News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:
1. Governor Jerry Brown vowed to fiercely battle for more funding for K-12 schools in low-income areas of the state, calling it his “cause” of 2013, the LA Times$ reports. Brown wants to steer $2 billion toward educating low-income students, but some legislative Democrats want to spread the money around the state, a move that the governor argued would be unfair to the schools that need the money the most. "If people are going to fight it,” he said of his plan, “they're going to get the battle of their lives. Everything we have to bear in this battle, we're bringing it."board member Gary Yee — to be the district’s new interim superintendent of schools, the Trib reports. Yee, a longtime educator, has made it clear for years that he has wanted the job. Last night’s vote also means that the school board has sixty days to decide what to do about Yee’s vacated seat. He represented District 4 — Montclair-Laurel.
3. Bay Area transportation officials are grappling with what to do about hundreds of giant bolts designed for the new Bay Bridge that are likely defective. They’re working on plans to jury-rig a system to deal with 96 huge bolts that they know are bad, and will conduct a battery of new tests for hundreds of others that are suspected of being too brittle, the SacBee$ reports. The bolts were supposed to help the bridge withstand a major earthquake and the myriad problems with them could delay the planned Labor Day opening of the new span.
4. Democratic state Senate President Darrell Steinberg unveiled revised plans yesterday to reform California’s primary environmental law — the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — that would make it tougher to challenge certain construction projects in court, the SacBee$ reports. Steinberg’s new proposal would exempt arguments over aesthetics, traffic, and noise from CEQA litigation.
5. And a new report from the American Lung Association concludes that air quality has slowly improved in California over the last decade and that the air is the cleanest it’s been in years, the Chron$ reports.
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