Two different political demonstrations were held during the first day of Alumni Weekend at UC Santa Cruz on April 25. Members of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs protested an appearance by former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who spoke at an exhibition of student projects at the university. At the same time as the Panetta protest, students in support of the UCSC 22 demonstrated at another Alumni Weekend event, the Graduate Alumni Cocktail Hour, which was held at the Graduate Student Commons.
Thousands of people, though not as many as in previous years, returned to Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz on April 20, 2014 (also Easter Sunday) to celebrate 420, the unorganized annual counterculture holiday. All these people have at least one thing in common; a love for smoking cannabis.
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's military aid to Israel. According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
On April 11, the California Coastal Commission approved the development of a large hotel and condominium complex sited on beach and dune habitat on Monterey Bay in Sand City. The developer calls the 360-unit complex, with parking for almost 1,000 cars, the "Monterey Shores Eco-resort." Environmental groups have opposed the project for years. At risk is a population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.
Community members in San Benito are hoping they will be the first "frontline" county in California to ban fracking and other methods of extreme oil and gas extraction. Since late March, volunteers across the county have begun collecting signatures for a fracking ban initiative they hope to have on the ballot in November. Progress is moving quickly; after two weeks of collecting signatures, the organization San Benito Rising announced they were nearly halfway through their drive.
Homeless activist Robert Norse was removed by police from the Santa Cruz City Council meeting on April 1 when he attempted to record the public session in the same manner he has for many years. Long time council member, and first time mayor, Lynn Robinson decided that evening Norse would be arrested and cited for disrupting the meeting when he twice attempted to leave his recording device "unattended" in the area of the room where he thought he could create the highest quality recording.
20 graduate and undergraduate students were arrested at UC Santa Cruz on April 2, and two more were arrested on April 3. UAW 2865, the union representing Teaching Assistants throughout the University of California system, called for a peaceful, legal strike in protest of management’s unlawful intimidation of student-workers, but were met with more of the same intimidation.