June 14, 2013


MI: Detroit eyes privatization of trash hauling. Representatives from Waste Management Inc. and Republic Services Inc. have met with officials in Detroit as the city’s emergency financial manager explores privatizing residential trash hauling. Waste & Recycling News

NY: New York cautioned about public-private partnerships. For the second time since 2011, the New York state comptroller is recommending strong oversight and taxpayer protections for transportation contracts known as public-private partnerships…. “If New York allows private companies to finance public infrastructure projects, they should protect taxpayers and include safeguards to avert costly mistakes down the road. This may seem like an easy-money solution to a complex and growing problem, but poorly structured agreements have significantly cost taxpayers in other states.”  Land Line Magazine

VA: Transurban approves transfer of Pocahontas toll road to lenders. TRANSURBAN Group has decided to transfer ownership of the poorly performing Pocahontas Parkway toll road in the US state of Virginia to the asset’s lenders. The company last year wrote down the value of the asset to zero. A related $138.1 million impairment charge brought the company’s profit for the year to June 30, 2012, down to $54.9m from $112.5m a year earlier. The Australian

CA: San Bernardino recall targets say it’s about water control. Officials targeted by a recall effort and their allies are increasingly making one specific charge: that it is all about taking control of the city’s water resources for the personal gain of the developers behind the recall…. “I am opposed to the sale of the City’s Water System to any private for-profit company,” reads the counterpetition, paid for by a committee led by former Mayor Evlyn Wilcox. “I am opposed to the removal of any City official who is committed to keeping the City’s Water System under the jurisdiction of and operated by The City of San Bernardino.” San Bernardino Sun

CA: Stop the Privatization and Permanent Fees at San Francisco Botanical Garden! Hidden within the mountains of paper are legislation which will strikeout a single line, makingethe fees at San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum permanent, and a contract privatizing these 55 acres by handing over control for the next 30 years to San Francisco Botanical Garden Society….Control by the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has already caused gates to be shut, taxpayers put on the hook for unnecessary yet expensive new signage, ticket booths, and a $725,000 grant agreement in 2012, plus a $400,000 grant agreement in 2011. Bay Area Indymedia

The Human Equivalent of the $640 Toilet Seat. Does privatization work as predicted by the neo-liberal ideologues? According to a report by Elaine Grossman at the Global Security Newswire, the Pentagon now employs about 700,000 service contractors, most of whom do work that was traditionally done by civil servants and military personnel. While contract service employees comprise 22% of the Defense Department’s workforce, they now account for 50% of the workforce cost, by the Pentagon’s own admission. That is because these contractor employees cost two to three times as much per year as the average civil-service employee. CounterPunch