Activists have cleared a major hurdle in their effort to boost the wages of non-unionized L.A. hotel workers. Despite warnings from business groups that the move could cost jobs, a City Council committee signed off on a plan to increase hotel worker pay to more than $15 an hour, nearly twice the state’s $8-an-hour minimum wage. Labor groups say L.A. hotels have been raking in record profits and that the pay hike is needed to lift the workers out of poverty. But business groups argue it would hurt the workers it aims to help. Some hotels say they’ll have to lay off employees or curtail hiring to comply with the law.
An L.A. County judge has overturned many of the job protections given to California teachers in a lawsuit that could reverberate throughout the country. The ruling by Judge Rolf Treu was a sweeping victory for reform groups who backed the nine student plaintiffs in their lawsuit against California. The students challenged the state’s tenure rules; the “last-in, first-out” seniority layoff system; and the process that school districts use to dismiss under-performing teachers. Treu said the rules are unconstitutional because they deprive students of a quality education.LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised the decision. But teacher unions are calling the ruling an unjustified blow to their members and to students in California. They are vowing to appeal.
The state will build a new psychiatric facility at San Quentin prison to comply with a court-order to improve the care of mentally ill death row inmates. Prison officials plan to convert the prison’s existing medical facility to make room for the 40-bed psychiatric unit. Mentally ill death row prisoners are treated in their cells right now. But federal officials say dozens of condemned inmates are so disturbed that they require inpatient care and 24-hour nursing. There are 720 men on death row at San Quentin. The state also has about two dozen female prisoners who have been sentenced to die. The last execution in California was in 2006.
Bob Welch famously battled the New York Yankees and his own demons. The hard-throwing Dodger righthander died yesterday in Seal Beach of an apparent heart attack. Welch was just 21 when he struck out Reggie Jackson to save Game 2 of the 1978 World Series. The Dodgers lost that series but Welch and the Dodgers beat the Yankees in 1981 to win the championship. He won another with the Oakland A’s in 1989. Welch remains the last big league pitcher to win 25 games in a season. His stellar career was made more notable when he went public with his battle with alcoholism. Welch was 57.