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Center Column Archives
A state-convened working group is recommending a series of initial steps toward reducing whale entanglements in crab gear in California, including more monitoring and retrieval of lost fishing gear. The Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group was convened in September after the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups found that whale entanglements in 2014 and 2015 had reached historic highs.
Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) claims to be a non-profit group dedicated to safety issues in the city of Santa Cruz, and that they have no ideological direction. The truth is that TBSC has been the grassroots arm to many of the recent laws criminalizing homelessness in the city as well as the force behind proposed RV bans, forced closure and relocation of a needle exchange service, and a stay away order law from public parks.
Donald Thomas Miller II, age 39, was shot and killed on October 6 by Zach Reed, an officer with the Monterey Police Department. According to police reports, Miller was acting irrationally in downtown Monterey, police were called, and Reed killed him because Miller was in possession of a weapon, which turned out to be non-operational.
Activists in Santa Cruz are moving in to their 13th week of sleep protests held at city hall organized to protest the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness, and to work toward the repeal of the local camping and sleeping bans. Dozens of "Freedom Sleepers", as many of them call themselves, have held their ground and stayed the night at city hall despite regular visits by officers with the Santa Cruz police department, as well as First Alarm security guards hired by the city, who have made arrests and issued protesters dozens of citations.
Despite widespread objections, Junipero Serra was canonized on September 23 at the National Shrine in Washington DC by Pope Francis during his US visit. On September 27, as a parish celebration of the sainthood of Junipero Serra was scheduled to take place at the Carmel Mission Basilica, a statue of Serra was toppled over and paint was smeared on two grave sites, as well as on signs with the name of Serra, and on the doors of the mission. One mission artifact was inscribed with the statement, "Saint of Genocide".
On September 17, the first move-in day for Fall quarter at UC Santa Cruz, students and community members at the main entrance of campus displayed signs opposing Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 (SCR 35), which was introduced this year in the California Senate. On its surface SCR 35 is legislation that addresses anti-Semitism on the University of California campuses, but critics caution the measure has the potential to limit the free speech activities of those seeking justice for Palestine.
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.