Critics of the way public school teachers are fired hope to get a pair of proposal's on next year's ballot.
From News10's John Myers: "After two years of bitter legislative fights over whether it's too hard to fire bad teachers in California, the debate could be headed to next November's statewide ballot."
Two separate initiatives have been filed to change the existing system for reprimanding or removing teachers, the most recent on Monday. Both appear inspired by the 2012 case of a Los Angeles area elementary school teacher who was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison for lewd acts against students over a six year period -- actions which, even when reported, failed to cost him his job.
With the first stages looming of the construction of the bullet train line, geologists were in Fresno taking soil samples.
From the Fresno Bee's Tim Sheehan: "The first soil borings by Earth Mechanics Inc. took place along H Street, under the Stanislaus Street overpass that spans H Street, the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and G Street. It's the first of more than two dozen locations between the northeast edge of Madera and the south end of Fresno where the company will test the subsurface soil conditions."
"The tests offer a mole's-eye view to geologists, and the results will help engineers determine what kind of foundations will be required for new overpasses and other structures needed for the first 29-mile stretch of high-speed rail construction, said Michael Hoshiyama, a staff geologist with Orange County-based EMI."
Some in Silicon Valley are worried indeed about NSA, spying and high-tech surveillance, and they let President Obama know.
From the WSJ's Jared A. Favole: "President Obama, under fire from Silicon Valley over government surveillance programs, met with technology executives to ease their concerns about the NSA."
"The meeting, days after executives launched a public campaign to press for sweeping changes of surveillance programs in the name of civil liberties, gave the industry a chance to present its case as Mr. Obama considers recommendations for overhauling the NSA. Silicon Valley companies want the Obama administration, among other things, to let them disclose to their customers when the government demands users' data."
"Mr. Obama met for about two hours in private with the executives, joined by top White House officials. While senior officials said the session was "constructive," no agreements were announced."
A politically powerful union leader who represents workers at L.A.'s Department of Water and Power, has refused to turn over financial records to the city auditor of two nonprofits run by the DWP and the union.
From the LAT's Jack Dolan: "City officials began trying to account for more than $40 million in ratepayer money poured into the nonprofits after The Times reported in September that the DWP had only scant information about how the money has been spent."
"The nonprofits, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, are co-run by DWP General Manager Ron Nichols and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 head Brian D’Arcy. At a meeting earlier this month, D’Arcy refused to turn over the institutes’ financial records for an audit planned by City Controller Ron Galperin, Nichols said."
"On Tuesday, Nichols, who says he supports the audit, told DWP’s board of commissioners he is hiring an outside law firm to help resolve the deadlock and make D’Arcy turn over the nonprofits’ records."
The data dump last week on the proposed twin tunnels project through the Delta shows that some types of fish may be harmed.
From the Bee's Matt Weiser: "The first complete draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan was released to the public last week. The $25 billion project calls for two giant water diversion tunnels on the Sacramento River, 100,000 acres of habitat restoration and other projects. Although it took seven years of study and encompasses more than 34,000 pages, the project’s effect on nine imperiled species is officially “not determined,” according to federal wildlife agencies."
"Those nine species include some of the same imperiled fish that are symbolic of the Delta’s environmental troubles and which originally prompted the plan: Delta smelt, longfin smelt, three runs of chinook salmon, green and white sturgeon, and steelhead. The last is the greater sandhill crane, a majestic bird that roosts on land where tunnel construction is proposed."