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Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
On May Day 2014, actions across the Bay Area were as diverse as the people who live here. Multiple events were held leading up to the holiday as part of the Earth Day to May Day Days of Direct Action. Across the board, rallies supported undocumented workers and residents. UC Santa Cruz students continued to protest the appointment of Janet Napolitano. Additionally, many of the marches were joined by contingents supporting justice for people affected by police violence, including Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa and Antonio Lopez in San José.
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
California is a state where many powerful corporate interests are based, ranging from corporate agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley to the computer and technology industry in the Silicon Valley, but none are more influential in state politics than the oil industry. Stop Fooling California recently released a chart revealing that the oil industry, including the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, BP and other oil companies, spent over $56.63 million on lobbying at the State Capitol in the five years from 2009 through 2013.
In his quarterly report for January 2014, the court appointed Independent Monitor of the OPD found that “[t]he matter of the proper use of the Department’s PDRDs remains a concern.... [R]ecent assessments of force cases revealed several serious incidents in which officers — who were in a position to obtain evidence of the facts and circumstances surrounding the use of force — did not have or activate their PDRDs.”
Hundreds of indigenous people from California and across the country gathered with a crowd of over 4,000 activists at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15th. They demanded that Governor Brown ban fracking, the environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and oceans.
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.

California:   4