10 brightest ideas of the week: Oct. 18, 2009

1. No time to waste

Future Bay Bridge will be earthquake safe, say state officials

The details: Twenty years ago, a 250-ton section of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake. Fast forward to the present and Caltrans officials are promising that the replacement span will be able to withstand a temblor — when it opens in 2013. Seismic construction has already been completed on the western span of the Bay Bridge and Caltrans has acknowledged that the clock until the next earthquake “is always ticking.” It would be a good idea to get that new earthquake-proof east span up as soon as possible.

2. Acknowledgement

Anka co-writer of Jackson single

The details: Give credit where credit is due. Michael Jackson’s newly released single “This Is It” was originally advertised as a song written and recorded by Jackson before he died. But details came out after the release reveal that the song was recorded 26 years ago and was co-written by Paul Anka. It was originally sung by Safire in 1991 under the title “I Never Heard.” Anka will receive half of all royalties for the song.

3. Swift move

Taylor Swift gets six AMA nods; Kanye West gets none

The details: It’s the ultimate payback for Taylor Swift. The young country artist was nominated for six American Music Awards, while the man who interrupted her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West, was shut out. Swift is up for artist of the year, female country artist and adult contemporary artist. She will also go up against Beyoncé again for pop/rock artist. Hopefully, Kanye will not be attending.

4. Obama’s success

30,000 jobs created, saved with stimulus program

The details: A new report shows that President Barack Obama’s stimulus program has created or saved over 30,000 jobs in the first month, including saving tens of thousands of teachers from losing their positions. The South and the Southwest saw the largest improvement, with military construction getting the largest boost among job sectors.

5. Equality undersea

Navy moves to put women on submarines

The details: Pentagon officials say they are considering ending the ban on women serving on submarines, meaning that female sailors could be serving under the seas as soon as 2011. Submarines offer extremely tight quarters and little privacy, causing some sailors and their wives to object that mixed-gender crews are an invitation to sexual harassment cases and ruined marriages. However, the Navy, which officially prohibits fraternization among unmarried service members, has deemed moves to integrate its surface combat ships a success.

6. Women rock

Record 5 women win Nobel Prizes

The details: A record five women joined the ranks of Nobel laureates this year, including UCSF’s Elizabeth Blackburn and Indiana University’s Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Economics Prize. Other winners included Germany’s Herta Mueller, for literature; Ada Yonath of Israel, for chemistry; and Carol Greider, who shared the medicine prize with Blackburn and U.S. researcher Jack Szostak.

7. Shelters saved

State lawmakers restore domestic violence money

The details: The state Senate has moved to restore some funding for domestic violence shelters in California, sending a bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday that would provide $16.3 million of the $20.4 million cut from the budget in July. Schwarzenegger cut the funding using his line-item veto authority as part of $500 million in cuts, forcing six of the state’s 94 shelters to close and others to reduce or eliminate services. The governor is expected to sign the bill, which will allow three shelters to reopen.

8. Park plans

Governor approves bill to allow sale of some Candlestick Park land for development

The details: Legislation authored by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will allow the sale of 23 acres of state-owned park land at Candlestick Point that is mostly used for parking lots so Lennar Corp. can move ahead with a long-awaited housing and commercial development in the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Candlestick Point. The project includes 10,500 homes, more than 32 percent of which will be offered at below market rate prices. The project is estimated to create some 30,000 jobs during the course of the
15-year development.

9. Placard crackdown

$1,000 fines for fraudulently using disability placards

The details: New legislation by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma to increase the maximum fine for fraudulent use of a disability placard from $100 to $1,000 has been signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. San Francisco has more than 52,000 special parking permits — about one per 15 residents. And last year law enforcement confiscated over 1,000 illegal disability placards. Ma’s AB 144 also empowers parking control officers to cite violators. Currently, only police officers can cite violators in many instances.

10. S-curve fixes

Crash-prone Bay Bridge detour remedies soon

The details: In the wake of recent crashes at the Bay Bridge’s temporary S-curve — including the Safeway truck spill Wednesday that tied up four out of five westbound lanes for 5½ hours — Caltrans will install numerous additional safety precautions. There will be more signs displaying the 40 mph speed limit, radar signs displaying vehicle speed, an epoxy grit surface over steel plates at both ends of the S-curve for better traction, and possibly “rumble bumps” that make noise when drivers cross them.

Bright light of the week

Jaycee Dugard

What: After 18 years of being held captive, Dugard was all smiles on the cover of People magazine this week. In the first photos since she escaped, Dugard appeared in good spirits. Dugard said she agreed to release the photos because she knew people were curious about how she was doing. The pictures include a photo of Dugard on a horse as part of her therapy and one with her two daughters.

A fraudster is standing by to book you a flight at 50% off

A San Francisco company is fighting new kinds of online fraud “as a service” that buys flights and food

San Francisco’s next D.A.? Recall reform could limit Breed’s options if Boudin is ousted

Mayor London Breed has been on a bit of an appointment spree, filling posts vacated by elected officials with handpicked replacements