August 19, 2014


Fake Security Screener Highlights a Concern

. . . Passenger screening at the San Francisco airport is performed not by the T.S.A. but by a private company, Covenant Aviation Security, under the Screening Partnership Program, which was mandated by Congress to allow airports to choose private contractors to perform passenger screening, rather than the T.S.A. Including San Francisco, which is by far the largest, 18 American airports use private screening contractors. The T.S.A. oversees them. Mr. Pistole said it was unacceptable that an impostor was able to take women into a private room in a security area at the airport. “We are dealing with the vendor,” he said. New York Times

LA: Auditor questions data used in health department review of Medicaid privatization program
An annual report evaluating Gov. Bobby Jindal’s privatization of Medicaid lacked important financial information and presented rosy performance reviews not corroborated by data, according to a review released Monday.  The Republic

NV: State dumps public-private financing for massive I-15 project
. . . . The partnership would have used private equity to design, build, operate and maintain a stretch of I-15 near the Spaghetti Bowl for 35 years. The state would have made payments to the private company, similar to a home mortgage. But since the public-private partnership was approved in June 2013, changes to the project’s scope and uncertainty in the financial markets made it a less attractive option. “The ground has shifted beneath our feet in terms of interest rates and the best delivery method,” Sandoval said. Department of Transportation documents show the projected cost of Project Neon under the public-private partnership has increased from $602 million to $740 million over the last year. The biggest drivers of the price jump are higher interest rates, an expanded project scope and increased maintenance costs. Las Vegas Sun

IN: Illinois dumps private lottery manager, raising questions in Indiana
The Illinois Lottery is dumping its private management company after it failed to meet profit goals for the third year in a row, renewing questions about the privatization of the Hoosier Lottery. Hoosier Lottery commissioners took a big gamble in 2012 when they followed Illinois’ example and hired GTECH to manage the lottery on a day-to-day basis. The company promised to boost revenue dramatically over the next five years and to bring in $256 million during its first year, which ended last month. Lottery officials previously said that GTECH topped $1 billion in sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s a record. But officials acknowledged that GTECH likely would fall short of the $256 million it promised to the state when it won the second-in-the-nation private management contract in October 2012. Indianapolis Star

OK: Proposed new Tulsa charter schools could require change in state law
The Tulsa school board learned Monday that a new kind of partnership with three newly proposed charter schools could require a state attorney general’s opinion or change in law and involve co-locating some of the schools in traditional public school facilities. . . . “If we do a contract, we are entering into new territory,” Superintendent Keith Ballard told the board. “We would have to secure an AG’s opinion or a change in law to go forward with charter-contracts. … The contracts could extend into co-locations. That’s where we got the concept — from charter-contract co-locations in Spring Branch, Texas.”  Tulsa World

MS: Public hearing set for reef fish regulations in Gulfport
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing for the Reef Fish Amendment 40 Sector Separation proposal on August 19 in Gulfport. Among other things, the amendment proposes the separation of recreational angling into two components – private and federal for-hire. Criticism has come from both the Coastal Conservation Association and the Mississppi Charter Boat Captains Association. . . “CCA is strongly opposed to the privatization of our fisheries, and the concept of giving a public resource to private entities. Clarion Ledger

NY: Lawsuit challenges tenure laws
A group calling itself the Partnership for Educational Justice, led by former CNN anchor and student education crusader Campbell Brown, has filed a lawsuit in Albany County Supreme Court challenging teacher tenure laws in New York state. . . . Magee called the lawsuit a dressed up attack on working people and said the groups behind it should be fighting for more resources for public schools, rather than fighting against tenure. “Those bankrolling this assault on teachers and reasonable protections against injustice have no interest in providing every child with a quality public school education. If they did, they long ago would have joined parents, teachers and unions in fighting for the resources all children need,” Magee said. “This suit is just another attack on public education and on working people by wealthy elitists who stand to profit from privatizing public schools. It is telling that Brown refuses to identify her donors.”

MI: Building civic capacity in Detroit: Inspiration from Zagreb, Croatia
. . . . Their members have been active in promoting the “right to the city” campaign against the gentrification of downtown Zagreb, as well as a campaign against the privatization of the state highway system. One group coming out of Mama protested the sale of undeveloped public land on the Adriatic coast for a golf course, which triggered a public referendum on the issue.  . . . In Detroit, we need more community organizations fostering a collaborative spirit where we share best practices and resources. We need to expand the resources available to build creative and relevant businesses, and we need more funders to invest in community organizing  infrastructure that builds the capacity of residents to be leaders in development and revitalization. Model D