Signaling what may be an emerging national trend, two influential medical groups with San Diego-based Scripps Health are cancelling their Medicare Advantage contracts for 2024 because of low reimbursement and prior authorization hassles, leaving 30,000 enrolled seniors to look for new doctors, or different coverage. "Negotiations with the payers for MA with our medical foundation groups and Scripps Health were unsuccessful and we have been forced to withdraw from those plans due to annual losses that exceeded $75 million," Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder told MedPage Today in an early morning email.
In the realm of burgers and fries, California’s hot labor summer is sizzling. In a remarkable reversal of fortune, the state’s fast-food worker movement, created and steered by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has compelled the giants of the fast-food industry (both national stalwarts like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Starbucks and local legends like In-N-Out) to withdraw their opposition to raising their workers’ wages and establishing a statewide labor-business board to deal with industry issues. Last year, after the legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that established such a council to raise those wages, the industry announced it would put $200 million behind a ballot measure it had devised to overturn that law.
Oakland, California — The mission was supposed to be simple: At a moment when millions of students were being educated exclusively online, California’s leaders decided that high-speed internet should be available everywhere, even in places where residents struggle to afford it. So in 2021 the state directed millions in federal pandemic relief dollars and other funding– a total of $3.87 billion — to bridge the “digital divide” by installing fiber-optic cables that would bring high-speed internet to neighborhoods where it did not exist. Two years later, those ambitious plans appear to have been slashed disproportionately, threatening to leave some urban communities, including East Oakland and South Central Los Angeles, further behind.
A quick trip through any major American city and you can see it for yourself – “tent cities” underneath highways or alongside parks, people sleeping on the sidewalk, overcrowded and resource-stripped shelters. It is estimated that there are nearly 600,000 homeless people across the US, marking the highest yearly surge since the government began tracking the data in 2007, according to the Wall Street Journal. Major cities like Los Angeles are seeing homeless populations spike almost 10 percent from last year. This problem has been deeply exacerbated in the post-pandemic era. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, rent was already skyrocketing due to inflation levels as well as “development projects”, forcing long-time residents, mainly minorities, out of their own neighborhoods.
After over four years of our court case dragging on, my co-defendants and I are scheduled to go on trial Sept. 8 in Sonoma County, California. We are facing dozens of criminal charges, including eight felonies, for nonviolent animal rescues. Growing up, I prided myself on following the rules. I was a straight-A student and faithful Catholic. My teachers trusted me so much they let me teach the class. Today, I’ve been arrested multiple times as part of a group that’s being surveilled by the FBI. It might surprise you to know I still love following rules and doing what is right, but my understanding of what’s right has changed.
If you think the San Francisco Bay Area is “woke,” you probably don’t know about East Contra Costa County, in the East Bay, where nearly half the City of Antioch’s police department are now on leave for police misconduct that includes exchanging racist, homophobic, and misogynist text messages, some of which include the n-word and references to Black people as gorillas and monkeys. In one instance it was revealed that one cop had sent another a text image depicting the Black police chief, who had been on the job for about a year, as a gorilla . The chief resigned shortly thereafter without saying why.
One of the nation’s most important climate fights is currently playing out under the radar in California, where state residents are weathering an unprecedented tropical storm. Oil and industry lobbying groups are spending millions in a last-ditch attempt to block first-of-its-kind legislation that would require thousands of large companies doing business in the state to fully disclose their carbon emissions, a move that would effectively set national policy. In the final weeks of California’s legislative session, which ends in mid-September, Assembly members are expected to vote on the climate transparency bill.
Thousands of city workers in Los Angeles abandoned their jobs Tuesday in a one-day strike, calling attention to their claims of unfair labor practices and what they say is the city's unwillingness to bargain in good faith. The strike is the first work stoppage for employees in America's second-largest city in more than 40 years. About 11,000 city workers for SEIU Local 721, including sanitation workers, heavy-duty mechanics and engineers at the Los Angeles International Airport, custodians at public schools and lifeguards are staged the walkout and took to picket lines early Tuesday.
Unions representing more than 85,000 healthcare workers have held pickets at 50 facilities across California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado amid new contract negotiations as their current union contracts are set to expire on 30 September. The negotiations at Kaiser Permanente are the third largest set of contract negotiations in the US in 2023, behind the 340,000 workers at UPS who will be voting on a tentative agreement this month that was reached days before planned strike action, and 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis whose contracts are set to expire on 14 September.
When Thomas Bradley showed up for his third shift at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point, California, on July 2 he encountered something new: a picket line. The picket was part of a wave of strikes at Los Angeles-area hotels by members of UNITE HERE Local 11. Their contracts at 62 hotels expired June 30. The hotel workers’ top demand is for pay that will allow them to secure housing in a market that is pricing them out. Bradley, who had been a hotel union member years before, stopped to talk to the picketing workers and then joined them, exercising his right to strike under labor law. But there was a problem.
Hollywood writers and actors aren’t the only unionized workers picketing in Los Angeles right now. In a show of force for the labor movement, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are teaming up with workers across the city to march in solidarity for better wages and working conditions. Hospitality workers union Unite Here 11, which has been on strike since June 30, staged a solidarity rally in Hollywood Friday that saw hundreds of its members join up with entertainment industry workers to march from the W Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard past the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine and on to the Netflix offices at Sunset Bronson Studios, where they were met with cheers by writers and actors on the daily picket lines.
The Klamath River runs over 250 miles (400 kilometers) from southern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. It flows through the steep, rugged Klamath Mountains, past slopes of redwood, fir, tanoak and madrone, and along pebbled beaches where willows shade the river’s edge. Closer to its mouth at Requa, the trees rising above the river are often blanketed in fog. The Klamath is central to the worldviews, history and identity of several Native nations. From headwaters in Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin-Paiute lands, it flows through Shasta, Karuk, Hupa and Yurok homelands. The Yurok Tribe has legally recognized the personhood of the river.
California is currently considering two media literacy bills, both of which have sailed through the California State Assembly and are being reviewed by the Senate Education Committee. The first, Assembly Bill 873, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, requires teaching media literacy in K-12 schools throughout the Golden State. The Second bill, sponsored by Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland), Assembly Bill 787, mandates schools to implement curriculum at every grade level and relies on a more informed and civically engaged society. As part of these efforts, the bill seeks input from teachers, tech experts, and researchers on how to teach media literacy in California schools.
Tijuana, Mexico — Eduardo seemed not to notice the soft midday rain slowly dampening his clothes and beading up on the sleeves of his jacket. Just a couple hundred feet from where the Pacific lapped the beach of both Mexico and the U.S., drawing no distinction between the two, Eduardo pointed out the native and culinary plants he and his friends tend to each week. The corn, fennel and spinach grow just a foot or two from a row of tightly spaced, 18-foot-tall bollards reinforced with tightly woven steel mesh that mark the international border. On the Mexican side, the rusting metal is covered with brightly colored murals that attempt to lend the miles-long barrier a glimmer of humanity.
There are two very different (and antagonistic) renewable energy models: the utility-centered, centralized energy model—the existing dominant one—and the community-centered, decentralized energy model—what energy justice advocates have been pushing for. Although both models utilize the same technologies (solar generation, energy storage, etc.), they have very different physical characteristics (remote vs local energy resources, transmission lines or not). But the key difference is that they represent very different socio-economic energy development models and very different impacts on our communities and living ecosystems.