Ports slowed by walkout; Key vote on desalination plant; Fighting over foie gras

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Port dispute. Seven of the eight terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and several others at the Port of Long Beach are idle this morning. Longshoremen are honoring picket lines thrown up by about 70 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The clerical workers are involved in a two-and-a-half-year-old contract battle with APM Terminals, which operates most docks at the twin-port complex. An arbitrator ruled Tuesday that the strike was invalid because the union has been negotiating in bad faith. The union has ignored that order, however. L.A. Times

Thirsty city. San Diego water officials hold the fate of the nation’s largest planned water desalination plant in their hands. They’re expected to vote today on a long-term agreement with the plant’s operators – a move that would boost rates but would also provide the region with a backup source of drinking water. The $1 billion plant would be built in Carlsbad and would produce nearly 50 million gallons of purified drinking water a day by 2020. Marketplace

Costly ride. More than 900 people who rode in L.A. Fire Department ambulances may be victims of identity theft. The L.A. Times reports the IRS and other federal agencies have opened a criminal investigation. They’re trying to determine if confidential information was illegally obtained by an employee of a company that performs ambulance billing services. In letter to potential victims, the Fire Department says the information was used to file fraudulent tax returns to collect refunds. L.A. Times

Foie gras flap. The animal rights group PETA is suing a Hermosa Beach restaurant for allegedly doing an end-run on the state’s ban on selling foie gras. Hot’s Kitchen has been offering customers a complimentary side of foie gras with a burger. The restaurant says its actions are legal because the price of the burger is the same with or without the liver dish. The state banned foie gras this year over concerns about animal cruelty. The food is made from the swollen livers of ducks or geese, which are force fed through tubes inserted in their throats. KNBC

Hat in ring. The dust has barely settled from this month’s election, but at least one GOP lawmaker is looking ahead to the next one. Lake Arrowhead Assemblyman Tim Donnelly – a member of the Tea Party – says he’s exploring a run for governor in 2014. Donnelly is the first Republican to publicly challenge Governor Jerry Brown, who is widely expected to seek another term. Riverside Press Enterprise