Thousands of people, though not as many as in previous years, returned to Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz on April 20, 2014 (also Easter Sunday) to celebrate 420, the unorganized annual counterculture holiday. All these people have at least one thing in common; a love for smoking cannabis.
At a rally on April 15, Tax Day, hundreds of SEIU 1021 city workers rallied at City Hall and then marched to the headquarters of Twitter on Market Street. The demonstration was organized to protest the tax subsidies the company receives that are worth tens of millions of dollars a year while city workers have taken pay cuts. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and City Supervisors give tax subsidies to Twitter and other tech titans.
Modeled after the Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol), EBSN is a group of workers and tenants who use direct action to fight landlords and bosses. Working against both wage theft at workplaces, despicable conditions in housing complexes, as well as against foreclosures, EBSN has worked to combat abuses and build power among workers and tenants. FireWorks through email reached out to the group to get more information on them and what it is they do in the East Bay.
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's military aid to Israel. According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
On April 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Shaun McCutcheon et al in McCutcheon v Federal Elections Commission. Responding immediately, a crowd gathered at Palo Alto's City Hall to demonstrate against the decision, which clears the way for even more private money to enter the electoral system. One SF Peninsula protester said, "If you thought Citizen's United was selling our democracy down the money pit, check out the McCutcheon vs. FEC ruling handed down today!"
On April 11, the California Coastal Commission approved the development of a large hotel and condominium complex sited on beach and dune habitat on Monterey Bay in Sand City. The developer calls the 360-unit complex, with parking for almost 1,000 cars, the "Monterey Shores Eco-resort." Environmental groups have opposed the project for years. At risk is a population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.
In March, Turtle Island Restoration Network ‘s Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) won a legal battle with the County of Marin to protect the last population of wild California coho coastal salmon. A California appeals court affirmed SPAWN's position that the Marin countywide plan was unlawful because the county failed to analyze cumulative impacts and provided spurious mitigation for destruction of salmon habitat.