March 6, 2014


PA: Should Philly’s public gas company be in private hands? Mayor Michael Nutter has announced a proposed agreement to privatize Philadelphia Gas Works. The deal, which would sell PGW to Connecticut-based UIL Holdings Corp. for $1.86 billion, is enormous. And it is the most important local issue that you haven’t thought about at all.  . .Utility Workers Union of America Local 686, consumer advocates and City Controller Alan Butkovitz have already criticized the sale. A skeptical City Council — which, along with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, must give its approval for the deal to go through — has retained consultants to analyze the sale, and whether PGW could expand and improve as a city-owned utility. Philadelphia City Paper

IL: Rahm Made the Meter Deal Worse, and That Shows No Signs of Changing. Mayor Rahm Emanuel still hasn’t let any aldermen reinstate metered parking on Sundays, despite promises last summer to do so after he announced a renegotiated parking meter deal. A new study released today shows why it may never happen. Navigant Consulting’s report for the mayor’s office [PDF] says that “parkers” are paying less than Navigant had estimated last summer. It also shows that the city is paying less to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, because it no longer has to pay for road closures (including street festivals and construction) that happen on Sundays. Combined, CPM is collecting $8.7 million less from Sunday parkers and the city annually. (The report doesn’t specify how much of that total is attributable to each source.) This result suggests why Emanuel has been dragging his feet on letting aldermen opt out of free Sunday parking, because then the numbers for the “savings” wouldn’t look as good. The study supports 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack’s assertion that allowing metered Sundays would “hurt the deal they cut,” as he told DNAinfo. Streetsblog Chicago (blog)

GA: House begins debate on privatizing foster care. . .They see the privatization bill as a way to free up DFCS workers to focus on child abuse investigations and permanency plans for children in the state’s care. But other private organizations told reporter Rebecca Lindstrom, FaithBridge is in the minority of those who feel Senate Bill 350 is a good idea. . . Mead and other opponents say the effort to mirror Georgia’s foster care system after Florida’s is short sighted. “There’s evidence that Georgia is doing better than Florida in many of these important outcomes,” said Mead.  WXIA-TV

TN: State reviews privatizing lodges, restaurants in parks. Resources at about a dozen state parks may no longer be in Tennessee’s hands. The state is currently reviewing a proposal that would privatize lodges and restaurants at 11 state parks, including Cumberland Mountain State park in Crossville. . . Skeptics say privatizing these parts of the park would result in layoffs and impact 50 jobs in Crossville. WBIR-TV

Bernie Sanders: There’s No Need to End Saturday Mail Delivery. . . Whether you are a low-income elderly woman living at the end of a dirt road in Vermont or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue, you get your mail six days a week. And you pay for this service at a cost far less than anywhere else in the industrialized world.  Yet the Postal Service is under constant and vicious attack. Why? The answer is simple. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn’t care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans. What They Think