2 other big crises trouble residents

  Haya El Nasser


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1993)


  LOS ANGELES _ This troubled city has at least two other crises on its front

  pages today _ the Reginald Denny beating and a teachers' strike vote.


  Attorneys for three black men charged with beating Denny, a white trucker, will

  be in court today to iron out details for the March 15 trial.


  Denny was dragged from his rig and severely beaten last year _ in front of news

  cameras _ at the start of rioting sparked by the acquittal of police in the first

  King trial.


  The prospect of overlapping, high profile trials adds to concerns about more



  And the prospect of the district's 641,000 students home or under the supervision

  of substitute teachers, administrators, and volunteers while the trials are held has

  many on edge.


  But if high school math teacher Warren Zarrell is any indication, the USA's

  second-largest school district could face a walkout by a 26,000-teachers union



  Another 6,000 non-union teachers, including part-timers, could join in.


  "I'd rather walk out than agree to a contract like this," says Zarrell, who cast his

  vote this week against a contract offer that would reduce a 12% pay cut to 10%.


  Without cuts, the district faces a $400 million shortfall.


  Teachers voted to strike once during the 10-month negotiations. But a walkout

  set for this week was narrowly averted after State Assembly Speaker Willie

  Brown proposed the reduced cut, which was accepted by union leaders and the



  "There's lots of anger out there," admits union spokeswoman Catherine Carey.

  "They don't want pay cuts and I don't blame them."


  The union argues that despite the pay cut, the contract gives teachers more

  decision-making power on campus _ like what grades to teach.


  But that's not enough, says long-time English teacher Marti Sutherland.


  "I'm so angry," she says. "We risk our lives every day doing a job nobody wants

  to do, teaching children nobody wants to teach."


  Contributing: Jonathan T. Lovitt