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Today’s Headlines: Last-minute negotiations fail to halt strike that would close LAUSD schools

A crowd of protesters gathered in front of City Hall on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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Hello, it’s Tuesday, March 21, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Last-minute negotiations to halt LAUSD strike fail

Last-minute talks failed to avert a Tuesday strike that will shut down Los Angeles public schools and lead to a massive disruption in the nation’s second-largest school system.

School district officials and union leaders began last-ditch negotiations Monday afternoon in hopes of preventing a scheduled three-day strike that would shut down classes for more than 420,000 students.

The union and Los Angeles Unified School District officials remain at odds over compensation, with the union seeking a 30% salary increase plus $2 more per hour for the lowest-paid workers. The group represents some of the district’s lowest-paid workers, includes bus drivers, teacher aides, special education assistants, security aides, custodians and food-service workers.

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Trump says he’ll be arrested Tuesday, urges supporters to protest

Former President Trump claimed that his arrest was imminent and issued an extraordinary call for his supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with him.

Even as a Trump lawyer and spokesperson said there had been no communication from prosecutors, Trump declared in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he expects to be taken into custody Tuesday.

The New York case is one of several the former president is facing. Here’s a breakdown.

Related stories:

  • The New York and Los Angeles police departments and other law enforcement agencies nationwide are taking steps to prepare for possible protests and disruptions if former President Trump is indicted.
  • Manhattan Dist. Atty. Alvin Bragg is standing firm against Donald Trump’s increasingly hostile rhetoric, telling his staff that the office won’t be intimidated or deterred as it nears a decision on charging the former president.

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

Heavy rain to hit Southern California and thousands flee flooding in Central Valley

A weary, storm-soaked California is bracing for another bout of heavy rain, power outages and potential flooding this week as a cold weather system takes aim at the state.

Light rain was falling in many regions Monday, the first day of spring, with precipitation expected to gain strength early Tuesday and linger into Wednesday.

Unlike recent warm atmospheric river storms that pulled moisture from the tropical Pacific, the incoming system will be a “cold, powerful, dynamic storm coming out of the northwest,” said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. The greatest effects are expected in Southern California.

More about the storms:

How immune are we? Answering this question is essential for post-pandemic life

The pandemic’s formal end on May 11 marks neither victory nor peace: It’s a cessation of hostilities with a dangerous virus that is still very much with us.

To maintain such an uneasy truce, Americans will have to stay protected enough to prevent humanity’s viral foe from staging a breakout of our shaky accord. Providing that assurance, in turn, assumes scientists and public health officials all agree on what it means to be “protected enough,” and that they can tell whether people are meeting that mark.

On both counts, the nation’s readiness to monitor this armistice falls short.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

A young man in glasses and a red sweatshirt plays the tuba as a crowd gathers behind him.
Erick Sanchez plays the tuba as protesters gather in Grand Park in front of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday during the United Teachers of Los Angeles and SEIU 99 joint rally.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

California wants Medicaid to cover six months of rent. Gov. Gavin Newsom is making a bold push for Medicaid health plans to provide more housing support. He argues it’s cheaper to pay for rent than to allow homeless people to fall into crisis.

Newsom proposes bond measure, sweeping mental health reform in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking lawmakers and voters to approve sweeping mental health reforms that would commit billions of dollars in state funding for behavioral health-based housing and treatment facilities throughout California.

Unions and environmentalists push for California referendum reform. California’s influential labor unions, government watchdogs and environmental advocates repeatedly accuse corporations of lying to voters in campaigns to reverse state laws and thwart the progressive Democratic agenda at the state Capitol. A bill to reform state referendum law could become one of the most high-profile political fights between business and labor in California this year.

Younger Angelenos have a far more negative view of police than elders, a poll finds. The Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll found that residents of L.A. are more supportive than those of several other large cities about shifting money away from police and using it to fund community-based approaches to public safety.

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NATION-WORLD

U.S. aid worker kidnapped in Niger is released after six years in captivity. An American aid worker who was kidnapped in the West African nation of Niger more than six years ago has been released from custody, the Biden administration said.

The world is on ‘thin ice,’ according to a U.N. climate report. Humanity still has a chance, close to the last one, to prevent the worst of climate change’s future harms, a top U.N. panel of scientists said Monday.

Supreme Court to weigh Navajo Nation water rights fight in Arizona. At issue is whether the Navajo Nation can press ahead with a lawsuit that seeks a federal plan to supply its residents’ unmet need for water.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Famed L.A. music studio United Recording lays off staff. The real-estate company that owns the studio responsible for landmark albums from Frank Sinatra to Green Day announces mass layoffs and a shift in direction.

Adam Sandler gets Mark Twain Prize salute from loyal friends and co-stars. Joined by several of his co-stars and collaborators, comedy legend Adam Sandler was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.

His L.A.-based podcast company faced a crossroads. Now Jesse Thorn’s employees are owners. Despite getting offers from large conglomerates to sell his podcasting business, the host of ‘Bullseye with Jesse Thorn’ — sort of a millennial ‘Fresh Air’ with Terry Gross — is choosing to sell his company to his employees.

BUSINESS

Writers enter tense contract negotiations with Hollywood studios. The talks between writers and studios are being closely watched as many in Hollywood fear that this year’s contract renegotiation could lead to a strike.

Amazon to cut 9,000 more jobs. Amazon.com is laying off an additional 9,000 employees, adding to cuts that were already the largest round of firings in the company’s history.

Starbucks new CEO Laxman Narasimhan takes his seat. Starbucks officially has a new CEO. The Seattle coffee giant said that Laxman Narasimhan has assumed the role of CEO and joined the company’s board of directors.

SPORTS

Austin Reaves has come a long way from a tiny Arkansas town to Lakers ‘MVP!’ With LeBron James watching and Anthony Davis struggling, Austin Reaves finishes with a career-high 35 points in the Lakers’ 111-105 win over the Magic.

Amari Bailey’s moment has arrived. How far will it take him and UCLA? Amari Bailey has developed into a bona fide star for UCLA, as showcased in the team’s NCAA tournament victory over Northwestern.

Trea Turner can’t believe he’s hitting so many homers in the WBC. Turner isn’t known for his home run prowess, but the ex-Dodger has been delivering plenty of power for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic.

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OPINION

Trains are huge polluters and should be cleaned up. It’s time for California air quality officials to take action to clean up locomotives, which cause diesel pollution and smog-forming emissions.

Reopening Uber’s challenge to California labor law is just the beginning. Since 1937, the Supreme Court has never struck down a regulation of business as violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Is that about to change?

ONLY IN L.A.

Downtown's new wagyu-focused Japanese restaurant, Niku X, is one of the newest additions to Michelin's California guide.
(22 Black Box / Niku X)

Michelin adds six restaurants to its California guide — and three of them are in L.A. County.

In a preview of Michelin’s 2023 update to its California-wide dining guide, the international gustatory compendium — which ranks restaurants from one to three stars — added six new restaurants to the state guide this month.

Plus, a sprawling new food hall featuring some of L.A.’s best restaurants, Baroo returns, a new wine bar from the Tabula Rasa team and more from The Times’ food section.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Alcatraz federal prison closed March 21, 1963 after the Federal Bureau of Prisons decided it was too costly to continue operating. On page three of the following day’s print Los Angeles Times, this photo showed the final men incarcerated on the island, heads down, leaving to be transported to other penitentiaries.

The prison rises like a fort from San Francisco Bay, where it is battered by wind and waves. The hostile environment captured the public’s imagination when, in 1962, three men incarcerated on the island escaped on a raft made of raincoats.

Law enforcement officials never found them, and many have assumed they perished on the waters. But mysterious trickles of new information have kept the story alive.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

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