10 worst ideas of the week: March 7, 2010 

1. So much for saving H20

SoCal city sues couple for removing their lawn

The details: In the city of Orange in Southern California, Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard and replaced it with wood chips, saying the grass had been soaking up thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars during a drought. The city is suing them for violating city laws that require residents to cover 40 percent of their yards with live plants and front yards with live ground cover.

2. Here’s health care

Insurer launches  coverage for medical marijuana

The details: Statewide Insurance Services of Rancho Cordova is offering medical marijuana insurance coverage nationwide. Mike Aberle of Statewide said the program covers medical marijuana dispensaries, workers’ compensation, general liability, marijuana growing and other standard commercial coverage. Premiums range from about $650 annually up to $25,000 a year.

3. Crooked cabbie

Taxi driver overcharged riders some $40,000

The details: Wasim Khalid Cheema, 22, allegedly overcharged at least 574 New York City passengers in just one month — and he’s been doing it since 2007. Cheema would routinely punch in the costlier out-of-city meter rate for trips within city limits. Cheema racked up 11 traffic convictions, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission revoked his license, and the district attorney is also considering filing criminal fraud charges.

4. Keeping the schedule

Muni operator refuses to stop after hitting bike

The details: A Muni bus ran over an injured cyclist’s bike and refused to stop after the incident on Market Street. The cyclist fell off his bike near the intersection of Fifth and Market streets, said Judson True, a Muni representative. While the bike lay damaged on Market Street, the front tire was crushed by the rear wheel of a 5-Fulton Muni bus traveling outbound. Despite reported protests from the vehicle’s passengers, the operator continued to travel on the bus route. The cyclist was taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, True said.

5. Air traffic incident

Child directs planes in control tower at JFK airport

The details: Like many fathers, an unnamed air traffic controller in the John F. Kennedy International Airport tower brought his son to work on a day he had off. For a span of about 10 minutes, the child gave critical commands to a number of different flights, telling them they were cleared to land or cleared for takeoff, and even to switch to the departure frequency. Pilots departing and arriving at one of the country’s busiest airports seemed unfazed by the recording of the tower to aircraft communication. Some even played along and told the child, “Good Job” and “I wish I could bring my kid to work.” The FAA is investigating, and both the controller and his supervisor have been suspended.

6. Senatorial finger

Senator waves middle digit at television reporters

The details: Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., stonewalled CNN and ABC News questions about his one-man filibuster to block a $10 billion emergency bill extending unemployment benefits to millions of jobless Americans for 30 days. A TV producer at the scene said Bunning walked from his Capitol office directly to a senators-only elevator while waving the middle finger over his head at the news crews.

7. Kid molester walked

Courts ignored psychiatrist’s recommendation for now-accused killer

The details: As a court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Matthew Carroll wrote that John Albert Gardner III was a continued danger to underage girls in the community and deserved the maximum sentence possible. Gardner pleaded guilty in 2000 to molesting a ­
13-year-old girl in his neighborhood and served five years of a six-year prison term, instead of the nearly 11 years he could have gotten. He was charged this week with murdering 17-year-old Chelsea King of San Diego.

8. Supermom, or not

Kate Gosselin leaves kids alone to dance with ‘Stars’

The details: The mom of eight says performing on the reality show sends a message to her kids, but it’s not the one it might look like. To appear on the show, Kate has to leave her kids for days at a time. “Dancing with the Stars” has set up a virtual nursery for the children and a studio in Kate’s basement for her to practice. Oh, that message that all this sends to the kids? It’s “the importance of facing your fears.”

9. Evidence-eater

Scamming suspect swallows flash drive

The details: While Secret Service agents were investigating him in an ATM scamming case in New York, suspect Florin Necula grabbed a flash drive that may have contained incriminating evidence and swallowed it down. Necula failed to pass the storage device within four days and allowed doctors to excise it. He was charged with obstruction of justice and paid the price in obstruction of guts.

10. Behaving badly

John Mayer promises to be good, comes off ‘slimy’

The details: The musician with no self-restraint is at it again. Right after he apologized to an audience for his “Playboy” rant, Mayer was out at the La Esquina nightclub, skeeving women out. “It’s ‘clean’ me from now on,” Mayer promised — but witnesses at the club described his behavior as vulgar, and said one pretty prospect “found him slimy because he was being so over-the-top.” If that’s the “clean” John Mayer, we’d hate to see the dirty version ... again.


Dim bulb of the week

Gov. David Paterson

What: More dirt has been dug up in scandal-rocked New York Gov. Paterson’s alleged role in covering up a domestic violence case against his closest aide. Paterson reportedly instructed two female state workers to contact the woman and ask her to downplay her claims that longtime Paterson associate David Johnson choked her and slammed her into a mirror because he was furious over her sexy Halloween costume. When the woman failed to appear at a court hearing, her bid for a protection order against Johnson was dismissed.

What’s next: The state attorney general’s office has widened its probe into an alleged domestic violence coverup, grilling the head of the New York State Police Department and the deputy who allowed members of the force to contact the female accuser and allegedly harass her.

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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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