National Roundup

School board member defends Cosby, criticizes 'whores'

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - A Florida school board member is under fire for Facebook posts saying men are being destroyed by "whores" and defending Bill Cosby, who was recently convicted of rape.

Angered residents demanded Marion County board member Nancy Stacy resign during Tuesday's meeting. That came a day after she posted, "Tired of WHORES destroying men! Set Bill Cosby free, says 'Mama Bear' with sons!"

The Ocala Star-Banner reports Stacy then wrote, "I do not consider a whore to be a victim of rapes. They go to a motel with a rich man with hopes of getting preg so they can rape him financially for 18 years."

Stacy later wrote her goal was "to suck evil venomous PROGRESSIVE liberals" into a trap and make them angry.

Stacy told reporters she would not resign.

Judge won't ­be punishing ­conservationists in Tahoe ski resort suit

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The owners of a Lake Tahoe ski resort in a legal battle with an environmental group over a redevelopment project have failed to persuade a California judge to penalize the conservationists with an order to pay more than $225,000 in attorney bills.

Placer County Judge Michael Jones ruled in August against Sierra Watch's claim the county violated public meeting laws when it approved Alterra Mountain Co.'s expansion at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows near Tahoe City, California.

Squaw Valley President Ron Cohen argued the lawsuit was a frivolous attempt to "gum up the works for years" and urged the judge to sanction the nonprofit group to collect $226,893 in attorney fees as punishment.

The Sierra Sun first reported last week the judge denied the request for sanctions, ruling the plaintiff's case was not frivolous "or totally meritless."

Sierra Watch is appealing to the California Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the judge's earlier ruling that the alleged violation of public meeting laws didn't warrant freezing the overall development project.

Sierra Watch Executive Director Tom Mooers said Alterra's bid for sanctions was an attempt to "harass a local nonprofit and intimidate the public."

"For years what we've seen from Alterra has been a consistent attempt to steamroll Squaw Valley and secure as much development as they can," he said in a statement emailed Tuesday to The Associated Press.

Cohen denied the motion was an effort "to silence them." Rather, it was intended "to get the community to start talking about how we move forward."

"Let's work together here. These fights don't result in wins for anyone," he told the Sun.

Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Alterra wants to build a series of high-rise condo hotels and a 90,000-square-foot indoor waterpark opponents say would take 25 years to construct and add thousands of car trips to Lake Tahoe's already crowded roads.

In August, Jones ruled against Sierra Watch's lawsuit claiming the county had violated California's Brown Act when approving the redevelopment project. The act ensures the public's right to participate in the government's decision-making process.

Sierra Watch said a memo announcing Squaw Valley had agreed to pay $440,000 to the Tahoe Regional Planning Association for an air quality mitigation fee was not available to the public 72 hours before the Nov. 15, 2016, meeting where the project was approved.

The memo wasn't emailed to the county Board of Supervisors until 5:36 p.m. Nov. 14, the complaint stated. A copy of the memo was placed at the board clerk's office in Auburn, California, and wasn't available to the public during the next day's normal business hours.

Jones ruled Placer County wasn't a party to the fee agreement. He also ruled the agreement wasn't significant enough to require notice in a public agenda.

The conservationists asked the appellate court to revisit the issue.

"Putting the document in a closed and locked building after normal business hours the night before the hearing does not fulfill the purposes of the Brown Act to promote open government," the group wrote in an Oct. 1 appeal notice.

Jury's $289M award in Roundup cancer suit heads to court

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco jury's $289 million verdict in favor of a school groundskeeper who says Roundup weed killer caused his cancer will face its first court test Wednesday.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto will argue at a hearing that Judge Suzanne Bolanos should throw out the verdict in favor of DeWayne Johnson. Attorneys for the company say Johnson failed to prove that Roundup or similar herbicides caused his lymphoma, and presented no evidence that Monsanto executives were malicious in marketing Roundup. Bolanos was not expected to rule immediately.

Regulators around the world have concluded on "multiple occasions" that the active ingredient in Roundup - glyphosate - is not a human carcinogen, the attorneys said in court documents. They called the jury verdict "extraordinary" and said it requires "exceptional scrutiny."

Johnson's attorneys responded in court documents that the jury was well-educated and attentive. The evidence at trial was "more than sufficient to support an inference" that Johnson's cancer was caused by his exposure to Monsanto's herbicides, the attorneys said.

"Mr. Johnson's story is tragic and could have been prevented if Monsanto actually showed a modicum of care about human safety," they said.

Johnson's lawsuit is among hundreds alleging Roundup caused cancer, but it was the first one to go to trial. The jury in August determined that Roundup contributed to Johnson's cancer, and Monsanto should have provided a label warning of a potential health hazard.

It awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.

Johnson sprayed Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, at his job as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, according to his attorneys. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014 at age 42.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between glyphosate and cancer. Monsanto has vehemently denied such a connection, saying hundreds of studies have established that glyphosate is safe.

Monsanto wants Bolanos to override the jury's decision and enter judgment in its favor or order a new trial. Bolanos also has the authority to reduce the award.

Published: Thu, Oct 11, 2018