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Center Column Archives
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.
On January 16, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) officially recommended Santa Cruz County to receive $25 million it requested for jail expansion at Rountree Detention Center in Watsonville. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors now has 90 days to approve or reject the jail expansion proposal from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the BSCC's recommendation, Sin Barras and other community members demonstrated later that day at the Clock Tower in downtown Santa Cruz to say, "NO MORE MONEY FOR JAILS!"
Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, attended a rally on December 13 at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. Tunnel opponents pointed out “fatal flaws” of the tunnels they said would be too costly, create no new water and do nothing to increase regional water self-reliance.
On November 29, Black Friday 2013, Walmart employees, family members, and allies protested at hundreds of Walmart stores across the U.S. to demand improved working conditions, including increased wages, full-time jobs, and an end to retaliatory practices against those who stand up for workers' rights. Among other Northern California outlets of the retail giant that were targeted, demonstrations were held in San Leandro, Roseville, and Fresno/Clovis. Fifteen people in Roseville and five people in San Leandro were arrested for civil disobedience.
Friends and family from coast to coast are mourning the loss of 28-year-old Anthony Messer, who died in Santa Cruz on the evening of December 2. Anthony was well known across California as a veteran of the U.S. military, a political activist, a traveler, and a generally friendly person who exuded positivity. Funeral services were held for him on December 9 in Chipley, Florida.
Students and workers at UC Santa Cruz blocked both entrances and shut the campus down in support of a University of California-wide unfair labor practices strike on November 20, called for by AFSCME 3299. The strike was called in response to a, "coordinated campaign of illegal intimidation, coercion, and threats," against UC Patient Care and Service Workers who participated in a walk out in May over unsafe staffing levels at UC supported hospitals.
University of California student academic workers from around the state who serve as union negotiators gathered at UC Santa Cruz to meet with UC managers during the second day of the northern California bargaining session. To bring more voices to the process, a march to the bargaining location in the Humanities building was held and the group attempted to coax managers out of hiding with a sing along.