Tuesday Must Read: California Runs Out of Execution Drug; PG&E Lost Power Before Blast


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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. California’s first execution in nearly five years has been delayed until Thursday night and may be put off until early next year because the state is running out of the lethal injection drug sodium pentothal, the Chron reports. It turns out that state officials had scheduled the execution of Albert Greenwood Brown for tonight because the sodium pentothal on hand expires Thursday. But a federal appeals court said yesterday when granting a delay of Brown’s execution that the timing of his death should not be dependent on the availability of a drug. If Brown is not put to death on Thursday, then he may not be executed in until early 2011 when more sodium pentothal will be available.

2. Federal investigators are examining whether a power failure at a PG&E station just hours before the San Bruno pipeline disaster caused the line to explode, the Chron reports. PG&E crews were working at the Milpitas station, where the San Bruno line originates, when a piece of electrical equipment that regulates pipeline pressure failed. Investigators are examining whether that failure led to too much pressure in the San Bruno line, causing it to blow up.

3. Voter approval ratings for the California Legislature have reached an all-time low as the state budget impasse nears its fourth month, the Chron reports, citing a new Field Poll. According to the poll, just 10 percent of voters approve of how the Legislature is doing its job, while 80 percent disapprove. Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings also nearly matched his all-time low — just 23 percent approve of how he’s handling his job.

4. A California rule that allows school districts to label teacher interns as “highly qualified” is illegal, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday, the Chron reports. The 2-1 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could force school districts to stop assigning teacher interns to the lowest performing schools. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by parents in Richmond, Hayward, and Los Angeles who argued that kids in poor neighborhoods don’t get a quality education because they’re stuck with inexperienced teachers.

5. The fall heat wave set records throughout the Bay Area and the state yesterday, as the temperature reached 96 degrees at Oakland airport, an all-time high for the date, the Chron reports. The temperature in downtown Los Angeles soared to 113 degrees, the hottest ever for any date. More heat is forecast for today, although it’s not supposed to be as bad as yesterday. It’s expected to cool down tomorrow.

6. And Oakland Raiders great George Blanda died yesterday at the age of 83. The Hall of Famer played until the age of 48, was a clutch performer, an all-round good guy, and one of the greatest players in NFL history.