December 6, 2013


Public parks are becoming gardens of private wealth. Sitting in the Sunken Overlook amphitheatre on the High Line – the public garden that runs along a former elevated railway on the west side of Manhattan – is like being in a museum of the 20th century….. But they are not public parks in the classic sense. They reflect the fact that inner cities are tilting from places into which industrial workers crowded, often in nasty conditions, into the preserve of what Richard Florida, the urban theorist, calls “the creative class”. Instead of freight railways, docks and warehouses, they want lofts and gardens. Financial Times

Education Dept. spells out five charter school priorities. The U.S. Education Department under Secretary Arne Duncan has for years been supportive of public charter schools, even requiring states that wanted Race to the Top money or federal waivers from No Child Left Behind to expand their numbers. Now the department is trying to figure out what requirements to attach to future federal grants for charter schools, and is seeking public comment on its proposed priorities as spelled out in the Federal Register (text of notice below). Washington Post (blog)           

Wall Street’s Police State?….. As public revenues falter, pressure will mount to privatize more and more correctional facilities and law enforcement functions, opening up lucrative opportunities for more privatization and more Wall Street loans to make it happen.  Huffington Post

UT: Cottonwood Heights to use govt plows after privatization complaints. City leaders announced a plan Thursday to bring in Salt Lake County to help plow streets and chip away hardened ice. The arrangement comes after residents and leaders alike slammed the response of Terracare — a private company hired earlier this fall to handle the city’s public works — to a snowstorm that hit Tuesday. Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said Terracare’s snow removal was poorly executed, while residents complained of unprecedented bad service and called the situation a failure for privatized public works.  Salt Lake Tribune

IL: Crowd opposed to privatizing garbage collection; mayor says city will try to address concerns. The crowd was not as combative, but the message from the second public hearing Thursday night on proposed changes to the city’s garbage and recycling program was the same: Most residents oppose privatizing collection.   Quincy Herald Whig

IL: A tale of two Chicagos…. That Emanuel’s vision for Chicago excludes many residents was driven home by the closing of almost 50 public schools this year, predominantly in those neighborhoods…. Similar dynamics are playing out across the country. Mayors and governors have made headlines in recent years by attacking public sector unions and privatizing education, health care, mass transit and other services. Like Emanuel, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have clashed with teachers unions. Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also pushed privatization, laid off public employees and otherwise adopted a leaner and more market-based approach to city government. During a seven-day teachers strike in 2012, many protestors waved signs downtown comparing Emanuel to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, famous for his standoff with public workers, including teachers.  Al Jazeera America

WA: Privatization disastrous  – letter to the editor…Despite the Trib’s best efforts to distort reality, liquor privatization in Washington state has been a disaster for consumers and every single resident of the Evergreen State. The Trib cites the “nonpartisan” Washington Policy Center, conveniently ignoring that it is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, well known for its blind devotion to a radical right-wing agenda. The Trib parrots the claim that documented DUIs and other crimes have decreased since privatization in Washington state, but doesn’t point out that the state police complement has been cut by 80 troopers. The editorial ignores the fact that Washington state police cite the reduction in staff as the main reason for any reduction in arrests. The Tribune-Review