THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW WE NEED TO GET GLOBAL POLS OUT----THEY HAVE JUST BEEN POSITIONING THEMSELVES TO KILL THE CAPTURE IN OUR POLITICAL PARTIES. THE SAME IS HAPPENING IN EUROPE-----THE RIGHT MIGHT WIN SOME ELECTIONS AS THE LEFT SHAKES THE NEO-LIBERALS OUT OF THE LEFT-LEANING PARTIES.
So, yes------if you don't have national sovereignty under International Economic Zones and Trans Pacific Trade Pact all while dismantling all Federal structures that protect sovereignty and citizens' rights------
THEN YOU CERTAINLY DON'T HAVE STATE AND COUNTY SOVEREIGNTY.
We have watched this taking place across the US as the Federal government ignores eminent domain laws and a local community to zone as it wishes when fracking corporations were allowed to grab real estate and drill as communities zoned them out-----as state utilities and public works infrastructure was privatized to global corporations-----and as immigrant labor was solicited to come to International Economic Zones to work-----Now we are watching as Baltimore City takes that crumbling real estate and hands large-sized parcels to what will become global corporate campuses and global factories----THE MASTER PLAN OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES. The global pols just keep making the votes to approve all this while almost all citizens shout against this kind of development. Wall Street controls all this through development corporations like Baltimore Development Corporation and Bush neo-conservative Johns Hopkins.
Colorado fracking fuels fight between state and local government over control
September 8, 2014 at 6:32 PM EST
In Colorado, the debate over pumping pressurized water underground to extract oil and natural gas has turned local and state governments into rivals. When one city banned fracking altogether, the state launched two lawsuits. Special correspondent Dan Boyce of Rocky Mountain PBS reports on how the friction between activists and industry has turned into a fight over local and state control.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We just heard about how immigration may affect the coming election in a number of states, including Colorado. Well, it turns out there is another issue that could have a significant impact in the state of Colorado, fracking.
Communities there are engaged in a battle with the state to get more control over oil and gas drilling.
Rocky Mountain PBS’ Dan Boyce reports from the town of Longmont.
KAYE FISSINGER: I found out that they were going to be fracking all around Union Reservoir.
DAN BOYCE, ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS: Seventy-year-old great grandmother Kaye Fissinger is a busy woman these days. She’s been fighting for the last three years to protect the town she loves from fracking, the technique of pumping pressurized water deep underground to fracture rock and extract oil and natural gas.
KAYE FISSINGER: So, we don’t have drilling and fracking yet here, and that’s because of the ban.
DAN BOYCE: Fissinger was eager to show us this reservoir at the edge of Longmont, where companies have been trying to put in a series of gas wells.
KAYE FISSINGER: There will be fracking all around here, where people play.
DAN BOYCE: She’s worried it will soon look like so many other places along Colorado’s Front Range, with drill towers and wellheads cropping up next to homes at an unprecedented rate.
Activists like Fissinger in a handful of communities just north of Denver succeeded in keeping this boom away from their doorsteps by lobbying at the local level. The Longmont City Council voted to restrict where wells could be built a couple of years ago.
A few months later, residents took it a step further, passing a ban on fracking altogether. The state government immediately launched two lawsuits against Longmont for this, and it fired up a grassroots citizens movement for a statewide initiative to give local communities more control over fracking.
REP. JARED POLIS, (D) Colorado: People are most concerned what it means for their quality of life.
DAN BOYCE: The activists’ cause got a big financial boost when their congressman and former tech entrepreneur, Democrat Jared Polis, decided to bankroll the so-called local control initiative.
Local vs. state control has become the crux of the fight over fracking both in Colorado and around the country.
REP. JARED POLIS: What I think it should be left to is each community to decide. And I think — and we have many communities. One of the counties nearby, Weld County, it’s an important part of their economy. Other areas that I represent have voted to ban it. I think those votes should be respected. It’s like any kind of other industrial operation. I think it’s up to communities to decide if they want to incorporate that into their economic development strategy or not.
DAN BOYCE: But party Democrats did not want the initiatives to make the November ballot, and the pressure on Polis to back down kept mounting, says University of Denver political science professor Peter Hanson.
PETER HANSON, University of Denver: From a political standpoint, the fracking initiatives were going to make life very difficult for the Democrats this fall. Mark Udall and Governor Hickenlooper are facing very competitive races. And for Senator Udall or the governor to open themselves up to the accusations that they were somehow opposed to energy development and jobs in the state would have been politically quite dangerous for them.
NARRATOR: Colorado is sitting on vast reserves of shale. They can provide huge amounts of oil and natural gas through an environmentally safe process called fracking.
DAN BOYCE: Even before the initiatives had gained enough signatures to make the ballot, the industry was already spending millions of dollars in advertising to fight them.
NARRATOR: It means jobs for Colorado.
DAN BOYCE: The ad spending showdown over the measures was expected to total tens of millions, breaking state records.
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER, (D) Colorado: Energy extraction and our environment and managing the balance can be difficult, but it is something we have always been able to do in Colorado.
DAN BOYCE: Last month, Governor John Hickenlooper announced he had reached a compromise between some major environmental organizations and industry groups. The state would drop one of the lawsuits against Longmont. Congressman Polis would drop his two ballot initiatives. The oil and gas industry would drop two pro-fracking initiatives and a new so-called blue-ribbon commission would be appointed to craft a solution on local control issues for the state legislature.
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER: This approach will put the matter in the hands of a balanced group of thoughtful community leaders, business representatives, and citizens who can advise the legislature and the executive branch on the best path forward.
DAN BOYCE: Business and industry groups have long argued the state is best equipped to regulate the oil and gas industry to avoid a hodgepodge of regulations.
MATT LEPORE, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: Where all of those — all those red dots are wells.
DAN BOYCE: Matt Lepore heads up the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency which regulates the industry.
MATT LEPORE: Part of what is going on I think it’s important for everybody to understand is that these cities and communities are expanding. What was once just rural agricultural land, subdivisions get developed.
If, today, the local governments chose to say no drilling in our residential zone, what about tomorrow, when the residential zone has moved again out to where drilling was OK?
DAN BOYCE: Lepore says the governor was right to broker the compromise.
Would you go so far as to say you breathed a sigh of relief?
MATT LEPORE: I think that, yes, I did, and I think Colorado should have breathed a sigh of relief, too, to be honest.
The state is, in my opinion, uniquely equipped to regulate oil and gas, both in terms of the expertise that we have and the resources that we have and the long history of regulating it that we have.
DAN BOYCE: The state of Colorado has been a leader in requiring oil and gas companies to disclose fracking fluid information and to control methane emissions at the wells.
Representative Polis doesn’t think that’s enough. He wishes Governor Hickenlooper’s compromise would have gone further, but he says it was better than gambling in November.
REP. JARED POLIS: So, absolutely better than rolling the dice with an initiative that may or may not pass, having oil and gas company-sponsored initiatives on the ballots as well, which could have been a setback for protecting our environment and our homeowners. This provides some certainty, a few steps forward, and a process in place that hopefully will allow us to solve this issue in the future.
DAN BOYCE: But the anti-fracking crowd attacks Polis for caving to political pressure.
If you could sum it up, some up your feelings…
KAYE FISSINGER: Betrayal. Betrayal.
DAN BOYCE: Kaye Fissinger, a lifelong Democrat, says the whole thing is forcing her to leave the party.
KAYE FISSINGER: It will be a cold day in hell before I vote for Hickenlooper, not for somebody who betrays us like that, who sues us twice, with our own money, no less.
DAN BOYCE: Yes.
KAYE FISSINGER: How could I? It would — it would so violate my integrity to vote for this man. So, there’s a green candidate. And I will vote for him.
DAN BOYCE: You felt that compromise was a subversion of…
KAYE FISSINGER: The democratic process, yes.
DAN BOYCE: Gwen Lachelt is a lifelong environmentalist and county commissioner from the southwestern part of Colorado. She’s not abandoning the process yet. She too supported the local control measures, and the compromise left her with mixed emotions.
GWEN LACHELT, La Plata County Commissioner: I have both a sense of disappointment and also a sense of this blue-ribbon commission could really be an opportunity for not only Colorado, but for other states that are dealing with this issue.
DAN BOYCE: Governor Hickenlooper is tasking Lachelt to co-chair the new commission, which is charged with resolving these conflicts over local control. Lachelt says industry can’t ignore the issue anymore.
GWEN LACHELT: If the oil and gas industry refuses this time to address the people’s concerns, they will lose their social license to operate, and the people of Colorado will take matters in their own hands. If this commission fails or the legislature fails to enact the recommendations from this commission in 2015, I say, get ready for 2016.
DAN BOYCE: In the meantime, the industry is continuing to drill new wells at a furious pace in many parts of the state.
KAYE FISSINGER: The people of Longmont look to you tonight.
DAN BOYCE: And the citizens of Longmont are continuing to fight to keep their fracking ban.
ROD BRUESKE: This ban has become more than just a ban on hydraulic fracturing. It has become a statement of democracy for and by the people.
DAN BOYCE: Residents spoke up at a recent city council meeting with impassioned pleas after a district judge declared the ban unconstitutional. Council members voted unanimously to appeal that ruling.
Whether US citizens know it or not, the founding fathers placed the estate tax into the US Constitution just to keep extreme wealth and a 1% from taking over America. From Reagan to Obama this has been dismantled and today we see states doing the same. This marks the path to grand estates whether for UnderArmour and Johns Hopkins as global corporations with many more to come----or the grand private 'farms' that are simply huge estates for the world's rich. Maryland is allowing these huge real estate grabs by people tied to global corporations.
This was done as US neo-liberalism moved into Asia, Africa, and Latin America-----and has been underway since Reagan. BIG AG AND BIG MEAT is now global and have no ties to the US-----they too see the US as International Economic Zones and not IOWA, NEBRASKA, IDAHO. This is why we hear shouting and citizen actions about even larger land grabs in the mid-west and it is NOT against Federal Parkland----it is about global mining corporations.
Every time a state or city like Baltimore enters into these real estate grabs given to global corporations or global rich----sovereignty is lost. There will be no attention to US Constitution, Rule of Law, and WE THE PEOPLE AS CITIZENS WITH RIGHTS.
THIS IS ATTACKING OUR STATE AND LOCAL SOVEREIGNTY AND IS A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT.
Features » August 22, 2011
Global Land Grab
Fear of unrest and hunger for profit are sparking massive acquisitions of farmland.
BY Terry J. Allen
As China and others jockey for land and power, the weight of shifting empires and changing climate is threatening to crush international cooperation on ending hunger.
A 21st-century land rush is on. Driven by fear and lured by promises of high profits, foreign investors are scooping up vast tracts of farmland in some of the world’s hungriest countries to grow crops for export.
As the climate changes and populations shift and grow, billions of people around the globe face shortages of land and water, rising food prices and increasing hunger. Alarm over a future without affordable food and water is sparking unrest in a world already tinder-dried by repression and recession, corruption and mismanagement, boundary disputes and ancient feuds, ethnic tension and religious fundamentalism.
World leaders feel the heat. Calling food security concerns “extremely significant,” a 2009 U.N. report noted, “The acquisition of land internationally is one possible strategic choice to address the challenge.”
Fortunately for nervous rulers, the strategy of growing food abroad as shelter against the fires of revolution dovetails nicely with the goals of private and public capital. Governments drawing on sovereign wealth funds, and rich investors accessing state subsidies, have negotiated deals to acquire tens of millions of acres of farmland in Africa, South America and South Asia. When they export the food to their home countries, the valuable water used to grow the crops will ride along as a free bonus.
The largest investors in foreign croplands hail from China, India and South Korea, along with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf states. What these countries have in common is that all were shaken financially or politically by the 2007-08 food crisis. And all lack sufficient land or water to ensure that they can feed their populations in the coming years–especially if, as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns, climate change continues to “exacerbate land degradation and water scarcity in many places, and to increase the frequency of extreme weather events affecting harvests.”
Below you see the right wing thinking they can address this coming attack on state sovereignty by global corporate tribunal rule by passing these kinds of Amendments to a Constitution they deregulated by ignoring the parts they wanted to. Maryland had a similar bill pushed in the Maryland Assembly for the same reason. Now, these Maryland Assembly pols have known for decades what this MASTER PLAN and development entailed-----as I frequently heard when I went to Maryland Assembly to shout out----SHE KNOWS-----and so do all Maryland pols working as Wall Street global corporate neo-cons and Clinton/Obama neo-liberals.
Folks-----it is the Federal Constitution that gives states sovereignty-----if you allow our US Constitution and WE THE PEOPLE as citizens be dismantled -----there is no protection of states and local governments.
Do you really think having Constitutional conventions at a time global pols control our Congress and state houses is the best thing to do? Of course not------these global pols will pose progressive and pretend they are addressing a people's issue and Amendment these Constitutions to allow Trans Pacific Trade Pact and International Economic Zones.
Citizen Initiatives RECLAIMING AMERICA through "Single Issue Amendment Conventions"
Press Release April 30, 2013
Featured book by Authority Author: CHARLES KACPROWICZ
"Reclaiming America thru Single Amendment Federal Conventions"
State by State Analysis.
Reclaim our Constitution and Republic safely, predictably and successfully
Text of proposed
SOVEREIGNTY AND STATES RIGHTS AMENDMENT
ARTICLE 28 (or alternate number to be assigned by Congress)
Click this link for U.S. Sovereignty and States Rights Amendment video: Sovereignty & States Rights Amendment
Text of proposed
SOVEREIGNTY AND STATES RIGHTS AMENDMENT
ARTICLE 28 (or alternate number to be assigned by Congress)
Section 1. America’s constitutional history and historical experience is unique among nations and revered by the American people. Because we are a Constitutional Republic as mandated in Article IV, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, this Article protects and reaffirms States Rights that have been eroded by Congressional statutes, Judicial decisions, Executive Orders and regulatory rulings. It also mandates that the peoples’ government retain its Constitutional, State and National sovereignty in all domestic and international affairs.
Section 2. To secure the inherent sovereign rights of citizens and the sovereign authority of the United States Constitution it is prohibited for the government to pass any law, enact any regulation or adjudicate any matter in federal or State Court(s), that would diminish, in any way, the authority the United States has to govern itself as a sovereign nation and as a Constitutional Republic. The Article prohibits the government from abdicating, in any way, the peoples’ sovereign Constitutional authority to any nation, or to any regulatory agency (domestic or foreign), or to the United Nations, or to any International tribunal or governing body, or to any domestic or foreign military force (including NATO) or policing authority, or by Presidential Executive Order, or by an Act of Congress (including the House of Representatives and the Senate), or by Presidential approval by signature of any such Act of Congress, or by any International Treaty or Treaties, or by any other method or strategy that might be conceived to surrender or in actuality does surrender the United States’ National, States and Constitutional sovereignty.
Section 3. The Article further prohibits the President from declaring Martial Law, or any modified form of Martial Law, without the approval of three quarters of both Houses of Congress. If Congress concurs and Martial Law is declared by the President, then Congress must re-affirm the active status of Martial Law every 30 days with a two thirds vote in both Houses until such time that Congress decides to rescind Martial Law with a majority vote in both Houses. If Congress does not re-affirm the active status of Martial before 30 days expires, then Martial Law at 12:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time on the 31st day will be automatically rescinded. Only the President of the United States, or his Constitutionally authorized successor, accompanied by a concurring vote of three quarters both Houses of Congress can declare Martial Law. This Section 3. does not prohibit Congress from enacting additional conditions or restrictions that shall be required before the President is authorized to declare Martial Law.
Section 4. The Article also prohibits the President or any agency of the Executive Branch, or any branch of the military, or any security agency of government, or any other government body or agency from infringing on the Constitutional rights of citizens. This prohibition includes the use of electronic surveillance and any other intrusive method that the government might use to violate the Constitutional privacy rights of citizens. Notwithstanding, when a duly authorized search warrant showing probable cause in an appropriate jurisdiction has been issued, then electronic surveillance or other methods of surveillance can be employed in order to protect the security of American citizens. This Section 4. does not change the provisions and protections that citizens retain in Amendment IV of the United States Constitution.
Section 5. The Article restores State sovereignty in our Constitutional Republic. State Legislatures in the several States shall have the authority to disallow any Congressional statute, law or ruling, Judicial decision, regulatory ruling by any government agency, or any other government mandate imposed on them when in the opinion of 60 percent of State Legislatures the law or ruling adversely affects their States’ interest. In such cases, the countermand decision of each State shall be delivered by each countermanding State to the leadership of both Houses of Congress, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the President of the United States and when applicable the Regulatory Agency in question. When 60 percent of State Legislatures countermand a law or regulatory ruling, the law or ruling in question will be immediately and automatically nullified and repealed. The State Legislatures shall have six months to complete their countermands. If 60 percent of the State Legislatures do not countermand by the end of six months, the Congressional statute, Judicial law, Executive Order, or regulatory ruling will remain in full effect. Notwithstanding, Section 6 will remain an option for State Legislatures if they decide any law or ruling is onerous to their States’ interest after it has been enacted.
Section 6. Existing laws and regulatory rulings can be nullified and repealed with a countermand from 60 percent of the State Legislatures in the several States. When 60 percent of the State Legislatures countermand an existing law or regulatory ruling it will be nullified and repealed after 3 months from the date all countermands are delivered to the leadership of both Houses of Congress, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the United States and when applicable the Regulatory Agency in question.
Section 7. Any elected or non-elected government official, or non-government individual or principal of any private entity, who intentionally obstructs and/or prevents the enforcement of the provisions of this Article will have committed a criminal offense and will be subject to impeachment, when appropriate, and criminal prosecution and upon conviction serve up to five years in prison. Individual States shall have authority to prosecute violators of this Article under State laws in the absence of Federal prosecution after 90 days from the date of the alleged violation. Multiple prosecutions, by multiple States, for the same alleged crime are prohibited.
Section 8. The Article shall be immediately part of the United States Constitution upon ratification by three quarters of the State Legislatures in the several States.
Section 9. The provisions of this Article are enforceable within the United States which shall include the Several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the territories and possessions of the United States.
'In other words, “efficiency” notwithstanding, the government cannot auction off its power to govern'.
This is really boring academic writing which I only share the abstract-----but look at how people are approaching this question of sovereignty and our infrastructure----
THIS IS A GORILLA IN THE ROOM FOR 2016 ELECTIONS AND IT WILL END SOVEREIGNTY AND ADVERSELY HARM EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN.
Global pols created these structures like the Maryland commission tied to bond deals tying all our future development to heavy bond debt ----I have shouted how that will move real estate to Wall Street investment firms. These Wall Street financial deals fill all of our infrastructure development---from roads to public schools----from public housing to public museums and libraries. We know Wall Street controls the economy and will create the conditions for governments to default and these bond deals are written to allow this thanks to Maryland Assembly and Baltimore City Hall pols.
YOU KNOW----THE ESTABLISHMENT POLS LIKE PUGH, DIXON, STOKES, MOSBY-----AND THE BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT POLS LIKE WARNOCK AND EMBRY
All US cities deemed International Economic Zones have these same crony pols and Wall Street Development rich families all working these local elections to move this ending of national, state, and local sovereignty deals. They don't care-----they are simply SHOW ME THE MONEY PEOPLE. Public private partnerships are right-wing and meant only to hand our public services/works/and infrastructure to global corporations. Maryland pols are raging public private partnerships! We can reverse this but we need pols in office that WANT TO DO THIS.
'In other words, “efficiency” notwithstanding, the government cannot auction off its power to govern'.
Leasing Sovereignty: On State Infrastructure Contracts
West Virginia University College of Law
January 2, 2013
WVU Law Research Paper No. 2012-09
Infrastructure privatization is in the news. Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and Indiana, among many other states and municipalities, have in the past ten years privatized — or attempted to privatize — toll roads, parking meters and other public infrastructure. State and federal policy has encouraged these public-private partnerships and infrastructure privatization. We’ve been here before. Private development of public infrastructure was common in states and municipalities in the nineteenth century. This was typically done through granting corporate charters and franchises. Widespread disillusionment with this model led to a public finance counterrevolution in the twentieth century. Privatization re-emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Headlines such as “Why Does Abu Dhabi Own All of Chicago’s Parking Meters?” and “Cities for Sale” attest to the continuing controversy surrounding these arrangements.
This paper focuses on one of the more troubling features of infrastructure contracts: non-compete clauses. The relevant legal principles include the Contracts Clause, the reserved powers doctrine, legal prohibitions on alienating sovereignty and the inherent police powers of the state. I conclude that the non-compete terms run afoul of deeply-rooted common law and constitutional principles. If I am right in this, it follows that infrastructure contracts ought to preclude terms that permit the alienation of sovereignty. To be sure, what counts as an “alienation of sovereignty” will not always be obvious. Governments as a general rule must fulfill their contract obligations. But this general, abstract rule is subject to a limiting principle. On the one hand, the government acts as sovereign trustee of the public interest. In this capacity, government is a public actor with a certain degree of trumping power over private interests. On the other hand, when the government enters the market arena it is cast as an equal counterparty in a commercial contract. In this capacity, government resembles and is expected to behave as a reciprocally bound private actor. But this resemblance is often illusory. Unless our ancient anchor terms are hopelessly circular the essence of government remains public and not private. Because the government is not just a private party, advancing the broader public interest — however difficult to define — is not precisely symmetrical with advancing aggregate private interests. In other words, “efficiency” notwithstanding, the government cannot auction off its power to govern. Longstanding legal norms limit the scope, duration and subject matter of public-private contracts. States contemplating public-private infrastructure deals should think twice before selling the public birthright for a mess of pottage.
It is hard for a city of citizens largely poor and underserved to understand these big picture issues. They are not aware of grand global goals and that life in third world nations are actually 1,000 times worse than poverty in a US city like Baltimore. Below you see the big issue for Baltimore's citizens whether homeowner or renter. Global corporations having control of our public water across the nation are already behaving badly-----and you can believe it will get PREDATORY and water will be used to manipulate US citizens as it already is by these same global corporations in the developing nations.
THIS IS A SOVEREIGNTY ISSUE-----THIS IS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE-----AND THIS IS AN AFFRONT TO OUR US CONSTITUTION AND THE DUTIES OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO SERVE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
' which also names the city, Veolia Water North America, which is managing the authority under a contract, and Jordan Tax Service, which bills for PWSA'.
VEOLA ENVIRONMENT is tied to many US cities including Baltimore and has been this past decade. Been paying water bills for decades with no upgrading of water and sewage pipelines as required by city rate collection? Well, it went to global corporate profit and VEOLA's expansion globally. They are quite profitable now says Wall Street as water and waste rates soar and SMART METERS are ready to soak citizens for profits.
ALL OF MARYLAND POLS VOTED FOR ALL THIS ESPECIALLY THE BALTIMORE CITY MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND CITY HALL POLS LIKE MOSBY, STOKES, PUGH, AND DIXON. WARNOCK AND EMBRY FAMILY ARE ENRICHED BY ALL THIS.
Billing problems lead to lawsuit against PWSA
May 26, 2015 11:36 PM
By Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After months of mounting complaints over billing problems, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority faces a lawsuit seeking millions in punitive damages that alleges the authority has failed to fix “grossly inaccurate and at-times outrageously high bills.”
The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status on behalf of all ratepayers, was filed in Common Pleas Court on Thursday on behalf of Millvale property owner Susan Newman “and all others similarly situated.” It accuses the authority of violating the state Municipal Authorities Act and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, as well as breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conspiracy, among other allegations.
“PWSA is acutely aware that its billings are wrong but [does] not hesitate for a moment to issue ‘shut-off’ notices and then arbitrarily turns off water service,” says the suit, which also names the city, Veolia Water North America, which is managing the authority under a contract, and Jordan Tax Service, which bills for PWSA.
“Customer complaints are ignored and in some instances water bills have increased almost 600 percent from one month to the next.”
Attorney John P. Corcoran Jr. filed the suit on behalf of Ms. Newman, who could not be reached for comment, and an entity called the Community Campaign to Reform PWSA, which he described as a group of ratepayers.
At the heart of the billing problems are water meter interface units installed by the authority, devices that relay consumption information used to generate bills. The suit claims the units have “catastrophically failed.”
In a Pittsburgh City Council public hearing May 14, the authority acknowledged that as many as 14 percent of its roughly 300,000 customers are receiving estimated bills because of problems with the units or meters themselves. Officials say they are working hard to fix software and other issues contributing to the billing complaints.
The authority has also expanded hours and staffing at its customer service center.
Melissa Rubin, a spokeswoman, said the authority does not comment on pending litigation.
The suit was filed just days after the authority named James Good, a Veolia employee who has been serving as interim director of the authority for the past three years, as its permanent director at a $240,000 annual salary. City Councilwoman Deborah Gross, who serves on the PWSA board, said “we’ll take a hard look” at whether the authority took too long to grasp the full scope of the billing issues.
“Our responsibility is to our ratepayers,” she said.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said her office for months on end has fielded complaints from residents who failed to receive bills, received inexplicably high bills or got shut-off notices without getting a bill first.
“I felt from the very beginning that this needed to be addressed systematically, not on an individual basis,” she said, adding that the authority initially failed to acknowledge the problems publicly. At the public hearing, Mrs. Kail-Smith bristled at what she called the authority’s “cavalier” response to the complaints.
In February, the authority said about 3,500 customers were receiving estimated bills because they had older meters that were not compatible with the “advanced metering infrastructure” it began installing in 2013. The authority blamed higher-than-normal bills on “extreme weather conditions” that might have caused a leak in their pipes.
But that doesn’t explain one bill cited in Ms. Newman’s lawsuit, a $2,300 increase in charges for a vacant property that had water service shut off, Mr. Corcoran said.
“It’s a total billing error,” Mr. Corcoran said. “Water was shut off at the curb.”
Citizens often do not understand the larger implications of global corporations controlling public transit. It is huge and a great national security and sovereignty issue. Why would sovereign citizens want a global corporation telling them how their transit will be developed, to control when the entire system can be disabled, and to control how and who will be able to afford or access this? THIS IS A SOVEREIGNTY AND NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE and it hits first the poor and working class but it will hit all Americans.
O'Malley filled Maryland and Baltimore with VEOLA GLOBAL TRANSPORTATION and now Hogan is sending in the rapid bus system that is owned by yet another global transportation corporation. They will end the public transit people like and control how the masses move as we are called. Think of the goal of global corporate campuses and factories-----people forced to live in workers' housing and dormatories working long hours ----eating and attending school on these campuses---and VOILA-----global corporations say people won't need public transit or cars for that matter. They will be too poor to own a car in International Economic Zones.
All of this funding for new buses and transit equipment is of course leveraged with Wall Street deals that will have all this infrastructure capital default to these global corporations. All also are labeled CLEAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL when none of it is any cleaner than gas. They are using this for tons of corporate tax credits and this is big in Maryland and Baltimore.
Pulse of the Bay
What's driving privatization of public transit?
In Fairfield, officials have outsourced the city's public bus service to MV Transportation.
Michael Short/California Watch
About the AuthorKelly Chen
As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for. We asked transit reporter Zusha Elinson to break it down for us.
by Kelly Chen — March 7, 2013, 6:00 a.m.3
As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for.
In Fairfield, where the city’s suburban landscape makes it difficult to provide reliable and comprehensive bus service, local officials are finding it hard to hold its contractor, MV Transportation, accountable. Transit reporter Zusha Elinson found that “over a two-year period beginning in 2008, the company was fined 295 times for a total of $164,000” for late arrival times and drivers speeding, being out of uniform and using cellphones while driving.
Behind the fines, however, is a much larger ideological debate: Is privatization of certain industries like transit, which some traditionally consider to be public domain, a good thing?
We asked Elinson to break it down for us.
Q: Why are more cities turning to private companies to run their public transit systems?
A: Privatization started under (President Ronald) Reagan, who championed public-private partnerships in favor of smaller government. But the trend really accelerated during the (recent) recession because a lot of municipalities and transit agencies don’t have enough money to maintain these services. The one thing that outsourcing your public transit does is save money.
Across the country, very large cities are going this route: Austin recently outsourced all their bus services; New Orleans handed over its entire public transportation to a private company, including its management; Nassau County in Long Island did the same.
A lot of times these deals will be sold as saving the taxpayers this many millions of dollars. But looking at a couple of different situations in San Diego and New Orleans, the money being saved has been quite a bit less than advertised. That’s not to say they haven’t been saving money. Often they’ll tout savings that are quite far above than what is being saved.
Q: Who benefits? Who loses?
A: One of the biggest costs for public transit is labor. When they contract to private companies, they can winnow away labor costs by not offering pensions and cutting health benefits. So naturally, bus driver unions don’t like these arrangements because it means their wages and benefits will be cut.
For example, a few years ago in northern San Diego County when the North County Transit District brought in a private company, the starting wage for a bus driver went from $14 to $10.50 an hour. One general concern that comes with paying drivers less is safety – maybe you have more inexperienced drivers. This isn’t the case for every company, but it’s a concern.
Q: What does the case in Fairfield teach us?
A: Supposedly the benefit of doing this is that you have a contract with the company to make them do what you want. But the story in Fairfield shows that it’s not so. For example, in Fairfield, MV Transportation officials actually had quite a bit of political sway to squash efforts to keep them in line. So it was difficult, at least for (former) Transit Manager George Fink, to hold them accountable.
(Our investigation found that MV Transportation made a $10,000 campaign donation to then-City Councilman Chuck Timm in 2007. In 2009, Jon Monson, then the company’s board chairman, made $10,000 campaign donations to City Councilman John Mraz and City Councilwoman Catherine Moy.)
People can take lessons from this situation: You need to really take a look at which company you’re hiring and make sure they comply with the contract. Can people holding them accountable really do that? While many transit agencies are run very inefficiently and can be improved, you don’t have to worry about influencing politicians or people taking measures just for profit margins when the system is run by public agencies.
Q: Can this happen in big cities like San Francisco?
A: A leader of the Muni drivers union in San Francisco, a very strong union, laughed when I asked him that. He said no way. So, likely it wouldn’t come to a big city with a strong union presence, but it could be the fact that other large cities continue to do this. Maybe not SF, but some other big cities.
In the Bay Area, as we mention in our article, they’re considering contracting out some routes in southern Alameda County, where AC Transit has provided the bus service for many, many years. That’ll be a really big fight if that happens because the bus drivers union is quite strong in the East Bay. But I think it just shows the trend that even in the Bay Area, where the unions are really strong, this is even being considered.
Q: Does the public even know who runs its public transit system? Do riders feel the impact?
A: Transit officials tend to say that people don’t really know who’s running their bus lines, but I don’t think that’s actually true. In talking with people in Long Island, they were really wary of this situation in Nassau County. In fact, in Nassau County, where (nearly) everyone is a commuter to the city, their transit was outsourced to a big French company. For the first time ever, they formed the Long Island Bus Riders Union. It showed that bus riders were really concerned about what might happen. There’s always two sides to the story: The company says it saved a lot of money and provided services more efficiently. But at the same time, it cut service, which people are upset about.
I think American 'main street investors' are savvy of being used as fodder------let's make sure those newly made rich from being Wall Street players running all the fraud and corruption knows they too are not long to be 'investors' especially union credit unions and other entities that used to INVEST IN MUNIS AND TREASURY DEBT.
An article like this is written for the global investment firms now buying stock and will soon be private stock ownership only by the richest. So this is not a great investment vehicle for the average citizen or even the modestly affluent----all of this value will go to global rich and it is OUR US CITY SOVEREIGNTY BEING LOST IN REAL ESTATE GRABS.
Again, US cities have large populations of poor and working class which listen to these crony global Wall Street political machines pretending each election to rebuild schools, transportation, housing, bring JOBS, JOBS, JOBS----AND IT IS ALL TIED TO THESE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES USING TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT TO IGNORE US LAWS AND US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF CITIZENS------with the goal of flooding our US citizens with immigrants from around the world and enslave our US citizens to these developing nation wages and living.
'What the development of a new campus means to investors
Most investors might not think of increasing spending on capital expenses from 3-5% to 8-10% as a bullish indicator but when you are increasing expenditures for the development of a much needed new campus it is. In order for Under Armour to continue to grow into a global brand their headquarters was going to have to be able to absorb their projected growth'
These US city corporate campus development advertisements always have a smiling black man or woman because US cities are majority black and they are posing progressive in including citizens in all the profit in these developments. I think Black Wall Street is beginning to see how all new wealth is being thrown under the bus!
Why New Under Armour Campus is Great for Investors and Baltimore
Posted on September 23, 2015
Kevin Plank spent more than $100 million dollars to acquire waterfront land in South Baltimore.
The new waterfront campus in Baltimore will have innovation labs, sports fields, manufacturing facilities, public parks and green spaces.
The new campus will allow Under Armour to recruit elite talent and relocate more key employees to Baltimore.
The campus will give Under Armour a headquarters to rival industry leader NIKE’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
At investor’s day this past week Under Armour(NYSE:UA) CEO Kevin Plank unveiled the first look at the company’s future head quarters in South Baltimore. Plank who spent more than $100 million dollars to acquire the land in Westport and Port Covington believes that the large investment was vital to the company’s continuing growth. I believe that the plan to develop a new state of the art campus is great for the South Baltimore community and a game changing catalyst that is being undervalued by long term investors.
Under Armour has posted 21 consecutive quarters of revenue growth over 20% and has seen its workforce grow to over 11,000. With such sustained success and consistent growth Under Armour has built a strong reputation in the athletic apparel industry in a relatively short period of time. On the surface it would seem that Under Armour’s steady growth and reputation for innovation would naturally attract top notch talent. However as a proud Baltimorean I always assumed that because of Baltimore’s current economic conditions and shaky reputation that it would be difficult for Under Armour to convince elite talent to relocate to Baltimore. This should change with the development of the new Under Armour Head Quarters and rebuilding of the surrounding areas.
The New Under Armour headquarters gives South Baltimore a chance to reinvent itself and will give local residents something positive to identify with. Also a construction project of this magnitude will bring thousands of blue collar jobs to the community that desperately needs them. Its no secret that the death of Freddie Gray and the ensuing riots was a big hit to Baltimore’s already negative image. Hopefully this large rebuild and renovation project to one of the city’s most under developed areas can help change perception. One positive result from the Freddie Gray situation was the national light shined on the city’s long standing economic and systematic problems.
“What made Port Covington so important was the access, but more importantly the visibility to [Interstate] 95 and the 200,000 people who drive there every single day,” Plank said. “We do have an image problem in Baltimore and we could do something great and iconic and have people see it and be visible. I think the combination between Under Armour and Baltimore right there under 95 will be incredibly powerful.”
Plank is on the record stating that the new waterfront facility in South Baltimore will have innovation labs, sports fields, manufacturing facilities, public parks and green spaces. Under Armour has hired famous architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson which is the firm behind Apples famous glass store look to create a unique look to the campus that’s in line with Under Armour’s reputation. In the past three years Under Armour has relocated 380 people to Baltimore. When the new campus is complete this number will vastly increase. The campus will also give Under Armour a Headquarters to rival industry leader NIKE’s(NYSE:NKE) Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
Under Armour’s stock price soared to a 52 week high of $105.89 on investor day (September 17th). However this rise had more to do with the announcement of the extension of Under Armour’s sponsorship deal with NBA Superstar Stephen Curry to 2024 then the first renderings of the future Headquarters. The announcement of Stephen Curry extended contract is no doubt bullish news to investors but it’s a lot less of a guarantee for positive returns as the new campus. An endorsement deal with any athlete comes with risk that is inherent to any sport figure such as injuries, and decline in ability. The Campus on the other hand has a lot more predicable returns.
What the development of a new campus means to investors
Most investors might not think of increasing spending on capital expenses from 3-5% to 8-10% as a bullish indicator but when you are increasing expenditures for the development of a much needed new campus it is. In order for Under Armour to continue to grow into a global brand their headquarters was going to have to be able to absorb their projected growth. Recently Under Armour announced that they project revenue to grow to $7.5 billion by 2018 which is a vast improvement on the $3.1 billion earned in 2014. $7.5 billion is an obtainable target but to continue such growth for Share holders in future a new campus was needed. In my opinion the number one indicator for growth in a company is the amount of elite talent that they are able to attract. The companies that neglect this principle and put more faith in the products that the elite talents that produce rather than the elite talents ultimately fail. By making such a huge investment into the working environment and culture of Under Armour Kevin Plank demonstrates that he clearly understands this philosophy.
Under Armour’s stock price soared to a 52 week high of $105.89 on investor day (September 17th). However this rise had more to do with the announcement of the extension of Under Armour’s sponsorship deal with NBA Superstar Stephen Curry to 2024 then the first renderings of the future Headquarters. The announcement of Stephen Curry extended contract is no doubt bullish news to investors but it’s a lot less of a guarantee for positive returns as the new campus. An endorsement deal with any athlete comes with risk that is inherent to any sport figure such as injuries, and decline in ability. The Campus on the other hand has a lot more predicable returns that are positive for long term investors
Most American people do not know what Congress passed under Obama---the media only places Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals fighting for a few progressive bones while voting for all of these International Economic Zone issues.
Nothing says national, state, and local sovereignty than the control of our coastlines and ports. I have talked before about how Port of Baltimore was privatized to global Wall Street investment firm tied to Johns Hopkins----as is VEOLA----but there is more than this. All of the global corporate campuses are lining our coastlines-----all the foreign rich allowed to buy US real estate are of course buying coastal property -----and all of the HOOPLA over fresh water fish farming in communities is really about laws allowing
HUGE INDUSTRIAL FISH FARMS OFF US COASTLINE BRINGING ALL THAT COASTLINE IN CONTROL OF THOSE INDUSTRIAL FISHERIES----AND NOT STATES AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
This is being done as well for global oil drilling now moving to all US coastlines expanding control to shores.
Below you see a group on the west coast fighting this as the West Coast has installed International Economic Zone policies these few decades and are about 10 years ahead of the East Coast on this. West Coast citizens are mad as heck and East Coast citizens need to get mad as heck NOW as it is coming to our neck of the woods.
PLF highlights abuses by coastal land use agencies
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Coastal Land Rights Project Lighthouse
Backed by the politically powerful interests of those who want (uncompensated) beach access and undeveloped shorelines, coastal land use agencies have exercised ever-increasing power over property owners in their jurisdictions.
PLF highlights the rampant abuse of coastal landowners by those agencies — the issues that coastal landowners face, our many cases in the courts challenging agency abuse, and what the future holds for the right of coastal landowners to use, enjoy, and protect their properties.
All of this can be reversed and VOIDED because it is illegal and unconstitutional and a threat to our national security.