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Immediately following the Paris attacks of November 13, France announced the prohibition of mass marches in cities across the country. Large rallies scheduled for November 29 and December 12 in Paris during the UN climate conference have been forbidden due to this new ban. French rally mobilizers are asking why demonstrations are prohibited while sporting events and Christmas markets are being permitted. In Northern California, climate activists marched in Oakland and Santa Cruz during the weekend of November 21-22 in a lead-up to the Paris climate summit.
In an example of collaboration with privacy advocates, on November 17, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive privacy policy regulating the county's use of cell phone interceptor equipment (often referred to in the press by “Stingray” or “Hailstorm”) before approving the purchase of an equipment upgrade. The policy requires a warrant before any deployment of the device and periodic audits of use.
On November 12 students at UC Santa Cruz joined students at college campuses across the country for a "Million Student March," a day of local actions organized nationally around three principle demands: tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, and a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers. Million Student March actions were organized at over 100 schools.
The Day Worker Center of Santa Cruz County is asking for the community's help to raise funds for a Tool Lending Library. The Center already possesses the tools, but currently lacks a reliable shed in which to store them, and as an organization that works to provide workers with job opportunities, a place to store tools is invaluable.
Led by those inside California prisons, who often put their lives on the line, a settlement was reached on September 1 in the federal class action Ashker v. Governor of California that will mostly end indeterminate, long-term solitary confinement in all California state prisons. Subject to court approval, the agreement will result in a dramatic reduction in the number of people in solitary across the state and a new program that could be a model for other states going forward. Over a thousand people are set to make it out of Security Housing Units (SHU).
On November 2, red paint was splashed across the front door of Mission Santa Cruz. Following the Catholic church's canonization of Junipero Serra, a series of acts of vandalism has occurred on the Central Coast, including the beheading of a Serra statue in Monterey in October, and the splashing of paint on Mission Carmel and the toppling of a statue of Serra in September.
In a show of solidarity, labor unions and Black Lives Matter activists staged a protest on November 10 which targeted Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley. Some two hundred protesters gathered outside D.A. O'Malley's offices demanding that she “Drop the charges against the Black Friday 14!” They declared that the struggles for economic justice and racial justice were two sides of the same struggle. Inside the courthouse, a delegation of labor leaders occupied O'Malley's office. No arrests were made.
On November 14, residents of the Midtown Park Apartments in San Francisco's Western Addition and their supporters gathered for a fundraiser and BBQ. In 2013, the City terminated the lease with the tenants and awarded it to Mercy Housing. Tenants are now facing enormous rent increases and Mercy Housing has put forth plans to eventually demolish the buildings. In response, Midtown tenants went on Rent Strike five months ago and are calling out for public support.
On November 13, the San Francisco Public Defender’s office released video of two Alameda County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) Deputies beating a man who is curled up on the ground. The first deputy tackles and punches the man and then both proceed to hit him with their batons for nearly a minute, repeatedly striking the man in the head and all over his body. They only stop beating him after other ACSO deputies and SF police arrive on the scene. Instead of rendering medical aid, the arriving police walk around the seriously wounded man, shining flashlights on him as he moans in pain, crying out for help.
Students, teachers, supporters, plus many others marched from CCSF’s Mission campus to the Civic Center campus over the pending downsizing of City College on November 12. Faculty union AFT 2121, which represents 1500 faculty at CCSF announced they authorized a one-day strike in response to unfair labor practices at City College. A picket to support CCSF faculty in contract negotiations has been called for November 18.
In the city of Alameda, rent increases and evictions remain unregulated. Landlords are pushing rents up sky high and/or evicting people out of homes they've been able to afford for decades. On November 4, an estimated 200 Alamedan renters went to their city council to demand an end to unfair rent hikes and displacement. City Official Bob Haun shoved a 68-year-old Alameda Rental Coalition leader and police tackled another protester to the ground where he lay bleeding while police restrained him. After a hearing that lasted past 1am, the council voted for a temporary 65-day limit of 8% on rent increases and ban on no cause evictions.
On October 27 the Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously to support the creation of a permanent garden owned by the City, on the site of the current Beach Flats Community Garden. Community members have applauded this as a great start, but the Seaside Company, owner of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, has plans to take part of the garden for other uses unless the City intervenes by November 13.
On March 3, six UCSC students blocked California Highway 1 using lockboxes and garbage cans filled with concrete. Independent journalist Alex Darocy, long-time Indybay contributor and editorial collective member, shot several photographs of the student demonstrators from his car as he passed the blockade, and for that he is currently being prosecuted, facing the possibility of jail time. A Motion to Dismiss, which argued that the prosecution is attempting to criminalize and chill conduct that is protected under the First Amendment, was heard on November 13. Judge Paul Burdick denied the motion and set a trial date for February 22, 2016.
On Oct 21, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided family homes in Monterey County by pretending to be local police, including wearing jackets that said "POLICE" on them, knocking on people's doors pretending that they just wanted to ask some questions, and then arresting them without any warrants. The two men are fathers of U.S. citizens. One is a grandfather. They have lived in the United States since 1989 and 2005.
A state-convened working group is recommending a series of initial steps toward reducing whale entanglements in crab gear in California, including more monitoring and retrieval of lost fishing gear. The Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group was convened in September after the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups found that whale entanglements in 2014 and 2015 had reached historic highs.
To mark the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, community members in Salinas rallied in front of city hall on October 22, where the family members of Jose Velasco, Frank Alvarado, and Angel Ruiz all spoke. Ruiz and Alvarado were among five unarmed Latino men killed in separate incidents in 2014 during encounters with the Salinas Police Department. Velasco was severley beaten by a group of Salinas police officers in 2015.
Governor Jerry Brown this October signed two bills that will require more frequent oil pipeline inspections and improve oil spill response, but the questionable "marine protected areas" created under the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative still fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and Tribal gathering.
Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) claims to be a non-profit group dedicated to safety issues in the city of Santa Cruz, and that they have no ideological direction. The truth is that TBSC has been the grassroots arm to many of the recent laws criminalizing homelessness in the city as well as the force behind proposed RV bans, forced closure and relocation of a needle exchange service, and a stay away order law from public parks.
Donald Thomas Miller II, age 39, was shot and killed on October 6 by Zach Reed, an officer with the Monterey Police Department. According to police reports, Miller was acting irrationally in downtown Monterey, police were called, and Reed killed him because Miller was in possession of a weapon, which turned out to be non-operational.
Federal prison sentences were handed down October 2 for the three remaining defendants in the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington State. They were charged with multiple federal felonies after a 2012 raid on the family’s personal cannabis garden. The case has received national attention as an example of federal interference with state-qualified medical cannabis patients. Lobbying by Larry Harvey, a defendant in the case who died last month from cancer, was instrumental in getting Congress to restrict Department of Justice enforcement in states with medical cannabis laws.
Students, union members and the Raging Grannies all questioned the role of the hi-tech industry in the climate movement at a rally held next door to Google headquarters on October 14. The Raging Grannies specifically called out firms Google and Facebook since both companies joined with climate change deniers when they became members of the climate denying lobbying group ALEC.
On October 11, a group of indigenous people held a sacred ceremony and observance on the historic Gill Tract Farm to honor the land and the ancestors who lived on the land for over 10,000 years. The gathering was convened by the Indigenous Land Access Committee (ILAC) — a group of Ohlone and other native people who envision reclaiming land stolen from them, and restoring spiritual and cultural lifeways in solidarity with indigenous people on every continent harmed by colonization.
As advocates of Senate Bill 350 were celebrating the signing of the amended renewable energy bill by Governor Jerry Brown, a major appointment to a regulatory post in the Brown administration went largely unnoticed. In a classic example of how Big Oil has captured the regulatory apparatus in California, Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Bill Bartling who has worked as an oil industry executive and consultant, as district deputy in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources at the embattled California Department of Conservation.
A "Stingray" is a device that simulates a cellphone tower and intercepts all phone traffic in its range. A new California law set to go into effect this January requires most state and local agencies to conduct a public hearing and to create a privacy policy before acquiring a Stingray or equivalent device. But on Tuesday, October 13, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider whether to approve a request by the Alameda County District Attorney to accept money from the state to acquire an upgraded Stingray known as a "Hailstorm." If approved, and if the purchase is consummated before the new year, the new Stingray law would not apply.
UPDATE: The decision on approving the grant money for a Stingray upgrade was postponed to an indefinite date, probably December.
As Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of environmentally destructive fracking in California, the Governor on October 7 signed renewable energy legislation, SB 350, by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. The bill was amended under heavy political pressure by the Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento. Before being amended, Senate Bill 350 called for a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks by 2030.
Receiving scant attention from marijuana legalization advocates and just about zero attention in the national media, voters in Ohio will be deciding on a controversial marijuana legalization initiative this November that “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana." It is a cautionary tale to which the backers of California’s multiple marijuana legalization initiatives might want to pay close attention.

11/26/15 Activists Vow to Mobilize at Paris Climate Change Summit Despite Protest Ban     environment | globalization
11/25/15 California Prisoner Hunger Strikes & Class Action Lead to Major Limits on Use of the SHU     police | california
11/24/15 Thirty-Year-Old Yonas Alehegne Becomes OPD's Fourth Fatal Shooting Victim in 2015     police | race | immigrant
11/24/15 Board Of Supervisors Pass Most Comprehensive Cell Phone Simulator Privacy Policy in U.S.     police | government
11/24/15 Labor Organization Works to Provide Dependable Access to Tools     santacruz
11/24/15 Students Call for Tuition-Free College, Cancellation of All Student Debt, $15 Minimum Wage     labor | education | santacruz
11/24/15 Mission Santa Cruz Vandalized Repeatedly Following Canonization of Junipero Serra     race | santacruz
11/22/15 Black Friday 14 Action a Prelude to Huge Rally to Raise Oakland Minimum Wage to $15/Hr     police | race | globalization
11/16/15 San Francisco Tenants Unite Against Rent Increases and the Demolition of Their Homes     poverty | government
11/15/15 Alameda Council Meeting Erupts Over Rising Rents with Violence from City Official & Police     police | poverty | government
11/14/15 CCSF Faculty to Strike and Picket Over Contract Negotiations and Class Reductions     education
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Native Americans Swim Alcatraz to Fight Diabetes Pete Verral
Sunday Nov 29th 10:50 AM
Hundreds March in Santa Cruz in Advance of Paris Climate Conference Alex Darocy (2 comments)
Saturday Nov 28th 10:02 PM
People’s Radio in Fresno Mike Rhodes
Saturday Nov 28th 3:51 PM
7th year vigil for Oscar Grant III Wanda Johnson
Friday Nov 27th 9:53 PM
ACLU Questions Council and Chief of Police on Automatic License Plate Readers ACLU Santa Cruz County (1 comment)
Friday Nov 27th 2:06 PM
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Friday Nov 27th 12:00 AM
Richard Perkins: 1,000th Person Killed by Cops in the US This Year; OPD Mum on Video Anti Police-Terror Project
Thursday Nov 26th 11:11 PM
Letter to Berkeley: You Are Being Scammed by Your City Council. JP Massar (1 comment)
Wednesday Nov 25th 10:44 AM
Troy Fletcher, Yurok Tribe's Visionary Leader, Passes Away Dan Bacher
Wednesday Nov 25th 8:41 AM
Victim of Salinas police beating indicted for assaulting officer IndyRadio/DavidRoknich (1 comment)
Tuesday Nov 24th 1:11 PM
TBSC members caught lying again: The RV ordinance and "faking" locality TBSC Watcher (3 comments)
Tuesday Nov 24th 12:45 PM
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