RIP phone book

No pulse, er, dial tone.

No pulse, er, dial tone.

California lawmakers are turning down the volume on phones and phone books.

This week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a measure to halt automatic delivery of Verizon white pages. Instead, customers will have to make a request for the phone books, known as an “opt-in.”

State Sen. Leland Yee is also pushing that all phone-book producers in the state also use the opt-in program, rather than have the books pile up on doorsteps and in landfills. The nonprofit, Campaign for Recycling, for instance, found that 660,000 tons of phone books were discarded nationally in 2007 (based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency figures).

Yee is also considering a bill to allow people to opt out of automatically receiving the Yellow Pages, whether they want them or not (see “Are phone books obsolete?” by Leilani Clark and Hugh Biggar, SN&R Frontlines, April 28).

And in Sacramento, figures from the Department of Utilities Solid Waste Services show that phone-book companies deliver books to more than 130,000 residences annually.

Phones, too, are on the chopping block: Last week Gov. Jerry Brown collected roughly 30,000 BlackBerries, cellphones and smartphones from state workers as part of a cost-cutting move. Gov. Brown expects the state to save about $13 million.

The question remains, though, about what do with all the phones.

“Devices that cannot be returned will be recycled,” Evan Westrup, a staffer in the governor’s office, told SN&R. He added that the state is working with vendors to determine if returned phones can yield credit or refunds.

And what about donating some of those phones to charity?

“Agencies and departments are assessing their options,” Westrup said. (Hugh Biggar)

Lyon’s den

Call him kinky free man.

Michael Lyon, the real-estate mogul with the penchant for illegally filming his sexual trysts with hookers, was released home last week after spending a fraction of a yearlong jail sentence in actual jail.

The Lyon Real Estate namesake spent about a month at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove before Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones made the decision to allow Lyon to spend the remainder of his sentence under electronically monitored house arrest in Carmichael.

Lyon pled guilty in March to four felony counts of recording confidential communications without consent. The charges stemmed from a collection of secret sex tapes Lyon made of his escapades with four paid escorts at his Carmichael and Roseville homes over a nearly two-year period.

Investigators actually recovered a lot more illicit videos—two decades’ worth—of unwitting friends and houseguests in compromising situations, but were unable to charge Lyon with their creation due to current statute of limitations laws.

That loophole inspired Assemblyman Steve Knight to introduce a measure amending the statutory timeline to begin once illegal recordings are discovered. After passing through the Assembly earlier this year, the bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee this week, according to Knight’s chief of staff, David Orosco. If the bill passes the Senate floor, it would go straight to the governor for signage, Orosco said. (Raheem Hosseini)