December 19, 2011; Source: Baltimore Sun | Stretched city budgets are resulting in changes to city services. Not long ago I wrote a newswire about a small city in Michigan that had removed many of the streetlights. Now, in Baltimore, the city administration has decided to retain only 30 of the city’s 55 recreation centers, and it is hoping to privatize the rest, handing them over to for-profit and nonprofit contractors. But many in the community object to the plan, which has been in the works for a while, and while the city is committed to running all of the centers through June, it is unclear how many of the twenty-five slated for privatization will end up staying open past June. A small number of nonprofits appear to be in the running for a limited number of centers at this time. Meanwhile Occupy Baltimore disagrees with the decision and is planning to protest the removal of the centers from city control. It is holding a strategy meeting on the issue tomorrow night.

It is interesting to look at what’s going on in the locales of various occupy groups to get a sense of what issues the groups are taking on as the new year impends.—Ruth McCambridge