January 9, 2014


Infrastructure 101: The Evolution of Building Big Things (Part 1). As this country’s public infrastructure crumbles,  prominent organizations, such as Reason and its allies, strongly advocate using privatization to solve the problem. However, this country has a long and continuing history of successfully taking on big infrastructure projects through direct public support and funding – circumventing privatization while getting the job done well.  Truth-Out

The Long And Winding Road To An Opaque Government, Part 1: Security Documents. Over the last several years both federal and state governments have employed two primary methods of hiding their activities from the public.  The first and most obvious is the misuse of the Patriot Act to label government documents and activities as security matters.  This is nearly impossible to monitor.  If the public and the press cannot see any of the documents, there is no way to know what is being hidden.   The second is privatization of government functions.  By privatizing what are in fact functions of government, much questionable activity can be concealed in what may pass as a private corporation. Both these issues are now being litigated before the Ohio Supreme Court. Plunderbund

Report Examines Teach For America. Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence challenges the simplistic but widespread belief that TFA is a clear-cut success story. In fact, Heilig and Jez find that the best evidence shows TFA participants as a group are not meaningfully or consistently improving educational outcomes for the children they have taught. National Education Policy Center

NE: State Senator proposes selling or privatizing MUD. A state Senator from Omaha says he’ll introduce a bill to sell or privatize the Metropolitan Utilities District. Nebraska lawmakers return to session Wednesday. State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh says the bill he’ll introduce could bring in up to $3 billion. That money would go toward Omaha’s combined sewer overflow project and unfunded pension liabilities.    91.5 KIOS-FM

IL: Chicago: Private Meter Readers Wrote Hundreds of Thousands of Tickets, Data Shows. For the past few years, city parking meter enforcement crews have had a private team of ticket writers helping them do their jobs — and helping fill the city’s coffers with millions of dollars in additional revenues. DNAInfo.com

FL: Elevated toll road in Pasco clears big hurdle. State transportation officials accepted a bid Wednesday from private investors who want to build and operate an elevated toll road in southern Pasco County that could change commuting patterns for generations of Tampa Bay motorists. The Tampa Bay Tribune

AZ: Official: Nurse exposed 24 Buckeye inmates to hepatitis B and C. A nurse working for Corizon Inc., the private health-care provider, improperly injected and exposed inmates to hepatitis B and C… Corizon, which last year was awarded a three-year, $372 million contract to provide state inmate health care, refused to provide details of the incident, which occurred Sunday night… Caroline Isaacs, an activist and outspoken critic of privatizing prison health care, said she was “sadly not surprised” that inmates again were potentially exposed to hepatitis. “It’s just yet another piece of evidence that these kinds of problems are inevitable because they are inherent in the way these corporations do business,” said Isaacs, American Friends Service Committee program director. “This will keep happening until the state of Arizona takes responsibility for medical care in its own facilities.” azcentral.com

ID: Editorial: Idaho finds privately run prisons don’t measure up. Idaho’s decadelong experiment with prison privatization has failed, so Gov. Butch Otter had little choice when he reluctantly pulled the plug last week. The Spokesman Review

CA: What is privatization? Or is Berkeley still a public University. Wiseman and Breslauer are fiercely critical of a political culture that has enabled the state to disinvest from higher education.  According to Breslauer, even after the passage of Proposition 30 state funds now account for just 14% of Berkeley’s total budget, down from 30% in 1999 and 70% in 1971.  Although, if one includes ‘restricted’ monies from federal and local government about 40% of Berkeley’s revenue comes from public sources, the withdrawal of state funding has indeed been calamitous.  Despite this Breslauer’s polemic is that Berkeley is now more of a public university than it used to be in the fabled Master Plan era. National Education Policy Center