SAN FRANCISCO OFFERS FREE WI-FI ALONG MARKET ST. : SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is offering free Internet access along one of its main thoroughfares.
The city-owned wireless network was running last week ahead of its formal rollout on Monday. It covers a three-mile stretch of Market Street from Castro Street to the Embarcadero.
City officials say it cost about $500,000 after donations from two companies, Ruckus Wireless, of Sunnyvale, and Layer42 Networks, of Mountain View.
It comes as the city is moving forward with plans to bring free Wi-Fi to San Francisco's public parks in partnership with Google. City officials had proposed citywide wireless Internet access in 2007, but that plan fell apart amid concerns about a contract with EarthLink and Google.
JUDGE DISMISSES MONSTER BEVERAGE'S LAWSUIT VS. SF: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by Monster Beverage Corp. that sought to block the San Francisco city attorney's investigation into the company's marketing practices.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside ruled Monday that granting Monster's request would unfairly hinder a lawsuit San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed in state court. That suit accuses the company of misbranding its highly caffeinated drinks and marketing them to children.
Monster filed its lawsuit after the city attorney demanded that the company reduce caffeine levels in its drinks and stop marketing to minors.
The energy drink industry, which includes Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy and PepsiCo's Amp, has come under increasing scrutiny over the past few years over possible health risks.
PG&E WORKER WINS $1 MILLION IN LAWSUIT: SANTA CRUZ (AP) — A former power line worker for Pacific Gas & Electric has been awarded more than $1 million in a wrongful termination suit that claimed he was fired after making safety complaints.
Matthew Niswonger, 44, filed the complaint after being told by a supervisor to replace a broken electrical pole without shutting down power.
He says he was fired via a voicemail message last year during a medical leave he took after suffering panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
The jury awarded Niswonger $595,615 for lost wages and benefits and $500,000 for emotional distress. PG&E also was ordered to pay for Niswonger's legal fees.
Monica Tell, a spokeswoman for PG&E, told the Sentinel on Friday that the utility's lawyers planned to continue the case.
Niswonger worked for PG&E for about eight years.
WOMAN IN FATAL SF CRASH FACING MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman is facing a vehicular manslaughter charge in a crash on a San Francisco street that killed a teenager and injured six others.
Police say 58-year-old Jennie Zhu was driving at speeds as high as 80 mph when she rear-ended a minivan on Sept 27.
Prosecutors announced on Monday that she will be arraigned later in the week on vehicle manslaughter and reckless driving charges.
The crash killed 16-year-old Kevin San and injured his mother and sister, all of whom were in the minivan. Three people in a catering van that was also struck were also injured.
BROWN SAYS CALIFORNIA ON TRACK, FUTURE BRIGHT: MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) — California could be a model for national economic growth after cutting public programs, raising taxes on the wealthy and continuing to invest in infrastructure, California Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.
"People were calling it a failed state," Brown said. "But the fact is, from a $27 billion deficit we now have a very significant surplus that can continue for many years to come."
Brown was interviewed by James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, before an audience of about 100 technology business leaders at a Silicon Valley summit focusing on innovation.
Brown noted that the Silicon Valley was a source of innovation and revitalization for California.
"This is still a very yeasty place," he said, drawing laughs. "Far from decline we're in a very creative stage of our national history."
FEDS WANT TOUGHER REFINERY OVERSIGHT IN CALIFORNIA: RICHMOND (AP) — Federal refinery safety regulators are recommending California change how it oversees oil refineries in the wake of a massive fire at a Chevron Corp. facility in Richmond that sent thousands of residents seeking medical attention.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a draft report on Monday of its investigation of the August 2012 fire. It calls on California to implement a more rigorous safety system similar to ones used in Europe and Australia.
The report found state and federal oversight is largely reactive, and recommended a new system requiring refinery operators to more diligently monitor safety systems before an accident occurs.