Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Must Reads: DeSaulnier Calls for Criminal Probe of Bay Bridge Work; Railroad Companies Block Safety System

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senator Mark DeSaulnier of the East Bay is calling for a criminal probe of the shoddy construction work on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, the SacBee$ reports. A new report revealed that Caltrans knowingly accepted flawed and potentially hazardous work from a Chinese firm that welded the new span and tower.

A train accident in Canada last year killed 47 people.
  • A train accident in Canada last year killed 47 people.

2. Major railroad companies have effectively blocked the implementation of a railway safety system that would greatly reduce the likelihood of a major train accident involving highly explosive crude oil, Hearst newspapers report. The railroad companies, which say the safety system would cut into their profits, have been aided by the Federal Railroad Administration, which is supposed to regulate the nation’s railways. The railroad administration has repeatedly sided with the rail companies and defied the US National Transportation Safety Board, which has repeatedly recommended that the safety system be adopted.

3. Internal emails show that the California Public Utilities Commission, which is supposed to regulate the state’s private utilities, has maintained a cozy relationship over the years with PG&E despite the 2010 deadly pipeline crash in San Bruno, the Chron reports.

4. Richmond police are investigating charges that a high-ranking official in the city’s public housing authority steered $340,000 in contracts to a construction company that has ties to her husband, the CoCo Times reports.

5. A super-majority of Californians — 75 percent — support mandated water restrictions because of the drought, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.

6. The sale of ivory in San Francisco’s Chinatown is playing a significant role in the rapid decline of African elephants, which are increasingly being slaughtered for their tusks, the Chron reports. San Francisco is second only to New York City for ivory imports nationwide.

7. And ICYMI: Lake Temescal in Oakland has been closed indefinitely to swimmers by the East Bay Regional Park District because of a toxic algae bloom that may have been caused by the drought, the Trib$ reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.


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