THESE SHOULD BE THE TOP ISSUES ON ALL BALTIMORE CITY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY PLATFORMS IN 2016------
and not one of these issues is spoken. We cannot build jobs----we cannot stop police militarization and unconstitutional policing----we cannot stop housing injustice-----we cannot raise or protect workplace wages and conditions without addressing these issues.
THIS RACE TO THE BOTTOM ECONOMY THAT HAS EVERYONE AS NON-PROFIT, SHARING ECONOMY, OR A VISTA. This is what is behind mass unemployment and poverty----and by extension violence and crime ----yet no one is shouting this.
'Johns Hopkins is top on designating people who are employees as 'independent contractors'-----this is illegal and yet----they are building the legal framework that will make all of this legal. It builds a wall instead of addressing the illegality of this 'independent contractor' designation'.
Social Democrats know the 'sharing economy' is simply the next step to dismantling all US government structures and US Constitutional protections and Bill of Rights. If there is no public sector----there is no one to enforce Rule of Law, Equal Protection, and Constitutional protections. Baltimore is ground zero for this 'sharing economy' because Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Development Corporation dismantled the city's public sector decades ago.
So, WE SAY NO -----to the sharing economy that replaces our public sector! Rebuild a strong public sector----THEN look at augmenting that with this sharing economy. Who thinks a Maryland Public Service Commission is going to regulate this sector in favor of the citizens and workers? REALLY???????
'New legislation in Maryland will give the state’s Public Service Commission authority to regulate so-called “Transportation Network Services,” with a governing body representing drivers, the riding public, and business, to develop regulatory standards and negotiate corporate obligations like taxes, insurance, and fair business practices. The commission would also run a dispute mediation system for drivers, and even authorize the creation of a taxi-worker co-operative'.
'The “sharing” or “gig” economy—think Airbnb, Uber, and Taskrabbit—has made massive fortunes reducing labor to disassembled microtasks; unfortunately, it’s shrunk workers’ rights too'.
This Is How Bad the Sharing Economy Is for Workers
And this is how reformers and activists might win protections for Silicon Valley’s so-called “independent contractors.”
By Michelle ChenTwitter
September 14, 2015A man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP/Eric Risberg)
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs keep telling us their way of doing business will “change the world.” And in many ways it already has, but it’s changed your world differently than it’s changed theirs.
The “sharing” or “gig” economy—think Airbnb, Uber, and Taskrabbit—has made massive fortunes reducing labor to disassembled microtasks; unfortunately, it’s shrunk workers’ rights too. But as our jobs are redefined by labor-brokering platforms, some advocates are trying to redefine labor rights for a digital economy.
Currently, the gig economy trades labor fluidly across online platforms, digital hiring halls where workers typically farm out their short-term gofer services: a ride offered through your private car, fishing someone’s keys out of a gutter, hand-delivering a package across town. For these nominally independent contractors, labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act generally don’t apply. Yet these contract jobs are at least as hierarchical as an assembly line; “independence” means you get assigned where to drive but pay your own traffic tickets, you fund your own social insurance, and if you’re sexually harassed or hurt on the job, may be left completely on your own.
That’s why the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has come up with a new policy blueprint, focused on regulating the so-called “on-demand economy” of tech-driven gig employment, to put forward concrete policy models that can help restructure the “1099” contractor relationship to offer workers greater protection. One potential model is the statutory employee framework, under which contractors are for certain regulatory purposes considered workers, generally for tax laws. NELP notes that local and state policymakers can expand this structure to provide “portable” benefits by “directly requir[ing] that companies that use IRS-Form-1099 workers abide by labor standards such as the minimum wage and others, and pay into Social Security and state workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance funds.”
Many gig workers aren’t really thinking about retirement yet; they’re struggling to get paid today.
At the media conference announcing NELP’s report, Takele Gobena of Seattle said he used to make $9.40 at the SeaTac airport complex, but sought more entrepreneurial pastures driving for Uber and Lyft while studying and raising a young family. Then came the car expenses and other requisite investments needed for ride-sharing, plus the 15-hour shifts his “flexible” job platform demanded—which left him earning the equivalent of less than $3 an hour.
“We are not earning a living wage, we don’t have job security even though we bought a car to work for them,” Gobena said. The pressure intensified after he spoke out publicly about his labor conditions to the media, he claims. Although Uber has denied any misconduct, Gobena argued, “When drivers speak about their driving experience [and] working conditions for Uber and Lyft, they automatically investigate” drivers to try to penalize them. “I want that to be changed so that drivers like me and many others can have fair treatment.”
What if these “on demand” workers could make demands of their parent companies? In addition to policy changes, NELP says establishing an avenue for contractors to organize and collectively bargain on labor conditions might empower workers to respond directly to ever-changing market and labor conditions. This provides a platform for labor action that doesn’t rely on bureaucracy to catch up with Uber and Lyft, and it may hit the industry in its Achilles’ heel: publicity. These companies have managed to wrangle local governments into bending regulatory rules to fit the gig business model, but face a rougher challenge shielding their brand image from public criticism from disillusioned drivers like Gobena.
One potential model is Seattle’s plan to just provide rideshare workers the legal right to collectively bargain. This complements the ongoing Teamsters-led campaign to organize drivers under the App-based Drivers Association.
Organizing could in fact be an ideal countervailing force against gigification, if a collective-bargaining unit were able to—like their parent company—expand freely across states and sectors. For example, the home-office analogue to ridesharing, the so-called crowdwork industry, has created a vast global network of telecommuting clerical jobbers; the leading companies, Crowdflower, Crowdsource, and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, collectively manage the services of more than 13 million workers worldwide. Although no full-fledged labor organization has crystallized from this workforce yet, some recent labor litigation has sought to bring claims on behalf of a broad class of workers.
Regulatory reforms could provide immediate relief for exploited workers while the legal system works through numerous labor cases charging on-demand service companies with abusing independent contractors. According to NELP Deputy Director Rebecca Smith, in those cases, “Courts may well deem them employers, but in the interim, we can adopt policies that bind them in these contexts.”
THE NATION IS READER FUNDED. YOUR SUPPORT IS VITAL TO OUR WORK.
New legislation in Maryland will give the state’s Public Service Commission authority to regulate so-called “Transportation Network Services,” with a governing body representing drivers, the riding public, and business, to develop regulatory standards and negotiate corporate obligations like taxes, insurance, and fair business practices. The commission would also run a dispute mediation system for drivers, and even authorize the creation of a taxi-worker co-operative.
The two forces pushing back against gigification, labor action from below and regulation from above, might collide in the next great Uber turf war in New York. Across this city—both a union town and a financial capital—an Uber traffic flood has run into a mass opposition campaign led by militant taxi drivers and community groups. Uber has deftly resisted regulatory pressures from local officials and the Taxi and Limousine Commission over taxes and other car-service industry standards. But rising street-level activism against Uber’s corporate heavy-handedness and tax dodging might help curb its breakneck expansion.
Rocio Valerio of New York Communities for Change, a grassroots group campaigning for drivers and the riding public, says via email that NELP’s analysis helps activists break down “how the ‘sharing economy’ is wiping away baseline labor standards that took workers decades to win. From misclassification of workers to meager wages below the minimum wage, the ‘gig economy’ is getting away with murder, and it needs to stop.”
So far, traditional regulations haven’t effectively checked the rise of gigdom. But if the wave of tech-fueled disruption can’t be stopped, the public can erect enough speed bumps to ensure that the kings of the sharing economy must share the consequences of their disruption, too.
BALTIMORE CITY HALL HAS BEEN OPERATED BY THESE CORPORATIONS FOR DECADES AND IT IS WHY BALTIMORE IS BANKRUPT, CORRUPT, AND SUCH IMPOVERISHMENT AND INJUSTICE EXISTS.
I want to move from SMART CITY technology, public schools, and employment policy as social democratic concerns to other breakdowns in public justice and public safety.
I spoke about the outsourcing of all that is public works and how that transfers to public harm. A functioning Baltimore public health department would have decades ago required the city to upgrade water and sewage as citizens paid their water bills----that is the mission of Baltimore Public Works and the duty of Baltimore Public Health to see this done. Yet, here we are with a crumbling water and sewage system that has been a public health hazard these few decades and now we are told Federal, state, and local taxpayers must foot the bill to rebuild already-paid for---infrastructure.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS DO NOT ALLOW TAXPAYER REVENUE TO BE FUNNELLED AWAY FROM PUBLIC PROJECTS TO SUBSIDIZE CORPORATE EXPANSION AND PROFITS.
So, the city has allowed homes and schools to go with lead pipes-----homes under constant threat of flooded basements and waste backups -------we watch as fresh water floods our streets into storm drains all while we are told more and more to buy bottled water as we pay higher and higher water bills.
PRIVATIZING OUR VITAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF ENERGY, WATER, WASTE, AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS IS A THREAT TO OUR SECURITY. THIS IS A MAJOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE ISSUE.
And yet, not one of the Baltimore Democratic candidates has this on a platform.
DO YOU KNOW THAT ALMOST ALL OF THE GLOBAL CORPORATIONS BEING TIED TO PRIVATIZED WATER, WASTE, TRANSPORTATION, POLICE, PORTS, ENERGY, TELECOMMUNICATIONS----ARE MOSTLY FALLING UNDER ONE HUGE GLOBAL HEDGE FUND???????????
Got a problem? Privatize it (and pay the price for selling off Hydro One later).
The provincially appointed panel led by former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark has released its final report and the Wynne government has said it will act on its recommendations.
It includes fully privatizing part of Hydro One and selling off a majority stake in what remains.
The government is trying to position this sale as an “asset swap”, promising to use the proceeds of the sale to fund much needed investments in transit infrastructure. But in doing so, the government is ignoring its own previous expert advice: neither Metrolinx nor a provincially appointed panel headed by Ann Golden, suggested selling off vital public assets to fund transit.
This privatization will raise only $4 billion for infrastructure investment. While that might seem like a lot of money to you or me, it is less than 15 per cent of the cost of the government’s transit investment plans.
Here are five reasons why this sell off is a bad idea:
- Privatization would be a bonanza for Bay Street but bad news for Main Street. A recent article in the Globe and Mail described how Bay Street had scrambled for the estimated $110 million in fees from the last privatization effort in 2002. We can only imagine how much more fees will be some 13 years later.
- The province’s finances will suffer if it privatizes Hydro One. There is a good reason why Bay Street investors are lining up to buy a piece of it: Hydro One’s financial statements show earnings of between nine and 11 per cent since its inception. That’s a huge return on equity for any investor, so why wouldn’t the government keep this “Golden Goose” for the people of Ontario. Currently that revenue helps pay for hospitals, schools, and other public services. With a sale, Ontarians would lose out on those revenues – year after year after year. Two academics in law and business, Trebilcock and Melville, have identified that the province would give up far more money in future revenue that it would make from a quick sell-off.
The cost to Ontario’s coffers doesn’t stop there. Because it is a crown corporation, Hydro One doesn’t pay taxes to the federal government, instead, a payment in lieu of taxes is retained by our province. The Wynne government has often lamented that Ontario does not get its fair share of revenue from the federal government, whether it is in the form of transfers, equalization, or access to Employment Insurance. If Hydro One is privatized, even more money will flow to the federal government from Ontario.
- A review of similar privatization schemes in Canada and internationally suggests that privatizing Hydro One will very likely increase rates. Nova Scotia, which privatized its electricity system a generation ago, now has the highest electricity prices in Canada. We know that a private operator will likely borrow money to pay for the purchase and, later, pass that cost onto customers. Because a private corporation is profit-oriented, it won’t discriminate between high-income and low-income hydro consumers – everyone will pay more while receiving fewer public services because of lost revenues to Ontario.
- Innovation will suffer. Ontario Hydro has been used with modest success as a public policy tool to promote industrial development, to cushion the impact of rising rates on consumers, and to green our economy. For example, in recent years Hydro One has been directed by government to prioritize the infrastructure investments required to enable renewable electricity sources. A profit-driven private entity would not have made these green choices when other infrastructure investments would have offered higher return on investment. Taking government leadership out of greening Ontario would be a mistake and a step backward.
- Ontario’s track record with partial privatizations doesn’t inspire confidence. The eHealth scandal resulted in $16 million dollars of untendered contracts going to consultants, along with extravagant pay hikes and bonuses. The ORNGE ambulance scandal was accompanied by enormous salaries, corruption, and failures in delivering vital public services.
THIS IS THE BREAKDOWN IN EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL DEMOCRATS-----NATIONAL LABOR UNIONS SAY ONE THING ----AND DO ANOTHER.
I like this AFSCME warning to why privatization is bad for citizens and workers----note they claim the RIGHT WING is behind all this privatization. Well, who backs Clinton neo-liberals doing all this privatization of public sector along with Republicans? AFSCME----it has already endorsed Hillary nationally as the Clinton's are the face of privatization. Neo-liberalism is RIGHT WING and yet our national unions are not educating as to that.
'One approach to this has centered on the public-private partnership approach as outlined in the Presidential Decision Directive 63 (PDD-63), signed by President Clinton in 1998'.
AFSCME Endorses Hillary Clinton
October 23, 2015
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced today that Hillary Clinton has earned the 1.6 million member union’s endorsement in the 2016 presidential contest.
It’s Unwise to Privatize
Driven by wrong-minded public officials and corporate greed, contracts for public services are doled out without regard to cost effectiveness or quality. Time and time again, the public pays more and gets lower quality of services while public workers are laid off and corruption scandals make the news. AFSCME is fighting hard to preserve quality public services, ensure that public service employees are treated fairly and hold elected officials accountable to the public.
Power Tools to Fight Privatization »These valuable publications will give you the tools you need to help fight back against efforts to privatize public services.
- Fact Sheet: ContractingProponents of privatization claim that the private sector can do a better job at a cheaper price. But experience shows that privatization often leads to increased costs for the public and reduced accountability to taxpayers.
- Fact Sheet: Higher EducationState funding for higher education has been on the decline for decades. But privatization-based cost saving measures lead to a loss of accountability, fail to save money and lower the quality of services, while harming workers and the local economy.
- Fact Sheet: OutsourcingOutsourcing is promoted as a way to save money, improve services, and shake up so-called “unaccountable bureaucracies.” But in reality, it often fails on all counts, especially in attempts to outsource human and social services.
Predatory Privatization »Right Wing Watch: Predatory Privatization
This report from People for the American Way looks at how privatization exploits financial hardship, enriches the 1%, and undermines democracy. Read More »
- A Path to Better Public Transit
- Closing the Books: How Government Contractors Hide Public Records
- Standing Guard: How Unaccountable Contracting Fails Governments and Taxpayers
- Put Down That Ax: Alternatives To Layoffs
- Digging For Dollars: A Guide To Local Government Revenues
- AFSCME Privatization Update
- AFSCME Resolutions on Privatization
- AFSCME Publications on Privatization
- Other Resources for Fighting Privatization
- Oct 26 Five myths of the private prison industry The incarceration industry presents themselves as a cost-effective solution to prison overcrowding. But is that... (MuckRock)
- Oct 01 UC system is shortchanging low-wage contract workers
- Oct 01 Workers allege 80-hour weeks with no overtime at UC Berkeley sporting events Federal authorities are investigating allegations that a UC Berkeley custodial contractor underpaid workers who cleaned... (The Los Angeles Times)
- Nov 20 ‘Lunch Ladies Rock’ and Win Big at the Polls School cafeteria workers sent a clear message that there are consequences to putting corporate profit ahead of children’s nutrition, voting out a majority on the Bristol (Connecticut) Board of Education that tried to outsource school lunch service. (Blog)
- Nov 10 Newark Residents Demand Tax Increase over Outsourcing Trash Collection Residents of Newark, Delaware, said they’d rather pay a higher tax than see local trash collection go to a for-profit company. (Blog)
- Oct 06 UC Contractor Faces Overtime Probe A longtime custodial contractor at the University of California is under federal investigation after former and current employees alleged the company is denying overtime pay to employees who provide services at the California Memorial Stadium. (Blog)
In fact-----Bill and Hillary Clinton and their Clinton Initiative are behind handing the world's public infrastructure to these global hedge funds and corporations. So, if citizens in Baltimore are shouting to stop water bill fraud and rate hikes-----if Baltimore citizens are feeling the pains of higher and higher BGE bills-----if public transportation is horrible and rates rising for some and not others-----
WHY ARE BALTIMORE CITY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY CANDIDATES NOT MAKING THE PRIVATIZATION OF ALL THAT IS PUBLIC A MAJOR PUBLIC JUSTICE AND SAFETY PLATFORM?
Baltimore is ground zero for this privatization of infrastructure and not one academic research report written against it----in fact, candidates talking against it are quickly silenced.
The Better Voter Series: Public-private partnerships costly and unaccountable, critics sayRise of P3s has people speaking out
October 7, 2010 0
- The Charleswood Bridge is a public-private partnership made between the City of Winnipeg and DBF Construction in 1995. It continues to cost the city $1.5 million annually. – Michael Chiasson
Under the leadership of mayor Sam Katz, Winnipeg has embraced the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) for several large infrastructure projects, locking the city into long-term contracts and multi-million dollar annual payments to the private sector.
Now, the incumbent mayor is looking to the P3 Canada Fund for a light rail rapid transit network.
“An expansion of our public transit system should not be a candidate for a P3,” said mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis, criticizing Katz for not completing phase II of the Southwest rapid transit corridor with earmarked federal-provincial stimulus cash.
Wasylycia-Leis wants to virtually discontinue the use of P3s because they sacrifice public assets to the “unaccountable” private sector.
Olivia MacAngus is the director of corporate strategy for PPP Canada, a federal crown corporation. She believes, contrary to Wasylycia-Leis, that the P3 method has become necessary for many municipalities.
“In Canada there has been an across-the-board increase in the demand for P3 development,” she said.
The reason, according to MacAngus, is that municipalities are looking for ways to effectively develop and maintain new infrastructure without running massive deficits.
Normally, the government enters into contracts with the private sector for just the construction of a project. The government then owns the new infrastructure and is responsible for its maintenance.
“ (Katz) is ideologically aligned with P3s without any real reason or justification.
John Loxley, economics professor, University of Manitoba
P3s work differently, however, by ensuring that the private sector is responsible for the construction as well as the maintenance of the infrastructure over its lifetime.
The government makes annual payments to the private partner in return for regular maintenance. This results in contracts that allow the government to spread upfront construction costs over 25 to 35 years.
For example, the Charleswood Bridge, a P3 made between the City of Winnipeg and DBF Construction in 1995, continues to cost the city $1.5 million annually. Those costs ensure regular maintenance on the bridge will continue until 2024.
Proponents believe that P3s are beneficial because they transfer a great deal of risk to the private sector. If maintenance costs exceed the governments annual fee, the private sector is on the hook for any additional costs.
With the P3 model in place, the private sector stays on top of maintenance rather than the government falling behind over time and incurring large repair costs, said MacAngus.
Critics, however, claim that P3s are too costly and diminish accountability to the public.
“I believe the costs (for P3s) are exorbitant,” said Wasylycia-Leis, citing projects like the recent Chief Peguis Trail expansion, which will cost the city $8.2 million annually until 2041.
“(The increased use of P3s) means that unelected corporations are responsible rather than public officials.”
John Loxley is a University of Manitoba economics professor and the author of Public Service, Private Profits, a critical look at the rise of P3s in Canada. He agrees with Wasylycia-Leis.
“The idea that all P3s are more efficient is simply not true,” he said.
Loxley believes that P3s are used to hide the costs of a project by spreading it over long, incremental payments to the private sector.
“It works like a car loan,” he said. “(Katz) is ideologically aligned with P3s without any real reason or justification.”
BALTIMORE CITY HALL CAN STOP THIS PRIVATIZATION AND EXPLOITATION OF CITIZEN RATE PAYERS.....IF THEY WERE NOT WORKING FOR WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND JOHNS HOPKINS.
For anyone believing the hype that these are partnerships and not simply corporations taking complete control of our vital infrastructure---I have swamp land in Florida to sell you. No one knows better in Maryland how the Maryland Public Service Commission is stacked with people ruling in corporate and shareholder favor against the public interest every time.
Below you see why-----ALL OF MARYLAND'S DEMOCRATS ARE CLINTON/OBAMA NEO-LIBERALS and the Clinton's are ground zero for these public privatizations of infrastructure not only in the US but around the world.
NEW WORLD ORDER HAS SMART CITIES WITH GLOBAL CORPORATIONS OWNING EVERYTHING.
Social Democracy under US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and WE THE PEOPLE AS LEGISLATORS does not allow for global corporations owning and operating ANYTHING IN THE US.
Secretary Clinton To Announce Launch of Up to $86.5 Million in Public-Private Partnerships
Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
January 30, 2013
Public-Private Partnerships for Critical Infrastructure Protection
By Tim Maurer
Aug 19, 2013
The last twenty years have been an experiment in how to adapt traditional governmental bureaucracies to a new environment that reflects the growing role of private actors as well as the transnational nature of the world today. One approach to this has centered on the public-private partnership approach as outlined in the Presidential Decision Directive 63 (PDD-63), signed by President Clinton in 1998.
Generally, project-oriented public-private partnerships have been more successful than process-oriented public-private partnerships. The former’s missions tend to be more clearly defined, include a definite timeline, and usually enjoy a greater sense of urgency and support among senior leadership. On the other hand, institutionalizing process-oriented public-private partnerships has proved more challenging. The goals of such partnerships are often less clearly defined. Still, some process-oriented partnerships, namely in the financial and IT sectors, have developed sustainable models of success, which will be outlined in greater detail in this report.
Five common elements emerged from an analysis of the various forms of collaboration: senior leadership support, leadership in the partnership, institutional design, incentives and value, and proper timing. Senior leadership support was crucial for the Y2K project to effectively institutionalize collaboration in the financial sector. Senior leadership support facilitates the provision of resources to build up operational capacity, adds urgency, provides assistance in crucial moments, and helps break dependencies. Exercising effective leadership by those implementing the partnership is equally important to achieve early results and form the proper foundation for further growth. Such leadership is particularly important to ensure a smooth transition in the early stages of the partnership.
Still, institutions can only flourish if they have been designed intelligently. Such design includes a sustainable funding model, a clear division of labor, and the identification of appropriate counterparts. Their success is ultimately dependent on the underlying incentive structure, which can be partly influenced endogenously, creating value for the participants early on, and through specific and focused projects. Preferences and the cost-benefit perceptions of the participating actors will ultimately determine the success or failure of the partnership.. A sense of urgency helps to create a bond between the public and the private sectors, fostering a willingness to collaborate and achieve a common vision, ultimately allowing the partnership to mature and endure. The longevity of the partnership depends on the interplay between these factors and is a dynamic process with periods of both weak and strong performance.
The first part of this report outlines a short history of how public-private partnerships for critical infrastructure protection have evolved. The second part constitutes a mapping of the current system. It is followed by an analysis of three examples of collaborative governance, one project-oriented and two process-oriented partnerships. Part four summarizes the lessons learned outlining what makes public-private partnerships work. Methodologically, this research is based on a review of existing literature, complemented by 38 qualitative and semi-structured interviews with experts in government, the private sector, and academia.
There are few issues more important than the fight against privatization of all public infrastructure---especially for citizens in US cities------
WAKE UP------ALL THIS IS TIED TO WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND VERY, VERY NEO-CONSERVATIVE JOHNS HOPKINS
If a Baltimore City Hall pols works for these institutions-----they are not protecting against this ------and Baltimore is getting ready for this same drive into bankruptcy as Detroit with the same ending if we allow Baltimore City Hall remain tied to Wall Street Baltimore Development.
Social Democrats fight against this privatization!
Detroiters Put Bodies on the Line to Stop Privatization of Their Water
Fri, 7/11/2014 - by Carl Gibson
10.4K 8 reddit60 276
“Your human dignity shouldn’t be truncated because you’re priced out of the commodification of an essential resource.“ - Charity Hicks
At 6:45 on Thursday morning, the Reverend Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit sat down with nine othersblocking the entrance of the facility where Homrich Wrecking’s water shutoff trucks were set to leave for the day. By 8 a.m., the “Detroit Water 10” had been charged with disorderly conduct with bail set at $100 apiece. The goal of the protest was to appeal to Homrich contractors to stop shutting off water for Detroit’s poorest residents.
“The officers had bruised up two elderly ladies who were tied together protesting; they were grabbing their arms and their wrists so hard there were bruises on their wrists,” said DeMeeko Williams, an organizer with the Detroit Water Brigade. “They also pulled one of our handicapped men out of his wheelchair, he was out of the chair and on the ground. That’s abuse, I don’t care what anybody says.”
Approximately 12,000 Detroit residents have already had their water turned off since Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced the plan in spring to shut off homes delinquent on water payments of $150 to $160. UN resolution 64/292 declares that water and sanitation are basic human rights. After Detroit activists appealed to the United Nations, the UN declared the water shutoffs in Detroit were a violation of human rights.
Williams says denying a basic human right like water to a major portion of the population also creates a public health crisis.
“When people go without water there’s a lot of diseases, salmonella, poor sanitation, when you can’t flush your toilet... it's just an outbreak waiting to happen,” Williams said.
As reported in an earlier piece for Occupy.com, Kevyn Orr is one of several emergency managers appointed directly by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to make financial decisions on behalf of communities deemed to be in a state of fiscal emergency. The communities in which an unelected emergency manager has been appointed are overwhelmingly poor and black.
Michigan’s original emergency manager law was rejected by voters in a 2012 referendum. But the Republican-led legislature passed a new version into law shortly after, adding in language that says the law can’t be repealed by another voter referendum. The current emergency manager law is being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds.
The Bigger Picture of the Water Crisis: Privatization
The water shutoffs in Detroit, which is currently in the middle of a bankruptcy fight, are merely a prelude to the outright privatization of water and other public assets. Defenders of Kevyn Orr’s water shutoffs claim that residents need to simply pay their bills to avoid losing their water. Others argue that water infrastructure needs to be paid for – and if it isn’t, the only logical conclusion is that those who don’t pay for the infrastructure will lose their water.
But those arguments don’t take into account how municipal water is priced. Since the Clean Water Act of 1972, public water has been allocated on a uniform unit pricing scheme. This means big corporate clients like the Palmer Park Golf Club, which owes over $250,000 in water payments, pay higher rates for water while residential customers in Detroit pay a lower rate. About 80 percent of the bad water debt is owed by Detroit Water and Sewage Department's corporate customers.
The uniform unit pricing scheme, however, doesn’t allow different rates for residential customers with vastly different incomes. So in poorer cities like Detroit – where globalization, union busting and the housing market collapse decimated the economy and left thousands jobless – poor communities pay regressively higher rates for water.
In the 42 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, federal funding for municipal water has dropped by 80 percent. Local governments paid over $111 billion in 2010 alone for water delivery. Without increased federal funding, water will only become more expensive for poor residents of large cities like Detroit, paving the way for privatization.
According to Williams, United Water – a company based in New Jersey, and owned by multinational giant Suez Environnement – is already preparing to make a bid on Detroit’s water infrastructure, which Kevyn Orr would be prepared to accept in return for $47 million in annual payments over 40 years from the private water companies. Such a privatization plan would lead to the creation of the Great Lakes Regional Authority to manage all Detroit Water and Sewage Department infrastructure, making the entire city a customer of the water authority. Williams believes if that plan were to go through, the next step would be to privatize the Detroit River and the Great Lakes.
“We want to stop the privatization of the water department so it remain as a public commons,” Williams said. “It’s a very dangerous precedent to cut off people’s water and not give them any sort of reconciliation or negotiation.”
Williams and others are calling on the City of Detroit to halt all water shutoffs and reinstate the Water Affordability Plan that Gov. Snyder overturned in 2010. On July 18, Detroit activists and thousands of attendees at the annual Netroots Nation conference will join together downtown to protest the water shut offs.
“This all would have been avoided had the Detroit Water and Sewage Department held a community meeting or public event to settle with Detroiters,” Williams said. “We’re trying to really help folks out. We let people know that this is not their fault – but this will be their fight."
This video shows what is happening at Baltimore City Hall and across the US and as these voices against these deals say------IT IS ALWAYS VERY, VERY, VERY BAD FOR CITIZENS. These deals are meant to capture US cities for decades to what will be a GIANT SQUID SUCKING ALL CITIZENS DRY.
Please take time to watch this video and make this public private partnership policy the top concern for Maryland and especially Baltimore!
NEED TO KNOW
Privatizing infrastructure PBS Video+ADD
- Aired: 09/16/2011
- Rating: NR