news cameras
SHARETweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail to someonePrint this page

We’re Changing the Narrative

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/cities-need-to-weigh-costs-of-private-partnerships/?_r=2

Cities Need to Weigh Costs of Private Partnerships

BY DONALD COHEN

July 23, 2013

DealBook recently published a piece by Kent Rowey that makes a troubling argument for selling public services and infrastructure to Wall Street banks and other corporations. Under the guise of making recommendations for Detroit, Mr. Rowey tried to sell the idea that auctioning off our most vital services and assets to for-profit companies is a simple win-win solution for strapped governments.

It sounds simple, but the real track record of public-private partnerships is fraught with problems.

Mr. Rowey holds up the example of Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters that were sold in a 75-year lease to an investor group backed by Morgan Stanley as a success. In fact, Chicago taxpayers, investors and mayors across the country will tell you that not only was it an unmitigated disaster, it is also Exhibit A in the folly of blindly giving up taxpayer control of services.

Read more…

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/cohen-outsourcing-idUSL1N0FH1GU20130711

COLUMN – Edward Snowden and the disaster of privatization

BY DONALD COHEN

July 11, 2013

(Reuters) – In May, computer analyst Edward Snowden flew to China, handed over volumes of National Security Agency surveillance data to a reporter, and launched a heated national conversation about our nation’s surveillance state. Underscoring that conversation was the fact that Snowden was a private contractor, given access to a vast store of information despite having virtually no track record with the NSA or the private firm with which he was employed.

Snowden’s leaks exposed a widespread lack of oversight of the contractors working at every level of our government. Outsourcing can be nearly as damaging at the state and local levels as it is for federal contracts. The same lack of transparency, accountability and oversight threatening our national security threatens public services provided each day across the country. Cash-strapped mayors and governors are handing over control of critical public services and assets to for-profit corporations and Wall Street investment banks that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper. Too often, such deals entirely undermine transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition, the very underpinnings of democracy.

Read more…

Also available at: http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=OBR&date=20130711&id=16690784

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/01/afscme-public-interest-privatization_n_3530817.html?1372720536

Public Interest Group Challenges Privatization Of Local, State Government Services

BY DAVE JAMIESON

July 01, 2013

As more cash-strapped municipalities consider outsourcing services to try to save money, one public interest group is hoping to turn privatization efforts into a debate over taxpayer control.

In the Public Interest, a non-profit that tracks privatization, plans to roll out a legislative agenda on Tuesday, pushing for transparency and accountability laws where outsourcing is under consideration for services that include managing prison systems, transit systems and water authorities.

Read more…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-cohen/cities-and-states-should-_b_3586652.html

Cities and States Should Learn From Edward Snowden

BY DONALD COHEN

July 12, 2013

A low-level computer analyst, Edward Snowden, an employee of federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, successfully and launched a national conversation about government surveillance. He also exposed what happens when important government functions are outsourced to for-profit companies.

Not only did the federal government outsource surveillance, but they also outsourced the background checks of employees for granting security clearance. In both cases, federal offices didn’t’ have the staff to monitor and manage the contractors.

Cash-strapped mayors and governors are privatizing critical public services and assets to for-profit corporations that promise to taxpayer savings.

Read more…

http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2013/07/10/group-unveils-plan-tackle-privatization-increase-government-transparen

Group Unveils Plan To Tackle Privatization, Increase Government Transparency

BY Ashlee Rezin

July 10, 2013

The push back against privatization, or putting public services and assets in the hands of private entities, has become more organized. Last week, a public interest group released a legislative agenda to combat privatization, which they say too often contributes to the downward spiral of local economies and the growing wage gap in the U.S.

The newly-released “Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda” is a package of policy recommendations intended to assert taxpayer control over public resources. Unveiled by In The Public Interest (ITPI), a resource group focused on privatization and contracting, the agenda is being introduced to lawmakers across the country in the hopes of making government contracting processes more accountable and transparent.

Read more…

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/07/12167/group-launches-taxpayer-empowerment-agenda-reclaim-public-control-over-public-ass

Group Launches “Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda” to Reclaim Public Control over Public Assets and Destructive Outsourcing

BY BRENDAN FISCHER

July 3, 2013

As cities and states struggle to raise revenue in a sagging economy, they have increasingly turned control of public services and assets over to for-profit corporations. But these short-term efforts to close budget gaps can have a disastrous long-term impact.

In Chicago, a Morgan Stanley-backed company took control of 36,000 public parking meters with a 75-year contract — and as a result, parking fees have exploded, meters run until 10pm, and taxpayers must reimburse the company for lost meter profits when they want to hold a parade or street fair. The plan was quickly pushed through the City Council and passed with no public input or debate.

Read more…

http://muskogeephoenix.com/local/x541284318/Openness-lost-in-privatization

Openness Lost in Privatization

BY D.E. Smoot

July 28, 2013

A push toward the privatization of state services is spawning criticism from those who see the trend as the decline of government transparency and accountability.

Proponents of privatization say it promotes “effective and efficient” delivery of those services. A task force created by Gov. Mary Fallin identified 14 specific areas for possible privatization and listed others where opportunities exist.

Read more…

 http://www.citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/5453-listen-up-la-privatization-of-public-assets-can-be-highway-robbery

Listen Up, LA: Privatization of Public Assets Can be Highway Robbery

BY DONALD COHEN

July 26, 2013

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN – DealBook recently published a piece by Kent Rowey that makes a troubling argument for selling public services and infrastructure to Wall Street banks and other corporations. Under the guise of making recommendations for Detroit, Mr. Rowey tried to sell the idea that auctioning off our most vital services and assets to for-profit companies is a simple win-win solution for strapped governments. 

It sounds simple, but the real track record of public-private partnerships is fraught with problems.

Read more…

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17785-the-future-of-detroit-donald-cohen-warns-of-the-dangers-of-looming-privatization

Detroit: Donald Cohen Warns of Privatization, Calls for Bailout

BY CANDICE BERND

July 25, 2013

As Detroit officials discuss a “fire sale” of public assets and services to private interests in the wake of the city’s $18 billion Chapter 9 bankruptcy last Thursday, some conservative politicians and business leaders may realize their dreams of “running government more like a business” after all.

Detroit became the largest metropolis to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in US history, and the city’s troubles have been largely framed in the mainstream media in terms of high tax rates and pension shortfalls.

Read more…