The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

May 5, 2010
Textbook mistakes and parking lot scams

The latest Public Eye column published in The Bee takes on the powerful textbook industry and wins -- plus warns innocent drivers of an ingenious parking lot scam.

Math books replete with errors will be replaced at area school districts at the cost of publisher Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.

It has offered to replace its elementary math series, which includes student and teacher textbooks, teacher resource guides and student workbooks, at both Sacramento City Unified and Folsom Cordova Unified school districts.

Sac City Unified spokesman Gabe Ross said the district had paid the company $1.3 million for the books. Folsom Cordova Unified spent $600,000.

Staff at both districts voiced concern over errors found in the math series in a Bee story last month. Teachers said math problems didn't add up, lesson plans did not connect to homework assignments and the answer key had mistakes.

McGraw-Hill spokeswoman Mary Skafidas said the firm contacted every California school district that adopted the math series and offered to replace the materials. "Our intention is always to provide programs with the highest quality," Skafidas said.

New materials are expected to arrive the first week of August.

Ross said "McGraw-Hill has been very responsive to the situation and has gone above and beyond to rectify the situation."

- Melody Gutierrez and Diana Lambert


Check out parking lot attendants' badges, IDs

If you use a downtown Sacramento parking lot, beware of people posing as parking attendants to collect parking fees.

A Sacramento woman is out $10 after paying a man who directed her to a parking space in a lot operated by Priority Parking at 16th and J streets a week ago.

She was in a hurry to attend a luncheon. As she drove into the lot, she said a man approached her. He was wearing a black jacket with a patch on it, similar to those worn by security guards. He directed her to a parking space, followed her to the spot and said the fee was $6. When she gave him a $10 bill, he said he didn't have change. The woman told him keep the $10 and asked for a receipt. The man said he would give her the receipt when she returned.

Instead, she came back to find a $23 parking ticket from Priority Parking on her vehicle. She was told by the company she should have deposited the parking fee in a machine in the lot and displayed the ticket, or receipt, in her vehicle. The company waived the $15 penalty, but told her she would have to mail in $8 for the parking fee.

Irma Gomez handles parking violations for Priority Parking, which operates 50 downtown lots. The company has parking attendants at some lots, but Gomez said, "All of our people have logos on their shirts. They wear white shirts with their names and a badge with their photograph."

Gomez said reports of people posing as parking attendants are rare. If attendants collect fees at a lot, they always provide a receipt, she said, because the receipt must be displayed in the vehicle. She said drivers always should note the name on the badge.

- Cathy Locke

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at:

The Public Eye


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives