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Center Column Archives
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has released "Ethel's List: The Dirty Thirty," a list of landlords and speculators who have all evicted at least one senior and/or disabled person through the Ellis Act over the last decade. Ethel, an activist and member of Senior and Disability Action, is extremely concerned about her senior community being forced out of their homes. To be senior and/or disabled and to be evicted can cause dire health effects, and at times death.
San Francisco has seen a 178% increase in Ellis Act evictions over the last 3 years. A group of seniors, people with disabilities, supporters, and co-sponsors confronted the San Francisco Association of Realtors on April 22. The San Francisco Board of realtors has opposed legislation beneficial to tenants in the past. The activists delivered a letter of demands and then held a rally and press conference with testimonies from seniors and people with disabilities.
On the morning of April 22, dozens of Andy’s Youth gathered in front of Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the murder of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus. The students held up signs in front of the school demanding that Gelhaus be indicted and that the Cook Principal and teachers cease making demeaning and disparaging comments about Andy.
Two different political demonstrations were held during the first day of Alumni Weekend at UC Santa Cruz on April 25. Members of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs protested an appearance by former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who spoke at an exhibition of student projects at the university. At the same time as the Panetta protest, students in support of the UCSC 22 demonstrated at another Alumni Weekend event, the Graduate Alumni Cocktail Hour, which was held at the Graduate Student Commons.
Over one hundred San Francisco public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and education staff who are members of United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) rallied on April 22 at the San Francisco Unified School District school board building. UESF workers are demanding a living wage after an 8-year wage freeze. The massive speculative housing bubble is driving workers out of San Francisco and forcing them to commute long distances. Many are unable to afford healthcare.
California is a state where many powerful corporate interests are based, ranging from corporate agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley to the computer and technology industry in the Silicon Valley, but none are more influential in state politics than the oil industry. Stop Fooling California recently released a chart revealing that the oil industry, including the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, BP and other oil companies, spent over $56.63 million on lobbying at the State Capitol in the five years from 2009 through 2013.