July 30, 2014


Obama Pushing to Privatize Meat Inspections – Let Producers Inspect Themselves
The USDA is moving toward final approval of a rule that would replace most government inspectors with untrained company employees, and to allow companies to slaughter chickens at a much faster rate. . . .It could be approved as soon as this week. This “modernization” of inspections through privatization is likely to cause more problems than already occur because the company employees will be disinclined to cost their bosses money by slowing down, stopping production or removing chickens when there’s a problem. “It’s really letting the fox guard the chicken coop”, says Tony Corbo of Food and Water Watch. Daily Kos

Privatization Of World Water Supply Kicks Into Gear
. . . While privatizing and commidifying water supplies has been a neoliberal project for some time, the stakes and opportunities for profit have risen dramatically as a changing climate shifts water resources around the world. Taking the world’s water supply hostage is a businessperson’s dream. No need to create artificial demand for this product, if the customer does not buy it they die, painfully. So it should be no surprise that Wall Street sees water as the next boom market and wants in. The latest campaign to privatize and commidify water is being led by Peter Brabeck, the Chairman and former CEO of Nestle, the largest food company in the world.  Firedoglake

Lawmakers, TSA union spar over private airport security
The chairman of the House panel that oversees transportation security issues accused the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday of blocking efforts to privatize airport security checkpoints. “Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, unless an airport’s participation in [Screening Partnership Program] would hurt security or drive up costs, TSA must approve all new applications,” Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) said during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation Security Subcommittee. “While I have great respect for [TSA] Administrator [John] Pistole, as far as I am concerned, there will always be at least three clear and substantial advantages to privatized screening,” Hudson continued. The Hill

MI: Orr seeks proposals to privatize Detroit parking system
. . . Orr, who’s planning to leave town in the coming months, has decided to move ahead with what’s a surprise to no one: a solicitation for proposals to either run Detroit’s entire municipal parking department, or buy the system outright. By the time you read this, City Council may have already signed off on Orr’s request to allow him to issue a request for proposals. According to Orr’s office, interested buyers could present their bids for the parking department — which includes seven garages, about 3,200 meters, and a towing operation — in a number of ways: to manage the entire operation, a portion of the system, or the bidder could purchase the entire package. Detroit Metro Times

IL: llinois: Chicago Red Light Camera Spotlight Expands
The world’s largest municipal red light camera, beset by a $2 million bribery scandal, is facing renewed scrutiny from the public and investigators. On Friday, the inspector general for the city of Chicago, Illinois announced a formal inquiry into the photo ticketing program in the wake of blockbuster reporting from the Chicago Tribune newspaper. . . . According to the Tribune’s analysis of all of the photo tickets issued since 2007, at least 9000 citations were issued during “random” spikes related to either overly short yellow signal times, a change to the way right-turn on red is enforced or other system faults. Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said he would allow the motorists who received these tickets to file a new challenge. The mayor and aldermen sent separate requests to city Inspector General Joseph M. Ferguson asking for a formal investigation. TheNewspaper.com

TX: Texas law that speeds shutdown of troubled charter schools is put to the test
A new law designed to make it easier to close down chronically troubled charter schools is getting its first tests this year. . . . “It moves us one step closer to confirming that the law doesn’t give the charters the legal right to go to court,” she said. “This will speed up future efforts to close charters under this rule.”The new law requires the TEA to close charters after three straight years of poor academic or financial performance — a “three strikes and you’re out” approach. And schools can appeal to the TEA and another state agency’s administrative judges, but not to the state court system.  Dallas Morning News

PA: Editorial: The Lottery is a winner: Why privatize it?
. . .Net revenue was up $14.1 million — an increase of 1.3 percent. Administrative costs were down 0.03 percent to 2.04 percent. And participating retailers — all 9,100 of them — earned $202.4 million, an increase of $6.3 million over the previous year. It’s the fifth consecutive year the lottery has set a sales record. So, tell us again, why should Pennsylvania privatize the lottery? It seems to be about the only thing that actually works in Harrisburg.  Intelligencer Journal

FL: Letter to the Editor: Rather than privatize, fix public schools
. . . There are undoubtedly problems in public education, but most have been created by starving schools of resources, attacking and marginalizing our teachers, and ignoring poverty.  . . The solution should not be to outsource our children’s education to institutions that care more about the bottom line or resist accountability. The solution should be to address and fix our problems, many of which were created by individuals and politicians who seek to privatize our schools and profit off our children.  Sun-Sentinel

IL: Loewy Online: Privatizing golf? Bad idea.
Privatizing Bunker Links Municipal Golf Course? That’s an absolutely, with-a-doubt, colossally bad idea. . . . Finally, there is one huge reason why Bunker Links should remain in the public’s hands. It’s the concept of our commons. Bunker Links is part of the space we share. It’s like our pools and parks and roads and schools and sky and air. It’s ours. Yours. Mine. His. Hers. Theirs. All of us. So let’s fix it. Let’s make it work — in fact, let’s make it work even better than it has in the past. Frankly, I’m not very interested in public officials who see privatization as an answer to shared problems. That’s not really being a public servant. That’s called serving private interests. Galesburg Register-Mail (blog)

MD: Editorial: Baltimore’s parking economics 
Our view: The mayor’s proposal to sell garages to fund new rec centers is an appealing idea — provided it really generates the kind of windfall she’s advertising.  Baltimore Sun