July 3, 2013


CA: Transit Strike Shows the Dark Side of Silicon Valley’s Privatization Fetish. The kudzu-like spread of private transportation companies in San Francisco has been good for city residents who can afford to use them, and the dot-com founders that have gotten rich by replacing public-sector functions with their own services. But yesterday, when a system-wide BART strike took down the Bay Area’s best form of public transportation, we saw the dark side of Silicon Valley’s obsession with privatizing everything. Namely, it has created a two-tier transportation caste system, where the private-sector solutions flourish, often at the expense of the public infrastructure that a large part of the population still depends on to get to work and go about their lives….. Companies like Uber and Lyft didn’t cause the public sector’s problems, but they’re profiting from them. And when policy-makers begin to see these services as legitimate replacements for public infrastructure, their incentives to make public services better will disappear.   New York Magazine

PA: How Pa. legislators blew liquor privatization. The connection between liquor privatization and transportation funding had been whispered about for months, but rarely acknowledged publicly — and never in a straightforward manner. Interestingly enough, it was Senate President Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, who denounced the connection in January, telling reporters he did not want to see highway funding “held hostage” by Gov. Corbett in order to get a liquor privatization bill finished. Philly.com

PA: Pennsylvania Extends Lottery Privatization Bid — Again. A British firm is holding on while Attorney General Kathleen Kane waits for the state to submit another contract proposal. NACS Online

OH: Ohio Court of Appeals Rules Against Toledo Photo Ticket Program. Ohio’s second highest court gave the green light to a red light camera lawsuit on Friday. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals agreed that Bradley L. Walker could continue his class action lawsuit against Toledo and Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian vendor that owns and operates every aspect of the system, because the city’s camera ordinance violates the state constitution. Redflex mailed Walker a $120 ticket in February 2011, and the motorist charged that the “civil penalty” he received violated the state constitution.  TheNewspaper.com

VA: State identifies potential public-private partnership projects. Inviting public input on the proposals, the state has identified 10 high-cost highway-related projects as potential candidates for financing by public-private partnerships. “Even with the new (state transportation funding) law,” said Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton, “the cost of these very large projects is so enormous that we need to look to the private sector for financing and for innovation.” Richmond Times Dispatch

KS: Broke KC charter school leaves teachers without final paycheck. The money that might have covered teacher salaries is tied up in court over a dispute between the school, the company contracted to manage the academy, and the company that issued bonds to launch the school….The academy announced last fall it would close after UMKC refused to renew its charter, citing poor management and low test scores. The school has since been overseen by an interim board. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has been named in legal action to garnish more than $2.2 million that the management company, EdisonLearning Inc., says it is owed. Kansas City Star

Charter Schools, the Invisible Hand, and Gutless Political Leadership – Opinion. Idealizing parental choice narrowly and choice broadly is the foundation upon which both political parties stand. Why is the Invisible Hand of the Free Market so appealing to political leaders? The answer is simple: Abdicating political leadership to the market absolves our leaders from making any real (or ethical) decisions, absolves them from doing anything except sitting back and watching the cards fall where they may. Truth-Out           

The privatization blues, or the ‘looting of America’ – Opinion. If you want to know how school voucher programs turn out, you don’t have to guess. We’ve been through it. It is called the 19th century. You can read about it in the works of a great writer who was put in a factory to work 12-hour days at age 12 and who was later put in miserable for-profit schools. Read Dickens. Read about Nicholas Nickleby and what happens when he wants another bowl of gruel for his school  lunch. Our private schools have not reached that point yet. And the ones for rich kids probably never will. But wait until the privatization is complete, and the corporations discover that each helpless little profit point of a kid and each non-union teacher can always be squeezed a little harder for more corporate profits.  Chippewa Herald