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In March of 2013, the city of Oakland signed a contract with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for design and construction of the first of two phases of a city-wide surveillance system called the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC. Recently, however, the Oakland city council learned that its prime contractor for the project is involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, a fact that violates Measure T, a city voter proposition that makes Oakland a nuclear free zone. Despite a second round of public comment against the DAC at the November 19 Oakland City Council meeting, as well as the ongoing controversy with finding non-nuclear contractors, council members voted yet again to continue with the city-wide surveillance project.
After spending $17 million, Santa Cruz City officials now want to re-engage the public by backing off on their promised desal vote in 2014. In response, the Desal Alternatives steering committee has issued a call to all citizen supporters to advocate that the City Council adopt water security measures that can be implemented immediately.
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.
Governor Brown has proposed building two massive $50 billion water tunnels to divert the Sacramento River to corporate interests in the Central Valley. Fracking opponents say the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could play a role in increasing fracking in California, so that oil companies and huge agribusinesses can make even more profits.
Steve Schlicht, a member of the City of Santa Cruz's Public Safety Task Force and the director of marketing communications and information technology for Take Back Santa Cruz, posted on Facebook that he is "fine with junkies dying somewhere else. Outside the county is fine by me." The City's website describes the task force: "The Santa Cruz City Council created the Public Safety Citizen Task Force to provide a platform for the community to come together to better understand our current public safety concerns and recommend actions we take to improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz."
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.
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department's policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to.