Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Privatization

A few weeks ago I posted on my Blog an article on a process called “Eminent Domain”.  I wrote and cited references for occasions where the conversion of private property to public use, or even the process of making zoning changes to increase public revenues had unintended and often unfair consequences.

San Francisco
Today on NPR there was a feature story regarding eviction of San Francisco residents, some of whom have been at the same location for more than twenty-seven years, in order to increase tax revenues and to upscale the demographics of the residents.

My single sister moved in her early career as an architect to North Beach in San Francisco.  She gave up her car and mid-western life style for the opportunity of life in a legendary urban city.  I visited her several times over the years and her joy was almost palpable.  Eventually she moved across the Golden Gate to the first and last home she would own.

As I listened to the commentator describe the forced exodus that would bring an end to rent-controlled living, I felt the description of “losing the artists and Bohemians who have described the city” was not far off the mark.

Last week I chatted up a Puerto Rican lawyer, while attending the Greater New York Dental Meeting.  He mentioned that his father, in the export business, had an office/residence only a few blocks from where we were at, near Times Square.  His rent was $75/month until 1985!  The controlled rent was costing the city, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

San Francisco wants their dollars!

In smaller cities those dollars are the backbone of the education system, the statistics which were released today show little improvement in comparison with other countries and even a serious reduction in math proficiency.

Philadelphia school room
A week ago or so, NPR featured the inner-city schools of Philadelphia and cast a concerned attitude over the privatization of the schools to profit and non-profit entities, many of whom receive their funding from state-supported Charter schools.  True, about one-third of the funding comes from the private sector; much from Foundations, but the consequence has been a serious negative change in the funding of the schools who teach the Black minority.  One single Black mother with three children and a mid-level job says there is no way she could afford to send her children to Charter school.

She also is concerned about the likelihood that entitlements, such as food stamps, are coming under increased scrutiny.

My interest in the subject of Privatization was sparked also by a solution to the California prison crisis, which is privatizing incarceration.  On one hand I find that a promising arrangement, especially since I have a modest investment in the CXW Correction company which has gained more than a third value in the 2 ½ years since I bought it, but it doesn’t bring jobs to California, and it doesn’t address the social problem of whom are we incarcerating?

So, if there is a point to this post, it would be to increase the transparency when changes are made to ownership or use of property, and that we should take a qualified, but serious look at what might be the unintended consequences of change.
In my next Post I plan to research what is happening to the field that has coined a new name since the ACA rollout; namely, what is a “Navigator” and how could I become one?  I think you’ll find it interesting.

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