10:54am

Mon February 6, 2012
Morning News Roundup

Connecting the Dots: top news stories for Monday, February 6, 2012

A Fremont man has started a campaign against red-light cameras, highlighting the fact that California has the most expensive red-light ticket in the nation at $480. The second highest fine in the U.S. is $250. Red-light camera opponents claim they are an underhanded regressive tax and are more about bringing in revenue than improving safety. According to city figures, one red-light camera in Oakland raked in $4.2 million in 2010, from about 9,200 tickets...

Speaking of millions, home foreclosures in affluent Bay Area communities are on the rise. In 2011, more than double the number of homes with mortgages of $1 million or more were scheduled for auction than in 2008. Short sale specialist Joe Reichert of Danville likened the trend to a wave, where lower-income homeowners were hit first, and now those higher up are feeling the effects...

Moving from home foreclosures to homelessness, Santa Clara is considering a plan to permanently house 100 chronically homeless people using a $1.2 million voucher system. Supporters say it is a more economical strategy than homeless shelters, and the frequent visits homeless people make to emergency rooms and other public service providers...

In news from the Capitol, State Assembly lawmakers have killed a bill that would have decreased the penalties for growing marijuana. This is the second unsuccessful attempt to pass the bill in one year. The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, has blamed the federal government's recent crackdown on pot growers for the latest failure...

A new state law bars colleges with high student-loan default rates from offering Cal Grants to their students. The law, SB70, affects mostly private, for-profit colleges, whose rates of student loan default are much higher than non-profit schools...

Back in the Bay, non-profit civic journalism start-up the Bay Citizen is considering a potential merger with Berkeley's Center for Investigative Reporting or CIR, an older non-profit journalism group. After philanthropist and founder Warren Hellman passed away late last year, the Bay Citizen had a number of top executives resign. CIR board president Phil Bronstein, former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, would preside over this possible merger.

Connecting the Dots brings the day's news together