April 30, 2008

Atlanta privatization parking services
NJ Gov. denies plans to privatize state parks
TX: Not serious on roads – editorial
Put for-profit detention centers on ICE
Chicago to get $153m for congestion relief – with strings
WI: City must sell land for library
CT: Bridgeport may privatize school clinics
Military housing goes private
RI: State likely to take back auditorium

News Summaries
Atlanta privatizing parking services
Atlanta is scheduled to accept bids Wednesday from companies that want
to run the city’s parking ticket and meter collection operation, now
done by the Public Works Department. As the city grapples with a $140
million projected shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1,
some officials say Atlanta should privatize some services. Leonard
Gilroy, director of government reform for the Reason Foundation, a
California-based nonprofit group that supports free markets, believes
privatization is cost-effective. Nancy Lenk, a leader of one of the
city’s largest unions, disagrees. She says union leaders in other
cities have seen businesses frequently make low bids to provide
government services and later increase their rates well past how much
it cost government workers to do the job. "Over time, [privatizing] is
a bad idea," said Lenk, assistant director of the American Federation
of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644, which says it
represents about 2,000 Atlanta employees. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
NJ Gov. denies plans to privatize state parks
Responding to a charge by environmentalists, Gov. Jon Corzine said
yesterday he has no plans to privatize state parks or create a new
state department by combining the divisions of parks and forestry and
wildlife with the Department of Agriculture. He said he might consider
privatizing park concessions, "but no decisions have been made."
Corzine was reacting to charges by leaders of the Sierra Club of New
Jersey and the New Jersey Audubon Society that the administration and
legislators are quietly considering taking the state parks out of the
DEP’s jurisdiction, which could open them to privatization. The Star-Ledger
TX: Not serious on roads – editorial
Gov. Rick Perry can’t be serious. He says he is — seriously devoted to
building and maintaining highways. But he is just as devoted to fencing
state government into fiscal straits that make these goals impossible
without privatizing highways through tolls. Perry last week said that
going full-bore with toll roads is the only way for Texas to build new
highways. That’s not so. The history of Texas tells us it’s not. Toll
roads have their function without question. But so do bonds. So does a
gasoline tax that has not kept pace with inflation. So does a
reexamination of how Texas funds highways in general — including a look
at how highway funds are siphoned off for non-highway purposes.
Waco Tribune-Herald

Put for-profit detention centers on ICE
Privatized detention centers are going up all over the United States as
a way to deal with the growing number of undocumented immigrants. As a
result, not only are we detaining immigrants in our country, but
because of the move toward privatization, these facilities are able to
make a profit from these prisoners. The industry leader, Corrections
Corporation of America, has seen its stock price rise to as much as $22
a share, and in 2006 its revenue was $1.3 billion with profits of $105
million. According to industry experts, in order to make a profit these
companies not only need to ensure that more prisons are built, but also
need to keep them filled to an estimated 90-to 95-percent capacity
rate. These for-profit detention centers demand immigrants’ bodies and
labor, and it is disturbing to think about how this demand will be
met.The Daily Texan
Chicago to get $153m for congestion relief – with strings
Chicago has been selected to receive more than $153 million in federal
funds under a new congestion initiative, announced U.S. Secretary of
Transportation Mary E. Peters. The innovative proposal will reduce
traffic gridlock through the use of congestion pricing for street
parking spaces. The federal funding is contingent, in part, on the city
and the CTA adopting the necessary legal authorities. Also, the city
must successfully move forward on its previously announced plans to
privatize its metered parking system and enter into a long-term
agreement with a private firm by December 31, 2008. 7th Space
WI: City must sell land for library
Local developer Terrence Wall’s family made its fortune in the library
business. Now Wall wants to build the city a new downtown library to
replace the outdated 43-year-old structure in the 200 block of West
Mifflin Street, across from the Overture Center. The catch is the city
must sell the property to Wall, who proposes to tear it down and build
a nine-story, $45 million building that will house a new and bigger
library, several floors of private office space and some retail on the
ground floor. At a special meeting of the Madison Public Library Board
Tuesday night, Wall presented his plan with financing details that
included his company’s payment for the land, city funding and private
donations that could include a naming rights deal. The Capital Times (Madison)
CT: Bridgeport may privatize school clinics
The health clinics at city schools, which would be eliminated in Mayor
Bill Finch’s proposed 2008-09 budget, may be replaced by services
provided by two private health care agencies. Parents, students, union
representatives and nurses have loudly protested Finch’s plan. Hiring a
private provider to replace the city nurses is viewed by the Finch
administration as a way to reduce municipal expenditures while
retaining a popular service. Connecticut Post
Military housing goes private
Mandated by the Department of Defense, the privatization process takes
military housing that was once government-owned, leases it to large
private companies, and pays the companies the basic allowance for
housing or BAH which would have been paid to the service members living
in their on-post housing if they had been living off-post. Daily Guide
(Waynesville, Mo)
RI: State likely to take back auditorium
The state appears to be moving closer to transferring the
underperforming Veterans Memorial Auditorium from the private
foundation that now runs it to the state’s Convention Center Authority,
adding it to a stable of properties that includes the Dunkin’ Donuts
Center and the convention center. With the facility not meeting
expectations under private control, the legislature has directed the
authority to develop a basic business plan for the auditorium, and
return, probably next week, before the House Finance Committee to
outline its best guess on the facility’s financial future under state
control. The next step after that, said Rep. Steven M. Costantino,
D-Providence, would be to ask the Convention Center Authority to vote
on taking the building over. The Providence Journal