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Center Column Archives
At a rally on April 15, Tax Day, hundreds of SEIU 1021 city workers rallied at City Hall and then marched to the headquarters of Twitter on Market Street. The demonstration was organized to protest the tax subsidies the company receives that are worth tens of millions of dollars a year while city workers have taken pay cuts. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and City Supervisors give tax subsidies to Twitter and other tech titans.
Since October 2013, DxE has held monthly protests against Chipotle as part of the group’s “It’s not Food, It’s Violence” campaign. On March 29, Chipotle Mexican Grill closed a San Francisco restaurant in response to protests by animal rights activists. Demonstrators with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) arrived to protest against the restaurant, surprised to find it closed. It remained closed and empty of customers for the duration of DxE’s two-hour protest.
On March 24, the California Department of Corrections, which practices culture jamming by "correcting" commercial advertisements, successfully modified a billboard in San Francisco to read, PAIN ISN'T ALWAYS OBVIOUS. LEARN THE SIGNS AT GUANTANAMO BAY. The ad comes two weeks after a landmark lawsuit, Hassan v. Obama, was brought before U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to end force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay. Hassan has been on hunger strike since 2005 and has allegedly experienced over 5,000 forced-feedings.
On March 21, 28-year-old Alejandro Nieto was in Bernal Hill Park, before leaving for his night job as a security guard. The job required that Nieto carry a Taser. A jogger who reportedly called the police told 911, “A Latin male in a bright red jacket is pacing near a fence.” When police arrived, they shot Nieto 14 times. After an FTP march that night in SF, a vigil with family and friends on March 24, and an SFPD town hall on March 26, hundreds of people marched to the top of Bernal Hill on March 29 to protest the murder by police of CCSF student Alejandro Nieto.
In a victory for ocean wildlife, federal fishery managers in Sacramento on March 13 decided not to expand driftnet fishing into protected sea turtle habitat along the California coast because it would significantly raise the risk of capture and drowning of endangered whales, sea turtles and dolphins. But the Pacific Fishery Management Council failed to take direct action to remove driftnets from the California coast, though the gear is banned in Oregon and Washington.
The new documentary "The Ghosts Of March 21" focuses on March 21, 2009, when a shoot-out between Lovelle Mixon and members of the Oakland Police Department resulted in the death of Mixon and four police officers. The documentary examines the encounter’s underlying contradictions and challenges the mainstream narrative of the confrontation. The film opened in Oakland and Berkeley on March 20 and 21, San Francisco on March 22, and Santa Rosa on March 23.
On March 7, the California Department of Corrections modified a San Francisco billboard to read, "HOW DO I FIND A TAX LOOPHOLE?" and "NO INCOME TAX FOR BOEING, GE and VERIZON." The billboard was modified one week after the Center for Tax Justice published a report comparing the profits and income taxes for Fortune 500 companies. Twenty-six, including Boeing, General Electric and Verizon, generated a combined total of $170 billion in profits, but maintained negative tax rates every year from 2008 to 2012.