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Center Column Archives
Simba Kenyatta writes:
As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies.
Following the SPD killing of Carlos Mejia on May 20, residents have struggled against the powers that be in Salinas. On May 25, local politicians and non-profit groups worked to quiet anti-police sentiment at the large march and statewide mobilization against police brutality held in East Salinas. On May 27, the family of Mejia filed a wrongful death legal claim against the City of Salinas, and a May 31 counter-protest was held at a pro-police rally organized by retired SPD officers and law enforcement families.
Recently, students at UC Santa Cruz reported to the NAACP that two incidents of "serious racial bullying" had occurred on the university's campus. In response, the Santa Cruz Branch of the NAACP together with the UCSC Women's Center organized a "March and Prayer Vigil to Stop Hate Crimes and Racial Bullying in Our Community" on May 29. Community members, including students from UCSC, marched down Pacific Avenue and to the Town Clock where songs were sung and a prayer vigil was held.
On May 20, officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Carlos Mejia outside of a bakery at the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn. They said he posed a threat because he was carrying garden shears. The killing was preceded by the SPD killing of Osman Hernandez at Mi Pueblo Market on May 9, and Angel Ruiz on March 20. Angel was shot by three Salinas Police Officers simultaneously in a Wing Stop parking lot. A video of the Carlos Mejia killing went viral, and on May 21 hundreds of people took to the streets of Salinas in response.
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio visited Mountain View, CA on May 6 to speak to an ultra-conservative group. At one point Arpaio approached protesters, some of whom said to him, "we don't want your hate here." Street theater demonstrators impersonated the sheriff and ICE federal agents in a skit near the entrance to the hall where the sheriff spoke.
Terri Kay of Workers World writes:
The Bay Area Rapid Transit police have achieved notoriety once again, this time with the brutalization of Nubia Bowe, a diminutive 19-year-old Black woman. The brutality continued at the hands of Alameda County sheriff deputies once Bowe arrived at the Santa Rita, Calif., jail. Workers World interviewed Bowe and her godmother, Carroll Fife, about Bowe’s ordeal at the hands of police.
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.