The City of Richmond, California voted to continue its groundbreaking effort to save resident homeowners from foreclosure on December 17, 2013. The City Council voted 4 to 2 in favor of moving forward with its plan to use its right of eminent domain to protect homeowners and to "prioritize those neighborhoods that have been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis." Before the meeting began, approximately seventy-five supporters of Richmond's initiative rallied in front of Richmond City Hall.
San Francisco and Oakland residents are being evicted as a result of increasing housing costs caused in part by an influx of tech employees, many of whom are provided private buses by their employers to get to offices in the Silicon Valley. Activists first blocked a Google bus in the Mission District of San Francisco on December 9. On December 20, protesters blocked a Google bus at the MacArthur BART station and another at 7th and Adeline in West Oakland. In San Francisco, an Apple bus was blocked at 24th and Valencia Streets.
On December 25, Christmas Day, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs served a free vegan holiday meal to hundreds of community members outside of the downtown post office. Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry helped organize the meal, and he has reported that many of FNB groups across the country would be sharing vegan meals during the holidays this year in response to an increased need due to new cuts in food stamps and an extreme reduction of access to food during the holiday season.
Food Not Bombs founder Keith McHenry was in Santa Cruz to give a presentation at Santa Cruz's Resource Center for Nonviolence. When he heard that no free Christmas meal was planned this year in downtown Santa Cruz, he decided to hang out and organize one. McHenry says they're planning on feeding up to one thousand people at the December 25th meal.
On December 9, which was one of the coldest days of the season, the eviction of the Albany Bulb began. Workers from the City of Albany's Department of Public Works used a backhoe to dismantle homes located at the autonomous wild space where people have lived and created art for decades. Bulb residents' belongings were thrown in dump trucks behind the lines of Albany police.
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
Friends and family from coast to coast are mourning the loss of 28-year-old Anthony Messer, who died in Santa Cruz on the evening of December 2. Anthony was well known across California as a veteran of the U.S. military, a political activist, a traveler, and a generally friendly person who exuded positivity. Funeral services were held for him on December 9 in Chipley, Florida.