November 4, 2013


PA: Corbett administration’s legal bills rising. Last week, Gov. Corbett came under fire for spending nearly $3.5 million on law firms as part of his quest to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery. That was only one of a handful of high-profile cases pursued by the administration that have ended up costing millions of dollars in legal bills.

DC: Opposition to DC public-private land deals imperil library, other projects….Plans dating back more than seven years to replace the library and a nearby fire station at no direct cost to taxpayers have languished despite the support of two mayors, a unanimous D.C. Council and numerous community groups. That is largely because of a band of activists, backed by Ralph Nader, who have assailed the project as a bald giveaway of public assets to private interests. They have fought the deal before the council, in front of a zoning board and in the courts, losing at every turn but repeatedly delaying groundbreaking as they raise alarms…. At issue for Nader is the price of the land, which the city intends to sell to a private developer planning to build more than 150 luxury apartments and retail space — in addition to the library, firehouse and affordable housing.  Washington Post

LA: Questions raised about transparency in LSU hospital deals. The contracts that turned over management of LSU hospitals and clinics to private companies have drawn concerns about how much the public will know about the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that flow to the facilities. The deals allow for legislative audits of public spending, but they also include sweeping clauses that allow the hospital managers to determine what’s considered public record and what should be kept hidden.  Monroe News Star

CA: California To Privatize Court Docketing Systems. Courts are turning to the private sector to update their docketing systems, which languished while waiting for the new system. …That should scare you. When private companies take over these systems, they naturally try to monetize them – creating what Courthouse News calls the “tollroad” to legal information.  As a result, the public access is damaged by “contracts that allow a software provider to control and exploit the public record.” This happened in Texas, when LexisNexis took over the docketing system in Bexar County.  Justia

NC: Editorial: Economic development: State’s plan to privatize comes with risks. Gov. Pat McCrory wants to privatize the state’s economic development efforts and is likely to get his way. The legislature has provided initial funding for the change. But, as the Journal’s Richard Carver reported, the nonpartisan Washington research center Good Jobs First says such a change is risky. Privatization has created huge problems in several states. If North Carolina is to avoid trouble, the governor and legislators must establish and abide by rigorous standards of ethical behavior, accountability and public transparency.   Winston-Salem Journal

Good Riddance to Good Government and Good Jobs?….. Groups like the conservative, Koch-funded Pioneer Institute seem to be calling for wholesale privatization with no protections for the public’s money or welfare. In other words, they are advocating privatizing work even if it costs more and provides poorer quality. Truth-Out