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An organization which might be operated as a business but is owned by a city government. Some examples include Los Angeles's Department of Water and Power, Anchorage, Alaska's ownership of the local telephone company, and Montgomery County, Maryland's ownership of all liquor stores in the county.

In Kenora, Ontario, the telephone company was a city-owned enterprise from the beginning until taken over by Bell Canada. My aunt was an operator for many years there. She would tell stories of life on a small town's phone switchboard--one too small for a big company to establish service in.

Bell eventually consolidated its holdings in Ontario by taking over Kenora Municipal Telephones with all the usual blandishments, including the maintenance of local jobs with local money. Very soon thereafter, my aunt reports how Bell's tactics forced all the old-timers, with seniority, and relatively living wages, to leave. The last I heard, service had been consolidated to a large center. So much for local jobs with local money. And rates, local rates, have been rebalanced with the reduction in long distance charges.

In Ottawa, the municipal solid waste removal was contracted out to Laidlaw many years ago. It has long a souce of complaints, and problems. And there is the nagging concern of spending publicly collected taxes on services provided by private entities: the same concern with the proposals to use public money to fund private medical facilities, a proposal often floated to fix single-payer medicare.

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