Broome County Is Not For Sale!

Speech delivered by Ron Jones to the Broome County Legislature

Thursday, October 10, 2013

 Abe Lincoln said that governments are instituted to do for its citizens what they cannot do or what can be done better for them. That in essence is why we have public schools, libraries, public works for water and sewer, fire departments, post offices, etc. And–all of those have worked quite well for scores, even hundreds of years.

 Public transportation in the form of trains and busses is another segment done well by the public. Colleges, jails and hospitals along with old folks, (nursing homes) are part of that too.

 The primary reasons they have been so successful over many years is because they were instituted for the right reasons. They were deemed important for the needs of citizens—each of them a way to protect or serve its citizens—or both.

 As we moved into the last half of the 20th century, capitalists searched for “ways to make a buck” since natural economic growth had peaked in the mid 60’s. Over the past 40 plus years then, businesses have arisen either in competition with, or in replacement of, some of t hose basic government services.  Witness: Fed Ex, theme parks, private airlines, private bussing and even—private (for profit) nursing homes to whom we now entrust our great treasure, the older—passing generation.

 Now comes Broome County, NY which may be seeking to privatize two of its greatest public goods—bus service and nursing home—and I have to ask why?

 Can anyone on this legislative body tell me why—satisfactorily?

 It certainly can’t be to better serve the public. As we’ve heard tonight by real life citizens both endeavors have stellar reputations for service and public satisfaction. Could it be just because people in this body have bought into the wave of privatization believing it’s a good thing? Is it an unspoken desire to break up public unions—just because?

 We all know what will happen if our Willow Point facility and our bus lines are privatized for profit…

1. The service will go down

2. The employees will be fired or simply lose their wages and benefits

The cost to the county may even go up—if you factor in people losing their jobs and having to rely on public assistance.

 I don’t think you want that. And, I am certain you have your total constituency in mind when you make decisions like these.




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