Donald Cohen is the former co-founder and president of the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego-based research, and policy center. Cohen has over 25 years of experience in campaigns and organizations dedicated to economic justice, healthcare reform, education reform, environmental protection, and international human rights.

He is the former Political Director of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He is a founding board member of the Partnership for Working Families, a national federation of metropolitan-based research, policy and action centers. He is a founding board member of the Horizon Institute, a progressive Los Angeles-based think tank. He is also on the board of Green For All.

When Public and Private Meet, Extra Care Is Needed

Donald Cohen

Across the nation, private companies are looking to take over public services. A legislative battle in Sacramento over a bill to privatize state trial courts epitomizes the promises and pitfalls of privatization.

Assembly Bill 566 (Wieckowski) would require that before contracting services out, courts must provide proof of cost savings, create employment standards, engage in a competitive bidding process, and undergo regular financial and performance audits bill sits on the governor's desk for signature or veto and the lobbying is intense.

As in most debates over outsourcing of public services, opponents' central claim is that privatizing essential courtroom services such as court reporting, processing cases, probate investigations, and interpretive services, saves dollars.

Another “Job Killer” Lie Exposed

You may think it's a way to help your spouse or aging parent recover from a devastating illness, but to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) California's Paid Family Leave (PFL) law, enacted in 2002, is a “job killer” that costs employers billions of dollars and drives jobs out the state. Allen Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, echoed that view, calling the law “one of the worst.”

But a new comprehensive study reveals that these corporate lobby groups have been crying wolf. The report, based on a survey of employers and employees, found that the California law has not turned out to be the costly “job killer” that big business warned about. To the contrary, the Paid Family Leave law has produced significant economic, social and health benefits for both male and female workers.