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A petition has been circulated and community members are planning to attend the October 14 Watsonville City Council meeting to show their disdain for the approval of a new McDonald's restaurant in the historic downtown area of the city. "We can stop this from happening. Our children deserve better. Watsonville has moved forward, a McDonald's would be a huge step back," the petition states.
Following months of pressure by family members and the media, the Salinas Police Department announced that Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton were the officers that shot and killed Frank Alvarado on July 10. They were named in a press release that also listed the officers involved in the killing of three other Latino residents in East Salinas in 2014. Frank Alvarado's father and sister spoke out at a press conference held at City Hall on October 1, stating that justice would be served, if not in Salinas, then at the Supreme Court.
On October 9, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Sin Barras, a group that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, authored a letter to the hosts requesting that they ask Chief McMillin to step down as a participant.
On September 26, workers held a rally at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn to demand a fair contract with meaningful wage increases. Dream Inn workers are presently without a contract and have been negotiating with the hotel for months. Owners are proposing they take a three-year wage freeze followed by 1% and 2% raises in the fourth and fifth years. "We can barely support ourselves now and the Dream Inn wants to make it worse over the next five years," read a flyer handed out to hotel guests at the rally.
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.