Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, whose family owns the Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops, has refused to release his tax returns since running and being elected in 2010. It wouldn’t matter so much if Haslam were your run-of-the-mill governor. But he’s the country’s richest politician, with a net worth of $2 billion.
In early September, a year and a half after having been pepper-sprayed by a Santa Monica police officer, a man was awarded $1.1 million by a court, plus attorney fees, to be paid by the city. He was apparently singled out by police for being in a park after curfew, while other residents, who weren’t black, continued to charge their electric cars – as he recharged his car. The scars will stay with him and his family for life.
Did you know that one speeding ticket in Kansas could land you in jail? That’s what happened to David Jackson in 2011 after he couldn’t afford a $100 fine for speeding. Collection had been outsourced to a private contractor, and his bill quickly ballooned to $2,200 with court costs, jail fines and the contractor’s extra fees.
In Santa Monica a group of residents – frustrated by traffic and angry at developers – has placed a no-growth measure on the local ballot. It would force nearly all new projects higher than 32 feet to a citywide vote. The backers of Measure LV say that it’s buildings of all kinds – whether they house people or create jobs – that bring choking traffic.
Last Wednesday was a big day for In the Public Interest. We released one of our longest and most wide-ranging reports, How Privatization Is Increasing Inequality. The report describes how the privatization of public goods and services disproportionately impacts poor individuals and families, and people of color.