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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.
Valerie Leveroni Corral writes:
"10 years ago at the break of dawn, awakened by the stomp of heavy booted agents, WAMM was raided by 30 DEA agents. Mike and I were taken into custody; chainsaw wielding agents cut the entire garden down, WAMM members blocked the gate, locking agents behind, and WAMM members and supporters bargaining for our release. What followed changed the course of medical marijuana, circumventing the government’s strategy to eliminate patient service organizations, legal under California state law. Santa Cruz City and County enjoined WAMM members in a lawsuit that resulted in a settlement, allowing WAMM to continue our service as the only collective sanctioned by the federal government."
Six months ago, local Occupy movements arrived at one of Monsanto corporation's Davis facilities at 6 a.m. Monsanto sent a message to their plant's workers to not come into work. The protest educated the public and initiated a conversation as a general assembly brainstormed solutions to Monsanto's corrupt ties with the government, unethical business practices, destruction of the environment, as well as the production of unhealthy food. Local activist groups plan to shutdown the Davis Monsanto plant once again on Monday, September 17th
On August 24, supporters of GMO-Free Santa Cruz and Proposition 37 on the California ballot, marched and sang along Pacific Avenue to raise awareness about the proposition, and encourage people to vote in favor of it. Throughout the United States, people currently eat genetically engineered food, but they generally are not aware of it. The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, Prop 37 on the November ballot, would simply require food sold in retail outlets in California, such as grocery stores, to be labeled if it is produced with genetic engineering.
Joshua Hart reports:
"If the California Coastal Commission’s August 10 decision is any indication, no endangered species, viewshed, or habitat is safe from a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) 4G cell tower popping up right next door. It’s open season, as smart phone addictions drive a kind of selective blindness toward wireless damage to life itself. Those groups who are meant to protect remaining wilderness areas have grown silent, awkward, in denial. We cannot count on the traditional defenders of nature to protect us from the threats of the 21st century."
An abandoned historic building in Oakland was unveiled on the morning of August 13th as the Victor Martinez Community Library. The building was one of seven library branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, and since then it has mostly sat empty. On the first day of the re-opening, donations of books poured in and area children helped to start a community garden in a side lot. In less than 15 hours, however, OPD raided the Community Library. The next morning, activists re-opened the library on the sidewalk in front of the building and it has been growing since.
UPDATE 8/7: Ankah was bonded out of jail just before 6pm. Her friends report that she will still need continued support.
Anna Karewicz, who is known to her friends as Ankah, is a puppeteer, artist, and avid community gardener who lives in Oakland. On Thursday, August 2nd, the group with which she was bicycle touring in Northern California mistakenly rode on the wrong side of the street on a city block in Arcata. The group was stopped by police. The other riders received traffic infraction citations and were allowed to go on their way. Ankah, however, was taken into custody with an ICE hold, and she could be deported at any time. Ankah's friends are requesting that people sign an online petition and contact the Humboldt County Sheriff's department and other officials to demand that she be set free.