Transportation

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Oakland Has Seventh Worst Income Inequality in Nation; East Bay Refinery Refuses to Allow Federal Inspection

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The income inequality gap in Oakland is the seventh worst in the nation among large cities, the Brookings Institution reports in a new research paper based on the latest US Census data (via the LA Times$). The inequality gap in Oakland ranges from $17,646 in average annual income for the lowest 20 percent of households to $223,965 for the highest 5 percent. San Francisco’s income inequality gap ranks as the second worst nationwide — mostly because it’s rich are very rich. The top 5 percent of households in terms of income averaged $353,576 in San Francisco last year. Income inequality creates numerous problems for cities, including a lack of mixed-income schools that produce better outcomes for children from low-income families, a too narrow tax base that can’t produce enough revenues for basic city services, and a lack of housing for the middle class.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland Council Backs Away from Surveillance Center; Bay Bridge Contractor Pocketed $49 Million in Bonuses

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A majority of Oakland city councilmembers made clear last night that they have no intention of expanding the city’s surveillance center and intend to limit it to the Port of Oakland — a reversal from last year and a strong rebuke to city and port staffers. The Trib$ reports that councilmembers were clearly uneasy about the potential abuses of the so-called Domain Awareness Center, or the DAC, in light of revelations over the past several months about NSA spying on US citizens. The council wants city and port staffers to come up with a plan for limiting the DAC’s uses to just the port — as originally proposed in 2009, and postponed a vote on the issue for two weeks. City officials also acknowledged last night that the surveillance center was never intended to help fight crime in Oakland.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: State Unlikely to Meet Climate Change Goals; Hundreds of Leaks Found on New Bay Bridge

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. California likely will not meet its goal for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 unless the state radically transforms its energy sector to renewable sources like wind and solar and gets people out of fossil-fuel burning vehicles, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new report from the California Air Resources Board. The board recommends that California adopt interim goals for 2030 to ensure the state can meet its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Labor and Conservative Activists Push to Raise Minimum Wage; Governor Brown to Get Warning Over Illegal Campaign Donations

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A coalition of labor activists has launched a campaign to raise the minimum wage in Oakland from $8 an hour to $12.25, the Trib$ reports. The effort is being backed by SEIU Local 1021. At the same time, on the state level, conservative multimillionaire Ron Unz is bankrolling a November ballot measure to raise California’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, the LA Times$ reports. Unz contends that increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer people needing state aid — an argument that has been gaining traction among conservatives.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Who Needs Buses? Google Launches Trial Ferry Service Between Alameda and Redwood City

by Sam Levin
Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

As protests over Google's private buses continue to make headlines throughout the Bay Area, the tech giant is looking to expand its transportation network — this time, on the waterways.

This week, Google is running a five-day trial service, operating private company ferries between the Harbor Bay terminal in Alameda and Redwood City. The announcement of the Google ferry trial comes from the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), which runs the San Francisco Bay Ferry services throughout the region.

Google will pay WETA $275 per landing, according to a press release. Google is also apparently providing separate, off-site parking as well as a shuttle service for its employees; they will not be permitted to park in the Harbor Bay ferry lot or on adjacent neighborhood streets, the agency noted.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Seventeen Communities May Run Out of Water Soon; Old Bay Bridge Demolition Is Over Budget and Behind Schedule

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Seventeen communities in the state could run out of water in the next 60 to 120 days because of the drought, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new state analysis. The communities include Cloverdale and Healdsburg in Sonoma County and the tiny Lampico County Water District in Santa Cruz County. State emergency officials may be forced to truck in water to the affected communities as their wells and reservoirs run dry.

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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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Monday, January 27, 2014

Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets: Oakland Seeks Input on Corridor Redesign

by Sam Levin
Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM

How can the City of Oakland improve Telegraph Avenue? Officials are now seeking input from the public on the city's efforts to redesign the corridor as part of its Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets Project. The goal of the project, which is a collaboration between the city and the Alameda County Transportation Commission, is to "improve transportation safety and comfort on Telegraph Avenue between 20th Street and 57th Street for all modes of travel." That project area extends through downtown Oakland, Uptown, Koreatown-Northgate, and Temescal.

Residents interested in the project can offer feedback through this survey, which closes on Friday, January 31.

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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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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Caltrans Hid Weld Defects on New Bay Bridge; Suit Says Raiders Paid Cheerleaders Less than $5 Per Hour

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Caltrans officials hid revelations about defective welds on the new Bay Bridge and fired an inspection firm because it had repeatedly raised objections to the welds, the CoCo Times$ reports, citing a new report commissioned by the state Senate. Caltrans officials also ordered inspectors to not put their objections in writing — in an effort to keep the objections from being disclosed to the public.

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