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Center Column Archives
Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio visited Mountain View, CA on May 6 to speak to an ultra-conservative group. At one point Arpaio approached protesters, some of whom said to him, "we don't want your hate here." Street theater demonstrators impersonated the sheriff and ICE federal agents in a skit near the entrance to the hall where the sheriff spoke.
President Obama was in Mountain View on May 9 to promote initiatives that expand solar energy use. He had special praise for Walmart because it uses some forms of alternative energy. Labor advocates protested outside the megastore where the president spoke, saying that Walmart is anti-union, keeps workers' wages low, and provides few benefits.
Scott Olsen's skull was shattered and part of his brain destroyed when an OPD officer shot him in the head with a Specialty Impact Munition (SIM) at a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration. As he lay critically injured on the pavement, an OPD officer threw a CS Blast grenade onto him — a teargas device that explodes with a flash of light and loud bang. A new petition demands that OPD be prohibited from using SIMs and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events.
Terri Kay of Workers World writes:
The Bay Area Rapid Transit police have achieved notoriety once again, this time with the brutalization of Nubia Bowe, a diminutive 19-year-old Black woman. The brutality continued at the hands of Alameda County sheriff deputies once Bowe arrived at the Santa Rita, Calif., jail. Workers World interviewed Bowe and her godmother, Carroll Fife, about Bowe’s ordeal at the hands of police.
On May 5, sign language interpreters who work at Purple Communications in Oakland went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike in Oakland. They were joined in the strike by workers in San Diego; Denver, Colorado; and Tempe, Arizona. “This is about safety and health care,” said Carol Day, a veteran ASL interpreter who was picketing and handing out leaflets in downtown Oakland.
Jonathan Nack reports from Havana:
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans demonstrated unmistakeable enthusiasm while marching in the Cuban capitol on May Day – International Workers Day. Marchers chanted, danced, sang songs, and blew horns throughout the festive march. It was a clear statement of support for the Cuban government. CBS News reported an estimated 600,000 participated. Trade unionists, community groups, members of cooperatives, and even unions of small businesses demonstrated their support for the Cuban Revolution.