The Buzz: UC still studying the sharing economy

June 27, 2014 

RB Ridesharing

RANDALL BENTON — rbenton@sacbee.com

  • By the numbers

    Except for those in the state’s most remote areas, Californians must contend with the nation’s highest housing costs, both rental and ownership, relative to their incomes, a new study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reveals. The Los Angeles-Orange County region has the nation’s highest “cost burden,” while San Diego is No. 5, San Bernardino-Riverside is No. 6, Fresno is No. 8, Monterey-Salinas is No. 9, Oxnard-Ventura is No. 10 and Santa Barbara is No. 11.

    – Dan Walters

UC studying staff’s use

of online travel services

As lawmakers and regulators work to create rules for an emerging sharing economy, the University of California system is grappling with its own set of safety and liability concerns when employees use popular services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

It appeared earlier this week that UC had banned staff members from using the online-based services after a UCLA administrator emailed top campus officials a notice that the university was prohibiting such tools while traveling on business. The decision from the UC general counsel was prompted by “concerns that these services are not fully regulated and do not protect users to the same extent as a commercially regulated business,” the email said.

After media reports and criticism, UC President Janet Napolitano’s office clarified the policy. The services are allowed, the university told employees, but under review.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a supporter of ridesharing and a UC regent, criticized the reported ban in a letter to Napolitano, saying he recognizes “legitimate regulatory questions” about the sharing economy, but warned that a ban could result in higher costs and would send an anti-innovation message.

– Daniel Rothberg

Worth repeating

“That’s what we call Brown power.”

GOV. JERRY BROWN, to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, using a play on his name to note the re-emergence of Latino political clout in California.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service