Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Must Read: PG&E CEO to Retire; Lawsuit Alleges Berkeley Schools Ignored Sexual Harassment

By Ellen Cushing
Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Hola. Stories you shouldn't miss:

1) Seven months after the deadly San Bruno blast, PG&E Corp. CEO Peter Darbee is leaving the embattled company — but not without a golden parachute. In an e-mail to his staff, Darbee — who's been urged to step down by consumer advocates and pundits in the wake of the disaster (not to mention the SmartMeters controversy) — acknowledged the difficulties PG&E has faced recently and framed his resignation as an opportunity for a fresh start. But he's not going gently into that good night: Darbee is expected to collect a cool $34.6 million when he officially leaves at the end of the month. (Various watchdog groups have already vowed to make sure shareholders, not taxpayers, foot the bill for the retirement package.)

2) And meanwhile, in further PG&E news, the company admitted yesterday that it can't comply with an order to come up with satisfactory records for all of its pipelines. After news broke that the faulty weld responsible for the San Bruno blast hadn't been inspected, the state ordered the company to turn over records on some 1,800 miles of pipe. But in documents filed yesterday with the Public Utilities Commission, the company more or less gave up the ghost on finding all such records, telling the Commission that it could either accept educated guesses about some of its pipe work, or it could force the company to spend the next five years shutting down pipelines and re-inspecting them.

3) A Berkeley High School senior has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the school knew she was being sexually harassed by her counselor and failed to do anything about it. The student, identified as Lilah R., alleges that counselor Anthony Smith repeatedly touched her inappropriately, made crude remarks to her, and made other unwelcome advances — and that Berkeley High administrators did nothing to stop him, even after she'd made a complaint and gotten a restraining order against Smith. The suit seeks unspecified damages, as well as court order that Berkeley Unified School District comply with sexual harassment law. Smith, meanwhile, is still working at Berkeley High, and the district isn't commenting on the matter.

4) Today in Chauncey Bailey news: one of the prosecution's key witnesses, a former girlfriend of Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, told the courtroom yesterday that she could no longer remember several important details on which she'd previously testified. Shortly after Bailey's death in 2007, Sheavon Williams, who also served as a bookkeeper for the bakery, told police that she'd heard Bey conspiring with his co-defendant, Antione Mackey, and the alleged hit-man, Devaughndre Broussard, and that Bey had boasted about the shooting after watching a news report on it. Yesterday, she apparently couldn't remember any of this in court, which constitutes a setback for the prosecution.

5) And finally, because it's Friday, here is a video of a baby polar bear with a bucket on its head:

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