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Center Column Archives
At this year's Fourth of July anti-war demonstration in Santa Cruz, community members called for the release of all political prisoners, including Bradley Manning, Lynne Stewart, and Edward Snowden. The event is held annually at the corner of Ocean and Water Street, and the throng of holiday traffic rolling by slowly, bumper to bumper, was greeted this year with protest signs bearing messages of opposition to the expansion of security culture in the United Sates.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat.
The Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, has been designated as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area. In June, supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect Drakes Estero charged that opponents of the Obama administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's new political action group has spent big money on ads to advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline and Bay Area environmentalists are riled. Activists rallied near the CEO's San Francisco home on June 1st. Members of the Keystone XL Action Council previously spearheaded an action on May 1st at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park.
Joining a global day of protest against Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces, protesters rallied in the cities of Merced, San José, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco on May 25. Around the world protests were held in more than 400 cities, giving popular voice to the growing outrage over Monsanto's agribusiness practices that put small farmers out of business and public health at risk.
A vigil was held in San Francisco on April 7 in solidarity with the 130 detainees out of 166 in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility that are on hunger strike, who have been refusing food as a protest against their brutal detention conditions. Demonstrators, many from the Muslim community, were joined by passersby as a small contingent of activists dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and black hoods decided to occupy the middle of Market Street in an act of civil disobedience. Solidarity protests have been spreading. Demonstrations have been held in Kuwait, Yemen, New York and Washington DC, and more were organized across the U.S. for a day of action on April 11, including in San Francisco and Oakland.
In a precedent-setting victory for fracking opponents, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. “This important decision recognizes that fracking poses new, unique risks to California’s air, water and wildlife that government agencies can’t ignore,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “This is a watershed moment — the first court opinion to find a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the monumental dangers of fracking.”