December 11, 2013


Meet David Steiner, America’s Highest Paid Sanitation Worker. The Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD) series of profiles on “America’s Highest Paid Government Workers” today puts the spotlight on David Steiner, president and CEO of Waste Management. PR Watch

The 10 school districts with the most charter school students. A new report on charter schools says that charter school enrollment around the country has grown 80 percent over the past five years – but represents only 5 percent of total public school enrollment (a statistic that may seem surprising given all of the attention that school reformers give to charters). Washington Post

The Perils of Privatization (Part One): Not-so-smart-cards in Chicago….. It’s been our own municipal version of the Obamacare rollout—which means everyone should pay attention. For the root problem is exactly the same. Congressman Henry Waxman argued about glitches in the ACA, “if anybody’s head should roll, it should be the contractors who didn’t live up to their contractual responsibility.” But that’s only half right. Consider the sign Harry Truman used to keep on his Oval Office desk: “The buck stops here.” The problem is not just the profusion of private contractors who do the public’s business so poorly; it’s the fact that the public’s business is being so relentlessly privatized by the government executives in charge. Slowly, the perceived imperative to privatize has become the political tail that wags the policy dog. The results are before us.  The Nation

How Wall Street Power Brokers Are Designing the Future of Public Education as a Money-Making Machine…. “This is about corporate control of taxpayers money,” she says. “[The private sector] already has part of the military, some of the roads, that kind of thing. The new money pot is education.” Valued at $1.3 trillion, the U.S. education market is more like a giant cauldron, and many of the individuals stirring it have a long track record of funding pro-charter candidates for state government across the country.  Truth-Out

IL: Protests fail to undo privatization of Long Grove roads. A vote to undo part of Long Grove’s recently approved road-privatization ordinance failed Tuesday night, despite the presence of dozens of residents at a Village Board meeting, many of them there to protest the shift of upkeep and plowing costs to residents. Public outcry had been growing since a deeply divided Village Board approved a plan last month that makes nearly half of the road system private. Chicago Tribune

IL: Editorial: Illiana Expressway is a bad idea….. Across the country, public-private toll roads built in the 2000s are struggling now because they were based on traffic forecasts that came up short. That left investors wary of deals that depend on toll revenue to recover their costs. Instead, they want their government partners to provide fixed payments, regardless of traffic. That doesn’t sound like much of a partnership. IDOT promises the Illiana won’t get built if the numbers can’t be made to work. In the meantime, more than $100 million has been approved for planning, engineering and land acquisition. That’s not chump change.  Chicago Tribune

IL: Committee advances plan for independent city budget office. The ordinance approved by the City Council’s Budget Committee Tuesday would empower the new office to: analyze the mayor’s annual budget and city audit; present aldermen with a report on “budget options reforms and efficiencies;” review privatization deals and asset leases and analyze actions taken by Wall Street rating agencies. Chicago Sun-Times

FL: Florida Senator Pushes For Abusive Youth Prison Company To Face Hearing. A top lawmaker in Florida is calling for a legislative hearing on abuses at the state’s juvenile prisons run by the troubled for-profit contractor Youth Services International. Darren Soto, one of the leading Democrats in the Florida Senate, sent letters Tuesday to fellow lawmakers and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, which oversees the more than $100 million in state contracts held by YSI. The company was the subject of a two-part Huffington Post investigation that documented more than two decades of abuse at the firm’s juvenile and adult facilities across the country. Huffington Post

OH: Deal to Privatize Parking in Cincinnati Dead. City Council approved the deal, but it was widely opposed. People feared higher rates and longer enforcement. In a release, council member P.G. Sittenfeld says, “This has shown us that the public values its public assets and wants long-term solutions to our financial challenges, not short-term fixes.” WKRC TV Cincinnati

PA: Senate GOP receptive to outsourcing Pa. Lottery’s management but not ready to vote on it. Senate Republicans are showing some receptivity to the idea of privatizing management of the Pennsylvania Lottery but they have some questions.

CA: Sacramento, California To Shorten Red Light Camera Ticket Timing. The Sacramento County, California Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a plan to boost the number of $500 red light camera tickets issued at intersections. County officials quietly changed the wording of its memorandum of understanding with Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company in charge of the program, so that the camera flash would trigger in half the time. Under the new proposal, the Redflex camera will issue a ticket 0.1 second after the signal changes — faster than the blink of an eye. Local activists are crying foul.

OR: Oregon board OKs controversial forestland sale. Top state officials on Tuesday agreed to move forward with the sale of scattered tracts of the Elliott State Forest, despite objections from conservation groups that they include nesting trees for a protected bird…..They said they’re not trying to privatize the forest but need to balance conservation concerns against a constitutional requirement that the land generate money for public schools. Kitzhaber said the state needs to go forward with accepting bids to determine the value of the 2,700 acres, whether the land is sold to timber companies or conservation groups. San Francisco Chronicle


December 10, 2013


Who Should Control Our Water? It is difficult to measure whether state-run water systems perform better than privately run ones. Private water companies tend to raise prices: Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit that opposes water privatization, estimates that water rates increase an average of eighteen per cent every other year after private companies take over, and that private companies invest too much in unnecessary infrastructure. Public ownership, on the other hand, can have hidden costs: critics argue that public water utilities keep prices artificially low and make up for it by cutting investment or raising taxes. In any case, there is little proof that ownership structures affect water quality: in Europe, for example, strict water regulation ensures minimum standards regardless of who runs the system.  New Yorker (blog)

ALEC has tremendous influence in state legislatures. Here’s why.….. So what accounts for ALEC’s legislative success? More specifically, what kinds of legislators and states are most likely to rely on ALEC bills?  I am tackling these questions in ongoing research. Using leaked ALEC records that provide a full listing of model bills that states introduced and enacted in 1995, I examined which states were more or less likely to pass ALEC’s bills. Unsurprisingly, conservatism matters: states with more conservative governments were more likely to pass ALEC bills. But ideology isn’t the whole story. Another major factor was the legislative resources available to lawmakers: states where legislators had smaller budgets, convened for shorter lengths of time, and spent less time crafting policy were all more likely to enact ALEC model bills (even after accounting for the ideological orientation of state governments).  Washington Post (blog)

MO: Emails detail a hidden plan for Kansas City Public Schools. Backed by two of the most influential foundations in Kansas City, Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro and a state-hired consultant are planning the future of Kansas City Public Schools as a slate wiped clean. Revelations in emails obtained by The Star and dating to April show a state education department eager to create a new school system, even as the long-beleaguered but stabilized district was preparing to celebrate its best academic improvement in years. The electronic trail exposes a rushed bidding process, now criticized, that ultimately landed Indianapolis-based CEE-Trust a $385,000 contract to develop a long-range overhaul for the district’s failing schools. The Kansas City Star

IN: Privatization deal landed for Gary airport. The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority on Monday learned the terms of a privatization agreement that boosters hope will bring $100 million in investment to the airport in the next 40 years. Members of a public-private partnership committee at the authority’s regular meeting Monday briefed members on a contract for airport development and another for airport operations, both of which would go to Aviation Facilities Co. Inc., of Dulles, Va.

PA: Keno, lottery privatization could come before Pennsylvania Senate. There is “broad support” among Senate Republicans to give the governor authority for a private company to manage the state lottery and legalize electronic games such as keno to boost state revenue, the Senate majority leader said on Monday. But quick action in the Legislature appears unlikely, said Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County. He didn’t rule out a vote on Tuesday but noted long odds against that happening. Many senators want further vetting.  Tribune-Review

PA: New Book Claims PASSHE’s Failure to Deliver ‘High Quality Education at the Lowest Possible Cost to the Students’. Angelo Armenti, Jr., the former Villanova University Dean and 20-year President of California University (Cal U), recently announced the release of his new book, Privatization Without a Plan: A Failure of Leadership in Pennsylvania Public Higher Education.¹ In it he describes how PASSHE’s 100% political leadership has watched the privatization—i.e., rapid defunding by the State—of the 14 universities since 2002 without committing to a viable plan for preserving and delivering PASSHE’s statutory purpose: “High quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students,” as called for by law in Act 188.  PR Web

FL: Pasco toll road moves forward, but draws just one bid. A toll road that promises to change how people get around in Tampa Bay drew just one construction bid Monday, delighting some supporters who worried there would be none and fueling opponents’ argument that smart money won’t back the $2 billion project. Lutz engineer Gerald Stanley and his partners were the sole bidders on the proposal for a 33-mile, private toll road along the State Road 54/56 corridor in Pasco County along the Hillsborough County line.

OH: Progress Ohio questioning OSU, Kvamme investment. A liberal advocacy group says a friend of Gov. John Kasich who came to Ohio to help privatize the state’s economic development efforts could be making millions of dollars from an Ohio State University investment in a new venture capital firm. Wooster Daily Record

MI: Prison Food Service Workers Ask Gov. Snyder to Disclose if Aramark Contributed to Governor’s Secretive Fund….”Taxpayers deserve openness and transparency from our Governor,” said Amy Bradley, a state correctional food service worker.  “We deserve to know whether or not Gov. Snyder’s decision to privatize prison food service was influenced by any contribution to his secretive fund.  Closing the fund without disclosing the donors just raises more questions about conflicts of interest in administration’s decision-making process.  It’s time for Gov. Snyder to clear the air and live up to his campaign transparency pledge.”  Sacramento Bee

MI: Fund Established to Raise Money for Detroit Art Museum and Detroit  Pension Debt….Last week, apparently partly in response to a $5 million pledge by A. Paul Schaap, identified as a “biotechnology engineer” and as president and CEO of a chemiluminescent reagents firm, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan established the Fund to Support Detroit’s Retirees, Cultural Heritage, and Revitalization. Foundation CEO Miriam Noland described the fund as “a means for anyone who wishes to make a financial gift to assist in addressing these challenges an opportunity to do so.” There’s even an online page, hosted by Kintera, for those willing to make donations to the fund.  The Nonprofit Quarterly

December 10, 2013


State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax. Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as “free-market thinktanks”, includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.  The Guardian

PA: Charter-school bill moving through Pa. legislature. The first major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s charter-school law is making its way through the Legislature. Lawmakers could act in the next few weeks on a bill that sponsors say includes urgently needed reforms, but critics warn it could speed the decline of traditional public schools, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.  San Francisco Chronicle

VA: McAuliffe: Toll-road hold. Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has declared taxpayers must be assured the new Route 460 project has federal approval before spending their money on it, departing from his predecessor’s undiluted support, but there has been no let up in spending on the limited-access toll road lately….VDOT has said it’s providing $903 million for the $1.4 billion highway, and The Virginia Port Authority is chipping in $250 million. The remainder of the cost would be borne by Mobility Partners, which would also operate and maintain the road, collecting tolls ranging from 6.7 cents a mile for cars to 21.3 cents a mile for trucks. Vehicles traveling the entire 55-mile stretch of highway would pay $3.69 and $11.72, respectively, with annual toll increases of 3.5 percent per year built into the contract.  Suffolk News-Herald

NY: New York City’s War On Artists. Lederman was arrested continuously – prompting Frank Serpico, the renowned NYPD whistle-blower, to describe it as retaliatory “harassment” in a 2000 Village Voice editorial. In Serpico’s opinion, Giuliani and Bloomberg’s push to control where artists set up stem from their efforts to please businesses and is in keeping with their efforts to privatize public spaces. Newsweek


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


December 5, 2013


Here Is Your Bible of Privatization Horror Stories. A just-released draft report by In the Public Interest, a nonprofit contracting watchdog, offers nationwide look into just how the push for privatization is screwing up everything, from sick nuns to broken roads to beaten foster children. Gawker

US toll road industry improving, Moody’s report says. The outlook for the U.S. toll road industry is improving, thanks to a stronger economy and a slow but steady increase in toll traffic this year that’s expected to continue in 2014, a Moody’s Investors Service report said. San Antonio Express

Wall Street is designing the future of public education as a money-making machine…. The few power brokers mentioned so far are a handful of the many venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, CEOs, and politicians who are connected through a tangled and overlapping web of affiliations with nonprofits, businesses, and PACs (committees organized to raise and spend money in order to influence elections) dedicated to education privatization. TFA and LEE are two organizations that are part of the connective tissue. Salon

Meet Jeffry Sterba, America’s Highest Paid “Water Worker”…. American Water has been a major force behind the privatization of water services and has come under fire from communities across the country for charging high rates and providing poor services. In 2012, American Water generated $2.9 billion in total operating revenue. CMD estimates that approximately 89 percent of this revenue comes from taxpayers.  PR Watch

NC: N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is leading the privatization effort. This 10-year strategic plan is expected to be a blueprint for the new, nonprofit Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Inc. that was incorporated in September. The partnership, created at the behest of the General Assembly this year, will be a privately run entity with its own CEO and board of directors that will work in collaboration with the Commerce Department to “assist, promote and enhance economic opportunities” in the state.  Triangle Business Journal

FL: Jacksonville considers privatizing medical examiner office. The report criticized how she’s run the office. It noted things like excessive spending on items like autopsy saws.  The office gets 2.5 million taxpayer dollars and this report said it can go a long way with the right person in charge. The goal is to find the most effective way to run the office,” said city of Jacksonville spokesman David DeCamp.

WA: Inmates, Whitman debaters argue privatization. The debate over privatizing U.S. prisons probably never had participants as involved as these.  Two teams composed of Washington State Penitentiary inmates mixed with Whitman College students took on the issue Tuesday in a first debate of its kind at the prison. Walla Union-Bulletin

December 4, 2013


Pennsylvania Judge Sold Kids for Cash Documentary. That Judges can be corrupted is a flaw in the ideology of Law and Order, but this “Kids for Cash” concept opened a very nasty can of worms indeed. It exposed the corruption within the prisons, so desperate for “growth” that they will chase profits by whatever means…Set for release in February 2014, the film by Robert May will offer up a “scathing critique of America’s juvenile justice system.”  The documentary, titled Kids for Cash, aims to stir outrage and deep concern about the penal institutes, and the whole issue of privatization.The documentary, titled Kids for Cash, aims to stir outrage and deep concern about the penal institutes, and the whole issue of privatization. Guardian Express

Larry Summers: Privatizing Fannie, Freddie Is Ludicrous (video)…..“I think the idea that somehow the right thing to do is to privatize these institutions to a coalition of hedge funds who have bought up the stock at a very low price and expect to earn an inordinate return – the idea that that’s the right thing for public policy strikes me as being  at the edge of ludicrous. And is not something I would remotely support.” Bloomberg

To the Barricades! ALEC Posts Issues for 2014 Legislative Wars. The American Legislative Exchange Council—which has spent the last few years trying to subvert democracy—meets this week in Washington, D.C., to trot out its legislative agenda for next year. Note that this is the Koch brothers-backed group that creates “model legislation” for right-wing led states to adopt that undercuts some of the basic elements of broadly supported public programs, such as public schools.  Truthdig

We Know Who Stole the Economy—National People’s Action Moves to Take it Back…..For more than 40 years, corporate interests have been advancing that agenda through multiple pathways, including deregulation, privatization, redistribution of wealth through tax policy, strengthening corporate control of education, and packing courts with judges indoctrinated in free market ideology. YES! Magazine

MI: Fate of Detroit’s Art Hangs in the Balance. With a ruling by a federal judge on Tuesday that Detroit is eligible to enter bankruptcy, the fate of the city’s art collection – one of the finest in the country – now moves front and center in the legal battle over the city’s future….. Michael G. Bennett, an associate professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law, who was in the courtroom during the ruling, said, “Judge Rhodes seemed to be saying something that amounted to a defense of the collection.”A price tag on at least some of the pieces in the collection is expected soon. The city’s emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, hired the auction house Christie’s to appraise hundreds of selected pieces from the institute, and those estimated values are expected to be made public as part of the bankruptcy case by mid-December. New York Times           

NY: Levin pushes for moratorium on NYC charter schools. Charging that the city is facing skyrocketing costs for charter schools, Councilman Stephen Levin has introduced a resolution in the council calling on the Department of Education to place a moratorium on new charter schools. Under Levin’s plan, the Dept. of Education (DOE) would refrain from opening any new charter schools in New York City. The self-imposed moratorium would be in effect until the DOE produces a detailed report of how the funding levels for charter schools will grow over the next five years.  Brooklyn Daily Eagle

PA: AFSCME warming up to outsourcing of Pennsylvania Lottery’s management. The most vocal critic of Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed privatization of the Pennsylvania Lottery’s management may be backing off its opposition. The labor union that represents Pennsylvania Lottery employees is engaged in talks with Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration over a way to keep lottery employees on the state payroll under a private management agreement with Camelot Global Services.

December 3, 2013


Botched rollout energizes IT reform efforts. The failed rollout of has put a spotlight on federal information technology procurement reform and given renewed energy to reform proponents, according to members of Congress and outside experts.  Federal Times

Is privatizing prison health care costing more inmates’ lives? More than half of states have privatized prison health care to save money, but a new report concludes that for-profit care could be costing some inmates in Arizona their lives. In this excerpt from his report airing Monday, Adam May speaks with a mother who says negligent medical treatment behind bars could have killed her daughter. Al Jazeera America

Will Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Join Fannie, Freddie Privatization Effort? Now, five years after the U.S. Treasury’s bailout of both government sponsored mortgage giants, one wonders whether the Oracle of Omaha might be enticed by Fannie and Freddie privatization bids.

AZ: DBA Press releases records obtained from the office of Arizona DBA. Press releases records obtained from the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pertaining to private prison operators, private prison lobbyists. Key pieces of information contained in this records set include: ADC Director claimed knowledge of CCA’s role in driving prison privatization plan; CCA lobbyists work with the Governor’s Office and Legislature to shape the state budget, award contract; CCA lobbyist handpicked Governor’s judicial appointee. DBA Press

AZ: Courthouse privatization plan shelved. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has backed away from a plan to outsource courthouse security jobs to a private security firm, after weeks of negotiations among the office, county attorneys and the workers’ union, which claimed that the move violated a collective-bargaining agreement and state law….. But officials at the local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said that privatizing courthouse security was just an effort by the sheriff’s office to “test the waters” to see which public agencies it could privatize, part of what AFSCME said was a larger effort to outsource union jobs. ABQ Journal

VA: Roanoke wants ability to privatize management of on-street parking. The city of Roanoke has turned to private companies to manage its parking garages. Now, the city wants the ability to do the same for on-street parking….. State Senator John Edwards says he is wary of a plan that would give a private company the authority to issue parking tickets. He told members of city council he has serious concerns about privatizing law enforcement. “Any time people want to privatize prisons for example, privatizing any kind of law enforcement,” Edwards said, “it creates conflicts of interest for one thing. And you can’t delegate out law enforcement. It’s uniquely a government function.”  WDBJ7

MD: Intercounty Connector toll revenue falls short of early forecasts. Maryland officials have said repeatedly that traffic on the Intercounty Connector matches state projections, even as motorists say the controversial toll road continues to feel remarkably underused two years after it opened.  Washington Post

UT: Proposed Law Drops Measurements for Private/Homeschools, Creates Parent Bill of Rights. Over the past five months, Senator Aaron Osmond (Republican – South Jordan) has raised eyebrows with his plan to eliminate compulsory public education in the state of Utah….On Sunday, Osmond lifted the veil on the suite of legislation he is currently drafting to fundamentally change education policy in the Beehive state in a article he posted to  UtahPoliticalCapitol

VA: Walker: Will UVa become Virginia’s first PINO university? Pushed by the General Assembly’s long-standing underfunding of higher education, U.Va. has taken steps converting it to the commonwealth’s first PINO university — Public In Name Only. As elected officials duck financial responsibility and tuition soars to compensate, admission to U.Va. is increasingly limited to those who can pay, sons and daughters of the wealthy. Gentrification of higher education is a reality in the Old Dominion, and my alma mater — which once served students from all socio-economic strata — is now behaving like a private institution. Richmond Times Dispatch

NC: North Carolina’s DHHS wrongly feels no need to explain contracts. As The N&O’s Joseph Neff reported, it appears those contracts amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars haven’t really passed customary muster. Most departments in state government require a written explanation when a contract is signed with a private person.But a DHHS attorney says no “justification memos” have been found for a number of the deals. There’s just nothing there, and the attorney simply says the memos don’t exist. Further, the attorney says that because the personal services contracts were for the office of the secretary, no justification is required. But no policy or regulation exempting the secretary was produced. News & Observer

LA: Clinics set to open as part of hospital closing. Huey P. Long Medical Center has been a safety net for people in Central Louisiana who struggle to afford health insurance for more than 70 years. It’s transitioning into private management. The services provided there for so many years are moving to clinics and other hospitals.

December 2, 2013


Private Toll Road Investors Shift Financial Risk to Taxpayers. Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs. San Francisco Chronicle

Privatization and the Affordable Care Act. These policies of contracting out government work also help all administrations claim they were reducing the size of government. Even though as much money – or more – is spent, there are fewer civil servants on the payroll, and that was a good political message. So from Reagan, through Bush I, Bill Clinton and Bush II, contracting out was standard policy. For this reason, President Obama inherited a government, especially a Health and Human Services agency, with no internal IT expertise. When the Affordable Care Act required a quite complicated web site and interface with other parts of health care networks, it became time to write contracts. Truth-Out

The Privatization of Intelligence. If you think the prisons are being privatized, check out the secret services. Ever since Iran-Contra blew a window open on arms and drug smuggling, covert teams formerly run by the CIA started disappearing and reforming under new ownership. StevenHager420

IL: Is the Big Build-Up of Chicago’s Infrastructure Bank Justified? With former boss Bill Clinton by his side, Emanuel unveiled a concept known as the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) that promised to tap private money to improve highways, transit systems, bridges, sewers and other public capital assets. The message was clear: If the federal and state governments couldn’t or wouldn’t help, Chicago would help itself—or at least get assistance from friends in places like Citigroup and JPMorgan, who had pledged their support. “……Today it’s been more than a year and a half since the trust was created, and Emanuel has little to show for the program that some speculated would be his crowning achievement. The trust only last month approved its first deal. With so few tangible accomplishments so far, that raises a crucial question: Is Chicago’s program really one worth replicating?  Governing

NY: Watchdog: Private-public initiatives at crux of scandal. Navitech Services Corp., the main contractor on a pair of county projects at the center of an alleged bid-rigging scheme, may be the first local business that could feel financial pain from the scandal. It probably will not be the last. At stake in the case — in addition to the bottom line for a number of local businesses — is the safeguarding of millions of taxpayer dollars, the county’s public safety communications infrastructure, the county’s information technology systems, and perhaps the community’s overall business reputation. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

FL: Editorial: Slam the door on more prison privatization in Florida. Massive new prison privatization in Florida is dead for the moment, and it should stay dead.Post reporter Pat Beall proved that case way beyond any reasonable doubt in her five-part series “Private Prisons: Profits, Politics, Pain,” which concluded last Sunday. Ms. Beall used many pieces of evidence to make her case that the state’s roughly 2-decade-old experiment with private prisons has been good for the companies and lousy for Florida. She showed that putting the profit motive where it does not belong has led to wrongheaded sentencing policies (see editorial below) and not the much-promised savings.  Palm Beach Post