Friday, July 1, 2022

Play

The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Play

SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Concerns About Potential Conflict of Interest in CA Cell-Phone Warning Case

Play

Thursday, September 29, 2016   

BERKELEY, Calif. — Allegations have surfaced that a judge in the case against Berkeley's cell phone warning ordinance has ties to the wireless industry.

CTIA, the wireless industry trade group (formerly the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association), is challenging a law that requires stores to post information on proper cell phone use so that radiation exposure doesn’t exceed federal guidelines.

The case was heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in mid-September by a three-member panel that included Judge Michelle Friedland, whose husband, Daniel Kelly, is allegedly an engineer with wireless company Tarana.

According to Ellen Marks, director of the California Brain Tumor Association, Friedland may have had a conflict of interest because Tarana's significant investor is AT&T - a CTIA member that could have a major stake in the outcome of the case.

"If Berkeley prevails, his job could be at risk,” Marks said. "They might have financial implications from this, and if the CTIA prevails, they have a lot to gain from this."

The CTIA has claimed that Berkeley's ordinance violates free speech. Berkeley has countered that the required postings were simply guidelines directly from the cell-phone manuals, warning that people who carry a cell phone close to the body may exceed federal guidelines on exposure to radio-frequency radiation.

A spokesman for the 9th Circuit confirmed that Kelly works in the telecom industry, but said Judge Friedland herself would not comment. Calls to Mr. Kelly and to Tarana were not returned.

Marks said the case is significant because many other cities have expressed an interest in similar ordinances, and some have received letters from the CTIA threatening litigation.

San Francisco has been working to pass a similar law, and City Supervisor John Avalos said that if the allegations are true, Friedland should have disclosed this possible link.

"If there's any hint of such a relationship between her partner and such work within a telecommunications company, she should disqualify herself,” Avalos said.

The court has the case under consideration but has not yet issued a ruling. Berkeley's legal team has the option to file a complaint alleging conflict of interest, but has not done so thus far.



get more stories like this via email

While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…


Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …


The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …

Environment

Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

Social Issues

By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021