In the Public Interest issues two newsletters each week: this one, and the Privatization Report—a comprehensive scan of news and analysis about the corporate takeover of education, water, and other public goods—and about the people fighting back. Each issue of the Privatization Report starts off with some good news (which is then followed by…other news). But readers should be reminded that there are many good things happening—victories for the public at every level. We’re showcasing here a few of these bits of good news from our most recent issue (including the fate of the attempt to privatize Huntington Beach Public Library, which ITPI has reported on from its early days), along with a preview item that’s bound to show up in next week’s offering. To read back issues of the Privatization Report and to learn how to subscribe (it’s free!), visit our website.


National/California: In a major victory for the Huntington Beach community and democratic organizing, the public library will remain in public hands. Perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, Library Systems & Services abruptly pulled its bid to take over the library’s operations. The city council meeting at which the privatization was shelved was contentious, and the discussion of the library outsourcing was mixed with charges of conservative book banning. Watch the City Council hearing, which includes many powerful, inspiring comments on the public library and the fight to keep it public. [Video, about two hours].

Commenting on the victory, In the Public Interest’s Executive Director Donald Cohen said, “Libraries are one of our most precious community assets. Huntington Beach finally realized they shouldn’t give it away”.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that “Carol Daus, a board member of Friends of the Huntington Beach Public Library, said she was excited that LS&S withdrew its bid. As of Tuesday afternoon, the council had received nearly 300 emails, mostly against the outsourcing of management of library services. ‘We do view it as a win,’ Daus said. ‘We won the battle. We didn’t win the war quite yet, but this is huge in terms of getting them out of the picture. We don’t need a for-profit corporation coming in and managing our library when we are managed so well, so efficiently with great staff that are loved by the community.’ Two petitions have begun collecting signatures in Huntington Beach in recent weeks. One seeks to repeal the parent/guardian children’s book review board ordinance, while a more recently launched petition seeks to put public library operations in the city’s municipal code.”

National: The Biden administration has announced final rules that codify the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements clean energy project managers must meet to receive increased tax credits. “By meeting the Treasury Department’s labor requirements, developers can earn five times the baseline credit amount under the 2022 climate reconciliation law. The eligible credits include the renewable electricity production, clean electricity investment, and clean hydrogen production credits. While a version of these requirements was already in effect, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Podesta said on a call with reporters the final guidance ‘will give clarity and certainty to developers and the workers they employ that clean energy jobs will be good jobs.’”

California: The California Supreme Court has removed a sweeping anti-tax measure from the November ballot that opponents claimed would have been catastrophic for local government budgets. “The high court found the measure to be a far-reaching revision of the state constitution and “because those changes would substantially alter our basic plan of government, the proposal cannot be enacted by initiative,” California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu wrote in the 74-page opinion. The ruling handed down Thursday came on a 7-0 vote from the high court.”

And in a preview of an item certain to appear in next week’s Privatization Report, we have this good news that the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s handed down a decision barring the nation’s first religious charter school.

Oklahoma: Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, Education Law Center, and Freedom From Religion Foundation released a joint statement applauding the decision. “The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision safeguards public education and upholds the separation of religion and government. Charter schools are public schools that must be secular and serve all students,” the statement reads. “St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, which plans to discriminate against students, families, and staff and indoctrinate students into one religion, cannot operate as a public charter school. We will continue our efforts to protect public education and religious freedom, including the separation of church and state.”

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