More than 60 people gathered at Santa Cruz City Hall on August 18 for the latest in a series of community campouts organized to protest local laws that ban sleeping in public. It was the sixth held at City Hall since July, and was attended by approximately twice as many sleepers as the previous campouts.
While restaurant owners are legally expanding their business operations on to the sidewalk of downtown Monterey by creating outdoor dining areas, a small group of community members are using civil disobedience to reclaim the right to sit in public downtown. The city has removed benches and enacted a new sit-lie law in an effort to rid the downtown of homeless people and travelers. On August 7, community members organized the latest in a series of sit-ins held on the sidewalk of Alvarado Street to directly oppose the law by breaking it.
Community members protesting local laws that criminalize homelessness held their third group campout at Santa Cruz City Hall on July 26. Several dozen people slept in the City Hall courtyard from sunset until the following morning, when they were greeted with a large buffet-style breakfast served by a fresh-faced group. Organizers have more sleep-ins planned for the future, with the next confirmed for Sunday, August 2
, again at Santa Cruz City Hall.
Salinas police shot and killed Frank Alvarado one year ago. On July 10 at a memorial held outdoors near the location where he was shot, Frank's family members vowed to continue their fight for justice. Signs held at the memorial communicated supporters' lack of trust in the Salinas police, and some contained direct allegations of widespread departmental corruption.
On July 14, three of the remaining Santa Cruz Eleven defendants agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution, and the last remaining member of the group followed suit at his hearing on July 22, bringing to a close the Occupy-era case that has been slowly moving along since 2011. Defendants entered pleas of “no contest” to a charge of misdemeanor trespass. The felony vandalism charge was dropped.
Donations are being sought to support the family of 17-year-old Cyrus Hurtado, who was shot and killed by two Santa Cruz sheriff's deputies in Boulder Creek on July 9. Hurtado, who reportedly suffered from mental issues, was killed after a family dispute at his grandparents' house where he lived, and their home and possessions were severely damaged by the deputies' gunfire.
Conservation groups have reached an agreement with First Solar, Inc. to provide additional conservation protections to wild lands and wildlife as part of construction of the California Flats Solar Project, a proposed 280-megawatt solar energy project in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.
It will affect 2,720 acres of important habitat for a number of rare and sensitive plants and animals. The project site is currently part of the 72,000-acre “Jack Ranch,” which is owned by the Hearst Corporation and currently operated as a cattle ranch.