February 28, 2013


GA: Rally against privatizing MARTA. A rally against legislation that would privatize MARTA was scheduled for Thursday morning at the Five Points station. In a press release, rally organizers called the legislation “racially biased and a threat to the service, safety, and affordability of Atlanta’s public transit.” If House Bill 264 becomes law, MARTA would have to outsource many of its services. Its governing board would also shrink, giving more power to areas outside the city of Atlanta. “This would give Republicans and white communities more control over a system with a 75% African-American ridership,” stated the press release. WGCL Atlanta

AZ: Arizonans rally against possible toll roads. Arizonans rally against possible toll roads. Arizonans are rallying at the State Capitol to show lawmakers the public doesn’t want toll roads in the state. Although Arizona doesn’t have any toll roads, lawmakers have been considering the idea for a couple of years.  Opposers claim Arizona already has plenty of money coming in to maintain our highways and to build new roads. MyFox Phoenix

MA: More Massachusetts toll roads? Open-road tolling is an inexpensive prospect for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to put in place, but the ease with which it can be implemented could spell more tolls for drivers outside the Interstate 90 corridor, according to Transportation Secretary Richard Davey. “While it might not happen in my time,” Davey told lawmakers Wednesday, the launch of open-road tolling — which requires no tollbooths or toll collectors — in Massachusetts will “set the table” for potential tolling on new roads. MassLive.com

NY: Cuomo needs to detail LIPA privatization plan for LIers. Legislative gatherings in Albany and Hauppauge Wednesday sharpened the contrast between how Long Island residents and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo are handling the issue of LIPA’s future. During a hearing in Albany, state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) noted that representatives of investment banking firm Lazard Ltd. had not been able to appear for questioning. . . The idea appears to have gained little traction in the region, possibly because precious little information about the transaction’s finances has been released publicly, as speakers also pointed out Wednesday at a Suffolk committee hearing. Newsday

PA: The dark side of liquor store privatization – opinion. I wonder, if the governor’s plan goes through, what the effect will be on the state budget when we lose the annual profits and tax revenue that state liquor stores ($494 million this fiscal year) bring in. From where will come the dollars to fund state activities and services now supported by current and future liquor store revenues and taxes paid by current liquor store employees when that revenue, including the “estimated” $1 billion windfall generated by the liquor store sell-off, disappears. Will those activities and services likewise disappear? Apparently, unemployment seems to be a problem only for the unemployed; or so existing and aspiring powers seem to believe. They seem convinced that the public will accept fewer services in exchange for the opportunity to buy booze for a few dollars less. While the liquor stores disappear, their state employees won’t. And they’ll need housing, health care, and support services. phillyBurbs.com

CA: Berkeley residents lash out at planned post office sale. Around 200 people rallied Tuesday evening at the Maudelle Shirek Building, with the nation’s first postmaster, Ben Franklin, (channeled by monologuist Josh Kornbluth) in an effort to save the city’s 99-year old post office from a possible sale. . .Gray Brechin, visiting scholar in the UC Berkeley Department of Geography said people around the country have told him they came to meetings, opposed the sale of their post offices, and the USPS then “simply ignores the public input, and goes ahead and sells the building. Brechin said that could be happening in Berkeley. San Jose Mercury News

LA: State lawmaker asks AG about LSU hospital plan. A New Orleans lawmaker said Wednesday that he’s asked for the attorney general’s opinion on whether Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration can move ahead with privatizing most of the LSU-run hospitals without legislative approval. . . .Rep. Jared Brossett Brossett, D-New Orleans, said he believes that because the hospitals are public assets, turning them over to private managers should require legislative backing. ”  San Francisco Chronicle           

TX: Jeb Bush to Texas: Go big on overhauling schools. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged Texas to swing for the fences when overhauling public education, telling state senators Wednesday that he was able to transform foundering schools in his home state with big — if often unpopular — ideas. But critics say Bush, who served from 1999 until 2007 and has since begun traveling the country as a leading voice for educational reform, was more successful at funneling public money to corporate interests than improving schools. .. . Texas caps the number of charter school licenses it issues at 215, though Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick is trumpeting a bill that would lift the cap. The Houston Republican also wants a voucher plan allowing parents to use public money to pay for private school tuition — though that idea faces stiff opposition in the Texas House.  ReporterNews.com

NE: UNL official: Privatization will save health costs. University of Nebraska-Lincoln will save about $85 a semester if the university transfers control of its health center to a private contractor, school officials say. UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman provided an update Tuesday and answered students’ questions about his proposal to privatize the health center. In September, Perlman announced plans to seek a private operator to build and operate a new University Health Center. . . A survey related to the proposal will be included with the student government election ballot on March 6, and the NU Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the privatization proposal on March 15.  San Francisco Chronicle

The Separation of Profit and State. Thirty years on, the Reagan Revolution has done its job, or nearly so. There’s no sustaining integrity left to how our society is organized, no principle that can’t be gamed for private benefit. And even awareness of all this has been successfully marginalized. We still proclaim ourselves, in the prevailing media, the world’s oldest, greatest democracy, and worship the old rituals. But the common good has been auctioned off.  Common Dreams



February 27, 2013


PR: Puerto Rico Airport Privatization Deal Lifts Off. Puerto Rico’s governor on Tuesday approved turning over the operations of Puerto Rico’s largest airport to a private company as part of an estimated $2.6 billion deal that began under his predecessor and has been fiercely protested. ABC News

PA: Even if Pa. Lottery deal fizzles, consultants in line for $1.2 million. A deal to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery may have hit a snag, but contracts with the two private firms advising the commonwealth on the plan means the state definitely has some bills to pay. The state could be on the hook for as much as $1.2 million for work by its consultants on a deal to turn over the operations of the lottery to British firm Camelot Global Services. Newsworks

PA: Report: Corbett Administration considers privatizing PA Department of Public Welfare. Was I aware that the Corbett administration hoped to privatize far more than these three small agencies?  “They’re talking about privatizing the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare,” I was told.  Interested parties, the tipster continued, recently “came up from Florida to tour DPW and study the potential to privatize the department.” This communication would prove interesting for several reasons. New Pittsburgh Courier

NY: LIPA study: Rates up if privatized. A study commissioned by the Long Island Power Authority in 2010 found that even the most optimistic scenarios for privatizing the agency would result in the need for more revenue through higher electric rates. It’s the second LIPA-commissioned study in three years that has concluded as much. Another, by the Brattle Group in 2011, found that privatization could hike rates 15 percent to 20 percent. . . . The report laid out two scenarios for privatizing LIPA: one in which LIPA was sold for $5.7 billion and retained a small portion of debt, and another that assumed the new owner found a way to pay off all of LIPA’s $7 billion debt. Under both scenarios, the new owner would have to hike rates to collect between 7 percent and 12 percent more revenue from ratepayers than under the existing public-private structure, the study said. Newsday

FL: Action Alert to Stop Vouchers … Jeb Bush Expected to Testify at Hearing. Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), chair of the Senate Education Committee, likes to label his policy preferences as “national best practices in education reform.” But he has not yet sold a majority of his legislative colleagues on his agenda, which includes private-school vouchers, privatization via charter expansion, shutdown and conversion of neighborhood schools into privately run charter schools, and more.   Hence Sen. Patrick is expected to bring in some out-of-town talent to help his cause tomorrow in a special hearing of his committee occurring in the Senate chamber. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said to be readying himself for a presidential run in 2016, is expected to appear and to tout what his private foundation calls the Florida formula for student achievement.  Burnt Orange Report

Electronic toll roads envisioned for nation. With Congress reluctant to raise the gasoline tax, and with the nation’s highways in need of repair and expansion, motorists everywhere may eventually have to come to grips with the notion of more highway tolls and usage fees – possibly collected via electronic monitoring devices built directly into their vehicles. That’s one idea suggested by a Milwaukee-based trade group, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which represents major road-building equipment firms. It certainly will take more than the traditional gas tax, Dennis Slater, president of the group, said in a conference call with reporters this week. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



February 26, 2013


DE: Why Privatize the Port Now? The Kinder Morgan proposal to privatize the Port of Wilmington ought to be much in the news this week. . .One of the things I want to point out today, and I’m hoping that decision-makers keep in mind, is that while DEDO was publicly touting an investment partnership to build out the Port, their RFP (released approx 2 months prior to this article) included a privatization option that customers and businesses at the Port did not know until months later. And still, this privatization deal is quite different than from the talking points DEDO was using to promote this deal as an expansion opportunity. DelawareLiberal

PA: LCB officials say state holding them back. The agency that runs Pennsylvania’s liquor stores says that even in the face of Gov. Corbett’s efforts to privatize its retail and wholesale operations, it is more productive than ever. LCB brass said they have been turning more than $100 million a year in profit for the last several years – and kicking more than $80 million of that into the state’s cash-strapped coffers. . . Yet LCB board member Robert Marcus contended that the agency is operating on a scaled-down staff while the Corbett administration refuses to sign off on filling key vacant positions. . .The testimony was the first public sign that some officials at the agency may start fighting back as the governor and fellow Republicans in the House work on a measure to auction off the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits stores to the private sector.  Philadelphia Inquirer

FL: Best intentions, worst results at Largo work release center. Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have been hellbent on privatizing prisons throughout Florida. The governor’s latest budget proposes privatizing 14 more work-release centers this year. The philosophy is that private companies — either for-profit industries or nonprofits such as Goodwill — are able to run prisons at a considerably lower cost than the state can. Yet no one bothers to ask how private companies can be so much cheaper. And maybe that’s because the reason is too scary to contemplate. Could it be that private groups hire fewer — and less-qualified — employees to run their prisons?  Tampabay.com

WI: Rep. Sondy Pope: Roaring down road to school privatization. Before discussing exactly what our governor and Republican leaders are proposing for K-12 education in this budget, it is worth rehashing our previous budget, which required public schools to make extreme fiscal sacrifices ($1.6 billion in lost revenue) in the name of austerity. But in that very same budget, the state found enough money to expand private school voucher offerings and increase overall voucher spending. The Cap Times

KY: Bill Would Allow Public-Private Partnerships For Big Construction Projects. The bill doesn’t specifically name any projects, but Kentucky currently has multiple instances where the bill could help work start, namely the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky. . .  In public-private partnerships, companies contribute to the construction costs in exchange for access to revenue sources, such as tolls. Under Overly’s bill, the public-private option would be available only to so-called mega-projects, which is any project which costs more than $500 million.  WKU Public Radio

LA: Tuition increase likely for state schools. The recommendation, which has to go in front of the legislature in April, coincides with Gov. Bobby Jindal budget proposal, which calls for a cut in $200 million in higher education and increased tuition. . . .Rasberry said nationally higher education is gradually shifting from public to privatization funding. NOLA.com

Sequestration Puts Spotlight on America’s Dangerously Overcrowded Federal Prisons. We also know that immigration enforcement programs like Operation Streamline contribute to this unsustainable prison growth. Operation Streamline is a “zero-tolerance” program that requires the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all unlawful border crossers in designated sectors. The program annually sweeps in tens of thousands of migrant workers with no criminal history  and is a major contributor to prison overcrowding, privatization and the soaring federal rate of Hispanic and Latino incarceration.            ACLU

How the religious right is undermining education.  It is critical that Americans recognize not only the intent to privatize our schools but the vast Christian Right agenda behind it. Salon




February 25, 2013


LA: Jindal’s $24.7 billion budget relies heavily on privatization of LSU hospitals

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s $24.7 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year will plug a $1 billion-plus hole with a mix of so-called “one-time money,” assumptions of large savings from the privatization of public hospitals, and anticipated money from the sale of state property and proceeds from lawsuits filed by the state. . .Many lawmakers received the proposal with skepticism, with some worrying about the impact it would have on the state’s public hospital system. They also raised concerns that the proposed sales and agreements it relies on might not come to fruition. NOLA.com

IL: Charter Schools and Disaster Capitalism

The right-wing, free market vision of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman informed the blueprint for the rapid privatization of municipal services throughout the world due in no small part to what author Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism”. . . There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder? They create a crisis. Each year, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) projects a billion dollar deficit. The announcement grabs headlines and the Board of Education announces that they must make serious cuts. These cutbacks are never at the top. The Board cuts education programs, after-school activities, and forces more classroom costs onto its employees. . . Charter schools become the “solution” lying around for parents who want to keep their students close to home in a school that will not be closed the following year.  Salon

TX: Internal review rejects idea of privatizing county jail

Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study by staff from the county budget office, purchasing office and County Attorney’s Office. Commissioner Steve Radack had suggested the county consider privatizing the jail in 2010, and the court voted to accept proposals in April 2011, when the county had begun laying off scores of staff in a lean budget year. Houston Chronicle

AZ: Rally against toll roads at Arizona Capitol

Arizona is one of a dozen states that have no toll roads. But this is no time to fall asleep at the wheel, warns the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council. That could change in the near future, taking a big bite out of Arizonans’ pockets and our freedoms, a council spokesman said. . . To blow the horn about possible tolls and user fees on Arizona roads, the council has called a rally at the state Capitol for next Wednesday. Organizers hope hundreds of owners of vehicles — from high-dollar customs to retro-restored muscle cars to daily drivers — will show up to warn lawmakers to steer clear of any such plans. Arizona Republic

CA: Bloomberg’s meddling in LA Unified races is paying for junk ads

The wealthy New York mayor’s $1-million contribution to the Coalition for School Reform is helping fund attack ads in L.A. that distort the truth and misinform voters. They said he should mind his own business, and they called this another example of an attempt by rich guys to privatize public schools, or at least turn them over to their charter school cronies. Los Angeles Times

CA: Editorial: Privatization might save money, but it costs accountability

But it’s a reminder that privatizing government services — often touted as a move to cut costs and red tape, and in the case of Redding Community Access Corp. originally intended to untangle city government from broadcasting controversies — also has costs. Not least, the public loses the accountability the law has built around government institutions — rigorous accounting of spending, public meetings and the ability to bump misguided decision-makers out of office at the next election. And when things go sideways, we sure notice how important all those rules were. Record-Searchlight

Civil Rights Group Slams House Republicans for Attempting to Privatize the US Postal Service

From ColorOfChange.org: The United States Postal Service is a critical service for Black and low-income communities, and it must be protected. The end of Saturday mail delivery would create delays for Veterans’ and Social Security checks, putting people who are already struggling to make it to the end of the month at even greater risk. And a full 46% of Black Americans, who lack access to high-speed Internet in their homes, rely on the post office for basic communication with the outside world. PostalNews

Privatizing cops: Because of budget cuts, “even police protection is more accessible to those with cash.”

Economic experts, and the president of the United States, have been emphasizing stimulus spending, not austerity, to get us out of the Big Recession mess BushCo created. But Republicans have insisted on cut after cut after cut. All those Big Bad Government Jobs that the GOP keeps wailing about? Those include police officers, the very men and women who, you know, protect us from the “bad guys with guns.” So cities and towns all over America are slashing their police forces because of deep budget cuts, the ones that have proved disastrous time after time. Political Carnival

February 22, 2013


Study: Privatizing Medicare Spikes Overhead Costs

The traditional Medicare program allocates only 1 percent of total spending to overhead compared with 6 percent when the privatized portion of Medicare, known as Medicare Advantage, is included, according to a study in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.  EurekAlert

College Lets Students Cheat, Prof Says

To “maximize revenue” by ensuring that students don’t flunk out, profit-seeking Carrington College posts test questions online so students can memorize them, and it fired a nursing professor for complaining about it, the nurse claims in court. Courthouse News

Attendance ‘scrubbing’ tempts low-ranked schools

In Columbus, a student’s father alleges in a lawsuit that a series of improper withdrawals of low-performing students caused his daughter’s home school to rise in academic status, making her ineligible for a state voucher that allows students in failing institutions to attend better schools. Losing the voucher meant that 15-year-old Kailey Beard’s $9,000 tuition to a nearby private school was no longer covered — and that she couldn’t play sports. BusinessWeek

GA: Lawmakers make step toward privatization at MARTA

MARTA, the backbone of public transit in metro Atlanta, on Thursday moved a step closer to privatization in an effort to put the troubled agency on a firmer financial footing. Legislation was passed by state representatives that required the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to privatize major functions — from payroll and cleaning to paratransit services. Atlanta Journal Constitution

WI: Critics say Scott Walker’s plan to sell heating plants will cost taxpayers

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to put the state’s 37 power plants up for sale to fund road projects might bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, but it would short-change taxpayers in the long run, critics of the plan say.  “The whole idea of selling has to do with short-term money gain because we sell the right to bleed the taxpayer in the future,” says Peter Carstensen, a professor at the UW Law School who specializes in utilities regulation. Capital Times (blog)

TX: Internal review rejects idea of privatizing county jail

Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study by staff from the county budget office, purchasing office and County Attorney’s Office. Commissioner Steve Radack had suggested the county consider privatizing the jail in 2010, and the court voted to accept proposals in April 2011, when the county had begun laying off scores of staff in a lean budget year. Houston Chronicle

AZ: Rally against toll roads at Arizona Capitol

Arizona is one of a dozen states that have no toll roads. But this is no time to fall asleep at the wheel, warns the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council. That could change in the near future, taking a big bite out of Arizonans’ pockets and our freedoms, a council spokesman said. “A little bit of tolling is like a little bit of pregnancy. It’s only going to get bigger and more expensive,” said Bill Gilmore, a legislative liaison for the council, which has championed the interests of the collector-car and hot-rod community for 40 years. To blow the horn about possible tolls and user fees on Arizona roads, the council has called a rally at the state Capitol for next Wednesday. Arizona Republic

KY: Bill would permit public-private partnerships

A bill filed in the Kentucky General Assembly would permit unique arrangements between private companies and state government to pay for roads and bridges. Courier-Journal


February 21, 2013


FL: Florida to Take Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion

Shortly before his announcement, the governor received word from the federal government that it planned to grant Florida the final waiver needed to privatize Medicaid, a process the state initially undertook as a pilot project. Mr. Scott, who is running for re-election next year, has heavily lobbied for the waiver, arguing that Florida could not expand Medicaid without it.  New York Times

PA: Editorial: Corbett gambles, loses on lottery deal

From the reasoning for turning over the 41-year-old lottery — one of the largest in the country — to an outside, foreign manager, to exactly how that company plans to boost profits, the process has been shrouded in secrecy. . . Perhaps Corbett thought it was going to be a slam dunk; he certainly didn’t seem to be bothered by the criticism. . . If lawmakers want to expand services for seniors, they will have to come up with a plan themselves, debate it in their chambers and sell it to their constituents. That’s the way it should have been done in the first place. York Dispatch

TX: Editorial: A public equation for state lands

Slow down. Think about what you’re doing and work with others before you commit the state to building something it will come to regret. That was the basic message the Sunset Advisory Commission delivered recently to the Texas Facilities Commission, the state agency that’s shown an eagerness to develop state-owned property in partnership with private interests. Concerned about the Facilities Commission’s rush toward development, and critical that plans were being put together without transparency or consultation with other state agencies, sunset commissioners recommended legislators revisit a 2011 law designed to facilitate public-private partnerships. Austin American-Statesman

TX: University may accept proposals regarding outsourcing

If the University accepts proposals to outsource on-campus dining, parking and housing services, it would be the latest step in a long history of outsourcing at UT stretching back through the early 1990s. President William Powers Jr. appointed a 13-member Committee on Business Productivity last year, which spent almost $1 million in University funds to perform an efficiency study of the University and to identify potential untapped sources of revenue. The committee claims that by reorganizing the University’s administrative functions, assets and commercialization practices, the University could save $490 million in the next decade. UT The Daily Texan

WI: Daniel Golden: Privatization is the problem, not the solution

If you really believe the Republican dogma that the sale of well-run and properly maintained state assets such as these power plants is in the best economic interests of the citizens of Wisconsin, you probably also believed Mitt Romney when he said the reason he hid hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign banks had nothing to do with avoiding taxes.  The Cap Times

UT: County union defends suit over mental health services

The union’s lawsuit alleges that the county’s bid to privatize its mental health services is an “illegal attempt to funnel public dollars to a private entity, and to improperly shed its responsibility for the welfare of its residents.” Ukiah Daily Journal

Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights

Companies often pay big money for the right to attach their name to a sports stadium, college football bowl game or even athletic team (think New York Red Bulls). But does corporate naming ever cross the line? This week, Florida Atlantic University announced its plan to rename its football stadium after a multibillion-dollar private prison corporation. What do you think? New York Times (blog)



February 20, 2013


Another former public education official working for Murdoch

Cozy. Justin Hamilton, who recently left the U.S. Department of Education, where he served as press secretary for Secretary Arne Duncan, has gone to work for Amplify, the online education company owned by Rupert Murdoch and run by Joel Klein….In December, Klein described Amplify’s business strategy at the UBS Global Media and Communication Conference, saying that it was up to the private sector to save public education with technology.  Washington Post

A Company That Runs Prisons Will Have Its Name on a Stadium

On Tuesday . . . the Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, firmed a deal to rename its football building GEO Group Stadium. Perhaps that pushed stadium naming to its zenith, if only because the GEO Group is a private prison corporation. For this partnership, there is no obvious precedent. The university’s president described the deal as “wonderful” and the company as “well run” and by a notable alumnus. But it also left some unsettled, including those who study the business of sports and track the privatization of the prison industry. To those critics, this was a jarring case of the lengths colleges and teams will go to produce revenue, of the way that everything seems to be for sale now in sports — and to anyone with enough cash.  New York Times

AZ:  Coalition Opposes New “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013”

Said Don Steuter, Conservation Chair for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter, “This bill is nothing more than special interest legislation for a foreign mining corporation.  It allows Rio Tinto to privatize public, sacred lands, including Oak Flat, which are of incalculable value to Native Americans, birders, rock climbers, and endangered species.  And it does this by sidestepping a cornerstone of our environmental laws – the National Environmental Policy Act.  We strongly oppose this bill and we are disappointed that some in our congressional delegation are once again trying to bypass the public and push through this bad deal. This legislation will harm our lands and provide little return to the American public.” Sacramento Bee

PA: Deadline Is Extended for British Firm Bid to Run Lottery

The Corbett administration persuaded a British firm to keep alive its bid to run the Pennsylvania Lottery past a Saturday expiration deadline, gaining time to try to overcome a ruling by the attorney general rejecting the privatization deal as unlawful….The ruling by the Democratic attorney general was a blow to months of efforts by the Republican governor to close the lottery deal.  Governing

PA: Panelists hear concerns about Allentown water, sewer lease

Environmental standards, rate increases and protections for city employees were among the concerns raised by Allentown residents Tuesday night during a public forum on the city’s proposed lease of its water and sewer systems.….But residents and anti-privatization advocates have raised many questions about the proposal, including the effects that it would have on Allentown residents and others in municipalities that get their water from the city’s system. Panelists fielded questions from about 75 people in attendance. Allentown Morning Call

WI: Voucher plan likely to spark fierce fight

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to expand the private school voucher program statewide, while not allowing public school spending to increase, drew a raft of angry responses Monday from those who fear his budget leaves public school students behind. The debate over Walker’s public education funding proposal and desire to grow alternatives such as private school vouchers is likely to be one of the fiercest in the Statehouse this year, even dividing Republicans who control the Legislature. Beloit Daily News

MI: MSU Professor To Governor: Don’t ‘Privatize Michigan’s Public Schools’ With Vouchers

MSU Professor David Arsen lays out in academic style why he’s alarmed by a Republican push for “legislation to profoundly change funding for Michigan’s K-12 schools….“HB 5923 explicitly seeks to undermine local school districts as the providers of education services. But most Michigan citizens like their local public schools, and they like having democratic control over school boards. Their communities are defined by their local school districts. . . .Community is real. We know that it matters for health and happiness. And people are willing to pay for it. Real estate markets reflect the value people place on local school districts in home prices. Identical homes on opposite sides of a district boundary can differ in price by tens of thousands of dollars. Destroy the districts where people have paid extra for their community schools, and property values will fall.” Deadline Detroit

NY: Online petition to save NYC public libraries

An online petition is underway to push-back on Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to tie funding of the city’s public libraries to the selling off of library assets—including the crown jewels of the system. SignOn.org

February 19, 2013


WI: Wisconsin’s state power plants may be privatized

Gov. Scott Walker is seeking to sell off hundreds of millions of dollars in power plants or other state assets to help pay some of the borrowing he is proposing as part of his two-year $6.4 billion transportation plan unveiled Friday.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

IL: Chicago in an Uproar Over Privatized Parking

Chicago illegally privatized four downtown parking garages in a 99-year lease to a private company – which is demanding $200 million because the city approved another parking garage, a government watchdog claims in court. Courthouse News

WI: Walker’s voucher plan angers public school backers

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to expand the private school voucher program statewide, while not allowing public school spending to increase, drew a raft of angry responses Monday from those who fear his budget leaves public school students behind.  San Francisco Chronicle

FL: Florida’s Prison Privatization Isn’t Paradise

The governor isn’t waiting for state lawmakers to make this move to privatization. In January, the state’s Department of Corrections signed a $48 million annual contract with Wexford Health Sources to outsource medical care to more than 15,000 inmates in South Florida. A month earlier, Corizon Health Inc.’s five-year, $230 million contract to provide services for inmates in central and northern Florida prisons was blocked when a judge ruled the state entered into the deal illegally. Both companies have battled lawsuits in federal and state courts and have been fined in states where the for-profit companies run health services for prison systems. In Escambia County, we have seen how for-profit companies can botch health services for inmates.  FloridaVoices

Professor: Why Teach For America can’t recruit in my classroom

The organization’s facile circumvention of the grinding, difficult, but profoundly empowering work of teaching and administering schools has created the illusion that there are quick fixes, not only for failing schools but for deeply entrenched patterns of poverty and inequality.  No organization has been more complicit than TFA in the demonization of teachers and teachers’ unions, and no organization has provided more “shock troops” for education reform strategies which emphasize privatization and high-stakes standardized testing.  Michelle Rhee, a TFA alum, is the poster child for such policies, but she is hardly alone. Washington Post (blog)




February 14, 2013


Privatizing Roads, Bridges, Schools and Energy Grids? Corporatism Pervades SOTU

While the President pledged to reel in corporations, his grand plans for the U.S. proposed just the opposite…. Obama’s proposed public-private partnerships went far beyond public school classrooms. They also include the country’s most essential infrastructure: roads, bridges, rails and even energy grid… Couched as a way to save taxpayers’ money, the President actually just dangled a considerable carrot in front of corporations: construction grants and partial ownership of nearly all of the United States’ infrastructure. AlterNet

US toll roads get ‘negative’ outlook for fifth straight year

For the fifth straight year, a global rating agency has given U.S. toll roads a negative outlook. Moody’s Investor Service predicts modest growth for toll roads in 2013, but it won’t be enough to land a “stable” rating without a boost in traffic. In its 2013 outlook published Feb. 6, Moody’s said a weakened economy, flat traffic counts and “potential fiscal tightening” by the U.S. government will keep a thumb on toll-road performance in 2013.  Land Line Magazine

Mica Won’t Let His Grudge Against Amtrak Die, Revives Privatization Scheme

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) no longer chairs the House Transportation Committee, but that doesn’t mean he’s eased up on his crusade against Amtrak. Calling the company a “Soviet style monopoly,” Mica used his afternoon address to the U.S. High Speed Rail Association to announce his plan to revive his despised and defeated measure to privatize parts of Amtrak. Mica plans to introduce legislation to end Amtrak’s “monopoly” by allowing “open competition to provide intercity passenger and high-speed rail service.”  Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Letter: The For-Profit Tutoring Experience

I am a teacher in a Catholic school and I work for one of these for profit tutoring companies in Chicago. I provide small group instruction to children in math and reading….The company is squeezing teachers more and more so that the company makes lots of money for their shareholders (because they are paid by the head)… If more people understood what these companies are doing, they would be outraged! Diane Ravitch’s Blog

IL: BGA Urging Open Process For Any Deal To Privatize Midway

The Better Government Association has been putting pressure on the Chicago City Council as city officials weigh possible privatization of Midway International Airport, in an effort to make sure it won’t turn out like the disastrous parking meter lease deal. “That has been the biggest single fiasco in Chicago contracting history,” BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw told WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger. CBS Local

OH: Prison privatization huge flop by governor – opinion

When Corrections Corporation of America spent $72.7 million for one of Ohio’s facilities, Gov. John Kasich thought this would serve as a model for other states stuck in a financial slump. However, it seems that Kasich’s privatization solution has only worsened conditions inside and outside of the barbed wire. Central Florida Future



February 13, 2013


SC: SC could privatize program for sexual predators

The state Department of Mental Health could privatize its program for sexually violent predators under a proposal that state lawmakers endorsed Monday. South Carolina is one of about 20 states that has a program that allows the state to keep sexually violent predators in prison past their release dates if a judge rules they pose a threat to the community. That program is growing and expensive. MyrtleBeachOnline.com

MS: Mississippi House approves bill to privatize child support collections

House members narrowly approved legislation Tuesday that would let the state Department of Human Services turn over child support collections to lawyers or other private vendors. DeSoto Appeal

PA: Corbett: School grants need liquor privatization

Gov. Tom Corbett said Tuesday a proposed block grant program that would funnel a projected $1 billion to state schools over four years would disappear if lawmakers don’t approve his liquor privatization initiative. Corbett singled out his proposed Passport for Learning initiative as he lobbied for his $28.4 billion state budget plan at a Capitol news conference and a separate economic summit sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.  SFGate.com

CA: Students plan to rally against privatization

Students will rally today at noon at the Memorial Union (MU) to speak about “blowing the whistle” on privatization and to address the alleged ongoing privatization of the University of California. “If we do not seriously reverse track, we are going to end up with a system of higher education public only in name — because fees will be so high that more and more students will be unable to afford to attend, lest they want to go into even more outrageous debt than many currently are in. By taking this action, we are refusing to be commodified.” The Aggie

OR: Bill to support toll road advances in Oregon

A bill (HB2696) is advancing in the Oregon state legislature to support a proposed investor-financed 12-mi., 2×2 lane toll road — the Coastal Parkway — on the southwestern part of the Portland metro area. Fleet Owner

OH: Privatizing Prison Food: Cutting Costs and Irking Inmates

But a common concern for this time of move is the fact that private contractors don’t have to yield to federal nutrition guidelines. Furthermore, there’s the ever-looming notion of *profit* that hangs in the air. Last year, a deadly riot broke out at a Mississippi detention center following similar turns in food quality and health. Cleveland Scene Weekly

The collateral damage of cutting postal service – Katrina vanden Heuvel

The collateral damage of shutting down Saturday delivery and hours will be extensive — particularly in inner cities and rural areas, where small businesses and working families rely on local post offices, many of which are already scheduled to be shut down. Americans increasingly vote by mail — particularly workers on strict schedules, and increasingly seniors and the disabled. But that works only if the mail delivery system is secure. Kate Brown, secretary of state in Oregon, a leading vote-by-mail state, argues that eliminating Saturday delivery and other cutbacks in the USPS will create delays, increase burdens on election officials and threaten to disenfranchise voters in Oregon. Donahue seems intent on killing the postal service with those proverbial thousand cuts. The private companies would like nothing better than to carve up pieces of USPS. And without it, watch rates soar — as in Germany, where a letter costs 78 cents.  Washington Post