December 10, 2014


ALEC On the Run. At the ALEC meetings, corporate lobbyists draft legislation — to roll back renewable energy standards, to pass right to work laws, to privatize education, to pass stand your ground laws — and the legislators take the model bills back to their states and seek to pass them into law. It’s been a model that has worked remarkably well — until 2011, when the Center for Media and Democracy launched a project called ALEC Exposed. And ever since, more than 90 corporations have pulled out of ALEC and their revenues have dipped 20 percent in the last year. Corporate Crime Reporter

Selling the Public Farm, Bit By Bit. Why are we content to let our public highways become entitled tollways for the monied? I thought our tax dollars built those roads, maintained them. I thought this was the great post-war boom, the opening of individual pathways to Everytown USA. But to travel east in LA one needs money to use part of the roadway, additional extracted beyond the shared contribution of our taxes to the commons, money invested in privilege. Rewards to those engaged, and victorious, in the game of capitalism. The same is true for our public schools, threatened by privatization and the strength of money played by individuals for their personal, exclusive betterment. Money invested in isolated reservoirs of homogeneity and privilege. Money kicked back individually for personal advantage, reinforcing exclusive communities of advantage. City Watch

Red Light Camera and Speed Camera Crime. Although red light cameras and speed cameras are presented as tools of law enforcement, these privately owned companies, their employees and public officials are often caught disregarding the law. Highlights of these cases presented chronologically below include FCC fines, fraud convictions, bribery convictions and speed camera vehicles busted for drunk driving.

WA: Retiring liquor chair on privatization: ‘Dumbest thing we ever did’. When Sharon Foster retires in January, she plans on travelling and has no plans to stay involved with state government. . . .On the privatization of liquor sales, Foster said, “I think it’s the dumbest thing we ever did in our state.” Foster blames higher prices and increased shoplifting of alcohol, especially by minors, on the voter-approved move. “We’ve heard stories there may be alcohol brokers in every high school,” said Foster.

TX: Planners Doubling Down on Proposed Toll Roads. Barely a month after Texas voters overwhelmingly agreed to free up as much as $1.5 billion more a year for road construction, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization today is set to approve a new long term transportation plan that doubles the number of roads which will involved ‘managed lanes,’ which is government-speak for toll roads. “So here we go, round two, more toll roads, even though we voted to give nearly $2 billion a year to TxDOT in what we were told would be a way to get out of our hole and away from all these toll projects,” Terri Hall, the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom and an anti-toll activist, told News Radio 1200 WOAI. WOAI

LA: Federal approval expected this week for financial arrangements key to privatizing 6 LSU charity hospitals. Federal approval should come this week to financial arrangements that are key to privatizing six of the LSU charity hospitals, state health Secretary Kathy Kliebert said Monday. . . . Federal approval means the private concerns contracted to operate the public hospitals can receive a higher level of reimbursement for care of the poor and uninsured. The hospitals are located in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe. The Advocate

MO: Lawmakers react to Nixon’s request for toll road study. . . Gov. Jay Nixon formally requested that the state Highways and Transportation Commission provide analysis on utilizing toll roads to improve and expand Interstate 70, an effort that several lawmakers have responded to unkindly. The Missouri Times

Canada: Private-public partnerships cost Ontario taxpayers extra $8-billion – Auditor General. The Ontario government has shelled out nearly $8-billion more to use public-private partnerships when building new infrastructure than it would have paid if it had simply built the projects itself. That is the conclusion reached by Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk. She examined 74 projects – including hospitals, schools and light rail lines – that were built using private partnerships. The Globe and Mail