Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Caltrans used the same type of badly designed steel rods that have snapped on the new Bay Bridge in its retrofit of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge a decade ago, the Chron$ reports, citing newly released agency documents. Two years before the Richmond Bridge project, Caltrans had banned the use of such high-strength rods on bridges because the bolts can become brittle and snap in an earthquake. But the agency decided to use the bolts anyway on the Bay Bridge, too, after its main supplier, Dyson Corporation, pointed to their use on the Richmond Bridge. However, experts note that the bolts on the Richmond Bridge are much less likely to fail because they are not under the same intense pressure as they are the new Bay Bridge.
3. Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned in the US Senate yesterday about the fact that his company avoided paying taxes on $30 billion in profits over the past few years by exploiting offshore tax loopholes. In 2012 alone, Apple managed to dodge paying $9 billion in taxes. Apple also avoids paying millions in California state taxes each year by having a small office in Nevada, a state that has no corporate income tax.
4. California regulators fined Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center in Oakland $143,000 for failing to properly quarantine suspected tuberculosis patients from November to January, the Trib reports. Sutter-Health, which owns the hospital, plans to appeal the fine.
5. And the political watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a lawsuit against the IRS for its failure to stop social welfare nonprofits — also called Dark Money groups — from spending hundreds of millions of dollars last year influencing elections, the Washington Post reports. CREW notes that the federal law prohibits social welfare nonprofits from engaging in politics, but that the IRS allows them to do so anyway. The IRS’s lax rules, in fact, led to the recent scandal in which some agency employees targeted Tea Party-related nonprofits.