SF Bay Area transit agency, unions to resume talks
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The chief negotiator for the San Francisco Bay Area rapid transit agency says he will present a new offer to two of its unions as the stark possibility of a second transit strike in less than three months looms.
Negotiator Thomas Hock says that the BART board has given him the authority to present the offer to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 as bargaining resumes Thursday afternoon, just hours before a 60-day, state-mandated cooling off period expires at midnight.
Hock would not comment on the specifics of the proposal but says the parties are still "a lot of millions" apart.
ATU President Antonette Bryant says the unions are anxious to look at the agency's new proposal, and they remain optimistic about reaching a deal.
WOMAN DEAD-HOSPITAL STAIRS
Foul play ruled out in SF hospital patient's death
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A spokesman for the family of a San Francisco woman whose body was found in the stairwell of a hospital where she was a patient says investigators have ruled out foul play in her disappearance and death.
The spokesman, David Perry, told reporters Thursday that while the coroner hasn't established a cause or time of death for 57-year-old Lynne Spalding, investigators don't think she was the victim of an attack.
Spalding's body was found Tuesday in a fire exit stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital. She was admitted to the city-owned hospital with an infection on Sept. 19 and reported missing from her room two days later.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Thursday that he's hiring an independent consultant to investigate the hospital's security and search protocols.
SoCal doctors check holy land travelers for virus
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California health officials say they'll be keeping a close watch on people returning from pilgrimages to the Muslim holy land this year — checking to see if they are bringing back a potentially deadly flu-like virus.
People returning with bad coughs or flu-like symptoms could be infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.
So far, the Los Angeles Times reports, the virus has been detected only in Europe and the Middle East. It is deadly more than 40 percent of the time.
Millions travel to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the Middle East this time of year for the annual pilgrimage known as hajj.
LA County's public health director, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, says physicians will quickly check those returning with suspicious fevers or coughs.
Law will expand use of drug to combat overdoses
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will expand use of a treatment to restore breathing after a drug overdose.
A drug known as naloxone is used in hospitals and by paramedics to revive individuals who may have overdosed on a prescription or illegal drug. The new law also will allow other health care providers to prescribe the drug.
Bill author and Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco says enacting the bill will save lives. There were more than 2,700 drug overdose deaths in California in 2010, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
Brown announced signing the bill Thursday. It was sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, which works to reduce consequences to drug use, and the California Society of Addiction Medicine.
Brown vetoes 'imperfect' teacher discipline bill
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed what he calls an "imperfect" union-backed bill intended to streamline the dismissal of teachers accused of misconduct.
He said in a veto message Thursday that lawmakers should try again next year.
The bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo was approved by lawmakers a year after a more stringent bill died in the state Assembly after union opposition.
Both responded to last year's arrest of a Los Angeles elementary school teacher who was charged with nearly two-dozen counts of engaging in lewd conduct with students.
Brown applauded some of the bill's proposed changes. But he says other provisions in the bill backed by the California Teachers Association "may do more harm than good."
It was among several education bills signed or vetoed by the governor.
XGR-COMMUNITY COLLEGE FEES
Gov. signs bill for pricier comm. college classes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that would allow California's community colleges to offer additional courses at inflated prices during short summer and winter sessions.
Brown issued a statement when signing the bill Thursday, saying the pilot program "seems like a reasonable experiment."
The measure sponsored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, would allow community colleges to make courses available between the traditional fall and spring semesters.
It does not provide additional state funding to pay for the extra classes. Instead, students would be charged the nonresident rate of $200 per unit, compared with $46 for state-subsidized credits during traditional semesters.
Several community college systems and student and faculty groups opposed the bill, saying it would put lower income students at a disadvantage.
Nevada judge says she's working on Simpson ruling
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A decision about whether O.J. Simpson will get a new trial is still in the works.
That's the word Thursday from a Nevada state court judge approaching the five-month anniversary of hearings she held in May about whether the former football star was so badly represented by his lawyers at trial that he deserves a retrial.
Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price issued a short statement saying Judge Linda Marie Bell hasn't set a date for her ruling.
The statement says the case is complicated, the file is thick, and the judge is addressing 22 claims raised by prosecutors and Simpson lawyers.
Simpson is serving nine to 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping in a botched attempt to retrieve personal items from sports memorabilia dealers in 2007.