News In Brief
GET A WHIFF OF THIS Lose a championship, and in most cities tears come to the eyes of its residents. But folks in Los Angeles aren't at all upset that their reign as Smog Capital of the US is gone. For the first time in more than a half century, the L.A. Basin has had no full-scale air-pollution alerts this year. "We believe," said a South Coast Air Quality Management District official, "Houston has overtaken us." The Texas metropolis has experienced 44 days when ozone levels exceeded national health standards. But, sniffed a state meteorologist: "I'm not impressed yet. I suspect both areas are going to see-saw back and forth."
THEY COULD HARDLY GO WRONG Voters in a Delta Junction, Alaska, city council race earlier this month had a tough choice to make. They could elect a good candidate ... or the right one. And the outcome was oh-so-close. After the final ballot was tabulated, incumbent Nathaniel Good won a new three-year term, edging challenger Glen Wright by seven votes.
Feds could learn from states in personal-privacy matters Individual states are better at protecting personal privacy than the federal government, according to the longest-running publication covering privacy issues. The Providence, R.I.-based Privacy Journal ranks states in four tiers, based on how well they shield financial, medical, library, and government records of citizens in their constitutions, court decisions, and administrative actions. "If the federal government had been ranked," said publisher Robert Ellis Smith, "it would have placed in the third tier - but barely." The Privacy Journal's top-tier states, listed alphabetically:
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