November 15, 2013


How One State Protects Taxpayers From Privatization Pitfalls. Today, state and federal “sunshine” laws give the public important anticorruption protection, such as open meetings acts, freedom of information acts and civil service regulations that require government decisions to hire or fire be based on facts and merit – not “honest” graft. This December, Massachusetts can celebrate the 20th anniversary of another important sunshine law – the Pacheco-Menard Law. This law protects the state treasury and infrastructure – and the people of Massachusetts – from looting. But critics of the law treat the decision about whether public services or infrastructure should be private or public as if it were a choice of paper or plastic, or a team sport where you cheer on Team Privatization.  Truth-Out

Outsourcing America video. This PR Watch video exposes the privatizers and profiteers selling out our democracy.   YouTube

AZ: Arizona prison horror: “Critically ill” inmates told to “pray” for healing. A new report alleges illegal and deadly mistreatment of Arizona inmates whose medical care the state contracted out to the country’s largest private prison health care provider. The report, released last week by the American Friends Service Committee, a progressive Quaker group, comes as an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections awaits an appeals court ruling over the state’s challenge to its class action status. The ACLU alleges “grossly inadequate” care that creates “grave danger” for inmates, including “critically ill” people who were told to “be patient” or “pray” for healing, or that “it’s all in your head.”  Salon

MI: Detroit picks 2 companies to privatize residential trash service. Nowling said the privatization will affect about 125 city garbage truck drivers. Both companies have agreed to offer jobs to qualified former city drivers at a wage of $17 or $18 an hour. Nowling said the hourly wage is slightly more than they are currently making. Detroit Free Press

NY: CONservancy? Intent to Privatize Washington Square Park. Documents uncovered by Washington Square Park Blog reveal that the Washington Square Park Conservancy founders were coached by members of Community Board 2 and by City Parks Department officials on what to say, and, more importantly perhaps, what not to say before the Board’s two meetings, held within two weeks of each other, which would determine C.B.2 approval or rejection. Board approval opened the door to what amounts to a takeover of the park: the handing over of control of Washington Square Park based on inaccurate and incomplete statements by the Parks Department and the private conservancy members. Washington Square Park

IN: Cincinnati’s Mayor-elect better man than Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Even before he takes office, he and the newly-elected council agreed that killing a privatization deal for the city’s parking meter assets with Xerox, the same company which now controls Indianapolis’ parking meter assets, was in the best interests of the city. “We feel that we owe it to the voters who elected us to have a clean break with this deal,” Mayor-elect John Cranley said Tuesday. Advance Indiana

IN: Illinois and Indiana seek private firm to build Illiana Expressway. Transportation officials are on the hunt for a private firm to design, build and operate the proposed Illiana Expressway toll road south of Chicago. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Indiana Department of Transportation have issued requests for qualifications from private firms for their respective portions of the combined 47-mile toll road that, once completed, would connect Interstate 55 in Illinois with I-65 in Indiana. The project is estimated to cost $1.25 billion. Land Line Magazine

VA: Airport wants drivers to stop dodging the Dulles Toll Road. Drivers hopping on the Dulles Access Highway to avoid paying a toll are going to encounter a beefed up police presence, officials announced this week. This campaign is meant to discourage drivers near Dulles International Airport from using the access road when they should be using the Dulles Toll Road, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the toll road as well as Dulles and Reagan National Airport.  Washington Post (blog)