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Center Column Archives
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.
On February 26 in East Palo Alto, about 250 people marched through the intersection in front of IKEA. Seven activists risked arrest, locking arms and standing (sometimes sitting) in the middle of a major intersection. Union and immigrant rights activists called out Juvenal Chavez, owner of nearby Mi Pueblo, for betraying his own undocumented immigrant roots by participating in the Department of Homeland Security program E-Verify that screens the immigration status of new hires.
On March 1, urban farmers demonstrated at Sprouts grocery chain locations in Petaluma, Fremont, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The farmers oppose plans to develop the Gill Tract. Boycott Sprouts is asking shoppers to patronize other stores until Sprouts backs away from the development deal. On March 5, the Albany City Council approved paving six acres of the Gill Tract. In response to the council's vote, Occupy the Farm has called for a rally on March 12
On February 18, Common Cause and Forecast the Facts spearheaded a demonstration on Google headquarters property in Mountain View, California. They were bolstered by the presence of activists including the Raging Grannies and members of Occupy Mountain View. The protesters called out Google for its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a lobbying group linked to climate change denying legislation, "Stand Your Ground" laws, and other extreme right wing agenda items.
On February 3, protest vigils were held across the country following the State Department’s release of the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. The protests included thousands of demonstrators urging the president to keep his word in the fight against climate change and reject the controversial pipeline. In the Bay Area rallies were held in many cities, including Oakland, Palo Alto, and Santa Cruz.
On August 5, Palo Alto's City Council passed a ban prohibiting people from dwelling in their vehicles. Violation of the ordinance, which will take effect in 2014, can result in a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and possible jail time of 6 months. Before the council's decision dozens of homeless advocates staged a protest in front of City Hall, then took turns addressing the council in chambers. They screamed out "shame!" when the council voted 7 to 2 to enact the ban.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat.