Oakland, CA

Monday in the East Bay: Dubs lose to Raptors, Bay Area transit agencies look for funding and more

Refugio Garcia

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(Refugio Garcia/NewsBreak)

Dubs fall to Raptors amid COVID complications in Toronto

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The Dubs fell to the Raptors 119-110 in Toronto Saturday against the backdrop of a half capacity crowd at Scotiabank Arena due to COVID-19 restrictions, East Bay Times reports.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the call ahead of Saturday’s game to send five players home, including Draymond Green and Steph Curry, to avoid the risk of getting stranded on the wrong side of the U.S. and Canadian border to attend a game in which they weren’t going to play. Jordan Poole also missed Saturday’s game due to the NBA’s safety protocol requiring him to test negative for COVID-19 twice, 24 hours apart, before he could be permitted to rejoin the team.

“The last few days have been really difficult, with Jordan Poole going into the protocol,” Kerr said ahead of Saturday’s game. “Everything was sort of up in the air, especially with the testing. We weren’t sure how many people were going to pass their tests.”

The half capacity restriction imposed by the province of Ontario served as a stark reminder of the current wave of COVID-19.

Kevon Looney was the only Warriors player to take his normal position on the court, scoring 10 points in the first half – the sixth time in his career he’s scored double digits in a half. Looney finished the game with 12 points.

Chris Chiozza and Damion Lee served as substitutes for Curry and Poole, with Juan Toscano-Anderson and Jonathan Kuminga filling in for Green and Wiggins.

Kuminga finished up the night with 26 points – the first Warriors rookie to score at least 25 points during his first NBA start since 2012 when Chris Wright did it.

Saturday’s loss concluded a five-city road trip with the Dubs securing a winning record on the road up until that point after dealing with a broken-down private jet and powering through to sets of back-to-back games.

“We are in the midst of a really rough schedule,” said Kerr. “It’ll be nice to get home. It’s been a long trip. It’s part of the NBA. Everybody goes through it. It just so happens this trip occurred during this surge and everybody’s antenna went back up.”

The Warriors face the Kings Monday at the Chase Center.

Lagging ridership causes Bay Area transit agencies to seek cash

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Several Bay Area transit agencies are evaluating their budgets as ridership continues to drop off during the pandemic, East Bay Times reports.

Transit operators have been burning through federal funding due to ticketing revenue shortfalls, causing them to look for other sources of funds with the likelihood that voters will be asked to pick up the slack.

“Everybody is asking how long the runway might be for the federal money provided and nobody knows the answer to that,” said Seamus Murphy, who serves as the executive director of Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which runs the San Francisco Bay Ferry. “Our fiscal cliff is imminent. It’s all dependent on how ridership returns.”

A $250 million budget shortfall has been projected by BART for 2024. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is expecting a similar deficit and AC Transit also expects to see a deficit of $50 million going forward.

Transit agencies took a major hit after the pandemic forced people to stay home, as ticketing revenue continues to slump as remote work has become more common.

BART and Caltrain were especially impacted after destinations such as San Francisco became ghost towns.

Prior to 2020, roughly two-thirds of BART’s day-to-day operating expenses were covered by ticket sales, making the transit agency particularly susceptible as ridership is still less than 30% of pre-pandemic levels.

“We were the gold standard across the country. We were able to operate without much assistance,” said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. “That was seen as best practice because you don’t have to rely on others. But with the pandemic that funding model does not work.”

Another possible solution being considered by transit agencies is an increase in ticket prices. As the dire situation continues, transit agencies such as BART and Caltrain will most likely seek federal and state funding along with some sort of regional tax to keep them afloat.

However, data collected by the Metropolitan Transit Commission shows that 62% of voters indicated that they would most likely vote against a tax increase to help fund transit agencies. A tax increase would require approval from two-thirds of voters.

“I think we’re at a pivotal moment for transit,” said vice president at Silicon Valley Leadership, Jason Baker. “The old model focused around peak commute hours is not how we’ll be using transit and, frankly, funding transit in the future.”

Silicon Valley Leadership is a tech industry organization that has pushed for transit funding through ballot measures in the past.

Holy Names University approves test-optional policy for undergrads

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Oakland Hill’s Holy Names University (HNU) has approved a permanent test-optional policy for undergrad admissions, East Bay Times reports.

Applicants who don't submit standardized test scores will be given the same consideration as students who do.

“Becoming permanently test-optional is an important reflection of HNU’s commitment to social justice,” according to Elizabeth Mihopoulos, HNU’s vice president of enrollment management. “We believe that the admissions process should be inclusive, and by adopting a test-optional policy our aim is to increase access to a Holy Names education.”

The decision on the policy follows HNU’s mission of empowering a diverse student body after concluding that a student’s standardized test scores doesn’t necessarily reflect their ability to succeed at the college.

The University announced the HNU tuition guarantee a month earlier, which covers 100% of tuition fees for all students who qualify for the Pell and Cal Grant, with the goal of making a college education accessible and affordable.

Click here to learn more.

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