10 brightest ideas of the week: Jan. 10, 2010 

State enters running for federal education funds, Arnie vows to go out swinging, small screen going 3-D, and NBA star is suspended for bringing guns to locker room.

1. School aid

State legislators approve education reform bills

The details: Two bills helping California compete for up to $700 million in federal education funds were signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday. The legislation also gives parents more choices for where their children attend school. President Barack Obama promised a total of $4.3 billion in one-time grants last summer to states that make sweeping changes to their education policies. California legislators squabbled over the details for months before finally passing the package this week.

2. Arnie’s last try

Governor urges fiscal reform in his final year in office

The details: In his final State of the State speech to state legislators, Schwarzenegger acknowledged that more pain lies ahead for California as it confronts yet another massive $20 billion budget deficit. He pledged to go all-out for deep reforms he said are vital to the state’s economic future. Pulling the nation’s most populous state out of a deep fiscal mess will require teamwork to enact tough choices on tax changes, pension reform and strengthening the economy.

3. Poor little rich kids

Couple who won lottery jackpot gets less because of ­earlier scam

The details: William and Mary Morrison of Long Island are going to receive only $161 million of their $162 million jackpot. Why the tax? The couple is being required by court order to pay back the public for a scam they ran in 2000 while operating homeless shelters. The two gave themselves improper bonuses, an audit revealed. The Morrisons tried to hide their identities for two weeks after winning the jackpot, but were found out, resulting in a reduced payday. “This has made the Morrisons cranky,” a social services administrator said. The nerve!

4. Drive time

Car-sharing companies may receive tax break

The details: If you use Zipcar, you probably don’t know that the car-sharing company has to pay parking taxes for reserved spots throughout The City. But Supervisor Bevan Dufty is proposing to give car-sharing firms a tax break for the spots the cars routinely use. Currently, San Francisco taxes occupancy of all off-street parking spaces. Dufty’s move would exempt car-sharing firms.

5. 3-D TV

New wave of television ­channels on the way

The details: Were you afraid to wear those goofy-looking 3-D glasses at the movie theater because your date would think less of you? Well, now you may have the opportunity to do it in the privacy of your home. ESPN and Discovery Communications are planning on launching 3-D channels this summer. ESPN plans on showing about 80 live events in 3-D, starting with the World Cup soccer tournament in June. Several companies have recently announced that they are producing 3-D televisions.
6. Star dimmed

NBA suspends Arenas for locker room gun incident

The details: So how would your boss react if you brought three guns to work and, following an argument, you offered one as compensation to a teammate? That is the alleged incident that got Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas in trouble with federal and local law enforcement officials, not to mention the NBA. While the stories have varied about what exactly happened, Arenas has made light of the situation, including pointing his fingers in a gun-like gesture during a team huddle. The NBA suspended Arenas indefinitely, with the threat of a long-term banishment.

7. Needed jobs

Census Bureau to hire 1.2 million workers this year

The details: Even a part-time and temporary job should be a welcome relief to some 1.2 million Americans expected to be hired early this year to conduct the 2010 Census. With unemployment at 10 percent, the governmental agency is seeing an avalanche of applicants.

8. ‘Action!’

Film activity is buzzing on the streets of The City

The details: Production crews buzzed around San Francisco last week as action scenes were filmed for the NBC television series “Trauma.” But that wasn’t the only small-screen work going on in The City. The television pilot “Facing Kate” filmed scenes in Civic Center park, on the Goodlett Street steps, in the City Hall Rotunda and on the fourth and second floor galleries of City Hall. The production also used the North Light Court.

9. Helping small business

Supe introduces legislation to drop 71 small-business fees

The details: Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, a former S.F. Small Business commissioner, introduced legislation Tuesday to eliminate 71 small-business fees. Most of these obsolete fees are rarely actually paid and only generated about $20,000 for The City last fiscal year. Business advocates called the eliminations a good first step and are hoping more ­business-­permit simplifications will be coming soon.

10. Wasteful wear

H&M to stop destroying unsold merchandise

The details: After the New York Times ran an item saying that a New York H&M store was throwing away bags of unworn clothing that had been slashed to make it unusable, the clothing chain said, “It will not happen again.” H&M officials said they were not sure why the store was destroying and discarding clothing — when the chain’s policy is to donate unworn clothing — and they would make sure no other H&M stores were following the practice either.

Bright light of the week

Who: Frank Bayliss
What: The San Francisco State University professor was honored at the White House for minority-student mentoring.
Why: In his early years at San Francisco State, the creator of the school’s genetic engineering research laboratory noticed that few minorities were earning degrees from the school’s science department. In 1992 Bayliss created a Student Enrichment Opportunities Program, which helps minority students get into doctorate programs at top research universities. He received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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