• SENATOR ASKS AIRLINES TO DROP SEAT FEE FOR KIDS: NEW YORK (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer is urging airlines to allow families with young children to sit together without paying extra.
The New York Democrat is reacting to an Associated Press story last week detailing how families this summer are going to find it harder to sit together without paying fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars over the original ticket price.
Since last year, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines have increased the percent of seats they set aside for elite frequent fliers or customers willing to pay extra. Fees for the seats — on the aisle, next to windows, or with more legroom —vary, but typically cost $25 extra, each way.
Airlines are searching for more ways to raise revenue to offset rising fuel prices. Airfare alone typically doesn’t cover the cost of operating a flight. In the past five years, airlines have added fees for checked baggage, watching TV, skipping security lines and boarding early. Fees for better seats have existed for a few years but have proliferated in the last 12 months.
• 2 PRETEENS ROBBED AT KNIFEPOINT IN SAN DIEGO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police say an 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbing an 11- and a 12-year-old at knifepoint.
City News Service reports the kids were walking in Ocean Beach Saturday when they were approached by a man on a skateboard who showed them a switchblade-type knife.
Sgt. Ray Battrick says the man allegedly demanded money from the two preteens. One handed over some cash but the other had no money. Neither was injured.
The suspect rode off and one of the victims called police. Battrick says officers found the suspect nearby and arrested him after a brief scuffle.
• CRITICS: BIRD-CULLING PLAN NEAR JFK GOES TOO FAR: NEW YORK (AP) — Critics are crying foul over a plan to control bird populations near New York City’s JFK Airport.
Under a proposal from the U.S. department of Agriculture, staffers would be authorized to kill a half-dozen bird species within a five-mile radius of the airport.
The intent is to reduce the number of bird strikes on planes.
Environmentalists say the measures need to be examined more carefully.
They say the plan conflicts with a multimillion-dollar federal effort to restore nearby wetland habitats for migratory birds.
Birds that could be killed under the plan include Canada geese, mute swans, double-crested cormorants, blackbirds, crows, rock pigeons and European starlings.
• POLLS ON GAY MARRIAGE NOT YET REFLECTED IN VOTES: NEW YORK (AP) — Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage steadily increasing, to the point where it’s now a majority viewpoint. Yet in all 32 states where gay marriage has been on the ballot, voters have rejected it.
It’s possible the streak could end in November, when Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state are likely to have closely contested gay marriage measures on their ballots.
For now, however, there remains a gap between the national polling results and the way states have voted. It’s a paradox with multiple explanations, from political geography to the likelihood that some conflicted voters tell pollsters one thing and then vote differently.
“It’s not that people are lying. It’s an intensely emotional issue,” said Amy Simon, a pollster based in Oakland. “People can report to you how they feel at the moment they’re answering the polls, but they can change their mind.”
California experienced that phenomenon in November 2008, when voters, by a 52-48 margin, approved a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution. A statewide Field Poll that September indicated Proposition 8 would lose decisively; an updated poll a week before the vote still showed it trailing by 5 percentage points.
California is an unusual case. It’s one of a few reliably Democratic states that have had a statewide vote rebuffing same-sex marriage. The vast majority of the referendums have been in more conservative states, which have a greater predilection for using ballot measures to set social policy. The 32 states that have rejected gay marriage at the polls make up just over 60 percent of the U.S. population.