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Smoke Out
Campbell--Two years after the state banned smoking in public places, the Santa Clara County district attorney's office is again upping its efforts to enforce the ban in bars. No longer content with feeble warnings and public education, the D.A.'s office will start issuing citations come January. Bars that are cited will be fined $271 for a first-time offense, $542 for a second-time offense, and over $1,300 for a third-time offense. "We figure two years of education is sufficient," Deputy District Attorney Christopher Arriola said. "We gave everybody a fair chance to comply."

Crime Botchers
Los Gatos--Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police officers busted two alleged car thieves and got a laugh in the process, following a sequence of events worthy of becoming a "How Not to Steal a Car" manual. After officers pulled over one suspect, the other driver, seeing his friend in police custody, braked rapidly and began driving backwards. Officers followed the stolen car until it eventually came to a stop after crashing into a parked vehicle. "When I got down [to the scene], I was dying," Sgt. Tim Morgan said. "It was pretty comical."

Praiseworthy Locals
Cupertino--The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition celebrated its 18-year anniversary with a visit by renowned environmental-rights crusader Erin Brockovich. Brokovich's case against PG&E, featured in the movie, Erin Brokovich, focused nationwide attention on corporate pollution and, of course, the lady's cleavage. Brockovich said she doesn't have any projects currently underway in the valley, but she lends her support to groups such as SVTC that work to protect the environment. Still, Brockovich's enthusiasm was appreciated. According to one observer, she was the last person to leave the building.

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Web extras to the November 23-29, 2000 issue of Metro.

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