Here's a cheerful thought to start your week: The cost of fuel is on the rise and this spring we
may see the return of $4-a-gallon gasoline. Gary Richards in the San Jose Mercury News has the
"For the first time in three years, pump prices this
may reach the psychologically frightening $4 threshold, which is sure to change
some drivers' habits. Gas prices are already the highest they've been since
2008, and a growing number of energy analysts think they
will keep rising until
the current $3.45 a gallon in the South Bay seems cheap."
"Gasoline prices will breach $4 a gallon in San Jose
at some point in April or May," predicted Patrick DeHaan,
analyst at gasbuddy.com. "Diesel prices in California
should easily breach $4 a gallon in the next two months."
Speaking of cars, the Toyota Highlander once driven
by former Sen. Carole Migden and the wife of Sen. Leland Yee is turning into the
legislative car from hell, reports the Chronicle's Matier and Ross. The price
tag is $425,000-plus.
"The SUV from hell or just plain unlucky - either
way, the state-owned, 2007 Toyota Highlander that's been assigned to
two of San Francisco's state
senators over the past four years has cost Californians
well over $400,000."
"This costly taxpayer ride began four years ago when
then-state Sen. Carole Migden traded in her state-leased,
$53,000 Cadillac STS for the
greener Highlander hybrid."
And yet more on cars: The LAT's George Skelton says if you're driving to
Sacramento, think twice. That's because the city just approved a so-called "crash tax."
"River City, The City of Trees, Sacotomato — is the latest
local entity in California to adopt the dreaded "crash
than 50 have imposed it as they struggle to make ends meet."
"Starting in another 10 days or so, an out-of-towner who
has the misfortune to get into an accident that prompts
the dispatch of
Sacramento city firefighters or paramedics will be
billed for the service if
the visitor is judged to be at fault. Insurance companies
will decide who's
liable in a multi-car accident based on the accident report."
The U.S. lags in its proportion of women leaders, and groups are emerging to try and do something about
it. The Bee's Jack Chang has the story.
"Such concerns, in fact, have stopped many American
women from entering politics, so much so that the United
States claims one of the lowest rates of women legislators
in the developed world."
"Reversing this trend has been the 9-year-old mission of Emerge California, a groundbreaking, San Francisco-based group with branches in nine states. In monthly
sessions for selected classes, Emerge tries to give
women the confidence to run for office along with the
skills to win."
The battle over public pensions is heating up in San
Francisco, where pressure is rising to make changes. The Bay
Citizen has the story.
"But interviews reveal that some members of the group
growing impatient, even exasperated, at the pace of
the conversations, and old
rivalries and grudges among the different unions and
city officials now
crowding the table are beginning to become apparent.
Meanwhile the city's
pension and health care liabilities continue to grow."
"Hellman says that if nothing is done,
San Francisco will be bankrupt in five years."
Finally, we peek into our "Tales from Italy" file to learn that Italian women like sex, but not
bunga bunga. This is an important distinction if your
country is run by 74-year-old Silvio Berlusconi. Angry women took to the streets.
"In the main protest, Rome's Piazza del Popolo, a central
square which can hold about 100,000 people, was packed with mothers, daughters,
grandmothers and many husbands and boyfriends as the
music blasted across the
space, including Aretha Franklin's song “Respect.”
"Caricatures of some of the women promoted by Berlusconi,
including former showgirls who are now ministers in
his government or other
officials from his conservative People of Freedom Party,
decorated the walls
surrounding the square. Berlusconi's penchant for choosing
political posts has even been denounced by his estranged
wife, Veronica Lario,
a former actress herself."
“It's the fault of TV if women are seen if this way,”
said one of the Rome protesters, Eleonora Ermini, a
woman in her 60s. “The
majority of the people see things (on TV) that the powers want them to see.”
As for "bunga bunga" you'll have to Google it...