January 28, 2013


NY: New York City Scraps Privatizing Parking Meters

New York City is scrapping plans to privatize management of its street-parking system, the latest sign of growing wariness in U.S. cities of initiatives to address budget woes by selling off the rights to run meters and lots. The decision by the nation’s largest city comes amid a backlash in Chicago, whose 2008 deal to lease rights on 36,000 parking meters to private investors for 75 years for about $1.2 billion was the first parking privatization by a major U.S. city. Chicago residents and policy makers—including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose predecessor presided over the deal—have criticized it for selling the rights too cheaply and for including clauses that have ended up costing the city additional funds. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles also have put privatization plans on ice.  Wall Street Journal

NY: About Privatizing Long Island Power Authority

In his State of  the State speech, Governor Andrew Cuomo advocated taking Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) private….In 2005, there was a Strategic Review performed by FTI Consulting in conjunction with Bear Stearns and three white shoe law firms…..The study concluded that privatization would result in an immediate and dramatic increase in electric rates…. Bottom line, years of study and effort have gone into figuring out what form LIPA should take going forward. The only thing that all the consultants seemed to agree on was that privatization was too expensive.  Firedoglake.com

NC: Resegregation by Charters in North Carolina?

A new study of racial segregation in North Carolina shows that 30% of regular public schools are racially imbalanced, but 60% of charter schools are.  These findings echo the work of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, which has found that charter schools are frequently even more segregated than their surrounding district. Diane Ravitch’s Blog

NJ: Christie quietly takes on lottery

Gov. Christie hasn’t held a news conference about it, and his treasurer has refused to testify on it. But the Republican governor is close to privatizing the bulk of a $2.8 billion New Jersey institution. Following a national trend already under way in Pennsylvania, Christie is negotiating a 15-year contract with a company to operate the state lottery in an effort to increase sales, thereby building more revenue for schools and state institutions. Like Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Corbett, Christie bypassed the Legislature, much to its chagrin, in bidding out the system. And like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got just one bid in response to its request for proposals. Philadelphia Inquire

PA: Scranton Sewer Authority member pans asset sale

They’d never be able to take this (sewer authority),” Mr. Verrastro said. “We went that route once before, and I hope they (city leaders) can understand how we got killed by it.” A sewer privatization plan in the late 1990s/early 2000s ended up costing the authority millions of dollars.. Scranton Times-Tribune

WA: Shoplifting incidents rise with liquor privatization

Spirits theft has become a common crime at stores locally and statewide since voters decided in 2011 to shut down the state’s liquor stores and allow grocery stores to sell hard alcohol. Shoplifters are taking advantage of the grocery stores’ relatively lax security and making off with bottles of whiskey, vodka, tequila and other spirits.  Longview Daily News

VA: Debt raises doubt about Virginia buying Dulles Greenway toll road

A General Assembly subcommittee will take up legislation from Del. Joe May, R-Leesburg, that would allow Virginia to take over the private, 14-mile toll road west of Washington Dulles International Airport that’s now run by the Macquarie Group.But Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton raised questions about whether the state could afford to buy the road given how much debt its current owners have run up.  Washington Examiner

Letter: Modernize, but don’t privatize Postal Service

Downgrading the U.S. Postal Service, one of our oldest and most reliable public institutions, is being helped by anti-government fanatics and lobbyists for privatization who could steal a worthy public service from the American people and transfer its management and profiteers…. USPS could provide banking services needed in small towns and depressed urban areas. Japan Post is said to be the world’s largest depository institution.  Florida Today