June 9, 2015

Senators Push Back On Plan to Privatize Some Military Commissaries. The Senate this week will consider a measure that would prevent the Pentagon from privatizing military commissaries at five installations next year. The amendment to the fiscal 2016 Defense authorization act would require the Defense Department to study the costs and benefits of contracting out commissary operations and report the findings to Congress before moving ahead with any plans. The legislation, which the chamber resumes consideration of this week, requires a pilot program that would privatize commissaries at five installations as well as a report assessing potential costs and benefits. GovExec.com

Opinion: Will TPP Kill The Post Office?. . . As if we needed yet another reason for the public to see the text of TPP before Congress pre approves it with fast track, here is a question: Does the TPP contain provisions that corporations can use to force us to privatize “public” things like our Post Office, public schools, public roads etc., so they can replace them with profit-making enterprises that provide a return only to the wealthy few? We need to see the provisions of TPP that are designed to regulate “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs) and see them now. Huffington Post

Study criticizes OMB suggestion to sell TVA: Privatizing TVA would raise rates. A new study commissioned by the Economic Policy Institute suggests that selling or privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority would raise power costs and hurt economic development and research in TVA’s seven-state region. . . . “Over its 80-year existence, the TVA has had an excellent track record in almost every area of its operation, and its success has delivered substantial benefits throughout the Tennessee Valley,” Dr. Joel Yudken, an economist and principal of High Road Strategies LLC, concluded in a 44-page study of TVA’s finances. “The TVA is addressing its serious financial problems and its new leadership is preserving its capabilities as a system that provides wide-ranging benefits to the region and people it serves.” Chattanooga Times Free Press

How the rise of gated spaces like swimming pools can quietly perpetuate racial tension. . . As public resources were desegregated in American cities, communities increasingly found ways to privatize them. In McKinney, the black teens were not using a public pool. They were swimming, rather, in the communal pool of a private community in the predominantly white part of town where civic resources like parks and pools are funded directly by homeowners. McKinney has three public pools, Appelbaum points out, but none of them are in this part of town.   Washington Post (blog)

Behind Scott Walker, a Longstanding Conservative Alliance Against Unions. . . More than any of his potential rivals for the White House, Mr. Walker, 47, is a product of a loose network of conservative donors, think tanks and talk radio hosts who have spent years preparing the road for a politician who could successfully present their arguments for small government to a broader constituency. . . By the time Mr. Walker ran for governor in 2010, he was clashing regularly with unions, calling for cost savings through shorter hours, layoffs, privatization, even an imagined disassembling of the very government he ran. New York Times

FL: In Miami-Dade, drivers (and politicians) feeling toll shock. Miami-Dade’s dream of an east-west commuter rail line has died multiple deaths through the years, but Esteban “Steve” Bovo thinks he has a powerful new force to get it done: people fuming over more tolls from the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. “The anger that MDX has created has put the wind behind our sails,” said Bovo, the county commissioner who heads up the board’s transportation committee. “That’s the driver. People want to see an alternative.” Miami Herald

FL: Jackson considers returning to city ambulance service.Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber says he is open to more discussions about the city reopening its ambulance service, which was closed 25 years ago. Yarber tells The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1dRE9Xd) that support is coming from Fire Chief R.D. Simpson and some city council members. Ambulance service was privatized in 1991 when Hinds County signed a contract with Mobile Medic Ambulance Service, which later became American Medical Response, for countywide ambulance service. Miami Herald

LA: Privatization oversight advanced by the Louisiana Senate. Louisiana legislators would get greater say in the contracts that the administration enters to privatize government functions under a bill approved Saturday by the Senate. The New Orleans Advocate

PA: Phila. eyes privatizing school subs. The Philadelphia School District is poised to pay a Cherry Hill firm up to $34 million to provide substitute teachers for its classrooms over two school years. PressReader

VA: Mecklenburg Commissioners Have Votes to Support Anti-Toll Lane Resolution. Mecklenburg County commissioners have the votes to pass a resolution asking the state to stop the Interstate 77 toll lane project. The Department of Transportation signed a deal with a private company to move forward with the $655 million toll road. The lanes would run from Interstate 277 to to Mooresville. Commissioner Jim Puckett told Time Warner Cable News he’s spoken to five other commissioners who will support a resolution. It will be on the commission’s June 16 agenda. TWC News