Your weekly rundown of news and analysis about the privatization of education, water, and other public goods—and about the people fighting back. Not a subscriber? Sign up.
- Across the country, public libaries are keeping people alive by feeding them.
- In a major series of wins for public education in Missouri, multiple conservative “education reform” proposals went down to defeat at the state legislature.
- The GEO Group, one of the two major private, for-profit prison companies, has seen its debt downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to CCC+, considered junk status.
1) National: President Biden has proposed a $6 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2022 that includes long-term investments in economic priorities like infrastructure, education and green energy over the next decade.
“The budget outlines the president’s desired first year of investment in his American Jobs Plan, which seeks to fund improvements to roads, bridges, public transit and more with a total of $2.3 billion over eight years. (…) The budget also addresses the other major spending proposal Biden has already rolled out, his American Families Plan, aimed at bolstering the United States’ social safety net by expanding access to education, reducing the cost of child care and supporting women in the work force. (…) As usual, mandatory spending on programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare make up a significant portion of the proposed budget. They are growing as America’s population ages. (…) Funding for the individual budgets of the agencies and programs under the executive branch would reach around $1.5 trillion in 2022, a 16 percent increase from the previous budget.”
The Hill says the budget is “an unabashed call for a bigger role for government in the U.S. economy.”
2) National: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the government is operating like it’s 2010, and calls for more aggressive spending. “Dating back to her days as Federal Reserve chair, Yellen has long called the nation’s fiscal path ‘unsustainable,’ but has advocated more spending at a time when interest rates are low and the economic recovery remains incomplete. She subsequently told the committee during Thursday’s hearing that she sees costs to finance the debt remaining ‘very manageable’ as she and other economists see interest rates staying low.”
3) National: More public libraries across the nation are serving as food distribution hubs, reports Noah Lenstra, Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina—Greensboro. “What might look like a new role for libraries builds on their long tradition of serving as innovation spaces, community centers and sanctuaries for people who are homeless or mentally ill. I’ve been researching how public libraries address food insecurity – what happens when households can’t acquire adequate food because they can’t afford it or can’t access it for other reasons. Across the board, these efforts emerge from community partnerships with organizations that include school districts and food banks.”
4) National/New York: On Friday the Gateway the $11.6 billion tunnel project under the Hudson River received a green light from federal officials after being blocked for years by Trump. “Mr. Schumer sounded exuberant in a brief interview about the pockets of federal money that could be used to pay for the tunnels. He cited $25 billion in the infrastructure bill known as the American Jobs Plan that is intended for ‘transit expansion,’ $39 billion for ‘Northeast Corridor modernization’ and $25 billion for projects of national significance. ‘Not only have we gotten the barriers lifted, but we have also now made sure there is plenty of money in the pipeline,’ Mr. Schumer said. ‘I’m going to use my clout as majority leader to make sure they go there,’ he added, referring to Gateway.”
5) National: What will President Biden’s worker organizing task force mean for non-union employers? “Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris and staffed by cabinet members, agency heads and various administration leaders, the task force ‘shall identify executive branch policies, practices, and programs that could be used, consistent with applicable law, to promote my Administration’s policy of support for worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining,’ Biden said. The group’s recommendations are due within 180 days of the order. While the task force does not have broad authority to dramatically change work organizing in the private sector, its report is likely to be read ‘very closely’ by the future general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, said Jim Paretti, shareholder at Littler Mendelson.”
6) National: The Small Business Administration’s Navigator Program is offering grants up to $5 million for governments. “The SBA program relies on a hub-and-spoke approach that enables a traditional business assistance organization to enlist partners in specific sectors of underserved entrepreneurial communities. ‘These networks leverage the business development expertise of the central hub organization and the community credibility of spoke organizations to better connect business owners in targeted communities with critical services and assistance programs,’according to the SBA.”
7) California: State Treasurer Fiona Ma has announced a $2 million low-interest loan to San Benito County’s hospital “to replace a 50,000-square-foot roof in such dire need of repair that a portion failed in recent years, causing a halt in services for several months and a loss of revenue. The two percent, 20-year loan was issued through the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA), chaired by Treasurer Ma, for the benefit of San Benito Health Care District doing business as Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (San Benito). The loan comes from the Healthcare Expansion Loan Program (HELP II), administered by CHFFA. The program is aimed at small and rural facilities, which often do not have access to low-cost loans.”
8) Florida: Andry Sweet and Pamela “Sissi” Carroll weigh in on how community partnerships can help balance school inequities. “A report from the Brookings Institution’s Task Force on Next Generation Community Schools recommends “the transformation of U.S. schools into community schools, centering initial efforts on the 4 percent of school districts that educate approximately 40 percent of the country’s children … and have the greatest concentration of unmet student needs.” A sizable portion of Florida falls within this recommendation.”
9) Pennsylvania/National: For this week’s In the Public Interest email newsletter, Jeremy Mohler talked to @PhillyH2O commissioner Randy E. Hayman about the nuts and bolts of public water management. “Water is a public good we all care for and should have access to, like fresh air,” he says. Asked how he sees his role in advancing the common good in Philadelphia, Hayman said “we must have a role in fostering a diverse new generation of water industry experts in engineering, engagement, science, construction, plant operation, and even law, which is my background. We have a role in how we meet state and federal regulations. Our Green City, Clean Waters programallows us to reduce stormwater pollution, but also invests in our communities. We invest in the common good by prioritizing equity both in the workplace and in how we deliver services.”
10) National: “It is amazing how the (most recent) era of education reform has sputtered to a halt with almost no commentary,” writes Jennifer Berkshire.
11) National: Joanne W. Golann, an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University, spent a year and a half studying a “no-excuses” charter school and reports back on her findings. “One of the original visions for charter schools was to create spaces for teachers to experiment with innovative practices and to create schools reflecting local cultures and needs. Instead, no-excuses charters employ a carefully maintained structure that limits the autonomy of teachers and students, with the costs of these structures becoming apparent. Change in these schools is happening but may not be quick or easy. No-excuses schools might do well to reflect on and revisit founding charter principles.”
The Washington Post reports that Golann “is correct to criticize discipline that goes too far. “Over the course of the school year,” she says, “teachers . . . assigned a total of 15,243 infractions to the school’s approximately 250 students.” The most common were for homework not submitted or incomplete, not following directions or talking at inappropriate times. Nearly three-quarters of the recorded infractions resulted in one-hour detentions in the cafeteria, where students were expected to work silently on their homework.”
12) California: Legislation has been introduced to help protect funding for California’s public school students. “California is overpaying an estimated $600 million every year for privately operated online charter schools that are failing students. Fortunately, AB 1316 (O’Donnell) would close legal loopholes that are misdirecting these public dollars away from students.”
13) Colorado: After more than four hours of emotional testimony, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill Thursday that would have made it easier for school boards to turn down new charter schools. Supporters of the bill “criticized some charter schools for serving fewer students with disabilities and fewer students in poverty than nearby district schools, concentrating students with more needs in district schools that now have fewer resources. Boulder Valley School Board Vice President Kathy Gebhardt described one charter school that would have served many students from a neighboring district seeking authorization in Boulder due to its high property taxes, which districts must share with charters. While the board turned that school down for other reasons, she said school boards need more authority.”
14) Connecticut: The state Department of Education has placed the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communicationon probation “after an investigation determined massive rate hikes to outside districts for special education costs were unjustified.” The Day reports that “the billing issue was not the only problem revealed during the investigation. The charter middle school will be on probation for one year for failing to follow state statute in ‘billing for special education and 504 plan services, lack of governing board oversight of the billing, improper disposal of computer and other technology equipment and failures to make necessary school policy and procedure updates.’”
15) Florida: The Orlando Sentinel reports that “a second charter school run by a Central Florida non-profit agency has been accused of trying to boost state funding by wr ongly documenting that children with disabilities needed more intensive services than they actually did.” A former employee “filed a complaint in January about what she called ‘unethical behavior’ at UCP Bailes Community Academy, located near the University of Central Florida. The school pressured her and teachers to alter student education plans, so the children’s disabilities would appear more severe, and they could qualify for more money though Florida’s school funding system, she said. ‘I wanted no part of it,’ said the former employee. ‘Using that as a way to pad a budget isn’t appropriate.’”
16) Illinois: Teachers at a high profile all-boys charter school in Chicago, Urban Prep, have authorized a strike. “Unionized teachers in the network’s three campuses voted unanimously to authorize a strike if they don’t reach an agreement with Urban Prep officials on issues including teacher salaries, health insurance benefits and more resources for students in the classrooms. They haven’t set a strike date yet. The Urban Prep Union, which operates under the umbrella of the Chicago Teachers Union, also filed an unfair labor practice charge against management on Thursday. The CTU says operators at the charter school network have been dragging out contract negotiations for more than three years since their last contract expired in 2018. Teachers at Urban Prep said salary increases haven’t kept pace with inflation and their wages aren’t competitive with many other schools.”
17) Illinois: Under pressure from teachers, students and parents, the Chicago Public Schools system has rejected the proposed relocation of a charter high school [ASPIRA Early College—ed.] to Albany Park, “a Northwest Side neighborhood where families and staff at a district-run high school worried the controversial move could hurt their enrollment.” Bing Howell, CPS’ school portfolio chief, told the Board of Education that “at the core of this decision is what the impact could be on neighborhood schools, which is a critical priority for this district.”
18) Indiana: The state is going to leverage federal money to back a pre-K voucher plan.
“Indiana has forecasted an unexpected $2 billion revenue windfall over the next two years, but Democratic proposals to spend more on preschools failed to win support from Republicans who control the statehouse. Still, Indiana expects to expand early education access through about $1.1 billion in federal funds for preschool and for programs focusing on children from birth to 12 years, said Maureen Weber, president and CEO of the Early Learning Indiana, which offers help to child care providers statewide.”
19) Iowa: Public education advocate Shawgi Tell, writing in Dissident Voice, traces out how school privatizers are restructuring the state of Iowa to seize public funds. “Recently, the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, signed a law that significantly increases the ability of major owners of capital to siphon public funds from public schools by creating more charter schools while also eliminating long-standing democratic arrangements, namely local school control over what happens in local school districts. Under the new law, neoliberals seeking to privately appropriate public money can circumvent local public school boards and apply directly to the State Board of Education to start a charter school operated by unelected individuals. The public has no say over this or what happens to the taxes they pay. (…)
“It won’t be long before the public begins to hear of the scandals, poor performance, segregation, arrests, fraud, and corruption that invariably accompany charter schools. Speaking up now and planning new forms of action with analysis to advance the public interest are critical. Privatizers and neoliberals are not invincible, they can be defeated. But even when they are defeated people must be vigilant to ensure that privatizers and neoliberals do not succeed in any future attempts to violate the public interest.”
20) Louisiana: A fourth charter school in New Orleans has voted to unionize. “The group, Bricolage Academy Educators United, voted in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board to affiliate with United Educators New Orleans, the citywide teachers union that existed for New Orleans public school teachers prior to Hurricane Katrina. The United Educators of New Orleans was significantly weakened after Katrina, which sped up the charter school reform movement. Brittany Scofield, a Bricolage Academy music teacher, said she and others were ‘overjoyed’ after spending two years organizing. ‘Our union will help promote equity and democracy in the workplace,’ Scofield said. ‘Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions, and now that we have a real voice, we will help make decisions that benefit our students.’ The vote was decided through an election after Bricolage’s administrators and the school’s Board of Directors declined to voluntarily recognize the organizing effort.”
21) Missouri: In a major series of wins for public education, multiple conservative “school reform” proposals went down to defeat at the state legislature, reports Ben Conover of St. Louis. “The failure of these efforts is a huge win for public school advocates. Organizations such as the Missouri School Board Association rallied rural, suburban and urban districts to fight the school choice agenda. Teachers unions such as the American Federation of Teachers’ Local 420 and 691, as well as the Missouri National Educators’ Association, led the charge against education reform and reducing standards for teacher certification. Parents and stakeholders all across the state contacted their legislators and expla ined the impact these bills would have on their children. Solidarity among public school districts, their teachers’ unions, and those who they serve won the legislative session. More attacks will come from monied interests seeking to further privatize education in Missouri. For now, public school advocates should celebrate and recharge for the fights to come.”
22) Nevada: The Associated Press reports that “a mining tax proposal introduced in the Nevada statehouse has revived longstanding debates about charter schools and tax credits that help pay for private school tuition. (…) The program has been criticized heavily for siphoning millions of dollars away from traditional public schools as the state works to raise per-pupil spending, which currently ranks 44th in the nation. Nevada State Education Association President Brian Rippet, who opposes the program, likened the program to other education privatization initiatives. He said he thought teachers’ unions and other advocates had successfully redirected the dollars to public schools last session and was disappointed with the reversal. ‘The school privateers are not stopping even once we thought they were defeated, and we thought that we had all the money directed to public schools. There’s a whole apparatus that is trying to defund public schools, so the opening is troubling,’ said Nevada State Education Association President Brian Rippet.”
23) Nevada: Charter schools will be required to report amounts paid to private management firms if Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signs a bill headed to his desk. “Charter schools must submit their reports to their sponsor, which in Nevada is almost always the State Public Charter School Authority. The Charter School Authority will compile them all for a report submitted to the Legislature on even-numbered years, directly before the biennial regular session begins at the beginning of odd-numbered years. According to the state’s recently updated definition, education management organizations (EMOs) are: for-profit entities that “provide centralized support or operations” in areas like administration, compliance and instructional services, among other things. Within the charter school world, there are also non-profit management entities, referred to as charter management organizations (CMOs), that offer similar services. But EMOs aren’t third-party vendors hired after a charter school has independently established. They are typically the organizations that set up and operate the nonprofits that ‘own’ the charter schools themselves.”
24) New Hampshire: PACE Career Academy, a charter high school in Pembroke, will be closing at the end of the school year. “PACE Career Academy is the third charter school in New Hampshire to announce its closure in 2021. Capitol City Charter School in Concord surrendered its charter in February, and Making Community Connections announced it would close its Manchester campus at the end of the school year. Microsociety Academy Charter School in Nashua is closing its middle school at the end of the year.”
PACE is the state’s only school district-supported public charter school. “The board of trustees cited a number of factors including ‘increasing requirements in staffing necessary to deliver the proper level of services to students and families,’ according to a statement. Fundraising was also a challenge and failed to meet operating shortfalls, the board said. The board said the state provided about $7,200 per student for charter schools while the remainder of the funds must be raised privately. Even with additional funds from the school district, it would not be enough to sustain the school.”
25) Ohio: Cleveland.com reports on the state school budget, due out tomorrow. “House Bill 110, the two-year operating budget that contains an overhaul for school funding known as the Fair School Plan, is in the Senate, with a ‘substitute’ or rewritten bill expected to be unveiled Tuesday. Senate President Matt Huffman said to expect direct state funding of private school vouchers, instead of subtracting the value of the vouchers from the state’s funding of a local public school. That’s also in the House version of the bill. But he said that he’s concerned about the $1.8 billion price tag that the House puts on the plan. He said that new funding could hamstring future legislatures.”
26) Tennessee: The former executive director of a Memphis charter school has been indicted for theft. “Investigators say Carwell-Richmond stole at least $4,584.72 with most of the money ($3,313.68) being withdrawn from the academy’s banks account. Comptroller investigators could not verify if the money was used for purposes related to the academy and no documentation was provided. Investigators say she stole the remainder of the money ($1,281.04) after falsifying invoices that she submitted to the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) for reimbursement. The invoices were related to furniture that the academy was leasing. They say Carwell-Richmond inflated the amounts on the fake invoices to make it appear that the school had paid more for the furniture than it actually did.”
27) Texas: The CEO and chief operating officer of the state’s largest charter school network “no longer work for IDEA Public Schools after a forensic audit revealed evidence that senior executives had used financial and staff resources for personal benefit, the organization’s board president wrote in a staff email” last week.
According to the San Antonio Report, “a series of emails from an anonymous sender led the IDEA board to direct the charter’s lawyers to retain special counsel to conduct ‘an in-depth legal and forensic review of financial transactions and activities’ of senior executives over the past several years, according to Lopez’s email. The anonymous tips came after the departure of then–CEO Tom Torkelson and Chief Financial Officer Wyatt Truschiet last year. In late 2019, Torkelson’s leadership and IDEA came under fire after the charter network made plans to spend millions of dollars leasing and operating a private jet. IDEA later backtracked on the plan, the Houston Chronicle reported. Other decisions also received scrutiny, like IDEA’s annual $400,000 expense on tickets and box seats at the AT&T Center and some board members’ business dealings with IDEA.”
28) International: Is your pension fund promoting school privatization? The Financial Times says that private equity is focusing on education as a new area for growth. “Omers Private Equity, an arm of the eponymous group that invests the pension fund assets of Ontario’s municipal employees, said on Monday it had acquired a holding in International Schools Partnership, a group of 50 international schools in a deal that values it at €1.9bn. The move points to growing investor interest in education, as private school chains expand their global reach and companies gain a stronger foothold in public education systems by providing infrastructure and technology. ‘Education is a really resilient market that has strong underlying macro drivers,’ said Jonathan Musselwhite, head of Europe at Omers. ‘There’s a real opportunity for private equity.’” [Sub required]
29) Think Tanks/Oklahoma/National: Oklahoma’s new law prohibiting teachers from discussing the state’s appalling racist history is receiving pushback. David Johns, executive director of The National Black Justice Coalition, says “In reality, many Oklahoma educators have denounced the law, arguing that it will only impede teachers from addressing Oklahoma’s harrowing racist history; consequently harming students who do not have a choice in the schools they’re forced to attend, which could potentially weaken our social fabric and country. Fortunately for educators who seek to teach fact based history, attempts to hide and suppress [Critical Race Theory] will only draw more attention to the enduring roles of whiteness and white supremacy as well as the tools that exist to identify and disrupt traditional roles of race and racism in Oklahoma and throughout the country. ” See also Hannibal B. Johnson’s “What I’ve Learned Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre for Two Decades.”
30) National: As wrangling continues over the shape of an infrastructure bill and how it would be paid for, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says it would be a mistake for Democrats to wait any longer for Republicans on infrastructure negotiations. But as David Dayen notes in The American Prospect, there is still no clear path to a deal. “So the only negotiation of value going on right now is in Joe Manchin’s head. But Joe Biden should try to get in there as well. We’re probably going to be arguing about this through the fall. Biden knows his agenda is inextricably linked to the success of the public investment package; he took most of his other campaign promises out of his budget proposal. He needs to find a strategy that will work, and fast. It’s clear that won’t go through the Republicans, so severing Manchin from them is the only chance to make this work.”
31) National: The Biden administration is proposing the authorization of $50 billion in direct-pay qualified School Infrastructure Bonds, The Bond Buyer reports. “The proposal for Qualified School Infrastructure Bonds, also known as QSIBs, revives a proposal raised by House Democrats last year in their unsuccessful infrastructure legislation that never received a Senate vote. QSIBs also were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enacted in February 2009. This new round of proposed taxable QSIBs would be similar to direct-pay Build America Bonds and would be eligible for issuance over three years from 2022 through 2024 with annual limits of $16.7 billion for each year. The Treasury said the QSIBs ‘will attract new sources of capital for investment in our nation’s schools.’ ‘The allocation of this bond authority among states would be based on the proportion of funds that each State receives under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965,’ Treasury said.” (…) Priority would be given to using the proceeds to reopen schools and eligible uses would include expanding access to high-speed broadband for digital learning. [Sub required]
Criminal Justice and Immigration
32) National/Texas: People with mental health conditions are jailed more than 2 million times each year, but Dallas is trying to do something about it. “Data from communities across the country show that 1 in 5 jailed adults has a serious mental illness. In Texas, about 30% of people in local jails had at least one such illness in 2015, according to an analysis by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas, Austin. That year, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) partnered with the Dallas Police Department and city officials to use a data-driven approach to understand the number and location of 911 calls that identify mental health issues as the primary concern. MMHPI also conducted focus groups with police officers across Dallas to hear their concerns and recommendations as primary responders to mental health calls.”
33) National: The GEO Group, one of the two major private, for-profit prison companies, has seen its debt downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to CCC+, considered junk status. “S&P sees the company’s dividend suspension and drawdown of all of its available revolving credit, combined with low debt trading prices, ‘onerous 2024 debt maturities,’ and challenging credit and capital market access, as a ‘likely prelude to a debt transaction that we could view as a default or selective default.’”
Furthermore, S&P Global Ratings said “the company has recently retained Lazard Financial Advisory and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, advisors with significant financial restructuring expertise, to assess various alternatives for its capital structure. Additionally, GEO borrowed substantially all of its remaining revolving credit facility availability and is building large cash balances, a strategy that has historically proven to be a strong indicator that a debt exchange is coming.” [Sub required]
Writing in Seeking Alpha, analyst Daniel Thurecht said the S&P action is a warning “of a debt default, which is essentially tantamount to bankruptcy. Although it would be tempting to assign blame with the new Biden administration and their plans to phase out federal use of private prisons, their leverage was already unsustainable. Considering the long and questionable path forward with deleveraging through free cash flow, it seems likely that they will seek to restructure by converting debt to equity. It does not bode well for their shareholders that not a single member of their management has purchased any shares during the last twelve months, and thus, I believe that a bearish rating is appropriate.” GEO stock fell nearly 7% on the week and is down 41.42% on the year to date.
34) National/Ohio: Is the Biden administration backsliding on its promise not to renew contracts with private, for profit prison companies? WFMJ “previously reported CoreCivic entered into a contract extension with the U.S. Marshals Service to house federal inmates, which it did not plan to renew. The contract was set to expire on Friday. The news came after President Joe Biden issued an executive order, directing the department of justice not to renew contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. During a Mahoning County Commissioner’s meeting Thursday, Sheriff Jerry Greene announced his office reached a deal with CoreCivic and the U.S. Marshals Service to keep federal inmates at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center.”
On Friday CoreCivic announced that “it has entered into a new three-year contract with Mahoning County, Ohio to utilize up to 990 beds at the Company’s 2,016-bed Northeast Ohio Correctional Center. Mahoning County is responsible for County inmates and federal detainees, and the County expects to use the Northeast Ohio facility to address its population needs.
The new contract is scheduled to commence on May 31, 2021. In addition to providing much needed capacity for Mahoning County, the Company also currently cares for approximately 800 inmates under a management contract with the State of Ohio at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center. The Company will continue to operate the facility pursuant to both contracts.” So what is it? Is there a USMS contract too?
35) New York: Among the packed agenda items of the New York State legislative session, which ends next week, is a bill to finally approve a public takeover of New York American Water.
36) International: Residents of Calgary didn’t know their trash services were being privatized. “In a recent survey, 80 percent of Calgarians said they didn’t know that City Council has decided to contract out up to a quarter the city’s residential black cart collection services as part of a seven-year pilot project. Even those l iving in the affected areas were unaware this change in services had been decided. The survey, financed by CUPE Local 37 and 38 who represent City workers, closely mirrored the methodology and approach that The City of Calgary uses for its annual Citizen Satisfaction survey. ‘We aren’t disputing the data done by The City of Calgary, we simply wanted to dig deeper into how much Calgarians really know about some of the issues that are putting City services and ultimately the quality of service at risk,’ says Cyril Wilson, President CUPE Local 37. The survey data reinforced that Calgarians are very happy with the services they receive.”
37) National: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is “starting a new series of Senate floor speeches (with a brand new chart) exposing the scheme by right-wing donor interests to capture the U.S. Supreme Court and achieve through the Court’s power what they cannot through other branches of government.” Watch the first speech. [Video, about 14 minutes]
38) New York: Writing in The Washington Post, Helaine Olen strips the gauzy PR spin away from a billionaire-funded vanity boutique park project in New York City. “Meanwhile, the public-private partnerships that Diller thinks so highly of are less successful outside the city’s most-monied neighborhoods. The Central Park Conservancy, for instance, is flush with cash. Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx? Not so much. Poverty-struck East New York is short on outdoor recreational spaces, while in Jackson Heights, a street that’s closed to traffic passes for a park. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg has called the area ‘a green desert.’”
Photo by Province of British Columbia.