January 6, 2015


WA: Public-private partnerships take root to help downtown parks. Pointing to the success of several New York City parks, initiative supporters say partnerships bringing private resources to bear on some of Seattle’s most important public spaces can succeed where the city has struggled. But the supporters also say they are aware of the potential for park partnerships to stir controversy. They insist they will safeguard public access and equity. The Seattle Times

FL: Access to public records in Florida faced new, bigger hurdles in 2014. It was a dark year for sunshine in Florida in 2014. Legal fights by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida kept crucial documents under wraps long enough to dilute their impact once they were released. The governor took the state’s public records tradition in a new direction as he used taxpayer money to defend his attempts to shift the burden for holding the public records from the state to individual employees, and his lawyers opened a new legal vein with his interpretation of the blind trust law. Tampabay.com

NJ: Pols blast Christie-championed PATH privatization plan. . . Tramping in from out of frigid weather beside the Grove Street PATH Station, a military tent-sized collection of Democratic Party politicians joined Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop to denounce the proposed scheme. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) led the way, heaping praise on Fulop for organizing the show of force. “I applaud the mayor’s leadership to join together a coalition to speak out against a travesty,” said New Jersey’s senior senator, who slammed the Port Authority, traditionally a nest for political patronage, some of which got blasted and exposed during last year’s Bridgegate crisis. PolitickerNJ

TX: Texas Payday Lenders Use Illegal Threat Of Jail Time To Intimidate Thousands Of Borrowers. . . The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that courts in Colorado, Ohio, Louisiana, Michigan, Washington, and Georgia have effectively reinstated the “debtors prisons” that went out of style in the 19th century. The privatization of probation services has added new fees and charges that can often land people in jail even after they’ve paid their debt to society. In June, a Pennsylvania mother died in a cell while serving a weekend in jail to resolve years of outstanding fines she had no ability to repay. ThinkProgress