July 5, 2013


FL: Interstate 4 toll lanes will be privatized. The Florida Department of Transportation on Wednesday rolled out its plans to privatize planned toll lanes on Interstate 4…. Instead of borrowing the money themselves to complete the lanes and keeping all the profit themselves, the state will have the private company come up with the last $600 million. Secretary Downs says that company will also be responsible for the maintenance of the road. MyFoxOrlando.com

PA: Bid to privatize Pa. Lottery’s management extended by a week. The British firm that is seeking to take over management of the Pennsylvania Lottery’s management for the next 20 to 30 years has agreed to extend its bid’s expiration date by a week…. The last extension was granted after state Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the proposed contract with Camelot on constitutional and legal grounds. The administration has said they are working on addressing those issues and plan to resubmit another contract proposal to Kane. LotteryPost.com

PA: Liquor privatization plan’s future unclear. With the state budget inked and the legislature preparing to close shop for the summer, it’s still unclear if Corbett will be able to privatize the state’s liquor business. Citizens Voice

NY: Bloomberg DOE Hurries to Privatize As Many NYC Schools As Possible. This is an alarming account of the frenzied efforts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Department of Education to cement his “legacy” of opening privately managed charter schools while abandoning the public schools for which he is responsible… When the new school year starts, the city will open 24 new charter schools, for a total of 183, with spending on the publicly funded, privately run schools set to top $1 billion. And the city Department of Education (DOE) continues to allocate space in public school buildings to many charter schools, which use the rooms rent free.  DianeRavich’sBlog

There is nothing “innovative” about privatizing our water.  Yesterday, I participated in a meeting hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency on financing water infrastructure.   Although I applaud the administration’s efforts to convene a discussion about the enormous need to invest in our nation’s aging infrastructure, I was discouraged that much of the meeting focused on promoting public-private partnerships and attracting more private financing for public water systems. Throughout the meeting, a misleading notion was continually raised that using private capital to fund water systems somehow constitutes an innovative approach to financing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Time and again, municipalities and consumers have suffered under privatized water systems.  Food And Water Watch

Your Post Office Is Being Taken From You – video.  A powerful talk by Berkeley Geographer Gary Brechin about the sell off of our historical post office buildings  to developers and the resulting loss of American post office art – murals created by the New Deal public works program. Brechin also talks about the collusion of the US Postal Service and real estate mogals, including Richard Blum, husband of US Sen. Diane Finestein , in driving these deals.

The Privatization of War: Mercenaries, Private Military and Security Companies. Private military and security companies operate in a legal vacuum: they pose a threat to civilians and to international human rights law. The UN Human Rights Council has entrusted the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, principally, with the mandate: “To monitor and study the effects of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market on the enjoyment of human Rights (…) and to prepare draft international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights on the part of those companies in their activities”.  Global Research