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Old 06-25-2012, 04:48 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,941,179 times
Reputation: 700

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^This is the same argument behind school vouchers. You don't like what's happening w/ your tax revenue (it's not all spent on your interests) so you rally up some support and carve out your own little fiefdom away from all the poor people sucking on the gov't teat. You think you're getting some awesome services b/c "market forces" mean teachers/schools/police et al will compete for your dollars but in reality they're lowballing the bid, greasing whomever decides the contracts, and inflating things on the backend while providing the minimum (or less) service level in the contract.

It's kind of like how people think Harvard will allow their kid to fulfill all their dreams but it's actually the act of getting a kid battle tested for the gauntlet of getting in is what makes them succeed. You've aligned everyone's interests up front and started a shiny new community away from the dredges of society. Of course it'll look great but privatized services aren't what's making it better than a gov't bureaucracy. It's the fact that you care enough to look at your services meaning you'll be less likely to patronize your local police holding cell to begin with. Police costs tend to be pretty low in communities w/ six figure household incomes.

The only real outcome of these types of breakaway fortress communities is you further concentrate wealth and poverty while reducing the capabilities to actually address poverty or dysfunction. Hiding the problem w/ a different zip code doesn't solve it. Since the invention of taxation we've been paying for stuff we don't like (wars/deficit spending/social programs/etc were around before a lot of us were born). Crying foul and going home w/ the ball isn't exactly a grownup solution. I'm not saying you should just lay down while taxes are misspent but the goal of taxes were for economic externalities and providing police/fire only to monied parts of town kind of ignores the point.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,946 posts, read 3,998,611 times
Reputation: 2750
It's an interesting system. But one of the most telling traits is Sandy Springs' financial stability through the Great Recession, which is quite remarkable given that Sandy Springs was incorporated during a time when the economy was doing MUCH better (or so we thought at the time).
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,463 posts, read 4,117,786 times
Reputation: 2162
In an equal world I wouldn't have a problem with privatization. In many countries with a more socialistic and egalitarian outlook on life, governmental privatization of services are done regularly without worry that they will bring great stress or injury to those with the least resources to bear in those societies.

Unfortunately America is far different in that more often than not loathsome strategies like redlining, sinister laws & a twisted court system that in many cases prevents fair treatment from private businesses, and outright strong-arm theft of land takes place regularly; to ensure that those with the least will always have the least, and those with the most will always have the most.

Those aforementioned factors is why a city like Sandy Springs is able to enjoy government largesse courtesy of the state while it was growing and why a city like Lithonia in Dekalb County will never see rail or any other significant business growth enhancing government grants for the foreseeable future. Privatization here is often conducted with the mindset that it will deprive others of the same growth-enhancing resources. People here may vehemently disagree with me on this issue, but I will never be convinced of the opposite opinion otherwise.

But unfortunately at the end of the day, all that we in the minority opinion on the privatization issue can do is try our best to fight against the harmful impact that this resource-reduction measure has on the poor communities of Atlanta.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishap View Post
^This is the same argument behind school vouchers. You don't like what's happening w/ your tax revenue (it's not all spent on your interests) so you rally up some support and carve out your own little fiefdom away from all the poor people sucking on the gov't teat. You think you're getting some awesome services b/c "market forces" mean teachers/schools/police et al will compete for your dollars but in reality they're lowballing the bid, greasing whomever decides the contracts, and inflating things on the backend while providing the minimum (or less) service level in the contract.

It's kind of like how people think Harvard will allow their kid to fulfill all their dreams but it's actually the act of getting a kid battle tested for the gauntlet of getting in is what makes them succeed. You've aligned everyone's interests up front and started a shiny new community away from the dredges of society. Of course it'll look great but privatized services aren't what's making it better than a gov't bureaucracy. It's the fact that you care enough to look at your services meaning you'll be less likely to patronize your local police holding cell to begin with. Police costs tend to be pretty low in communities w/ six figure household incomes.

The only real outcome of these types of breakaway fortress communities is you further concentrate wealth and poverty while reducing the capabilities to actually address poverty or dysfunction. Hiding the problem w/ a different zip code doesn't solve it. Since the invention of taxation we've been paying for stuff we don't like (wars/deficit spending/social programs/etc were around before a lot of us were born). Crying foul and going home w/ the ball isn't exactly a grownup solution. I'm not saying you should just lay down while taxes are misspent but the goal of taxes were for economic externalities and providing police/fire only to monied parts of town kind of ignores the point.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,946 posts, read 3,998,611 times
Reputation: 2750
I certainly understand that there are concerns to privatization, AcidSnake. And they should be given deference and not casually dismissed.

In the end, however, I think it works for SS. And who knows where else it could work as well.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,463 posts, read 4,117,786 times
Reputation: 2162
I'm not gonna hate too much on Sandy Springs. But the state needs to give other cities the same chance and opportunity to grow in the same way. And it can start by giving Lithonia & South Dekalb around and below I-20 its long & much deserved rail service, just as was done with Sandy Springs.

If Georgia can manage that, then on that day, I will happily drink a tall cool glass of shut-up juice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toll_booth View Post
I certainly understand that there are concerns to privatization, AcidSnake. And they should be given deference and not casually dismissed.

In the end, however, I think it works for SS. And who knows where else it could work as well.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,458 posts, read 7,268,204 times
Reputation: 4205
Here is my issue with privatization.... It isn't that we shouldn't be using private companies and competition to accomplish goals, but it is how we use them.

I want to offer an example of a fairly common city service... a city park.

A private companies goals are profit maximization... partly by minimizing costs as much as possible.

However, a city governments goal is to serve the people and the businesses that are in the city. Some of the things a government spends money might make the area more valueable, which provides financial returns (in the long run) to business owners and citizens, but it doesn't necessarily bring revenue to the city (or its managing company).

Therefore we have a system set up that a city can tax people and representatives of the people choose how the money is spent.

So if the people want a park, there isn't much reason or motivation for a private managing company to provide it. They have to be told to build one and contract for it.

This is why the city should have a public managing component. You can contract competing companies to come up with park designs, but ultimately someone responsible to the people needs to make subjective cost-benefit decisions on how nice(and how pricey) a park is.

You can issue a contract with private companies to build a park. The park would need to be built to contractually obligated specifications for materials, design, and quality. You can also contract with competing companies for the maintenance of the park, but the core management and decision making needs to be public. The decision to make, build, and what it should have is often not revenue generating for the decision-maker.

The other fear I have about a managing company is you sign a contract with that one company, which will manage multiple things. That company in turn might give preferential treatment to certain designers, engineers, or builders which aren't the most competitively by subjective quality or price competition. They might choose to work with another company in some way that is more financially attractive to them.

I'm also concerned about private companies responsible for infrastructure maintenance. There are many cases where there is a bridge can still function w/o attention for... lets say 10 years. The bridge has a shelf life of 30 years. If the bridge is inspected and patched every 2.5 years it will cost $1 each time, but if it is ignored until 10 years it will cost $10.

Long-term it is more efficient to inspect the bridge every 2.5 years for a total cost of $4. A private company with long-term ambitions will probably try to make this happen, but I am concerned an underbidding company only concerned with the length of their contract with the city will neglect the maintenance if they can get by without doing it until their contract is over.

This is a significant problem all round though, especially with many of our current cut-taxes at all costs governments. It is too easy to cut taxes temporarily via deferred maintenance. It is often cited as a nationwide infrastructure problem.

There is definitely room to privatize clerical services, engineering services, physical infrastructure work, but I feel the planner, managers, department heads (such as a parks manager), and their direct support staff need to be public and held publicly accountable.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:51 PM
 
110 posts, read 265,919 times
Reputation: 124
I may be biased since I work for a local county, but this is one of the worst trends I've ever seen.

Sandy Springs said the reason for forming their own city was that they wanted more local control and to create their own sense of identity. Seems like privatizing everything out would completely go against that notion. They still have no local control and they still have no sense of identity.

They've got a bunch of companies running the city that care about only one thing, and it's not Sandy Springs. They only care about profit. These companies have no ties to the community and they could care less about Sandy Springs. At least with government workers, they have ties to the community, they care about what's going on in their community.

The other thing with privatization. Companies that are running these cities typically pay their employees much less than the government jobs, the benefits are less, and the jobs are much less stable. So you're losing a lot of good middle class jobs and replacing them with slave wages. And lest anyone thing I am getting rich at my county job, I make the typical median salary and I have no pension. I have a 401k like everyone else in the private sector. But Republicans like to
spread the propaganda how we're all bilking the system. What a joke. If we invested more in decent government jobs
instead of these horrible low wage, no benefit jobs with fly by night companies, maybe we could get the economy moving again.

These companies are not giving much back to Sandy Springs considering how much they're charging for contracts. In many cases, they really are doing half-assed jobs, because their sole motive is profit, not the betterment of Sandy Springs. I go through Sandy Springs now and then, and it seems like the whole community is treading water. Same old gridlock, same old bad roads , same old problems with the lights. This is what happens when you try to do things on the cheap. You get nothing back.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:27 AM
 
1,386 posts, read 2,484,028 times
Reputation: 826
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcidSnake View Post
I'm not gonna hate too much on Sandy Springs. But the state needs to give other cities the same chance and opportunity to grow in the same way. And it can start by giving Lithonia & South Dekalb around and below I-20 its long & much deserved rail service, just as was done with Sandy Springs.

If Georgia can manage that, then on that day, I will happily drink a tall cool glass of shut-up juice.
Sandy Springs wasn't given it for Sandy Springs, but I think moreso for the communities above it to ease traffic. Could be wrong. Trains are hardly the catalysts economic growth. The area had achieved that well before "Its SMARTA". Aren't the train stops all in Dekalb Co?...ie, not in Sandy Springs?
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:43 AM
JPD
 
11,871 posts, read 14,483,607 times
Reputation: 7544
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATL Golfer View Post
Sandy Springs wasn't given it for Sandy Springs, but I think moreso for the communities above it to ease traffic. Could be wrong. Trains are hardly the catalysts economic growth. The area had achieved that well before "Its SMARTA". Aren't the train stops all in Dekalb Co?...ie, not in Sandy Springs?
No.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:55 AM
 
12,925 posts, read 21,008,612 times
Reputation: 4083
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPD View Post
No.

JPD is spot on...going north from Lindbergh, the only stop in DeKalb is the Dunwoody station...
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