Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Illinois Coalition to Protect the Public Commons

Join with Us to Take Charge of our Commons!


Privatization Affects Us All!

Keep our Commons in Public Hands
Keep our Communities Strong
Ensure that needed Public Services
Are Accessible and Affordable to All

About Us
ICPPC was founded in September 2011 by a group of citizen advocates from a variety of issue groups, all concerned about the growing national trend to privatize the public commons.  We joined together in order to share information, support each other’s issues and actions and create a stronger force to fight for the public interest. We are committed to promoting our goals through public education, research, forums, outreach, actions and lobbying.

Why form a new Coalition?
Nearly every aspect of our public commons has been, or is being threatened with, privatization:
                                                               -  Schools
                                                               -  Transportation
                                                               -  Water System
                                                               -  City Services
                                                               -  Parking Meters
                                                               -  Healthcare                   
                                                               -  Libraries
                                                               -  Social Security
                                                               -  Elections
                                                               -  US Post Offices
                                                               -  Legal Services
                                                               -  Policing/Security Services
                                                               -  Medicare and Medicaid
                                                               -  Highways
                                                               -  Infrastructure
                                                               -  Public Artworks
                                                               -  Parks            

What’s at Risk?

When public assets or the public commons are privatized, citizens relinquish control of our communities to the corporate state.  We lose good jobs, money,  access, our sense of community, accountability and legal recourse.  The corporate state grows while democracy shrinks.  Whose rights are protected in an ownership society?

What Happens When Public Assets are Privatized?

As we saw with the Chicago parking meters, when public assets are privatized the public pays and the private companies profit.  Private companies invest for fast profits and fat bonuses.  To do this, they quickly raise prices, reduce services and/or quality, replace public workers with fewer, less-skilled workers, cut back on long-term maintenance, and exploit public grants and tax exemptions.  This is socialism - reverse socialism. It is socialism for the wealthy. 

High Costs of Privatization

-  Soaring costs and fees            
-  Cuts in services and sites
-  Poorer quality
-  Regulatory capture
 - Loss of flexibility for public policy making
-  Less transparency and accountability
-  Loss of pensions for workers
-  Loss of job security for workers
-  Loss of valuable revenue streams
   (as in the case of the parking   
   meters deal)
-  Weaken unions, the backbone of
   the middle class
-  Hollows out the public sector and
   increases corporate control

Failures of Privatization

Skyway Bridge:  In 2005 Mayor Daley assigned the Skyway Bridge connecting the city to Indiana to a consortium owned by Spanish and Australian companies for $1.15 billion for a 99 year lease.  The private companies stand to reap way more -  between $5 to $15 billion.

Parking Meters:  In 2009 Mayor Daley gave a group of investors led by Morgan Stanley a 75-year lease on the city’s parking meters for $1.5 billion.  The investors, including the state-owned investment arm of Abu Dhabi, will earn some $11.6 billion - the city nothing.

CPS :  The mayor created much community dissatisfaction and anger with the forced closings of local schools.  Studies show that, despite claims to the contrary, charter schools do not appreciably outperform public schools.

WATER SYSTEM:  Atlanta terminated a 20-year water privatization contract after four years, citing service problems.  Nearby Homer Glen in Will County, which had contracted with Illinois-American Water Co.  had water rates about three times more than in neighboring communities.

Don’t We Learn?
In spite of these failures and many others  at the local and national levels, our current mayor is pressing for more privatization of public services, particularly schools and health centers. He also is hinting at selling public library buildings and our water system.


Coalition to Protect the Public Commons:

On the Commons: 

Protect Our Pubic Assets:    

Our Demands

-  Keep public assets, paid for by public 
   funds, in public hands
-  Public assess and a place at the table
-  A statewide bill protecting the public
-  Transparency in planning
-  Adequate public review of any plans
   affecting public assets
-  End of secrecy in planning - timely notice
   of any plans  that affect the public
-  A city ordinance protecting the publicly
   owned city assets
-  Expand, not contract, public services
      -  End of cronyism which wastes
         taxpayer  funds. 
                                                       Things you can do

-  Widen your sources of information
-  Talk with your friends and
    neighbors about these issues
-  Visit our website: 
-  Host a networking party
-  Invite a speaker to your local civic or
   religious group
-  Sign a petition, such as:
-  Urge your elected representatives to
   oppose privatization and protect
   public assets and services
     -  Get active in civic engagement –   
         attend local townhall meetings or city
        council meetings
-  Join a campaign or action to protect
   the commons
-  Join and support ICPPC

ICPPC meets the 4th Monday of every
month, alternately by teleconference or
in-person meetings. 

See:  "Meetings" page for info.