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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 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.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced the settlement of a false-advertising lawsuit against defendant Steven Mahrt, doing business as Petaluma Farms and owner of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs (“Judy’s Eggs”). The lawsuit alleges that imagery and statements used on Judy’s Eggs packaging led consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs came from hens with significant outdoor access. The lawsuit also alleges that consumers bought Judy’s Eggs because of these representations.
Santa Cruz deputy harbormaster Timothy James Anderson is scheduled to be back in court in Napa County on March 4 to face battery charges stemming from an incident that occurred on August 13, 2013 near Lake Berryessa. Anderson and his friend Steven Belmont were arrested in Napa County after the incident, and Belmont has been ordered to stand trial on attempted murder charges for allegedly attacking Berryessa resident Roy Powell with a pitch fork.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition on January 16 with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident population of orcas. If successful the proposal would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. After several drastic declines, only 81 killer whales remain in the Southern Resident population.
Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. Deputies claimed they only learned afterward that Andy Lopez was holding a toy gun. On October 28, friends and family of Andy Lopez held a Rosario where he was killed. On October 29, hundreds of community members marched to the Sonoma County sheriff's department, and on October 30 hundreds marched again. On November 5, a “Jailhouse for Gelhaus” march made itself heard at the District Attorney's office: “We demand Erick Gelhaus be immediately fired, arrested, and Indicted for the Murder of Andy Lopez.”