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Center Column Archives
On February 12, SEIU 1021 city workers marched and protested at Twitter corporate headquarters in San Francisco. Service Employees International Union workers demanded an end to tax subsidies and the defense of their healthcare benefits. Many in the SEIU are angry about their declining income while Mayor Ed Lee is giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies to billionaires and their tech corporations and $11.5 million to Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison's Americas Cup.
On February 18, The Great Morgani, aka Frank Lima, announced he will no longer be performing in downtown Santa Cruz "due to the recent strict enforcement of current ordinances" passed by the Santa Cruz City Council. Lima is a longtime street performer and performance artist from Santa Cruz, recognized as one of city's most interesting characters. He plays the accordion and dresses in homemade, seasonally relevant costumes which sometimes take up to 100 hours of work to create.
The California Department of Corrections (CDC), which practices culture jamming by "altering California's most criminal advertising", has unveiled a new campaign of bus shelter ads to confront San Francisco’s eviction crisis. On February 11, the CDC successfully apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged bus shelter advertisements in city districts with historically high rates of tenant displacement, including the Fillmore, the Mission and South of Market. According to a report from the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst, all types of evictions increased 38% over the past three years with a 170% spike in Ellis Act evictions over the same period.
Homeless advocates involved in establishing Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp embarked on a tour of Oregon and Washington State’s “sanctuary type” homeless camps and villages as a research investigation. After touring the northwest interviewing the creators, inhabitants, and neighbors of these camps, a video documentary was produced that chronicles their trip and showcases the new paradigm of citizen organized, community sanctioned homeless communities.
According to an article published on Indybay's newswire, at 7am on January 21, a group went to the home of Anthony Levandowski, a Google X developer. After ringing his doorbell to alert him of the protest, a banner was held in front of his house that read "Google's Future Stops Here" and fliers about him were distributed around the neighborhood. The fliers detail his work with the defense industry and his plans to develop luxury condos in Berkeley. After blocking his driveway for approximately 45 minutes, the group blocked a Google bus at Ashby BART.
Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel announced his candidacy for mayor of Oakland on January 9. Siegel spelled out an ambitious agenda focused on social and economic justice which includes a $15 minimum wage, public schools to develop into community centers, neighborhood gardens to flourish throughout the city, Oakland police to stop abusing citizens, and the Domain Awareness Center to be shut down.
On January 9, Tenants Together and their allies filed a class action suit against notorious Central Valley landlord, JD Homes Rentals. The lawsuit seeks immediate court intervention to ensure that substandard conditions in the thousands of units managed by JD Homes Rentals are repaired and the properties made habitable. Among the allegations, JD Homes often retaliates against tenants who complain to authorities.