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Center Column Archives
The Santa Cruz Police Department announced they will be partnering with 7-Eleven stores to launch "Operation Chill," which is code for a program that attempts to affect the behavior of kids, and change their perception of the police department, by bribing them with coupons for free slurpees. According to police, since its inception in 1995, police departments have issued more than 12.5 million coupons,or “tickets” to kids in communities throughout the country.
Seniors, union workers and community supporters stopped tech company buses on August 1 at 24th and Valencia Streets to protest the epidemic of evictions caused by the City of San Francisco, which has allowed tech buses to bring thousands of Silicon Valley workers to the City, pushing up prices and evictions.
Citing concerns about water use and contamination, a Monterey County Superior Court judge has ruled that San Benito County unlawfully approved a dangerous new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. As the judge’s ruling notes, “There are numerous opportunities for toxic spills to occur that the County has apparently not contemplated.”
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
In response to the decision from Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch's decision not to prosecute Erick Gelhaus, the Sheriff's Deputy that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, protesters assembled in Santa Rosa on July 12 and marched through the downtown streets. After the official march was declared to be over, many continued to march in an act of civil disobedience towards Highway 101, where they blocked an off-ramp and all three northbound lanes of traffic.
On July 19, the Raging Grannies passed out flyers in front of the Palo Alto Whole Foods store, telling customers why they should boycott Eden Foods, a company that is suing the Obama administration for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods owner Michael Potter wants to stop covering birth control of all kinds, including pregnancy counseling, for his employees. The Grannies sang their message as well, calling out Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has also publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act.
On July 8, community members in Santa Cruz and around the state gathered to commemorate the one year anniversary of the California Hunger Strike. Sin Barras writes:
"July 8, 2013 is a day we remember to never forget the torture the state of California willingly inflicts on human lives. On that day, 30,000 prisoners followed the lead of their fellow prisoners locked in solitary confinement and refused to eat. By one account, close to 100 people went without eating for 59 days before agreeing to eat in exchange for serious concessions from the California Department of Corrections."