Today’s Headlines: Behind UC strike is a push to change a way of life for academic aides

Two women lead a line of protesters carrying signs.
Unionized academic workers, and UCI students supporting them, walk a picket line while demanding better pay and benefits at UC Irvine on Tuesday.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 16, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Behind the UC strike is a push to change a way of life for academic aides

The work stoppage by 48,000 University of California academic workers aims to challenge long-held labor practices at UC and other universities across the country. Institutions have come under growing scrutiny for how graduate workers and academic employees are paid in an era of rising inflation and growing union activism.

The UC workers perform much of the teaching, grading and research across the state’s most prestigious public university system. Graduate student workers’ average pay is currently $24,000 a year.


Significantly increasing compensation for academic workers would definitely alter the budgets of big universities like UC, where high tuition is already a big issue. But strikers argue California has an opportunity to deal with the economic inequity — and set a better example for other universities.

Bass was leading Caruso by 36,000 votes

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass’ already substantial lead in the Los Angeles mayor’s race got slightly larger Tuesday, with the longtime Washington lawmaker pulling more than 5% ahead of businessman Rick Caruso one week after election day.

The results marked the fifth straight release of updated vote totals in which Bass had gained ground on Caruso, a trend that most election observers have said seems is all but certain to make Bass the first woman elected mayor in Los Angeles. As of late Tuesday, Bass held a 52.55%-47.45% lead, a 36,349-vote margin.

More politics

  • News analysis: In announcing his candidacy, former President Trump has reverted to a familiar tactic: Meet weakness with hubris.
    Robert Luna, a little-known retired police chief from Long Beach, will be the next sheriff of Los Angeles County after soundly beating incumbent Alex Villanueva.
  • A judge overturned a Georgia ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling that it violated the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent when it was enacted.
  • The Trump hotel in Washington received more than $750,000 from foreign governments during Trump’s presidency, according to documents released Monday by a congressional committee.
  • House Republicans voted to nominate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as the next speaker. But even if he wins when the new House convenes in January and elects a speaker, the Bakersfield lawmaker faces a difficult road ahead.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

A controversial border policy was vacated

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., vacated the border policy known as Title 42, a public health law invoked during the pandemic that allowed border agents to quickly turn back migrants.

The policy was put into place by the Trump administration in 2020. The Biden administration continued to use Title 42 before attempting to wind it down in the spring, an effort that was blocked in court.

The Church of Scientology is on opposite ends of two celebrity rape cases

In a Manhattan courtroom, defense attorneys suggested the Church of Scientology fabricated rape allegations to tar the reputation of a former member and Oscar winner. In a courtroom in Los Angeles, prosecutors contend the same controversial church worked to suppress rape allegations in an effort to protect a celebrity member.


The trials of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson and “ Crash” director Paul Haggis on either coast have thrust Scientology — not a party to either case — into the spotlight, leaving the church embroiled in allegations it conspired to sink one man’s reputation over his treatment of women while protecting another from rape claims.

When liberal D.A. George Gascón became a backer of claims by election deniers

The Los Angeles County district attorney has won unexpected praise from former President Trump and allies in recent weeks. Gascón targeted a little-known Michigan software developer and echoed allegations by a group of election deniers that the company stored poll worker data overseas.

When he announced the arrest of the firm’s CEO, he didn’t say what crime had been committed, who had been harmed or why the head of a 21-employee company would send election-related data overseas.

Death threats were made against the man and his family, according to court records, and several counties ended their contracts with his firm because of the charges. All of it was seemingly for nothing. On Nov. 9, Gascón quietly dropped the case, saying in a statement that his office needed months to properly review all available data. It was the day after the midterm elections.

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A man and a woman with two dogs fill plastic jugs with water from a carved stone fountain
Winter is coming to Ukraine: A couple fills bottles with clean water at a park in Mykolaiv. It was a frontline city until the Russians retreated three days ago, though not before destroying the city’s water system and attacking its power sources. A photo journal.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)


The L.A. County deputies who shot and killed Dijon Kizzee will not be charged. In a 19-page memo released in response to a public records request by The Times, prosecutors said deputies “reasonably believed, based on the totality of the circumstances, that force was necessary to defend against a threat of death when they initially fired their weapons.” The August 2020 shooting in South L.A. sparked days of protest and outrage.

“I want the new mayor to come in here and talk to me.” Judge David O. Carter delayed a decision on L.A. County’s proposal to settle a homelessness lawsuit. He told lawyers for the county and the plaintiff that the proposed agreement fell short of providing an adequate number of mental health and substance abuse beds. He said he intended to call the newly elected mayor and member of the county Board of Supervisors into a hearing to discuss the settlement.

Prepare for crowds: Yosemite will not use a reservation system next summer. In their announcement, National Park Service officials noted the reservation system had been a temporary measure up to now and that more research was needed before they could put a permanent system in place.

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The world’s population has hit 8 billion, the U.N. says. The United Nations’ milestone projection notes much of the growth coming from developing nations in Africa, including Nigeria — the fourth-most populous country in the world after India, China and the United States. The upward trend continues to strain resources in developing nations.


Missile crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people. A senior U.S. intelligence official said a missile crossed the border as Russia pounded Ukraine’s energy facilities with its biggest barrage of missiles yet, striking targets across the country and causing widespread blackouts that extended to neighboring Moldova. Poland said Wednesday there is “absolutely no indication” the missile was an intentional attack and that it likely came from neighboring Ukraine as it fended off Russia.

A remote undersea volcano is likely erupting in the Pacific Ocean. All indications are that the Ahyi Seamount began erupting in the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in mid-October, the U.S. Geological Survey said Monday. But scientists don’t know for sure because it’s so inaccessible. They’re relying on satellite data to track it.


The Grammy nominations are in. Beyoncé and Adele turned up numerous times in nominations announced by the Recording Academy, including in the top categories of album, record and song of the year. But Grammy voters gave the singers lots of high-powered competition for those major prizes, including Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles. See the full list.

“Walking Dead” producers filed a new $200-million lawsuit against AMC Networks. A group of producers renewed their claims in Los Angeles Superior Court, suing AMC Networks for breach of contract over the zombie series and its prequel. They first sued AMC in 2017 over how it calculated profits from the show, but most of their claims were rejected by the court.

Taylor Swift ticket sales were delayed due to “historically unprecedented demand.” Ticketmaster — apparently swamped — delayed the fan presale window for Taylor Swift’s Los Angeles concerts at SoFi Stadium. The Capital One on-sale was also postponed, to 2 p.m. today.


U.S. consumer debt jumped as credit card interest rates surged. U.S. household debt climbed at its fastest annual pace since 2008 in the third quarter, with credit card balances surging even as interest rates that lenders charged to consumers hit a multi-decade high.



Sheriff Alex Villanueva is out but leaves behind a deeply damaged department. In an era of pandemic lockdowns, racial justice protests, increasing violence and attacks against democracy, precisely when Los Angeles County most needed a mature and reassuring public safety official, Villanueva was just another barrel of gasoline on a smoldering fire. His tenure is a virtual how-not-to handbook for leadership.

Trump announced his presidential bid with more lies and bombast. As always, he put himself first. All this time later — after four years in the White House, three losing election cycles, two impeachments and one attempted coup — Trump is politically back where he started, trying once more to convince voters he has a serious shot at winning the presidency, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak. Will his GOP rivals be as deferential as they were before?

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Pitcher Tyler Anderson turned down the Dodgers’ offer. He’ll join the Angels. After a breakout 2022 season with the Dodgers, the left-handed pitcher agreed to a three-year contract with the Angels worth $39 million instead of accepting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer of one year and $19.65 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Inside super-fan Steve Ballmer’s construction plans for the perfect NBA arena. The Clippers owner is in the midst of building a $2-billion home for his team. To understand this arena project and what has made it what it is — its design, scope, ambition — you have to understand Ballmer. And if you want to truly understand him, look no further than this arena.

A guide to the eight stadiums hosting games at the 2022 World Cup. Qatar’s World Cup venues are as spectacular as the tournament they will host. And though the combined price tag for building or refurbishing all eight stadiums was less than what Stan Kroenke paid for SoFi Stadium alone, the cost of construction was enormously high in human terms.



L.A. could soon have a female mayor. It was a long road to get here. In its 241 years, as a pueblo and as a city, Los Angeles has never elected a woman as mayor. It shares this curious carve-out with New York, and it’s distinctly odd for L.A., where every one of the county’s five supervisors is a woman, writes columnist Patt Morrison.

It’s not for lack of trying: Wendy Greuel made it past other candidates and into the runoff in 2013 but lost to the present mayor, Eric Garcetti. A woman named Eileen Anderson ran six times for mayor in a series of quixotic campaigns, the last in 1993, not long before she died. And there were a few who got to hold the title by default, if only for a day. Patt has the story on the candidates who blazed the trail before Karen Bass.


Two young boys in costume, one in a pointed hat and another in a robe, stand next to a movie theater and palm trees.
Nov. 16 2001: Davis Hanson, left, and Nicholas Bruce, both 8, dressed the part for their trip to the movies in Irvine.
(Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)

Twenty-one years ago today, on Nov. 16, 2001, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in the U.S.

The Times wrote about the record-breaking opening and its young fans, who came to theaters dressed as wizards and witches: “Despite lukewarm critical notices, the film was embraced wherever it played with a fervor that combined elements of a religious revival and a rock concert.” Parents had taken kids out of school early to see the movie. And they bought pricey stuffed versions of the three-headed dog, Hagrid and the Golden Snitch. The Times wrote that one 10-year-old had, every morning for the last year, announced the number of hours remaining until the release of the movie.

After showings of the film at the Chinese and the University City theaters, “the crowd streamed out, with many rushing to the bathroom because their mesmerized children had forgone their usual trips to the restroom. Others were wildly dialing parents and friends on their cellphones to render their verdicts. Faster than a wave of the wand, all the incipient wizards and witches had morphed into incipient Eberts and Roepers.”

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.


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