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May 16-22, 2007

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Singleton Shuffle

As usual, the developments that Merc owners MediaNews will own up to aren't half as interesting as the ones the conglomerate is trying to keep on the down low. You've heard by now that Susan Goldberg has resigned as executive editor at the Merc to take the same job at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, thus ending a four-year-long tenure that pushed the San Jose daily deeper into USA Today territory (ironically, after working for USA Today through the '90s, Goldberg almost returned early in her Merc years, when she was in the running for the top editor spot). Carole Leigh Hutton, former editor of the Detroit Free Press, has taken over. That's all fine and good, but what MediaNews owner William Dean Singleton would prefer you not pay attention to is what's going on over the hill at their more recent acquisition, the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The Fly has been chronicling a long list of broken promises at the Santa Cruz daily ever since Singleton's company took over. Recently we reported that the paper's building was going to be sold, though the publisher made optimistic noises about remaining in the downtown area. Now, from our sources inside: just as predicted, they say, the paper will be moved to cheaper suburb Scotts Valley, away from its downtown base. Calls seeking comment were not returned.

Catch Me If You Ken

Bike to Work Day is great and all, and yeah, we do agree it's funny that Councilmen Sam Liccardo and Pete Constant are going to ride a tandem bike on the 8am bikecade from Diridon Station to San Jose's City Hall Thursday (Mayor Chuck Reed and lots of other politicos will also be in tow). But mostly we're just weirdly hooked on County Super Ken Yeager's bike blog. The guy's been biking to work every day in May, which is National Bike Month, and documenting it at, complete with safety tips and photos of Yeager looking immaculate while pedaling to work in his trademark blue button–down shirt and khakis. What we want to know is: how the hell does this guy look so good, even at the end of the ride? We thought it might be like The Picture of Dorian Gray, but we checked out his official photo while he was on his ride, and it didn't sweat, either.

Green Apple?

Greenpeace ended their month-long Silicon Valley Toxics Tech Tour at the Apple Computer Shareholders meeting last week. It's been a big push for corporate responsibility: Greenpeace's mock Apple website, MacWorld demonstrations and Flickr photo contests have inspired about 50,000 people to send Steve Jobs emails and photos asking Apple to offer comprehensive free take–back recycling everywhere Apple products are sold and for a quick phase-out of Apple products' most hazardous substances. This campaign has had an impact, as E-waste awareness continues to rise around Silicon Valley: Earlier this month Jobs announced slightly expanded recycling programs and a 2008 deadline for peeling toxic Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) from Apple products. Although Greenpeace's Rick Hind is pleased that Jobs is now talking to the public about Apple's environmental programs, he says they're not comprehensive enough. Apple will now take back iPods at its retail stores but will take back its computers only when customers buy new ones at their retail stores or website. Hind says, "If you can do a global take-back of the iPod then do if for all of your products. That's what Dell does." During the Shareholder Meeting's Q&A session, Jobs criticized Greenpeace's scorecard as unscientific and found fault with their website. "Everyone is reporting that Jobs is a hero because he had glib answers to everyone's criticism," Hind says, "We appreciate what he's done. What's important is there be a continuing dialogue going forward. We left him a road map showing how to go from a 5 on our scorecard to 7 or 10 with some simple changes."

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