April 30, 2013


FL: Local attorney discovers he is fighting a prosecutor paid by a private company.  So, private corporations are adding privately funded prosecutors to the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office.  Really?  Do we have Monroe County prosecutors whose salaries are paid by private companies?  “Indirectly, yes, and that deal is unconstitutional,” says local defense attorney Jiulio Margalli. Margalli is referring to an agreement, entered into last December, by which the Guidance/Care Center (GCC) and Monroe County Coalition (MCC), both private entitles, are paying the State Attorney’s Office for a special prosecutor to “increase prosecutions of DUI cases.”  The Blue Paper

LA: The Great Takeover: The New Orleans Public Schools in Post-Katrina Louisiana. A writer recently hailed federal and state education reform as a new civil rights movement. But the word reform, which means “the improvement . . . of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory,” can hardly be applied to the recent changes in educational law. Most of these changes are not for the better. Instead, they create a separate and wholly unequal educational system masquerading as choice, which serves to destabilize and discredit public schools in the name of improvement and to make state funds accessible to a wide range of individuals and corporations with little or no oversight. This article examines recent legislation that dramatically expanded state takeover of schools after Hurricane Katrina, shows how the changes are contrary to educational research on effective schools, and points to some examples of schools and programs gone awry under this new regime. Louisiana Voice

MD: Untold health risks of privatizing Citizens-Montevu. This is of concern to so many of us now because our county commissioners are moving rapidly to sell Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. Montevue is home for some 75 elderly and frail Frederick County residents, 60 of whom have extremely limited resources, if any, and whose support is subsidized by us, the taxpayers of this county.  The Frederick News Post

IL: Illinois American, Aqua Illinois Push Bill To Privatize Municipal Water Systems, Automatically Raise Rates To Finance Purchases. Legislation moving quickly through Springfield would allow the state’s biggest private water companies, Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois, to fast-track takeovers of municipal water systems and automatically charge current customers higher rates to fund those conquests, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) warned Monday. Citizens Utility Board PR


IL: Legal fight settled over Chicago parking meters.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he was able to tweak a deal to privatize the city’s parking meters that has proven to be a national embarrassment even as he acknowledged that the city is stuck for the next 71 years with a contract he inherited and despises…. Emanuel, who called his proposal an effort to “make a little lemonade out of a big lemon,” said he was able to secure from Chicago Parking Meters LLC an agreement to stop charging for parking in the city’s residential neighborhoods on Sundays. But to get that concession, Emanuel had to give one: Metered parking hours will be extended an hour until 10 p.m., as well as an additional three hours in the trendy near North Side. The Seattle Times

NJ:  Commentary: Why privatize the New Jersey Lottery? By all accounts, the New Jersey Lottery is enormously successful. Last year, it brought in $2.7 billion, a record and a 4.5 percent increase over last year. So why does Chris Christie want to privatize it? As far as deals go, this one stinks. First of all, it’s a 15-year contract – a long time to be in bed with a partner you’ve just met. Second, only one company bid for the contract – GTECH, a controversial Italian firm that has already been involved in one kickback scheme in New Jersey, and is dealing with a lawsuit in Illinois after taking over their lottery.  NewsWorks

TX: Group opposes privatization proposal at UT. Opponents of a proposed effort to privatize some nonacademic jobs at the University of Texas will hold a press conference at noon Tuesday on the west mall of the campus to discuss their concerns about decreases in service and potential job losses for longtime university employees….Parking and food service were the two areas explicitly mentioned as having potential for savings through third-party vendors, but SOCC member and UT student Sydney Dwoskin said the group is worried most service job classifications would eventually be targeted, resulting in job loss or dramatically reduced pay and benefits. Her group is lobbying to stop any privatization and to have UT President Bill Powers solicit student and community involvement on such matters. Austin Business Journal

HI: Public-private authority bill dies. Hawaii lawmakers have killed a measure that would have created a new agency called the Public-Private Partnership Authority. A panel of negotiators met Friday and decided to defer the bill. Maui News

April 29, 2013


LA: Lawmakers scrutinize LSU privatization. Lawmakers are raising questions about whether the LSU privatization agreements devised by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration provide enough public scrutiny of the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. he concerns were voiced Friday as the Legislature’s joint budget committee reviewed agreements to turn over management of LSU’s Lafayette and New Orleans hospitals to nonprofit’s that run private hospitals. Committee members also say information is murky on the cost of the deals and how they will affect the state budget annually. KLFY

NJ: Sole bidder in lottery privatization plan will expand retail outlets. The lone bidder in a plan to privatize New Jersey’s lottery will generate new revenue for the state by increasing the number of stores that sell tickets and developing “transformative” designs for lottery games.  NorthJersey.com

FL: Budget push for more privatization skirts transparency. Budget language that would ask the state to develop a plan to move those with developmental disabilities through a managed care system has drawn fire. “We are concerned that managed care options may further cut services and reduce the inserted at the last minute without public discussion. ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to live in the community,” stated a release by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. “Stakeholders for those with developmental disabilities were surprised that this language appeared during the last day of the (Health and Human Services/Healthcare) budget conference process and was quickly accepted.” The language in question was slipped into the legislative health care budget without discussion on Tuesday morning.  Naked Politics

FL: Negron rejects privatization plan. On Tuesday, language that would require the state to  develop a plan to move those with developmental disabilities through a managed care system was added at the final joint budget conference between the House and Senate appropriation committees. Non-profit groups objected, saying it was a last-minute addition that could have huge ramifications for those with disabilities and deserved a public reckoning. Sen. Joe Negron , R-Stuart, was no fan of the add either. Asked Friday night if it would remain in the budget, Negron didn’t hesitate with a reply. “We’re not doing it,” he said. “I won’t support it, we’re not doing it.”  Tampa Bay Times

NC: Op-Ed: Dr. Jo Ellen Hirsch – Don’t let North Carolina privatize Medicaid. There are three strong reasons thoughtful legislators should oppose the privatization of Medicaid in North Carolina. Private insurers are obligated and responsible to shareholders, not to the citizens of North Carolina. Fayetteville Observer

NY: Privatization of the Commons in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York. Greg Miller is Executive Director and Founder of Dance Parade, a not-for-profit cultural organization which organizes an annual event in New York City. Seven years ago, he held his first event in Washington Square Park. The end of the parade wrapped up under the park’s Arch. The following year, Miller wanted to repeat the event at the historic downtown park but it had since gone under construction and was inaccessible. So he looked to midtown’s Bryant Park. He spent “many hours putting together a proposal” for the four hour free event, “very detailed, which is what they require.” The ‘they’ is the Bryant Park Corporation from which he received a response: “Thank you, that will cost you $100,000 — at the non-profit fee.” As a non-profit, this was well out of range of their budget; the group ended up at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village at a fraction of the cost. Such is the way private corporations now running many New York City parks discriminate against the public’s use without giving the appearance of selectively censoring particular projects. Huffington Post

PA: The liquor privatization battle moves to the Senate. On April 30, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, a Bucks County Republican, will hold court as chairman over a much-anticipated Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing, one of three scheduled this spring on the topic of liquor privatization…..Earlier this year, he proposed legislation that would modernize the state liquor system and keep the state-run stores. He spoke out against Corbett’s liquor privatization proposal, and in March flat out said he wouldn’t have supported the House bill designed to privatize liquor. But in a surprise move earlier this week, McIlhinney told Philadelphia radio show host Dom Giordano he favors the idea of selling off the state’s liquor stores. In addition, he said he supports a freer retail market than the version passed in the House…. In the meantime, the conservative Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania has launched a television campaign in the Bucks County market targeting McIlhinney. The ads accuse the senator of being against privatization and voting in the past in favor of big government corporations.  PennLive.com

TX: Mayor Ponders Privatizing Airport. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says he’s considering a plan to lease out the Austin -Bergstrom International Airport to help pay for future urban rail. KUT News

April 26, 2013


NJ: Treasurer: Lottery contract ‘a good deal’ for NJ. Treasurer Andrew Eristoff told the Assembly Budget Committee that the 15-year deal with the lone bidder, a joint venture named Northstar New Jersey, is good for the state….Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat running for governor, said Christie’s motivation for handing over a portion of the lottery is strictly financial; the administration is counting on the up-front payment to come through before the current budget year ends on June 30. She said Christie is using the one-time payment to plug a budget hole though he’s frequently criticized Democrats, including his predecessor, Gov. Jon Corzine, for their use of so-called one-shots. San Francisco Chronicle

PA: Allentown approves $220 million lease of water system to Lehigh County Authority. Opposition to the proposal has been fierce and has continued right up to the vote. That opposition has included concerns about privatizing the system – somewhat allayed with the nonprofit authority’s winning bid – but many opponents claim the city has refused to allow the public full access to the bidding process.  Council chambers were nearly full and during public comment period speakers lined up out the door of the auditorium. Opponents have said the city didn’t provide enough information to the public to properly weigh alternatives. Eichenwald and some of the other speakers were concerned that no information was made public about the other bids prior to the vote, and said the city will face lawsuits and possible sanctions for violation of the state Sunshine Act. The Express Times

NY: NYS proposal would give PSEG near control of LIPA. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering a plan that would give a New Jersey company nearly complete control of the Long Island electric system.  Cuomo secretary Larry Schwartz said state officials are in discussions with PSEG. It’s already set to take over management of Long Island’s electric grid in January. Newsday

AL: Opinion: Birmingham Airport case: When is public business none of the public’s business? The specific question is whether the publicly owned, tax-supported Birmingham Airport Authority can turn over a $200 million building project to private companies such as Brasfield & Gorrie and the KPS Group, and then use those private companies to shield its business from public view. The bigger question is this: Can any public entity outsource the public’s business, and then claim, merely by hiring somebody to do its job, that it is not the public’s business anymore? Those are critical questions at a critical time, for the move toward privatization has already put much public work in shadow.  AL.co

ID: Protests filed against aquifer recharge plan. More than 20 individuals and groups, including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Western Watersheds Project and the Idaho Conservation League, have filed protests against a plan to use unclaimed water in the Big Wood River to recharge the local aquifer and sell that water to irrigators during the summer….. She said the ICL also objects to “privatizing and monetizing a public resource in a way that hasn’t been done in Idaho.” Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

Calls to Privatize the FAA Follow Controller Furloughs and Airport Delays. It didn’t take long for calls to privatize the FAA to surface following the agency’s announcement on Sunday that due to sequester cuts of $637 million (out of its $16 billion budget), all 47,000 of its employees, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, were being furloughed. The resulting delays were especially noticeable at high-traffic centers like New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Los Angeles. FAA Administrator Michael Hurta said his agency “could find no other way” to respond to the mandated cuts but to inflict maximum pain on travelers dependent upon schedules and efficiency.  The New American


April 25, 2013


NJ: NJ lottery deal needs closer scrutiny — fast: Opinion There has been less than two weeks to protest and scrutinize the plan and there is plenty to protest and scrutinize. The bidding process produced one sole bidder — Northstar New Jersey — which will receive a 15-year contract with the state if all goes according to the administration’s wishes. The lottery is New Jersey’s fourth-largest source of revenue and generates millions annually for education and senior programs, yet we are entrusting it to a company that oversaw a decrease in revenue when it took over the lottery in Illinois. The Star-Ledger

PA: Ad targets lawmaker from Bucks on Pa. liquor privatization plan. A group lobbying for a swift end to the Pennsylvania liquor store system has launched a television ad focusing on a Republican state senator who will be instrumental in getting a privatization bill to the governor’s desk. The ad launched by the conservative group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania comes a week before a Senate hearing on liquor privatization. Newsworks.org

PA: If Pennsylvania privatizes alcohol, will drinking increase? In 2011, the Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group appointed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended against privatization “based on strong evidence that privatization results in increased per-capita alcohol consumption.”….”The common theme here is that if alcohol is more available, people tend to drink more,” said Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. “So then the question is, where does privatization fit into that?”  Philly.com

Stealing the Heart of a National Park: Oyster Company’s Alliance With Big Oil. Recent developments demonstrate how deeply involved the company is in the larger political agenda aimed squarely at opening up our most treasured landscapes to inappropriate commercial uses. Over the past two months, the plot has thickened considerably, with the oyster company teaming up with Big Oil interests and anyone else who could benefit from its precedent-setting land-grab effort.  Huffington Post

Mica wants to privatize airport security screeners. Central Florida Rep. John Mica is once again calling for a change in airport security, including dismantling the Transportation Security Administration. WESH.com

2013: The Year of Public-Private Partnerships. More than 30 states have enacted legislation encouraging PPPs so far. In addition, former Governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, formed the Building America’s Future Educational Fund – a Rockefeller Foundation-funded group dedicated to rebuilding infrastructure via alternative methods that include PPPs. Huffington Post

April 24, 2013


IL: Parking Deal a Windfall for Private Company. It costs a lot to park in Chicago. Of that there is no denial. The private company that oversees on street parking in Chicago has seen revenue increase by 368 percent since 2008. That was the year the Daley administration pushed through a controversial plan to relinquish the city’s hold over 36,000 parking meters in exchange for a $1.2 billion payout. In 2008, the last year the city collected parking meter revenue, it totaled $23.3 million. In 2011, the last year figures were available, Chicago Parking Meters, LLC took in $109.3 million, according to figures released through a Freedom of Information Act request. NBC Chicago

PA: City hires 2 firms to seek PGW bids. The city has retained the banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. as lead broker to sell Philadelphia Gas Works, the latest move in the Nutter administration’s effort to privatize the utility. The bankers could earn more than $12 million in fees if they are able to fetch the $1.85 billion that the city’s financial advisers last year estimated to be the high end of the utility’s value. The brokers will work on a commission-only basis. Nutter has pushed forward to explore a sale over the objections of PGW’s union, the city’s public advocate, and some City Council members. The mayor has said he would sell PGW only if the price were right. Philly.com

PA: Hearings set on bill to privatize liquor stores. The first of what will likely be three state Senate hearings on a controversial bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and liquor stores has been scheduled for next Tuesday in the Capitol – and it is bound to be telling. That the bill has few ardent fans in the Senate is no secret. Republicans who control the chamber have strongly signaled they are leaning toward modernizing, rather than privatizing, the State-Store system.  Philly.com

PA: If Pennsylvania privatizes alcohol, will drinking increase? It’s a simple, critical, and sobering question at the heart of the debate over privatizing state liquor stores: Will Pennsylvanians drink more booze if sales are wrested from government control? Advocates say liquor privatization would mean more convenience, better selection, and lower prices. But public-health experts say reducing the government’s role in alcohol sales comes with a potentially harmful downside – people buy more of the alcoholic beverage that is privatized. Philly.com

PA: Pennsylvania, nurses’ union argue over closures of state public health centers. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and a union representing public health nurses argued in court today over whether the state has the authority to close nearly half its state public health centers without the approval of the Legislature. The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania says a 1996 state law forbids the administration from closing such centers without the Legislature’s OK. But the state says the law in question applied to a previous effort to privatize the centers and the legislation shouldn’t be broadly construed to stop the Corbett administration’s plan in this case. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NC: Asheville Docs on Gov McCrory’s Medicaid Privatization Plan: Shortsighted. At a meeting yesterday in Asheville, Governor McCrory’s DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos met with heavy skepticism from about 200 local providers and citizens who came to hear about the Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid health services for the poor. The Progressive Pulse

PR: Airport Privatization Takes Off in Puerto Rico. The deal has come under withering criticism from many on the island. Numerous elected officials, lawyers and economists have denounced it as a bad bargain for Puerto Rico. Major protests roiled San Juan prior to the transfer two months ago. Puerto Ricans now worry that their publicly owned ports, highways and other public goods will be sold off, liquidating a century of public investments. Indeed, two highways have already been handed over to private investors prior to the airport’s transfer. Similar privatization agreements may soon arrive in Illinois and other states, where local leaders are considering selling airports under long-term lease agreements to private operators, most of them European, Australian and Latin America companies. Truth-Out

April 23, 2013


Targeting Municipal Distress. The Bayonne, New Jersey water and sewer utility is now a crown jewel in the infrastructure portfolio of private-equity firm KKR & Co. and a model for how United Water wants to privatize water systems across the U.S…. The Bayonne deal is an example of the financial engineering pitched to cities across the U.S. that are in a jam. For decades, Wall Street firms have seen municipal distress as an investment opportunity, getting behind everything from parking meters to airports. Experts say the deal making is accelerating as more cities have struggled with lower property-tax revenue and deepening debt and pension obligations since the housing bubble burst.  Wall Street Journal

PA: Is that legislative movement we see on liquor privatization? The first of what will likely be three Senate hearings on a controversial bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and liquor stores has been scheduled for Tuesday of next week (April 30) in the Capitol – and it is bound to be telling. It is no secret that the bill has few ardent fans in the Senate, where Republicans who control the chamber have strongly signaled they are leaning toward modernizing, rather than privatizing, the current state-store system. The hearings, before the Senate Law and Justice Committee, are bound to provide the first glimpse into just how hard it will be to move liquor privatization closer to the finish line.  Philly.com

FL Privatization fears, finger-pointing marked troubled home-confinement program. Two recently completed reviews of home confinement — one by the county, another by internal-affairs investigators — add up to more than 100 scathing pages of misconduct. Amid the finger-pointing in the reviews was an array of serious allegations, including that management pressured staff not to report defendants’ home-confinement violations. The pressure, lower-ranking staff said, was about numbers: “… we wanted our program to look strong… so that we wouldn’t possibly be … privatized,” field officer Kenya Cox said. Orlando Sentinel

NJ: New Jersey lottery workers protest privatization plan. Lottery employees at today’s rally – who all declined to give their names, saying they feared Northstar would punish them for speaking out – said they have not been told how the privatization will affect them or whether they will be able to keep their jobs.  NorthJersey.com

NJ: New Jersey Governor Imposes Red Light Camera Freeze. Chris Christie, New Jersey’s tough-talking Republican governor, has gone from red light camera proponent to active photo ticketing opponent in a matter of months. On Thursday, the state Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced there will be no new red light cameras installed in the Garden State with the notice specifically mentioning it was the political decision of the “Christie Administration.”…Data from the first year of camera use show a spike in the number of injury-causing and severe accidents (view report). The results ran counter to the promise that photo ticketing reduces “more dangerous” angle collisions. Running a camera program without the state’s explicit approval can prove to be an expensive mistake. Earlier this year, American Traffic Solutions entered into a $4.2 million settlement for operating red light cameras before the legislature began the pilot project.  TheNewspaper.com

HI: Hospital privatization bill sidelined. Legislation that would have allowed privatization of eight Hawai`i and Maui County public hospitals facing financial struggles has been replaced in favor of a task force to again study a public-private partnership for Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation. KPUA


April 22, 2013


MI: Mich. lawmakers propose privatizing some prison services. Michigan’s Corrections Department will be required to take private bids on prison clothing and electronic monitoring services under a proposed $2.02-billion budget sent to the full Senate by its appropriations committee Wednesday. All five Democrats on the 11-member committee voted against the budget proposal, mostly because of objections to the private bidding mandates. Committee Democratic Vice Chairman Glenn Anderson of Westland argued privatization of prison services is “a failed idea. It hasn’t worked for the state and it hasn’t worked across the country.”  Detroit News

OH: Foes of Cincinnati’s parking privatization plan have enough signatures to force Nov vote. Opponents of a controversial parking plan that would help balance Cincinnati’s budget by privatizing parking have gotten enough signatures to force a public vote on the issue in November, setting the stage for a fierce campaign over the next six months…. Under the parking plan, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development would pay the city $92 million upfront and at least $3 million annually for 30 years. In exchange, the port would gain control over street parking for 30 years and off-street parking for 50 years. That would mean higher parking rates and longer meter hours, although increases would be capped.  The Republic

LA: Early prognosis for privatization. Louisiana legislators are looking closely at the first week of operations of the state’s first charity hospital placed under private management…. Officials with nearby hospitals say the closure is leading to increased — and often unpaid — visits to their emergency rooms…. More than 7,000 employees will lose their state hospital jobs, though some will be rehired by the private partners. The Advocate

LA: Analysis: EKL closure shows pitfalls for LSU deals. The closure of LSU’s public hospital in Baton Rouge left employees, community leaders and local lawmakers declaring a breach of the public’s trust, criticizing a scarcity of information and describing a litany of still unanswered concerns. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration would be wise to take lessons from those hard feelings as the governor seeks to privatize eight other university-run hospitals around Louisiana that care for the uninsured and that train many of the state’s medical students. San Francisco Chronicle

PA: Bucks GOP may dash Pa. booze reform. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports that this has to do with state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney’s friendship with Pasquale “Pat” Deon Jr. Deon is the Mr. Big of state Republican politics. He chairs SEPTA. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. He has gaming and construction interests. He is a GOP rainmaker. He also owns a beer distributorship in Fairless Hills, Deon’s Beverages. His business would certainly face increased competition if the state unleashes free market forces by dissolving its overpriced, poorly run, crummy-selection, DMV-like booze business. phillyBurbs.com (blog)

WI: New Report Exposes Bradley Foundation Funding Behind “Massive” Campaign to Promote School Privatization. In a new report, entitled “P is for Payoff: Inside the Bradley Foundation’s Campaign to Privatize Education in Wisconsin,” the non-profit activist group One Wisconsin Now has detailed the Bradley Foundation’s funding of a coordinated campaign to promote school privatization in Wisconsin and across the nation. The report “reveals a web of right-wing groups are part of a $31 million-plus propaganda campaign pushing a massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort is the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.” PR Watch

TN: Knox Countians Solidly Against TVA Being Privatized. This week’s Knoxville Focus poll asked voters the question, “In your opinion, should the Tennessee Valley Authority be privatized”? More than 80% of likely voters said that no, TVA should not be privatized. The Knoxville Focus

TN: Opinion: Why Privatizing the TVA Would Be a Dam Shame. Imagine the uproar if the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial were up for sale. These national treasures are safe, of course, but another public monument — the Tennessee Valley Authority — is not. President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget plan proposes a strategic review of TVA, the biggest publicly owned U.S. power company, which could lead to its sale.  Bloomberg

The Privatization of Water: Nestlé Denies that Water is a Fundamental Human Right. The current Chairman and former CEO of Nestlé, the largest producer of food products in the world, believes that the answer to global water issues is privatization. This statement is on record from the wonderful company that has peddled junk food in the Amazon, has invested money to thwart the labeling of GMO-filled products, has a disturbing health and ethics record for its infant formula, and has deployed a cyber army to monitor Internet criticism and shape discussions in social media. Center for Research on Globalization

April 19, 2013


NJ: CWA protests NJ lottery privatization plan that could lead to dozens of job losses. The New Jersey Treasury Department said today that 63 of the state lottery’s 136 public employees could lose their jobs if the Christie administration signs a contract with a private company to take over parts of the lottery NJ.com

NJ: Hard Questions, Heartfelt Concern Abound at Camden Schools Forum. Mayor Dana Redd played host. She did not hide the fact that she supports the state intervention even though it was her board appointees who led the district for the last two years. The audience – a mix of city residents, district teachers and others — had plenty of pointed questions, with some taking shots at Redd’s leadership and others expressing concerns about charter schools steadily replacing the district schools. The comments were hardly ringing endorsements of the state’s plans, either, with some sharply critical of Cerf and what they see as his and Christie’s broader political agenda to privatize public education. NJ Spotlight

LA: Jindal won’t seek legislative backing on LSU deals. Bobby Jindal said Thursday he won’t seek legislative approval of his administration’s LSU hospital privatization agreements, though both the House and Senate have voted that they want such decision-making authority…. The Republican governor is pushing to privatize all but one of the university-run hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured around the state and train many medical students. This week, the Senate adopted a resolution by Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, that includes a requirement that the hospital deals get approval from the Senate Finance Committee. San Francisco Chronicle

LA: Opinion: Tulane and LSU use privatization for capital gain at expense of poor. Eight years after Katrina, LSU and Tulane still use their political capital to ensure the old Charity Hospital building stay closed. That way plans for a publicly funded research hospital, which the two schools would use, can progress. In the process, LSU and Tulane displaced Lower Mid-City, a neighborhood that had come back after the storm thanks in part to federal grants. The institutions, in accordance with other health care reforms in Louisiana, have pushed out the public hospital system and privatized it whenever possible, further disenfranchising the poor. The Hullabaloo Online           

FL: Brainstorming Baker County Commissioners look to privatizing, other means to grapple with budget. The Baker County Commission tasked the county manager this week with researching privatizing services and curbing building regulations as ways to raise money to balance future budgets and avoid further dipping into valued reserves….Suggested areas of privatization included: waste hauling, right-of-way mowing, emergency medical services, animal control, courthouse security, dump truck usage, recreation and consolidating purchasing. Florida Times-Union

FL: Opinion: The Parent Trigger Bill: A shot at privatization. The current legislation being considered by the Florida legislature (known as the Parent Trigger Bill) is the latest assault on the public education system. Promoted as a means of parent empowerment, (nothing about turning a profit) the Parent Trigger Bill allows parents to petition for dramatic changes at failing public schools. However, most parent groups feel it’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Careful analysis of this legislation reveals its clear but unstated goal, public dollars for private companies and a diversion of resources from the public education system. Coral Daily Breeze

UT: Tooele County cuts more jobs, privatizes local poverty assistance. Citing “a major financial crisis,” Tooele County will no longer publicly subsidize its food bank, transitional housing, emergency poverty assistance or domestic violence assistance programs, opting instead for an agreement with Valley Mental Health to privatize those services, officials announced Wednesday. Eleven county employees also will be laid off as part of the privatization, which begins May 15 after a transition period. Deseret News

NC: Editorial – Legislators’ ‘fixes’ for public education may inflict irreparable damage. For a group of politicians who claim they want to strengthen our public schools, the Honorables have a strange way of going about it. In their world, better public schools can be had only by siphoning off students and money into charter and private schools, and by eliminating the cap on class sizes in the lower grades, a factor that has been shown to improve academic achievement. StarNewsOnline.com




April 18, 2013


NJ: US congressmen ask feds to review Christie’s lottery privatization plan. New Jersey’s six Democratic congressmen asked the U.S. Justice Department today to review the Christie administration’s plan for a private company to take over parts of the New Jersey lottery to make sure it doesnot violate federal law… The lottery is New Jersey’s fourth-largest source ofrevenue, generating $2.6 billion in ticket sales a year. Last year, the lottery provided the state in $950 million in revenue, financing scholarships and programs for military veterans and the disabled. North Star, the only group to bid on the contract, will pay the state $120 million up front and keep part of future revenue increases.  Hunterdon County Democrat

IN: Mayor drops plan to privatize City-County Building. When Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard opened the City-County Building to the. possibility of private management for the first time in 50 years last summer, his staff hoped to land a big upfront payment, plus annual savings. None of that came to fruition. … Four private-sector real estate teams responded to the “request for information” that the Office of Enterprise Development issued last June, and all proposed using a long-term management agreement to finance a multimillion-dollar payment to the city. But none of them could do that while also beating the building authority on annual expenses, said David Rosenberg, the city’s director of enterprise development.  Indianapolis Business Journal

NC: Group opposes school vouchers. In a press release send to this and other newspapers, Public Schools First NC strongly opposes H.B. 944, a bill they say proposes to spend $90 million of taxpayer money over the next two years to subsidize private school tuition. The group – comprised of citizens, parents, teachers, businesses and organizations – alleged that the proposed legislation will take money away from already underfunded public schools, with little accountability to taxpayers. Vouchers are a failing proposition all around: they fail to help the students who most need them; they provide little benefit for the students who do use them; and they drain resources from the one public institution best situated to educate all children: the public schools, according to the press release.  Roanoke Chowan News Herald

NC: Opinion: The Danger of McCrory’s Bobby Jindal Imitation. Gov. Pat McCrory appears to be on a privatization spree that could have serious implications for jobs and health care in North Carolina. And none of it seems very well thought out. McCrory announced a plan Monday that would turn over the state’s economic development efforts to a private nonprofit corporation he would chair, essentially abolishing the Department of Commerce….A 2011 report from the national group Good Jobs First finds that several states that have privatized economic development efforts have seen a series of problems, including misuse of taxpayer money, excessive executive bonuses and questionable subsidy deals. It sounds like exactly what we don’t need in North Carolina. Southern Pines Pilot

LA: LSU board approves privatization of New Orleans, Lafayette hospitals. The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors unanimously signed off on the privatizations of public hospitals in New Orleans and Lafayette Wednesday… The agreement between LSU and the private hospital operators, known as Cooperative Endeavor Agreements, will be presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget later this year. The state Senate has also passed a resolution requiring the Senate Finance Committee to approve any privatizations. It’s not clear whether that measure, by Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, will be binding on the administration. NOLA.com

April 17, 2013


LA: Senate requires LSU to get legislative approval before privatizing hospitals. Without debate Tuesday, senators approved legislation that says the LSU Board of Supervisors needs the backing of the Senate Finance Committee to privatize the hospitals. There was no discussion of the resolution before it was adopted without objection. NOLA.com

OK: Office of Privatization. Oklahoma is getting ready to pass a law to allow a state agency to study the aspects of privatizing parts of state government. Senate Bill 1008, to create the Office of Privatization, has now passed the House and the Senate. With privatization supported by a majority of lawmakers it could easily move to the governor. Senator Greg Treat created the bill to have a one-stop shop for the issue of privatization under the control of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. “It’s in order to have a repository of information and expertise on how to privatize state functions. Currently everything we do is on an ad hoc basis, so if we move to privatize something we have to recreate the wheel every time.”  KOSU           

IL: Illiana opponents out in force as officials narrow toll road’s footprint. Officials hope to develop the highway as a public-private partnership. Although commonly known as the Illiana Expressway, the project likely would be a toll road. The latest estimated cost is $1.25 billion for the 47-mile project. Gates-Hamann’s father-in-law, Will Township Road Commissioner Bruce Hamann, contends the “47-mile fence” would close county roads and many north-south township roads. He said that would hamper police, fire and ambulance responses, as well as lengthen the time children spend on school buses. Chicago Tribune

CA: California: Firm Rigs Data In Bid To Keep Red Light Cameras. Ever since November when voters in Murrieta, California rejected red light cameras at the ballot box, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has been on a campaign to turn them back on. The strategy has been two-fold: use the courts to overturn the public’s decision, then convince the city council to reactivate the devices in the name of public safety. Anti-camera activists say they have caught the photo ticketing company manipulating data to achieve these ends.  TheNewspaper.com

Role reversal: Obama talk of privatizing TVA upsets GOP lawmakers. Privatizing TVA has been proposed before “and been determined to be a very bad idea,” added Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn. Administration officials emphasized that privatization was just one option being considered. Jackson Clarion Ledger