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.
The City of Fresno has announced a plan for the massive evictions of the homeless, starting at 7 a.m. on Thursday, October 27th
. Speaking in front of City Hall on Wednesday, homeless people and their allies said the planned eviction was heartless and cruel. Community Alliance newspaper editor Mike Rhodes said “destroying their modest shelter and chasing them with a stick from one vacant lot or sidewalk to another will do nothing to help their lives or to end homelessness in Fresno.”
Alex Darocy writes:
Public officials from the past and present filed into the Museum of Art and History Monday night [September 19] as Mike Rotkin and Cynthia Mathews, describing themselves as part of "the Sustainable Water Coalition," hosted a private, invite-only informational meeting in support of the proposed desalination plant project. The desal project, which so far has cost $6 million dollars to be studied, has been aggressively promoted by officials, and this private meeting has brought up issues of governmental transparency. This meeting punctuates a new era of suspicion concerning local politicians: during the planning of the desal project there have been conflicts of interest, including the selection of the URS Corporation to author the EIR [Environmental Impact Report], as well as recent ethics violations on the part of city officials.
For protesting on the county steps against Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night, homeless activists Gary Johnson and Attorney Ed Frey were sentenced to 6 months in jail on June 10th. Bail was set for Ed Frey at $50,000. Their only act of civil disobedience was sleeping. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told Gary Johnson that he “could get some sleep in jail” before they were dragged away in chains for their 6 month sentences.
In the culmination of a week of protests against proposed budget cuts to education, protesters gathered in the state capitol building in Sacramento on May 9th. Demonstrators chanted loudly and sixty-five protesters committed nonviolent civil disobedience by sitting down and refusing to leave after the building closed to the public for the day. All sixty-five were arrested and held overnight. They were kept with their hands handcuffed behind their backs for the first six hours of their detainment.