high-demand classes. Despite opposition from some students, the Board of Trustees Tuesday night voted 4-0 to move forward with offering two new winter sessions in November, one of which would offer courses at $225 a unit – compared to $46 a unit, which is what students are used to paying for traditional classes. Some of those students told NBC4 they are now planning a protest of those courses.  NBC Southern California

CA: Non-profit developers scheme to grab Section 8 vouchers and public housing….The non-profit organizations are pushing for rental assistance reform (RAR) legislation that will result in fewer Section 8 housing choice vouchers for the poor, higher rents for public housing residents, and the acceleration of the privatization of conventional public housing projects into privatized mixed-income residential housing developments for higher income renters. Developments that are being promoted by so-called non-profit and for profit affordable housing developers who want to get their hands on public housing properties locally, and all across the nation.  If lawmakers cave in to the pressures of the so-called affordable housing industry, the impact of RAR will result in more Section 8 housing choice vouchers being taken away from low-income renters in Oakland and all across the nation, so that they can be converted into project-based vouchers to fund so-called affordable housing projects for wealthy developers. Bay Area Indymedia

IL: Report: CPS Plan For Charter School Expansion ‘Deeply Flawed’. A group of Chicago parents, students and community members released a new report Tuesday arguing that the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) plan to open new charter schools to help relieve overcrowding is “deeply flawed.” Progress Illinois

TX: Debt Issues Tied to SH 130 Could Impact Toll Projects… While its posted 85 mph speed limit — the highest in the country — drew international headlines, many state and local leaders were more interested in the road’s unique financing: A private consortium designed and built the road and agreed to operate and maintain it for 50 years in exchange for a cut of the toll revenue…..But SH 130 has not been the immediate success story its backers had hoped. Last week, lower-than-expected traffic revenue prompted credit ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service to severely downgrade the SH 130 Concession Company’s debt and warned that a default may not be far off. The project’s stumbles are likely to draw increased scrutiny of how Texas plans to fund future infrastructure projects, though local and state officials are working to distinguish SH 130 from other toll projects in the works.  Texas Tribune

MN: St. Paul council delays vote on requests to privatize public golf courses. Following nearly 1 1/2 hours of sometimes-heated discussion, the St. Paul City Council voted Wednesday to wait two weeks before deciding whether to ask private vendors to submit proposals to manage the Como and Phalen golf courses. The idea, which has drawn strong opinions from golfers and nongolfers alike, will be revisited by the council at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 6. Pioneer Press