November 5, 2013


INFRASTRUCTURE: Public. Private. Practical? Public-private partnerships have become a trendy way to finance transportation projects. But given the current enthusiasm for them, there’s a basic question that states and localities ought to be asking: Are the deals accomplishing all they claim to?  Governing

Report raises alarm about falling wages, outsourcing at US airports. The outsourcing of airport jobs that once sustained middle-class careers has left many airport workers in jobs characterized by insecurity and low wages, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study released. According to the study, this trend poses problems for workers, the communities surrounding airports and the flying public…..The Labor Center researchers report that many of the outsourced airport workers turn to public assistance to make ends meet, noting that airports are publicly owned –- by cities, counties or separate public port or airport authorities They trace the downward shift in wages for baggage handlers, skycaps, wheelchair/personal assistants, ticket and gate agents, plane fuelers, mechanics and others to airline industry deregulation in the late 1970s.  Phys.Org

New postal union leader promises more aggressive defense of ‘public postal service’…But the 30-year veteran of the Postal Service from Greensboro, N.C., didn’t unseat incumbent Cliff Guffey to have a good time. Dimondstein did it to protect union members from what he sees as the creeping privatization of postal services and to give the workers a union leadership that more aggressively defends their interests as management tries to dig out of an ever-sinking financial hole. Washington Post

Are private schools better than public schools? New book says ‘no’. Greater school choice for families and greater autonomy for schools leads to greater academic outcomes, right?  Maybe not.  Using two nationally representative datasets, we recently conducted one of the most comprehensive studies ever performed of school type and achievement in mathematics—a subject widely held to be the best measure of in-school learning.  We analyzed instruction and performance for over 300,000 elementary and middle school students in 15,108 public, charter, and private schools.  What we found surprised us.  Students in public schools actually outperform those in private schools. Washington Post (blog)

CA: Debate Intensifies Over Public or Private Ambulance Services. For 15 fiscal years, San Diego has partnered with the private sector to provide ambulance. Now, San Diego Fire-Rescue wants to take control of the ambulances. Earlier this week, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has decided to extend the contract with the private firm named Rural/Metro for an additional fiscal year. NBC 7 San Diego

FL: Toll-road idea delayed, group promises to resubmit proposal. A development group has withdrawn its proposal to build and operate an elevated toll road in south Pasco County but says it will resubmit the idea to state transportation officials in December. (blog)           

OR: Protest Underscores Continuing Privatization of Oregon Schools. The Oregon Business Association (OBA) held its annual Statesman Dinner on October 17 to honor the Statesman of the Year. The event was fraught with anomalies, not least of which was the fact that the award went to Sue Levin, the Executive Director of Stand for Children Oregon. According to the OBA website, while Levin is acknowledged as a woman–a stateswoman to be precise–she still had to make due with receiving the Statesman of the Year award. It was nonetheless, from the OBA’s perspective, a proper and well-deserved award. After all, Stand for Children works tirelessly to turn the public education system into a cash cow for private interests, as one would expect from an organization whose major funders include the Walton Family (of Wal-Mart fame) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Bay Area Indymedia