- - Sunday, August 19, 2012

SACRAMENTO — One of the nation’s top credit-rating agencies said Friday it will begin a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in California because of what it sees is a growing threat of increased city bankruptcies and bond defaults.

Moody's Investors Service issued a report saying that the growing fiscal distress in many cities in the nation’s most populous state was putting bondholders at risk.

It noted that some municipalities were considering bankruptcy as a new strategy to address budget deficits and avoid obligations to bondholders, an emerging dynamic that could have ripple effects throughout the investment community.

Three California cities — Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes — have filed for bankruptcy so far this year. Moody’s said they are not likely to be the last.

FOOD SAFETY

California lettuce supplier
 orders E.coli-related recall

SALINAS, Calif. — A Northern California produce supplier said Sunday it is voluntarily recalling romaine lettuce that was shipped to 19 states, Puerto Rico and Canada over fears about possible E. coli contamination.  

Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle said the recall is limited to a single lot of its Field Fresh Wrapped Single Head Romaine that was available at retail stores starting Aug. 2. The lettuce is packed in a plastic bag with the UPC number 0-27918-20314-9, and it may have a “best by” date of Aug. 19.

The company said some 2,095 cases were potentially affected. Of those, 1,969 cases were shipped to Puerto Rico and 19 states, including Maryland and Virginia. The product was packed with either 12 or 18 heads per case.

The recall was being conducted in consultation with Food and Drug Administration, and was based on the testing of a random sample by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There have been no reported illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

TRANSPORTATION

Flight attendants
 approve contract offer

DALLAS — Flight attendants at American Airlines voted to approve a new contract offer from the airline, which is seeking to cut costs in bankruptcy protection.

The results released Sunday showed attendants voted to accept the contract by 59.5 percent to 40.5 percent, according to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

By voting for the airlines’ proposal, which includes numerous concessions, the flight attendants stave off the chance that American would impose even deeper cuts in bankruptcy court.

The union’s leadership pushed hard in the final days for ratification. It warned that 2,000 flight attendants could be forced to take unpaid leave, or furloughs, if the offer had been rejected.  

From wire dispatches and staff reports