July 10, 2014


Paris’s return to public water supplies makes waves beyond France
Nearly five years after Paris took the management of its water supply back into its own hands, the move is inspiring other cities at home and abroad and hurting profits at private water firms Veolia and Suez Environnement. . . . “The success of the Paris remunicipalisation, our ability to make profits and lower prices, has convinced many other cities, whatever their political colour, that public water is an option,” Celia Blauel, new head of Eau de Paris, told Reuters. Reuters

MI: Detroit’s Art May Be Worth Billions, Report Says
. . . The appraisal, commissioned by the city and the museum in advance of a federal bankruptcy trial in August, also added that such a price tag would never be attained at sale, for reasons including donor lawsuits that would delay or prevent the sale of many valuable works, weakness in the market for some kinds of paintings. . . .The appraiser, Artvest Partners, an art investment firm based in New York, said that because of these factors and the notoriety of such a forced sale from a venerable public institution, the bulk of the museum’s collection might raise as little as $850 million. . . . The collection comprises more than 60,000 pieces, which are owned by the city and considered a municipal asset.  New York Times

MI: A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit, July 18
On July 18 thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents. The UN has called the shutoff a human rights violation.  Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1 pm, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.  PR Watch

VA: Va. Gov. McAuliffe orders review of contractor labor
Through the second executive directive of his administration, McAuliffe is ordering his secretaries of administration, finance and technology to dive into the details of a swath of contracts. “Virginia taxpayers spend millions of dollars annually on contractors for information technology (IT) and other services outside of our state workforce,” McAuliffe’s directive states. “I am concerned that state government is inappropriately dependent on expensive contract labor when traditionally-appointed state employees can perform at a higher level at a lower cost.” . . . Virginia entered into a 10-year, $2.3 billion contract with Northrop Grumman in 2005 in what was then the state’s richest-ever privatization deal. The contract has garnered much attention and while it doesn’t effectively end until 2019, choices must be made in the next four years about the future of the state’s IT services, including whether to continue outsourcing. TriCities.com

FL: Ruling May Chill School Districts Efforts To Challenge Charter School Conversions
A ruling against the Miami-Dade County Public School District was the first-ever ruling under Florida statutes, written specifically to prevent school districts from taking “unlawful reprisals” against employees who support charter school conversions. CBS Miami

CT: Bristol City Council declines to take a stand on the cafeteria worker issue
A sharply divided City Council declined Tuesday to take a stand in favor of the school cafeteria workers who may be replaced by a private food services firm. The council’s three Democrats supported a move to call on the Board of Education to abandon any legal appeals and focus instead on working with the union representing the 53 cafeteria employees who are slated to lose their jobs in the privatization bid. . . . City Councilor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, a Democrat, said the $140,000 the school board has already spent on legal fees trying to push privatization would have been better used for classroom needs.  Bristol Press