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Center Column Archives
The first recorded Father's Day commemoration was in remembrance of a mining disaster that brought attention to the plight of working people and unsafe working conditions across the US, when hundreds of fathers died in a mine in West Virginia in 1908. With the holiday's origins in mind, members of the San Jose and Redwood City Occupy groups performed mic check demonstrations at branches of various corporate entities on the San Francisco Peninsula that have a record of anti-labor practices.
On June 12th, family members held a memorial for Derrick Gaines, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed by an officer with the South San Francisco Police Department on the evening of June 5th. Police claim that Gaines, who was walking with a friend near an Arco gas station, was engaging in "suspicious behavior".
Demonstrators shut down the entrance of the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a fundraising dinner on March 26th. Several protest groups coordinated to produce a show of anger aimed at the presidential hopeful and wealthy attendees of the event. One group erected a giant Etch A Sketch outside the hotel entrance, making light of a recent Romney aide's gaffe; others mocked billionaire supporters of his campaign by wearing faux fur and pearls and lifting glasses of champagne.
On September 27th, thousands of members of the four employee unions of the United States Postal Service joined forces with allies and community members to send a message to the nation and its Congress. All around the country, protesters demonstrated against proposals to close thousands of post offices, eliminate Saturday deliveries, lay off workers, cut postal workers’ pay, and end collective bargaining rights.
“Don’t Sell To Zell!” shouted East Palo Alto tenants and supporters, as they rallied on August 22nd in front of a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Palo Alto. The demonstrators protested Wells Fargo’s pending arrangement with investment group Equity Residential, of which Sam Zell is the founder and chairman. The proposed sale would transfer ownership of more than half of the rent-controlled housing in East Palo Alto.
After more than a decade of legal battles, a decision by a final court ruled against the group Friends of Juana Briones House. The oldest house in Palo Alto, named for its famous resident who was a latina pioneer, is being dismantled, piece by piece. Juana Briones healed the sick and cared for the poor. An elementary school and park in Palo Alto both bear her name. Her house, parts of which were built in 1844, is being destroyed by the current property owner.
A spike in the level of radioactive iodine from Japan's Fukushima Daichii plant was discovered in milk samples in California's San Luis Obispo County in late March. On April 2nd, the EPA issued a press release stating that radioactive material in California's rainwater is the result of the nuclear disaster in Japan. While health officials assure the public that the increases present no danger, Californians are expressing deep concern about nuclear reactors that are poised near earthquake faults on the coast. Scheduled protests include in San Francisco on April 14th
, Avila Beach, California, near Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, on April 16th
, and Menlo Park on April 26th