Sunday, November 01, 2015

City wants to privatize water- local activist want to stop it

By Otto

The city of Wichita and what is left of its water department are considering privatizing the city's water operations. This goes along with the far-right philosophy of our local and state politicians to privatize or outsource almost all the government's functions. The idea is that profiteers are able to run a system more efficiently than a public entity. This also goes along with the right-wing mantra that we should have as little government as possible—that it is some how evil to rely on the government for anything.
In this warped philosophy local and state governments are trying to outsource work to parasitic profiteers. These parasites not only run this entity, they have the right to take out a large cut for themselves. It will actually cost us more taxes because the water company profiteers expect to profit from their work.
"We came into working on this issue because of fear of water privatization and in particular, the reputation of Veolia.  After a little over three months, we are still involved, now over fear of a brand-new form of privatization (not selling but eventual management and operation) and the reputation and profit motivation of the contracted company, CH2M Hill," according to Janice Bradley, Doug Ballard and Laura Tillem, who have been involved in this issue. 
So far this group of people have determined that the city has a project that will be broken up into two phases. The first phase is expected to last up to one year and will set the stage for the second phase. During Phase 1, the selected firm will analyze existing asset, revenue, and staffing conditions to determine ways to optimize the utilities. It will also line up new sources of capital funding to secure better financing terms with the City. A new management model will be developed to create a long-term partnership with the selected firm. As Phase 1 draws to a close, the City would negotiate exclusively with the selected firm to enter into Phase 2. The second phase is expected to be a long-term arrangement that could span approximately ten years. In Phase 2 the City would partner with the selected firm to jointly manage the utilities and implement the plans set forth in the first phase. 
This is just the beginning of a campaign to stop privatization and outsourcing of the operations of Wichita's utilities. A number of people, here in town, including members of the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas are working hard to prevent this from happening.
Privatization does not work. It is not more efficient. Governor Sam Brownback has set up three companies to run the new  KanCare, privatized Kansas Medicaid system and it has been a failure. The three companies have posted losses of $ 110 million in the fist year. We don't need this kind of ideological waist based on obsolete right-wing ideology.
Those activists opposed to this move will attend a meeting at the City District Advisory Boards (DAB) to speak Monday, Nov 2, 6:30 pm.

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