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Center Column Archives
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
On July 19, the Raging Grannies passed out flyers in front of the Palo Alto Whole Foods store, telling customers why they should boycott Eden Foods, a company that is suing the Obama administration for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods owner Michael Potter wants to stop covering birth control of all kinds, including pregnancy counseling, for his employees. The Grannies sang their message as well, calling out Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has also publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act.
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
On June 30, the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a private business that has been operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The company sued the Interior Department in December of 2012 after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let their 40-year lease to expire on its own terms. This decision affirms the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of the Company's preliminary injunction lawsuit. Environmental groups now hope the Department of the Interior will set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to log 661 million board feet of timber in the area burned by the Rim fire last summer in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. The new proposal would sell almost four times the timber volume sold by the Forest Service in the entire state of California in 2013. It would ignore longstanding rules protecting old-growth trees and destroy habitat for roughly 60 percent of imperiled black-backed woodpeckers.
On the afternoon of June 24, a group of activists set up tents and banners in front of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The protester’s demanded that Google engage in a conversation about what the company should be doing in the fight for Net Neutrality. The activists claim Google could be doing a lot more, and started the camp-out to apply pressure. Late in the night, ten activists, including a journalist who was livestreaming the event, were arrested for trespassing.
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.