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Center Column Archives
The Gill Tract in Albany has been a battleground in recent years as the University of California's development plans have met repeated resistance from Occupy the Farm and others fighting for land sovereignty. The tract was first occupied and farmed in 2012, providing hundreds of pounds of free produce to local communities. This year, in the space of nine days in May, occupiers broke ground, establishing a new urban farm, and replanted the field twice. Each time the UC police ploughed over the seedlings. Currently, Occupy the Farm is launching a pressure campaign against Sprouts Farmers Market, a supermarket chain looking to build on the land.
On February 21st, over 100 CCSF students, faculty, and supporters marched, rallied, and occupied to demand an end to the cutbacks and the privatization of the college. The administration building was occupied overnight by about three dozen students. When the Chancellor agreed to meet with students on February 25th and explore their demands including regular open town hall meetings, protesters dispersed of their own accord without incident or arrest.
Students and workers gathered outside the Cowell Student Health Center on the UC Santa Cruz campus on February 13th in response to recent news that the UC system is planning to "exploit an Obamacare loophole" and cap student insurance coverage. The proposed plan would also increase the Student Health Insurance Plan fees by 25%. Rally organizers called the changes "financial mismanagement" on the part of UC administrators.
On Wednesday, December 5th
, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will reconvene for what may be the final hearing concerning the request by UC Santa Cruz to extend the water service needed to develop 240 acres of Upper Campus natural habitat, which would require over 250 million additional gallons of water per year from the Santa Cruz water supply.
Occupy the Farm writes
: "On Friday November 16, 2012, the University of California (UC) razed all of the publicly planted crops on the Gill Tract. Occupy the Farm is disappointed that the UC has unnecessarily destroyed the hard work of the community and food that could have fed it. The weekly distribution and harvest events could have continued that, over the course of the summer and early fall, have yielded over one ton of food from the crops planted during the occupation last Spring.
On August 10th, Thomas Matzat and supporters appeared before the Yolo County District Court for a pre-trial hearing. Thomas is being charged with five counts of felony vandalism, fourteen counts of misdemeanor vandalism, and one misdemeanor charge for “possessing a marking substance with the intent to commit vandalism”. At the hearing, Thomas’ pro bono legal team provided evidence that police lied about security footage used to identify him.
An abandoned historic building in Oakland was unveiled on the morning of August 13th as the Victor Martinez Community Library. The building was one of seven library branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, and since then it has mostly sat empty. On the first day of the re-opening, donations of books poured in and area children helped to start a community garden in a side lot. In less than 15 hours, however, OPD raided the Community Library. The next morning, activists re-opened the library on the sidewalk in front of the building and it has been growing since.