Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Bridge Expert Says Bad Bolts Should Be Replaced; State Control of Oakland Schools Failed to Fix Financial Problems

By Robert Gammon
Tue, May 21, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A leading engineering expert who is also an advisor to Caltrans said the agency should replace as many defective bolts on the new Bay Bridge as possible, SFGate reports. The bolts were designed to be too hard and brittle and could snap in an earthquake; 32 of the rods have broken already. Meanwhile, many elected officials are calling for a comprehensive investigation into the Bay Bridge scandal in the wake of the bolt problems and a recent report that the new eastern span appears to be riddled with corrosion problems as well, the SacBee$ reports. And, finally, Governor Jerry Brown acknowledged yesterday that the new $6.3 billion bridge may not be able to open as planned on Labor Day.

Oakland schools headquarters.
  • Oakland schools headquarters.
2. State control of Oakland public schools failed to fix many of the district’s financial problems, a state controller’s audit has revealed, the Chron$ reports. The audit covered fiscal year 2010-2011 — about a year after Oakland regained local control of schools, but found that many of the same financial reporting problems that have plagued the district over the years remain. The audit, however, refused to blame state officials who were supposed to clean up the issues when they ran the district from 2003 to 2009, and instead blamed the district itself.

3. California schools will not receive a waiver under the strict No Child Left Behind Law because the state has refused to link test scores to teacher evaluations, the LA Times$ reports. As a result, children at most public schools in the state must meet certain academic standards by next year or the schools will face severe sanctions, including closures. Oakland and several other large urban school districts are seeking a separate waiver.

4. Legislation that would prohibit the prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries that follow state laws passed the state Senate yesterday, the LA Times$ reports. The bill now heads to the Assembly.

5. Norman Wielsch, a former Contra Costa County narcotics officer, was sentenced to fourteen years in federal prison for robbing prostitutes and selling illegal drugs, the Chron$ reports.

6. And the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting announced that it is eliminating the Bay Citizen and California Watch brands effective next week, the SF Business Times reports.

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