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Center Column Archives
A local citizen first reported an oil spill coming from a leak in the pipeline at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara at around noon on May 19. Coast Guard crews stopped the oil leak by 3 p.m., but as much as 105,000 gallons were released, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean. The company that owns the pipeline involved in the spill has had 175 incidents (mostly oil spills) nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California, according to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal documents.
The first successful Santa Cruz County referendum in 13 years has suspended an ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban was adopted on April 14, and was to go into effect on May 15. Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz circulated the referendum and after only 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county. 7,248 valid signatures are required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced just two months ago that glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto's pesticide RoundUp, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The time was ripe to demand a ban on the herbicide with protests internationally on May 23. In San Francisco, many demonstrators dressed as bees and butterflies, while others portrayed mutated evil Monsanto managers.
Community members in East Salinas held a vigil on May 9 to mark the day 26-year-old Osmar Hernandez was killed by Salinas Police in 2014. Osmar's family members were in attendance; Maria Guardado-Hernandez spoke, and Asuncion Guardado stood by solemnly while holding a lit votive candle. Also in attendance were the family members of two other men killed by Salinas Police in 2014, Frank Alvarado and Angel Ruiz.
On May 8, approximately 300 people took over San Francisco City Hall to deliver their messages about the untenable evictions that are now occurring in the City. There has been a 54.7% increase in evictions this year, with over 2,000 units evicted thus far in 2015. The protest included an ethnic ritual, chants, testimonials by victims of the evictions, and a walk around San Francisco City Hall’s political chambers to deliver their messages personally to the Supervisors and Mayor.
On May 5, Black.Seed, Asians4BlackLives, and allies shut down the Oakland City Council and held a People's City Council against a proposed development on East 12th Street. The development, up for a vote at that evening's city council meeting, includes no affordable housing and links to the larger wave of displacement being felt throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. The activists stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, linking gentrification to increased policing, and criminalization of Black and Brown people.
On May 2, Native American community members and Interfaith supporters, including clergy leaders, demonstrated outside of Mission Dolores in San Francisco to oppose the impending canonization of Junipero Serra by the Catholic church. Pope Francis has reaffirmed his decision to name Junipero Serra a saint, despite strong opposition from Native Americans who say the man is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people when he helped to establish and then presided over the California mission system in the 1700s.