Today’s Headlines: 48,000 University of California academic workers go on strike

Demonstrators picket at UCLA
Demonstrators picket at UCLA as nearly 48,000 University of California academic workers go on strike.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Tuesday, Nov. 15, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Thousands of UC graduate student workers go on strike

About 48,000 unionized academic workers across the University of California’s 10 campuses — who perform the majority of teaching and research at the state’s premier higher education system — have walked off the job, calling for better pay and benefits.

The systemwide strike includes teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, tutors and fellows, as well as workers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and it has already caused disruptions to scheduled classes, just weeks before final exams.


The strike marks the largest work stoppage of the year so far, and union leaders say it will also be the biggest at any academic institution in history.

Bass’ lead over Caruso jumps to more than 29,000 votes

Karen Bass has continued to build on her lead over Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to an updated tally of results released Monday that showed the congresswoman leading the real estate developer 52.15% to 47.85% nearly a week after polls closed.

Bass now holds a 29,271-vote lead, according to the L.A. County registrar-recorder/county clerk’s office. An undetermined number of mail-in ballots still remain to be counted.

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Flu season’s positivity rate in L.A. County is up

Flu season has roared to life in California, reaching levels not seen in years and threatening to further strain a healthcare system already contending with an onslaught of RSV cases and still-potent circulation of the coronavirus.

Underscoring the worrisome conditions, California Department of Public Health officials have reported the season’s first death of a child under 5 due to flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

So far, California’s flu hot spot has been in the southeastern corner, covering San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties, state data show.

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

Jennifer Siebel Newsom testifies against Harvey Weinstein

Jennifer Siebel Newsom took the stand at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial and was expected to accuse the fallen Hollywood mogul of raping her when she was a struggling actor nearly 20 years ago.

An emotional Siebel Newsom told a jury in downtown Los Angeles that when she met Weinstein in 2005 at the Toronto International Film Festival, she was a 31-year-old actor and filmmaker who saw him as “the top of the industry.” At the time, she said, she had not yet met her husband, Gov. Gavin Newsom.

As his trial enters its fourth week, Weinstein has faced scathing testimony from six women who say he used his influence to isolate them in hotel rooms and assault them in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Puerto Rico and Toronto.

War in Ukraine: A street struggles to rebuild after a bombing

The town of Borodyanka in Ukraine was among the invasion’s first casualties, becoming a choke point for Russian convoys rolling southeast toward the capital, Kyiv, about 35 miles away. Its 14,000 residents paid a heavy price for their resistance: Scorched, wrecked buildings sit alongside structures left untouched, as if a tornado tore through town.

Now, nearly seven months after Russian troops ended a brief but brutal occupation, Borodyanka has come to symbolize a certain defiant resiliency, though one that is sorely tested at times.

Many locals, though, are somewhat weary of their plucky image. Just over half the town’s population has come back, and many of their homes are uninhabitable. With winter bearing down, they are racing to carry out repairs.

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Vast rows of boxes containing absentee ballots in a warehouse space
Still counting...and counting and counting: Nearly 605,000 votes have been counted so far in the race for mayor of Los Angeles between Rep. Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, yet there’s no final call on who won the race. Here’s why it takes so long.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)


Gas prices dive just in time for Thanksgiving road trips. Prices continue to drop, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California, but the decline has slowed in recent days. The average price for a gallon of gas is $5.43 in California and $5.50 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.

Crude emails reveal the nasty side of a beach city’s crusade to halt growth. Mayor Bill Brand is seen as one of the masterminds of Redondo Beach’s slow-growth movement. But a series of crude emails between Brand and a small group of supporters obtained through a public records request by a developer are furthering criticism against the mayor and his tactics.

More teenagers dying from fentanyl, challenging schools and families. The lethal substance is increasingly disguised as prescription pills or added to other drugs, while social media have made drug dealers more accessible to young people. Parents and schools say they’re struggling to help their children.

Southern California braces for the strongest Santa Ana winds of the year. Moderate Santa Ana winds are expected to develop this morning and continue throughout the day, with gusts ranging from 35 mph to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service. High winds will continue through tomorrow. This has raised concerns about both fire dangers and cold temperatures, according to experts.

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Three University of Virginia football players were killed in a shooting. The shooting near a campus parking garage killed three people, wounded two others and sent police on a manhunt Monday. Authorities said they arrested a student who was previously a member of the football team in connection with the deaths.

Biden and Xi, in the first presidential sit-down, vow to “manage” a tense relationship. President Biden on Monday expressed confidence that a “new Cold War” can be avoided with China and that Beijing is not planning an “imminent” invasion of U.S. ally Taiwan. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping portrayed Monday’s meeting as an attempt to revive lines of communication and understand each other’s intentions, goals and red lines.

Zelensky calls the liberation of Kherson the “beginning of the end.” President Volodymyr Zelensky triumphantly walked the streets of the newly liberated city. The retaking of Kherson was one of Ukraine’s biggest successes in the nearly 9-month-old war and could serve as a springboard for more advances into occupied territory.


How Netflix sells the dream of royalty to “Bridgerton” fans. If you’ve somehow missed out on the “Bridgerton” phenomenon, it can be summed up in one (hyphenated) word: swoon-worthy. It’s no wonder fans want to experience the show’s world. Netflix and its partners have sponsored more than 800 “balls” since March, where anyone — regardless of gender identity, marital status or financial class — has a shot at being a “Diamond.”

Just days after its debut, “God of War Ragnarök” rules the Game Awards nominations. Less than a week after its release, “God of War Ragnarök” received 10 nominations in the annual awards and game critic Todd Martens writes that it’s shaping up to be the biggest video game release of the holiday season.

From TikTok to the Grammys? Vocal powerhouse Lauren Spencer Smith connects with Gen Z. A best new artist contender for the 2023 Grammys, the 19-year-old Canadian singer channels an eternal teenage ache via newfangled, extremely online means.


Is the world’s richest person the world’s worst boss? Because Elon Musk makes new employees sign tough nondisclosure agreements, and because he’s developed a reputation for exacting retribution on those who cross him, we’ll never know all the stories. But there’s plenty in the public record. More: Musk’s massive pay package is challenged in Delaware corporate court.


After a bad showing in the midterms, what story are Republicans telling themselves now? The party didn’t do much soul-searching after the 2020 election; very few Republicans called for a new course for their party. This time, Republicans are looking for someone to blame for the midterm underperformance.

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Why a women’s locker room at the Dodgers’ spring home is turning into a legal fight. Who pays for those locker rooms? That question is at the heart of a dispute at Camelback Ranch, the spring training home of the Dodgers. For the Arizona city that built Camelback Ranch at no charge to the Dodgers and their co-tenants, the Chicago White Sox, there is a larger question: Should we continue to love sports if sports won’t love us back?

Women officials are ready for their transformative moment at the World Cup. For the first time, women officials will work the men’s World Cup. Karen Díaz Medina of Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt of the U.S. are two of the six women chosen.


An illustrated collage of The Times' 75 greatest Lakers players.
A collage of The Times’ 75 greatest Lakers players. Illustration by Kevin Gold / For The Times
(Illustration by Kevin Gold / For The Times)

Meet the 75 greatest Lakers players of all time. In a franchise that has counts basketball greats like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among its alumni, how do you choose the best? Current and former L.A. Times staff members attempted to sort it out with a vote, judging players on how they performed for the Lakers, with a minimum of 100 games played with the franchise.

The group awarded Johnson the top slot, with columnist Bill Paschke writing, “one doesn’t need to see a no-look pass to understand he is clearly the only choice.” Check out the full list to see how your favorite Laker stacked up. And if you disagree with our rankings? You can join our reader poll and cast your own ballot.


A black-and-white portrait of an animator dabbing a brush at a desk filled with papers
1946: Animator Milton Quon works at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Quon attended CalArts.
(Walt Disney Studios)

Ninety years ago today, on Nov. 15, 1932, the first art class was held for Disney animators at Hyperion Studio. Walt Disney had conceived of the training in an effort to develop his staff’s skills, according to Animation World Network. Disney said in a CBC interview in 1963, “The first thing I did when I got a little money to experiment, I put all my artists back in school. … We set up our own art school.”

Disney went on in the 1950s to found the California Institute of the Arts. A 1994 Times article said his “masterstroke may have been his founding of [the] private arts college that squats in relative obscurity among the brown, dusty hills of Valencia.” It was started “partly as as clever way to funnel an army of skilled animators into the Disney studios” and “spawned a generation of students who have become the creative nucleus of the Disney empire.”

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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