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On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle."
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups organized more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California. (Check back on full feature as coverage is still coming in.)
Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
Wed Jan 14 2015 (Updated 01/15/15) Statewide Tour Urges Governor Brown to Stop Fracking
While Governor Jerry Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's abysmal neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians are convening January 12-18 as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking.
At least 145 of America's last wild, migratory bison have already been captured inside Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap this week as a result of the park and other entities working under the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). They intend to kill upwards of 900 of the gentle giants under the guise of population control and "disease risk management."
On January 8, Eric McDavid was ordered released from prison. It has been almost 9 years exactly since he was arrested in Auburn, CA, on January 13, 2006. Eric’s release came about because of the habeas petition that he and his legal team filed in May 2012. Because the government withheld important documents from the defense at trial, Eric’s original judgment and sentencing were vacated and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that carried a five year maximum sentence.
Stephany Seay writes: Many believed that a Salmon, Idaho-based wolf and coyote killing spree was canceled when organizations released to the media that the BLM had revoked permits for the event. However the Forest Service still allowed it, and the derby was still on. Eight individuals braved the hostile Salmon community to be on the ground and document the carnage.
Brent Adams writes: On December 30 and 31, with forecasts below freezing, the Santa Cruz Warming Center Program had its inaugural opening. Calvary Episcopal Church stepped up to provide the needed hall, a dozen people volunteered for overnight monitor shifts and 100 blankets were donated in a 24-hour period. On the first night we served nearly 50 people and on the second night we hosted nearly 60, who snoozed warmly and peacefully.
Dan Bacher writes: Governor Jerry Brown continued to live up to his reputation as "Big Oil Brown" with his administration's release of the finalized text of the state's regulations for fracking and well stimulation on December 30, 2014. Although Senate Bill 4, passed in September 2013, requires California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to complete an environmental impact report and approve an independent scientific study, "neither one of those documents were ready in time to inform the final rules," according to a news release from CAFrack Facts.
Tue Jan 6 2015 (Updated 01/11/15) Monarchs Decline By 90 Percent In Past 20 Years
In response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for monarch butterflies. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on monarchs, which have declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.
Dan Bacher writes: Unfortunately, I fear that the abysmal management of the American, Sacramento, Feather and other Central Valley rivers over the past few years has spurred this apparent decline in the steelhead population. Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation officials systematically drained Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River, Lake Shasta on the Sacramento River, Lake Oroville on the Feather River and Folsom Lake on the American River in 2013, during a record drought, to export water through the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project.
In an unprecedented civil disobedience action on December 15, a multi-racial group of activists calling for an end to the "war on black people" shut down Oakland police headquarters. The doors of the building were physically locked down preventing police egress to or from the building and a "Black Lives Matter" flag was hung from a flagpole for hours, while others used lockboxes to block traffic on Broadway. As word of the action spread, around 200 supporters gathered, chanted, and blocked side streets in solidarity. Twenty-five protesters were arrested.
On December, 15, Spain passed the "ley de mordaza", a gag law that makes it a crime to insult a cop, film a cop, or assemble in large groups. On December 16, seven anarchists were arrested on charges relating to terrorism. On December 22, a group of anarchists stormed the Spanish consulate in San Francisco. After throwing leaflets into the consulate, tipping over the Spanish flag, and yelling curses, the group left without incident.
On December 22, with the full support of marine conservation organizations, a group of California legislators called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets. “California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
On December 17, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the California Rodeo Salinas and its head veterinarian Tim Eastman for failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law. The defendants are accused of significantly under-reporting the number of animals injured at the California Rodeo Salinas, the largest rodeo in the state and one of the largest in the country.
On December 13, community members in Santa Cruz joined people across the country for a national day of protest against police violence. The focus of the protests have primarily been on the police killings of three black individuals, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, which all came to national attention in 2014.
On the heels of nearly two weeks of protests in the East Bay spurred by the Ferguson grand jury decision, demonstrations escalated when the Eric Garner grand jury decision was announced on December 3 in New York City. Nightly since December 6, hundreds have taken to the streets of Berkeley to protest for justice, shutting down highways along the way, with marches reaching through Oakland and Emeryville as well. CHP and Berkeley police have responded aggressively, with hundreds of demonstrators arrested, beaten, and/or injured.
On December 9, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 6-1 to approve the purchase of a $250,000 armored emergency response and "rescue" vehicle. The proposed purchase was placed on the council's consent agenda and was announced with very little notice, but the public quickly mobilized to protest. In response to the city council’s vote, members of the public broke out into chants of, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and Mayor Lynn Robinson then had the chambers cleared by the police.
In a continued series of actions to oppose the tuition hikes approved by the University of California Regents in November, students at UC Santa Cruz left their classes on December 8 and marched around campus and to the administration building. Hundreds of students marched through the building and pounded on walls, including the Chancellor's door. Eventually a group rallied on the roof of the building and an open mic was held.
In Mexico and Central America, a tianguis is traditionally thought of as an open-air market where merchandise is sold. To create a space where community organizing skills can be shared, the concept of a "community action" tianguis was created by individuals in the Mayfair community of San José. The first such tianguis was held at Lee Mathson Middle School on November 15, and featured participation from a wide range of organizations working in the areas of health, education, labor, food safety, immigration, and legal defense.
As expected, the grand jury tasked with determining if there was enough evidence for charging Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown determined that there wasn’t probable cause. That night, on November 24, people in Ferguson and across the country began to rise up for Mike Brown and blocked freeways, city streets, and more. Fires were set, merchandise taken from stores, and, on Black Friday, BART was disrupted in West Oakland and shopping centers shut down in San Francisco. Protests continued throughout the week, culminating on the annual Black Friday shopping day and continuing into the weekend.
The Indymedia (Independent Media Center) project started in late November of 1999, to allow participants in the anti-globalization movement to report on the protests against the WTO meeting that took place in Seattle, Washington, and to act as an alternative media source. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, commonly known as Indybay, started in 2000. By 2002, there were 89 local IMCs around the world spread between 31 countries (plus the West Bank) and 6 continents. By January 2006, the Indymedia network had grown to over 150 Indymedia outlets around the world.
On November 20, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Humanities and Social Sciences building and plan to stay inside until the UC Regents roll back the tuition increases they approved this week. Student fees across the University of California system will raise by at least 5% a year for the next five years if the Regents' plan is instituted.
On November 10, peace activists in Santa Cruz protested a book signing appearance by Leon Panetta, the one-time Secretary of Defense and CIA Director. Bookshop Santa Cruz hosted the event with a crowd of hundreds in attendance. By the end of the evening, five individuals were "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz, in retaliation for activities related to the evening's peaceful protest. Additionally, Panetta's security assaulted an Indybay journalist who was documenting the event.
On November 4, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a second complaint against one of the world’s largest research antibody suppliers, Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCBT). It alleges violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) from September 26, 2012, through April 22, 2014. The additional violations outlined in the complaint include repeated failure to provide adequate veterinary care — resulting in needless animal suffering — and repeated research oversight violations.
On November 12, activists with the Bay Area Rasmea Defense Committee chained themselves to doors of the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland to protest the conviction and imprisonment of 67-year-old Palestinian community organizer Rasmea Odeh. Odeh was convicted on Monday, November 10th in a Detroit federal court of knowingly lying on her immigration application. Hundreds were present in court to support Odeh over the course of her trial in Detroit and across the country solidarity demonstrations have been held demanding that she be freed.
On November 5, a woman died in the Santa Cruz County Jail. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department immediately claimed there was nothing suspicious about the death, calling it a “medical event.” Sin Barras, a Santa Cruz-based prison abolition organization, has said the deaths were, "preventable in more ways than one."

01/20/15 Hundreds Protest Approval of Police Attack Vehicle Purchase at City Council Meeting     police | santacruz
01/17/15 Cannabis Advocates Send Letters to Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors     drugwar | santacruz
01/16/15 Yellowstone National Park Initiates Bison Capture Operations     environment | animalliberation
01/16/15 DPR Recommendations Leave Schoolchildren, Rural Communities at Risk from Pesticides     poverty | california
01/14/15 Statewide Tour Urges Governor Brown to Stop Fracking     environment | california
01/14/15 Bay Area Pulls Off 96 Hours of Action as Part of National Call to "Reclaim King’s Legacy"     race | globalization | california
01/11/15 Environmentalists Couldn’t Stop the Slaughter at Idaho’s Annual Coyote and Wolf Derby     environment | animalliberation
01/10/15 Federal Government Releases Eric McDavid After Withholding Documents from Him at Trial     environment | centralvalley
01/06/15 Santa Cruz Warming Center Program Provides Warmth and Shelter     poverty | santacruz
01/06/15 Monarchs Decline By 90 Percent In Past 20 Years     environment | california
01/02/15 Fracking Regulations Released Six Months Before Studies Are Complete     environment | california | government
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One Billion Rising Santa Cruz
Thursday Jan 29th 10:25 PM
Groups Sue to Stop Daily Train Deliveries of Toxic Crude Oil to Bakersfield Terminal Center for Biological Diversity
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