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Center Column Archives
On May Day 2014, actions across the Bay Area were as diverse as the people who live here. Multiple events were held leading up to the holiday as part of the Earth Day to May Day Days of Direct Action. Across the board, rallies supported undocumented workers and residents. UC Santa Cruz students continued to protest the appointment of Janet Napolitano. Additionally, many of the marches were joined by contingents supporting justice for people affected by police violence, including Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa and Antonio Lopez in San José.
On the afternoon of April 30, Eviction Free San Francisco joined the tenants from 741 Ellis Street in the Tenderloin district in an emergency rally in the courtyard of their apartment building. With the help of the Housing Rights Committee
of San Francisco, the tenants called this action to demand that their new landlord, Ty Durekas, Senior Advisor of OnCare, immediately withdraw his eviction notices.
Two communiqués posted to Indybay claimed credit for attacks on three different gentrifying businesses in Oakland and San Francisco on April 28.
Of the San Francisco action, "anarchists
" write: "Last night we attacked the Sales office for the in-construction Vida Condos on Mission St." Of the Oakland action, "vandalists
" write: "Early on Monday morning, locks were glued at Dogtown Development and at a new fancy coffee shop in the lower bottoms."
Tech buses have come to symbolize the increasingly unaffordable rents and rampant evictions in San Francisco. The City's response to protesters' objections to the buses has been to propose that the tech shuttles start paying a fee of $1 per stop in a limited number of bus stops. On May 1, however, a coalition of environmental, labor, and tenants' rights groups filed suit, declaring that the "Commuter Bus Program," aka the "Google Bus Giveaway," is illegal and should be set aside. The suit contends that it is against state law for private buses to use the public bus stops.
Health advocates from the California Brain Tumor Association and Stop Smart Meters! affixed health warning labels on cell phones for sale in Verizon’s Market Street store in San Francisco in defiance of the wireless industry’s legal bullying of cell phone safety ordinances across the nation. Store management removed the labels but did not summon police, possibly out of concern that potential arrests may highlight a health risk the industry would rather keep quiet.
A series of reports issued by national experts on jail conditions expose in the most graphic detail to date the Monterey County Jail as a place riddled with violence where prisoners are at serious risk of grave injury, where jail officials fail to provide prisoners with adequate medical and mental health care and where prisoners with disabilities are denied access to jail services, programs and activities.
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.