October 3, 2013


NY: Private cameras, public money. The news that a security company is using $1 million in public money to install 100 surveillance cameras on city lampposts in Borough Park and Midwood raises serious concerns about why a private firm is being allowed to operate like the NYPD. It is understandable that these Brooklyn communities want additional security — but the arrangement sets a terrible precedent.  New York Daily News

FL: Florida prison healthcare providers sued hundreds of times. The Florida Department of Corrections awarded a five-year, $1.2 billion contract to provide medical care for thousands of state prisoners in North and Central Florida to a Tennessee company that was sued 660 times for malpractice in the past five years. Miami Herald

DC: DC charter school allegations raise questions for city officials. D.C. PUBLIC charter school officials say that, as soon as they learned about alleged fiscal irregularities at the city’s oldest charter school, they took swift action. That’s true. But two issues remain: why the alleged abuses were not discovered sooner, and whether sufficient protections are in place to ensure that public funds are spent in the best interest of students.  Washington Post           

TX: UT Students and community members speak out against Smarter System. The coalition began last semester in response to the Smarter Systems plan, and is composed of student organizations, faith leaders, local nonprofit organizations and the Texas State Employees Union, which protests the outsourcing and privatization of on-campus job and services. The coalition was formed by the United Students Against Sweatshops, a group which aims to protect the rights of student workers on and off campus.  “Taking outsourcing off the table is a basic, minimal request from the community because this plan is wide reaching and we already know that outsourcing and privatization has a devastating effects on local economies and our community as a whole,” Plan II junior Bianca Hinz-Foley said.  UT The Daily Texan

PA: Privatizing legal representation for poor defendants may set a dangerous precedent. Since last year, Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration has quietly sought to revolutionize how court-appointed lawyers are provided to poor Philadelphians, through a new office of conflict counsel. But on Monday, Oct. 7, City Council will hold a hearing to air concerns about the plan. And there are lots of them.  Philadelphia City Paper

How Much Public Money Does Your State Spend on NFL Football . It’s true, the world’s most profitable sports league is also a tax-free entity. More shockingly, however, is that the American taxpayer provides 70% of capital costs for increasingly lavish, billion-dollar stadiums….. Second, Congress must enact legislation prohibiting the privatization of television images performed in publicly funded stadiums. Only with the threat of losing their television contracts worth several billion dollars will the NFL be inclined to privately finance their own stadiums. Such a drastic measure would prevent the public from being gouged for the construction and maintenance of stadiums that serve as the playground for the uber rich.  PolicyMic