On Friday, the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) will provide $187,000 to help fund Imperial County’s recently approved Earthquake Early Warning System.
It will be the first investment by California, according to OES, since the legislature approved building an earthquake early warning system last year.
“This groundbreaking system will enhance current warning systems to help save lives,” said State Senator Ben Hueso who represents Imperial county.
But, this system has been in use for years in a handful of other countries including Mexico and Japan.
Last week, a 7.2 magnitude quake rattled Mexico City and early warning sirens sounded, in some cases, more than 40-seconds before the shaking began.
The system works by detecting fast moving but weak waves triggered by an earthquake which proceed the slower moving and powerful waves that cause destruction.
State Lawmakers passed a bill signed by Governor Brown that authorized building a system expected to be ready by 2016 at a cost of more than $80 million.
But, that bill came without a funding source.
An OES spokeswoman says the $187,000 funding for Imperial County is seen as the first step on the road to building a statewide system.
But, no other funding has been identified, as of yet, to complete the project.
A bill that would force electronics manufacturers to install a shut-off function in all smartphones narrowly failed in the state Senate on Thursday but could be revived later this spring.
The legislation by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, responds to a crime problem that is exploding across the country. In San Francisco, for example, the district attorney's office says more than half of all robberies last year included the theft of a smartphone, and the bill analysis cites a Consumer Reports study that estimated 1.6 million Americans were targeted by thieves for their smartphones last year.
Leno's legislation, SB962, fell two votes shy of a majority in the 40-member house. It would have required companies to manufacture smartphones with technology that would make them inoperable when not in the owner's possession.
The wireless industry prefers a voluntary approach that allows consumers to opt-in if they choose, such as downloading free apps that protect the devices and their information if they are stolen. But Leno said the technology must be mandatory to act as a deterrent. His bill would put the burden on manufacturers rather than consumers, who would have to opt out of the protections at the time of purchase.
"This is about a technological deterrence," Leno said. "We need to get into the minds of those who have shifted their activities to these new crimes that it's not worth it."
He also said the industry benefits financially from the high rate of smartphone thefts. He told his colleagues before the Senate vote that it makes billions of dollars selling insurance policies to consumers and new smartphones to the victims of theft.
Deterring the thefts, Leno said, will affect smartphone companies' bottom lines.
A spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association did not immediately return email and telephone messages seeking a response to Leno's comment.
A study by Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., released earlier this month found that adding the so-called "kill switch" technology to smartphones could save American consumers up to $2.6 billion a year by not having to replace their stolen phones. The researcher, business professor William Duckworth, said his survey of 1,200 smartphone users found they want the disabling technology pre-installed on their devices.
Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, voted against the bill because she believed it would undermine consumer choice. She also questioned whether it could be a first step to mandating similar technology in other products, such as having "a kill switch in your car."
Leno said consumers would retain the right to opt out of the shut-down technology. He also said it would be up to the manufacturers to decide what kind of solution worked best for their products and said that could be new software or hardware.
Before the bill failed on a 19-17 vote, he agreed to make two amendments: The legislation would apply only to smartphones, not tablets, and the start date would be pushed back to July 2015 to give manufacturers more time to conform.
Despite the rejection, Leno said he will consider bringing it back for a floor vote before the May 31 deadline to pass bills from one house to the next.
It didn't take long for Santa Clara and the hotels close to Levi's Stadium to benefit from the new 49er schedule.
There are more than 30 large hotels in the area. Shortly after the NFL schedule was announced early Monday evening, some started receiving reservation requests almost immediately.
Major hotels such as the Hilton are benefiting from their rooms with a view which, in this case, means Levi's Stadium.
The $1 billion stadium has been generating a lot of interest since construction began about two years ago. Now the stadium is ready to generate revenue.
"Within about five minutes after the schedule was posted we started seeing movement with reservations" said Hilton General Manager Erich Smith. "We're moving forward for September, October, November and December. For example, December 28th three days after Christmas normally would be dead for the city, the hotels, the restaurants. Instead it's gonna be full and busy. We'll sell out."
That date also happens to be when the 49ers will be playing their final home game.
It apparently won't be just the days of special events that will see more business.
The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce says it believes the spillover of the stadium "effect" will fill in the low-demand gaps.
"Silicon Valley goes crazy during the week with business meetings and similar events" said Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Steve Van Dorn. "One of the good things about the stadium is we'll fill the hotels on weekends which are our slow times."
As with most hotels, rates will go up with demand.
KTVU checked with the Hilton and various consumer web sites.
One change is that events such as September 14 opening day will require a two-night minimum stay at the Hilton with daily rates running upwards of $300.
The price hasn't slowed down demand. The Hilton has 280 rooms and less than 50 remain for that weekend.
"It's a big win for the city, the hotels and restaurants"said Smith, "it helps everything."
The impact is also spreading fast in other ways. Santa Clara's Convention Center reports it also began getting numerous reservation requests to hold events all around 49ers home dates.
While some San Francisco victims of bike theft are having some success recovering stolen property, on Thursday KTVU spoke with a woman who was recently assaulted and pepper sprayed as she tried to take back her bicycle from an alleged thief.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition estimates 11 bicycles are stolen or stripped for parts each day in the city.
While many bike owners post pictures online, file police reports and comb Craigslist in search of their property, bicycling advocates say that until recently, it was almost impossible to recover a stolen bike.
Last week, SF cyclist Jocelyn Drew almost beat the odds.
Her beloved yellow and black Raleigh was stolen last week from a rack aboard a Muni bus as it made a stop in San Francisco's Mission District.
"The bus driver said 'Oh, somebody's taking the bike,'" Drew told KTVU. "And so by the time I got off the bus, the bike was gone."
She filed a police report and posted a picture on social media sites. A week ago on Thursday, she got a tip via her Twitter feed from a Good Samaritan who spotted a man with what appeared to be her bike at the corner of Market and 12th Streets.
Draw called the police and rushed to the scene.
"There were two men, each had a bike, one of which looked suspiciously like mine," said Drew. "And I'm looking at the bike and the guy says to me, 'It's a nice bike, isn't it?' And I said, 'It is a nice bike. It's mine. In fact, it was stolen on Monday.'"
Drew picked up the bike and crossed Market Street. That's when things turned violent.
"He caught up to me and we're wrestling over the bike," said Drew. "He gets me down on the ground, but his friend comes and he pepper sprays me in the face."
The Good Samaritan was also pepper sprayed after he tried to stop the two men as they got away with the bike. But he took cellphone pictures of the two men, which Drew has turned over to police investigators.
Drew said she was frustrated officers did not respond until after she was assaulted, but said she felt she had to take action to recover her bicycle.
"It was just anger and a feeling of 'How dare you?'" said Drew. "In that moment, it was if the police aren't coming, I have to do something, because it would just be heartbreaking to watch it ride away."
San Francisco describes itself a "transit first" city, but a new group says the city is so in favor of public transit, pedestrians and bicyclists that it is ignoring the needs of drivers.
The group calls itself the "Restoring Transportation Balance to San Francisco" coalition. They say 79 percent of households here have cars, yet drivers are getting overlooked when it comes to setting street policy in the city.
"The problem is our politicians at City Hall are trying to turn us into a 'transit-only' city," said San Francisco attorney Jason Clark, a member of the coalition. "For those of us who need our cars to take our children to school, who need it to go to work, for people who are disabled and don't have any other means of transportation, we don't have anyone sitting at the table providing us a voice."
The coalition on Wednesday submitted papers to the San Francisco Department of Elections office to begin collecting signatures for a non-binding ballot initiative in November. The group's policies include the elimination of fees for Sunday or after-six parking on the street and in garages.
"They're installing parking meters in neighborhoods, outside residential homes now, and it's causing problems for residents parking there," said Clark.
The coalition also wants money from parking or motorist fees set aside to build new parking garages. San Francisco has eliminated 3,000 parking spaces in the last three years -- about one percent of the total spots available here.
Clark said the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board needs members who represent motorists to help shape traffic policy.
"Every single day, we double our population, so that adds to congestion," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose told KTVU. "But over the years past, most of the focus has been engineering or planning for more cars in the street, to make sure that cars can move throughout the city. Now we're trying to move forward policies that move everyone across the city as efficiently as possible."
Clark said the coalition needs about 9,700 signatures to get on the November ballot and hopes to begin signing people up in about two weeks.