Move to Kick Hybrids out of Carpool Lanes Backfires
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Since July, carpool access has been denied for 85,000 hybrid cars with no passengers. Those yellow stickers don't work any more. But the consequences might leave you scratching your head. Having fewer hybrids does not make the emptier car pool lanes move any faster. It slows them down! Of course, the more congested regular lanes move slower too. We hear why it's worse for everybody. Also, Blue Shield will refund $167 million in excess profits. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, big banks: are there alternatives?
Banner image: A Toyota Prius with a California 'clean air vehicle' sticker drives in the carpool lane on highway 101 on May 6, 2011 in San Rafael, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Blue Shield Gives Back Another $285M in Profits ()
Health insurance companies are infamous for increasing rates, not for refunds. But Blue Shield of California is about to return $167 million in excess profits to some two million policyholders in California, with another $283 million to be refunded in December. Victoria Colliver writes on the healthcare industry for the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Victoria Colliver: San Francsico Chronicle
The Paradox of Hybrids and Traffic in Carpool Lanes ()
When hybrids were first available, California handed out yellow bumper stickers to encourage sales of cleaner, high-mileage cars. Lone drivers with no passengers got access to carpool lanes, and solo drivers in regular lanes learned to hate the Prius. The program worked, and, with more and more hybrids, the carpool lanes began slowing down. So, in July, the yellow sticker privileges ended. But did traffic in the carpool lanes begin speeding up? It did not, according to Michael Cassidy, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Berkeley.
Luis Rodriguez Writes a New Memoir ()
Luis Rodriguez is recognized as a leading Chicano writer, best known for Always Running, his memoir of gang life in East LA. Published in 1993 it's now used in high school classes in some places, while it's censored in others. He's written 13 books of poetry, non-fiction and fiction. His fourteenth book, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing, is a sequel to Always Running. We welcome him back -- for the first time since 1993.
Note: Rodriguez will be at Tia Chuchas on Saturday, October 15, from 5-7pm, to read and sign copies of his new book.
- Luis Rodriguez: author and community organizer
Ditching Big Bad Banks: Are There Alternatives? ()
Big banks bailed out because they were "too big to fail" are now jacking up fees on small businesses and individual consumers. Bank of America plans to impose a $5 monthly fee on depositors who use debit cards. Citibank says it’ll raise fees on accounts with less than $15,000. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera says there are many "juicy angles" to be pursued. He's going with "gouging." Is it time to transfer money to smaller institutions and credit unions? Is the entire banking system due for an overhaul? We hear from Nocera and others.
- Joe Nocera: New York Times
- Tim O'Brien: small business owner
- Trish Wexler: Electronic Payments Coalition
- John Cassidy: The New Yorker, @TNYJohnCassidy
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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