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Center Column Archives
On December 12th, dozens of protesters rallied outside a federal auction in Sacramento against plans to lease more than 17,000 acres of California public land to oil companies for drilling and fracking. Demonstrators fear that opening up thousands of acres of public land to oil and gas exploration would directly undercut the state's commitment to clean and renewable energy and endanger an already threatened water supply. Land spanning Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties lies on what is known as the Monterey Shale, a formation of underground minerals. Oil and gas companies are targeting this expanse for hydraulic drilling.
Attorney David E. Mastagni of the Sacramento law firm Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller & Johnsen has demanded that the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay) remove a post by Vallejo Copwatch. It is unclear on whose behalf the overly broad demand was made as it requests that Indybay "remove any and all information pertaining to public safety officers employed by the City of Vallejo." The specific Vallejo Copwatch post listed in the demand letter, though, identifies Vallejo police officer Dustin B. Joseph as the killer of Mario Romero on September 2nd of this year. The Indybay Collective has no intention of removing the post.
Six months ago, local Occupy movements arrived at one of Monsanto corporation's Davis facilities at 6 a.m. Monsanto sent a message to their plant's workers to not come into work. The protest educated the public and initiated a conversation as a general assembly brainstormed solutions to Monsanto's corrupt ties with the government, unethical business practices, destruction of the environment, as well as the production of unhealthy food. Local activist groups plan to shutdown the Davis Monsanto plant once again on Monday, September 17th
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.
On July 13th, the legal team for the Davis Dozen, students and faculty of UC Davis who allegedly blockaded a corporate bank that appeared on their campus last Fall, filed a Pitchess Motion which alleges that the officers in the case used excessive force or lied about the events surrounding the defendants' arrest. This will provide the court access to the officers' records, allowing confirmation of past use of excessive force against the defendants. Their next court date has been set for Friday, August 24th
Occupy Fresno held a press conference on June 8th to discuss the settlement of its suit against Fresno County. It upholds the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Fresno County will remove restrictive ordinances limiting the circulation of flyers, carrying of signs, and holding small gatherings in Courthouse Park. Those arrested will not face criminal charges. June 9th
is the eight month anniversary at Fresno County Courthouse Park — the only known Occupy in the movement that has maintained a continuous 24-hour presence in its original location.
In a courtroom packed full of supporters at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, California, all twelve defendants, known as both the "Davis Dozen" and the "Banker's Dozen", pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on May 10th. They also rejected a plea deal offered by the Assistant District, calling the charges against them "a sham." On Friday, June 1st, the Davis Dozen returned to the Yolo County Courthouse for a pre-trial conference. A June 1st pre-trial conference was brief, and a date was set for another pre-trial conference to file motions on Friday, June 22nd