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Tribune News Service

“I just think this is a tragically sad, but beautiful, case study of how tech with great promise doesn’t meet its potential to really do lots of good,” said Richard Carpiano, a sociology and public health professor at the University of California, Riverside.
The delay likely will continue to hamper the ability of the State Controller’s Office to complete annual financial reports on time, which could eventually harm California’s credit rating and increase borrowing costs, the audit says.
The overseer of the department that oversees state government has retired. Now the question arises: Whom will Gov. Gavin Newsom name to replace Elaine M. Howle?
California’s community college system has seen a rise in the enrollment of malicious bots — likely on a mission to facilitate financial aid fraud. The exact scope of the problem is unclear, however.
With no end in sight to the pandemic-induced downturn in public transportation ridership, many Bay Area transit agencies are warily eyeing their operating budgets, which have been kept afloat by billions in federal relief money during the public health crisis.
Tesla is developing driverless cars on public roadways, using its customers as test drivers and shrugging off requirements — and, so far, the Department of Motor Vehicles has been largely content to look the other way.
McGregor Scott, former U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, figures most of that $20 billion in fake payments won’t be recovered. “At the end of the day, it’s all going to be pennies on the dollar,” he said, “because most of it is long gone.”
While Merced County officials have said there are companies under contract to test at the site, they won’t say who those entities are because of the proprietary nature of the products being developed and tested there.
The future of remote state work is taking shape as departments hammer out permanent policies and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration negotiates with unions. But how much will workers be monitored at home?
PG&E has deployed a dozen cameras with artificial intelligence to curb wildfires in San Luis Obispo County, as part of a burgeoning network designed to identify blazes in their early stages.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package would accelerate projects that will spawn “thousands” of jobs, many of which will address climate change.
San Diego’s contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. will replace more than 7,000 radios that police officers, firefighters and dispatchers use to communicate with one another. “This was something we had to get done,” Chief Information Officer Jonathan Behnke said.
Though few details have been disclosed, the state stands to receive significant federal funding for technology-related projects, including $384 million for electric vehicle charging, at least $100 million to expand broadband Internet access and $40 million for cybersecurity.
“If implemented, these policies will reduce barriers to the improvement of broadband access and reliability within Yuba County. It also recommends using a public-private partnership model, leveraging state and federal grant dollars to stimulate private-sector investment in broadband network expansion,” said Ian Scott, broadband project manager for Yuba County.
“When one of our government agencies fails this badly ... it erodes people’s faith in government,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, chair of the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee.
Elaine Howle, 63, the state auditor for more than 21 years, has been the state’s independent voice, leading examinations of state agencies and winning both sharp anger and lavish praise from the Assembly and Senate members.
The governor OK’d five bills that require the state Employment Development Department to streamline processing of claims, plug gaps in identity protection and develop a plan in the event of future recessions like the one brought on last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marybel Batjer, a former secretary of the Government Operations Agency, took over the top job at the California Public Utilities Commission in August 2019. Her term wasn’t due to expire until 2027.
SiFi Networks is interested in investing $70 million to $80 million in Yuba City to build and operate a citywide, gigabit-speed open-access fiber network to every residence and business, without the use of any municipal taxpayer subsidy toward its construction.
The Roseville Police Department is expected to roll out 150 body-worn cameras to officers later this month, making it the latest Sacramento-area law enforcement agency to use the technology.
Legislation approved by lawmakers would require the state Employment Development Department to enact far-reaching changes recommended by a pair of state audits that found the agency unprepared for the joblessness caused when many of the state’s businesses were shut down during the health crisis.
“We basically give them a software package,” said Alex Chohlas-Wood of the Stanford Computational Policy Lab. “Our software package spits out a redacted narrative. It’s essentially acting as a bumper against the use of race in charging decisions.”
The bill would have set a May 31 deadline for the Employment Development Department to implement recommendations aimed at reducing delays in paying benefits, prioritizing modernization of its technology, assessing its call center operations and improving its tracking of claimants’ problems.
The Vallejo Police Department’s Tech Team is now equipped with five pilots who are trained and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as unmanned-aircraft pilots.
More accessible and more affordable broadband connectivity, as well as improvements to the state’s energy grid, could be in store for California, depending on what the federal infrastructure bill ultimately contains.
Federal investigators began to take notice after the Employment Development Department began to crack down on multiple claims from the same address, something that occurred just before California prosecutors revealed that EDD had become the target of a multibillion-dollar fraud.
Officials in Rialto are using funding from the state’s Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program to launch electric bike-share hubs around the city. The bikes are a preferred means of travel among residents.
The specter of flames devouring communities and smothering the state in smoke is driving innovation, much of it in Silicon Valley, to fight fires with new technology.
The Yuba County Board of Supervisors recently approved agreements with three different IT companies to improve the county’s cybersecurity after a ransomware incident in February.
Already, the state has received nearly 70,000 troubleshooting forms submitted online by residents looking to correct or complete their information, according to the California Department of Public Health.