February 19, 2014


ID: Idaho gov orders police to investigate CCA prison. Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has ordered the state police to conduct a criminal investigation of understaffing and falsified documents at a private prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The governor made the decision — a reversal of his previous stance — on Tuesday after meeting with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. Otter wrote in a letter to Idaho State Police Col. Ralph Powell that after reviewing the available information, including an audit completed by the forensic auditing firm KPMG, he now believed the public would benefit from a formal criminal investigation. Businessweek

GA: Senate passes bill to privatize foster care, adoption. Georgia senators Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would privatize the bulk of the state’s child welfare services, including foster care and adoption…. Critics said the bill does not address the real flaws in Georgia’s system that led to recent high-profile child deaths.The changes are contingent on the state receiving a funding waiver from the U.S. government, which currently restricts how federal money can be used to care for foster children.   Atlanta Journal Constitution

CO: Boulder Turnpike privatization plan rips off Colorado, says advocate behind lawsuit. “The privatization of U.S. 36 will present a large financial cost to Colorado taxpayers,” maintains Ken Beitel, clean energy analyst and DSI spokesman. “Hundreds of millions of dollars in toll revenues on U.S. 36 will be drained out of Colorado to provide profits for Goldman Sachs and the Australian toll road developer the Plenary Group.” Westword (blog)

IL: How to avoid another bad parking meter deal – opinion. In a joint investigation with Fox 32 Chicago, we learned that Edison Park has been besieged with parking tickets written by the company that manages Chicago’s more than 36,000 meters. Customers visiting neighborhood businesses have been slapped with tickets minutes after their meters have expired, or when they briefly gambled with unpaid meters during quick dashes in and out of stores. But they have nowhere to turn because the city bargained away their right to exert any influence over meter management, maintenance and enforcement…. Emanuel, as we’ve said before, can take a big step by giving the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance a full hearing before the City Council and the public. The PTAO, as it’s sometimes called, might not be a perfect ordinance, but its intent is good — to ensure that every privatization proposal is studied carefully and deliberately, and taxpayers get ample opportunity to weigh in at public hearings. Chicago Sun-Times

VA: County school bus outsourcing a non-starter. “There’s really not a reason to outsource.” For months the Roanoke County School Board has heard from parents, bus drivers and even students begging them not to outsource. The board announced last year intentions to explore privatizing as a potential ay to cut costs and put out a request for proposals in the fall. Roanoke Times

AZ: Bills would expand state program that funds some students’ private education with public money. A House committee on Monday approved one of two small expansions of a voucher-like program that allows students to use public funds for a private education.  Greenfield Daily Reporter

MI: Michigan prisoners leave cells in protest over meals. About 200 prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe left their cells and demonstrated Monday over their food — two months after the Department of Corrections eliminated 370 state jobs and privatized its food service.  Detroit Free Press

NJ: New Jersey taps rest areas in bid for more revenue from toll roads….A bill making its way through the Statehouse directs the toll roads to develop plans for more commercial, business or retail ventures at the rest areas. They have 12 months to submit their ideas to the governor and Legislature once the bill becomes final. Lawmakers see the rest stops as a potentially lucrative source of transportation funding – one that would allow them to raise cash without imposing a tax increase or jacking up tolls. Press of Atlantic City

The American Public School Under Siege. A feature of the Obama presidency has been his campaign against the American public school system, eating way at the foundations of elementary education. That means the erosion of an institution that has been one of the keystones of the Republic.  Huffington Post