On January 27, about 100 citizens attended the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to demand the Council rescind its rushed approval of the Police Department's purchase of a fully armored vehicle, a BearCat. Activists claim Santa Cruz Police relied on questionable information about their need for an armored vehicle when they pushed the Council to approve this purchase, claiming it would take 3-4 hours for the nearest armored vehicle to arrive here from Santa Clara if needed. In fact, both the Sheriff's Department and the Scotts Valley Police Department have armored vehicles that can be quickly deployed.
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.
On January 22, the Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project (HPLAP) filed and served a lawsuit on the City of Santa Cruz challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed parks “stay away order” ordinance, Municipal Code Section 13.08.100. HPLAP is bringing this suit on behalf of the homeless community for whom City of Santa Cruz parks and beach areas are traditionally places of rest, relaxation and communal association.
On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle."
Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
While Governor Jerry Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's abysmal neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians are convening January 12-18 as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking.