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Stories The LAist Team Is Watching in 2023

A group of about a dozen young children in first grade are seated on the floor of a classroom looking up. Two children are wearing blue masks. Several adults stand along the walls, which are covered with posters.
First graders sound out words during the first day of optional learning at 75th Street Elementary School. Contract negotiations between teachers and LAUSD will be a big story to watch in 2023.
(Kate Sequeira
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Happy New Year, my dear friend! We made it to 2023. I hope you had a fantastic holiday, despite all of the rain we had on the last day of the year. Our LAist news team is hitting the ground running this year with coverage of the most important issues you need to know. First, there’s a bunch of new state laws that go into effect, including expanded access to abortions and a bump in the minimum wage. Here’s details on 10 of those laws.

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Stories To Watch In 2023

As we all come up with our personal resolutions for the year ahead, the LAist team has set its own goals for coverage in 2023. Here’s what some of my colleagues are digging into this year:

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Long COVID - Jackie Fortiér

For Senior Health Reporter Jackie Fortiér, long-COVID is on the top of her list. She wants to focus on the lingering health effects associated with COVID-19. She notes that one of the top issues for those with long COVID is chronic fatigue.

"...There's also respiratory and heart problems,” Jackie said. “There's neurological problems, digestive, even joint or muscle pain. It really can run the gamut – and we're not sure how long it can last.”

LA Unified School District Contract — Kyle Stokes

Even though Senior Reporter Kyle Stokes has left us to go back to Minnesota, our LAist Education team will be covering the L.A. Unified School District contract negotiations. Teachers are working on a collective bargaining agreement.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, still in his first year on the job, is leading the negotiations and has already battled teachers over adding “optional” days to the school year. “Y'know, this was an opportunity he would say to curb academic deficits that have cropped up in the wake of the pandemic,” Kyle said, “and that turned into a huge debate as well.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — Leslie Berestein Rojas 

What will be the fate of DACA in 2023? Let’s leave it to my colleague, Immigrant Communities Correspondent Leslie Berestein Rojas, to report on whether the Biden Administration can finally seal the deal to help DACA survive.

“It was kicked back to a lower court and the Biden administration introduced some new rules to help it pass legal muster,” Leslie explained. “But its future is still up in the air, and this affects a great many younger people here in L.A.”

L.A. County Jails — Emily Elena Dugdale

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Will there be any progress in fixing L.A. County jails? Criminal Justice Reporter Emily Elena Dugdale is definitely on the case this year. She said both activists and government agencies will be holding the Sheriff’s department accountable.

"The county jails are a disaster,” Emily said. “We know that during Alex Villanueva's term, things got worse. Remains to be seen what Sheriff Robert Luna will do, but what we do know is this has been pushed into the limelight in a way that I don't think it has in several years."

 Mental Health — Robert Garrova

Mental Health Reporter Robert Garrova will be keeping an eye on the mental health needs of both unhoused and incarcerated populations. Could there be new local government policies that could support communities in need in 2023?

"I have been trying to get the personal stories from families themselves and people living with mental illness,” Robert said. “People are coming to me now to talk about their struggles with the mental healthcare system. families feel helpless. They're pulling their hair out every day. And I'd like to focus on some of those things like crisis response, like not having a bed to go to or a place to go to."

COVID Evictions — David Wagner 

Housing Reporter David Wagner will be looking into the impact of COVID eviction protections ending in the city and county of Los Angeles. David said tenant advocates are worried that there could be an influx of evictions when it goes away.

“This election did bring a lot more progressive Council members onto the City Council,” David said. “So there is this new pressure to keep those eviction limits in place in the city of L.A. until the city has stronger permanent protections.”

Orange County Homeless Shelters — Jill Replogle

In Orange County, Senior Reporter Jill Replogle will be watching what officials will do to help its unhoused population of nearly 6,000 people find shelter or housing. She reports there should be funds available to local governments to come up with creative solutions.

“If they don't want to open a congregate homeless shelter – fine," Jill said. "But they could put that money towards putting people in motels – or even maybe purchasing a motel that they could house people on a temporary basis. So there are other options.”

New, Diverse Food — Gab Chabrán

Last, but not least, there’s a lot of treats in store with LAist Associate Food Editor Gab Chabran. Are you starving for some good soul food in L.A.? What about San Gabriel Valley’s variety of Asian restaurants?

Interested in a taste of the future action? Well Gab said he's looking for new places and wants to explore little enclaves like the one writer Josh Heller explored in North Hollywood.

"...There he talked about an Orthodox Jewish community that inhabits a shopping mall,” Gab said. “There's a Bengali restaurant that's nearby — and then a secular Jewish pizza chef that all kind of exist next to each other."

Stay tuned for all that LAist will bring you in 2023!

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding.

  • What do we know about how COVID-19 has impacted Asian Americans? Well, next to nothing. Now, a group of L.A. researchers is looking to change that. They are recruiting 1,000 Cambodians, Filipinos, Thais, and Vietnamese to participate in a study about how the lingering virus has affected them. 
  • There’s anew bookstore coming to Pasadena, and it’s named after one of the city’s most acclaimed authors, sci-fi writer Octavia Butler. Nikki High is the founder of Octavia’s Bookshelf. Her goal is to shine a light on writers who are Black and Indigenous, as well as other writers of color. 
  • Ever since the early days of the pandemic, some yoga teachers have fallen victim to a phenomenon called the “wellness to QAnon pipeline”. On this season of Imperfect Paradise, learn about how an LA-based, celebrity-sought-after yoga instructor named Guru Jagat fell into a world of conspiracy theories
  • On Wednesday, L.A. Zoo Lights is hosting a family-friendly LGBTQIA+ Pride Night. It’s a 90-minute immersive scenery full of sculptures of wildlife.  Also on Wednesday, Margaret Cho, Atsuko and Daniel Webb will be performing at Largo at the Coronet. Make sure you wear pink if you see the Broadway musical Mean Girls. Our favorite frenemies will be making us laugh at the Pantages Theatre all month long. Check out more of the events happening this week here. 
  • Another new law that took effect this year allows people to use sick time and family leave to care for a broader category of person, like extended family members or close friends.
  • The University of California strike has been called one of the most important strikes in academic history. It is certainly one of the largest. It’s had such an impact on people’s lives that other academic workers throughout the nation are taking notes on how to organize strikes on their own campuses. (Los Angeles Times)
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing

The 134th Rose Parade

A  crowd snaps photos of a Rose Parade float decorated with snails and mushrooms made with green, yellow, brown, purple and orange flower petals and herbs
The Cal Poly Universities float in the 2023 Rose Parade was named "Road to Reclamation" and won the "Extraordinaire Award". Cal Poly has appeared in parade 74 times.
(Mariana Dale

We all love a good holiday tradition and yesterday’s 134th Rose Parade in Pasadena did not disappoint. We went without the parade in 2021 and then last year, masking and vaccination requirements. Yesterday, it was *almost back to the pre-pandemic days – there was just a recommendation to wear a mask and get vaccinated. The theme this year was fitting: "Turning the Corner". The crowd was, reportedly, still smaller than in the pre-pandemic years, but it was enthusiastic.

Early Monday morning families got to enjoy intricate floral floats that celebrated science and nature, among other themes. High school marching bands pumped up attendees for the new year. There were also, as always, lots of horses. My colleague Mariana Dale had the fun task of reporting on the parade this year and took many of these photos of the action for the LAist Instagram account @LAistpics.

If you missed the parade or just want to see those floats up close, you may still have a chance to see them today on display.

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