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.
Protests in Turkey began May 28 at Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park, against plans to turn the loved and historic city park into a shopping mall. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brutally attacked the peaceful demonstrators. As daily anti-government protests rocked Istanbul, demonstrators in the Bay Area showed solidarity against Turkish state repression with protests in Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and Oakland, in addition to the establishment of Gezi Gardens in San Francisco.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's new political action group has spent big money on ads to advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline and Bay Area environmentalists are riled. Activists rallied near the CEO's San Francisco home on June 1st. Members of the Keystone XL Action Council previously spearheaded an action on May 1st at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park.
Protesters mobilized to greet President Barack Obama who was in town for a series of fundraisers in San Francisco and Atherton on April 3 and 4. Approximately 1,000 demonstrators opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would extend from Canada to Texas, gathered outside the mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco the evening of April 3. The next day about 100 environmentalists lay in wait along the President's route after a fundraiser in Atherton.
On February 22, rally participants in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza gathered to demand that measures proposed in Congress to ban semi-automatic and military-style firearms be debated and votes taken. They said that unfortunately supporters of the National Rifle Association's position will oppose reasonable legislation.