Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Must Read: New Ferry Service Is a Bust; Grant for More Oakland Cops Comes with Strings

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The new ferry service between Oakland and South San Francisco, which cost $42 million in taxpayer funds to launch, is a bust so far and could be forced to shut down unless more commuters start using it, the Chron reports. Only about 130 passengers rode the ferry each day last month — less than one third of the original projection. The little-used service soaks up about $2.3 million a year in public subsidies from bridge toll revenues, meaning that at current levels, each ride costs about $100 to finance.

2. A $67 million federal grant that would allow the City of Oakland to hire thirty additional police officers also would require those cops to work in other East Bay cities at times, the Trib reports. The reason is that it’s a multi-agency grant that would also add officers to the Alameda Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. The grant would create a task force that would work to suppress crime not just in Oakland, but throughout the county.

3. Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan continues to maintain that a San Leandro man who sued the city for wrongfully targeting him is a prime suspect in an assault, the Trib reports. Chau Van, a web designer who now lives in Oakland, maintains that he’s innocent. But Jordan contends that the alleged victim in the case had picked Van’s photo out of a lineup. The Trib reports, however, that the victim is no longer cooperating with police.

4. Bike sharing is coming soon for commuters in San Francisco, the Peninsula, and San Jose as part of a $7 million test project, the Chron reports. Commuters will have access to 700 bikes at 70 locations.

5. Cash-strapped community colleges could save millions if they shared administrative tasks with nearby districts, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. College districts typically have numerous administrators who perform the same duties as those in other nearby districts.

6. Returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have to wait nearly two years in some cities — including Oakland — to receive service-related disability benefits, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. The VA benefits system has collapsed under the Obama administration.

7. And the number of western Pacific Leatherback turtles has plummeted more than 90 percent since 1980, and so the largest sea turtles in the world could go extinct in twenty years, the Chron reports. The giant sea creatures are being snagged in longline fishing and drift nets.

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