March 27, 2013


IN: Ind. school voucher ruling could influence others. The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 upheld the law creating the nation’s broadest school voucher program, clearing the way for a possible expansion. In a 5-0 vote, the justices rejected claims that the law primarily benefited religious institutions that run private schools and accepted arguments that it gave families choice and allowed parents to determine where the money went.  San Francisco Chronicle

IL: Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Parasitic “Business”. The company essentially paid the city a $1.1 billion bribe for a 75-year-long monopoly on a publicly-owned resource. The streets where Chicagoans park are maintained with public funds, and the company’s monopoly is enforced by the Chicago Police Department, which tickets delinquent drivers. Chicago Parking Meters is free to extract excessive tolls from the public because it has no competition — no one else can charge money for parking on Chicago streets. It’s a parasitic, not a productive, enterprise, because it stands to extract $11 billion in fees over the life of its lease — money that otherwise would have gone into the city’s treasury. Even more than that, Chicago Parking Meters is damaging businesses by charging more for parking than drivers would have to pay in the suburbs. NBC Chicago

IL: Editorial: Privatizing development agency a bad idea. Privatizing any state agency would put another barrier between taxpayers and an agency that is supposed to serve them. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where a private state economic development agency would benefit taxpayers. Illinois government needs more sunshine, not less. Bloomington Pantagraph

VA: Virginia Port Authority will not privatize most of its port operations. The Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday rejected two offers worth billions of dollars to privatize the operations of the state’s coastal terminals, choosing to keep and restructure the port’s current operator instead. Washington Post

LA: Inmate Suit Against Private Prison. A man on pre-trial detention at a LaSalle Management Prison in Claiborne Parish has been in solitary since June 6, 2012 and repeatedly Maced by guards, he claims in Federal Court.  Courthouse News

IN: OPINION: Education reform industry targets Twin Cities. Murdoch is part of a growing list of corporate executives who see schools as profit centers. The education reform industry and their privatization efforts that have virtually destroyed the public education systems in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans have been quietly, and not so quietly, targeting the Twin Cities. Twin Cities Daily Planet


November 16, 2012


ID: Gangs, Private Prison Company Allegedly Partnered Together

A new lawsuit brought by eight inmates of the Idaho Correctional Center alleges that the company is cutting back on personnel costs by partnering with violent prison gangs to help control the facility. Court documents and an investigative report issued by the state’s Department of Corrections show how guards routinely looked the other way when gang members violated basic facility rules, negotiated with gang leaders on the cell placement of new inmates, and in one instance may have even helped one group of inmates plan a violent attack on members of a rival gang.  Think Progress

IL: Chicago Passes Austerity Budget with Little Debate—But More Than Usual

What was notable was that three aldermen did vote against the budget and one, Robert Fioretti, spoke in strident terms about how cuts and privatization could hurt regular people. Last year’s budget passed unanimously despite deep job cuts, the closure of six union-staffed mental-health clinics, the privatization of primary-care clinics, and other public-service cuts.  “We may not be generating the headlines of the parking meters,” Fioretti said, referring to the debacle when former Mayor Richard M. Daley leased the city’s meters to a private company, “but we are eliminating middle-classes jobs. For what result? What do we say to our constituents who are sold out, to the dedicated employees of mental health centers, to the police officers who are not seeing vacancies filled? … This helps the city in the long run how?”  In These Times

IL: Aussie Traffic Camera Company In Turmoil Over Shareholder Revolt, Ethics Investigation

Australian investors angry at the recent performance of Redflex Traffic Systems let management know by issuing a “first strike” Wednesday against the photo enforcement firm’s compensation plan. …Just one day before this year’s meeting, Redflex issued a statement informing investors that the Chicago, Illinois Inspector General was conducting an investigation into allegations of corruption related to the city’s red light camera contract with Redflex — the largest automated ticketing contract in the world. Last month, Chicago announced it excluding Redflex from bidding on the forthcoming speed camera contract after learning about a breach of the city’s ethics rules.  The Newspaper

NJ: Retailers form group opposing a privatized lottery

Citing a potential shift in lottery sales from Main Street retailers to big-box wholesalers and online platforms, a coalition of small retailers and unionized workers has launched a grassroots campaign opposing the Gov. Chris Christie administration’s plans to privatize the state lottery. NJBIZ

VA: Authority Overseeing Airports, Toll Road, Repeatedly Warned over Contract Deficiencies

The agency overseeing the region’s two major airports and managing construction of the $5.6 billion Dulles rail project was warned repeatedly over the past 10 years that it was improperly The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, already under fire for such ethics abuses as taking Super Bowl tickets from contractors, issued several large no-bid contracts that violated federal transit policy, according to reports and audits.  Washington Post

VA: Virginians favor fixing roads; paying for it is another matter

Virginian voters oppose, 57 percent to 38 percent, putting tolls on parts of Interstate 95 in the commonwealth to pay for that work, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Virginians are even less keen on higher gas taxes. Given the choice between that and tolls, voters prefer tolls 56 percent to 32 percent. The Quinnipiac survey found that Virginians oppose privatizing the state’s port operations, 40 percent to 34 percent.  Washington Post

OH: Ohio PIRG questions turnpike proposal

As the state nears the end of a study into how it can wring billions out of the Ohio Turnpike, a consumer advocacy group Thursday questioned whether such a deal makes sense and how it might be structured. The Ohio Public Interest Research Group questioned whether such a deal might include a clause, as Indiana’s did, that might prohibit improvements to nearby public roads seen as competition. “If it is structured like that, projects like that could definitely be in jeopardy,” said Tabitha Woodruff, Ohio PIRG advocate and co-author of the report. The issue of a noncompetition clause was one of several posed by the group as ODOT prepares to release the results of the study conducted by Texas-based KPMG Corporate Finance LLC by the end of the year.  Toledo Blade

FL: Privatization hearing postponed

A Thursday court hearing for a case filed against the state’s privatization of prison health services was rescheduled for Monday morning so attorneys could have more time presenting oral arguments. Tallahassee Democrat ‎           

Hurricane Sandy and a National Infrastructure Bank

Hurricane Sandy’s blow on New York represented a direct hit on lower Manhattan and Wall Street – the epicenter of global finance, peopled with master financial planners. Yet here is an irony: “Wall Street,” notes infrastructure expert Michael Likosky, “continues to build Chinese, Middle East and North African, Indian, and other nations’ infrastructure and pipelines. It needs to do more at home.” With a national infrastructure bank of the type endorsed by President Obama and many top fiscal experts, there’d also be a strong spur to attract big financial capital pools now on the sidelines.  Citiwire



November 9, 2012


LA:  Jindal pitches outsourcing to school board members

Gov. Bobby Jindal is seeking to rally support from local school boards in his push to outsource a public employee health insurance plan. The Jindal administration says it sent out a letter this week to school board members, describing the nearly $7 million in savings estimated for school systems by hiring a private company to run the health plan. Jindal’s proposed contract between the Office of Group Benefits and Blue Cross/Blue Shield is scheduled for a Friday vote in the House and Senate budget committees. The Daily Advertiser

LA: Florida company picked to take over state-run mental health hospital

Bobby Jindal, began a push for privatization as a way of saving the services and jobs provided by the hospital. Hospital supporters, meanwhile, said they favored keeping the hospital in public hands and viewed privatization as a less desirable alternative.

FL: Florida voters show support for an independent, nonpartisan judiciary

An overwhelming majority of Florida voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment intruding on state courts and supported the retention of three qualified Supreme Court justices — affirming the value of an independent, apolitical judiciary…The Florida GOP opposed the justices — even though the merit-retention system was intentionally designed to minimize partisan politics. Each of the justices, in turn, took the unusual step raising of $300,000 to finance advertisements emphasizing their independence. They also gained widespread support from lawyers on all sides of the legal profession.  Herald Tribune

OH: A lesson to Ohio on possible turnpike lease

Six years after the state of Indiana turned its toll road over to a private company, there are still mixed opinions on whether it was a good idea. Ohio is now thinking about doing the same thing…. In conversations with members of the local legislative delegation, all expressed doubts regarding the lease. The group fears the turnpike will remain under the control of a private company for years after the state has spent the cash from the lease deal, and that would tie up a valuable state resource for decades. In Indiana, opponents point to the fact that the state could spend the $3.8 billion from their deal within 10 years. But supporters argue the state has also set aside $500 million in a trust fund that’s expected to generate $50 million in interest each year.   WFMJ

Occupy the Prison-Industrial Complex

Only a small percentage of prisons are private, but the privatization of prisons represents the worst of corporate profiteering from human suffering. TruthOut