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NewsWatch: High-Speed Rail Doubts, Twitter as Police Scanner, Spectrum Auction

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs. Photo by Blake Harris

Cities and Counties

July 29, 2011 By

Is It Time to Retire Jane Jacobs' Vision of the City?

he gospel of Jane Jacobs, the iconic urban thinker of the 20th century, has become so ingrained in modern planning that it is essentially synonymous with what most people think of as a “good” city. Since the publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, politicians, urban planners and academics -- virtually everyone who cares about cities, really -- have seen cities through Jacobs’ eyes. Governing


A Digital Communities Interview With Jane Jacobs (2003)

Twitter as Police Scanner Draws Feedback in Seattle

A flurry of Twitter messages that began early Tuesday morning from the Seattle Police Department puzzled many Twitter users. Was there a sudden crime wave in Seattle? Was the city under attack? Had a computer gone haywire?  No. The Police Department in this technology-conscious city had started a 12-hour experiment of posting almost all its emergency calls on Twitter. It wanted citizens to see what a day in the life of the department was really like. New York Times

LA County Starts Over on Emergency Communication

Los Angeles County leaders Thursday put the county at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds when they voted to scrap years of planning for a vast emergency communications system and restart the search for companies to build the complex project. Los Angeles Times

California Analyzes Cell Phone Calls to 911 to Improve Public Safety

The invention of cell phones has enabled people to call for help from wherever they need it, not just from a land line phone. But it has greatly complicated law enforcement’s efforts to find the people who are calling. Emergency Management

Is Net Neutrality Blocking FCC Spectrum Auctions?

What's keeping Congress from authorizing the FCC to auction off underutilized television spectrum badly needed for mobile broadband? The answer, strangely enough, is Net neutrality--specifically, the FCC's "Open Internet" rules passed at the end of 2010 and which are only now being published. CNET

Some Cities Say They'll Keep Red-Light Cameras Operating

ome cities in Southern California remain strongly committed to the red-light camera enforcement, despite the decision by Los Angeles this week to end the program. The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 to kill the program after disclosures that paying fines for camera-issued tickets is considered "voluntary" by city officials. That outraged some motorists who have paid their tickets. Los Angeles Times

Doubts Cast on California High-Speed Rail

Fresh questions about the ridership and revenue projections that underpin the state's $43-billion bullet train project have been raised in a new internal report by the agency charged with building the system. Among the key conclusions of a California High Speed Rail Authority panel of experts is that forecasts of up to 117 million annual riders by 2030 -- which have helped support predictions that the system would generate billions in profits -- need to be recalibrated to be more conservative and better reflect important factors that could affect ridership. Los Angeles Times

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