Friday Must Reads: Bad Bolt Total Climbs to 2,300 on New Bay Bridge; Sierra Snowpack at Just 17 Percent of Normal



News stories that you shouldn’t miss:

1. The number of badly designed bolts installed on the new Bay Bridge now stands at more than 2,300, the Chron$ reports, adding that Caltrans continued to use the overly hard metal fasteners even after the agency had banned their use elsewhere in the state. The newspaper also reports that Caltrans has concluded that 96 of the huge bolts are defective — 32 of those have already snapped. Caltrans allowed the banned bolts to be installed on the bridge because the span was designed in 1995 — nine years before the agency had concluded that they were unsafe because the fasteners can become overly brittle when exposed to the environment.

Lake Shasta is at 83 percent of normal capacity.
  • Lake Shasta is at 83 percent of normal capacity.
2. The Sierra snowpack is at just 17 percent of normal for this time of year, following a record-breaking dry spell in the beginning of 2013, the AP reports. State water officials, however, are not ready to declare a drought, because many large reservoirs are above 80 percent of capacity because of heavy rains last fall. This year’s dry weather, however, could result in a catastrophic wildfire season.

3. Governor Jerry Brown reluctantly submitted a court-ordered plan to further reduce overcrowding in state prisons, proposing the early release of elderly inmates and the transfer of some inmates to private prisons and state work camps, the Los Angeles Times$ reports. Brown, however, told the court that any more measures would require approval from the state legislature.

4. Several states, led by California, are examining ways to force so-called dark money groups to reveal their donors when they engage in political activities, because the federal government has refused to regulate these growing — but secretive — nonprofit organizations, the LA Times$ reports. Last year, dark money groups spent more than $300 million attempting to influence elections, but, unlike other political organizations, are exempted from having to disclose who funds them.

5. SEIU fought off an attempt by a rival union, NUHW, to represent 45,000 Kaiser workers in Northern California, the SacBee$ reports.

6. And the Golden State Warriors advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, after defeating the Denver Nuggets 92-88 last night at the Oakland Arena and winning their series four games to two.