VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
As we saw yesterday with the public media documentation of Baltimore's development, we need to shout loudly for a return to fair and balanced and accurate news media. These mainstream media are creating what will be revisionist history on this period of transition and the end of social democracy.
I want to look today at the value of a regional newspaper and the threats to this bedrock of democratic principles......a free press that holds power accountable!!!!
People better realize the value of a regional paper that sees its mission as investigative, fair, and balanced in its reporting because the powers that be are trying their hardest to end all of democratic media in America. The Baltimore Sun was a premiere news journal in its day and was compromised when it became the victim of media consolidation last decade and is now ongoing. When the Baltimore Sun was bought in a media deal involving a wide swath of outlets we all knew the deal was bad for America and was not sustainable given the amount of debt the purchase saddled the resulting company. What we have today in the Baltimore Sun is a financially crippled outlet that allows for the only investigative reporting, yes, Reutter is great and needs to be back with the Sun, in the region. It is corporate in its editorializing and it simply serves as a spring-board for incumbent political platforms which fails in the 'holding powers accountable' mission of journalism, but in bankruptcy the sound of who wants future ownership should make people run for the subscription page of the current ownership. Do we want a Cordish, known for criminal and corrupt business practices or Abell Foundation the largest backer of the development everyone in the city hates? Of course not and we should challenge those attacks to democratic media in court. BUY A SUBSCRIPTION TO INVESTIGATIVE MEDIA!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
Emails show City Hall's behind-the-scenes response to speed camera coverage
By Scott Calvert The Baltimore Sun 6:00 a.m. EST, February 11, 2013
Email exchanges obtained through the Public Information Act offer a glimpse at how the Rawlings-Blake’s administration has responded behind the scenes to The Baltimore Sun’s ongoing coverage of problems with the city’s speed cameras.
And they show some top city officials scrambling to respond to the evolving story and seize control of the message — sometimes in error.
In mid-November, two days before The Sun published its months-long investigation, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s press office was preparing to issue a news release trumpeting its own finding that most ticket recipients live outside the city. According to a statement from the mayor, the city’s figures showed suburban drivers were “not getting the message” that they need to slow down in city school zones.
City Hall gave an advance copy of its findings to WBAL radio, which ran a report Friday evening, Nov. 16. The Sun emailed the city the next morning, asking for details so it could include the analysis in its story scheduled for the next day — a story that documented erroneous speed readings and city judges routinely tossing tickets on appeal.
But Rawlings-Blake’s chief spokesman, Ryan O’Doherty, didn’t respond to The Sun. Instead, he forwarded the request to other city officials with a one-word message: “Winning.”
“Haha!” replied Chad Kenney, director of CitiStat, the city office charged with using data to help improve governmental efficiency. He added: “Precision is key.”
At 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, O’Doherty emailed press secretary Ian Brennan and city budget director Andrew Kleine asking for help in learning more about Washington’s speed camera program. “I think I want to put out another release today saying that their program dwarfs ours,” he wrote.
Kleine and O’Doherty exchanged messages over several hours, and others worked into the night, the emails show. The result was a news release issued Monday the 19th under the headline: “Baltimore Traffic Photo Enforcement Program Dwarfed by Washington, D.C. Program.”
It noted that speed camera fines in D.C. have far exceeded those in Baltimore, thanks to Maryland’s lower $40 fine limit. But it wrongly claimed the District had more speed cameras than Baltimore — Baltimore has 83, compared to D.C.’s 46. The release does not appear on City Hall’s website.
On the morning of Nov. 20, Brennan emailed Rawlings-Blake to say Larry Young was discussing speed cameras on his radio show and urging her to call in. He forwarded her “some talking points” — blacked out in the emails provided by the city — and encouraged her to mention the city task force created to explore speed cameras.
“Done,” the mayor emailed Brennan.
“I heard. Sounded good,” he replied.
In late November, The Sun asked motorists to send us their speed camera tickets. We knew we could verify the accuracy of tickets by using a tape measure to gauge how far a vehicle traveled, but first we needed tickets to analyze.
The effort paid off. It led to the discovery of a Mazda minivan clocked going 38 mph while stopped at a red light, by a camera that is among five later turned off because of high error rates. The city is now in the process of replacing all 83 of its speed cameras at a cost of roughly $2.1 million.
City communications officials saw it differently. Brennan emailed O’Doherty a link to our blog post and the message “Pathetic (and desperate) that’s what it is.”
O’Doherty said in a subsequent message to The Sun that his “winning” comment was meant merely to “show WBAL obtained an exclusive.” And the entire email exchange reveals the obvious: The mayor and city officials support the city’s speed camera program and consider much of the criticism unwarranted.
“Are you surprised to learn that governments believe that coverage isn’t balanced sometimes?” he wrote. “If you write a story about how we were not pleased with this previous Sun story months ago, will you then write another story about how we were not pleased with tomorrow’s Sun story?”
Why doesn't your media outlet tell you what almost all economists are saying is the problem with America's stagnant economy and job growth--'It's the wealth inequity stupid'--that's what all economists are saying. The media are making it the best kept secret working against public interest. The problem is a very few have all the money. This happened with massive corporate fraud moving tens of trillions of dollars to the top and it happened with the policy of allowing corporate consolidation into global entities that suck all wealth out of the economy. Whether poverty wages, market-bearing prices for services, shedding of tax responsibilities, this mega-corporation has given us a population that is too impoverished to consume and consumption drives a healthy economy. That is the problem and the mergers as with American Airlines makes that worse so we keep electing politicians who work against our interests. Why do we do that??? Remember, American Airlines just went through bankruptcy of convenience just to shed union wage/benefits and they will now become a billion dollar a year profit machine. Wealth at the top, poverty all around. FAILED PUBLIC POLICY!
So, why is your media outlets not telling you this? Because they are corporate and working for the same thing. There is no democratic holding powers in check happening in our media. Run and vote for labor and justice!
American Airlines, US Airways unveil $11 billion merger
American Airlines has agreed to merge with US Airways, which will create the world's largest airline.
Soyoung Kim and Karen Jacobs Reuters 10:04 a.m. EST, February 14, 2013
(Reuters) - AMR Corp and US Airways Group unveiled an $11 billion all-stock deal on Thursday that gives creditors of the bankrupt American Airlines parent control of the combined airline.
US Air's management team, led by Chief Executive Doug Parker, will assume operational control of the airline, while AMR creditors will wind up owning 72 percent of the combined carrier and take five seats on the 12-member board.
US Airways will have four seats on the board. The remaining seats will be filled by AMR representatives.
"It has been the most successful airline restructuring in history, and we had been very focused from the outset on creating the most value for our owners," AMR CEO Tom Horton told Reuters.
The airline, which will carry the American Airlines name, will be 2 percent larger than current No. 1 United Continental Holdings Inc in terms of traffic - the number of miles flown by paying passengers worldwide.
The merger, subject to approvals from regulators and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, could help speed up the recovery of the U.S. airline industry as carriers will have more room to boost fares as yet another competitor is eliminated.
"Wall street has been enamored of consolidation from an industry perspective because it will help control capacity," said George Hamlin, president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting. "But I'm not sure being large for its own sake is going to guarantee success. A lot of pieces need to be put together. A lot of pieces will need to be shed."
The new American will be based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Parker, who has long advocated industry consolidation and began pursuing a merger in early 2012, will the CEO.
"The value of the merger is so great that we're excited about getting the work done," Parker told Reuters. "Integrating airlines can be difficult sometimes, but we've (already) done one at US Airways. We know what to do and know what mistakes to avoid."
Parker, 51, the longest-serving CEO of a major U.S. airline, kick-started the industry's consolidation wave when his America West Holdings bought US Airways out of bankruptcy in 2005.
Tom Horton, who became AMR's CEO when it filed for bankruptcy, will serve as chairman of the combined airline through the first annual meeting of shareholders, after which Parker will take over.
Horton's role had been one of the last sticking points for a deal, people familiar with the situation said, with AMR's board pushing for a bigger role for him.
"Tom Horton and his team did not want this a few months ago," said Hamlin. "But they are realistic and saw that this is what they needed to do."
The tie-up is the fourth major merger in the U.S. airline industry since 2008, when Delta Air Lines bought Northwest. United and Continental merged in 2010, and Southwest Airlines bought discount rival AirTran Holdings in 2011.
The new, larger American Airlines would return to the leadership position among U.S. carriers that it ceded in recent years as high labor costs made it difficult to compete with restructured rivals.
Passengers of US Airways and American would gain access to new destinations.
The standalone American is currently third in terms of traffic behind United and Delta, both of which used Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to cut costs and find merger partners.
A combined American-US Airways would have revenue of about $39 billion, based on 2012 figures, ahead of United Continental, which had revenue of about $37 billion.
As everyone knows it is public private partnerships that have fueled the fleecing of government coffers through massive corporate fraud, the avoidance of corporate tax revenue through subcontracting to subcontractors leaving oversight, if it even existed, difficult to do. They are being used to privatize all that is public killing public sector unions and driving what is left of middle-class America into poverty wages. So, why are Third Way corporate pols like O’Malley, Anthony Brown, and Maggie McIntosh doing the very thing harming our economy the most? Corporate profit and the dismantling of labor’s strength in unions.
This is why we have wealth inequity today. It is why the economy is stagnant with high unemployment, and it is why government coffers are empty so it is obviously bad policy for all of us….accept the 1% for whom these pols work of course.
The answer is to simply vote your incumbent out of office and run and vote for labor and justice in these next elections…..Watch especially the Governor and Attorney General’s race as these are the elected officials most responsible for the conditions allowing massive corporate fraud and corruption.
Brown to testify on public-private partnerships
bill Posted: 7:54 am Fri, February 15, 2013
By Associated Press Maryland Daily Record
ANNAPOLIS — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will testify in favor of a measure to create a framework for public-private partnerships to build roads and public buildings.
Brown is scheduled to testify before the House Environmental Matters Committee on Friday.
A similar bill failed to pass last year. Its prospects were complicated by a provision that was added to allow legal appeals on such projects to be heard on an expedited track before the Court of Special Appeals.
While Maryland has entered into public-private partnerships over the past five years, the private sector and the General Assembly have asked that the process be improved to attract private investment to help build new infrastructure in Maryland.
What we see with the public private partnerships that work to impoverish what were well-paid public employees we see here at BWI. Public transportation out of BWI was handed to Veola for an immediate drop of all labor wages and benefits and below we see a change in hands of vendors for hospitality that immediately removed most workplace/labor protections including scheduling, # of hours, wages. Note that these changes happened in 2004 at the time the killing of the middle-class moved from private sector to public and Third Way corporate democrats started using public private partnerships to impovish.
The following article from 2004 Unite Here speaks to the problem:
In June of 2004, BAA took over as manager of the airport's concessions program under a 12-year contract with Maryland Aviation Administration, replacing HMSHost. BAA has made claims that their new mall developer model would create competition for airport jobs which would bring quality jobs at BWI. To date, BAA has subcontracted operations out to two companies with mixed results.
So starts the subcontracting to subcontractors that fills Maryland's public sector and is rife with crime, corruption, and impoverishment. IS THIS REALLY A GOOD PUBLIC POLICY? It has been for wealth accumulation at the top!
Run and vote for labor and justice in these next elections!!!
You'll notice the media never mentions the history of policy and never mentions who champions the policy.
BWI food, retail workers protest wages, benefits Food and retail workers deliver proposed "Bill of Rights" to concessions operator
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun 6:32 p.m. EST, February 13, 2013
Food and retail workers at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport protested working conditions on Wednesday and attempted to deliver a proposed "Bill of Rights," to AirMall USA, BWI's concessions manager.
Unite Here, a labor union that represents hospitality workers in Baltimore and elsewhere and is working to organize the airport concessions workers, said the private management company has benefited from higher passenger traffic while workers struggle with low wages and lack of health care access. Food concessions workers at BWI earn an average $15,912 annually, Unite Here says.
Workers were turned away in their attempt to deliver the petition, which seeks to guarantee job security, fair wages and benefits and the right to join a union in a neutral environment, Unite Here said.
Mark Knight, president of AirMall, which manages the concessions under a contract with the Maryland Aviation Administration but does not directly employ the workers, countered that AirMall has increased jobs from 500 in 2004 to 1,500, giving employees the ability to move up to better positions. He said average full-time workers earn $18.38 per hour while full-time and part-time workers earn an average of about $15 an hour.
"It's a very robust wage level and not what is being represented," Knight said. "We support the workers' right to choose if they want [union] representation." IS THIS A TRUE STATEMENT OR DID THEY JUST SAY THAT? IN MARYLAND OUR MEDIA ALMOST ALWAYS SIMPLY REPEATS WHAT IT IS TOLD......THAT IS NOT JOURNALISM!!!