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Center Column Archives
Early in the morning on February 26, sixty trees were cut down on the southern acreage of the Gill Tract. The UC’s move to begin clearing the way for their proposed housing and shopping complex came as a shock to farmers and neighbors, as there is an active lawsuit on appeal in the county courts, contesting the development’s detrimental environmental impact. Knowing the community would mobilize to defend the trees, the UC cut down the trees with lightening speed. The last trees were in the process of being destroyed at 9am, as farm supporters arrived.
In October, a new law went into effect in the City of Monterey making it illegal to sit or lie on sidewalks in commercial districts. In response, activists staged a sit-in on the sidewalk along Alvarado Street in Downtown Monterey on February 13, and they say they plan to make it a regular event. Individuals with Direct Action Monterey Network (DAMN) organized the demonstration because they believe the law targets individuals without homes, travelers, and the impoverished.
Steve Schnaar writes:
Nearly two years ago, a Santa Cruz police officer injured a homeless man who was already in handcuffs, slamming him face-first into the ground. Caught on video by a bystander, the incident got a lot of attention and the SCPD promised to do a formal investigation. However the results of that investigation have been kept secret, and meanwhile the offending officer is still on the job with no apparent consequences.
In September of 2014, the City of Oakland began to make attempts to displace and remove people in public plazas in the wake of the WOSP (West Oakland Specific Plan) being passed. Then, in December, as the Ferguson inspired Bay Area uprising was raging, people armed with bolt-cutters took down the fences encircling the park to the cheers of those on the streets. Wanting to know more about the anti-gentrification struggle and how it connects to the battle against police and white supremacy, we caught up with long-time Oakland organizer and militant, Linda Grant.
Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Benzene levels over 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water were found in fracking flowback fluid tests dating back to April 2014 obtained and analyzed by the Center. Benzene in excess of federal limits was found in 320 tests, and chromium-6 was detected 118 times. Both chemicals can cause cancer.
On February 6, at 8am, teachers at San Francisco's bilingual public Fairmount Elementary School joined with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to block three private tech buses. Buses from Google and Facebook were blocked in protest of the takeover of what had been four parking spots for teachers at the school by a tech bus stop. Teachers had not been consulted before their parking stops were privatized, just this past month.
On February 7, thousands of people from across the state took to the streets of Oakland to call on Governor Jerry Brown to protect Californians from dangerous oil activities that harm the state's water, health and communities. The day before, on February 6, about seventy activists blockaded the entrances to the California State office building in San Francisco in support of a state-wide ban on fracking.