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Morning Splash: SF Parking Rate Experiment; CFL Lightbulbs Not Getting Recycled; Will State Lawmakers Keep Car Perks?

| April 4, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco drivers will be the focus of a nationally watched experiment to combat congestion and air pollution by regularly adjusting parking prices at curbside meters and public garages. If the city-run program, tentatively set to launch April 21, works as advertised, it will change not only the way motorists pay for parking, but also how they think about it…Rates at curbside meters in the project area will be adjusted block by block in an attempt to have at least one parking space available at any time on a given block.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Federal transportation officials demanded Monday that pipeline companies speed up efforts to repair and replace aging oil and gas lines, saying recent deadly explosions in San Bruno and Pennsylvania highlight the urgent need for safety improvements.

California is the only state that provides lawmakers with a car, gas and maintenance paid largely by taxpayers. The perk has withstood the recessionary economy and several rounds of budget-cutting, including $11.2 billion in measures the Legislature approved and Gov. Jerry Brown signed in March.

LOS ANGELES — A Santa Cruz man assaulted at Dodger Stadium Thursday remained in a medically induced coma Sunday at a Los Angeles area hospital, a co-worker said.

Bryan Stow, 42, was wearing Giants attire when he and two friends were heckled by several Dodgers fans while walking from the stadium to the parking lot after season opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles police said.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, government officials across the Bay Area scrambled to develop new emergency communications systems that would enable a coordinated response in the event of a major crisis. Federal dollars were available, and it seemed like an opportune moment to upgrade key infrastructure.

A decade later, though, both of the big projects that eventually emerged — the East Bay Regional Communications System and the Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband network — are in disarray, despite the commitment of more than $100 million in federal funds.

One year after its enactment, most Californians continue to support the nation’s health care overhaul law, even if they have yet to see any personal benefits, according to a Field Poll being released today.

Southwest Airlines on Monday announced it expects to cancel about 70 flights out of its 3,400-plus scheduled departures Monday, stemming from a fuselage problem Friday afternoon that affected a Sacramento-bound flight where a panel of the roof ripped off. Monday, Southwest flight boards in the Bay Area showed three flights to-and-from Mineta San Jose International Airport were canceled, three flights leaving Oakland International Airport to Houston, Burbank and Alburqueque were canceled, and one flight out of San Francisco International Airport was also canceled.

The Hearst Corporation is considering a paywall for sfgate.com, the online portal of the San Francisco Chronicle, as part of a broad, new digital strategy for the paper, according to Chronicle staffers who have been briefed on the company’s plans… While many specifics of the plan — including the monthly subscription fee and exact mix of paywall and embargoed stories — could not be confirmed, newsroom employees said that access to sfgate.com stories for nonsubscribers would be sharply curtailed.

The nation’s accelerating shift from incandescent bulbs to a new generation of energy-efficient lighting is raising an environmental concern — the release of tons of mercury every year. The most popular new light — the curly cue, compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs — account for a quarter of new bulb sales and each contains up to 5 milligrams of mercury, a potent neurotoxin that’s on the worst-offending list of environmental contaminants…yet only about 2 percent of residential consumers and one-third of businesses recycle them, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.

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