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About Concord:

Concord is a city located in Contra Costa County, California, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 121,780.

Until 1998 the city was the eastern terminus of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train system. Concord has been primarily a bedroom community over... (More Info and Source) Concord Real Estate

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California to fund first Earthquake Early Warning System

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.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:23:17 -0700

California smartphone 'kill switch' bill fails

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.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:04:08 -0700

Santa Clara hotels already seeing 49ers business boost

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.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:22:26 -0700

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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