Joe DiMaggio's Home City Honored by EPA -- and It's Not San Francisco

Categories: Environment
...Oozing with lead
To say that San Francisco is a city that treasures being in the vanguard of environmentally responsible behavior (or, skeptics might say, whatever will get people talking about how environmentally responsible we are) is an understatement.

So it's interesting that today -- with an eye on Earth Day -- the San Francisco-based regional branch of the Environmental Protection Agency has chosen to designate special honor on -- Contra Costa County (!) with special emphasis on the city of Martinez (!!). Yes, Martinez is Joe DiMaggio's home city. Now it has two claims to fame.

It seems the good folks across the Bay have wheeled past San Francisco -- literally -- in the greenstakes. CoCo County has become the first municipality to sign on to a pledge to remove all lead weights from the tires of its municipal fleet, a move that should result in keeping one ton of lead out of the environment over the next three years.  About five ounces of lead weights are clipped to the the rims of every car in America; this is how tires are balanced if you were ever wondering how the mechanic accomplished that feat. The EPA estimates that as many as 1.6 million pounds of lead finds its way into the environment when we drive into potholes or, say, jump Stark's Pond Dukes of Hazzard-style.

Incidentally, one can request steel weights be used when at the mechanics'. Naturally, the EPA is urging us to do so (cumulatively, if private citizens were to do this, it would have a much greater effect than cities adopting the practice with their municipal fleets. There's more of us than them).

It will be intriguing to see if San Francisco will follow in CoCo County's footsteps. After all, being green is great -- but now we can't call ourselves "innovative." We'll keep an eye on this.

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