Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Big Blue Bus UCLA-Subsidized Ridership Up

The Big Blue Bus took a hit last year, losing 12 percent of its overall ridership, according to a year-end performance report on fiscal year 2016-2017. While ridership has declined across agencies in Los Angeles County, local analysts say the biggest competition in Santa Monica came from the Expo Line. BBB routes that run parallel to light rail lost 1.5 million passengers year over year, accounting for 46 percent of ridership loss system wide...The report also blames changes in demographics, income, car affordability, low gas prices and Uber and Lyft, for declining ridership...

(But) ridership numbers were good for bus lines that provided subsidies for students and gave them access to areas with expensive or restrictive parking, like UCLA. In fact, UCLA students rode 14 percent more trips in Fiscal Year 2016-2017 than they did the year before...

Full story at

AEA professional conduct review

After disclosures of inappropriate sexist comments on an unofficial website used by economists, the American Economic Association (AEA) set in motion a review. The AEA is the primary professional association of economists. A report on what occurred and a response is at:

An announcement of a proposed code of conduct is below:

January 16, 2018

To: Members of the American Economic Association
From: Peter L. Rousseau, Secretary-Treasurer
Subject: AEA Draft Code of Professional Conduct – comments requested

In October 2017 Alvin E. Roth formed an Ad Hoc Committee to Consider a Code of Professional Conduct for Economists, and charged it with evaluating various aspects of professional conduct, including those which stifle diversity in Economics. The ad hoc committee, composed of John Campbell (chair), Marianne Bertrand, Pascaline Dupas, Benjamin Edelman, and Matthew D. Shapiro discussed an interim report* and draft code with the AEA Executive Committee at its meeting on January 4, 2018, and provided an update to the AEA membership at the Annual Business Meeting on January 5 in Philadelphia. The interim report and draft code are now ready and available for viewing and comment by the AEA membership at large, and the Executive Committee encourages your participation and assistance in bringing these items ahead to final versions.


Draft AEA Code of Professional Conduct

January 5, 2018:

The American Economic Association holds that principles of professional conduct should guide economists in academia, government, and the private sector.

The AEA's founding purpose of "the encouragement of economic research" requires intellectual and professional integrity. These demand honesty and transparency in conducting and presenting research, disinterested assessment of ideas, and disclosure of conflicts of interest.

The AEA encourages the "perfect freedom of economic discussion."  This goal requires considering each idea on its own merits and an environment where all can freely participate. Economists have a professional obligation to conduct civil and respectful dialogue in all venues including seminars, conferences, and social media. This obligation applies even when participating anonymously.

The AEA seeks to create a professional environment with equal opportunity and equal treatment for all economists, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, marital status, parental status, genetic information, professional status, or personal connections.

Economists have both an individual responsibility for their conduct, and a collective responsibility to promote responsible conduct in the economics profession. These responsibilities include developing institutional arrangements and a professional environment that promote free expression concerning economics. These responsibilities also include supporting participation and advancement in the economics profession by individuals from diverse backgrounds.

The AEA strives to promote these principles through its activities.


Similar concerns coming to UCLA?

Chinese institute at UMass Boston is accused of promoting censorship

By Laura Krantz, Boston Globe, Jan. 16, 2018

A group of UMass Boston students, professors, and alumni as well as outside advocates are raising concerns about the Confucius Institute that operates on its campus, accusing it of promoting censorship abroad and undermining human rights.

The Chinese government oversees the center, one of more than 90 on campuses across the United States and abroad and one of two in the state.

“Confucius Institutes use their foothold in prominent academic institutions to influence and steer academic discourse,” the group said in a recent letter to interim chancellor Barry Mills, asking for a meeting to discuss their concerns.

The organizer of the objectors said she hopes to persuade the university to shut down the campus institute.


10 AM

UCLA is pushing its "TIE-INS" program:

If you go on the website listed below, you will find that the application process becomes available at 10 AM today. From an email circulated today:

Now in its tenth year, as an initiative developed at the Chancellor’s behest by the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS), the program enables children of UCLA employees to attend eight public schools:
  • Beethoven Street Elementary School
  • Broadway Elementary School
  • Brockton Elementary School
  • Nora Sterry Elementary School
  • Walgrove Avenue Elementary School
  • Emerson Middle School
  • Mark Twain Middle School
  • University High School
For your convenience, the 2018-2019 application is online at the TIE-INS website.* Please check the website for application deadline dates for each school.

Monday, January 15, 2018

UC's Los Alamos Bid

University of California official promises better management at LANL

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer / January 14th, 2018 / Albuquerque Journal

OHKAY OWINGEH – A top University of California official acknowledged Friday that there have been shortcomings at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the past but said the school remains “deeply committed” to the future of the lab as UC bids for LANL’s next management and operations contract.

Kim Budil, the university’s vice president for national labs, said UC, which has been involved in running LANL since 1943, had adapted and improved since an accident caused by LANL shut down the nation’s nuclear waste storage facility near Carlsbad in 2014.

Budil also admitted there had been “missed opportunities” for the university to establish more of an institutional presence in northern New Mexico over the decades, but she touted new programs to support tech start-ups and for entrepreneurial fellowships as ways to do more in the future.

Budil as well as representatives of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas – also bidders for the lab contract – spoke at a meeting of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities at the Ohkay Owingeh Casino Resort Hotel north of Española.

The Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration is scheduled to award the new LANL operating contract, worth more than $2 billion annually, later this year. It was rebid after Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS), a private consortium that includes UC and Bechtel, failed to receive adequate performance reviews in recent years.

Most of Budil’s remarks came in response to polite but pointed questions from Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, the coalition chairman. He said there has been “a lot of disappointment with the mistakes that were made at Los Alamos,” citing the radioactive contamination that closed the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in 2014 when a waste drum improperly packed with a combustible mix at LANL burst open.

He also said it appeared that the university had been “passive” on addressing issues such as poverty, air quality and drug addiction in northern New Mexico.

“Donating money to a foundation and feeling like that might be the end of the obligation is not necessarily what I consider (being) a good corporate citizen,” Gonzales said.

And the mayor said leaders of the local communities that make up the Regional Coalition have had to go to Washington, D.C., “alone” to lobby for more funding to clean up LANL’s hazardous waste from decades of nuclear weapons work, without help from lab researchers to make the case that “there are some real health issues” to address.

Concerning the WIPP accident, Budil said that when management at the lab shifted to the current consortium in 2006 – in the first open-bid process for the LANL contract after UC had run the lab alone since World War II – the idea was to bring the strengths of the university together with best practices from the private sector. “Some aspects worked exceptionally well” but others didn’t, she said, with the WIPP contamination “highlighting” shortcomings in how the partnership was built.

“People with deep expertise of the chemistry of nuclear waste weren’t necessarily deeply embedded” in the operational side of the lab. “It’s not operations and science,” Budil said. “Those things have to come together in a very seamless way.”

Budil said the lab had responded vigorously since 2014 and made lab operations much better, citing successes like the successful remediation of dozens of additional drums containing wastes similar to those that leaked at WIPP. “I stand by that record,” she said, adding, “We transformed the way we operate in very fundamental ways.”

On community issues, she said UC has been a strong contributor to the LANL Foundation and will continue that beyond the current LANS contract and is trying to find ways to do more, but she acknowledged the California school should have stronger relationships with local universities and more local presence in economic development efforts and other issues. Budil added that’s why she wants to push new public-private partnerships and tech transfer efforts, and using resources from “the greatest public research university in the world” on the regional problems cited by Gonzales, Budil added.

UC is reportedly teaming with Texas A&M in a joint bid for the lab contract, although neither school has publicly confirmed the partnership. A&M’s Scott Sudduth touted his school’s history in nuclear engineering and community service.

Susan Rogers, a consultant for University of Texas system, said that school’s primary goal in bidding for the lab contract was to fill the “critical need for effective national security” and that UT has “unmatched qualifications and scientific accomplishments.” The school also knows it “must play a significant role in the community that is its home,” Rogers said...

Full story at

As we always do when this matter comes up, we recommend the 1980 BBC series - free on YouTube - dealing with Oppenheimer, Los Alamos, and politics at Berkeley in the World War II era:

Part 1: [link below]
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:

King Speech at UCLA

Several years ago, the Dept. of Communications Studies put up on YouTube some audio tapes of speeches at UCLA by notable individuals. The tapes were apparently forgotten in a file cabinet somewhere but then discovered. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech in 1965 which is among those that are available. You can hear it at or below:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Did you know?

Did you know there is a plaque near Powell Library with the early history of UCLA?