10:57am

Thu February 23, 2012
Morning News Roundup

Connecting the Dots: Top news stories for Thursday, February 23, 2012

Downsizing California's postal system could affect last-minute voters, according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen. While the U.S. Postal Service has proposed closing up to 11 processing centers across the state, that could delay thousands of mail-in ballots and compromise the integrity of the November election...

The integrity of a debt collection agency has also come into question. Orange County-based American Credit Crunchers LLC and Ebeeze LLC allegedly orchestrated fraudulent calls to consumers, claiming they were delinquent on a loan. If a judge rules in favor of the Federal Trade Commission, victims of the scam will be compensated...

The city of Oakland is also embroiled in a lawsuit. This one is filed by a man who claimed police used excessive force while arresting him in October 2009. The city has agreed to settle the suit by offering him $43,000...

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's new plan to reduce crime in the city's most violent areas also does little to increase the popularity of the Oakland Police Department. The plan may compromise a voter-mandated community policing program by removing problem-solving officers who work closely with residents from their neighborhood beats...

A special state police force designed to protect disabled citizens residing in state institutions from abuse has come under fire, too. According to an investigation by California Watch, they have repeatedly failed to do basic police work, even when patients die mysteriously...

It's no mystery to most that many teens are sexually active, so a California Department of Health program has offered those in Sacramento County the option of ordering free condoms by mail. The effort is designed to reduce skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people...

Young people may not get enough exercise in San Francisco, according to a UCSF study released today. The city's elementary school students score below the state's average on physical fitness tests. This is partly due to the fact that many of San Francisco's schools do not offer the state-mandated 200 minutes of PE every ten days. Most fifth graders get an average of 114...

But across the Bay, there are more options for physical activity -- and for eco-friendly transportation. The city of Oakland plans to nearly double the size of its network of bike lanes and shared roads in 2012, growing from 33 miles to 62...

In neighboring Berkeley, cyclists can even seek legal retribution for harassment on the road. Last week, Berkeley became the second U.S. city to allow cyclists to sue motorists in civil court. The anti-harassment law will be accompanied by an education campaign that aims to encourage drivers to respectfully share the streets.

Connecting the Dots brings the day's news together.