California’s Freeways Are a Future Power Source

californiacountynews – excerpt

After all the times we’ve cursed the world while snarled in traffic on the 405, who knew we were sitting atop a precious energy source?

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, that’s who.

For years, Gatto has been pushing California to adopt a groundbreaking technique that converts the vibration of cars over a highway into renewable energy. Now he’s finally gotten his wish, with the California Energy Commission agreeing to fund multiple pilot projects in the Golden State.

The technology uses Piezoelectric crystals like quartz which give off an electrical discharge when compressed. They’ll be embedded in the highways with the vehicles acting as the compressors. The resulting electrical currents can then be harvested to service the grid.

According to Gatto, the power generated from a one mile stretch of a two lane highway could eventually power 500 homes for an entire year or 120 electrical vehicles a day.

If this all sounds too good to be true, you should know it’s already shown great promise in Israel and Japan. There’s even a nightclub in San Francisco using Piezoeletric crystals to power its dance floor!

“Thirty years ago, no one would have believed that black silicon panels in the desert could generate ‘solar’ power,” Gatto said. “Piezoelectric technology is real, and I am glad the state has finally acknowledged its potential in becoming an energy source.”

Read more about the pilot program here(more)

Lawmaker wants to establish a ‘Parking Bill of Rights’ for California

by Dianne de Guzman : sfgate – excerpt

Prohibiting cities from ticketing motorists who park at broken meters. This is already a law in California, but is set to expire at the end of the year.

Any California driver who has been on the receiving end of a parking violation might perk up at a set of proposed reforms to our current state of parking laws.

Legislation debuted by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, on Tuesday is looking to save you all from the tricky world of parking policies set by city government.

Dubbed the “Parking Bill of Rights,” the set of reforms is just a list of ways that Gatto hopes to improve the state of parking laws in California.

“Occasionally, the state needs to step in and remind our local governments that parking a vehicle should be an efficient practice, and not another big hassle designed to separate motorists from their money,” Gatto said in a released statement. “These simple and practical policy changes will make life easier for Californians who just want to park their cars and go about their business.”…

Most San Franciscans will also be thrilled with Gatto’s call to make spaces immediately available once street cleaning has been performed. The reasons behind the measures, Gatto said, is to “end some of the most unfair and unjust parking practices throughout the state.”…

“It is to the point where cities are using these tickets as another source of revenue, almost a hidden tax. I think cities can be a little more straightforward,” Gatto said in an interview with KCBS Radio. “But gouging people with these outrageous fines, I think is the wrong way to go.”… (more)

Assembly Member Mike Gatto of Glendale, seems to be on the drivers’ side. Find out more about him and perhaps suggest some more legislation to protect drivers.