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L.A. roadway reckoning: safety advocates vs. firefighters

Essential California A coalition of community activists, labor groups and environmental organizations say the surging death toll on L.A. streets requires dramatic action. Firefighters say safety upgrades will slow response times.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  February 28, 2024   View in browser Firefighters against Measure HLA stand in front of supporters of the ballot measure just before a press conference by firefighters union leaders in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2024. (Courtesy Healthy Streets LA - Yes in HLA campaign) By Ryan Fonseca Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 28 . Here's what you need to know to start your day. L.A.'s ro

Southwest hopes its chaos will end today

Southwest Airlines said it plans to resume normal operations "with minimal disruptions" today.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
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Click to view images Rows of luggage wait for their owners in the Southwest Airlines baggage claim at LAX on Thursday. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limรณn, Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Friday, Dec. 30, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

Editor's Note: We're taking Monday off for the holidays, but Today's Headlines will be back in your inboxes on Tuesday.


Southwest hopes to resume normal operations today

After days of chaos, canceled flights and stranded travelers, Southwest Airlines said it plans to resume normal operations "with minimal disruptions" today.

But it remains unclear how long it will take passengers who spent days in limbo to reach their final destinations, reconnect with luggage or receive compensation for the weeklong meltdown.

Southwest was able to fly only one-third of its normal schedule Thursday, canceling 2,362 flights, according to the flight tracker FlightAware.

Atmospheric river storms end California's drought year

After one of its driest years in recent memory, California will end 2022 snow-capped, soaked, and in some places, even bracing for floods.

The soggy end to the bone-dry year came as something of a surprise after officials only weeks earlier sounded the alarm about a rare third appearance of La Niรฑa. On Thursday, skiers in Mammoth enjoyed some of the deepest snow in the nation, while in Los Angeles, a steady drizzle signaled stronger storms to come.

Officials said the parade of atmospheric rivers dousing the state is likely to continue in the days ahead, providing a glimmer of optimism after a year marked by water restrictions, drying wells and perilous lows on the Colorado River. But the pattern will need to persist to truly undo several years of significant deficits.

California taxes and rules are killing small legal weed farms

In place of handcuffs and prison sentences to deter cannabis cultivation, California has established a vast system of taxes, fees and regulations to control it. The taxes are steeper and the rules more onerous than those in other agricultural sectors.

Small California cannabis farmers say they are increasingly impossible to comply with given the glut of weed on the market and the plummeting price per pound of wholesale pot.

Across California's legal cannabis industry, small operators are facing financial ruin. Farmers have been forced to rely on government assistance and have stopped paying their taxes. Some legacy growers who entered the legal market are considering going underground into the thriving illegal market, where they would avoid state oversight and tax bills.

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

Sexual misconduct allegations surface at Ojai boarding school

The Thacher School, among California's most elite private schools, has acknowledged decades of allegations of student sexual misconduct, harassment and "boundary crossing" by faculty members at the $64,700-a-year Ojai boarding academy.

In an extraordinary public disclosure, the allegations at the exclusive high school were compiled in a report posted on its website. In it, attorneys hired by Thacher laid out episodes of alleged rape, groping, unwanted touching and inappropriate comments dating back 40 years in a level of detail surprising for a private institution.

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you're seeking a more balanced news diet, "The Times" podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


How will California's new laws affect you? A look at California's new laws on abortion, healthcare, criminal justice, workers and employees, minimum wage, civil rights, gun control and other issues that affect your daily life.

Santa Ana shuts down over 100 street vendors, but many are back within days. The vendors were shut down "primarily for operating without a health permit," but many say they can't afford the permits and need the income.

Final California inflation relief payments are coming. The California Franchise Tax Board says the remaining payouts from the Middle Class Tax Refund program will be sent as debit cards expected to be mailed out by Jan. 14.

Doctors are watching for strep infections that can result in "flesh-eating" disease. Federal health officials said doctors should be on the lookout for a particular kind of invasive strep infection in children.

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The Census Bureau raised the bar on the definition of "urban." More than 1,100 cities, towns and villages in the U.S. lost their status as urban areas as the agency released revised criteria.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI is lucid and stable, but in "serious" condition. The Vatican said that the 95-year-old's health deteriorated recently and Pope Francis had asked for continued prayers.

Death toll climbs as blizzard-battered Buffalo area digs out. At least 40 deaths in western New York, most of them in Buffalo, have been reported from the blizzard that raged across much of the country, with Buffalo in its crosshairs Friday and Saturday.



Ten video games we're excited about in 2023. More than competition, challenges or even puzzle solving, it's the video game stories that The Times' Todd Martens is most looking forward to in 2023.

Fashion designer and punk icon Vivienne Westwood dies at 81. Westwood, known for popularizing British punk and new wave fashion, became synonymous with style and attitude.

Anna Kendrick opens up about the abuse that shaped her new film. The actor and executive producer had recently come out of an emotionally abusive relationship of her own when she was sent the screenplay for "Alice, Darling."


Think those bags are recyclable? California says think again. As stores shift to thicker, reusable plastic bags, Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta is now investigating whether the bags are truly recyclable as required by law.

Universal Studios Hollywood powers up with Super Nintendo World. It's a historical and remarkable shift for a park that has long stood as a temple dedicated to cinema. The wing opens to the public Feb. 17.


How do we keep L.A.'s housing costs affordable? Build more homes. Moving people into temporary quarters might seem like the only quick solution, but any approach that relies on shelters runs counter to the research evidence that permanent housing solutions are both less costly and more effective.

Don't rush a decision on LAPD Chief Michel Moore's reappointment. Reappointing, or declining to reappoint, Moore may be the most consequential decision city leaders make. They should not move forward without serious fact-finding, consultation and deliberation.

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Soccer great Pelรฉ dies at 82. He rose from an impoverished Brazilian slum to become the most famous and, for a time, the best-paid athlete in the world during a spectacular career that produced more World Cup titles and more breathtaking moments than any other.

Roberto Clemente is as influential as ever 50 years after his death. Despite an 18-year major league career, Clemente stood apart off the field as a humanitarian who helped people in need, particularly in Latin America, and guided younger Latino players.


Illustration of a women thinking about various activities
(Luke McConkey / For The Times)

Dare to make 2023 the year of adventure. It's that time again — time to consider what the new year ahead might bring and how we'd like to shape our lives for the better. Of course, settling on a goal and achieving them are two different things. The Times has put together lists upon lists of ideas to help make your New Year's goals a reality.

Bonus: Be your money's boss with The Times' Totally Worth It newsletter course.


Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

Social Security denies disability benefits based on an outdated jobs list. Nut sorter? Dowel inspector? Pneumatic tube operator? These jobs are on a 45-year-old government list of roles that those with physical impairments may be able to perform. The agency denies thousands of claims a year, insisting applicants can still find work in careers that no longer exist. Washington Post

Reflecting on 10 years of "adulting." "Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps" was a New York Times bestseller and a cultural force that popularized the term, and with it a particular view of growing up. A writer speaks with the book's author to take stock of what it got wrong. The Cut (Related: The rise and fall of millennial humor, from Vox.)

Colleges experiment with restorative justice in sexual assault cases. Some California colleges are responding to campus sexual assault and harassment with restorative justice: a process that brings together the student who was harmed, the person who harmed them and the community to seek solutions. Cal Matters


Actor-singer Ricky Nelson playing in the 30th annual Motion Picture Tennis Assn. Tournament in Encino, Calif., in 1964.
Actor-singer Ricky Nelson playing in the 30th annual Motion Picture Tennis Assn. Tournament in Encino, Calif., in 1964. (Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times

The end of December marks 37 years since former actor and teenage rock 'n' roll idol Rick Nelson died in a plane crash, which was carrying his band to a New Year's Eve concert in Dallas. Only the pilot and co-pilot survived as the private DC-3 went down in woods just short of an airport runway near the rural community of De Kalb, Texas.

Nelson grew up in millions of American living rooms on his parents' "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" television show. However, he did not begin singing on the show until 1957, when he was 17. By the time he was 22, he had sold 35 million records and had 17 top-10 hits.

Although his singing career began to slide when the "Ozzie and Harriet" series ended, he made something of a comeback after forming a country-rock group, Stone Canyon Band, in 1969. He had another big record in 1972, "Garden Party," which he wrote after he and his band were booed at a 1971 rock 'n' roll revival in Madison Square Garden.

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