Alex's Feed
May 13, 2015

California city takes away welcome mat from Airbnb, other rental services

LOS ANGELES, May 13 (Reuters) – Santa Monica, a prime
Southern California tourist destination, has approved
restrictions on short-term home rentals that will limit
companies such as Airbnb, in what the city’s mayor touted as
model regulation for other communities to adopt.

The Santa Monica City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to
prohibit housing unit rentals of less than a month, unless the
primary resident is also staying there and will pony up the same
14 percent occupancy tax hotels in the city must pay.

May 11, 2015

Blue whales, unused to dodging, at risk from ships: Stanford biologist

LOS ANGELES, May 11 (Reuters) – Blue whales are vulnerable
to cargo ship strikes because they are so used to being the
largest animal in the ocean that they often fail to avoid the
vessels, a Stanford University biologist has found.

The study published in the latest edition of the journal
Endangered Species Research is based on direct observation in
the waters off Southern California, where a team used GPS
technology and suction cups to track how the giant mammals
respond when a vessel is barreling toward them.

May 10, 2015

Tornado kills one in north Texas, several twisters touch down in Colorado

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A tornado killed one person in a rural part of north Texas on Saturday and destroyed at least two houses, a local emergency official said, just days after a series of twisters tore through several Great Plains states.

The twister touched down about 5 miles (8 km) south of the town of Cisco, an area of farms and small ranches, where it traveled in a straight line and tore through several houses in its path, said Eastland County Judge Rex Fields, the local emergency management coordinator.

May 9, 2015

U.S. sports rank most homophobic among six English-speaking countries- survey

LOS ANGELES, May 9 (Reuters) – Homophobia in sports is worse
in the United States than in other English-speaking countries
and globally is more acute in team sports than other parts of
society, according to a survey released on Saturday.

The “Out on the Fields” study conducted by the sports and
entertainment market research firm Repucom found homophobia is
common in athletics in the United States, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, with gay and lesbian
athletes often hearing slurs from teammates while spectators
encounter similar language in the stands.

May 8, 2015

San Francisco prosecutors dismiss eight cases in police texts probe

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – San Francisco prosecutors reviewing thousands of arrests linked to 14 police officers who traded racist and homophobic text messages have dismissed eight criminal cases in an ongoing review, the District Attorney’s Office said on Friday.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón created a task force of prosecutors to examine the integrity of 3,000 arrests involving the officers, whose text messages surfaced in March as part of a federal corruption probe. On Thursday he named three retired judges to join the group, suggesting they would bring an independent view to the cases.

May 8, 2015

Man found guilty of murder in 1995 kidnapping and stabbing in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Southern California man was convicted of murder on Thursday in a 1995 kidnapping and stabbing that gained international attention when his accomplice, who had become a professor in Europe, was arrested three years ago.

The case stems from the killing in Orange County of 24-year-old Gonzalo Ramirez, who was hacked to death with a meat cleaver.

May 7, 2015

Judges to review arrests by California officers in racist texts scandal

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – San Francisco’s district attorney has appointed three retired judges to review the integrity of 3,000 arrests involving more than a dozen police officers who engaged in racist and homophobic text messages, his office said on Thursday.

District Attorney George Gascón said the officers’ actions compromised public trust in law enforcement.

May 6, 2015

California city plans $16 minimum wage by 2019, highest in U.S

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Emmeryville, a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, has given initial approval to the nation’s highest minimum wage by setting baseline pay at $16 an hour in 2019, with gradual increases leading up to that level.

The 5-0 vote on Tuesday by the city council in Emmeryville, a community of about 10,000 residents, follows moves by several major U.S. cities to sharply raise their minimum wages.

May 6, 2015

Aide to California attorney general arrested in probe of fake police

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An aide to California’s attorney general has been charged with impersonating a police officer for his role in a self-proclaimed police organization that traces its roots back 3,000 years and claims jurisdiction in much of the United States and Mexico, authorities said on Wednesday.

The criminal charge against Brandon Kiel, who has served as deputy director of community affairs for Kamala Harris’ California Department of Justice, represents a potential embarrassment as the Democratic attorney general campaigns for a U.S. Senate seat.

May 5, 2015

California asks court to block prisoner’s sex-reassignment surgery

LOS ANGELES, May 5 (Reuters) – California officials have
asked an appeals court to block a judge’s order requiring the
state to pay for the sex-reassignment surgery of a prisoner,
arguing in court papers that the inmate has no medical need for
the operation.

Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 51, who was born male but
identifies as a woman, was convicted of second-degree murder in
1987. She is seeking to become the first inmate in state history
to undergo gender-reassignment surgery.