04.09.14 Your Morning Buzz

Farewell, Archie: Beloved comic book character to die


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Transaction Wire


High Five

  1. A remarkably small idea that could reduce distracted driving There are at least two ways to think about the problem of distracted driving. We could try to get people to cut down on all of the stuff that’s distracting them — texting, fielding phone calls, fiddling with in-car navigation screens at 50 miles an hour. Or we could acknowledge that drivers will probably keep doing all of those things anyway and try to mitigate the harm.
  2. The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs  New data and maps from the real estate research firm Zillow shed light on the uneven nature of housing prices across several major U.S. cities and metros.
  3. A New Way for Schools to Pay for Technology  The federal program that funds technology in schools spends about $600 million on outdated tools like pagers. The FCC wants to reform it, but how that happens is subject to political debate.
  4. Watch 2 Men Paint Road Markings With Surprising Artistry On a very early morning two years ago, London resident Tom Williams saw two men preparing to paint some road markings outside his apartment. He set up up a tripod to film the process. The result was uploaded to Vimeo without much fanfare.
  5. Oregon gets A- for government spending transparency, ranks 2nd in U.S. Oregon rates an A- and a second-place national ranking when it comes to government spending transparency, according to a report from the OSPIRG Foundation.


Midwest ELGL

Columbus approves food trucks on city streets After years of discussion, Columbus has new regulations that will allow vendors to sell a taco, pita or other food from a truck parked on a city street.

Detroit city workers, pensioners could face cut in retirement savings, too  Detroit’s workers and retirees who put money in to the General Retirement System are being told they’re likely to face cuts to their savings, too, as well as their pension checks, as part of the bankruptcy process, according to sources familiar with the plan.

Identity crisis: Brooklyn Park hires PR firm to improve its reputation  Brooklyn Park residents feel like they’re playing defense when it comes to their city.

Milwaukee’s $1.2 million subsidy to failing store draws critics  The Milwaukee Common Council’s decision to approve $1.2 million in subsidies for a failing department store is raising skepticism, even among those who voted in favor of the package in the first place.

The Future of Chicago’s Most Infamous Public Housing Project  Little remains of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, a mid-century public housing complex once home to as many as 15,000 people. The poorly maintained high rises, rife with gang violence, were eventually demolished (the final one came down in 2011). Today, only low-rise units and dozens of acres of vacant land remain.

3 Reasons Chicago’s Analytics Could be Coming to Your City Chicago CIO Brenna Berman discusses the city’s SmartData platform, which provides a template for local governments to craft predictive analytics systems of their own.


Northwest ELGL

Tigard to launch outreach campaign about high-capacity transit, Southwest Corridor Plan Tigard residents can expect an outreach blitz from the Tigard City Council in the coming weeks, as councilors strive to hear from as many residents as possible about high-capacity transit and the recently passed Ballot Measure 34-210.

Beaverton City Council approves planning scenario for South Cooper Mountain The Beaverton City Council approved a preferred planning scenario for South Cooper Mountain in a split vote on Tuesday, April 8.

Public access to Willamette Falls a few million steps away An ambitious plan to open up Willamette Falls to public access is beginning to build up steam.  State and local officials are trying to figure out how to come up with $4 million to plan an esplanade and viewing area that would give the public a vantage point at the falls.

Paul Savas calls Clackamas County Chairman John Ludlow’s endorsement ‘sandbox politics’ Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas shot back Monday at Chairman John Ludlow’s endorsement for Savas’ opponent, calling Ludlow’s move childish.

Clackamas County board candidates Jim Bernard and Steve Bates battle over Tea Party affiliation in campaign mailers The candidates for Clackamas County board position 5 are also throwing barbs back and forth in campaign materials.

Economic recovery could perk up, along with labor force, new UO report says Signs that the labor force is perking up could be a precursor to faster economic growth, according to a second University of Oregon economic report out in as many weeks.

Portland City Hall promises task force to consider stronger oversight of utilities — if voters reject water district measure  Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish are creating a new political twist in the effort to strip utility oversight from the City Council.

Smart Car Tipping Police in San Francisco are looking for whoever is responsible for tipping three tiny smart cars.


Southwest ELGL

Can Houston Learn to Love Light Rail? Once every two weeks or so, in the six months after Houston’s first light rail line opened in 2004, a car crashed into the dazzling fountain that flanks the tracks downtown. In the first year of operation, the light rail was involved in 67 collisions. Folks took to calling it the Wham-Bam-Tram. Some drivers never learned to coexist with the newcomer at all, opting instead for parallel side streets. With its lush lawns, large floor plans and sprawling footprint, Houston is a famously spacious city. But the roads never seem wide enough.


Southeast ELGL

Washingtonians Get to Know Democrat They Picked Over the Mayor  Four days before the vote, a worker hurrying into the Anacostia Metro station during the morning rush said he was unhappy with Mayor Vincent C. Gray and would vote for his leading rival. “I kind of like that one,” he said, fumbling for a name. “The lady. She’s real good.”

The White House is closing the gender pay gap, so why can’t the rest of us? The American Enterprise Institute caught the White House flat-footed yesterday with its finding that female White House workers earned roughly 88 cents to the dollar compared to male employees. This came the day before two high-profile executive orders aimed at narrowing the gender wage gap among federal contractors.


Social Media, Yo

Twitter is surprisingly accurate at predicting unemployment Twitter is full of relative junk: tweets you don’t want to read from people you’re not all that interested in knowing, almost all of them chiming in on topics (see this, this and this) you’d never want to hear about in real life.

Why Uber is joining the race to dominate urban logistics Uber rolled out a new service in Manhattan on Tuesday that foreshadows the five-year-old company’s plans to become much more than a platform for e-hailing taxi and town car rides. Now, with UberRUSH, the company is piloting a bike and ped-courier service designed to move stuff, rather than people.

The War Between Uber and Lyft Will Be Won With an Algorithm Which taxi alternative will dominate cities of the future may come down to who develops the best software. Right now, Lyft and Uber are two sides of the same ride-sharing coin: Lyft brands itself as a “sharing” experience, reminding its users that their driver is just an average Joe with time to drive you around for money. They’re essentially cab drivers, but they obey instructions from the cloud instead of a human dispatcher, and can work as they please. Uber focuses on the ride itself—the convenient and even luxurious experience of getting a car and driver exactly when you want them.


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