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Community members in Santa Cruz gathered once again along busy Ocean Street to greet this year's Independence Day beach tourists with a message of peace as they drove into town. The weather was warm and traffic was bumper to bumper as long-time anti-war activists lined the streets holding signs and greeting people. The rally is an annual event in Santa Cruz.
After two and a half years of protests at La Playa Carmel, former workers who lost their jobs in 2011 continue to return to the hotel to walk the picket line and protest. At a rally held at the expensive, Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel on June 20, two of those in attendance were former workers who had each been employed at La Playa for over 20 years before losing their jobs. "We continue to fight La Playa to make sure that employers around this area don't try to hurt us," union organizer Hector Azpilcueta said.
In response to the recent threat of U.S. military attacks in Iraq, community members in Santa Cruz held a vigil for the Iraqi people on June 23 at the Town Clock. Those who participated in the vigil are calling for nonviolent diplomacy, reparation and repairs, no military intervention in Iraq, and an end to weapons sales in the Middle East. "We are sick and tired of violence being thought of as a way to prevent violence," Marjorie Langdon said at the vigil.
After a court hearing on June 3, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office faces disqualification and the remaining four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants are left without a trial date. The case continues to cost tax payers thousands, and the defendants continue to fight the charges. Their attorneys have filed a motion to recuse the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office from the case based on bias stemming from DA Bob Lee's financial relationship to the "victim" of the case Wells Fargo.
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
Simba Kenyatta writes: As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies.
AshEl writes, "The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. We want to create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. Farmworker Appreciation Day will be held on Sunday, June 15, (Father’s Day) at Closter Park in Salinas, from 11 - 3pm."