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California Teamsters, Elected Officials Reintroduce AV Human Operator Bill

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California Teamsters, Elected Officials Reintroduce AV Human Operator Bill


Legislation Would Protect Middle Class Jobs, Motorist Safety

Press Contact: Matt McQuaid Phone: (202) 624-6877 Email: mmcquaid@teamster.org

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – Teamsters, California lawmakers, and labor allies gathered at the statehouse in Sacramento today to announce the reintroduction of legislation requiring a trained human operator behind the wheel of self-driving trucks weighing more than 10,000 lbs. Assembly Bill 2286 (AB 2286), formerly Assembly Bill 316 (AB 316), is part of the CARS package that the Teamsters are advocating for in Sacramento, alongside Senate Bill 915. Full video of the event can be found here.

“As autonomous vehicle companies try to push their new, untested technology onto our roads, we need to prioritize legislation that will protect our streets and good-paying driving jobs, and that starts with AB 2286,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters International Western Region Vice President, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “We’ve seen the destruction that small robotaxis can cause, injuring pedestrians and preventing first responders from doing their job. We cannot allow driverless vehicles weighing ten times that of a robotaxi onto our roads without a human operator. That’s why the Teamsters are calling on California policymakers to pass AB 2286.”

The AV human operator bill was first introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Winters) in January 2023 and received overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature, with more than 90 percent of California lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation. According to a 2023 poll, nearly three-quarters of California voters across party lines, gender, geography, and all other demographics also said they support having a human operator behind the wheel of autonomous trucks.

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“I’ve reintroduced this bill because the Legislature’s role is critical in deciding when autonomous trucking is safe and when there is a REAL plan for our trucking workers,” said Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “The autonomous trucking industry has cast this bill as a ban on technology when it explicitly states that testing and deployment will happen with a Human Safety Operator. Using their logic, they’re the ones who support a ban.  A ban on humans in trucks.  A ban on working people’s ability to provide for their families and provide safe roadways for Californians.  We will not stand by and let them put profits over people.”

“All eyes are watching to see if California will take the first step towards passing common sense autonomous vehicle regulation. AB 2286 is not a ban on self-driving technology – it is a bipartisan bill that puts safety first by ensuring a trained human operator behind the wheel of autonomous trucks,” said Chris Griswold, Teamsters International Vice President At-Large, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42. “If we learned anything last year, it was that autonomous vehicles are not ready for prime time. We cannot keep making the same mistake and allowing Big Tech to run the show at the expense of public safety. California needs to pass AB 2286.”

Since Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed AB 316 in September 2023, robotaxis have wreaked havoc on California streets, with one Cruise robotaxi running over a pedestrian and dragging her 20 feet in San Francisco. In the wake of this safety incident, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Cruise, while San Francisco has brought a lawsuit against the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for allowing for the expansion of robotaxis in the city. Last week, an additional investigation was opened into Cruise after reports that the vehicles nearly collided with children in two separate incidents, and a Waymo robotaxi crashed into a cyclist in San Francisco.

In addition to Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, Teamsters were joined by Assemblymembers Tom Lackey (R – Boron) and Laura Friedman (D – Glendale).

“Artificial Intelligence needs to be developed and implemented in a way that benefits everyone – not just wealthy shareholders who only care about the bottom line. So, I urge all California elected officials to please listen to professional drivers like me who operate this machinery every day,” said Julia Sandoval, a Recology driver and member of Teamsters Local 350. “We know big trucks and we know California roads. Please, protect public safety and middle-class prosperity in California by supporting AB 2286.”

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The Teamsters are committed to protecting good-paying union jobs, keeping dangerous autonomous vehicles off our streets, and ensuring local communities have a say in AV deployment and regulation. Earlier this month, the Teamsters held a rally to announce the introduction of SB 915, a bill that would give California’s local municipalities more authority over such regulations. The growing statewide support for AV safety measures comes as Waymo seeks to expand its robotaxi operations in California.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.





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California

Six cool California hotels to book now

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Six cool California hotels to book now


Safe harbour on the Mendocino Coast

Wharf Rock seen from the Seaview Room at Harbor House © Courtesy of Harbor House

Mendocino, about three hours’ drive north of San Francisco, is a small coastal enclave set in outsized nature, a place where world-beating culinary experiences and zero connectivity often fluidly co-exist. Harbor House is the win up here, despite the presence of hotels that are ostensibly more exclusive (The Heritage House) or “cool” (Timber Cove Resort). Its popularity is down to the buildings’ charm – they were lovingly and meticulously restored by owners Edmund Jin and Eva Lu when they bought it – and the excellence of its culinary offering.

The Harbor House dining room
The Harbor House dining room © Matt Morris
Vine peach melon and amazake at Harbor House
Vine peach melon and amazake at Harbor House © Matt Morris

The Inn, which reopened in 2018, is historic, with six rooms in the main house and others in cabins, all cosy and antique-filled, and all unique; one is clad in redwood boiserie, another has a library. The more recent Madrone cottage is modern-architecture heaven. The restaurant has become a northern California beacon; executive chef Matthew Kammerer is a multiple James Beard Award finalist whose tasting menus, which do remarkable things with hyper-local seafood, produce and seaweed, have earned him two Michelin stars. It’s one of those hotels that’s almost legendary on America’s West Coast and inexplicably all but unknown overseas. theharborhouseinn.com, from $550


Carmel’s new hotel belles

It’s always been one of the state’s most beloved beach towns. Monégasque property tycoon Patrice Pastor, who like legions before him has fallen hard for Carmel’s charms, seems to be the person behind quite a few of its new developments; among the flurry of residential and commercial acquisitions his holding company, Esperanza Carmel, has made is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Mrs Clinton Walker House. The Carmel Beach Hotel, operated by Mirabel, the hotel-restaurant company owned by local David Fink, has taken over Colonial Terrace at the corner of 13th and San Antonio (a serendipitous location: San Antonio is just a block up from Carmel Beach, and 13th Street is the border below which you’re allowed to take a picnic and a bottle down onto the sand).

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Carmel Beach, adjacent to Carmel Beach Hotel
Carmel Beach, adjacent to Carmel Beach Hotel © Bonjwing Lee
26 rooms are spread across Carmel Beach Hotel’s seven buildings
26 rooms are spread across Carmel Beach Hotel’s seven buildings © Bonjwing Lee
A room at Carmel Beach Hotel
A room at Carmel Beach Hotel © Bonjwing Lee

Despite having only 26 rooms spread across its seven one- and two-storey buildings, it’s is a full resort proposition: the spa with its three treatment rooms offers facials, scrubs and seaweed wraps, the gym and fitness studio are similarly full-service. In the restaurant is Justin Cogley, who won Best New Chef laurels from Food & Wine, American’s culinary bible, for his delicious work at Aubergine, the restaurant in Fink’s other hotel, L’Auberge Carmel. If sunrise is when you do the beach, Cogley will have you covered; the Carmel Beach Hotel’s breakfast baskets, loaded with local sweet and savoury treats, are made for easy portability.

The terrace at La Playa
The terrace at La Playa © Chris Mottalini
A Premier Ocean View King room at La Playa
A Premier Ocean View King room at La Playa © Chris Mottalini

La Playa is one of Carmel’s larger hotels, as well as one of its oldest, in operation since 1905. I’ve often steered friends and visitors to its gloriously un-chic bar for the Taylor-and-Burton patina it gives. But the 75 rooms were always a bit too tired to warrant recommendation. Thankfully that’s changed; all of them were just renovated to the tune of $15mn, with an eye to creating a sense of upgrade without straying too far from the hotel’s Spanish-colonial vernacular, or its oceanside heritage. The décor schemes thus skew one way or the other: lush Persian rugs, gleaming mahogany four-posters, corner sofas upholstered in deep green velvet; or else rattan and jaunty blue-and-white beach stripes. Never opulent, but eminently comfortable. The views from the top-floor rooms, over the courtyard to the beach and Point Lobos beyond, merit the higher rates if you can foot them. carmelbeachhotel.com, from $250. laplayahotel.com, from $450


Rustic chic with a maximalist finish in Palm Desert

The Barn Kitchen and central bar at Sparrows Lodge
The Barn Kitchen and central bar at Sparrows Lodge © Johnny Valiant

In mid-April, Coachella will once again kick off deep in the Colorado Desert, with Blur, Grimes, Lana del Rey and Tyler the Creator among the big names. Not that you need a festival to partake of this very beautiful landscape; it’s a good year-rounder (barring perhaps August and September) with many great places to stay, boasting design and ambience to please all palates.

A guest room at Sparrows Lodge
A guest room at Sparrows Lodge © Johnny Valiant
A guest bathroom at Sparrows Lodge
A guest bathroom at Sparrows Lodge © Johnny Valiant

The one the Angelenos are buzzing to see, Hotel Wren 29 Palms, is opening in spring. In the meantime you can’t go wrong at Sparrows Lodge, which has been around since long before anyone had the idea for Coachella; MGM Studios actor Don Castle built it in the 1950s and it’s been operating as a hotel for decades. The supremely cool Parisian DJ Claire-Marie Rutledge gave it a style refresh in 2022, and now it’s often booked close to solid, especially at weekends.

The spa entrance beyond the olive grove at Sands Hotel & Spa
The spa entrance beyond the olive grove at Sands Hotel & Spa © Jaime Kowal
The Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel & Spa
The Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel & Spa © Jaime Kowal

All the rough timber walls, exposed beam ceilings, and poured concrete floors combine rusticity with Rutledge’s nods to the area’s apex of 1950s and 1960s style, from the pottery to the beaten-up leather butterfly chairs and the saddle blankets at the foot of your bed. That there are works by the likes of Alex Katz, Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari hanging here and there doesn’t hurt. If you’re after just a dose of old Palm Desert glamour, a dinner at The Pink Cabana at the Sands Hotel & Spa will deliver: Mediterranean-Moroccan food in a space created by LA’s king of maximalism, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. sparrowslodge.com, from $249; sandshotelandspa.com, from $154


Malibu’s most loved

Malibu Beach Inn
Malibu Beach Inn © Malibu Beach Inn

How Malibu has changed in 20 years. Gone are the $3 tacos and feral surfers, replaced by $10 valet tips and premium nigiri at Nobu Malibu. The Malibu Pier – once home to the storied hippie-Hollywood hangout Alice’s Restaurant – is now dominated by a fancy retail outpost of One Gun Ranch, co-owned by a different Alice, the English one called Bamford.

The terrace at Malibu Beach Inn
The terrace at Malibu Beach Inn © Malibu Beach Inn
The King Pier View room at Malibu Beach Inn
The King Pier View room at Malibu Beach Inn © Malibu Beach Inn

Praise, then, for the Malibu Beach Inn (opened 1989), which notwithstanding a 2007 “luxury” upgrade still quietly evinces the spirit of the place. The 47 rooms and suites are all raw wood, ocean hues, generous fireplaces, sliding glass doors, few lofty airs, and the shore 10 paces away. The Inn’s restaurant, Carbon Beach Club, is an actual beach club, with loungers and umbrellas in the sand. The discreet spa, CURE, does it all, from morning movement classes to IV infusions and PRP, via the usual body and face treatments. And the location is easy walking distance to all the New ‘Bu bells, whistles and attractions. malibubeachinn.com, from $660


Old-school ranching in the Santa Ynez Valley

The Lane at Alisal Ranch
The Lane at Alisal Ranch © Teal Thomsen

Working-ranch stays tend to be more associated with the Rockies – Colorado, Montana, Wyoming – than they are with southern California. But Alisal has been operating on 10,500 acres in the gorgeous rolling hills north-west of Santa Barbara since 1946, when it opened to just 30 guests for the summer. It’s evolved since, most notably in the accommodations, which in earlier years were fairly spartan; today they’re cosy and rustic-chic, but operate roughly along the same configurations, with houses for larger groups (Jackson House – named for Pete Jackson, the owner who opened parts of Alisal to the public – sleeps 12; Turner House, 10) and studios and cottages for smaller families and couples.

The Santa Barbara landscape around Alisal Ranch
The Santa Barbara landscape around Alisal Ranch © Teal Thomsen
A sitting area in one of Alisal’s accommodations
A sitting area in one of Alisal’s accommodations © Victoria Pearson
The ranch is set in 10,500 acres of southern California
The ranch is set in 10,500 acres of southern California © Teal Thomsen
The Turner House at Alisal Ranch, named for interior designer Nathan Turner who designed it
The Turner House at Alisal Ranch, named for interior designer Nathan Turner who designed it © Victoria Pearson

There’s a golf course and three tennis courts, as well as a spa and a handful of only-at-Alisal wellness experiences – in April, globally recognised equine-therapy expert Devon Combs will lead a women-only healing-with-horses retreat (from $3,600). But the place is perhaps still best experienced in the salutary simplicity of the original offering: days spent outdoors, hiking or in the saddle, learning about sustainable ranching practices and local wildlife, eating clean, delicious food, and constellation-spotting at night (the skies are exceptionally clear here). alisalranch.com, from $613 for two, full board



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California Senate Candidates Discuss Representation in Forum with Ethnic Media

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California Senate Candidates Discuss Representation in Forum with Ethnic Media


By California Black Media

On Feb. 8, the three leading Democratic California Senate candidates participated in a forum to discuss their campaign platforms and field questions from reporters about issues concerning California residents.

U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Adam Schiff (D-CA-30), and Katie Porter (D-CA-47) – joined the virtual event that was hosted by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services.

An invitation was extended to former Major League Baseball player and Republican Steve Garvey to the participate but there was no response from his staff.

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It is likely that one of the three candidates that took part in the forum will be California’s next junior senator, serving alongside senior Sen. Alex Padilla. That person will replace Sen. Laphonza Bulter, who is currently the only Black woman in the 100-member U.S.  Senate.

One of the questions directed to all the candidates was about how they would ensure that Black women’s voices would continue to be considered in national debates and policymaking.

Lee said Black women legislators “fight for everyone.”

“It is important that they serve in the Senate to have that perspective or that lens that would be missing in the United States Senate,” Lee said, talking about the point of view of Black women, who are the Democratic Party’s most loyal voting bloc.

“It is ‘not just on issues of racial justice, it’s also on issues of equity, economic equity. When you look at billionaires, we have to pass legislation which I’m championing with Senator Sanders, the oligarch Act, the CEO compensation act — bills that will force billionaires to pay their fair share,” said Lee. “A black woman’s perspective on every single issue is very important.”

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Porter said she would “work tirelessly” to make sure that Butler would not be the last Black female Senator when she finishes the interim term. Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Butler after longtime Senator Dianne Porter said California’s next senator needs to be “a champion for communities of color, particularly for Black Americans.

“Washington has long overlooked the needs of hard-working Americans, especially communities of color, including long standing racial gaps in homeownership and education and healthcare. We know that Black Americans have worse health outcomes. They’re less likely to graduate from college. They’re more likely to live in polluted neighborhoods. The question is what is Washington going to do about that?” asked Porter.

Schiff took a different approach to the question. He intends to appoint more Black women and people of color to the judiciary, cabinet positions, and intelligence community such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

“In every aspect of policy, and every appointment I have to make, I want to make sure that we’re elevating people that look like America, that will be representative of every community in America,” Schiff said. “And that very much means Black women and Black men, people from the Latino community and the AAPI community, people in the LGBTQ community as well.”

Reporters from CBM, EMS, India Currents, and La Opinion formulated the questions for the briefing.

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The candidates also fielded questions about the border crisis, funding Ukraine funding, single-payer health insurance, the expansion of the Federal Child Tax Credit, sponsoring bills to protect local journalism, legal immigration relief to essential undocumented workers, legal immigration relief to essential undocumented workers, climate change, reparations for Black Californians, among other topics.





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California homeownership at highest level since 2010

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California homeownership at highest level since 2010


California’s progress toward making the state friendlier for house hunters comes in baby steps.

When my trusty spreadsheet looked at homeownership data from the Census Bureau for the states and the District of Columbia, it found an average 55.9% of California households lived in a home they owned last year.

It’s a bit of a landmark moment: The last time the owners’ share of housing had been higher was in 2010 at 56.1% – just after the Great Recession officially ended.

Now, the situation is still ugly. California has the nation’s third-lowest ownership share, just ahead of New York’s 53.3% and D.C.’s 40.2%. By the way, California rivals Texas was seventh-lowest at 63.6% and Florida was 18th lowest at 67.3%.

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The tops state was West Virginia, ranking No. 1 with a 77% homeownership rate. The national rate was 65.9%.

Let’s remember that homebuying since 2019 benefitted from the Federal Reserve’s extended generosity – cheaper interest rates used as a stimulus to a coronavirus-chilled economy. Developers met some demand, too. California building permits in the last four years were one-third higher than the pace of the 2000s. Still, recent homebuilding runs one-third below the 1990-2010 average.

Plus, the ownership rate may have been boosted a bit by California’s population outflow in recent years. These exits skew toward younger, lower-income folks, a group more likely to rent than own.

It added up to California enjoying a small ownership uptick since coronavirus was added to our economics vocabulary.

California ownership rose 1 percentage point in four years – though 33 states did better. Texas ownership has risen 1.2 points since 2019. Florida was up 1.3 points.

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Nationally, ownership is up 1.4 points since 2019. The nation’s biggest leap was found in North Dakota, up 4.3 points to 65.7%.

Let’s politely say more work must be done: Yes, California ownership is at a 13-year-high, but it’s also essentially at where it was in 1993.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com



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