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