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This is In the Public Interest’s pick of recent news about the effort to privatize public education in California. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.

Education

1) Florida: The Florida Virtual School, which was taken under state control, earlier this year because of allegations of mismanagement, “now faces criticism because the top executives it brought in have no education experience but strong ties to Florida’s Republican leadership. (…) All four were hired outside the online public school’s traditional interviewing process, the school’s hiring documents show. They replaced employees who were either demoted or asked to leave the school, according to current and former employees who asked not to be named. Critics say the public school, which ran on $180 million in state money last year, needs accountability, not more political appointees.”

2) Florida/National: Jeff Bryant of the Independent Media Institute says, “First things first: Florida charter school that couldn’t pay employee payroll, insurance, or pension and couldn’t pay for student food or water agreed to pay former CEO and his company $1,425,000 for a ‘total life prep’ curriculum.” The Bradenton Herald reports, “Hundley and Maxfield, the school’s top administrators, invoked the Fifth Amendment a total of 177 times during depositions, citing an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General. ‘Even now, the school board still does not know the true extent of LMA’s debt since LMA still has not produced the required financial records despite numerous requests and a court order,’ she concluded.” See also Bryant’s new deep dive into the murky business of superintendent search firms and school leader services, “School leadership disaster: Private companies work an insider game to reap lucrative contracts,” and Diane Ravitch’s summary.

3) Maryland: The Prince George’s County school board has announced it will sign a 33-year contract to rebuild four middle schools and construct two new schools through a ‘public-private partnership.’ It is the first in the nation to use the P3 model to build a large number of schools. Cutting costs is a central objective. Christian Rhodes, chief of staff to schools chief Monica E. Goldson, said “there will be a focus on requiring that minority-owned and local businesses be involved at every stage of the process, which includes designing the building, construction and maintenance.” See the board action summary.

4) Mississippi: Jeb Bush, a leading proponent of school privatizationwill parachute into Mississippi on October 1 to help raise money for the Republican nominee for governor, Tate Reeves, at a high-dollar luncheon. “The help from Bush comes after Reeves, Mississippi’s lieutenant governor who also serves as the president of the State Senate, spent the past few years working on one of Bush’s pet projects — education ‘reform.’ That euphemistic phrases typically means bringing charter schools to the state and implementing a voucher program to divert public funds to send some children to private schools.”

5) Oklahoma: Epic Charter Schools, which has faced questions about the legality of its student attendance practices, has sent a “cease and desist” letter to Republican state senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, who responded by sharply reminding them that accounting for public money is necessary and will proceed. “The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has an ongoing probe into allegations of embezzlement, obtaining money by false pretenses, racketeering and forgery at Epic. And as the Tulsa World previously reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Education’s law enforcement arm have also been investigating Epic Charter Schools’ student enrollment practices and finances for the past several years. In response to the law enforcement investigations, Gov. Kevin Stitt requested an investigative audit of Epic Charter Schools and its related entities by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office.”

The Associated Press says “last year the school reported more than 21,000 students and received nearly $113 million in state funding. But those numbers are coming under scrutiny from state investigators who revealed in July they are looking into whether the school’s two founders, David Chaney and Ben Harris, artificially inflated the number of students and pocketed millions of dollars illegally.”

6) Pennsylvania: Ken Hemphill, a Concord resident and environmental advocate, warns that privatization goes across many sectors and is a threat to the public interest. “Mirroring an alarming national trend,” he writes, “Delaware County is seeing an increasing effort to hand over public services to for-profit interests. Charter schools and our county prison, for example, now rake in millions in taxpayer dollars for corporations with little public input or oversight. In Upper Darby alone, charter schools owned by for-profit corporations siphon $7 million from that district’s tight budget, with charter ‘CEOs’ being paid substantially more than a typical superintendent. The Geo Group is ‘Hoovering’ up $50 million of our county’s budget to run our privatized prison under the professed belief that it brings efficiencies that government can’t deliver. Yet somehow, our larger neighbors, Montgomery and Chester counties, manage their prisons for less than $40 million and are not dangerously understaffed.”

7) PennsylvaniaAfter carefully considering the numbers, Exeter School District has rejected the idea of privatizing its bus service. “District Business Manager Anne Guydish reported that the district received two proposals — from Krise Bus Co. of Bangor, Northampton County, and Student Transportation of America of Allentown. The district’s ad-hoc transportation committee spent over a year compiling a report that shows Krise would cost $2.87 million more per year than the district currently spends on busing, and that STA would cost $2.6 million more. Those costs do not include about $477,414 in district costs like software and fuel. The report also showed a first-year decrease of $142,337 in state subsidy revenue with Krise, and of $178,336 with STA.”

Infrastructure

8) National/InternationalBlackstone has raised a record $26 billion for the biggest ever private equity fund. Two Brazilian firms owned by Blackstone “are significantly responsible for the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, carnage that has developed into raging fires that have captivated global attention,” The Intercept has reported. “The companies have wrested control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle, all to facilitate the cultivation and export of grain and soybeans.” Investors in the fund include“the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System with $750 million each and Florida Retirement System Trust Fund which committed $100 million, according to PEI data.”

9) National: The Bond Buyer reports on how serious problems can emerge when “public-private partnership” projects fail. “When public-private partnerships unravel, the consequences can be costly. Three P3 projects in the Southwest valued at more than $4 billion devolved into legal disputes in the past two years as the formerly enthusiastic partners met unanticipated obstacles to completion or disagreed over contract terms.” The three projects discussed are the Denver International Airport P3, the University of Oklahoma’s student housing complex, and the $2.1 billion Eagle P3 commuter rail line. The University of Oklahoma recently “accused the attorney for the trustee of bonds used to fund a $250 million student housing complex of false and defamatory statements in the bitter dispute over how the university handled leases in the faltering public-private partnership.” OU spokesperson Lauren Brookey says that continuing the leases under the P3 “would have cost the University nearly $7 million annually and led to subsidizing a private entity, which the University cannot do with student tuition and fees.” [Subs required]

10) National: There is a serious push on in Congress to channel more federal TIFIA funds into ‘public-private partnerships.’ TIFIA provides long-term, low-interest loans and other types of credit assistance for the construction of surface transportation projects. “The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported in February that government involvement remains more important in TIFIA-supported projects than P3s. About one-third of TIFIA-supported projects were developed as P3s through 2016 while the other two-thirds were governmentally procured, CRS found.” [Sub required]

11) National: The Government Accounting Standards Board is expected to issue a final rule in the first quarter of 2020 covering “public-private partnerships.” “Under an original P3, a private partner would operate and maintain the infrastructure, collect revenues such as tolls and handle the debt payments connected to any bond offerings. But newer P3s may have the government entity collecting the revenue or require that the private operator turn over the revenue to the government before a payment is made back to the private partner. Those variations wouldn’t meet GASB’s current definition of a service concession arrangement.” [Sub required]

12) AlaskaAnchorage airport is looking at using a ‘public-private partnership’ to redevelop its main terminal. “ANC’s Expression of Interest (EOI) will gauge the level of interest in a PPP for a third-party operator to take over the operations and management of its international terminal.”

13) Colorado/International: A delegation of economic development officials from Colorado is going to Australia to see if they can drum up some relationships and interest in the state. “There are no expectations for announcing investment deals right away. But if the delegation can make foreign business leaders more familiar with the business ecosystem here — and if they can describe to the sovereign wealth funds of the two nations the public-private partnership opportunities that may interest them in Colorado— there likely will be rewards to reap in the future, [Michelle Hadwiger, director of global business development for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade] said.” [Sub required]

14) Florida/National: A federal court (DC circuit) will hear oral arguments this week “in an appeal filed by Indian River County, Florida, whose attorneys contend that private activity bond allocations for the Virgin Trains USA passenger train project violate federal laws. (…) Indian River County is appealing the Dec. 24, 2018, ruling of U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in which he granted motions for summary judgment sought by the USDOT and Virgin Trains USA, also known as Brightline and All Aboard Florida (AAF). The private company is building a passenger train system to link Miami and Orlando.” [Sub required]

15) Florida: So far four workers have been killed on the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate ‘public-private partnership’ project in Orlando. And another worker was injured on September 13. “SGL Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA, Granite Construction and The Lane Construction Corp., is the general contractor, and its customer is the Florida Department of Transportation.”

16) Missouri: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has run a powerful editorial, “Rex, Lies and Red Tape: Airport Privatization Has Veered Far From Public Control,” denouncing the process for deciding on possible privatization of Lambert Airport. “The privatization process for St. Louis Lambert International Airport has been fraught from Day One. Even though the process has been steadily and quietly advancing, it is more fraught — and more deserving of intense public scrutiny — than ever before. (…) Alderman Cara Spencer, 20th Ward, has repeatedly pressed the Board of Aldermen to mandate a public referendum on privatization but has been thwarted every step of the way. She should persist, with Slay among her biggest champions, because anything short of a public vote would constitute a lie to the FAA on how privatization would unfold. (…) Suspicious yet? You should be. Voters are being blocked from having a voice, as Slay promised the federal government. And the consultants won’t be submitting their work product in writing. St. Louisans are being asked to consider handing the city’s most important, multibillion-dollar asset to private operators based on trust — trust that’s neither been earned nor deserved.”

17) Ohio: The first reading of a water and wastewater privatization contract between St. Clairsville and Aqua Ohio is expected to take place October 7. But last Monday, “city leaders held the first reading of an ordinance instructing the city to work with W.E. Quicksall & Associates and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to arrange an independent study and explore other options, prices and likely rate increases that might allow the city to retain local control. Councilwoman Beth Oprisch, who originally voiced the idea for the resolution, asked that it be passed as an emergency measure. Councilman Perry Basile seconded, but the motion was defeated four to three, with Oprisch, Basile and Councilman Mike Smith in favor and council members Linda Jordan, Frank Sabatino, Jim Velas and Mark Bukmir opposed. Mayor Terry Pugh said the contract negotiation process with Aqua Ohio is ongoing. He said council would have a full three readings before accepting or rejecting the contract.”

18) PennsylvaniaAt least two private companies have expressed interest in buying Harrisburg’s water system, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said in responding to “concerns from a community member who said not enough opportunity has been given for local residents to weigh in on the possibility of privatization.” The utility, Capital Region Water, has proposed a plan involving rate increases to come into compliance with federal regulations, to which the mayor has objected and responded by proposing privatization.

19) Pennsylvania: Delaware County’s decision to sell off its wastewater authority to Aqua America has been met with a hailstorm of denunciation from elected officials and citizens. “Flanked by a crowd of rate payers, Democratic county council members and candidates stood in front of DELCORA’s offices Friday to say that a $276 million deal that would see the county’s wastewater agency merger with Aqua Pennsylvania reeks,” delcotimes.com reports. “‘The fact of the matter is anybody who has ever run any enterprise would look at this deal and say, “It stinks. This deal just stinks,”’ Delaware County Councilman Brian Zidek said. Fellow County Councilman Kevin Madden added, ‘This is nepotism and corruption at its absolute worst. We have a vital public asset. One that’s responsible for protecting our rivers and streams and it’s being handed over to a large donor of the Delaware County Republican Party. It’s being sacrificed at the altar of Delaware County Republican nepotism.’ (…) ‘DELCORA is a thriving enterprise,’ Zidek said. ‘It has a positive cash flow to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year. Its balance sheet is fine. Its credit rating is excellent, in fact it has a better credit rating than the acquiring company.’”

20) Puerto RicoThe FBI has arrested two FEMA officials and a contractor for alleged misuse of federal hurricane aid. “Among them were two officials at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency and the former president of a company that did work restoring the electrical system, Cobra Acquisitions.” [Sub required]

21) TennesseeFollowing a massive water main break, Tennessee American Water is facing intense criticism and a class action lawsuit. “Former city planner, public works commissioner and mayor of Chattanooga Ron Littlefield was extremely critical of the water company Tuesday, saying that its negligence is responsible for the leak that left 35,000 connections with little or no water for up to three days. ‘Over the years, [the company] has been consistently difficult to work with,’ Littlefield, who championed a failed plan in 2010 to interconnect East Side, Hixson and Tennessee American Water infrastructure, said. ‘They told us, when the plan came up about a decade ago, “Oh, don’t worry. We’ve got it,” and yet, this weekend, they proved that they never had it under control.’”

22) InternationalQantas and Virgin Australia have called for federal intervention to deal with massive profiteering by private investors in Australia’s privatized airports. “In his remarks, [Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah] said: “The airports we are dealing with are privatized monopolies that own and operate many of Australia’s airports, with many generating profit margins that are grossly inflated, in my view because of the power they have. We say it is time for an intervention, yet not the kind of intervention that infrastructure funds and investors in airports would have you believe. We are calling for a lot more equity and transparency in the relationship and for a negotiate/arbitrate model to be implemented.”

23) International: At its annual conference, the British Labour Party has reaffirmed its intention to reverse a generation of privatization policies and bring public services back into the public sector if it wins the next election. Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby told the conference, “In America, my cancer treatment would cost upwards of $100,000 dollars — and that’s without reconstruction. For far too many unable to afford health insurance, a cancer or other health diagnosis can be a death sentence. But Labour won’t let that happen. Not only are we determined to stop what would be a disastrous No Deal Brexit, we’ve promised that the next Labour government will reverse the privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control. That’s something worth fighting for. And so is our promise to take back into public control our railways, our buses, our mail, our public utilities. The same goes for all our public services. They should be run for the people, not for profit — and they will be under a Labour government.” A resolution submitted by Unison, the 1.3 million member public services union, promises “an insourcing revolution” (p. 21).

Criminal justice and immigration

24) National: In a major new report, Public Citizen reveals that private contractors have made billions from immigration and corrections contracts. “Ten major contractors to federal agencies that run immigration and correction systems have seen their government contracts double since 2013 due to a crackdown on undocumented immigrants under the Trump and Obama administrations.” Detained for Profit: Spending Surges Under U.S. Immigration Crackdown says “five companies have seen contract revenue increases of 25% or more from the last two years of the Obama administration to the first two years of the Trump administration. Contract revenue more than tripled (329%) at Deloitte Consulting, was up by 43% at Geo Group Inc. and increased 40% at MVM Inc. Others showing large increases over that same time period were Comprehensive Health Services Inc. (39%) and Unisys Corp. (25%).”

25) National/Texas:ICE is planning to resume family detentions at the Karnes County Residential Center, which is operated for profit by GEO Group. “The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) tweeted Friday about the change and also alleged that detainees have complained about the medical care there. ‘ICE is about to transfer women from Karnes Detention Center to Louisiana & other detention centers across the country to make room for family detention,’ the group wrote. ‘Over the last few weeks women have been complaining about the inhumane medical care at this facility.’”

26) National: What’s wrong with this picture? Shortly after announcing to much fanfare in early March that it would stop financing private operators of prisons and detention centers, JP Morgan Chase bumped up its stock holdings of CoreCivic by 10.9%.

27) National: Both CoreCivic and Geo Group are real estate investment trusts (REITs), a form of corporate structure that enables them to significantly lower their tax bills. S&P Global just released a report (The Impact of Rising Interest Rates on REITs) taking issue with analysts who warn of the potential damaging effect that future interest rate rises would have on REITs. “Over the past 25 years, real estate investment trusts (REITs) have emerged as a popular and efficient way for market participants of all stripes to access the real estate asset class. Strong long-term total returns, combined with other key investment characteristics such as liquidity, high dividend yields, and their potential to increase diversification and to hedge against inflation, have contributed to the appeal of REITs. Today, however, there is growing concern about how REITs will perform when interest rates ultimately rise from their current subdued levels.”

28) Alabama: In the Public Interest’s Executive Director Donald Cohen asks, is Alabama about to lock itself into mass incarceration for the next 50 years? “You’ve probably heard of the ‘lockup quotas’ buried in some private prison contracts. They essentially penalize the government for empty prison cells, which helps jack up America’s world-leading incarceration rate, even as crime rates continue to fall. Well, there’s a new private prison industry trend that’s just as alarming. Alabama’s Department of Corrections is considering signing so-called ‘public-private partnerships’ to build three new mega-prisons. Rather than using traditional bond financing — or reforming laws to send less people to prison — the state would borrow nearly $1 billion from private investors. In return, those investors would charge the government expensive lease payments to use the prisons for the next 50 years.”

29) Tennessee: The CoreCivic-operated Hardeman County Correctional Facility was placed on lockdown after an inmate death. Private prison homicide rates in Tennessee are vastly higher than in state-run facilitiesaccording to the Human Rights Defense Center.

Public services

30) NationalCan artificial intelligence decide if work is “inherently governmental” and thus be bound to remain in the public sector? “The Department of Health and Human Services has built a recurrent neural network to help acquisition staff make the call. The effort is still in proof-of-concept stage, HHS CIO Jose Arrieta told FCW, but the artificial intelligence-powered system already is making the correct determination 86% of the time. The goal is not to automate the entire process, he said, but rather to allow HHS’ human experts to focus on the toughest and most-borderline cases. Those same experts were used to help train the neural network, which used some 9,000 HHS statements of work from past procurements and the Government Accountability Office’s guidelines on inherently governmental functions as the starting point.”

No longer is it look at the [Federal Acquisition Regulation],” says the Trump administration’s recently appointed HHS chief information officer, Jose Arrieta. HHS’s network is the first “that I know of,” though the intelligence community “is doing some of this,” Arrieta said at the Professional Services Council Tech Trends Conference last week.

31) National: Writing in the Washington Monthly, Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven report that the Trump administration is sabotaging veterans’ access to health care. “On June 6, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs deployed seven staffers to five veterans’ hospitals across the country. Their goal: to monitor the rollout of a new law set to accelerate the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of veterans served by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to private-sector providers. But this critical monitoring work was actively undermined by officials inside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to a House report obtained by the Washington Monthly, Congressional staff faced ‘coordinated and unprecedented obstruction’ by national VA staff in these oversight efforts.”

32) National: The in face of a national crisis in the recycling sector partly created by China refusing to accept American waste anymore, the “public-private partnership” model first developed in the 1980s is under stress. “Republic Services has grown to be the second-largest waste company in the country under this arrangement. Because of the recycling crisis, the company has made dramatic changes — stopping services in some U.S. cities and raising rates in others. The recycling industry is now breaking apart over cost burdens. ‘So, we’re out engaging in those conversations about changing, changing the way that we recycle, changing the way that we service those customers, changing how we educate on what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. And so some of that conversation is about increases in rates,’ said Pete Keller, head of sustainability at Republic Services. (…) Cities and counties are now stuck. The public part of the public-private partnership must now pay more to provide the same service. ‘Cities and residents eventually at some point will have to address the fact that the revenue that was generated from the sale of recyclables that the costs of processing recyclables have changed, or at least in today’s market, and those additional costs have to be paid for,’ said [Joe Giudice, assistant public works director for the city of Phoenix].”

33) AlabamaDaphne is seeking bids to privatize its garbage and recycling system. Mayor Dane Haygood “says all options are on the table, and no decision has been reached. “Until we have the data, it’s a little bit premature. We may find rates are unattractive. And we rule out private options all together. But we’re just trying to gather as much data in one round as we can so we can make informed citizens,” said Haygood. Haygood says the future of the 17 Daphne solid waste employees will play an important role in the discussion. The city’s bid already asks private companies to hire those employees and spell out what the pay and benefits would be. It also requires the private company to buy or lease the city’s equipment.”

34) Kansas: Writing in the Kansas City Star, In the Public Interest’s Jeremy Mohler says Kansas should cut its ties with its KanCare call center contractor. “Kansas should cancel the Maximus contract and bring the rest of the Clearinghouse’s call center jobs and support staff back under public control. As is often the case, and contrary to Brownback’s anti-government ideology, insourcing could save taxpayers money while improving service quality. Just one example: When the federal Department of Homeland Security insourced 200 previously contracted technology jobs in 2012, the agency was able to save $27 million that year alone. The Maximus contract has the telltale signs of the damage that can be wrought by privatizing critical public services.”

35) Louisiana: The proposal to establish a City of St. George in the southeastern part of East Baton Rouge Parish has stirred up discussion over the issue of privatizing the provision of most of its public services, and citizens are hotly debating the relevancy of Sandy Spring, Georgia’s, failed experience with the model. “A number of municipalities have also stumbled over issues of transparency with their contractors. In Sandy Springs, CH2M Hill fired the city’s public works director without the municipality’s input or knowledge. Transparency was also an issue in Central with an earlier contract. In 2010, Central City News Editor Woody Jenkins filed a public records lawsuit against CH2M Hill, which at that time held the contract to run the city. The lawsuit turned into a years long legal battle. Jenkins argued a private company working at the public’s behest is required to follow public records law, and he eventually won the lawsuit. Evan McKenzie, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said it makes sense to contract out certain city services, but said it’s ‘fundamentally wrong’ to argue that privatization will necessarily be beneficial. ‘There is no such thing as an automatic efficiency gain by privatizing something,’ McKenzie said. ‘Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and sometimes it leads to bankruptcy.’” Voters go to the polls on Oct. 12 to vote on the proposal to incorporate.

36) PennsylvaniaYork County commissioners have voted to hire a private company to improve their 911 call center. “County commissioners voted 2–1 Wednesday to approve a six-month contract with the IXP Corporation of New Jersey. The company will be paid $750,000 to improve the 911 center’s efficiency and effectiveness.”

Odds & ends

37) National: Democrats on a House labor panel are denouncing the National Labor Relations Board for outsourcing its review of public comments. “The board is currently relying on a private-sector contractor to help review public comments on a proposed rule that would limit liability for franchisers and companies that use contractor labor. That poses a conflict of interest problem, according to Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), because the contractor, Ardelle Associates, Inc., belongs to a pair of trade associations urging the board to adopt the proposal. The board is also violating a regulation against outsourcing ‘inherently governmental functions,’ and may have broken a federal law that bars agencies from pre-determining the outcome of a rulemaking, Scott and Wilson said in a Sept. 10 letterobtained by Bloomberg Law. The letter to NLRB Chairman John Ring (R) was initially reported by ProPublica.” A lawsuit is in the works.

38) National: “The Trump administration’s plan to privatize hog-slaughter inspection is a huge loss for food safety and a kowtow to the pork industry,” says Food & Water Watch. “The Trump administration’s proposed new inspection system removes up to 40 percent of trained federal inspectors from slaughter lines and replaces them with company employees who are not required to be trained. Big pork slaughter companies have been trying to increase profit by doing away with slaughter line speed limits for years. It’s no coincidence that these same companies are on board with the new inspection system: privatizing inspection of hog slaughter facilities could open the door to pushing the pork industry’s goal of increasing line speed limits.”

39) National: As ridehailing companies such as Uber and Lyft increasingly encroach upon or even meld with public transportation, who will control the apps? “Whoever controls the ‘app store’ controls the options people see and the data that people provide,” Forbes says. “That’s why the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) wrote that ‘we can’t leave public transportation apps to the private sector.’ ‘There’s nothing precluding commercial MaaS operators from favoring their own solutions,’ SPUR officials wrote, and ‘public transportation could very well be sidelined in a commercial MaaS [mobility as a service — ed.] platform.’ There is also no reason why the MaaS platforms couldn’t charge public entities for access to their subscribers, or ignore the needs of low-income neighborhoods. Public transportation has a mandate (that private businesses don’t) to serve everyone, regardless of age, income, ability or access to digital tools.”

40) New York: New York City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn “evoked the specter of corporate giant Amazon moving into Industry City and called on Sunset Park residents to unite behind a Community Benefits Agreement with the complex’s owners in order to keep the company out. ‘Essentially, Amazon can come in and take over the entire complex right now. That’s scary. We fought that in Queens and that can happen now, with the correct zoning,’ the councilmember said at a Community Board 7 meeting on Wednesday night.”

Governing for the Common Good

41) National: A new report from the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First on lawsuits filed by state attorneys general “shows that the current cases against the drug companies and the tech sector are part of a long-standing practice of bipartisan cooperation in fighting corporate misconduct.”

42) National/California:State leaders are poised to challenge Trump’s plan to revoke a waiver allowing the state to set its own vehicle emissions standards. “After the president’s announcement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra fired back. “If arguments in the president’s tweets are the arguments they would use to propel this initiative, we are looking pretty good,” Becerra said at a press conference, flanked by Governor Gavin Newsom and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols. ‘We will enjoy facing them in court if that is the argument they are going to make.’ Becerra said the president doesn’t have the executive authority to revoke the waiver and that prior attempts to strip the state of the waiver have been defeated in court.”