Oroville dam's troubled history

Apr 18, 2017

A catastrophic slew of design flaws and maintenance defects served as the catalyst for the Oroville Dam spillway's chaotic collapse.


LA Times' RALPH VARTABEDIAN: "Design flaws, construction shortcomings and maintenance errors caused the Oroville Dam spillway to break apart in February, according to an independent analysis by Robert Bea for the Center for Catastrophic Risk Analysis at UC Berkeley."

"Bea, a co-founder of the center and retired civil engineering professor, found that in the 1960s, when the dam was being planned, designers did not call for a thick enough concrete spillway floor. Nor did they require the continuous steel reinforcement needed to keep its slabs intact during decades of service."

"The design also did not require strong enough anchors into the underlying mountainside to resist movements downhill and from side to side."


The controversial H-1B visa sees its application rate dwindle for the first time in years, likely due to Trump's stance on immigration.


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "For the first time in years, the number of H-1B visa applications has decreased — a signal that President Trump’s “America First” rhetoric is deterring employers from hiring foreignworkers, experts say."

"That rhetoric will ramp up Tuesday, when Trump is planning to sign an executive order that seeks to make changes to the visa program."

"The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said Monday it had received 199,000 H-1B applications for the next fiscal year, according to the federal immigration agency. This is a steep decline from the 236,000 received last year and the 233,000 it received in 2015."


The DMV has opened its very first self-serve kiosk at its UCI office in Irvine.


OC Register's ROXANA KOPETMAN: "The tall yellow machine is especially helpful to those who procrastinate, and where better to stick an experimental one than on a college campus, home to students waiting until the last moment to turn in that report for History 101?"

"Actually, the Department of Motor Vehicles plopped California’s first-ever vehicle-registration kiosk outside of its field offices here for a very simple reason."

"“(UCI officials) were the first who said yes to us,” DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said."


READ MORE related to TransportationSF group files suit in international patent squabble -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; Some families blame phone makers for distracted driving deaths -- The Chronicle's WENDY LEE 


A 21 year old student from the Elk Grove area has died in a tragic fall from a third-floor balcony this past Sunday at UC Berkeley -- which makes the 7th victim to fall from a Berkeley campus balcony since 2015.


Sacramento Bee's BILL LINDELOF: "A young woman who died after falling from a balcony at an apartment building in Berkeley was from Elk Grove, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Office."

"The coroner’s office identified her as 21-year old Kimberly Tze."

"The Berkeleyside website said authorities were called to the 2700 block of Dwight Way, where a woman was reported to have fallen from a third-floor balcony early Sunday morning."


READ MORE related to Education: In a bid to ease student debt, California considers a role in helping refinance private loans -- LA Times' MELANIE MASON; Victim of sexual misconduct by UC Berkeley law school dean criticizes campus settlement -- LA Times' TERESA WATANABE


Capitol Weekly sat down with CalChannel CEO John Hancock this week for the podcast.


Capitol Weekly: "For followers of state politics, Ground Zero is The California Channel, which started broadcasting more than 26 years ago and has never looked back. Okay, so it’s not the flashiest option on your TV dial and people have been known to turn it on late at night as a sleep aid. But among California politicos and policy wonks, the Cal Channel is must-see TV. Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster sat down with John Hancock, CalChannel’s president and CEO. Hancock — Capitol insider, devotee  of the arts and veteran TV executive who knows everyone in the broadcast biz — chatted about public affairs programming, viewership and the need for balanced coverage."


READ MORE related to Local: Leader of California secession group drops campaign -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZSF group files suit in international patent squabble -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; Feinstein hears it at raucous SF town hall -- voters want action -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFLI


An appellate court has overturned a state labor board ruling related to a 2012 pension reform initiative in San Diego.


ED MENDEL in Capitol Weekly: "In another ruling allowing pension cuts, an appeals court last week overturned a state labor board ruling that a voter-approved San Diego pension reform was invalid because the city declined to bargain the issue with labor unions."

"The initiative approved by 66 percent of San Diego voters in 2012 gave all new city hires, except police, a 401(k)-style individual investment retirement plan instead of a pension and imposed a five-year freeze on pay used to calculate pensions."


"The state Public Employment Relations Board, whose post-election decision was overturned by a unanimous ruling of a three-member appellate panel, took the unprecedented step of trying to get a court to remove the San Diego initiative from the ballot before the vote."


READ MORE related to EconomyRents hit all-time highs amid job growth and low vacancy rates -- OC Register's JEFF COLLINS; Santa Ana to consider two-year extension for trash collection contract out to bid once in about 50 years -- OC Register's JESSICA KWONG


Orange County's Congressional hopefuls have wasted no time in fattening their warchests


OC Register's MARTIN WISCKOL: "Orange County’s Republican congressional incumbents are leading the way in fundraising, but challengers to Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, also posted strong first quarter reports and provided more evidence of the nationwide attention the county’s shifting party loyalties is attracting."

"With Hillary Clinton prevailing in all four of the county’s GOP House districts — as well winning countywide — Democrats see potential for unseating the incumbents. The fundraising tallies indicate there could be strong contenders, as Democrats don’t typically enter these races so early in the cycle let alone raise hundreds of thousands of dollars."

"Issa avoided being upset by retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate, a San Clemente Democrat, by just 0.7 percentage points last year, despite outspending his opponent $6 million to $2 million. The closeness of the contest helped lure environmental lawyer and veteran Democratic activist Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano into the race this year."


READ MORE related to Beltway: A confident Justice Gorsuch plunges into the debate on his first day at the Supreme Court -- LA Times' STAFF

The life of a West Sac fire department family member was almost lost recently after her heart gave out, prompting a sudden bout of cardiac arrest.


Sacramento Bee's ELLEN GARRISON: "On a sunny Friday afternoon in October, West Sacramento Fire Department secretary Lindsay Dyer laced up her sneakers and headed out for a routine jog on her lunch hour."

"It turned into “the run of my life,” Dyer said, when her heart suddenly stopped, and she was saved by five bystanders."

"As I lay on the ground dying, pulseless, strangers saw me alone and in distress,” Dyer said. “In my greatest moment of need, they came to my rescue.”


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Berkeley couple's mysterious deaths raise public health fears -- The Chronicle's KIMBERLEY VEKLEROV


The Assad regime has faced relentless condemnation for gassing civilians -- but the world often forgets that ISIL also has access to biological weapons.


LA Times' MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE: "When the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun was hit this month with an attack of poison gas, the incident drew international condemnation and prompted the Trump administration to launch a retaliatory missile strike."

"On Friday, there was another incident: A rocket loaded with chlorine gas struck the neighborhood of Abar in the Iraqi city of Mosul, injuring several soldiers. This one, though, was not fired by the government. Iraqi military officials said it was launched by the militant group Islamic State."

"As the U.S. government backed by the international community continues to draw a red line around the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in its long-running war against Islamic State and other rebels, there is growing evidence that deadly chemical agents are also becoming part of the jihadist group’s arsenal."

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