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Center Column Archives
After a lively debate, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) voted to endorse a "mellow" but visible presence on the corner of Laurel and Center Streets in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department parking lot. Since 2013, HUFF has received complaints about officer Barnett of the SCPD targeting homeless residents for minor offenses, and the organization pressed the department to release the citations he has issued.
On August 29, the California Coastal Commission on August 29 sent a letter to the developer of the Monterey Bay Shores Resort, Ed Ghandour, informing him his response to the requirements of the conditional Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was deficient. The Coastal Commission tentatively approved the development in April, after years of opposition from environmental groups. Monterey Bay Shores is planned to be built along a pristine stretch of coastal dunes in Sand City, and 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.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
A Save Paula's Cottage supporter writes:
"Here we rally to save one person (and her daughter) in one granny unit. Perhaps if we can help this one person, that will start the ball rolling to save others. Paula, the popular teacher, mom, and PTA president has lived in the cottage on her parents' property for 22 years without difficulty. Now, thanks to the City's UCSC backed eviction program, she has received notice to be out on September 1st or face massive fines. Paula has spoken before City Council and has actually generated a lot of sympathy from public officials, so we may have a chance to save her home."
To send a strong message that "killer cops" are not welcome in Santa Cruz, community members gathered on August 26 to protest a speaking engagement at Bookshop Santa Cruz featuring Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin. "We are creating a public presence to say loud and clear that the Salinas police chief who oversaw the killings of four Latino men in four months is not welcome in our community," read a flyer provided by Sin Barras, the Santa Cruz-based organization that called for the demonstration.
On August 22, another energetic parade was held in support of the final four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants, who are still facing criminal charges in relation to the 2011 occupation of the vacant bank building located at 75 River Street. Wells Fargo is the so-called plaintiff in the case. Though defendants argued in court District Attorney Bob Lee should be recused from the case, due to his financial relationship with the bank, Santa Cruz judge Stephen Seigel on August 27 denied their motions and set a new trial date of July 27, 2015.
Environmental groups filed a legal petition on August 26 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.