March 29, 2013


OH: Cincinnati Parking Privatization Must Go to Vote. A Cincinnati plan to privatize parking to close a municipal budget gap must be put to a public referendum, an Ohio state court judge ruled, blocking the initiative. The proposal calls for the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to take charge of street spaces for 30 years and those off street for 50 years, with the ability to subcontract their management. In exchange, the authority would pay Cincinnati $92 million now and an estimated $3 million annually for 30 years. Six Cincinnati residents sued, challenging a city council decision earlier this month to confer “emergency” status on the enabling ordinance, which the lawmakers said exempted it from being put to a public vote.  Bloomberg

NC: North Carolina Considers ALEC Model Bill to Privatize Schools. Now that North Carolina is completely in the control of Republicans, the state is moving forward with ALEC model legislation intended to remove public oversight from charter schools. This is the next step toward full privatization of the public school system in North Carolina, with a goal to move toward this model nationwide. Crooks and Liars

ME: Editorial: Inflating schools’ woes eases path to privatization. Gov. Paul LePage’s education reform conference in Augusta last week made one thing clear: The governor is less interested in improving public schools than in replacing them. They would still be public in the sense that they would be financed with the public’s money, but the education would be delivered outside what most people consider public school systems.  Morning Sentinel

CA: Orange County Experiments With Privatizing Ambulance Service. For the first time, private paramedics were deployed last week in Orange County to transfer patients between health facilities, a move that instantly generated ideological controversy and questions about quality….The Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, the union that represents firefighters for the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) in 23 jurisdictions, filed a letter that day with the county demanding the new paramedic service be halted. The letter argued its creation violated county and state policies and law. VoiceofOC

IL: Chicago’s Unfair School Closings Will Gut Remaining Supports for Kids. This is about privatizing of one of the last few public assets in America: public education. Advocates of privatization have grabbed up just about every public institution imaginable: electric and telephone utilities, parks, housing, even our highways. Now we are witnessing an overt effort by players like the Walton Family Foundation — the wealthy heirs of Walmart’s founder — to hand over public schools to the private sector. Huffington Post



March 28, 2013


With Vouchers, States Shift Aid for Schools to Families. A growing number of lawmakers across the country are taking steps to redefine public education, shifting the debate from the classroom to the pocketbook. Instead of simply financing a traditional system of neighborhood schools, legislators and some governors are headed toward funneling public money directly to families, who would be free to choose the kind of schooling they believe is best for their children, be it public, charter, private, religious, online or at home. Critics of the programs see money being taken out of public school systems at a time when resources are already strained.  New York Times

D.C. school facilities plan considers charters for the first time. Along with investing in certain high-need neighborhoods, the plan recommends upgrading the main entrance of every school and sharing half-empty District facilities with charters and community organizations. The decision to avoid specifics is a sign that city officials are grappling with unanswered questions about how to plan for the coexistence of traditional and charter schools. The 2013 facilities plan is the first in the city’s history to consider charters, the taxpayer-funded, independently run public schools that have grown quickly in recent years and now enroll more than 40 percent of the city’s students.  Washington Post

OK: Oklahoma Lottery privatization proposal advances through House committee. A proposal that could lead to privatization of the Oklahoma Lottery eased through a House committee on Wednesday despite reservations about its ultimate feasibility. Tulsa World

VA: Virginia Port Authority will not privatize operations. The proposal to privatize operations at the Port of Virginia ran into widespread opposition by many with port-related jobs who worried that a company would look out for its own interests above that of the people of Virginia and that a private operator would unfairly discriminate against competitors. Richmond Times Dispatch

TX: Students and staff voice opposition to committee’s cost-cutting recommendations. The plan, released Jan. 29 and titled “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” proposes cost hikes on food, housing and other services, employee cutbacks and increased uses of assets like UT’s power plant, which it claims could create a combined $490 million for the University. …Lewis said she is afraid that housing, food and parking will be privatized, a possibility that the committee raised in its report. Should they be privatized, Lewis said, employees would suffer and so would service. “We really believe there’s some very big questions about the quality of service [for students] given the profit model operating in what is a nonprofit institution,” she said. UT The Daily Texan


March 27, 2013


IN: Ind. school voucher ruling could influence others. The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 upheld the law creating the nation’s broadest school voucher program, clearing the way for a possible expansion. In a 5-0 vote, the justices rejected claims that the law primarily benefited religious institutions that run private schools and accepted arguments that it gave families choice and allowed parents to determine where the money went.  San Francisco Chronicle

IL: Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Parasitic “Business”. The company essentially paid the city a $1.1 billion bribe for a 75-year-long monopoly on a publicly-owned resource. The streets where Chicagoans park are maintained with public funds, and the company’s monopoly is enforced by the Chicago Police Department, which tickets delinquent drivers. Chicago Parking Meters is free to extract excessive tolls from the public because it has no competition — no one else can charge money for parking on Chicago streets. It’s a parasitic, not a productive, enterprise, because it stands to extract $11 billion in fees over the life of its lease — money that otherwise would have gone into the city’s treasury. Even more than that, Chicago Parking Meters is damaging businesses by charging more for parking than drivers would have to pay in the suburbs. NBC Chicago

IL: Editorial: Privatizing development agency a bad idea. Privatizing any state agency would put another barrier between taxpayers and an agency that is supposed to serve them. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where a private state economic development agency would benefit taxpayers. Illinois government needs more sunshine, not less. Bloomington Pantagraph

VA: Virginia Port Authority will not privatize most of its port operations. The Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday rejected two offers worth billions of dollars to privatize the operations of the state’s coastal terminals, choosing to keep and restructure the port’s current operator instead. Washington Post

LA: Inmate Suit Against Private Prison. A man on pre-trial detention at a LaSalle Management Prison in Claiborne Parish has been in solitary since June 6, 2012 and repeatedly Maced by guards, he claims in Federal Court.  Courthouse News

IN: OPINION: Education reform industry targets Twin Cities. Murdoch is part of a growing list of corporate executives who see schools as profit centers. The education reform industry and their privatization efforts that have virtually destroyed the public education systems in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans have been quietly, and not so quietly, targeting the Twin Cities. Twin Cities Daily Planet


March 26, 2013


NJ: Gov. Announces Privatizing Scheme For Camden City Schools. Governor Chris Christie has announced a state takeover of the Camden school system to force privatization programs. The privatization program had been stymied by residents and their local representatives who did not want to lose their public school system. Now privatization advocates have been able to go around local authorities and have the Governor hand them power. Firedoglake

NJ: Opinion: NJ Lottery privatization: Oversight needed. Even more to the point: If privatizing these lottery functions is such a good deal for the state, why won’t the administration allow the state treasurer to testify about the plan before the Legislature? Press of Atlantic City           

VA: Va Port Authority to vote on whether to privatize port operations. The authority’s board of commissioners is scheduled to vote on the issue Tuesday.The authority received an unsolicited bid from APM Terminals last spring to privatize most of its port operations, taking over the job that has been done by Virginia International Terminals Inc. for the past 30 years. A group headed by JP Morgan Chase & Co. is also a contender in the process seeking a long-term lease of port facilities. The companies say their proposals are worth billions of dollars. Washington Post

VA: Editorial: Road repairs show lack of oversight. The most visible push for privatization in the commonwealth can be seen on our roads, where maintenance and construction have usually gone to the lowest bidder. But privatization pushes have begun dominating the balance sheets of government at every level, from federal security in Baghdad to School Board offices in Suffolk. Recent episodes on the highways of Hampton Roads show that privatization doesn’t necessarily save money; in fact, it can be much more expensive. The Virginian-Pilot

FL: Lawmakers grapple with future of special needs students. A provision that would allow parents to contract with private therapists during school hours is also drawing ire; some observers see it as an attempt to further the school-privatization agenda. “This usurps the power of the schools at the most basic level,” said Kathleen Oropeza, of the Orlando-based parent group, Fund Education Now. “Can you imagine a class of 15 [special-education] kids with 15 hired consultants in the classroom?” Miami Herald

SC: SC state worker numbers continue to dwindle. State lawmakers have cut the state’s work force by 15 percent over the past 13 years, a result of budget cuts and state agencies relying more on private companies to provide public services. The State

IL: Chicago man starts petition drive against new Ventra fare-payment card. Chicagoan Jacquie Brave compared the Ventra deal, which effectively turns over CTA fare-collection duties to private-sector companies, to the unpopular parking-meter privatization that former Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed through the City Council. “This is deja vu all over again,” Brave said in an email to Getting Around, adding, “The Ventra deal smells just as rotten.” Orlando Sentinel



March 25, 2013


GA: Privatization mandate likely to be dropped from MARTA bill. The options Jacobs cites are several unrelated Senate bills that he’s amended to include his MARTA language. For his scheme to succeed, however, the Senate would need to agree to his amendments. To clear that hurdle, Jacobs seems resigned to dropping the most contentious measure from his legislation: a provision to force the transit agency to privatize a number of key functions, including human resources and technical support. “We would bring it back next year,” he says of the privatization mandate. Atlanta Magazine

TX: Fort Worth mayor, council explore privatizing some water services. A recently appointed Water Utility Task Force will explore ways for the city of Fort Worth to reduce water costs, including the possibility that some water services or management may be privatized. The city said it is reviewing a number of different departments but that the water department –– with more than 900 employees –– was the only one big enough to warrant a task force and outside evaluation. WFAA

ME: Maine Voices: Highway privatization law compromises public oversight of Maine roads. In 2010, with little public notice or opportunity for public comment, Maine enacted a highway privatization statute written by and for Maine’s asphalt lobby: Cianbro Corp., Maria Fuentes of the Maine Better Transportation Association and John Melrose, former Department of Transportation commissioner. There are three bills active in the Legislature to “fix” various elements of our hurriedly written, poorly vetted privatization statute, but the action that is appropriate is outright repeal. Press Herald

VA: Companies estimate value to Virginia of privatization bids. The Virginia Port Authority board will choose Tuesday whether to step up negotiations of one or two proposals to privatize state-run ocean terminals. Daily Press

PA: What Tom Corbett has to give up to get liquor privatization. Corbett’s under increasing public pressure — now from fellow Republicans — to do something about Medicaid. And with the Guv searching for a policy win headed into 2014 (and booze would be a serious feather), allowing a limited form of Medicaid expansion after getting concessions from D.C., might just be the ticket to get him what he wants. PennLive

PA: Pennsylvania Study Finds Halfway Houses Don’t Reduce Recidivism. The study by the Pennsylvania Corrections Department found that 67 percent of inmates sent to halfway houses were rearrested or sent back to prison within three years, compared with 60 percent of inmates who were released to the streets. The study examined 38 privately run and 14 state-run halfway houses. The results for both categories were discouraging, said Mr. Wetzel, the state corrections chief. New York Times

CA: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushes to privatize LA Zoo, Convention Center. With less than 100 days left in his term, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making one last big push on two of his signature proposals – privatizing operations at the Convention Center and the Los Angeles Zoo. The city’s unions, meantime, oppose the proposals and know time is on their side. They are trying simply to delay the matters until after July 1, when a new mayor and City Council will be sworn in. Los Angeles Daily News

OH: Cincinnati plan to privatize parking sparks backlash. But critics, including a consumer watchdog group, call the arrangement an indirect tax increase. Others say city leaders pushed the deal through too quickly. They are skeptical of selling public parking to balance the city budget. And they fear higher costs will discourage people from coming downtown, which is experiencing a renaissance. Plain Dealer

NC: Decker: I’m looking at privatizing N.C. Commerce Dept.. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker outlined the concept of transforming the state Commerce Department into essentially a private marketing and sales organization. She also raised the possibility that the regional partnership organizations might not survive.  The Business Journal



March 22, 2013


IL: City of Chicago hit with $57.8 million tab in parking garage snafu. City Hall has been hit with a $57.8 million arbitration ruling in favor of the private investors who took over four city-owned parking garages in downtown Chicago for allowing a competing parking garage to open….Under terms of the city’s $563 million, 99-year contract with Chicago Loop Parking, the arbitrators’ ruling “shall be final and binding.”… The Emanuel administration also faces another arbitration case with a potentially huge pricetag. In two arbitration cases, Chicago Parking Meters LLC — another Morgan Stanley-organized company, this one in charge of Chicago’s parking-meter system, under a $1.15 billion, 75-year exclusive deal with the city — is demanding more than $60 million from City Hall for having to take parking meters out of service and having to provide free parking to people with disabilities. Chicago Sun Times

IL: Outrage: 50 public school closings in Chicago. Guess whose schools were closed? The poorest, the neediest, the children of color. Now the charter operators will decide which ones they want. They will take the “strivers.” Who will take the others? Which children will be left behind in the era of No Child Left Behind? Which children come in last in Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top? How will the PR folks spin the mass closure of 50 public schools as a victory in “the civil rights issue of our time?” Diane Ravich’s Blog

PA: Pennsylvania legislature votes to privatize state liquor sales. Pennsylvania moved a step closer on Thursday toward getting out of the liquor business, with its House of Representatives voting to sell state-run liquor stores into private hands. Passage of the measure, which still faces a vote in the state Senate, would leave Utah as the only U.S. state to control the wholesale and retail sales of liquor and wine. Reuters

MI: Lawmakers request investigation of Michigan emergency manager law. Two Michigan Democrats have called for a review of Michigan’s emergency manager law shortly after a manager was appointed to improve Detroit’s financial state…. About a year ago Conyers asked Attorney General Eric holder to review the emergency manager law. Conyers said that the provision of the law that gives the emergency manager “sole discretion” over changing or ending contracts is in violation to the U.S. constitution.  The Hill

NH: NH House votes to prohibit privatizing prisons. The House has voted to prohibit New Hampshire’s corrections commissioner from transferring inmates to a private prison except in an emergency…. Supporters argued it is the state’s constitutional responsibility to rehabilitate inmates. Opponents argued private prisons should be considered as a way to avoid building new, costly facilities in New Hampshire. Businessweek

LA: LSU hospital bonds are taxable under privatization. Plans to privatize most of LSU’s public hospitals means borrowing for repairs and construction of the health facilities will be taxable. That borrowing will cost the state more. The Bond Commission learned that bonds issued for LSU hospitals and clinics slated to be managed by private hospital operators don’t meet the requirements for tax-exempt status by the IRS. KLFY

TX: SH 130 toll way or freeway? Texas lawmaker urges to consider buyout. That’s the idea being floated in Austin by State Rep. Paul Workman, who says the tolls are keeping the roads clear… too clear. Workman said, “It’s like $60 for a trucker to go on SH 130, which is prohibitive for a lot of guys.” Workman proposes Texas buy it all back: pay off the near $3 billion in bonds that built the upper section of toll road and buy out the newer, 41-mile stretch near Seguin. Buying out Zachry Construction and Spanish company CINTRA’s 50-year lease would eliminate the tolls.  KENS 5 TV

Privatization Limits Access to Public Information. Private contractors are circumventing open records and sunshine laws as state and local governments push to privatize public services. For example, for-profit prison contractors are escaping scrutiny about prison conditions, financial information about government services that was once public such as management salaries and employee wage rates becomes “proprietary information” exempt from disclosure and even the names of corporations bidding to take control of public services are kept from the public.  Truth-Out

Three Years Running, House Republicans Pass Radical Budget. For the third year in a row House Republicans coalesced around a budget blueprint that calls for converting Medicare into a subsidized private insurance market; dramatically slashing all manner of domestic spending and devolving programs for the poor like Medicaid and food stamps to the states. TPM



March 21, 2013


Parceling out old post offices. The U.S. Postal Service is trying to sell many of its historical buildings to private developers as it looks for ways to cut losses that reached a record $15.9 billion in 2012. The fire sale started gaining momentum two years ago after the Postal Service hired the commercial real estate firm CBRE to oversee the properties, many of them relics of the New Deal era. Of the 58 post offices currently listed, six are on the National Register of Historic Places.  USA TODAY

PA: Lobbying frenzied as Pa. House vote nears on privatizing alcohol sales. In the hours leading up to what is widely expected to be a historic vote Thursday on whether to privatize alcohol sales in Pennsylvania, activity has intensified behind the scenes as much has it has on the House floor….Such a frenzy of lobbying hasn’t been seen in the Capitol on a single issue – other than the annual budget – since Gov. Ed Rendell’s days…Strategists say Corbett needs a legislative win to bolster his sagging approval ratings. Several House Republicans tell of a blunt warning recently received: If privatization fails, they could be calling Democrat Allyson Y. Schwartz “governor-elect” come fall of 2014. Philadelphia Inquirer

NJ: Non-profit cautions Allendale on privatizing its water department. Jim Walsh, N.J. Director of Food & Water Watch, said the New Brunswick-based group is very concerned with water privatization in general and highlighted three main issues it had with the borough’s proposed contract: less public control, greater public costs and worse service. He said while he hasn’t looked at all the financial data, from a community perspective, “private water companies wind up costing more than municipal water systems.”

TN: Tennessee Is Abandoning Public Education – Letter. “Within 5 years TEA and all the locals will be relegated to cursory “remember whens” as the major population centers of the state no longer are in the business of educating their own children. Charters, vouchers and non-profits will have no union affiliates. This will bankrupt the state level organization and open the floodgates for private equity and hedge funds to capitalize off of public tax dollars. All the while those making these decisions have their children in elite private schools that would never take on the ridiculous data-obsessed practices brought to us from Bill and Melinda Gates. No, Mr. Gates, data does not hold the answers to the world’s problems.” Diane Ravich’s Blog

MI: In Michigan, GOP governor finds a tax to like. Conservative lawmakers are calling for freezing spending on other programs, tapping other funds, privatizing rest areas and leasing advertising space or selling naming rights on state property. Businessweek

CA: Toll Road Purchased by Sandag Records 240000 Trips in a Week. The San Diego Association of Governments, the regional transportation and planning agency, said state Route 125, the former privately-held toll road that it purchased out of bankruptcy, handled some 240,000 trips in the past week, a record. After Sandag acquired the toll road in December 2011 it cut the tolls by as much as 40 percent. San Diego Business Journal

IN: Common Core will hurt students, teachers – Opinion. As out-of-state investors and pro- privatization education interest groups pour into our state with their deep pockets to advocate through media advertisements in favor of Common Core State standards, it would seem the practitioners commissioned to implement them should be consulted as well. As a teacher of 22 years in our public schools, concerns exist with the newest “fad” to sweep the nation. Indianapolis Star

NY: LIA formally opposes Cuomo plan to privatize LIPA. The Long Island Association, the region’s largest business group, has formally recommended against a plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sell the Long Island Power Authority’s assets to a private company. Newsday

ID: Idaho Legislature Moves Forward with Resolutions to Study and Demand that Federal Lands be Transferred to the State. While the sponsor of the legislation, Lawrence Denney, and proponents of the bill vigorously deny the claim that the purpose of the transfer of public lands is to sell them to the highest bidder once they have been transferred, the Idaho Constitution provides for just that. The Wildlife News

OH: Parking dispute lingers, judge to extend restraining order. Lawyers on both sides of a dispute over the City of Cincinnati’s $92 million parking privatization plan are biding their time this week, awaiting Judge Robert Winkler’s still-pending ruling on the matter. Winkler heard legal arguments from both sides on March 15 and indicated he’d make a ruling quickly. Business Courier of Cincinnati



March 20, 2013


IL: Lawmaker Wants To “Privatize” State Agency. Governor Pat Quinn’s administration is fighting to keep control of its economic development arm. Legislators are debating whether to move it to a private model.  Northern Public Radio

IL: Rahm Emanuel ‘Opportunity Areas’: Mayor’s $3 Billion Worth Of Old Ideas Have  A New Name. “Private-sector” investments or so-called “public-private partnerships” have long been interpreted as Emanuel’s code for privatization, especially when hailed under the banner of cost-savings for the city. “Chicago is reflective of the outsourcing that’s been going on for years,” Leonard Gilroy, director of government reform at the libertarian Reason Foundation said in a December Chicago Reader cover story on city privatization. Huffington Post

NJ: Dems symbolically block Christie’s lottery privatization. The lottery privatization train is on its way into Trenton. Any day now, the gov is expected to sign a deal with a private operator to run the sales and marketing of the $2.8 billion state institution…. So yesterday legislators did something largely symbolic: They passed a bill demanding that the Legislature sign off on any privatization deal. The move is futile, because Christie could announce the deal tomorrow and summarily veto the bill. There is just one bidder for the lottery, and negotiations with Christie’s people are ongoing behind closed doors. I’ve reported the details that we know here. Since Christie officials have refused to testify on the issue, Democrats saw this bill as their only recourse. Philadelphia Inquirer

PA: The Heron’s Nest: The road to liquor privatization. An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Mustio, R-44, of Allegheny makes a significant change to the Corbett plan. Instead of blowing up the state store system, and turning the entire business over to private enterprise, Mustio instead will gradually phase in privatization. Delaware County Daily Times

PA: Pennsylvania State House to debate liquor privatization Wednesday. On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debating the bill designed to change the way alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania. The House plans to take up House Bill 790, the liquor privatization bill. However, it’s questionable if there will be any vote Wednesday, given the number of amendments tacked onto the bill. Patriot-News

PA: Pennsylvania: Eight Charged In Toll Road Scandal. Top officials at a toll road in Pennsylvania have been charged with shaking down motorists and pocketing the cash. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane last week filed charges against a former state senator, two contractors and five Pennsylvania Turnpike employees, including the CEO, chief financial officer and a commissioner. According to the indictment, vendors interested in landing lucrative, multi-million dollar contracts with the toll road were expected to provide campaign contributions, gifts and other benefits to turnpike officials in a massive pay-to-play scheme.

GA: MARTA privatization bill looking deader by the day. One of the amended bills, SB 168, which was originally designed to make it easier for companies to bid for public contracts, was suddenly expanded from 46 lines of text to 306 lines. In doing so, say Gold Dome insiders, Jacobs has stirred up a hornets’ nest of resentment among some very powerful players, including Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, a co-sponsor of the amended contracting bill; Transportation Chairman Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, whose committee Jacobs is seeking to circumvent; and even Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who doesn’t appreciate upstart House members trying to cheat his chamber of its ability to review important legislation.  Atlanta Magazine

A lesson from Iraq war: How to outsource war to private contractors. One of the most important lessons of the Iraq war is that this military privatization is likely to continue in future conflicts. Christian Science Monitor




March 19, 2013


TX: Privatized water has residents boiling. Minnie Wengert does not have a washing machine or a dishwasher. The 94-year-old conserves water by hand-washing dishes, using her shower sparingly and not watering the lawn. Despite these efforts, she says, her monthly water bill averages about $125 for 5,000 gallons from Monarch Utilities, a private corporation. Texas Tribune

IL: Illinois Lottery private manager short on profits. The private operator of the Illinois Lottery faces a $20 million penalty because it fell nearly $66 million short of the profits it promised the state in its inaugural year, state officials said Monday. Seattle Post Intelligencer

IL: Illinois lost millions on lottery privatization, lawmaker says. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, says a $20 million fine for Illinois’ private lottery manager, Northstar Lottery Group, amounts to pennies when compared to what the state gave away.  “We’re still not getting the kind of return that we could have if we would have just kept this in-house,” Franks said Monday… Illinois was the first state to hand its state lottery over to a private company, but questions about the contract and vetting process soon followed the choice of Northstar. Illinois Watchdog

PA: House committee makes big changes to liquor privatization bill. Members of the state House Liquor Control committee made big changes Monday to Gov. Corbett’s plan to privatize sales of wine and hard liquor, toning down the original proposal and making the path toward privatization more gradual. Although it is a scaled-back version of what the Republican governor envisioned, the House panel’s approval of the measure – by a 14-10 vote, strictly on party lines – marked a win for proponents, who have pushed for decades to turn the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits stores over to the private sector. The measure now heads to the House floor, where it could be voted on final passage as early as this week. Philadelphia Inquirer

PA: Opinion: Harrisburg bought and paid for by special interests. Selling off the wine stores is one time money being used to fund (education) continuing operations. What happens in five years when the money runs out? Privatizing the Lottery will make more money for the state. If you believe that I’ve got a bridge for sale! Remember, the Camelot Deal was made in the back room without hearings or other input. It is a no-bid contract with about $34 billion in projected revenue. However it has since been disclosed that Camelot has not performed well in England and is laying off staff and closing centers. Yet Corbett would have us believe that no one else would bid. In fact, it appears that the state hired three consulting firms to “get Camelot before the Administration.” (See Feb. 20, 2013 article on budget hearings.)

NJ: Senate passes bill to give Legislature a say in lottery privatization. A bill that would require legislative approval to privatize the state lottery is headed to the governor’s desk….Christie plans to let a private vendor take over the lottery’s sales and marketing for 15 years in exchange for an upfront payment of $120 million. The contractor would get to keep a cut of future revenues. The Communications Workers of America — the largest state workers union — have criticized the Christie administration for “secrecy” about the process and have launched an advertising blitz against the move, saying it would cost jobs. The Star-Ledger

VA: Editorial: Protecting public from sex offenders. Rather like the first private proposal to take over operation of Virginia’s public port, two bids to take over the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation came to the state unsolicited. One bid was rejected because officials decided that the private prisons operator focused too much on incarceration and not enough on treatment  This was precisely the concern that civil libertarians had raised when the privatization issue first surfaced. The second bid was rejected because it was too costly, proposing to charge $2.4 million a year more than Virginia spends to run the facility itself. Public management is more efficient that private enterprise in this case….But it is worth noting that the danger of escalating costs exists — especially if Virginia falls prey to the temptation of increasing civil commitments due to political pressure rather than impartial justice. The Daily Progress

ALEC Education Bill Hides Privatization Behind a Reading Skills Disguise. Many of the bills are chock-full of other education esoterica, most of which comes from model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Jeb Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) joined at the ALEC hip over right-wing efforts to establish impossible norms and imperatives for public schools thereby forcing these taxpayer-funded centers of learning to spend time and money unnecessarily. Money that red state legislatures have made sure is in precipitous decline. PoliticusUSA

Video: Corporations Get Rich off Children with Charter Schools The Young Turks


March 18, 2013


PA: Coming this week: Liquor privatization’s first big test. The House Liquor Control Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Monday to consider Gov. Corbett’s privatization plan, which calls for auctioning off the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits shops to the private sector. The proceeds from the sale – about $1 billion – would be given to public schools through a new initiative to help them pay for early childhood education and school security, among other things. If it passes muster in committee, the bill would then be sent to the House floor for debate. Philadelphia Inquirer

OH: Privatizing the feeding of Ohio’s inmates stirs fears. Ohio’s move to privatize prison food service, estimated to save taxpayers $15 million annually, could cause collateral damage to some small businesses. The Kasich administration proposed, as part of its$63.3 billion biennial budget, to privatize preparing and serving more than 150,000 meals a day to inmates in Ohio’s adult and juvenile prisons. The cost savings are estimated at $16.2 million annually under a Kasich administration plan. Columbus Dispatch

OH: Cincinnati Parking Privatization Opponents Seek Vote. Cincinnati’s plan to privatize parking is being challenged by six city residents who claim the March 6 ordinance should be put to a public referendum. The measure places the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority in charge of street parking for 30 years and off-street parking. Bloomberg

IL: Six advance in Midway privatization bid. The City of Chicago on Friday selected six groups of airport investors and operators as potential bidders should it move toward privatizing Midway Airport. The six groups were selected from 16 that responded to a city request for qualifications. City staff, advisers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Midway Advisory Panel evaluated the companies on their financial capacity and their experience in airport operations. Chicago Tribune

CA: Online-course bill is sharply criticized by top UC faculty leaders. In a crossing of swords between academics and politicians, the University of California’s top two faculty leaders on Friday strongly criticized legislation that would allow students bumped from overcrowded core courses at state schools to instead take online courses from other colleges or private companies. The bill, authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), “raises grave concerns,” Robert L. Powell and Bill Jacob, the chairman and vice chairman of the UC system’s faculty Senate, wrote in a letter to colleagues. Among other things, “the clear self-interest of for-profit corporations in promoting the privatization of public higher education through this legislation is dismaying,” they said. Los Angeles Times