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Letters to the Editor

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Telecommute Solution

I just read Adam Federman’s article “Roadkill” (Summer 2008) and am hoping we can overcome some of the noise around congestion pricing and telework. At worst, congestion pricing constricts access. It is amazing to me that, given the changing nature of work in America, we have shown little or no interest in tapping into the vast reservoir of telecommunications resources.

If we want to reduce the burden on the daily commuter, we have to find ways of redirecting traffic by redirecting work. If we are to be more competitive in the global workplace, then we must think in new ways and teach ourselves what a truly deployed information workforce can do to improve our economy, security, and way of life. We are limited not by the resources we have, but more by our imagination and our willingness to learn how better to employ them.

Michael Shear, CEO POCKETS Distributed Workplace Alternative
Des Moines, IA

Corporate Classrooms

After receiving the Winter 2008 Journal, I jotted down my reaction to your article on corporate-funded research at universities (“Taking Care of Business” by Sonya Huber), but didn’t send it in until I realized that no other readers put into words what I was thinking.

In my mind, there’s no gray area in this debate. Corporate sponsorship is harmful to academia for two reasons. First, there is the matter of academic integrity. If British Petroleum funds research at UC Berkeley and researchers discover some type of wrongdoing on the part of BP, will it come to light? How many researchers will bite the hand that feeds them?

There is a more important reason for opposing corporate sponsorship at our schools: When we let corporations into our schools, we are giving our implied assent to the dictum that our governments cannot help us, only corporations can.

When I graduated from UCB in 1986, tuition for California residents was $700 per semester; it is now $6,900 per semester, a nearly ten-fold increase. Even as students pay more for their educations, they have to contend with corporations infringing on their turf. Reagan would have been delighted.

Iver Torikiancartoon of a general pointing at medals on his uniform, saying 'and this one is for when oil reached $100 a barrel'
Takamaru, Japan

Kudos

My compliments on a very solid collection of stories on urban transportation (Summer 2008). I have been working in this area for years, and am currently leading efforts for car-sharing in Boulder and Denver, and designing a new transportation system for bikes.

Katie Alvord is a wonderful resource; she spoke to an audience we assembled in Boulder a few years ago. Thanks for your articles on bus riding and congestion pricing. I look forward to future stories on bikes-on-demand and other examples from around the world that can help us clean our urban streets of cars and turn them over to parks and people.

Graham Hill
President, 21 Wheels Boulder, CO

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