Tag Archives: Idaho

Aquarium allegedly bought illegal sharks

Source: UPI, February 27, 2013

Two officials with a non-profit aquarium in Idaho have been charged with illegally buying eagle rays and lemon sharks in the Florida Keys…Ammon Covino, 39, and Christopher Conk, 40, the president and secretary of Idaho Aquarium, were indicted in November by a federal grand jury, KeysNet.com reported….The two men allegedly offered to pay fish collectors $1,250 for eagle rays and $650 for lemon sharks to be captured in the Keys and shipped to Idaho. One collector allegedly sent four eagle rays to the aquarium in Boise last year….The aquarium, housed in a converted warehouse in Boise, is organized as a non-profit educational center….

Coeur d’Alene school levy could shrink / Board considers lowering amount to encourage approval by voters

Source: Scott Maben, Spokesman-Review, December 4, 2012

Concerned about the weak economy and taxpayer fatigue, the Coeur d’Alene School Board is considering lowering the amount of the school district’s supplemental tax levy, which comes up for renewal in March.

Doing so would compound a serious budget shortfall – estimated at between $2 million and $3 million – for the coming school year due to declining income tax and sales tax revenues in Idaho.

Board members are mulling some difficult cuts, such as eliminating the school bus department and turning student transportation over to a private company, and further reducing employee health care benefits.

Say No to For-Profit Prisons

Source: David Shapiro, ACLU, National Prison Project blog, April 18, 2012

…Privatized incarceration also poses a grave threat to human rights. Late last year, the ACLU of Texas sued CCA after an officer sexually abused multiple immigration detainees. A CCA prison in Idaho was dubbed the “Gladiator School” due to extreme levels of violence. And just last month, a federal judge in Mississippi described conditions in a private prison run by another for-profit company as “a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”…
Related:
Brutality Alleged at Private Prison
Source: Philip A. Janquart, Courthouse News Service, March 26, 2012

Does private prison save Idaho money? No one knows

Source: Associated Press, March 4, 2012

For more than a decade, Idaho leaders have promoted private prisons by telling taxpayers it’s cheaper for the state to outsource prison management. But an examination of comparative costs by The Associated Press shows that the state has never actually done the math, and there may be no cost savings at all. In fact, privatization could be costing the state more money than if the Idaho Department of Correction ran the lockups.

Reagan Republicans to Push Idaho Liquor Privatization

Source: John Miller, Associated Press, January 24, 2012

A grocery-industry lobbying group won’t push a liquor privatization ballot measure in 2012, but a second group emerged Monday and announced it will try to get an initiative before Idaho voters in November. The Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans submitted a citizen’s initiative to the secretary of state’s office that would privatize liquor sales in Idaho and eliminate the state Liquor Division….Meanwhile, the Northwest Grocery Association, which said earlier this month it was exploring a similar ballot measure, now plans to hold off until at least the 2013 Legislature.

In Privatizing Liquor Operations, States Hope They Can Drink Down Deficits

Source: Matt Sledge, Huffington Post, January 27, 2012

Proponents of liquor privatization in at least eight states hope they can drink their budget deficit pain away.

Privatization, which would do away with post-Prohibition regulations on the sale of distilled spirits, could herald a new era of easy access to liquor and perhaps cheaper prices. The move is being aggressively supported in some states by big box retailers like Costco, which are hoping to get a cut of the liquor market. But opponents say the onetime cash infusion that would come from selling off liquor licenses would sacrifice the revenue generated by state monopolies on liquor sales or distribution.

Public College, Private Dorm

Source: Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, January 24, 2012

With state budgets tight and demand for a college education at a high point, public universities across the country are increasingly turning to the private sector to build and finance on-campus dormitories….Although proponents of private partnerships point to lower costs for construction and operation, those savings are not necessarily passed on to students. A room at the Heights, for example, costs about $1,000 more a semester than a room in Montclair State’s other dorms….

…Public universities that have entered into or are considering such partnerships include the University of California, Irvine; Arizona State; Portland State; the University of Kentucky; and Montclair State in New Jersey…Capstone developed the Heights, enlisting the Provident Resources Group, a nonprofit organization, to finance the $211 million project with tax-exempt bonds issued by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority….Portland State University in Oregon is building a 16-story residence hall in a public-private partnership with American Campus Communities.

How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools

Source: Lee Fang, Nation, November 16, 2011

This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

If the national movement to “reform” public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of “virtual schools”–charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet–as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits….

Lamenting this series of defeats, Patricia Levesque, a top adviser to former Governor Jeb Bush, spoke to fellow reformers at a retreat in October 2010. Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.”

If Levesque’s blunt advice sounds like that of a veteran lobbyist, that’s because she is one. Levesque runs a Tallahassee-based firm called Meridian Strategies LLC, which lobbies on behalf of a number of education-technology companies….

…But Levesque wasn’t delivering her hardball advice to her lobbying clients. She was giving it to a group of education philanthropists at a conference sponsored by notable charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Balfour Beatty Wins $470M USAF Contract

Source: Citybizlist, November 7, 2011

The U.S. Air Force has selected Newtown Square, Pa.-based Balfour Beatty Communities LLC as the winner of a $470 million contract to develop 4,761 residential units at six bases in the states in the next six years.

The company will oversee the Northern Group Housing Privatization Project, a 50-year plan. The initial phase covers Minot AFB, Grand Forks AFB and Cavalier AFS, all in North Dakota; Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota; Mountain Home AFB in Idaho; and Cannon AFB in New Mexico….

…With the contract, Balfour Beatty Communities will have 53 military installations in 25 states and Washington, D.C., in its footprint.

Hospital opts to hire private security firm / Deputy’s company outbids sheriff

Source: Joyce Edlefsen, Standard Journal, September 12, 2011

Though it appears in the published Madison County budget that the county Sheriff’s Office is budgeted to provide security for the county-owned Madison Memorial Hospital, the sheriff says that’s not going to happen. Instead, Sheriff Roy Klingler says, a private security firm, T&R Security, has been hired to do the job….The county’s budget for fiscal 2011-2012 includes an expenditure line item “Madison Memorial Hospital” that shows a budgeted expenditure of $131,997, an increase from this fiscal year’s budget of nearly $77,000. Based on information from the county, the Standard Journal had reported that the sheriff’s office was providing security for the hospital.