Friday, February 8, 2013

How's all this privatization working for you, Rahm?

I don't think so.
The Skyway, the parking meters, charter schools, and red-light cameras -- all sold off to politically-connected private companies. The result of these get-rich-quick schemes? Some short-term revenue generated at the expense of long-term debt for the city and lower pay for union-less workers. Pockets lined for a handful of friends of the mayor, Boss Mike Madigan or Ald. Eddie Burke. Charter and cyber schools, run by profiteers like UNO, most of which don't do any better or under-perform the neighborhood schools they replaced. The airports are next.

And now a new bunker-buster red-light scandal involving the city's multi-million-dollar contract with the Australian company, Redflex Holdings Ltd.

According to today's Trib, the latest internal probe found that Redflex executives systematically courted former city transportation officials, like John Bills,  a longtime precinct captain in the political organization of House Speaker Madigan, with thousands of dollars in free trips to the Super Bowl and other sporting events. After retiring from the city, Bills went to work for Redflex.

Daley took job at Katten Muchin Rosenman.
Sound familiar? Remember that Mayor Daley, after leaving City Hall, landed a spot at Katten, Muchin, Rosenman, the law firm that engineered the scandalized parking meter deal.
The company [Redflex] also hid the extent of the improper relationship from City Hall after the newspaper's reporting last year forced Redflex to partially reveal its ties to Bills, sources said.
Until the allegations were published by the Tribune, Redflex was positioned as a leading contender for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new program to sprinkle the city with automatic cameras to tag speeders in school and park "safety zones." The company listed its annual revenue as $146 million in 2012.

According to the Trib:
Last year the company opened a new vein of potential business in the U.S. when it bought two companies involved in putting camera surveillance on school buses to ticket the drivers of cars who illegally pass the stopped vehicles.
"Opened a new vein" indeed.

If you needed yet another reason to end mayoral control of the public schools and remove CPS as a wing of City Hall, here it is.

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