10 brightest ideas of the week: Oct. 25, 2009

Lowe’s brings jobs to The City, Palin and Oprah slated to meet, octuplets doc booted from medical group, OnStar goes above and beyond, and SF is still No. 1.

1. Eight is enough

Octuplets mom’s doctor expelled from organization

The details: The Beverly Hills doctor who gave fertility treatments to octuplets mom Nadya Suleman has been expelled from a professional organization. Dr. Michael Kamrava was kicked out of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a spokesman said Monday. Kamrava has repeatedly violated the group’s standards, according to the spokesman, who declined to provide details, but said he was not booted because of his work with any single patient. Suleman has said Kamrava implanted her with six embryos, far more than national guidelines specify. The nonprofit group has no legal authority, unfortunately, so Kamrava will still be able to practice medicine.

2. Corporate raider

Investor offers to underwrite $6 billion loan to CIT

The details: Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he would underwrite a $6 billion loan to CIT Group Inc. on Monday, complaining that a proposed restructuring floated by the cash-strapped, century-old commercial lender is too expensive and hurts CIT’s smaller bondholders. Icahn called himself CIT’s largest creditor and said the company is “shamelessly” offering to sell favored, large bondholders $6 billion of secured loans “well below fair market value. He claimed his offer would carry half the up-front expense of the funding CIT has arranged for itself.

3. Prime-time TV

Oprah Winfrey books Sarah Palin on her talk show

The details: Oprah will meet Sarah Palin for the first time on her talk show stage Nov. 16, the day before Palin’s advance best-selling book, “Going Rogue,” is released. Winfrey once said she would not become involved in presidential politics, but then lent her celebrity to President Barack Obama. She cried at his inauguration and accompanied the Obamas to Copenhagen in an unsuccessful bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago in 2016.

4. Green boost

South American nations promise to halt deforestation

The details: Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay this week announced a commitment to achieving “net zero deforestation” by 2020, meaning their total amount of forest land will remain stable by that date. The three countries plan to establish protected zones in the Atlantic Forest, one of the most endangered tracts of rainforest in the world.

5. Remote policing

OnStar remotely shuts down carjacked vehicle

The details: Two police officers recently received some extra help in nabbing a thief during a high-speed chase. As officers pursued a carjacked sport utility vehicle in Visalia, General Motors suddenly sent a command through its OnStar program that electronically disabled the car’s gas pedal, prompting it to come to a standstill. The crook got out and ran. But after falling into a backyard swimming pool, it wasn’t long before he was in custody.

6. Surf’s up

Mavericks plans to start early to increase chance for big waves

The details: The famous Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay is slated to kick off two months earlier than last year in hopes of increasing the chances of swells sufficient enough to hold the event. Last year, the window for the contest began Jan. 1 and closed March 31, with the popular contest ultimately being canceled due to inadequate surf.

7. Step in right direction

Kuwait grants country’s women right to obtain passports

The details: Score one for women’s liberation. Kuwait will now allow women to obtain passports, after its highest court ruled that the country’s women no longer need approval from their husbands. Kuwait has always been more progressive than its conservative neighbors when it comes to women’s rights, allowing them to vote, serve in parliament and drive. The court said the existing law was unconstitutional because it goes against the principal of equality between men and women.

8. CompStat stat!

Top cop working to bring more data, accountability to Police Department

The details: When Mayor Gavin Newsom was a city supervisor, he pushed for the Police Department to implement an accountability program for officers called CompStat that, in various forms, has been used by cities across the country. The name is short for computer statistics, which departments would utilize to help map out their crime-fighting strategies. Fast forward six years. San Francisco’s new police chief — George Gascón, who worked with CompStat in Los Angeles, where he was an assistant police chief, and Mesa, Ariz., where he was chief — is finally getting the system in place.

9. Who needs France?

Amgen Tour of California will traverse San Francisco

The details: Although it only began in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California quickly became one of the most popular and successful bike races in the United States, with an estimated 2 million spectators this year. The 2010 event will be held from May 16-23, traveling though 16 host cities — including San Francisco — in eight days and will bring back cycling champs Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong. 

10. We’re No. 1!

Conde Nast Traveler readers like us, they really like us

The details: Readers of Conde Nast Traveler voted San Francisco the No. 1 city to visit in the U.S. More than 25,000 readers participated in the survey. Results will appear in the November issue. This year marks the 17th consecutive time San Francisco has won the category, a first for any destination or property. San Francisco was followed by Charleston, S.C., and Santa Fe, N.M.


Bright light of the week: Lowe’s

What: After years of fighting focused on whether or not a home improvement chain store was appropriate for a Bayshore Boulevard site, Lowe’s survived the often-bureaucratic battle and began construction this week on a new location for the economically struggling Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Early last year, Home Depot backed out of plans for a store at the site.

Why: The City estimates that the 107,000-square-foot store will create between 150 and 200 permanent jobs, 70 percent of them full time. Additionally, Lowe’s has promised that half its retail employees will be hired from Bayview-Hunters Point and another 25 percent from nearby neighborhoods.

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