Education

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Car Use Slows in California As Walking and Biking Accelerates; Court Deals Major Blow to Brown’s Tunnels Plan

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Californians, especially young people, are driving less, and instead are walking, biking, or taking mass transit more often, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new study commissioned by Caltrans. The rate of Californians driving slowed by 12 percent in the past decade, as the rate of residents who walk, bike, or take transit accelerated to 22 percent. The percentage of households that reported not having a car also increased 8 percent. Nationwide, the percentage of teens and people in their twenties and thirties who have chosen not to get driver’s licenses also has been growing.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: State Lawmakers Consider Affirmative Action for UC; Mayor Quan’s Approval Ratings Remain Low

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State legislators are considering a proposed ballot measure that would allow UC Berkeley and other UC campuses to use race, ethnicity, and gender in admissions, the Chron reports. The proposed measure would be a constitutional amendment that would roll back aspects of Prop 209, a 1996 ballot initiative that eliminated affirmative action in California’s public institutions. Since 209 passed, black enrollment has plummeted 49 percent at UC Berkeley.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Two More Tesoro Workers Splashed with Acid; Phillips 66 Refinery Fined for Air-Quality Violations

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Two more workers at the Tesoro oil refinery near Martinez were splashed with acid in an incident at the same part of the facility in which two other workers suffered acid burns last month, the Chron reports. It’s also the same refinery that refused to allow federal inspectors into the facility — a stance that is believed to be unprecedented. Federal authorities say Tesoro has still not been fully cooperative regarding the first acid incident.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Female Students Accuse UC Berkeley of Botching Rape Cases; Oil Companies Dump Fracking Waste in Pacific Ocean

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Thirty-one current and former female students have filed federal complaints against UC Berkeley, alleging that the campus routinely mishandled sexual assault investigations, the LA Times$ reports. The women contend that Cal officials encouraged them to not pursue criminal charges against their male student attackers and operated a disciplinary system that failed to adequately punish rapists. UC Berkeley is one of several campuses targeted by activists who contend that sexual assaults at universities are treated as a normal part of college life.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley to Kill Thousands of Gophers and Squirrels; Number of College Students Seeking Financial Aid Soars

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Berkeley is planning to exterminate thousands of gophers and ground squirrels along the shoreline because the animals are digging into an old landfill and releasing toxins into the bay, the Trib$ reports. The number of squirrels in the area has expanded dramatically because people have been feeding them — despite warnings posted by the city. The city tried to attract raptors to the area to prey on the gophers and ground squirrels, but the effort failed. The city has now hired an exterminator, but is declining to reveal what methods it will use to kill the animals.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Court Blocks Fracked Natural Gas Plant in East Bay; State Legislators to Introduce Smartphone Kill Switch Law

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A state appeals court has blocked a proposed new power plant in the East Bay that would use fracked natural gas, saying there’s no solid evidence that the PG&E facility in Oakley is necessary. According to the Chron, the state appellate court unanimously concluded that the California Public Utilities Commission had improperly approved the power plant last year, because PG&E had failed to produce sufficient evidence to back up its claims that it needed the fossil fuel facility to help regulate the power grid. The legal decision represents a victory for environmentalists, green energy producers, and consumer advocates.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Cost of Warriors Planned SF Arena Soars; Sierra Snowpack at All-Time Low

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The pricetag for the Golden State Warriors’ proposed new arena on the San Francisco waterfront continues to skyrocket and team owners acknowledge the increased costs will delay the project, the Chron reports. The cost to repair piers, which would only ready the site for construction, has climbed to at least $180 million. The $1 billion-plus project, which includes condo and hotel towers, also must go before city voters.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: BART Police Change Search Rules; Textbooks Become Too Expensive for College Students

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART’s police force has changed it rules for searching homes and buildings in the wake of a fatal shooting of the agency’s head of detectives by one of his underlings, the Chron reports. BART will now require that the agency’s deputy police chief sign off on searches — a move that raises further questions as to whether BART cops have been sufficiently trained. The Chron reports that detective Michael Maes shot and killed his boss, Sergeant Tom Smith, last week inside an empty one-bedroom apartment in Dublin after Maes apparently mistook Smith for an armed intruder.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Must Reads: BART Cops Failed to Use Their Body Cameras; Warriors’ Owner Admits Building SF Arena Will Be a ‘Challenge’

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The five BART cops who crowded into an empty one-bedroom apartment in Dublin failed to turn on their chest-mounted cameras before one of the officers shot and killed another, the Chron reports. BART police have yet to say why the officers weren’t using their cameras, which are designed to record interactions with the public. Investigators also have yet to determine why BART officer Michael Maes fatally shot Sergeant Tom Smith. Although Smith was wearing a bulletproof vest, the bullet from Maes’ gun managed somehow to hit him in the chest.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Oakland School Board Adopts New Budgeting Policy

by Mary Elizabeth Sullivan
Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The Oakland school board voted unanimously on Wednesday night to approve a new budget policy that sends more money to schools by capping central office expenditures at 12 percent of the district’s unrestricted funds. The policy also directs Interim Superintendent Gary Yee to maintain school-site decision-making while prioritizing the neediest students during the budget process. But the devil is in the details and hundreds of parents, teachers, and principals filled the auditorium at La Escuelita Elementary School to speak for and against elements of Yee’s controversial implementation plan.

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