At first, we discovered that Caltrans can’t keep track of which local roads are closed. Now we’ve learned how often it says a road is shut down when it isn’t: a whopping 69 percent of the time in San Diego and Imperial counties.

That’s higher than the statewide rate.

Could this many errors pose a hazard when firefighters can’t figure out if roads are open or closed?

No, says a local Caltrans official. Yes, says a local fire chief.

They’re scheduled to talk it out.

Water supplies are down, but plants still need to suck up a lot of the wet stuff. Or do they?

A UCSD scientist is trying to develop a “new generation of crops that could ultimately protect agriculture from the scourge of drought.”

It won’t be easy but the possible solutions are “multifarious,” the scientist says, impressing us with both his knowledge and his vocabulary.

Donors who support a new downtown library apparently want to remain anonymous. And the city is on their side in discussions with the state, “guaranteeing those funds — but not legally guaranteeing them.”

Is that like being partially pregnant?

We’ve also discovered what may be a significant error in the city’s filings with the state regarding the library.

In other City Hall news, we’ve retained an attorney to politely — or otherwise — convince the city to release hundreds of emails regarding its development of water conservation policies. The city had until yesterday afternoon to comply with the request or face a lawsuit.

The city blinked right at the deadline. In a gesture of good faith, we’ve agreed to wait a week before heading to court.

In economic news, columnist Rich Toscano peruses home price numbers and we dig deeper into a local home-sales snafu that’s getting national attention.

If you work for the city, your name and salary are a matter of open record. But this fact isn’t stopping municipal employees from slamming the Union-Tribune for posting these names and salaries online.

What a kick in the teeth …” says one city worker in a letter. “With this website, every single employee, good and bad, can be singled out, scrutinized and evaluated by any person on the street.”

A library assistant sent a similar letter to a local blog, saying the publication of employee names makes workers fearful, especially women.

For its part, the U-T wrote: “In the end, the decision to post this data was driven by our belief that you deserve to know how your tax dollars are being spent.”

It’s not unusual for newspapers to publish such databases online. Here’s one for San Jose employees and another for L.A. employees.

The L.A. database didn’t include the names of cops, but the U-T database does. Why? Because the law has changed.


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