Today’s Headlines: Black and Latino teachers are leaving the profession amid the pandemic

Benjamin Coria, the band director at San Gabriel High School
Benjamin Coria, the band director at San Gabriel High School, says dealing with family issues and trying to figure out a way to separate work from his home environment, while raising two kids, has been challenging.
(Heidi de Marco / KHN)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, Feb. 10, and before we turn to the top of the news, here’s a weather report: It’s warm. In our outdoors newsletter the Wild, Mary Forgione noted the early blooms bursting out on the evergreen pear trees in L.A. neighborhoods. They’re making it feel like spring, she said. Well, spring’s over and now it’s summer. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory, warning of temperatures from 85 to 90 degrees. Part of the reason for the rare wintertime advisory is for the sake of Super Bowl visitors, said an NWS meteorologist. They might not be prepared to swelter in Southern California in February. (If you want honest views and news about climate change, by the way, read our Boiling Point newsletter by the tireless Sammy Roth.)

Temperatures are expected to be 15 to 20 degrees above average through Sunday. Meanwhile, it’s been a bone-dry February. The good news: Forecasters say cooler temperatures should return after this weekend, with a possibility of rain. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.


Now, here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


New threat to COVID-era education: Black and Latino teachers are leaving

California schools serving low-income students have taken hits during the pandemic. Now, teachers of color are exiting at higher rates than white teachers. Amid the pandemic’s toxic brew of death, illness and classroom disruption, these departures have created another strain for students.

Studies have shown that teachers of color improve educational outcomes for students of the same background. But Black and Latino teachers tend to have shorter teaching careers than their white colleagues due to a lack of support and poor working conditions.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has been especially concerned about Black educators. The Board of Education has passed a resolution calling on the superintendent “to take all necessary steps,” including developing a strategic plan, to recruit, develop and retain Black teachers.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • Anticipating that thousands of Los Angeles Unified students may not be vaccinated when the district mandate kicks in this fall, educators are preparing a significant expansion of online learning options.
  • Most of the San Francisco Bay Area will lift local indoor mask rules next week.
  • Can you get long COVID after an infection with the Omicron variant? It’s too early to know for sure, but many doctors believe it’s possible to suffer long-term effects from Omicron.
  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state would end a COVID-19 mandate requiring face coverings in most indoor public settings but would keep masking rules in schools for now.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Critics raised concerns years ago about the DWP lawsuit settlement

Long before federal prosecutors alleged that City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office helped engineer a class-action lawsuit against the city over inaccurate Los Angeles Department of Water and Power bills — all part of an effort to control the settlement terms — attorneys and others said they raised red flags.

They didn’t allege the criminal behavior that federal prosecutors now say took place. But at court hearings and in letters to Feuer and Mayor Eric Garcetti, attorney Tim Blood, who represented the DWP, and others questioned a lawsuit settlement with an out-of-state lawyer over the faulty charges. They asked why this lawyer was getting more than $10 million in attorney fees, and why the city was so quick to settle.

More politics

  • As California grapples with a massive shortage of behavioral healthcare workers, state lawmakers want to offer financial incentives to attract and retain professionals to improve access to mental health services.
  • Voters are angrier than ever about homelessness and aren’t confident elected officials can adequately address the crisis, a survey of focus groups finds.
  • Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in Australia for a regional tour, one that will see him try to reassert U.S. influence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Is Rick Caruso ready to enter the race for Los Angeles mayor? The billionaire developer has made a Friday afternoon appointment to file a declaration of his intent to run, the city clerk’s office said.

Sign up for our L.A. on the Record newsletter to get the lowdown on L.A. politics in this pivotal election year.


L.A. residents question the economic benefits of the Super Bowl and the 2028 Olympics

Sunday’s Super Bowl and the 2028 Olympics enjoy broad support among residents of the Los Angeles region, but people here are more skeptical of claims that the events will bring significant economic benefits to local communities, a new Los Angeles Times/SurveyMonkey poll has found.

By hosting these two mega-events in relatively rapid succession, greater L.A. has positioned itself as America’s premier sports destination. But the process leading up to these spectacles is naturally divisive. Some Angelenos and experts take issue with tax breaks and other perks for developers of large arenas and would rather see public funds go toward schools and roads. Others worry that the benefits of these extravagant sports palaces and contests will not be shared by locals.

A tale of two Koreatowns: Hip spots thrive while older businesses struggle

On the surface, Koreatown’s 6th Street in Los Angeles appears to be thriving as the pandemic enters its third year. Younger customers, many of them non-Korean, crowd trendy restaurants and bars, despite the danger of spreading the highly contagious Omicron variant. Big brands from Korea, including a major K-pop company and a well-known Seoul barbecue restaurant, are moving in. Parking remains a blood sport.

But at more traditional Korean restaurants, sharp revenue drops are the norm. Business was just starting to rebound, and then Omicron struck, keeping many older customers at home. This stretch of 6th Street between Western and Vermont avenues is a microcosm of Koreatown and its dichotomies — old and new, traditional and hip, Korean-speaking and English-speaking.


How South Korea’s music, TV and films were primed for the viral moment

The global moment South Korean cultural exports are enjoying is a confluence of social media and streaming services bringing down cultural borders and language barriers at a time when the nation’s creative industries were ambitiously poised to expand beyond a limited domestic market.

With the arrival of streaming services including Netflix, Korean scripted series have crossed over to Western audiences in a way that’s been surprising even to their creators. Particularly resonant across borders has been a long-running undercurrent of social critique among Korean filmmakers that’s bled into scripted shows, evinced in the less-than-subtle dark class commentary of “Parasite” and “Squid Game.”

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A Joshua Tree is silhouetted by a pink and purple sky
Joshua Tree National Park at sunset. Our sister newsletter Escapes recently had tips on whimsical places to visit and stay in Joshua Tree. Such as: historic Joshua Tree Inn, where you could run into the ghost of Gram Parsons.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


Huntington Beach’s oil spill inspires legislation to ban California offshore drilling. State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) introduced a bill to end offshore oil production from rigs in California-controlled waters by 2024, a proposal sure to face fierce opposition and potential legal challenges from the petroleum industry.


A massive overnight fire at a plastic foam plant in Orange spewed smoke and flames. The blaze at Foamex International in the 2000 block of Batavia Street burned for hours and generated intense heat, smoke and flames that could be seen for miles.

Authorities warn of possible trucker protests in California but they are unlikely to happen at the Super Bowl. Postings are springing up across the web about a U.S. truck protest in California. Law enforcement sources say they are aware, but it is mostly aspirational in nature so far.

East L.A. grocer La Blanquita reels from a brazen burglary. A group of individuals in hooded sweatshirts went upstairs to the corporate offices of the well-regarded carnicería and tortillería and found a safe. It contained significant amounts of cash but also irreplaceable pictures, documents and mementos belonging to founder Francisco Ramirez, who died in 2019 atage 64.

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A post-Soviet border town in northern Ukraine wonders if Russia is coming back. What appears to be an invasion force has all but encircled a country that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has described the breakup of the Soviet Union as a 20th century catastrophe, wants back in Moscow’s orbit. Some — especially older residents — remember those days.

A new COVID wave is battering Afghanistan’s crumbling healthcare system. The country’s healthcare system survived almost entirely on international donor funding until the Taliban’s takeover. Only five hospitals still offer COVID-19 treatment, with 33 others having been forced to close in recent months for lack of doctors, medicines and even heat.


Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Trump White House trade advisor Peter Navarro. The committee is demanding information and testimony from Navarro, who they say was involved in efforts to delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election and ultimately change the election results.


Bob Saget‘s family says he died after accidentally hitting his head. Saget, 65, was found dead in his Orlando, Fla., hotel room the night of Jan. 9 while on a stand-up comedy tour. Investigators found no evidence of foul play or drug use, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

Women are getting more work as directors, but not women of color. A study finds that, overall, women directed about 13% of the top 100 movies last year, up substantially from 2007. But the percentage of women of color did not change during the 15-year period surveyed by USC.

“Bel-Air” began as a $25,000 short — and it might be the future of the TV reboot. Recent TV show reinventions have rested on replicating familiar formats, regurgitating subplots or recasting actors to reprise their roles, but the Peacock series, which premieres Super Bowl Sunday, is a top-to-bottom reimagining of the story told in a ’90s sitcom.

Snoop Dogg buys Death Row Records, a onetime label home and gangsta rap powerhouse. Terms of the deal, including ownership of the label’s music catalog, were not made public. Death Row was founded in 1992 in the wake of rap group N.W.A’s groundbreaking but troubled success on Eazy-E and Jerry Heller’s Ruthless Records.


Entertainment Weekly, InStyle and four other Meredith magazines will cease their print publications. The move reflects the declining circulation and revenue for print media as audiences continue to turn to digital devices for their content.


Discovery and WarnerMedia win clearance from the Justice Department for a merger. Despite opposition from more than 30 Democratic members of Congress who in December said the planned consolidation raised “significant antitrust concerns,” President Biden’s Justice Department showed little interest in challenging the tie-up between two traditional media companies.


Chloe Kim successfully defends Olympic title and wins gold in the snowboard halfpipe. Kim posted a score of 94.00 on her first run, capping it off with a 1080 spin that left Kim overcome with joy as she crossed the finish line. Queralt Castellet of Spain took silver and Sena Tomita of Japan finished with bronze.

‘How far does consent go?’ Legal experts consider the decision not to charge Trevor Bauer. U.S. courts have not always been consistent in their handling of cases that fall at the intersection of sexual consent and physical injury. And there haven’t been many defining cases exploring the complexities of such situations, experts say.

How I sneaked into Super Bowl XVII (it was easy). L.A. Times reporter Sam Farmer was 16 when Washington, his favorite team, played the Miami Dolphins at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 30, 1983.

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Want to know the wrong way to close schools? Just look to Oakland. Amid ongoing community protests, the Oakland Unified School District board has voted to close seven schools and merge two more over the next two years to reduce the operating deficit. The closures disproportionately affected Black neighborhoods.



Local fans are embracing the Rams after all. Super Bowl week has provided a natural period of reflection for the Rams executives who moved the team from St. Louis back to Los Angeles in 2016. It took time, but a Times/SurveyMonkey poll conducted Feb. 1-7 finds the city is starting to embrace the team as its own, and the big game certainly helps.

The Rams are the most popular pro football team in L.A., with 26% of L.A.-area residents choosing the Rams as their favorite team, and 87% are rooting for them to win Sunday. “You want it for the city,” Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said.


On a city street, a man in a fedora and overcoat holds the hand of a girl in a winter coat with fur collar.
Feb. 13, 1960: Jack Paar leaves the NBC building in New York with daughter Randy after holding a hurried news conference about his decision to walk off the set of “The Tonight Show.”
(JR / Associated Press)

Sixty-two years ago today, comedian Jack Paar was censored on “The Tonight Show” when trying to tell a joke that included the phrase “W.C.” The incident led the very popular host to walk off the set, mid-show. It was big news. The Times’ front-page article said Paar, “feuding with NBC because what he called ‘an idiot’ cut him off the air last night during an anecdote, quit the show in a huff.”

Paar and NBC made up and he returned a few weeks later, opening his monologue with the words, “As I was saying...”

The Times printed the joke that was behind the kerfuffle: “An English couple wanted to rent a cottage. They wrote to a real estate agency, adding that they wanted a W.C., the common British abbreviation for a water closet. But the agent was Swedish and didn’t understand what a W.C. was. He took the letter to his minister, who came to the conclusion that W.C. stood for wayside chapel. So the agent wrote back that the W.C. was in the woods, open only Thursday and Sunday, and nine miles from the cottage.”


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