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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

California’s water system faces many threats

Outdated software, aging infrastructure and other weaknesses leave California's critical water supply vulnerable to cyberattacks and other threats.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Spillway failures at Oroville Dam in 2017 threatened major flooding and spurred the evacuation of about 200,000 people. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón, Kevinisha Walker

Hello, it's Tuesday, May 9, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Outdated software, aging infrastructure and other weaknesses

In California, where epic Sierra Nevada snowpack and "the Big Melt" have substantially increased the stakes for reservoir managers, officials say they're taking steps to protect the state's water systems from hackers, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, such as the flooding that temporarily severed the Los Angeles Aqueduct — the city's water lifeline to the Owens Valley.

But experts say the challenges are numerous. Many of the systems in California and nationwide are still operating with outdated software, poor passwords, aging infrastructure and other weaknesses that could leave them at risk.

Long-delayed plan to have civilians make traffic stops

Traffic enforcement in Los Angeles should be done by civilian traffic workers — or at the very least, police officers without guns — but not without major infrastructure upgrades that improve safety along city streets that are among the nation's deadliest.

Those are the conclusions of a long-delayed report from the city transportation department that has yet to be released.

The Times reviewed a draft of the document, which has been in the works for nearly three years, since the City Council first raised the prospect of removing traffic duties from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Elementary schools in South Korea are running out of children

South Koreans have been opting for smaller and smaller families, leaving the country with the lowest fertility rate in the world and a sharp nationwide drop-off in school-age children. In the hardest-hit rural areas, elementary schools were closing down, one by one, because there were no longer enough students left to attend them.

Nationwide, the number of elementary schools in rural areas has dropped from around 5,200 in 1982 to roughly 4,000 today.

'The Netflix strike'

Netflix is one of the entertainment industry's power centers — and its change agent.

So much so that the streaming giant also has become an avatar of anxiety for Hollywood writers who are entering the second week of a historic strike that has no end in sight.

Some in the 11,500-member Writers Guild of America have focused their frustration on the streaming company, dubbing this year's labor action "the Netflix strike."

Los Angeles Times wins Pulitzer Prizes

The Los Angeles Times won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for coverage of two of the most troubling problems facing Southern California: homelessness and racial division.

The newspaper's staff won the Pulitzer for breaking news for a series of stories on a secret audio recording that exposed Los Angeles City Council members scheming in a crass and racist bull session about political power in the city.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

A man stands in front of a mural of his missing daughter in Mendocino County.
Gerald "Lij" Britton stands in front of a mural of his missing daughter Khadijah Britton in Mendocino County. Read more: "After recent killings on California reservation, tribes ask for help to stem violence" (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Porter, Schiff and Lee each make the case they're the most labor-friendly Senate candidate. A labor forum Sunday was the first time Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff have appeared together in a campaign setting.

New Camel, Newport and Kool cigarettes may violate California's flavored tobacco ban, AG says. Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta issued warnings to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ITG Brands that they may be in violation of California's ban on flavored tobacco products.

South Pasadena's police cars will soon all be Teslas. The city is leasing 20 Teslas through Enterprise for at least five years for police patrol duties, administration and detective work.

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NATION-WORLD

Iran hangs two men in rare blasphemy case as executions surge. Iran remains one of the world's top executioners, having put to death at least 203 prisoners since the start of this year alone. But carrying out executions for blasphemy remains rare, as previous cases saw the sentences reduced by authorities.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Ray Liotta's cause of death has been revealed a year after the 'Goodfellas' star died at age 67. According to a report citing his death documents, the actor reportedly suffered from respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary edema — a buildup of fluid in his lungs — and acute heart failure.

News Analysis: What Jonathan Majors' dramatic rise and fall says about race and justice in Hollywood. The swiftness and severity of the fallout from his arrest has been striking, even in an industry that has seen powerful figures toppled by misconduct allegations. Even if Majors is cleared of the charges, the damage to his career may be irreparable, experts say, in part because of his race.

Tom Cruise invites King Charles III to be his 'wingman' during the coronation concert. Cruise is known for his high-flying portrayal of U.S. Navy fighter pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in the "Top Gun" franchise. Like Charles, who served in the Royal Air Force, he is also a trained pilot in real life.

BUSINESS

Hollywood was built on the work of unappreciated and undervalued writers. Just ask Chandler, Faulkner and Fitzgerald. During Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1930s and '40s, the moguls who ruled over the industry exhibited little appreciation for writers or the writing process. A new generation of scribes says that not much has changed.

U.S. to propose new rules for airline cancellations and delays. The aim of the rules would be, for the first time, to require airlines to pay compensation beyond a ticket refund and to cover expenses that consumers incur, including rebooking on another flight, if the airline causes a cancellation or significant delay.

Hate passwords? You're in luck; Google is sidelining them. Good news for all the password haters out there: Google has taken a big step toward making them an afterthought by adding "passkeys" as a more straightforward and secure way to log into its services.

SPORTS

The Dodgers show their prizefighter instincts in a comeback victory over the Padres. After wobbling for much of the night, and grinding through long stretches in their first trip back to Petco Park since last year's playoff elimination, the Dodgers finally produced a knockout smash.

Bronny James stays close to home with a USC commitment. One of the strangest, most-followed yet secretive high school basketball recruiting journeys in recent memory is over. Bronny James is staying home.

Vida Blue, hard-throwing A's pitcher from 1970s championship teams, has died at 73. The hard-throwing left-hander who became one of baseball's biggest draws in the early 1970s and helped lead the brash Oakland Athletics to three straight World Series titles before his career was derailed by drug problems, has died.

OPINION

Opinion: California cities don't have enough public bathrooms. Here's one solution. A bill in the Assembly, AB 1297, would require local governments to inventory public restrooms by July 2024, one step to address the chronic lack of restrooms across the state.

Column: High-speed, high-adrenaline car chases are an L.A. staple. But are they worth the risks? High-speed chases are exciting and adrenaline-fueled; they're real-life movie scenes, Nicholas Goldberg writes. But much of the time, the outcomes are anything but entertaining.

ONLY IN L.A.

3.1 million square-foot SoFi Stadium
SoFi Stadium is the first indoor-outdoor stadium and seats approximately 70,000, expandable up to 100,000. And at 3.1 million square feet, it is the largest stadium in the NFL. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Have you ever wanted to tour some of Los Angeles' landmarks? Writer Marsha Takeda-Morrison took guided and self-guided tours through L.A. landmarks, entering hidden areas and seeing fascinating details she'd never know about by simply driving by. (Did you know that the entire SoFi Stadium is 100 feet underground?)

Here are ten buildings worth an up-and-close look.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed
The FDA approved the first birth control pill on May 9, 1960. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

On this day 63 years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first birth control pill, Enovid.

Before the FDA voted to approve the first oral contraceptive, the only forms of birth control available (and these mostly to married couples) were abstinence, sterilization, the diaphragm, condoms and natural family planning (the "rhythm method").

In August 2012, The Times wrote about the pill's monumental impact and the many controversies that came along with it over the years.

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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