Fired Animal Services Chief Gets $50,000 City Contract

The Los Angeles City Council awarded a $50,000 consulting contract Tuesday to the chief of the Animal Services Department who was fired by the mayor. The contract gives Guerdon Stuckey three months to file a report on several department issues, such as the spay-and-neuter program. Stuckey was fired in December by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who had promised to do so during his election campaign. Stuckey subsequently asked the council to reinstate him, and his attorney hinted that legal action against the city alleging wrongful termination was possible. After weeks of discussion, the council voted 9 to 3 for the contract. In exchange, he dropped his reinstatement request, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mayor Offers Regional Airport Plan
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa outlined his vision for the region's air traffic system, calling for airlines to concentrate international flights at LAX while shifting some new domestic travel, particularly short-haul flights, to other airports. However, efforts at regionalizing air transportation already have failed three times in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reported. There are nine other Southern California airports that officials hope will take the pressure off aging LAX because the region faces a doubling of the number of air passengers by 2030. With a new agreement to try to limit growth at LAX and existing caps on flights at Long Beach and John Wayne airports, efforts to spread air traffic to the Inland Empire and Antelope Valley are taking on a new urgency.

Boeing Workers Vote on Contract
Boeing Co. workers who have been on strike since Nov. 1 at facilities in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and at Vandenburg Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral are voting today on a new contract offer from the company. The lengthy strike by 1,500 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, caused by an impasse over health benefits, already has delayed at least three planned Boeing rocket launches in California and Florida, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. Affected workers include those in Torrance who work on military intelligence equipment and others who work on parts for the C-17 cargo jet made in Long Beach.

Feinstein Says Action Slow on Claims From Ill Lab Workers
Concerned that a federal program to aid sick radiation workers is failing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked the Labor Department to investigate why few of the claims filed by Santa Susana Field Lab workers and their families have been paid, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Men and women who worked near nuclear reactors under Department of Energy contracts at the Santa Susana Field Lab and North American Aviation facilities in Canoga Park, Chatsworth and Downey are eligible to apply for up to $250,000 compensation. As of Tuesday, the Labor Department had paid 17 out of 710 claims filed by sick workers and their families.

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