Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Must Read: UC Online Classes Flop; Long Commuters Clog Freeways

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1.The University of California’s multi-million-dollar attempt to lure students to take classes online has been a total flop so far, the Chron reports. UC has spent $5 million on the online program, which is designed to attract students from around the globe, but so far has only lured one person. Plenty of students on UC campuses are taking online classes, but the attempt to get additional students from afar is failing miserably.

2. A new comprehensive study from UC Berkeley shows that commuters from outlying suburbs are the main reason why our freeways are clogged each morning and night, the Merc reports. These suburban drivers tend to get on the freeway together and then slow down the entire commute for everyone.

  • neoporcupine/Flickr(CC)
3. However, many of these suburban drivers apparently like sitting in nightmarish traffic, because election results reveal that they were the ones who torpedoed Measure B1, a sales tax initiative that would have generated $400 million to extend BART into east Alameda County. According to the CoCo Times, Measure B1 was defeated because it lost in Pleasanton and Livermore, the latter of which would have been served by the BART extension. B1 garnered 66.53 percent of the vote but lost by just 721 ballots. The narrow defeat of the measure also is prompting more public officials to advocate for lowering the threshold to 55 percent on transportation sales tax initiatives, the Merc reports.

4. Governor Jerry Brown is asking an appeals court panel to lift the cap on the state’s prison population, the SacBee reports. The court had ordered the state to release prisoners because of intense overcrowding. But Brown maintains that his realignment plan has sufficiently addressed the problem.

5. Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner introduced legislation yesterday that would require the state to closely track the sales of ammunition, the Trib reports. Skinner’s bill also would prohibit the sale of kits that can turn gun clips into high-capacity magazines.

6. The pilot of the oil tanker that grazed the Bay Bridge yesterday has had three accidents since 2009, the Merc reports. Yesterday’s incident did not seriously damage the bridge nor did it result in an oil spill.

7. Governor Brown’s administration contends that Oakland is misspending about $3 million in former redevelopment funds, the Chron reports. City Administrator Deanna Santana said state officials told her that, as a result, the city needs to slash about $3 million in funds that it is spending on staff costs devoted low- and moderate-income housing.

8. And One Goh, the gunman who fatally shot seven people last year at Oikos University in Oakland, has been declared incompetent to stand trial, the Chron and Trib report. The state will send Goh, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, to a locked state mental institution indefinitely.

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