Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Senate Rejects Smartphone Kill Switch Bill; BART-Oakland Airport Connector Proves Costly

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. After heavy lobbying by the smartphone industry, the state Senate narrowly rejected legislation that would have required all cellphones to come equipped with kill switches that render the phone inoperable when stolen, the LA Times$ reports. Law enforcement officials had pushed hard for the kill switch legislation — as did Oakland political leaders — because smartphone theft has led to a robbery epidemic nationwide. But cellphone makers like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung oppose kill switches because stolen phones are a huge boon to the industry — victims must buy new phones when theirs are ripped off.

2. BART’s connector to the Oakland Airport is proving to be very costly — and will drain millions in funds from the transit agency each year, the Chron reports. Transit activists are urging BART to charge riders at least $6 a trip each way from the airport to the Oakland Coliseum station to limit the annual costs to the agency.

3. Alameda County has narrowly turned down a proposal to charge a household waste fee of $9.95 a year to pay for the costs of disposing hazardous waste, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Representatives from suburban areas on the Alameda County Waste Management Authority Board voted against the fee while those from urban areas voted for it. The fee, however, would have passed if county Supervisor Keith Carson, who represents Berkeley and Oakland, would have shown up for the vote and voted for it.

4. Oakland police investigators arrested two men on murder charges, saying they killed a 66-year-old woman because she took a cellphone video of them when they were attempting to commit a crime in her neighborhood and then followed them, the Chron reports.

5. Oakland police were sued by the family of an innocent 16-year-old who was shot in the face by officers who mistook him for a robbery suspect, the Chron reports.

6. A Good Samaritan saved a distraught man from jumping off a highway bridge in Oakland and killing himself, the Chron and Trib report.

7. And state Senator Loni Hancock of Berkeley is co-sponsoring a bill that would levy higher state taxes on corporations in which the CEO makes far more money than the average worker, the Mercury News$ reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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