April 13, 2015


TX: Texas Supreme Court Rejects Red Light Camera Arguments. Texas Supreme Court refuses to block anti-camera election in Arlington, orders disclosure of camera related accident data in Houston. Texas Supreme CourtA red light camera court case has yet to reach the highest court in Texas, but justices have recently issued a pair of orders that dealt a setback to the automated ticketing industry. Last week, the judges denied the request of attorneys for American Traffic Solution (ATS) who begged the Supreme Court to intervene in an upcoming election to prevent residents of Arlington from voting on a red light camera ban. TheNewspaper.com

IL: Citizens United: The Elephant in the Room in Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral Reelection. . Garcia also failed to capture the public backlash against privatization. For reasons unknown, he did little to expose the racket Emanuel and private contractors are running. A company gets a contract, then pays a kickback in the form of a campaign contribution. The Chicago Tribune ran a surprisingly hard-hitting expose on this corruption. Earvin “Magic” Johnson got an $80 million custodial contract with Chicago Public Schools, then promptly donated $250,000 to the Emanuel campaign. Aramark similarly got a custodial contract with CPS, then, as reported in these pages by Rick Perlstein, immediately fired 450 workers. As a consequence, teachers and parents at several schools have had to clean up toilets because the company’s smaller work force can’t keep up with the workload. The Garcia campaign missed an opportunity to highlight this graft and corruption and tap into a growing public restiveness about privatization. In These Times

PA: District takes steps to outsource substitute teacher services. . . Now, some 1300 substitute teachers are members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and are paid according to per-diem and longer-term rates specified in the PFT contract. Daily pay can vary from $40 for an uncertified teacher to $180 for a retiree who has worked for 30 days in the school year. There are also long-term substitutes paid on a salaried basis. Workers hired by a private company may or may not be unionized, Wyatt said. Philadelphia Public School Notebook

IL: Editorial: Table talk of privatizing universities. . . Tuition at Illinois’ public universities continues to rise. Making these universities private will increase tuition costs for most students. Some state funding is better than no state funding, and taking away state funding likely will increase tuition costs. When expense is equal between Private University A in Illinois and Private University B in another state, students will make their decision based on academics and campus life. When this happens, the state runs the risk of losing students to out-of-state schools because there’s no economic advantage to staying home. . . . Finally, we’re concerned about the loss of freedom on campuses should public universities become private. Public universities have a reputation of being a free and open marketplace for ideas – from students and faculty. Becoming private will no doubt muzzle students’ voices and faculty’s ability to practice academic freedom. Unpopular opinions are tolerated at public universities. Not so much in a private setting. Northwest Herald

NJ: Letter to the editor: Revised bill and coming privatization plans. . . The Christie administration has already paid $120,000 to consultants to search for development plans as part of its dead-wrong “Sustainable Parks” goal of turning LSP into a revenue-generating “venue”. That sickening and outrageous goal ignores decades of the overwhelming public consensus for an open space park for the urban people’s quality of life and for the enjoyment of all visitors. Hudson Reporter

WI: Opinion: Privatization hurt taxpayers, reduces oversight. Wisconsin has witnessed the streamlining of government at the expense of democracy and the common good. We should be very cautious when politicians say their goal is to “shrink” government. What they really want is to remove “we the people” from the equation, relinquishing governing to the few. Appleton Post Crescent

Why Has Teacher Morale Plummeted?. . . Supported by a wide variety of “reformist” groups, which include foundations, consulting firms, charter school and voucher advocates, neoliberal think-tanks and teacher-bashing politicians of both political parties, education reforms ended up making way for privatization, charter schools or voucher systems. As a result teachers no longer control the curriculum as they should. This vacuum has been filled by a host of commercial companies that have developed products to be used both inside and outside the classroom. Newsweek