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Morning Splash: UC unveiling new cyber courses; SJ council talks pot tomorrow; Golden Gate toll increase?

| September 12, 2011
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The University of California will unveil its first top-tier cyber courses in January – 26 online offerings, from global climate change to game theory. At the same time, it’s eyeing China and even American soldiers as potential sources of cash to pay for them.  Academically, the UC system is venturing into territory that supporters hope will be the next wave of innovation: intellectually rigorous e-classes so animated and interactive that students can’t help but excel.

Occupying about 6,000 square feet in a North San Jose industrial park — about as much space as three average houses — Harborside Health Center is among the city’s largest “cannabis collectives.”

But Harborside would have to become five times as big to comply with a proposed new law requiring that medical marijuana providers grow all their product on-site. The City Council will consider the law [and other issues about medical marijuana] on Tuesday…

Here’s a new date to mark on the calendar: Oct. 9. It’s the last day for Gov. Jerry Brown to say “yea” or “nay” on the flurry of bills now in his possession.

So, let the public appeals begin. To that end, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo joins students from the University of California and elsewhere at 11 a.m. on the Capitol’s north steps to urge Brown to sign the second half of the state’s Dream Act.

A toll increase on the Golden Gate Bridge could occur in 2013 when the bridge district faces a $75 million payout to help with construction of the new Doyle Drive and $100 million in seismic strengthening costs for its span.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has been able to cut into its five-year deficit, lowering it from $89 million to $87 million, bridge officials reported last week. During this decade, the district has whittled its deficit from $454 million, then to $132 million and now to $87 million by raising bridge tolls, issuing layoffs and cutting bus service, among other steps.

But inflation, capital projects and other factors will require the district to continue to take steps to reduce costs over the next several years. That includes a plan to eliminate all toll-takers on the span late next year, as the bridge goes to all-electronic tolling.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the biggest U.S. lender by assets, will likely lose that distinction as Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan partly dismantles the money-losing empire built by his predecessor.

The firm previously was No. 1 in deposits, mortgage lending and credit cards. Those honors are already gone as Moynihan trims operations added by former CEO Kenneth D. Lewis at a cost of more than $130 billion. When Moynihan is done with his reorganization plan, called Project New BAC, the bank will have pared its workforce by tens of thousands and probably relinquished its lead in assets, jobs and mortgage servicing.

Being the biggest doesn’t matter, Moynihan said in an interview last week. Project New BAC, details of which the CEO may disclose today at a New York investor conference, is designed to make the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank easier to manage, more focused — and smaller, said Moynihan, 51.

Call it the Two-Larry Summit. A federal judge has summoned Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison and Google (GOOG) CEO Larry Page into court for a last-ditch, high-level mediation session aimed at settling a patent dispute that could represent billions of dollars to the two giant tech companies.

The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.

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About the Author ()

Rachel Dornhelm got her start in radio at WHYY. After anthropology graduate school, Rachel lived in Uzbekistan working with youth near the drying Aral Sea. Rachel returned to radio full-time in 2001. Her work has appeared on WNYC, WBUR, Marketplace, NPR news magazines and KQED. Reach Rachel Dornhelm at rdornhelm@kqed.org.

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