April 10, 2015


Republican Senators Just Voted To Sell Off Your National Forests. . . The senate’s budgetary amendment to support this privatization carries no legal weight — it’s not a law — but does signify a troubling level of support for the privatization of public land. And make no mistake, this is about privatization and resource exploitation. Efforts to “reclaim” public land are financially support by special interest groups like ALEC and Americans For Prosperity. ALEC is primarily funded by ExxonMobil while Americans For Prosperity was founded by David and Charles Koch. SA 838 passed 51-49. Democrats unanimously opposed it, while all but three Republicans voted for it. The holdouts were Corey Gardner of Colorado, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. IndefinitelyWild

GOP candidates eye vouchers for veterans. . .The fact that the political winds have shifted to this degree is itself interesting. In the last presidential cycle, Romney was kinda sorta open to the idea of privatization for about a day before the VFW scared him into reversing course. Now, we have multiple candidates endorsing the idea more forcefully and sticking to the position. Much of this is no doubt the result of the recent controversy surrounding the VA system, coupled with Republican politics continuing to move to the right. But if this is going to be an issue debated in the 2016 cycle, let’s not forget a detail that often goes overlooked: there’s a difference between the quality of VA care and the quality of the VA system in delivering that care. MSNBC

FL: Owner Sees His Legacy in Tallahassee’s Upcoming Private Toll Road. Privatized toll roads, whether built privately or roads whose management was transferred to a private entity, are scary for some people – and for good reason, says Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Baxandall, who has written extensively about privatization, says these deals result in a loss of public control and a lack of flexibility. Next City

FL: Class Action Lawsuit Against Florida Red Light Cameras Heats Up. The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida consolidated cases against eighty-one towns and photo ticketing operators American Traffic Solutions (ATS), Xerox and Gatso of The Netherlands. Lead plaintiff Christopher L. Parker, a motorist who received a ticket from the town of Davie, has a simple argument. The state Court of Appeal ruled that private vendors cannot do all the work of reviewing automated citations (view the Hollywood v. Arem decision). Parker and fellow plaintiffs want compensation not only for the tickets that were unlawfully issued before the ruling, but also to stop the ticketing still going on in many jurisdictions. TheNewspaper.com