Back in 2012, the Legislature cancelled a $2 billion upgrade of the State’s court computer system — but not before wasting $500 million on the boondoggle. And it seems nothing has been learned from the snafu. There is now a new system from Texas-based Tyler Technologies, and it also has problems:
One of the state’s early adopters of the new technology is Alameda County. The county’s public defender, Brendon Woods, is now supporting many clients who have been affected by the issues.
“We had a client who took a [plea] deal and he was supposed to be released the day before Thanksgiving. The system wasn’t inputted properly. He was held an extra four days.”
Minor driving offences were incorrectly appearing as serious felonies, meaning if an affected person applied for a job, they are likely to be flagged as having a serious criminal record.
Mr Woods added: “We’ve had clients who were supposed to register as drug offenders, the system shows them as registering as sex offenders.”
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Build that wall 10 feet higher…and make the apartment dwellers pay for it:
A 24-unit apartment building at 1057 Freeway Drive cleared its final hurdle Tuesday with its approval by the City Council. The project by the developer James Keller will create a cluster of two-bedroom rental dwellings close to a freeway, school, athletic fields and outlet shops – as well a string of houses on Bremen Court, some of whose owners spoke out against a gate that would have linked the apartments to the street.
Although the gate would be far too small for motor vehicles, residents still urged the council to eliminate it from the plan – and ask for more solid fencing around the apartments – amid concerns a new walkway would lead to increased traffic and trespassing.
The Keller Apartments sailed through a Planning Commission vote last month with little controversy, but details of its links to surrounding streets aroused worries among many who live on Bremen Court, including some who moved into the then-new neighborhood in the early 1990s partly because of its quietness.
Opening the way from apartments to a long-quiet street would erode the safety of those living, walking and especially playing on Bremen Court, argued Maricela Lopez, a resident since 1990. “Being the mother of a 9-year-old girl, having access for anyone to walk by, how can I as a mom be making dinner while making sure she’s safe out there?” she asked council members with her daughter by her side.
Walling off the apartment dwellers won’t make the neighborhood safer (quite the opposite in fact). And the barrier will reduce the walkability of the development, especially with the only access being a freeway frontage road.
Posted in planning | Tagged nimbys | 1 Comment »
Well, that didn’t take long. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is lobbying President-elect Trump to reduce or eliminate fuel economy standards. They want to re-evaluate the Obama administration’s rules for GHG and electric vehicle mandates:
Greenhouse gas and mpg targets through model year 2021 are already on the books. A required midterm evaluation is underway to determine whether proposed mpg and greenhouse gas standards through 2022 are appropriate, or if they should be changed.
The next step in the evaluation comes in 2017, likely midyear, when the next EPA administrator will propose whether the standards are appropriate or should be changed, which would kick off a rulemaking process. A final determination is due by April 2018.
The Alliance argues that that proposed determination shouldn’t happen until Trump’s administration has had a chance to review the regulations, and can lead talks between regulators and automakers about the final years of the program, which currently aim for a fleet average of more than 50 mpg.
A Technical Assessment Report issued by the EPA about the 2025 rules found that automakers were on track to comply and adopting technologies to boost efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than anticipated.
The Alliance believes that the report “over-projects” the benefits of certain technologies and fails to fully consider consumer acceptance and market factors.
The Alliance membership includes the Big-3, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Volkswagen (of course).
Posted in automotive | 2 Comments »
If true, then Volkswagen USA seriously needs to lose its license to sell or import automobiles:
The newly discovered software was detected four months ago during laboratory tests by the California Air Resources Board, one of the people said. Neither Volkswagen nor U.S. regulators have publicly disclosed the discovery.
The discovery threatens fresh anger from officials, investors and car owners just as Volkswagen is wrapping up billions of dollars in settlements with states and owners of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. and a recall of nearly nine million tainted diesel vehicles in Europe.
Volkswagen’s previously disclosed “defeat device” software was used on Volkswagen and Audi diesel engines to make it appear that they complied with emission standards for nitrogen oxides during lab tests.
The newly discovered software, installed on Audis with both diesel and gasoline engines, did the same with CO2 emissions standards in the U.S. and Europe, according to the people familiar with the matter.
The CARB caught the emissions-cheating software through lessons learned from the earlier probe of Volkswagen diesel engines, according to Germany’s weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper, which earlier reported the software’s discovery.
CARB technicians conducting lab tests on Audi’s vehicles made them react as if on a road by turning the steering wheel, the people said.
When the cars deviated from lab conditions, their CO2 emissions rose dramatically.
Note that this cheat also affects gasoline engines.
Posted in automotive | Tagged Volkswagen | Leave a Comment »
The Washington Sate chapter of the Sierra Club has joined the oil and mining industry in opposing voter initiative 732. In case you haven’t heard of this measure, it would implement a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Dr. James Hansen proposed such a scheme back in 2009 whereby revenues from the carbon tax are returned to families and individuals (in this case through a lower sales tax).
If you are wondering why on earth they would oppose, you can try to read their reasons here and here. I’ve tried to make sense of it, but their reasoning is contradictory and incomprehensible. This is really a new low for the Sierra Club.
Posted in automotive | Tagged carbon tax, Sierra Club | 1 Comment »
Hillary Clinton’s web site boldly announces that the priority for the first 100 days of her administration would be to implement “biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades.” Funding for $275 billion program would come not from any new taxes but “corporate tax reform”. If you are thinking that means closing tax loopholes, it is in fact quite the opposite:
Clinton has said she would finance infrastructure spending through unspecified “business tax reform.” Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on CNBC Oct. 18 that the money would come from a lower tax rate on profits stashed overseas by U.S. corporations. Other Democrats close to the Clinton camp said they anticipate she would adopt the Schumer approach. The lower tax rate would produce a one-time bonanza as companies brought home an estimated $2.5 trillion stockpiled abroad.
Profits earned overseas are supposed to be taxed at the same 35% rate as domestic profits. Those overseas taxes are only applied when the revenues are repatriated to the US. Large companies like Apple and Microsoft have been keeping their stash overseas, while lobbying Congress to lower the tax rate. (Technically, most of these funds are already in US banks, so this is all a kind of financial fiction.) The lower tax would indeed be a bonanza for companies, as they would get a windfall in the billions — money that was supposed to be paid to the US Treasury.
As most readers know, the nation’s infrastructure deficit is the result of declining gas tax revenues. For two decades, Congress has refused to adjust the gas tax for inflation. The only reasonable solution to this problem is to return the gas-tax back to normal levels — and not by giving away billions in corporate tax breaks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook testifying before Congress on his company’s tax avoidance
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Berkeley could become North America’s first major city to build a comprehensive Dutch-style cycle-track network. For the past two years, city staff has been developing a new Bike Plan, which is set to go before City Council in December. The plan would revolutionize cycling in a town with an already respectable bike mode-share. If approved, the plan would prioritize the construction of new cycle-tracks in the south campus area, and convert a downtown segment of Milvia into a cycle-track.
The plan also calls for cycle-tracks on the major arterials , including Claremont, Telegraph, Shattuck, University, and Adeline. Each those projects would have to go through a “multi-modal” corridor study. Berkeley staff says these studies are needed to accommodate other road users (buses, pedestrians, and automobiles). Hopefully, the studies will not used to sandbag the bike plan…
Posted in bicycling | Tagged Berkeley | 8 Comments »