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Center Column Archives
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on July 10 challenging San Benito County’s approval of a major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed. The 15 new oil wells approved by the county last month will use cyclic steam injection, a dangerous and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude. The new wells would be located in an area used by California condors, which are critically endangered, along with other wildlife.
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.
Community members targeted by security guards paid by the City of Santa Cruz to patrol San Lorenzo Park say their free use of the area has been inhibited due to profiling. For years now, guards employed by First Alarm Security Services have been 'identifying,' and watching closely, individuals they perceive to be on probation or more generally, individuals they perceive to be undesirable for a variety of other reasons.
At this year's Fourth of July anti-war demonstration in Santa Cruz, community members called for the release of all political prisoners, including Bradley Manning, Lynne Stewart, and Edward Snowden. The event is held annually at the corner of Ocean and Water Street, and the throng of holiday traffic rolling by slowly, bumper to bumper, was greeted this year with protest signs bearing messages of opposition to the expansion of security culture in the United Sates.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat.
On Sunday, June 2, thousands of people lined Pacific Avenue for the 39th annual Santa Cruz Pride parade and festival presented by The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz. A wide range of organizations participated in the parade, including a contingent raising awareness and support for political prisoner Bradley Manning. Manning is openly gay and has participated in Pride marches and campaigned against the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” restrictions on gay military personnel.
Protests in Turkey began May 28 at Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park, against plans to turn the loved and historic city park into a shopping mall. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brutally attacked the peaceful demonstrators. As daily anti-government protests rocked Istanbul, demonstrators in the Bay Area showed solidarity against Turkish state repression with protests in Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and Oakland, in addition to the establishment of Gezi Gardens in San Francisco.