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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.
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
Lively protests took over McDonald's restaurants in the Bay Area on December 5 as part of a nationwide series of actions organized by Fast Food Forward, a joint effort by community and labor groups. Young workers in Oakland celebrated and danced as much as they protested, and a raucous rally was held in San José. The rallies demanded a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers.
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.
Independent truckers staged a job action that slowed work at the Port of Oakland on November 27. It was the truckers' third job action since August. The Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) said the strike was “in protest of unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices by terminal owners and Port of Oakland management.“ About a hundred independent truckers were joined by at least that many community and labor supporters at the entrances to the SSA terminal. Five people were arrested and at least two were injured by cars crossing the picket lines.
On the morning of October 22nd, supporters and members of some 50 families of those executed by California police will converge on Sacramento as part of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They will demand proper investigations into their loved ones' deaths — not whitewashes by police and District Attorneys refusing to thoroughly investigate. After the rally In Sacramento, there will be two more rallies in Oakland along with events held in Fresno, Hayward, Redding, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities in California and across the United States.

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