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Center Column Archives
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.
At the UC Regents meeting on July 18 at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus, students and workers protested the appointment of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napaolitano as the president of the UC education system because of her role in targeting immigrant youth and immigrant workers.
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country. Demonstrations for justice continue locally and nationally.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on July 10 challenging San Benito County’s approval of a major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed. The 15 new oil wells approved by the county last month will use cyclic steam injection, a dangerous and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude. The new wells would be located in an area used by California condors, which are critically endangered, along with other wildlife.
Faced with empty beds, demand concerns, and a bleak outlook, a report released by Anonymous on July 9 details why the hactivist group expects Corrections Corporation of America’s earnings to get smacked under the weight of current and future contract losses. CCA is a publicly-traded prison operator with a history of horrendous prison conditions and human rights abuses.
A plan by Warren Buffett’s PacifiCorp to apply chemicals to kill toxic blue-green algae on the Klamath River for the second year in a row has ignited opposition by North Coast Indian Tribes and river users. The Hoopa Valley Tribe and river users cite studies from 2012 that show killing the algae actually releases the algae toxin, microcystin, at a time of year when people are swimming, wading, rafting and fishing in the Klamath River.