As the U.S. government marched towards war with Syria in late August, anti-war groups and activists across the state responded with two weeks of emergency demonstrations. The ANSWER Coalition organized a series of protests, and actions were planned for the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer. Events were also held at well known anti-war protest locations such as Peace Crossroads in San Jose and on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.
On August 17, two members of the 'Walmart 60' picketed the Salinas Walmart store. They and their supporters continue to ask that members of Wallmart's Board of Directors reinstate the more than 60 workers, known as the Walmart 60, who were fired after protesting working conditions at the retail giant. A number of recent events protesting working conditions at Walmarts in the greater Bay Area lead up to a march in San Francisco on September 5 as part of a national day of action in support of the striking workers who lost their jobs.
Long-term trends show that climate change is impacting the Lake Tahoe Basin with drier years, less precipitation, higher lake temperatures and projected lower lake levels. These conclusions are found within the 2013 Tahoe State of the Lake Report released on August 7 by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
Assembly member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and eight other California lawmakers are calling on the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast. Assembly members Mark Stone, Marc Levine, Richard Bloom, Adrin Nazarian, Bob Wieckowski and Senators Fran Pavley, Noreen Evans and Hannah-Beth Jackson have signed on in support of Williams' letter to federal regulators.
The federal government announced on August 2 the start of two new analyses of fracking risks to California public lands. The Bureau of Land Management will begin developing a new “environmental impact statement” for fracking in Central California, along with a statewide independent scientific assessment of the dangerous oil extraction process. Completion of the environmental impact statement and scientific review are likely to take more than a year.
Following the unauthorized release of information by Edward Snowden on June 7, the NSA has faced an unprecedented wave of public scrutiny. On July 23, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) "apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged" a billboard in San Francisco, one day before a U.S. House of Representatives vote that would have curtailed the NSA's surveillance inside the United States. On July 24th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for the agency’s vast phone data collection. The amendment was narrowly defeated by a margin of 205 to 217
The Berkeley Post Office is being sold off as one of the first steps in the privatization of the Postal Service. Despite what seems to be the end of the road in terms of administrative challenges, a three-pronged local attack is being launched by various Berkeley community groups, Save The Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area. The first is a medium term threat of a lawsuit to block the sale. Secondly, a direct defense of the Berkeley Post Office begins on Saturday, July 27th. The third is an attempt to rezone the space the Berkeley Post Office sits on so that it cannot be used for private, commercial enterprise.