This month's Bike Party theme in Santa Cruz was pie and pajamas. A colorful group gathered for pie at the Bike Church and then rode off into the sunset together on March 14 for Pi Day (3.14). Unlike the world-famous critical-mass bicycle rides, which are more political in focus and sometimes confrontational, Bike Party aims for a festive and friendly ride. The Santa Cruz Bike Party is gaining popularity and part of a larger movement, with the San José Bike Party being the most famous.
In 2013, the Santa Cruz City Council approved a number of new ordinances that disproportionately affect homeless and low income people. Local ordinances now govern such behavior as "loitering" on traffic medians and "disorderly" conduct in parks, which has been redefined and may now result in a 24-hour stay away order. Additionally, the amount of space artists, activists, street vendors and performers may use in downtown Santa Cruz has been significantly reduced.
The Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement agreement on March 11 with the California Department of Parks and Recreation that will substantially increase protections in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird that nests in old-growth forests. The settlement requires the agency to reduce dangers posed by visitor trash, which harms murrelets by unnaturally increasing the abundance of predators that eat eggs and chicks.
Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Dan Coyro has called members and supporters of the Santa Cruz Eleven "roaches" and "street vermin" in recent public statements, in addition to making comments disparaging the local needle exchange program, and calling the homeless "bums" while blasting their photo on social media. The Santa Cruz Sentinel is considered by many to be the newspaper of record in Santa Cruz County, which has some questioning the ability of Coyro to function objectively at his position.
On March 5, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Hahn building in an ongoing resistance to the appointment of Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. The occupation follows a march to Kerr Hall on February 26, when students attempted to enter the offices of UCSC's Chancellor. Support for UC workers is central to the demands of student demonstrators, and over the course of the recent protests, labor victories have been gained as the university has given into demands by Graduate Student Workers and AFSCME Workers in separate negotiations.
“Reclaiming the Commons: Uniting for Our Shared Future” will take place on Friday, March 7
from 6 – 8:30 PM at UC Santa Cruz. From food and water to media and education, how can we reclaim the commons in our communities? This event will feature a keynote address from City Repair Project founder Mark Lakeman, a free vegetarian dinner, and World Cafe style conversation about possibilities for public placemaking and reclaiming the commons in Santa Cruz.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced on February 7 its decision to maintain the classification of the Light Brown Apple Moth as a quarantine-significant pest. Eradication programs relating to the moth have been of particular concern to those in California, where large residential areas in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties were sprayed aerially with pesticides in 2007.