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Los Angeles Ethics Panel Urges Stronger Penalty for Moonves

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The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on Wednesday unanimously rejected a proposed settlement between the city and former CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, saying a tougher penalty was warranted for the executive, who had been accused of interfering with a police investigation into sexual assault allegations against him.

Moonves had agreed to pay an $11,250 fine to settle a City Ethics Commission complaint that accused him of inducing a government official to violate laws so that Moonves would have a tactical advantage in a police complaint against him.

Ethics Commission staff worked with Moonves on the proposed fine, but it still needed approval by the volunteer panel that oversees the department.

Jeffrey Daar, president of the Ethics Commission, acknowledged it was “somewhat unusual” for the panel to reject a proposed fine.

The commissioners felt that the “extremely egregious nature of the allegations” warranted a stronger penalty, Daar said.

Each count carried a maximum penalty of $5,000, or $15,000 for the three counts.

A Moonves representative declined to comment on Wednesday’s action.

The matter dates back to November 2017, when former Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Cory Palka began working with Moonves and other CBS executives to allegedly bury an LAPD complaint made by a woman who had accused Moonves of sexual assault in the 1980s.

Palka, who has since retired, was then head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood station. He’d known Moonves for nearly a decade because he had been part of Moonves’ security detail for the Grammy Awards for several years.

Moonves’ career as head of CBS collapsed amid a widening sex scandal that came to light as part of the #MeToo movement. Moonves, who stepped down from CBS in September 2018, has denied harassing or assaulting women.

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The ethics complaint detailed how, on Nov. 10, 2017, a former colleague, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, was inspired to speak out about her allegations of past dealings with the then-powerful TV executive.

She drove to the Hollywood station to file a report against Moonves. Later that night, Palka called CBS officials and alerted them to the existence of Golden-Gottlieb’s report.

Over the next few weeks, Palka, Moonves and one of Moonves’ underlings discussed strategies to thwart Golden-Gottlieb’s report and worked to make sure it didn’t gain traction within the Police Department or the L.A. County district attorney’s office, according to records in the case, which came to light in late 2022 as part of a report by New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James.

James had accused Moonves and CBS of misleading investors about the scope of the sexual harassment uncovered at CBS — information that was damaging to the company’s stock.

The former CBS chief was accused of three violations of the city’s Government Ethics Ordinance, which governs the conduct of city employees and forbids them from misusing or disclosing confidential information acquired through their work.

Under terms of the proposed settlement, Moonves had agreed to pay a $11,250 settlement and acknowledged that he violated city laws by “aiding and abetting the disclosure and misuse of confidential information.”

He also admitted to inducing “a city official to misuse his position to attempt to create a private advantage for Moonves.”

The ethics complaint also had accused Moonves of violating the city ordinance by inducing Palka “to create for Moonves the private advantages of access to confidential information from an LAPD investigation.”

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The ethics board also on Wednesday rejected a proposed $2,500 settlement with Ian Metrose, the former senior vice president of talent relations and special events at CBS. Metrose admitted he violated city law by aiding and abetting the disclosure and misuse of confidential information.

Daar said the cases remain with the enforcement division at the Ethics Commission.

The City Charter lays out maximum fines for penalties, but the fines haven’t been updated in decades. The Ethics Commission is seeking to increase the penalties, Daar said.

“Five thousand dollars doesn’t make sense today, particularly when you have very egregious allegations,” Daar said.

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NASA is Developing an Electrodynamic Shield to Address Lunar and Martian Dust Challenges

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NASA is tirelessly working on addressing the challenges posed by dust on the Moon and Mars. The lunar surface is covered in regolith, a jagged and abrasive material that can cause damage to equipment and pose health risks to astronauts. Additionally, dust accumulation on surfaces like solar panels can lead to decreased power output, creating further complications for manned missions to Mars.

To combat these issues, NASA has developed an innovative solution in the form of an Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS). This shield utilizes transparent electrodes and electric fields to electrically remove dust from surfaces, inspired by a concept developed by NASA in 1967. The technology has been in development since 2004 and is currently being tested by researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The EDS has shown promising results in vacuum chamber tests simulating the space environment, with lunar regolith samples used for testing. The material was successfully ejected from surfaces within seconds, demonstrating the shield’s efficacy in removing dust. Additionally, EDS materials have been embedded on glass panels, test spacesuit fabrics, and even camera lenses onboard the International Space Station and lunar landers.

Dr. Charles Buhler, lead scientist on the project, emphasized the importance of protecting equipment and habitats from dust exposure on lunar missions. The abrasive nature of lunar dust, coupled with its ability to compromise seals and hatches, makes it a significant concern for future missions. The EDS technology shows great promise in mitigating these risks and ensuring the safety of astronauts and machinery on dusty worlds.

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As NASA continues to advance the development of the Electrodynamic Dust Shield, future missions will further test its capabilities in real-world environments. The technology holds great potential in safeguarding against the challenges posed by dust and ensuring the success of manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

For more information on NASA’s groundbreaking technology to combat lunar dust, visit the official NASA website at NASA Technology Helps Guard Against Lunar Dust.

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