December 2, 2014


The Billionaires’ Park. CAN billionaires remake the Manhattan shoreline? Apparently so, in light of the news that a new park will be just offshore in the Hudson River, largely financed by the media mogul Barry Diller and situated, conveniently, a short walk from his office in Chelsea. The new park will also be near the High Line, allowing for an easy tour of how private wealth is remaking the city’s public spaces. This trend isn’t unique to New York: Philanthropists are also busy reshaping the riverfront of Philadelphia and building a green corridor through Houston. In Tulsa, Okla., a vast new park system is being financed in part by the billionaire George B. Kaiser. The New York Times

MI: Privatization comes with a downside. . . Privatization typically cuts costs, which is a great virtue, but it does so at a price. Tens of thousands of dollars that once recirculated within the community now leave, whether in the form of corporate salaries, expenses or profits. Privatization often replaces a local enterprise with outside control. It says we no longer trust local people to provide a service as efficiently and as economically as it can be bought on the open market. That is to be lamented. Port Huron Times Herald

IL: Principal rep: “Terrified” about schools’ snow removal plan. Chicago Principals Association President Clarice Berry said Monday that school cleanliness issues triggered by the privatization of janitorial management have not yet been resolved and she’s is “terrified” about what will happen when it starts snowing. Berry was testifying before the City Council’s Education Committee on a transition to Aramark she described as a “train wreck.” She described an improving situation that hasn’t improved nearly enough. Chicago Sun-Times

ME: Maine Supreme Court Endorses Confusing School Bus Tickets. Photo enforcement companies see school buses as a lucrative source of revenue. Passing a school bus can generate an expensive ticket, and this happens most often when motorists are confused in situations where it is not clear exactly what constitutes a violation.

NJ: After privatization, lawmakers concerned falling lottery income could affect agencies. Lawmakers worry falling income from New Jersey’s recently privatized lottery could affect state agencies after a report showed revenue projections are down, and some are demanding more information from Gov. Chris Christie about the venture. . . . The money funds a number of education-related agencies, including school nutrition and tuition grants. Millions of dollars from lottery proceeds also go to the state’s Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs for disabled soldiers and for the operation of state psychiatric hospitals. Lawmakers say the possibility of a shortfall raises the chance of cuts to programs across the state. Daily Journal