September 21, 2012


TX:  Facilities Commission approves faster public-private partnership. Under the new procedure, the Facilities Commission’s staff would notify the public within 10 days of receiving a proposal that meets its minimum standards. That public notification also would start the clock for other developers to submit competing proposals for the same parcel of state land…The idea for a faster, more transparent start to the P3 approval process arose after three commissioners and three staffers visited their counterparts in Virginia. The Texas law creating a formal P3 process is modeled on the Virginia model. At Wednesday’s hearing, Commissioners William Derek Darby and Brant Ince pushed for notifying the public sooner instead of later in the process.  The Statesman

TX: Are toll roads the future for Central Texas transportation? Four toll roads surround the Austin area and more could be on the way as mobility planners are now considering tolling roads which are currently free for drivers. Austin YYN

IL: Privatization in Chicago Schools Still Threatens. “[T]he biggest threat that lies ahead for the teachers is that Rahm Emanuel will continue closing schools and opening non-union charters. Given that he controls the school board, and given that he has a low opinion of public education, watch for continued privatization in Chicago” (Diane Ravitch). Truth-Out

IL: DCFS Workers Warn That Cuts, Move Towards Privatization Will Harm Illinois. As the days draw closer to October 1, when about 375 state social workers will be laid off, a group of more than 350 angry Illinois Department of Child and Family Service (DCFS) employees showed up at Gov. Pat Quinn’s Chicago office Tuesday afternoon….Now, as the state looks towards privatizing the work of Intact Services to save money, some workers who are facing a layoff say that decision could lead to many abused and neglected Illinois children falling through the cracks of the system…. “I know that working in the past with the private sector they’ve had to pick and choose the cases that they will [and]and will not take,” said Letreurna Packer, a 22-year DCFS veteran worker. “With Intact Families, we didn’t have to pick and choose. We got everything … Wherever the cases came from, we had to accept them.” Progress Illinois

IN: Dem Gov candidate Gregg outlines $3.5B transportation plan. Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg unveiled a plan Thursday to replace the nearly broke Major Moves initiative. The state has budgeted or spent the money it received as part of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road. To keep the road work moving, Gregg has proposed shifting existing resources and leveraging some of the remaining money from the lease to spend $3.5 billion on infrastructure.. Brian Vargus, a political consultant and longtime political science professor, said transportation will be an important issue for voters if the next governor can’t find a way to pay for road repairs. In addition to large projects, much of Major Moves has been spent to repave local highways, he noted, and the state will have to find a way to keep up with that work.  IndyStar

IN: Cash-strapped Elkhart may privatize airport. Elkhart is looking for yet another way to save money with less property tax money. Now, the city is considering leasing its municipal airport to a private company, but that won’t be easy. WSBT-TV

3,000 contractors suspended or debarred last year. Federal agencies suspended or debarred more than 3,000 irresponsible contractors last year, a 47 percent increase from the previous year, a new federal report shows….OMB ordered agencies in November to make greater use of suspension and debarment tools against irresponsible vendors and to take corrective action whenever a contract award is improperly made to a suspended or debarred company.  Federal Times

FL: Gov. Rick Scott standings remain low in new Florida poll. Gov. Rick Scott’s low standing with voters persists in a new Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll, and he should be more concerned about a possible 2014 rematch against Democrat Alex Sink than a challenge from a remade Charlie Crist. An even 50 percent of voters disapprove of Scott’s job performance in the poll, with 38 percent approving and 12 percent not sure. …Andrew Ianniello, a retired IBM employee in Punta Gorda, said Scott is too extreme. “Scott wants to privatize prisons and everything else, and a lot of people have lost their jobs because of that,” said Ianniello, who moved south from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to escape the harsh winters. “There’s been too much privatization going on.”  Bradenton Herald

CA: Opinion: Two-tier tuition a dangerous solution… In order to address overcrowding and underfunding, Santa Monica Community College sought to implement a two-tier tuition policy a couple of months ago. The policy would create extra courses in high-demand areas, with students paying $180 per unit as opposed to the regular $46. Rumors have circulated around Merced College that our own administration was considering adopting such a policy. … For many, a policy like this is a step toward privatizing public education and would place our community college system on a very slippery slope.  Merced Sun-Star