Commonwealth Games AustraliaNew look Commonwealth Games Australia launches campaign to Gold Coast 2018A new look Commonwealth Games Australia today formally launched the Australian Team campaign to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.Held at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Commonwealth Games Australia President Sam Coffa AM JP was joined at the launch by Australian Team Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti, high performance personnel from all 18 Commonwealth Games program sports, along with athletes, sponsors and representatives from GOLDOC.In a major boost to athlete preparation for Gold Coast 2018, Australian Team Chef De Mission Steve Moneghetti announced that Commonwealth Games Australia had partnered with the AIS to provide an additional $2million to the dAIS funding program for athletes.Moneghetti said today had marked a major milestone in the journey to Gold Coast 2018, with high performance representatives from all 18 sports gathering on the Gold Coast to advance preparations for a successful Australian Team campaign.“We are just 503 days from the opening of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games,” he said.“For each and every Commonwealth Games we prepare as best we can, but there is no shying away from the added importance of the games being held on home soil.“Today on the Gold Coast, representatives from each of the 18 sports to be featured at Gold Coast 2018 have come together as our full focus shifts to preparing as best we can for a successful games.“As part our mission to do all we can to help sports and athletes prepare for 2018, Commonwealth Games Australia is really pleased to have partnered with the AIS to provide a further $2million in funding directly to athletes.“We are proud of our record at competing at Commonwealth Games, and we are equally proud of our record at hosting memorable games as we have done in 2006, 1982, 1962 and 1938. I have full confidence Gold Coast 2018 will be a great and memorable Commonwealth Games and I congratulate GOLDOC for the progress that has been made so far.“There is great excitement building for Gold Coast 2018. Our 18 partner sports are excited, our athletes are excited, you can feel the excitement building on the Gold Coast and it will grow right across Australia as the games draw near.“The Australian Team for Gold Coast 2018 will be one of the largest in history, with some 450 athletes set to wear the green and gold.“We fully expect our Australian Team to be made up of equal numbers of male and female athletes, and importantly, for the first time ever at a multi-sport games, male and female athletes will compete for an equal number of medals,” Moneghetti said.As part of today’s launch, Commonwealth Games Australia revealed its new look, with a fresh new brand and name, replacing the former Australian Commonwealth Games Association.Commonwealth Games Australia Chief Executive Officer Craig Phillips said that with a home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast on the horizon, the time was right to freshen up the look of Commonwealth Games Australia.“Commonwealth Games Australia is about athletes representing and inspiring their country and achieving their sporting dreams, so it was important that athletes were a key part of the process in this new look coming together.“We are proud that Commonwealth Games athletes, past and present, have been the driving force behind our new look and we really believe it is something they will be proud to wear and represent.“When our Chef De Mission Steve Moneghetti saw this new brand, he said ‘At the 35km when every part of me wants to stop running, I will look down at this mark and it will drive me on, it will remind me that I am doing this for my team and my country.’ We hope it is something that drives all of the Australian Team to the finish line. Commonwealth Gamesfor more information, visitSource = Commonwealth Games Australia
The Sixth YES Bank and the Consulate General of Argentine International Polo Cup which was held recently at the Royal Western Indian Turf Club, Mahalaxmi Race Course featured a thrilling match between the Argentinian and Indian (Amateur Rider´s Club) team that ended in a tie.The event was organised by YES bank together with the Consulate General and Promotion Centre of Argentina and the Amateur Riders Club. Hosted by Rana Kapoor, Managing Director & CEO, YES Bank; Alejandro Zothner Meyer, Acting Consul General; and Suresh Tapuriah, President, Amateur Riders Club; Rajashree Birla, Cyrus Poonawalla; Radha Kapoor Khanna and Aditya Khanna were the Guests of Honour and also presented the trophies to the winners at the prize distribution ceremony.A gathering of about 1000 guests flocked to the game in their polo-best ensembles, fascinators, and hand-fans to beat the heat. The guests included Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises; The Maharaja of Jaipur, Padmanabh Singh; celebrity fitness expert Namrata Purohit, actresses Kim Sharma, Tanishaa Mukerjee, Tara Sharma among others. Also in attendance were the Chief of Protocol, Bajirao Jadav and Deputy Secretary to Government (Protocol) N S Bhoge.Acting Consul General Alejandro Zothner Meyer, Consulate General and Promotion Centre of the Argentine Republic in Mumbai, said, “We hope to continue bringing polo players from Argentina that are the best in the world with an aim to share our sporting culture with India and of course to continue this six-year long tradition that we have started.”
State Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, this week eagerly signed on to co-sponsor a bill to repeal the Michigan state pension tax to protect seniors and retirees.“After discussing this issue at length with local constituents, this is an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Hughes. “I’ve been tasked with the duty of representing the 91st District, and this measure would yield positive, life-changing results for the seniors and retirees in our community.”Many seniors are currently living on a fixed income funded by their pension, Hughes said. Because pensions do not fluctuate with inflation, she said, an overabundance of Michigan’s seniors have found themselves in tightly-bound financial situations.“This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Hughes. “Repealing the pension tax would make way for a healthier Michigan economy.”The bill to repeal the pension tax has been designated House Bill 4027.### 15Jan Hughes starts term strong, co-sponsors bill protecting seniors Categories: Hughes News
01Aug House mental health task force hosts first meeting Tags: CARES Task Force, Mental Health The Michigan House of Representatives bipartisan mental health task force kicked off its research by hosting a panel at the Livingston County EMS Center in Howell on Monday, Rep. Klint Kesto announced.The task force seeks to explore ways to enable Michigan residents facing mental health challenges to live happier, healthier and more independent lives. This comprehensive approach addresses the hurdles people face each day, including veterans with post-traumatic stress injury, victims whose lives are altered by traumatic crimes or prisoners who struggle with underlying mental health disorders.“Today’s panel was an eye-opening experience,” said Rep. Kesto, of Commerce Township, who co-chairs the task force. “I appreciate the comments about how we can make the mental health system better – getting better outcomes and targeting dollars where they can do the most good.”Panelists included Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy, Connie Conklin, executive director of Livingston County Community Mental Health; Judge Carol Sue Reader of the 53rd District Court, Jamie Wright, Veteran Justice Outreach Worker for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Dave Stanifer; Mental Health Services Director for Woodland Correctional Facility, Judge Michael Hatty of the 44th Circuit Adult Drug Court; Dr. I. David Yanga, chief medical officer for Brighton Center for Recovery, Dr. Stephen Pinals of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital; and Francine Zysk, court administrator for the 53rd District Court.Following the conclusion of the meeting, the task force took part in a tour of the Livingston County Jail to learn about how the county houses inmates with mental health disorders and drug addiction.The task force will hold its next meeting Aug. 17 at Hope Network in Grand Rapids.####Bipartisan task force members convene for their first meeting held in Livingston County. Categories: Kesto News Rep. Klint Kesto, of Commerce Township, (left) and Rep. Hank Vaupel, of Fowlerville, (right) serve as co-chairs of the task force.
01Aug Rep. LaFave: Railroad crossing project eases traffic congestion Categories: LaFave News,News Part of state’s promise to fix transportation systemState Rep. Beau LaFave today said a project is underway in Gladstone to install a signal at a railroad crossing on U.S. 2/U.S. 41/M-35 that will ease traffic congestion and make travel safer.LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said the project in Delta County is one of many under construction across the state as part of the Legislature’s commitment to fix and maintain Michigan’s transportation and underground water systems.“In the coming fiscal year, the Legislature is spending more money than ever before to repair roads and bridges and make travel smoother and safer for all Michigan residents and businesses,” LaFave said. “In this instance, the crossing signal means trucks and buses will no longer have to come to a stop at the crossing, which will allow traffic to move more smoothly.”LaFave said installing the signal will require some lane closures and traffic shifts from Delta Avenue east to M-35. The work should be completed in late August.“In addition to funding more repair and maintenance projects, the Legislature also is requiring stronger warranties to extend the life of the road or bridge being repaired,” LaFave said. “We want to ensure we are getting the highest quality work for every tax dollar people entrust to the Legislature.”#####
08Feb Rep. Marino: It’s time to increase fees for politicians Legislation would increase funding for local governmentsState Rep. Steve Marino, second from left, testifies before the House Elections and Ethics Committee today in support of legislation he sponsored to increase filing fees for candidates seeking election to various offices. He is joined by state Reps. Tommy Brann (left) and Kim LaSata (second from right), who also sponsored bills in the package, as well as his legislative director Barry Szczesny.State Rep. Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township, today testified before the House Elections and Ethics Committee in support of legislation he spearheaded to increase filing fees for candidates seeking election to various offices.Marino said the filing fees state candidates can opt to pay in lieu of circulating a nominating petition have not been adjusted since they were first established at $100 in 1954.“The cost of everything, including administrating elections, has increased tremendously in the past 64 years,” Marino said. “I’d say we’re long overdue to adjust the filing fees for politicians. Thirty-four states have filing fees, some as high as $7,500.”The nine-bill package makes the following adjustments:Increase the fee for candidates seeking the office of state representative or state senator to $400.Increase the fee for candidates seeking the offices of county commissioner, clerk, register of deeds, treasurer, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, drain commissioner, surveyor, auditor, coroner or county road commissioner to $200.Establish a $150 filing fee for candidates seeking the township offices of supervisor, treasurer, clerk, and trustee.Increase the fee for candidates seeking a position on a township library board from $100 to $150.In addition, the bill package makes the fees nonrefundable. Under current law, the fee is refunded to the nominated and runner-up candidates.“There is a cost to administer elections at the local level,” Marino said. “Though filing fees only amount to a drop in the bucket, making them nonrefundable is one way to help offset the costs incurred by our local governments.”Marino also noted that paying the filing fee is optional; all candidates seeking election still have the option to circulate a petition.“This legislation does not restrict any candidates who don’t have the financial means to pay a filing fee,” Marino said. “All candidates still have the option of circulating a nominating petition.”House Bills 4745-50, 4809-10 and 4823 remain under consideration by the House Elections and Ethics Committee.### Categories: Marino News
State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian this week announced the state has awarded special low interest loans to the cities of Tecumseh and Hudson for the purpose of improving water quality and infrastructure.With interest rates well below those otherwise available on the open market and principal loan forgiveness opportunities, funding infrastructure projects through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund allows the communities to pass the savings along to their citizens.“These loans are a great opportunity for our communities in Lenawee County,” Rep. Kahle said. “The funds will help ensure we are good stewards of Michigan’s biggest natural resource. Our water.”The Clean Water State Revolving Fund creates opportunities for necessary wastewater and storm water improvements. The City of Hudson will receive $5.2 million with $150,000 in principal forgiveness to fund key improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and collection system. The City of Tecumseh will receive $1.5 million to fund the rehabilitation of sanitary sewer and the Country Club Pump Station, as well as upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant to maintain system reliability. Categories: Kahle News 02May Rep. Kahle announces funding to improve Lenawee County infrastructure projects
05Feb Rep. Johnson announces February office hours State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:Monday, February 25th, 2019Allegan CountyColonial Kitchen1825 142nd Ave. in Dorr8:00 – 9:00 a.m.Kent CountyRuss’6444 Division Ave. S in Gaines10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Categories: Johnson News “Open and honest communication with residents is instrumental in holding state government accountable,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “I invite all residents to attend a local office hour gathering to share their concerns and ideas.”No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at 517-373-0840, email StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov or visit his website at www.RepJohnson.com.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 19, 2014; Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page recently tackled a complicated health care event that few news pages covered. Since 1997, federal legislation has attempted to curb the growth in Medicare spending through the use of a “sustainable growth rate” formula, or SGR. Some U.S. Senate leaders—from both parties—have signed on to a plan to get rid of SGR and implement a series of five one-year, 0.5% annual increases in Medicare reimbursement rates, and there are similar efforts in the U.S. House.In theory, increases in Medicare costs caused by medical inflation and, more importantly, increased use of Medicare-paid services would be paid for in part by reducing fees paid to Medicare providers. In practice, however, Medicare’s already-low reimbursement rates for many services make Medicare unattractive for providers, and providers lobby hard to maintain, if not increase, reimbursement rates. If reimbursements go too low, it is feared, seniors and others covered by Medicare may find it difficult to find and keep access to doctors and other healthcare providers. Congress ends up passing temporary legislation (usually lasting months, or a year at most) postponing SGR from taking effect. Each time a temporary delay is approved, the difference between actual reimbursement and the SGR-based reimbursement level becomes larger. This has been happening since the late 1990s, and some in Congress want to end the farce. The challenge is the quarter-trillion-dollar price tag associated with ending SGR. “Doc fix” was supposed to be included as part of the Affordable Care Act—it was a key request from the healthcare industry—but its price tag, then estimated at $250 billion, was deemed too high to be added to the politically charged, controversial legislation.What makes “doc fix” more palatable now? First, there is broad agreement from Congress, the Obama administration, and healthcare supporters that something permanent needs to be done to give reimbursement stability to providers and help ensure access by eligible patients to Medicare-paid healthcare services. Second, lower-than-anticipated inflation rates and limitations on federal budget growth, among other factors, have reduced both recent healthcare cost increases and the size of the federal budget deficit. The $250-$270 billion cost of “doc fix” may actually be closer to $120-$150 billion if lawmakers enact changes now.There’s a long way to go, because the proposed “doc fix” doesn’t include any corresponding budget reductions (the “pay-fors” that fiscal conservatives in Congress demand). It does seem, however, that the healthcare lobbying message on Medicare will be changing from “Save us from the latest SGR changes” to “It’s time to end SGR; adopt the ‘doc fix.’”—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 20, 2014; New York TimesIt’s sometimes a surprise to us at NPQ the degree to which redundancy is underrated. People often assume that efficiency trumps all other considerations. In the work to right wrongful convictions, which should prevail?The Innocence Project of Texas in Lubbock, for example, has anywhere from 30 to 50 investigations going at any time, rising from the more than 10,000 letters from people who claim they have been falsely convicted. The project and other legal clinics like it can be found spread all across Texas, which means that others have received and are evaluating the same requests. Jeff Blackburn, who is a founder of the Project, believes this approach toward the selection of cases is like finding a “needle in the haystack.” So, to become more efficient, he advocates having all of the state’s innocence clinics adopt a single, centralized system for case intake and selection.Nick Vilbas, the Project’s ED, says that a more streamlined process is required by the changing times. Last year, the Texas state legislature passed a bill allowing courts to overturn convictions based on flawed science; for the past three years, the Innocence Project has partnered with law enforcement and state agencies to conduct statewide reviews of cases involving outmoded and discounted forensic methods.Some attorneys at other clinics do not share the enthusiasm for the idea. David Dow, founder of the Texas Innocence Network at the University of Houston Law School, does not support a centralized intake because he thinks that there are benefits to prisoners writing to multiple clinics. “Although I am extremely confident that we make very few mistakes,” he said, “I am certain we do make some, so I do not think redundancy is bad.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares January 20, 2015;National JournalFawn Johnson has a new article in the National Journal on the involvement of Goldman Sachs in various Social Impact Bond or Pay for Success projects. According to Johnson, Goldman officials “are proud, very proud, that their firm made the first investment ever in a public-private ‘pay for success’ program”—a $10 million loan for starting up a cognitive behavioral therapy program for juveniles at New York City’s Riker’s Island.Johnson writes, “Goldman Sachs’ entrance into this kind of financing—most often known as social impact bonds—could change the way both Wall Street and governments do business,” essentially bringing everyone—nonprofits, government, and investors— to the table to design and drive social programs.“Our hope is that this type of financing grows,” says Andi Phillips, vice president of Goldman’s Urban Investment Group. “Our hope is that these types of investments will become more scalable over time, and that it really is an opportunity for the next generation of public-private partnerships.”Johnson suggests that the theory behind upfront Wall Street investment is that in the current fiscal environment, as “government budgets are squeezed tighter and funding even the most basic of services becomes more difficult, elected officials are usually disinclined to…factor in the long-term savings of a little bit of upfront investment.” Investment from corporations like Goldman Sachs would induce or incentivize public officials to think about long-term savings from investments in programs that have to prove their worth with concrete benchmarks of performance success.Two of Goldman’s new SIB or PFS investments are in early childhood education—in Salt Lake City and in Chicago. It is an interesting question as to whether public officials need to be further convinced that, as Johnson notes, “early education is a particularly sound investment.” What public officials need is money to capitalize early childhood education programs so that every three- and four-year-old in the nation gets access to pre-K education. Goldman’s investments to show that early childhood education in Salt Lake City and in Chicago pays off will be demonstrating what is in many ways already reasonably well known. For example, Johnson cites University of Chicago economist James Heckman to the effect that “the cost of educating youngsters before kindergarten gives returns of 7 to 10 percent per year, per child.”Is the gap in the area of upfront investment to convince legislators that pre-K makes sense, or in the political will to make pre-K, as Johnson puts it, “a fundamental right and responsibility [decreed by American society], as it has done for people ages 5 to 18”?What are SIB/PFS programs trying to test? Although the Salt Lake City early childhood education SIB is relatively new, announced as it was in August of 2013, with implementation for the first 600 children to attend pre-K to begin that fall with an overall target of 1,350 preschool slots, Johnson reports that “the results have been positive and conclusive so far, thanks to the social-impact bonds.”It isn’t hard to figure out where the public policy juice is on this financing scheme. On January 21st, the third of three regional summits on Pay for Success, sponsored by the White Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation “in partnership” with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation began. The first of the summits was in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but the second was in Chicago and Wednesday’s, the third, was in Salt Lake City—both Goldman SIB/PFS sites. One of the purposes of the summits, according to the webpage, was to “facilitate an open, transparent dialogue among public, private and philanthropic stakeholders,” though the program was promoted as “invite-only.”It might be useful for Goldman Sachs and other private investors to meet with a variety of nonprofits that might take an interest in exploring strategies for private-sector capitalization for projects and programs less well proven than the early childhood education projects that it is supporting in Salt Lake and Chicago. It might also be useful for social change advocates to examine long-proven social program models and ask whether the need is for more experimentation—as if the models don’t work—or for effective advocacy, citizen mobilization, and social movements to push legislators to adopt them as policy, as in making pre-K education a right for American children just like K-12 is a right.Upfront private capital, hopefully modestly priced, can make a huge difference. But its role is only useful if it acts where the public sector isn’t (and perhaps can’t be) and if it takes risks by testing programs and ideas that need further field experimentation, as opposed to programs that are simply sure bets.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 10, 2015; Sacramento BeeA Pew research study released on Wednesday shows an increasingly sharp divide in the economy. While there was growth both in upper income households and low-income households, the middle class has been shrinking and now constitutes less than half of the country’s population. In 1971, the middle class accounted for 61 percent of the population, but the decline since then has been steady.A Gallup survey this past spring found that 51 percent of U.S. adults see themselves as middle or upper middle class, with 48 percent saying they are part of the lower or working class. This is an enormous decline from the 63 percent that self-identified as middle class just seven years ago. This article points out that despite this change in self-identification, politicians are not adapting to the numbers of people who see themselves in that lower realm and, instead, are holding course on their rhetorical addresses to the middle class.This leads Patrick Egan of New York University to suggest that there may be more openness in the public to policies of redistribution. “Americans are always kind of reluctant to embrace open-class warfare,” Egan said. But “if more Americans are under the idea of placing themselves at the bottom, you’ll see politicians follow.”All three tiers of income, by the way, have lost ground since 2000—primarily because of the Great Recession in late 2007 to mid-2009, according to Pew—but upper-income households saw the smallest decline through 2014.Growth in the upper income bracket, according to Pew, has exceeded growth in lower income bracket from 4 percent of the population in 1971 to 9 percent in 2014. Most of that increase has occurred recently. To define the terms, a three-person household would have to have an income of at least $188,000 to qualify for this bracket. On the other end of the spectrum, those in the lowest bracket increased from 16 percent in 1971 to 20 percent this year. In this bracket, a three-person household would be one making less than $31,000.“The distribution of adults by income is thinning in the middle and bulking up at the edges,” writes Pew—and, of course, the racial demographics still apply.Middle-income adults in 2015 were more likely to be white (67%) than lower-income adults (52%) but less likely than upper-income adults (77%). Middle-income adults in 2015 were less likely to be black or Hispanic than lower-income adults, but more likely than upper-income adults.We would love to hear from readers about the implications of this information for their work in communities.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share15TweetShareEmail15 SharesBruce V. Rauner, governor-elect of Illinois / 182nd Airlift WingFebruary 1, 2016; Washington PostThe recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act marked a return to local control of public education. At least, that’s what conventional wisdom has told us. But it seems many Republican governors and legislators have their own definitions of “local” that do not include struggling poor minority districts and cities. The Washington Post’s Lindsey Layton recently took a look at a growing effort by Republican-controlled states to move control to the state level.Governors in Michigan, Arkansas, Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio and elsewhere—mostly Republican leaders who otherwise champion local control in their fights with the federal government—say they are intervening in cases of chronic academic or financial failure. They say they have a moral obligation to act when it is clear that local efforts haven’t led to improvement.[…]Eleven states have passed or debated legislation to create state-run school districts in the past year, according to the Education Commission of the States, which tracks state education policy. “There certainly is an effort afoot in the country to dismantle local government and reduce or eliminate the role of local school boards,” said Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association.In justifying state takeovers, the local school boards and the elected political leaders of the targeted systems get blamed for the poor financial condition and the weak educational program of their districts. State action is necessary because local officials are unable or unwilling to make the hard decisions needed to fix the serious problems affecting their students. Little recognition is given to the impact of a district’s shrinking tax base, the economic struggles of the communities served, or the declining funding provided by the state itself as key causes for the problems needing solutions.In a proposal for a state takeover of Chicago’s public schools put forward last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner explained his motivation, saying, “I want to protect the schoolchildren and their parents; that’s my first duty.” And Ohio governor and Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich described the state takeover of Youngstown’s schools as an 11th-hour attempt to save young lives. “If you’re a school district that’s failed year after year after year, someone’s going to come riding to the rescue of kids.”While the specific plans used by each state vary, the common denominator of state action is the replacement of local school boards and other local leadership with state-appointed officials who are not accountable to the local communities whose schools they are operating:Although the particulars vary, an appointed manager wields broad powers to redesign schools or close them entirely. The state manager can hire and fire, set curriculum, reconfigure the school day, sell property and, in some cases, break existing labor contracts. Increasingly, state managers are turning over traditional public schools to charter school operators, which are funded by tax dollars but are privately managed. The idea is that the state can bring aggressive change in a way that local politicians, with their community ties and loyalties, cannot.But because outcomes are strongly affected by the external forces proponents of state control ignore, state-run districts have not shown the promised dramatic improvement:Takeovers in Newark [which has been ongoing for 20 years], Detroit [state run for 14 of the last 17 years] and Memphis [since 2011] have not improved test scores—in fact, some schools have gone backward.Kent McQuire, president and chief executive of the Southern Education Foundation, which recently analyzed state takeovers in three states, “These ideas kind of travel like wildfire, but you can’t really find evidence that there’s been positive, sustainable changes in learning in those places.”Proponents of state takeovers may have a larger agenda behind their concern for local school operations, as Philip Lanoue, 2015’s National Superintendent of the Year, believes. “These takeovers are entangled with money and power and control,” Lanoue says, probably thinking of Governor Nathan Deal, who wants to change Georgia’s constitution to enable state takeovers. Breaking the power of unions, making it easier to privatize public education by expanding charter schools, and deflecting attention from inadequate funding of local schools are key reasons Republicans want an end to local control.And behind that agenda, one can perceive a marked insensitivity to race and class differences. Rev. Kenneth Simon, a Baptist pastor involved with the Youngstown schools that are among Gov. Kasich’s targets for a state takeover, described the threat he sees to his community: “They’re taking away the right of our own school board that we elected to govern. The school board has no power. The community has no say. I don’t know how African Americans could sit and let them roll the clock back like this.”—Martin LevineShare15TweetShareEmail15 Shares
Share33TweetShare3Email36 SharesSeptember 13, 2016; PoliticoPolitico reported last night that New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, is inquiring into the Trump Foundation’s compliance “with the laws governing charities in New York.” As readers may remember, seeing regulatory action at the IRS level and at the state level is now pretty common, as the IRS is losing its enthusiasm for taking risks that might be viewed as judgment calls and state charity offices have stepped up to the challenge. Schneiderman, as most know, has been on the far end of the continuum on the active regulation of nonprofits in that state. So this story’s only real surprise is that the IRS is taking action in a highly politicized third-rail of a situation—but the flagrancy of Trump’s organization made that necessary.NPQ readers are likely familiar by now with the various concerns about Trump’s so-called charitable activities, which have included donating to Florida AG Pam Bondi’s political campaign even as she considered whether to join a multi-state suit against him being brought by state attorneys general, never or rarely using any of his own money to fund the gifts coming from the foundation carrying his name, and apparently in general playing fast and loose with other people’s money.Schneiderman, who has not only been an extraordinarily activist AG on nonprofit matters but has also been investigating Trump University, told CNN that his office’s concern about the foundation is not new.My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York State. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view…and we’ve inquired into it and we’ve had correspondence with them. I didn’t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference. We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.House Democrats on the Judiciary committee have also requested that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch open an investigation into Trump’s gift to Bondi as a violation of campaign finance laws, an incident for which he has already been fined by the IRS.If Trump has been skirting campaign finance laws, it will not have been the first time. CNN reports on one interesting incident:In the midst of a casino battle with the St. Regis Mohawk tribe of New York in 2000, Trump and longtime adviser Roger Stone were fined $250,000 after a group Trump and Stone started aired radio ads critics said were racist. The spots, sponsored by the “Institute for Law and Society,” accused the Mohawk tribe of being involved in drug smuggling, money laundering and trafficking illegal immigrants.The ads ended with the narrator saying, “Are these the kinds of neighbors we want?”The group was a fake institute, ultimately tied to Trump. Trump and Stone paid the largest fine levied by New York lobbying regulators at that time, while never admitting guilt.—Ruth McCambridgeShare33TweetShare3Email36 Shares
Mike FriesLiberty Global plans to launch MVNO services across Europe this year.The operator’s Belgian cable platform Telenet already offers mobile services under an MVNO deal, but it will expand its mobile operations in other European markets this year.Speaking at Cable Congress in Brussels, Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries said that offering quad play services was an attractive proposition and could help to reduce churn. “There is an opportunity for us to spend small amounts of money to invest in platforms that allow us to provide mobile products in a quad play. We’ll do it this year and into next year,” he said.
Sports and special programming accounted for almost 60% of second screen activity in the first quarter of 2013, according to new stats by US social TV analytics company Trendrr.The firm logged 205 million social interactions in the quarter around one-off sporting and special events.” These included the Superbowl, which accounted for a massive 52 million second screen interactions. Other notable tent pole events included the Grammy Awards with 15 million interactions, the Oscars with 13 million and the NFL Playoffs with 12 million.Trendrr, which helps clients measure and analyse the way viewers engage with content, said that overall it logged a 127% increase in second screen activity in Q1 2013 compared to a year earlier.Of the more than 18,700 telecasts it logged in the quarter, it found that the average drew almost 20,000 second screen interactions from “hyper-engaged audiences” – more than 343 million in total.While a “significant amount of this growth” can be attributed to increased activity around one-off events, Trendrr said that excluding sports and specials, “social TV activity continues to accelerate, growing by 53%. The most significant year over year growth occurred in January 65%. February grew by 44% and March by 46%.”
Telecom Slovenia reported quarterly revenues and operating profits that were both down year-on-year, but named its TV partnership with Antenna Group among its operating highlights for the first three months of 2013.Last month Telecom Slovenia formed a joint venture with European media investment firm Antenna Group to run a TV channel in Slovenia. The Planet TV network, which began transmitting a full programme schedule in November 2012, is to be 49% held by Telekom Slovenia, with Antenna taking the remaining 51%.In its quarterly earnings report, the firm said that expanding in the long term beyond traditional telecommunications activities to television, digital advertising, management services, cloud computing was important for operators to remain profitable.“The trend of declining revenues from traditional fixed and mobile telephony services continues. Telekom Slovenije’s revenues in the mobile segment were down primarily due to the migration of subscribers to new, less expensive packages that include a higher number of services,” said Telecom Slovenia.In the quarter the firm reported operating revenues of €190.5 million, down 1.7% year-on-year. Its operating profit amounted to €20.3 million, down 11%, however net profit was up slightly at €14.5 million.
Pay TV provider M7 Group has formed a strategic alliance with Stream Group to deliver new video platform services.Netherlands-based Stream Group delivers enhanced video services in Europe and Asia through its Solocoo platform.Following Stream’s acquisition by CDS Group, the holding company for M7, the pay TV operator and Stream Group will deliver new services to M7 customers in the five countries in which it operates.Stream Group will continue to be led by CEO Pieter Heyn and chief operating officer Leon Thoolen.M7 provides pay TV services in the Benelux, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.“Stream Group and its Solocoo platform will be instrumental in providing more and better services to our customers in the Benelux, Austria, Czech and Slovak markets. Our viewers are looking for more content, always on, and want to be able to enjoy this content anywhere and anytime. We will be able to deliver enhanced interactive services like catch-up and replay TV, Multiscreen, OTT and VOD,” said Jon Florsheim, CEO of M7 Group. “We have chosen Stream Group as our partner because they have operated at the forefront of IPTV and streaming video for almost 10 years and understand the evolving viewing habits of our customer base. M7 and Stream Group share a focus on delivering the highest quality viewing experience. In addition to M7’s wealth of channels and full HD TV, these new services will significantly add to the satisfaction of our customers. Additionally, this strategic partnership will support Stream Group in rolling out their services to other operators around the world. Together we are well positioned to play an important role in bringing exciting content services to customers around the world.”
Google-owned video website YouTube is to launch a new production office in New York next year.YouTube Space New York’s opening in 2014 will join YouTube production bases in London, LA and Tokyo.The announcement came during a keynote address at annual online production confab VidCon.YouTube revealed it would allow any channel with more than 10,000 subscribers to join become a paid-for channel, and any channel with 500 subs could access live streaming apps.YouTube launched its paid-for professional channels initiative earlier this year, with the likes of The Jim Henson Company, DHX Media and Entertainment Studios among those launching networks.
German production services provider nobeo has deployed Digital Rapids’ StreamZ Live adaptive streaming encoders for live streaming production both within nobeo’s studios and in the field with nobeo’s new @-car compact production vehicle.Based in Hürth, Germany, nobeo provides studio production, outside production and post-production services, including a fleet of mobile control units and HD outside broadcasting vans. With the development of the new @-car compact production vehicle, nobeo has moved into offering broadcasting for event and business TV as well as live online streaming.One StreamZ Live encoder is deployed in the @-car for live productions from the field, with additional StreamZ Live units in nobeo’s internet TV studios for producing live online shows. The encoders convert live high definition source feeds into multiple output streams in a variety of resolutions, bit rates and formats for live OTT delivery as well as creating VoD assets. The most recent systems were acquired through Digital Rapids reseller sono.“The Digital Rapids systems meet our expectations perfectly and are straightforward to use. In live situations in particular, it is extremely important to be able to rely on the technical components fully and entirely,” said Guido Amann, CTO at nobeo GmbH. “Alongside the technological benefits, it is worth highlighting the excellent support we have received. We wish more products were like this — being simple to use and accompanied by excellent support from the manufacturer.”“A rapidly growing number of outside broadcast service providers are capitalising on the audience-expanding opportunities of multiscreen delivery and producing dedicated online and mobile experiences directly in the field,” said Clive Vickery, Managing Director, EMEA and Asia at Digital Rapids. “The unmatched flexibility, comprehensive feature set and robust reliability of our StreamZ Live encoders make them ideal for meeting the rigorous demands of live on-site production environments, and we’re pleased that nobeo has chosen our solutions for their operations both in-studio and in the field.”Digital Rapids will exhibit at IBC on stand 7.F33