Tuesday, Oct. 23 2018


University of California workers start strike

More than 15,000 University of California radiology technicians, pharmacists and other medical workers have started a three-day strike to protest outsourcing and demand higher wages.

Strikers gathered at sunrise throughout the state, wearing green t-shirts, ringing bells and carrying signs that say "End Outsourcing."

The walkout doesn’t include nurses. It’s targeting five UC hospitals in Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Davis, along with clinics, campuses and research facilities.

The strike was called by AFSCME Local 3299, which represents 25,000 service workers, after the union and the university couldn't agree on a new contract and mediation efforts failed.

The same issue prompted a three-day walkout by 53,000 UC workers last May, including custodians and cafeteria workers. Nurses and other medical workers walked out then in sympathy.


Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict that found Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed the amount of money to be paid from $289 million to $78 million.

In denying Monsanto's request for a new trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos cut the jury's punitive damage award from $250 million to $39 million. The judge had earlier said she had strong doubts about the jury's entire punitive damage award.

Bolanos gave DeWayne Johnson until Dec. 7 to accept the reduced amount or demand a new trial.

Johnson's spokeswoman Diana McKinley said he and his lawyers are reviewing the decision and haven't decided the next step. "Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the court didn’t disturb the verdict."

Monsanto spokesman Daniel Childs said that the company was pleased with the reduced reward but still planned to appeal the verdict. Childs said there's no scientific proof linking Roundup to cancer.

The jury awarded punitive damages after it found that the St. Louis-based agribusiness had purposely ignored warnings and evidence that its popular Roundup product causes cancer, including Johnson's lymphoma.


Elon Musk says his transit test tunnel close to completion

Elon Musk says he's planning to offer the public free rides through a tunnel he bored under a Los Angeles suburb to test a new type of transportation system.

In a series of tweets, Musk said the tunnel is almost complete and there will be an opening event on the night of Dec. 10 and free rides for the public the next day.

The tunnel runs about 2 miles under the streets of Hawthorne, where Musk's SpaceX headquarters is located.

Musk has described a system in which vehicles or people pods are moved on electrically powered platforms called skates at speeds up to 155 mph.

Musk wants to build a tunnel across western Los Angeles and another between a Metro subway line and Dodger Stadium.


Irvine City Council – more transparency

The Irvine City Council today will consider enhancing local government transparency by approving an ordinance to increase the number of days the agenda would be posted before a meeting.

City Public Affairs and Communications Director Craig Reem says the proposed ordinance referred to as the “Irvine Sunshine Ordinance,” calls for the posting to occur 12 days before a meeting. He says currently, staff makes available the agenda five days before a meeting and under the Brown Act, three days are required.

He says posting the agenda more days in advance of a meeting would give the public more time to review it to determine if they want to attend the Council meeting for possible participation.

Today’s meeting begins at four in the afternoon.


San Clemente Pier light up

Thursday, hundreds of people will gather to light up the San Clemente Pier.

Pier Pride Foundation President Peggy Vance says the third annual event will go on between 5:30 and 7:30 in the evening with entertainment and other activities. She participants will line up around the pier and then after sunset with cell phones and flashlights, light up the pier. No open flames will be allowed.

She says the Pier Pride Foundation was created to fill in the funding gaps needed to restore the pier. It recently installed fishing line recycling canisters and its now working on getting funding for updating the educational signage on the pier.

Vance says the San Clemente Trolley will operate for the event between five and eight in the evening from the Outlets at San Clemente.