September 25, 2012


FL: Justice Warns of Partisan Politics Undermining Judiciary. As the secretive campaign against the three Florida Supreme Court justices up for merit retention took shape Monday, one of the targeted justices warned that the future of the state’s independent judiciary was under threat…. On Monday, Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group affiliated with the Koch brothers, announced a political campaign it has been developing for months to highlight the judicial records of the justices. Starting Tuesday, the group will run television ads across the state chastising the justices for ruling against a 2010 proposed constitutional amendment intended by the Legislature to counter President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act — the one Republicans dubbed Obamacare. The Ledger

FL: Editorial: Blatant bid to politicize the courts . The Republican Party’s opposition to the three state Supreme Court justices is an effort to intimidate them as they decide challenges to public pension changes and privatizing state prisons approved by the governor and Legislature.  Tampa Bay Times

IL: Emanuel’s push for more charter schools in full swing. With Chicago students back in the classroom, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is free to push ahead with a key component in his effort to reform the city’s public education system — the aggressive expansion of charter schools. Although it was never officially part of negotiations over a new teachers contract, Emanuel’s charter school push was a factor in the seven-day strike by the Chicago Teachers Union. It made the city a national flashpoint in the debate over whether privately run but publicly funded charter networks are a better formula for success than struggling inner-city schools.  Chicago Tribune

NY: Report: Cuomo intends to privatize New York’s horse racing. Andrew Cuomo intends to sign legislation dissolving the New York Racing. Association and privatize the state’s racing industry. The impending takeover of the board followed state criticism of NYRA operations. The last straw was management’s failure to implement in a timely fashion a legally required reduction by 1 percentage point in the takeout on exotic wagering, resulting in bettors being overcharged for more than a year. Two of NYRA’s top people, including CEO and President Charles Hayward, were let go as a result. The Saratogian

NY: Onondaga County health committee says privatizing nursing home could save millions. Privatizing service at Van Duyn Home and Hospital, a senior nursing home in Syracuse, could save Onondaga County $115 million in 10 years, according to the legislature’s health committee… The committee says that because of Medicaid reimbursement rates, which date back to the 1980’s, it is not sustainable for the county to fund the facility. The county signed a letter of intent to sell the nursing home to a private home operator earlier this month.

VA: State House Dems: Virginia’s seaport too important for shotgun sale. House Democrats today criticized Gov. Bob McDonnell’s hurried quest to overhaul operations at the Port of Virginia…Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Mark Sickles today called on the governor and Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton to slow down the process and allow for greater public input and transparency.  “Our concern is that the Governor, in an effort to provide a quick influx of funds to substitute for his inability to have a genuine transportation funding plan, will make a bad business decision that could shortchange the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.”  Augusta Free Press