April 28, 2014


A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools. . . In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated. Walton’s investments here are a microcosm of its spending across the country. New York Times

Introducing the New Federal Program That Will Further Privatize Public Housing. Olufemi Lewis was a child in Charlotte, NC, when HOPE VI came through town. HOPE VI was a federal initiative that issued grants to tear down physically distressed public housing. The buildings that were eventually rebuilt were in better shape, but most of their original residents were gone, including many of Lewis’ friends and relatives. Across the country, only 33 percent of the housing demolished with HOPE VI was replaced. . .  .HOPE VI started in 1993 because there wasn’t enough money to keep up public housing in the traditional way. There still isn’t. . . .The Rental Assistance Demonstration program, known as RAD, will restructure the way public housing is funded in an attempt to leverage private money to maintain it.  democraticunderground.com

US postal workers protest step toward ‘privatization’. Postal workers across the United States on Thursday protested a partnership between the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and office supply chain Staples – a program that would allow nonunion retail employees to help handle mail and packages at Staples stores. Al Jazeera America

CA: LA Metro adds monthly fee for toll road drivers. In a push to make toll lanes permanent fixtures on two of Los Angeles County’s most congested freeways, local transportation officials approved a $1 monthly fee Thursday that will apply to all drivers with electronic tolling accounts, even carpoolers and infrequent users. . . . several public speakers said they were concerned that a fee for every driver, including carpoolers using the toll lanes, would discourage people from signing up for accounts. During the months when Metro waived the account maintenance fees, sign-ups for the tolling devices increased, the agency has said. Metro owes the project’s contractor $3 a month in maintenance fees for every tolling device put into service. “There are people who just want to go to the airport once or twice a month,” Molina said. “But for every transponder out there, whether it’s used one time or 55 times, that cost is still $3.” That totals about $9.1 million a year in fees. Los Angeles Times

NY: New York City Agrees on Charter-School Pact With Success Academy. New York City officials said on Saturday that they agreed with Eva Moskowitz, head of education provider Success Academy, over new space for three charter schools that lost homes two months ago when Mayor Bill de Blasio revoked plans for them. . . .The charter network said the sites will serve about 500 elementary school children beginning in the fall, with most coming from low-income, minority families. Representatives for the city and the charters were negotiating details late into Friday night for the schools, part of a high-performing network run by Ms. Moskowitz, a former city councilwoman who has often sparred with the mayor. A representative for the charter network said it has dropped its legal challenge, and city officials said they were working on final lease details.  Wall Street Journal

MI: Detroit employees skip work ahead of privatization of garbage collection. The upcoming privatization of garbage collection in Detroit has some city employees skipping work, leaving trash pickup services behind schedule, officials said Saturday. The city’s Department of Public Works Director Ron Brundidge issued a statement saying trash collection is about two days behind schedule, in part because of extra bulk trash and yard waste that normally comes this time of year. There’s also been a slowdown due to some workers staying home, he said.  MLive.com

FL: Orlando toll-road scandal was predictable, preventable. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott saw his appointee to Orlando’s toll-road agency get indicted and booked at the jail.mIt was a pathetic scene — and yet another stain on this mess of an agency that sucks up commuters’ toll money and yet seems incapable of cleaning up its act.  Orlando Sentinel

ID: Guest Opinion: Idaho’s CCA prison debacle shows need for serious reform. When elected leaders hire a private corporation to manage an essential government function, they do not make government smaller. Privatizing a public service merely reduces control, oversight and accountability. Idaho’s contract with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to manage the Idaho state prison is a glaring example of privatization gone badly wrong.  The Idaho Statesman