Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Oakland Police Nab Carpool Robbers; Governor Signs Law Requiring Motorists to Give Bicyclists Three Feet of Space

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police arrested two men who are suspected of robbing commuters who were waiting yesterday morning in a casual carpool lane in the city’s Rockridge district, the Chron and Trib report. Police apprehended the suspects after spotting them in a vehicle that matched the description given by the robbery victims of the thieves’ getaway car. The two suspects are believed to be part of stick-up crew that robbed the commuters at gunpoint, stealing their cellphones, electronics, and other personal items.

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2. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation that requires California motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing, the SacBee$ reports. The bill, which was backed by bicycle advocacy groups, also requires motorists to slow down when passing cyclists.

3. Brown also signed a bill that outlaws the use of computer bots to rapidly buy tickets to concerts and sporting events as soon as they go on sale, the LA Times$ reports. For years, ticket scalpers have used the bots to snatch up the best tickets to events and they resell them at high prices.

4. The State of New York has forced nineteen companies that post fake online reviews on Yelp, Google, CitySearch and other websites to cease their practices and pay $350,000 in fines, the Chron reports. However, it’s unclear whether California also plans to target the bogus online review industry. Analysts estimate that 15 percent of all online reviews are fraudulent and are written by people who are paid to write them.

5. Governor Brown also signed a law that requires websites to allow people to completely erase online posts they made when they were minors, the Chron reports.

6. Oakland is one of several cities and counties that is fighting the paint industry in court over the widespread use of toxic lead paint before it was banned in the late 1970s, the Mercury News reports. Oakland and other local governments say the cost to clean up the old lead paint could be as high as $1.6 billion.

7. And upscale retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has agreed to eliminate its ban on female employees wearing hijabs as part of a settlement agreement with two Bay Area women the company had fired for wearing headscarves, the Chron reports.

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