January 15, 2021

team



a close up of a sign: BlackBerry And Amazon Team Up On Vehicle Data And Software Platform


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BlackBerry And Amazon Team Up On Vehicle Data And Software Platform

Canadian technology specialist BlackBerry and e-commerce titan Amazon have developed a cloud-based software platform designed to help automakers and suppliers standardize vehicle data and speed deployment of new revenue-generating features and services, the companies said on Tuesday. BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services (AWS) said the new intelligent vehicle data platform, called IVY, will compress the time to build, deploy and monetize in-vehicle applications and connected services across multiple brands and models, making it easier for automakers to collaborate with a wider pool of developers to accelerate development of apps and services. Carmakers have been reluctant so far to share with outside technology providers much of the data generated by their vehicles. IVY is designed to complement and run simultaneously with new digital vehicle architectures developed by Volkswagen, General Motors and others. The platform is built on BlackBerry’s QNX, a vehicle operating system in 175 million vehicles worldwide, according to John Wall, head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. “The biggest challenge that most carmakers have in getting applications in the vehicle or monetizing their data is that there is no standardized way to access the data,” Wall told Reuters. One goal of BlackBerry and AWS is to establish IVY as a standard platform across the auto industry, as Apple and Google have done in mobile phones through their iOS and Android platforms. Without that standardization, Wall said, automakers “can’t really establish an ecosystem” or leverage the broader community of app developers. IVY is expected to be installed on the first production vehicles in model year 2023, said AWS executive Sarah Cooper. BlackBerry and Amazon declined to say which companies will be the first to use IVY.

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Rudy Giuliani wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


© AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Lawyers working on the Trump campaign have said Rudy Giuliani seemed “deranged’ and ill-prepared to lead the legal effort to overturn the election result, reported The Washington Post Sunday. 

In a deep-dive into the Trump campaign’s unprecedented attempt to overturn the election result, the Post reports that a rift developed in the campaign’s legal team earlier in November. 

A turning point was reportedly a November 13 defeat in the 3rd District US Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania, where a judge threw out the Trump’s campaign’s bid to invalidate thousands of mail-in ballots received after Election Day. 

After the result some of the campaign’s key attorneys began to drift away from the effort to overturn the result, believing it signaled the end of the campaign’s bid to credibly challenge vote counts. But Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, battled on. 

Giuliani’s efforts to overturn the election result have at times been farcical, with the former New York City mayor holding a press conference at a suburban garden center in an apparent mix-up in booking venues. At a media briefing on November 19, black liquid could be seen trickling down Giuliani’s face, and fellow campaign attorney Sidney Powell alleged a vast conspiracy to overturn the election involving Venezuelan communists and Democrats. 

Neither she nor Giuliani have provided compelling evidence to substantiate the claim, and the campaign has parted ways with Powell. 

According to the Post, some of the campaign and GOP attorneys involved in the election challenge began to distance themselves from Giuliani earlier in November and sought to avoid meetings with Giuliani and his team. When Giuliani and Powell were asked by other campaign officials for evidence to substantiate their fraud claims, they were unable to produce it. 

Some attorneys described Giuliani as seeming “deranged” in comments to the Post. 

Giuliani clashed with other Trump campaign attorneys, according to the report, and continued to tell the president he had a serious chance of winning his lawsuits, while other officials offered more realistic assessments. Trump after November 13 handed Giuliani and his team control of the legal effort. 

One senior administration official was scathing about Giuliani’s strategy. “Just roll everybody up who is willing to do it into a clown car, and when it’s time for a press conference, roll them out,” is how the official characterized it to the Post. 

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Giuliani’s conspiracy theories have reportedly proved too much even for Trump, according to reports, and though he continues to claim the election was stolen from him he has approved vital funds be released for Biden’s transition. 

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Shift (NASDAQ: SFT), a leading end-to-end auto ecommerce platform transforming the used car industry with a technology-driven, hassle-free customer experience, today announced the appointment of Blima Tuller as the company’s Controller and Senior Vice President (SVP) of Accounting, as well as Tim Brauer as Vice President (VP) of Fixed Operations, responsible for reconditioning operations.

Shift logo

In this newly created role, Tuller is leading Shift’s accounting function and will be working to strengthen its public company capabilities. She has over two decades of experience leading finance and accounting operations at public companies, including most recently serving as Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) at Magnite, a NASDAQ-listed adtech company, and prior to that as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of LBI Media. She joins CFO Cindy Hanford in building out Shift’s financial expertise on the management team.

Brauer, when he begins his new role as VP of Fixed Operations, will oversee the operations of all regional automotive centers (known to the company as “Hubs”) including the reconditioning and processing of vehicles. He brings 15 years of automotive operational leadership, including a long tenure at CarMax, where he most recently served as Regional SVP of Service Operations. He joins recently appointed Chief Revenue Officer Mark McCollum in bolstering the company’s automotive expertise. He begins on November 16.

“In the last year-plus, Shift has rounded out an incredibly well poised management team,” said Toby Russell, Shift’s co-founder and co-chief executive. “We are doubling down on this commitment to world class leadership by adding these executives to our Finance and Operations teams, both of whom come to us with extensive and valuable experience in their respective fields.”

About Shift

Shift is a leading end-to-end auto ecommerce platform transforming the used car industry with a technology-driven, hassle-free customer experience. Shift’s mission is to make car purchase and ownership simple — to make buying or selling a used car fun, fair, and accessible to everyone. Shift provides comprehensive, digital solutions throughout the car ownership lifecycle: finding the right car, having a test drive brought to you before buying the car, a seamless digitally-driven purchase transaction including financing and vehicle protection products, an efficient, digital trade-in/sale transaction, and a vision to provide high-value support services during car ownership. For more information please visit www.shift.com.

 

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City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was selected among 18 others to join the Biden-Harris Transition team and weigh in on transit issues nationwide.

Members of agency review teams were released Tuesday by the Biden-Harris Transition and include Vinn White, a transportation advisor to the state of New Jersey, and Brendan Danaher, who leads up government affairs for the Transport Workers Union of America.

Phillip Washington will have the reins of this department’s transition team with the clout of being CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“Our nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice, and the existential threat of climate change. We must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration to protect our interests at home and abroad. The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day One,” said Senator Ted Kaufman, Co-Chair of the Biden-Harris Transition. “The work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world.”

One question on the minds of reporters in yesterday’s press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio was whether or not he would be placing pressure on the transition team to approve congestion pricing for motorists entering Manhattan’s central business district in order to provide a steady revenue stream for the MTA and avoid future financial crises.

Congestion pricing has sat in limbo since 2017 when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced it would officially be an option to pull the MTA out the mess it was in at the time. While it was approved by the state Senate in 2019, the state has been waiting on an inexplicably uncooperative federal government for permission to proceed with the plan.

The MTA continues to ask the federal government for $12 billion to carry the COVID-19 distressed agency through the end of 2021. After having ridership numbers reduced by 90% early on in the pandemic, the MTA has logged a slow return since New York City began its reopening in June.

Currently, ridership for all agencies under the MTA umbrella comes in at about 63.7% of the same time last years as of Nov. 11. That means 1,743,742 took mass transit on Monday.

De Blasio, however, said there were bigger fish to fry and that his focus will be on how the Biden administration handles COVID-19 through a clear strategy for deploying a vaccine and another stimulus, which has not been seen since March when the CARES Act was passed.

Trottenberg has led DOT under Mayor de Blasio since the beginning of his administration in 2014 and has overseen the deployment of the key transportation policy initiative in City Hall, Vision Zero.

Having served on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Trottenberg was also Under Secretary

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By Valerie Volcovici and David Shepardson



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: U.S. President-elect Biden departs after spending the day at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware


© Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST
U.S. President-elect Biden departs after spending the day at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden’s transition teams for the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department will be run by several agency alumni who served under President Barack Obama and helped craft regulations like the Clean Power Plan and tougher fuel economy standards for vehicles.

The head of the EPA team is Patrice Simms, an environmental attorney at Earthjustice – which has filed over 100 lawsuits against President Donald Trump’s administration. He worked as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s environment division.

Other Obama EPA lawyers have also been named, including Joe Goffman, general counsel at the agency under Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy, and Cynthia Giles, who was assistant administrator in the EPA’s enforcement office.

The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era fuel economy standards and stripped California of the ability to set zero emission vehicle rules. Both actions remain under appeal.

Biden vows to “establish ambitious fuel economy standards” and to negotiate them with workers, environmentalists, automakers and states.

Video: America is a ‘nation divided’ (Sky News Australia)

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Biden’s Transportation Department team is headed by Phillip Washington, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

It also includes New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, a former Transportation official under Obama, and Therese McMillan, former acting head of the Federal Transit Administration under Obama.

For the Interior Department, Biden named former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn to head up the transition, signaling an emphasis on indigenous representation at the agency that oversees federal and tribal lands.

Other Obama era Interior officials on the team include Elizabeth Klein, former deputy assistant secretary, policy, management & budget, who has been working with an organization representing state attorneys general challenging the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks, and Kate Kelly, a senior adviser to former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The team also includes Maggie Thomas, previously a climate policy adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren and Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

The Energy Department transition team is headed by Arun Majumdar, former head of the agency’s advanced research division called ARPA-E. Dan Arvizu, former head of the National Renewable Energy Lab, and Jonathan Elkind, former international energy and climate policy official under Obama are also on the team.

In the State Department transition team, Biden named one of the key legal architects of the Paris Agreement, Sue Biniaz, as a member, signaling the agency will prioritize international climate diplomacy under Biden.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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President-elect Joe Biden has tapped a familiar California figure to run his transportation transition team.

Phil Washington, the chief executive of Los Angeles County’s transit agency, will oversee a panel of experts tasked with advising Biden on the direction of federal transportation policy and agencies, including Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Washington has led the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority through the planning and early construction of one of the country’s most ambitious rail building booms, with five projects currently under construction and nearly a dozen other rail and bus projects slated to break ground in coming decades.

Much of the construction is being funded by revenue from Measure M, approved by more than 71% of voters in 2016. The sales tax increase, one of the largest local transportation funding efforts in American history, will raise an estimated $120 billion for transit and highway projects over its first four decades.

The measure is seen as a model for other cities looking to kick-start a transit system expansion, in part because federal grants for major transit projects typically arrive only after a local government has secured some of the money already.

Riders were already leaving L.A.’s sprawling bus network when Washington arrived in 2015, and the decline has continued during his tenure. The number of trips on buses fell more than 25% from the recent peak in 2009 to last year, before another sharp drop-off in ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metro is also embarking on two studies for ambitious and politically tricky concepts: whether to eliminate fares on the transit system and whether to charge fees to drivers to reduce traffic congestion, a scheme known as “congestion pricing.”

Washington, a U.S. Army veteran, grew up in Chicago and previously worked as the general manager of Denver’s transportation agency. He declined an interview request, saying he could not “speak to the press on behalf of the transition.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the search that brought Washington to Metro, has been discussed as a potential Cabinet appointee, perhaps as Transportation secretary, in the Biden administration.

Last month, Garcetti told The Times that “it’s more likely than not” that he will still be in L.A. in 2022, when his term as mayor expires.

Other members of Biden’s transportation transition team include Polly Trottenberg, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, and Therese McMillan, previously Metro’s chief planning officer, who runs the Bay Area’s nine-county transportation planning agency.

In a post published Tuesday morning, Metro spokesman Steve Hymon wrote that the names of several Metro board members and officials had been “tossed around” for Cabinet posts or the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

“My crystal ball is currently in the shop and I’m not going to add to speculation,” he wrote. “But I will say this: a lot of the work we’re doing at Metro continues to be closely watched around the country. It’s definitely great to see California

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