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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.
On October 30, the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15 year old who was shot and killed by South San Francisco Police Department officer Joshua Cabillo, filed a federal civil rights action against the City of South San Francisco. Family members, who are seeking $10 million in damages, hired Attorney John Burris to represent them in the wrongful death action. Burris says, "This is a clear case of racial profiling that lead to disastrous results."
Around 500 peaceful but rowdy protesters came out on September 17th in San Francisco to mark the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. The protest began with several separate actions around the Financial District, which coalesced in a rally in front of the Bank of America building. The protesters then marched to Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, filling more than two blocks with signs and banners, accompanied by the Brass Liberation Orchestra. Separately, similar anniversary events at Wall Street in New York City were met with a heavy police police presence followed by over 200 arrests.
Occupy Redwood City responded with a protest on Saturday, July 14th, within days of a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new prison in San Mateo County. Occupy members, along with a coalition of organizations all concerned about the increase in prison building, rallied across the street from the Redwood City police station. Former Assembly candidate Joseph Rosas of Occupy San Jose spoke at the rally about San Mateo County's practice of referring juveniles to ICE for potential transfer to detention centers and then deportation.
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.