Tag: San Francisco

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million to Dewayne Johnson, 46, as Jury Rules its Weedkiller Roundup Caused His Cancer

DeWayne Johnson listens during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco last month. (Photograph: Reuters)

by Sam Levin and Patrick Greenfield via theguardian.com

Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289 million in damages.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.

Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.

In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.

“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement. The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.

Speaking in San Francisco on Friday, Johnson said that the jury’s verdict is far bigger than his lawsuit. He said he hopes the case bolsters the thousands of similar lawsuits pending against the company and brings national attention to the issue.

Johnson’s case was particularly significant because a judge allowed his team to present scientific arguments. The dispute centered on glyphosate, which is the world’s most widely used herbicide. The verdict came a month after a federal judge ruled that cancer survivors or relatives of the deceased could bring similar claims forward in another trial.

During the lengthy trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys brought forward internal emails from Monsanto executives that they said demonstrated how the corporation repeatedly ignored experts’ warnings, sought favorable scientific analyses and helped to “ghostwrite” research that encouraged continued usage.

Continue reading “Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million to Dewayne Johnson, 46, as Jury Rules its Weedkiller Roundup Caused His Cancer”

London Breed Wins San Francisco Mayoral Race, Becomes 1st Black Female to Lead City

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (photo via sfchronicle.com)

by Darran Simon via cnn.com

London Breed became the first African-American woman elected to lead San Francisco on Wednesday, when her opponent conceded a tight race.

Breed will serve until 2020, finishing the term of the late Mayor Ed Lee, who died in December at age 65. At a short news conference, Breed praised Lee and thanked her supporters, as well as the other candidates, including Mark Leno, a former state senator who conceded the race hours earlier. She struck an optimistic tone about the city’s future.

“I am London Breed, I am president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and soon to be mayor of the city and county of San Francisco,” she said to cheers. Breed continued, “I am so hopeful about the future of our city, and I am looking forward to serving as your mayor. I am truly humbled and I am truly honored.”

‘Remarkable young woman’

Earlier on Wednesday, Leno called Breed to congratulate her. “She is a remarkable young woman,” Leno said. “She is going to do a very fine job and we all wish her the best because her success is San Francisco’s success.” Leno and Breed, both Democrats, faced off in a primary election held June 5. At one point, Leno pulled ahead in the count, but as more ballots were tallied, Breed took the lead.

With the results neck-and-neck, the San Francisco Department of Elections began counting nearly 14,000 provisional ballots this week. The San Francisco Department of Elections must still process more than 1,100 ballots cast under Conditional Voter Registration.

‘You can do anything you want to do’

Breed referenced her humble beginnings in her news conference. Born in San Francisco, Breed was raised by her grandmother in the city’s public housing and attended public schools. She worked as an executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex for over a decade, before becoming involved in public office, according to her biography.

Breed said her grandmother “probably had a hand in this, looking down from the heavens.” Her grandmother “took care of the community. She took care of me even on days when I didn’t deserve it,” Breed said.

When asked to reflect on the milestone of being the first African-American woman to be the city’s mayor, she said: “It’s really amazing, and it’s really an honor … I know it means so much to so many people.”

“I’m a native San Franciscan — I grew up in some of the most challenging of circumstances,” she said. “I think the message that this sends to the next generation of young people growing up in this city, that no matter where you come from … you can do anything you want to do.”

CNN’s Madison Park contributed to this report.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/politics/san-francisco-mayor-election-results/index.html

Ne-Yo Invests $2.3 Million in Holberton School, a Free Coding Academy, to help Diversify Tech

Ne-Yo with the Holberton founders Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier and Trinity Partner Dan Scholnick (photo via Holberton School)

by Biz Carson via businessinsider.com

The idea of a coding school that charges no upfront tuition was intriguing to Ne-Yo. The Grammy Award-winning artist is certainly not the first musician to invest in Silicon Valley, but he’s one that wants to put his talents and money into helping to solve the diversity challenges facing the tech industry.

On Thursday, Holberton School plans to announce that Ne-Yo invested in the coding academy’s most-recent $2.3 million funding round and is joining its Board of Trustees as a result. “This is not a realistic career for people who came up like me. It’s more realistic to do what I do, be a singer or an NBA star,” Ne-Yo said during a party celebrating his new role at Holberton hosted by Trinity Ventures in San Francisco. “Thanks to these guys it now is,” Ne-Yo said. “I have a platform, and I’m going to use this platform to spread the word.”

While there are plenty of coding schools and bootcamps abound, the Holberton School is taking a different approach by charging no upfront tuition for students to enroll. Instead, graduates have to contribute about 17% of their salaries or internship pay to the school for three years after graduation. Already, Holberton’s free (at least upfront) approach has helped the coding school attract a wide-range of people wanting to break into the tech industry.

Women constitute 40% of its students, and 53% of the student body is people of color.Specifically, Ne-Yo wants to attract more Hispanics and blacks to the coding school based in San Francisco. The school is able to keep its costs low by not hiring formal teachers or giving lectures. Instead much of the curriculum is based around students working on specific projects and helping teach each other. They also work with mentors from companies like Uber and LinkedIn to finish the two-year program.

Already, some of Holberton’s students have interned or been hired at companies like Apple, NASA, and Dropbox. While the coding school is still only about 18 months old, it’s early success is already attracting heavy-hitters like Ne-Yo, along with existing investors including Trinity Ventures, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, and Jerry Murdock, co-founder of Insight Venture Partners. “I’m very, very excited about this,” Ne-Yo said at the celebration. “Let’s make Holberton one of the biggest schools on the face of the planet.”

To read full article, go to: Ne-Yo invests in Holberton School, a free coding school – Business Insider

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Donates Shoe Collection to Bay Area Homeless Shelters

49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Colin Kaepernick is known for three things. His abilities as an NFL quarterback, his activism and his massive shoe collection. Now, he is taking steps to give back in a new way, by donating most of his shoe collection to Bay Area homeless shelters.

And Kaepernick didn’t just donate hundreds of pairs of shoes, he also donated clothing and books to both shelters and orphanages at the end of the last football season. Who says giving has to end when the holiday season does?

Source: Colin Kaepernick donates shoe collection to Bay Area homeless shelters | theGrio

Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris Pioneers Way to Treat Stress in Children, a Startling Source of Future Disease

Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician in San Francisco, is advocating for all children to be screened for traumatic experiences, which, research shows, have a long-term impact on health. She is a Heinz Award winner  (Photo by Jason Henry)

article by 

Soon after Nadine Burke Harris opened a pediatrics clinic in a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco, she began grappling with the high rates of asthma and other illnesses that she was diagnosing in her patients. She wanted to understand why so many of the kids she saw were so sick.

“They would have chronic abdominal pain, headaches, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, opposition defiant disorder,” she said. “It could be that all these different kids have all these diagnoses, or it could be that there is one thing at the root of this.”

She found an answer in a decade-old study that showed a strong link between chronic disease and traumatic experiences during childhood — things such as physical abuse or neglect, or living with a family member addicted to drugs or alcohol. She knew the children she saw lived with high “doses” of adversity, she said, and it made sense: Trauma was affecting their developing brains and also their developing bodies.

So she began to regard her practice in a whole new way. She started evaluating children not just for their medical histories, but also their social histories. And instead of treating only symptoms, she sought to help with the root causes of the stress that were making them sick.

She screened all the children at her clinic for traumatic experiences, and she built a new kind of medical center for those who screened positive. At the Center for Youth Wellness, which opened in 2011, children and their parents can see mental health workers, learn about mindfulness and other relaxation techniques, and meet with case managers who connect them with social services.

Harris’ novel approach to health care, and her personal story, are gaining national attention. Her work has been profiled in a best-selling book by Paul Tough and a documentary film. Her health center has attracted major funders, including Google.org.

Last month, she spoke at the White House for a conference about trauma. And this week, she was honored in Pittsburgh with the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, one of six prizes given annually by the Heinz Foundation to “exceptional Americans, for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues.” The award comes with a $250,000 prize.

“I think we have reached a tipping point,” Harris said in an interview.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 announced the launch of a Center on Healthy, Resilient Children to help pediatricians identify children with toxic stress and help intervene. Local chapters are training pediatricians.

A screening tool for childhood trauma on the center’s website has been downloaded 1,100 times. Harris’s goal is for every pediatrician to screen children for trauma. Continue reading “Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris Pioneers Way to Treat Stress in Children, a Startling Source of Future Disease”

Dave Chappelle Honors and Remembers Prince With Stand-Up Set: ‘This is the Black 9/11’

Dave Chappelle Prince
Comedian Dave Chappelle (CINDY BARRYMORE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Alex Stedman via Variety.com

Devastated by the sudden death of Prince on Thursday, Dave Chappelle almost canceled his Friday San Francisco stand-up show.

But he didn’t, and instead remembered the late music icon with a four-hour comedy set, riffing on Prince and his impact on pop culture, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chapelle explained that he contemplated not showing up that night, but his band told him, “‘Yo, Prince would definitely not condone that.’ And now there is no place I’d rather be.”

Taking the stage, Chappelle told the audience that “this is the black 9/11.” He said he only heard of Prince’s death after media outlets began calling him for comment.  “I’ll tell you what: I didn’t know him well, but I knew him well,” he said.

Chappelle and Prince became intertwined after the comedian portrayed Prince in one of the most famous sketches from his Comedy Central series “Chappelle’s Show.”

Prince clearly took the joke in stride. In fact, he one-upped Chappelle by using an image of him in his Prince get-up, holding a plate of pancakes, as the cover art for 2013’s “Breakfast Can Wait.”

Chappelle admitted defeat in a 2014 interview with Jimmy Fallon.  “That’s a Prince judo move right there,” Chappelle said. “You make fun of Prince in a sketch and he’ll just use you in his album cover. … That’s checkmate right there.”

Chappelle is one of many to pay tribute to Prince over the weekend. “Saturday Night Live” dedicated a “Goodnight Sweet Prince” tribute to the musician, and Bruce Springsteen opened his Boston show with a cover of “Purple Rain.”

Sway Calloway Joins VH1 as On-Air Personality and Executive Producer of “Behind The…” Series Reboot

Sway Calloway (photo courtesy Bob Gohn/MTV)
Sway Calloway (photo courtesy Bob Gohn/MTV)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Former MTV News reporter and radio DJ Sway Calloway has signed with cable channel VH1 as an on-air personality and producer.  Calloway will appear in VH1’s tentpole events, executive produce specials and events and bring new programming ideas to the channel.

As a TV star and host of his own national Sirius XM/Shade 45 radio show “Sway in the Morning,” Calloway has interviewed every global hip hop and pop artist of the last 15 years as well as U.S. senators, governors, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama – four times.   And now, with a recurring role in the hit TV series “Empire,” Sway has become a pop culture icon himself.  He continues to host “Sway In The Morning” and connect with fans at SwaysUniverse.com.

Sway’s first partnership with VH1 will be on the new series “Behind The…,” an expansion of the renowned VH1 “Behind The Music” franchise that will explore all facets of pop culture and its intersection with current cultural and political issues.   Calloway will host and serve as executive producer of the “Behind The…” series.
Continue reading “Sway Calloway Joins VH1 as On-Air Personality and Executive Producer of “Behind The…” Series Reboot”

Talmadge King Jr. to Lead the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Talmadge King Jr. (photo via  medicine.ucsf.edu)
Talmadge King Jr. (photo via medicine.ucsf.edu)

According to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine ranks third in its listing of the best medical schools in the United States. Only Harvard and Stanford rank higher. Now this prestigious medical school will be led by an African American.

Talmadge E. King Jr. was named dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs at the University of California, San Francisco. For the past nine years, Dr. King has been chair of the department of medicine at the university. He joined the faculty at the medical school in 1997 after teaching at the University of Colorado.

Dr. King’s research is focused on inflammatory and immunologic lung injury. He is the past president of the American Thoracic Society. Professor King has been elected a fellow of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A native of Georgia, Professor King is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. He earned his medical degree at Harvard University and completed his residency at Emory University hospitals in Atlanta.

article via jbhe.com

Laverne Cox’s Madame Tussauds Wax Figure Will Be the 1st Transgender Figure in the Museum’s History

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Actress Laverne Cox attends Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" For Your Consideration screening and Q&A at Directors Guild Of America on May 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Actress Laverne Cox (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Madame Tussauds San Francisco announced Monday that it will debut a wax figure of Laverne Cox, star of Orange Is the New Black and a transgender rights activist, on June 26 during Pride Weekend festivities in the Bay Area. It is the first-ever transgender figure in the museum’s history.

June 2015 is already shaping up to be a banner Pride Month for the transgender community since a Vanity Fair cover introduced Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner) on June 1.

article by Olivia B. Waxman via time.com

San Francisco D.A. George Gascón Expands Racial Bias Inquiry Into SF Police Department

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón (Photo via
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón (Photo via sfexaminer.com)

First came disclosures of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged by officers of San Francisco’s Police Department. That was followed by the discovery that sheriff’s deputies had been gambling on forced fighting matches between inmates at a city jail.

Then on Thursday, the San Francisco district attorney George Gascón announced that he was expanding the investigation of the city’s police and sheriff’s departments to examine whether those agencies have a deep-seated culture of systemic bias that has led to unlawful arrests or prosecutions.

In a year in which many of the nation’s major cities have been rocked by protests after the fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, the broadened inquiry made clear that even a city known for its liberal politics can be buffeted by accusations that its officers behaved in a racially biased manner.

African-Americans in San Francisco have complained for years about harassment and the use of excessive force by the police. And while African-Americans make up about 5 percent of the city’s population, they account for half of its arrests and jail inmates, and more than 60 percent of the children in juvenile detention, according to city statistics.

D.A. Gascón, formerly the SFPD Chief of Police, said, “If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers, that’s one too many.”

In Baltimore on Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged a “fractured relationship between the police and the community” in her predominately African-American city and asked the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation of the Police Department to determine whether officers had engaged in unconstitutional patterns of abuse or discrimination.

At a news conference in San Francisco announcing the expanded inquiry, the district attorney, George Gascón, acknowledged that the racist text messages had particularly undermined public confidence in both his office and the local criminal justice system.

“In the last few months, we have seen city after city where police use of force or other police activity is coming to the light and indicating that racial animosity and other types of biases play a significant role,” he said. “I think at one point we felt we would be immune from that type of activity.”

He also said he believed that the city’s tradition of inclusivity would allow it to avoid the tumult in Ferguson, Mo., and other cities where racial bias has been found to have played a role in the actions of police officers.

Continue reading “San Francisco D.A. George Gascón Expands Racial Bias Inquiry Into SF Police Department”