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Dodger Stadium gondola plan moves ahead

Essential California A plan to construct an estimated half-billion-dollar, 1.2-mile gondola from Union Station through Chinatown into Chavez Ravine by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt took its first steps toward reality.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  February 25, 2024   View in browser A Sunset Boulevard billboard registers protest against the proposed Dodger Stadium gondola project. By Andrew J. Campa Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter . It's Sunday, Feb. 25 . I'm Andrew J. Campa, your host. Here's what you need to know to start your weekend: The Dodger Stadium Gondola project cleared its first hurdle. Rebec

SoCal hotel worker strike begins

Plus: Migrants continue to arrive on Texas buses and West Hollywood reaches the highest minimum wage in the country.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Hotel workers picket in front of the Sheraton Grand in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Monday, July 3. First, a quick programming note — we're taking the July 4 holiday off. We'll be back in your inbox on Wednesday. And now, here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Thousands of hotel workers across Southern California walk off the job

Thousands of workers at hotels across Southern California walked off the job early Sunday, demanding higher pay and better benefits, beginning what could be the largest U.S. hotel workers' strike in recent memory.

The strike will affect roughly 15,000 cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen and front desk agents at hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Contracts expired at midnight Friday at 62 Southern California hotels where workers are represented by Unite Here Local 11.

More than 500 workers at the InterContinental and Indigo hotels in downtown Los Angeles were the first to join the strike Sunday, taking to the streets with picket signs at 6 a.m.

Two years after LAPD fireworks explosion, residents are still trying to rebuild

It was June 30, 2021, that the Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad botched the detonation of a fireworks cache discovered in the backyard of a 27th Street resident. The resulting blast injured 17 people, damaged 35 properties and displaced more than 80 residents.

Among the more than 30 attendees of a grim anniversary gathering last week were displaced families still living in the Level Hotel downtown. Another that had only recently returned to a renovated home. One that had moved twice since the blast.

They gathered in South L.A., in the shadow of homes that remain uninhabitable, to speak about their lives — and their loss.

West Hollywood will have the nation's highest minimum wage. Business owners are not happy

For many low-wage workers in West Hollywood, Saturday brought a welcome boost in pay: minimum wage jumped to the highest in the nation at $19.08 an hour. That puts the city of 35,000 people ahead of Seattle, San Francisco and Denver.

The increase comes at a time of rising rent, gas prices and inflation.

Employers facing financial hardships can apply for a one-year delay via a waiver with the city. Still, many small-business owners in West Hollywood are speaking out against the higher wage, saying they are reaching a breaking point and need relief to avoid closing.

Another bus carrying dozens of migrants from Texas arrives in L.A.

Another bus carrying dozens of migrants from Texas arrived Saturday afternoon at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, courtesy of the governor and taxpayers of the Lone Star State.

The 41 asylum seekers arrived about 12:40 p.m. and were received by the L.A. Welcomes Collective, a network of nonprofit, faith and immigrant rights groups, officials said in a statement. The migrants are from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Belize and Nicaragua.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement that her office learned about the bus Friday and immediately began coordinating with the collective, as well as with city and county departments, to assist the migrants upon their arrival.

'It's a disaster': California farmer faces ordeal as pistachio farm sits underwater

A few years ago, Makram Hanna took his savings from years of work in real estate and decided to make a big investment together with relatives and two other families. They bought 1,270 acres of farmland in Kings County, and in 2021 they planted pistachio trees.

Many of those trees, which have yet to produce a crop, now sit under 2 feet of water.

The return of Tulare Lake after this year's major storms has left Hanna and his family with a costly ordeal — and many questions about how they might be able to recover from the loss.

A crew on an airboat travels on a flooded field
PG&E crews travel by airboat to decommission power poles on Makram Hanna's flooded pistachio orchard on June 5. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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CALIFORNIA

San Diego is seeing an uptick in sick, disoriented and potentially aggressive sea lions washing ashore. Algae blooming along the California coast — so toxic that it's causing fatal brain damage in sea lions and dolphins — has reached San Diego, resulting in a recent surge of sick and potentially aggressive animals washing ashore.

Heat wave hits Southern California with a scorching Fourth of July weekend. After months of persistently cool conditions, forecasters over the weekend issued warnings of excessive, dangerous heat throughout the valleys, deserts and foothills in inland regions across the state, with little relief expected in the evenings.

Copper wire thefts on the rise, causing delays for Metro's rail lines. A section of Los Angeles' Metro rail system that extends from Norwalk to the South Bay was delayed last week because of the theft of copper wires used to power the rail cars — the latest in a surge of incidents.

Tens of thousands of L.A. County residents could soon lose Medi-Cal coverage. The tentative figures are an early sign of the serious shift underway as the federal government has rolled back rules that helped people stay on Medicaid, one that has troubled health providers and advocates who fear many patients will unnecessarily lose medical coverage for which they qualify.

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NATION-WORLD

Shooting in France shows U.S. is not alone in struggles with racism and police brutality. The events in France following the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old by police in a Paris suburb have unleashed a nationwide racial reckoning and drawn comparisons to the mass protests in the U.S. that followed the police killings of George Floyd and other people of color.

Moms for Liberty's focus on school races nationwide sets up political clash with teachers unions. A "parental rights" group that has sought to take over school boards in multiple states is looking to expand those efforts. But it will face opposition from teachers unions and others on the left who view the group as a toxic presence in public schools.

Barabak: Think our politics stink? Look north — to Alaska. In a bid to turn down the temperature of partisan conflict, Alaska is trying something new: an election system that placed all candidates on the same ballot, with the four top vote-getters, regardless of party, moving to a runoff where voters ranked their preferences. It's working.

Russia launches the first drone strike on Kyiv in 12 days. After a relative lull, Russia launched a drone attack early Sunday on Ukraine's capital. All of the Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones were detected and shot down, officials said.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

The best movies of 2023 (so far). And where to find them. "As ever, I'm astonished by the range of good and even great movies I've seen already, and excited for the many more still to come," writes Times film critic Justin Chang.

'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' underwhelms in box office debut. Despite media hype and initially lofty expectations for the epic return — 15 years in the making — of Harrison Ford's heroic archaeologist, "Dial of Destiny" didn't even come close to touching its 2008 predecessor.

'The Idol' is hot garbage. Will its stench cling to the Weeknd? Nine months ago, the Weeknd used a professional high point — a pair of sold-out concerts at Inglewood's SoFi Stadium — to herald what may end up the low-water mark of his career. The question is what, if any, effect the show's flopping will have on the Weeknd's career in music, writes Times pop music critic Mikael Wood.

How 'Nimona' survived a studio shutdown among many challenges on its way to the screen. The long-awaited graphic novel adaptation (now on Netflix) survived a mega media merger, changes in creative leadership, a global pandemic and even a studio shutdown, just as the movie was coming together.

BUSINESS

The best places to eat and drink in L.A. right now, according to our food writers. Now that summer's here, make it a point to visit the options featured in this list, spanning new tiki bars, Cajun cuisine, a resurgent vegan restaurant and more.

SPORTS

LAFC's Maxime Crepeau hasn't lost his optimism while recovering from a painful injury. The LAFC goalkeeper broke his leg during the MLS Cup final, forcing him to miss the World Cup. He is upbeat as he nears a return to play.

Lakers nearly finished building around core with Austin Reaves, D'Angelo Russell deals. In less than 24 hours of free agency, the Lakers managed to accomplish their primary goals, filling out the bulk of their roster in a sprint while leaving them ready to build on what they hastily built last spring.

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OPINION

A question for Asian Americans celebrating affirmative action's end: What have we won? "Every Asian American and anyone else who considers Thursday's decision a victory should wonder. An easier question to answer is what we have lost."

A declaration of non-independence — for women. "In America, liberty has never been part of a woman's brief, and our personal autonomy has neither been spelled out nor assumed. Now, instead, what is being spelled out in the law is what women can't do with their bodies."

ONLY IN L.A.

A home on top of a bridge
1340 Main St, Alhambra, Calif., sold for over the asking price after going viral. (Douglas Lee / Compass)

Quirky Alhambra bridge house sells for $430,000 — $180,000 over asking price. After a frenzied bidding war, a quirky house built on a bridge over a concrete drainage channel in Alhambra has sold for $180,000 over the asking price in what still may be considered a bargain in Southern California's pricey real estate market.

The unusual location of the 1949 house and its comparatively modest $250,000 asking price drew national attention and hundreds of visitors when it hit the market a few weeks ago.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A 50-foot Statue of Liberty balloon begins to take shape as people stand around it in a stadium
Jul. 3, 1986: A 50-foot Statue of Liberty balloon begins to take shape as producers of the Rose Bowl fireworks show get ready for the big show. (Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times)

The Times archives are full of photos of July 4 celebrations past. Above, a giant balloon is inflated ahead of a fireworks show at the Rose Bowl in 1986. Some Angelenos preferred to light their own fireworks, as seen in this 1966 photo — a tricky image to capture. And there are always folks who prefer to use the holiday to relax and cool off instead. In 1929, police reported record crowds at Santa Monica's beaches for July 4. You can see images from beaches bursting with umbrellas and swimmers here — not unlike what you'd see today.

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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