Monday Must Reads: Bay Bridge Bolt Scandal Widens; Berkeley to Consider Raising Minimum Wage



News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. Caltrans officials circumvented the agency’s own regulations, along with state and federal standards, when establishing specifications for the giant bolts that snapped on the Bay Bridge, the Chron$ reports. As a result, the huge bolts were made to be too hard and then broke because they were brittle. So far, 32 bolts have snapped, but there are a total of 1,200 pieces on the new bridge that are at risk of breaking as well. One expert told the newspaper that Caltrans’ jury-rigged system for designing bolts was, at minimum, “irresponsible,” and possibly fraudulent.

Tom Bates
  • Tom Bates
2. The Berkeley City Council is scheduled to consider raising the minimum wage for businesses in the city from $8 per hour to $10.55 per hour, which would match San Francisco as the highest in the nation, the Chron$ reports. The proposal, sponsored by Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmen Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington, appears to have strong backing in a city that has among the highest rent prices in the Bay Area — much higher than a person living on $8 an hour can afford.

3. A new study has found that air pollution may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, Time magazine reports (via Rough & Tumble). Participants in the study who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution were more likely to have hardened arteries.

4. A boat that washed ashore near Crescent City, California, is the first piece of debris from the massive Japanese tsunami in 2011 to reach the state, the LA Times$ reports.

5. And the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove wolves from the endangered species list, citing the animals' strong recovery in the Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes states, the Chron$ reports. But many environmentalists are opposing the move because of the ongoing slaughter of wolves in some areas.

$ = News stories that may require a paid subscription to read.