On April 28th, hundreds of women and men gathered at the capitol building in Sacramento, held a two hour rally, then marched through the downtown district. Speakers said that California needs to be at the forefront to keep the tide from turning against abortion and other women's rights. Protesters insisted that the war on women is very real, and vowed to be heard in the legislature and on the streets.
Congress is currently considering HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that purports to protect the United States from “cyber threats”. This legislation would create a gaping loophole in all existing privacy laws. If CISPA, as the bill is called, passes, companies could vacuum up huge swaths of data on everyday internet users and share it with government agencies without a court order. Internet privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Press say that CISPA uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government.
Demonstrators shut down the entrance of the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a fundraising dinner on March 26th. Several protest groups coordinated to produce a show of anger aimed at the presidential hopeful and wealthy attendees of the event. One group erected a giant Etch A Sketch outside the hotel entrance, making light of a recent Romney aide's gaffe; others mocked billionaire supporters of his campaign by wearing faux fur and pearls and lifting glasses of champagne.
On December 31st, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.
California's Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a three member panel of judges from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Judge Smith dissented. The panel majority stated that California voters violated the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution when voting for Prop 8. San Francisco's City Attorney stated that officials are getting ready and changing marriage forms, but that until the stay is lifted same sex couples in California still cannot marry.
One of the major issues now confronting the City of Santa Cruz, and residents outside the city limits, too, is whether or not the City should partner with the Soquel Creek Water District to construct a $100 million dollar desalination plant to meet the need for water during drought periods in the City of Santa Cruz water service area, and to help relieve the threat of groundwater overdraft in the Soquel Creek Water District. A kickoff party for the Right to Vote On Desalination initiative will be held on Sunday, February 12th
in Santa Cruz.
Brown Act Demand to Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane Mayor Don Lane — in the most blatant selective cancellation of Oral Communications yet at City Council — denied Robert Norse and several other speakers public speaking time at the close of the January 24th Santa Cruz City Council meeting. The agenda scheduled that public comment period for the end of the afternoon session. As described in a letter from Norse to Lane, Lane adjourned the meeting rather than allow time for people to speak.