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UPDATE 11/14: New CA Ebola Mandate Inspired by NNU Appeal to Gov. Brown, Sets National Model
Two-day strikes have started that effect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests in 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals.
Kaiser RNs and nurse practitioners went on strike the morning of November 11 in Antioch, Fremont, Fresno, Oakland, Redwood City, Richmond, Roseville, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, San Rafael, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, South Sacramento, South San Francisco, Stockton, Vacaville, Vallejo, Walnut Creek. Large noon rallies were held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.
On November 12, California RNs will join with nurses and allies in 14 other states and the District of Columbia to step up the call for improved safeguards in the face of the deadly Ebola virus. For striking nurses, the failure to secure Ebola safeguards symbolizes what nurses see as a steady erosion in care standards that increasingly put patients as well as nurses and other frontline health workers at risk.
Voters in two California counties were able to overcome the oil industry and pass fracking bans by wide margins. Measure J in San Benito County passed with 57% of the vote, and Measure S in Mendocino County passed with 67%.
Proposition 14, passed by 54 percent of California voters in 2010, amended the State Constitution in a way that effectively excluded third parties from statewide general elections. Only the top two vote getters in statewide primaries now advance to the general election. Prop. 14 also removed the possibility of the write-in option. The Green Party of Alameda County recommends that voters boycott the statewide partisan contests in the November election, while still voting locally and for statewide propositions.
The Green Party of Alameda County writes
: "We recommend that people BOYCOTT the statewide partisan contests in the November election. (Specifically, the following 7 statewide offices: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner.) And also most of the other partisan offices: U.S. Congress, State Senate, State Assembly (unless you decide to vote in the District 15 contest), and State Board of Equalization."
Likewise, the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Peace & Freedom Party
of California refuses to endorse
partisan candidates of the Republican and Democratic Parties in the California General Election.
Alameda Greens County Councilor Greg Jan told KPFA that proportional representation, in which any party that wins, for example, 10 percent of the vote, elects 10 percent of state legislators would be a more democratic and dynamic system.
Read More |
Alameda Greens call for boycott of statewide elections excluding third parties
A Beehive Collective presentation originally scheduled as an event at the Gill Tract Community Farm was shut down with a week’s notice by Steve Lindow, the first researcher to do field trials of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), who is now the Executive Associate Dean in the College of Natural Resources. Lindow claimed that the art show was “not relevant to the research at the community farm." According to a news release from Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL), "The event highlights the privatization of water across Mesoamerica and the potential for water privatization in CA under Prop 1." Water bond opponents have criticized California's Proposition 1 as a sweetheart bill for water-intensive industrial agriculture.
The students said the event had been approved with strong support from community members, students, and the farm’s events working group. This was the first interference in farm events from the administration — and students feel that it is a clear example of repression against free speech on campus, with political motivation. Determined not to be silenced, students at the University of California, Berkeley brought the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Prop. 1 to the steps of Sproul Plaza, where 50 years ago students demonstrated for their right to disseminate political materials, kicking off what is known as the Free Speech Movement.
Read More |
Event Announcement |
Conservation groups notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of their intent to sue the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the pinto abalone, an approximately six-inch snail with an iridescent inner shell that was once common in rocky, intertidal coasts from Alaska to Baja California.
As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.
On October 6, the Department of the Interior and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company announced a settlement agreement that will dismiss the oyster company’s failed litigation and assign clean-up costs for the mess caused by the company’s non-native oyster cultivation. The settlement agreement follows four consecutive Federal court decisions that upheld DOI’s November 12 decision to let Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease expire as long planned, thereby protecting the West Coast’s first marine wilderness at Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore.
On September 24, the Surfrider Foundation
, scored a huge victory in its protracted legal battle against billionaire and venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, to restore beach access at Martin’s Beach in San Mateo County, California. In 2010, Khosla had locked gates that provided the only public access to the beach. In a decision made by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach, Khosla will be required to seek a permit from the California Coastal Commission for the gates, signage and other access-blocking development at Martin’s Beach and begin a public process to consider the changes to the property and beach access.
“Today’s court decision upholding the Coastal Act is an important victory for Martin’s Beach and ultimately strengthens the public's right to beach access in California,” says Angela Howe, Esq., Legal Director for the Surfrider Foundation. “The Surfrider Foundation remains vigilant to protect beach access rights, not only in this case, but also in other cases where the beach is wrongfully cut off from the public.”
Although Khosla is believed to have intentions to appeal the decision, Joe Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, whose firm represents the victorious Surfrider Foundation says, “Today’s decision is a huge victory for all of the people of California. It affirms that great wealth cannot be used to circumvent and ignore the law. Everyone can again visit Martin’s Beach.”
On September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 968, a bill authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), which outlines a timeline and process for the State Lands Commission to acquire public access to Martin's Beach.
Read More |
Surfrider Martin's Beach campaign
On September 23, Native American Tribal members, including direct descendants of the Pomo peoples who once populated the Little Lake Valley where Caltrans is currently building an oversized freeway, joined environmental groups in a protest on the north end of the Willits Bypass highway project. Protestors entered the construction zone north of town in the early morning hours, stopping the fast and furious flow of dirt-filled, double-belly dump trucks that have been working from dawn to dusk to cover the wetlands and archeological sites the activists seek to protect.
Elders and spiritual leaders from local Pomo Indian Bands and the American Indian Movement (AIM) lead the way to threatened cultural sites where prayers were offered for the ancestors. The AIM flag and drum were present near the construction area where Native American cultural artifacts have been discovered. The sites have been documented and fenced off by Caltrans, but are still slated to be destroyed by being permanently graded and buried under the Bypass as currently designed.
“I hear and feel our ancestors cry to save our villages from destruction. The white man’s history repeats itself. We pray that the Creator will hear our prayers”, said Priscilla Hunter, tribal representative for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. “Caltrans placated the interests of local ranchers by giving them permanent grazing rights on the mitigation lands and built the viaduct over the railroad track to preserve it, but yet they don’t listen to the Indians’ concerns for protection of our ancestors’ culture or to our call for downsizing the northern interchange to avoid a large village site.”
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Destruction of Little Lake Valley Wetlands Finally Halted After Many Permit Violations
Earth Firster Occupies Wick Drain Stitcher to Save Little Lake Valley from Willits Bypass
Tree-Sitters Removed as Opposition to CalTrans Bypass Project Grows
Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels.
Resnick and his wife, Lynda, own Roll International, a Los Angeles-based holding company that includes both global agricultural operations and well-known brands. The Resnicks' companies include Paramount Citrus, Paramount Farming, and Paramount Farms, the world’s largest growers, processors, and marketers of citrus, almonds, and pistachios.
The couple's holdings also include POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Teleflora, Suterra, and JUSTIN Vineyard. Dubbed the "POM Queen," Lynda is behind the marketing success of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice and Wonderful Pistachios.
One of the largest private water brokers in the U.S., Roll International makes millions of dollars in profits off marketing subsidized public water back to the public.
| Oct. 2 Rally in Los Angeles: Meet the Resnicks
Previous Coverage: Tunnel Opponents Rally Against Brown Water Plan
|| Hundreds Oppose Governor Brown’s Massive Water Export Tunnels at State Capitol Rally
|| New California Water Grab for Fracking and Agribusiness
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.
On September 22
, former BART Police Deputy Chief Dan Hartwig will be called to account in federal court for his role in targeting and arresting independent journalist David Morse during a “No Justice No BART” protest at the Powell Street BART station three years ago. Morse was the only credentialed journalist who was handcuffed, arrested, and held in police custody for several hours, while other reporters with and without credentials were all released without citation from a police encirclement.
UPDATE: Verdict in BART PD Trial, September 29:
The jury in US District Court found that — despite BART Deputy Chief Fairow ordering a flier be created identifying Dave Id as a subject for police focus during the 9/8/11 Powell Street station protest, despite BART police discussing arresting Dave Id at a planning meeting prior to the protest (even though all officers who testified said Dave Id had never committed a crime at a previous protest), and despite Deputy Chief Hartwig choosing Dave Id to be very first person arrested when all other journalists were released from a police kettle — Deputy Chief Hartwig did not retaliate against Dave Id for his hundreds of critical reports on BART police. Dave Id and Indybay strongly disagree.
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.
“Every year that drift gillnets are used off the California coast to catch swordfish, the result is that iconic whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and thousands of fish are ensnared and killed as bycatch,” said Geoff Shester, California campaign director for Oceana
. “Ultimately this gear type must be fully prohibited off the West Coast so we can have a sustainable swordfish fishery.”
In a letter sent to the regional Pacific Fishery Management Council — the 14-member voting body tasked with advising the Fisheries Service on federal fishery management — Oceana requested that this gear type used to catch swordfish be prohibited in all waters off the U.S. West Coast, and during any transition period that “hard caps” be established on the total number of whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, sharks and other fish that can be killed as bycatch. If such hard caps were reached or exceeded in any fishing season, the fishery would be shut down for the remainder of the season. The fishery is currently operating without a valid permit as required by law, meaning the federal government is knowingly allowing it to operate illegally.
Read More | See Also: Lawsuit Launched to Reinstate Protections for Endangered Sperm Whales
Previous Coverage: Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restricted to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles
|| Whales and Sea Turtles Win One: No Driftnet Expansion in California
On August 27, over 200 Tribal Members and Leaders, river advocates and politicians attended a day of celebration on the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam. It was a day that the Bureau of Reclamation designated as a “Multicultural Day,“ so the Hoopa Valley Tribe organized an event to demonstrate the impacts of water diversion on their culture and the river communities.
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.
On August 21, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced a settlement on behalf of plaintiffs Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in the animal groups’ lawsuit against egg industry defendants Andy Cheung and Lien Diep. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens without food at a facility near Turlock, which led to the largest farmed animal rescue in California history.
Restore the Delta (RTD) and many other groups held a large rally at the State Capitol on July 29, featuring the delivery of a “Death of the Delta" coffin containing thousands of public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels.
Hundreds of people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, environmentalists, Delta farmers and environmental justice advocates, rallied to protest Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan and to call for a new Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The protest was held on the final day of the public comment period for the BDCP. The opponents charged that the EIR/EIS process has been “fatally flawed” due to its lack of public outreach to non-English speakers, failure to present a funding plan, exclusion of any non-tunnels alternative, and scientists’ identification of numerous “red flags.”
The rally opened with a blessing by Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who said, “We ask that the Great Creator look down on our hearts and open our minds so we can see the good things and that the good people will wake up to join this effort to protect the waters of not only California but the world. All of the waters are connected." Chief Sisk emphasized that rather than growing export crops on drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, California is one of four salmon states in the U.S. and should rebuild the salmon population for economic, cultural and spiritual reasons. Salmon now contribute many billions to the New Zealand economy – and California should embrace its role as a salmon state.
Read More with Photos | See Also: Delta tunnel opponents ask Brown to release water bond language
| Greenwashing Destruction: Fake marine “protection” and Brown’s tunnels
| Bay Delta Conservation Plan Officials Suppress Freedom of Speech
| PPIC Poll: 51 percent of likely voters would back $11.1 billion water bond
Previous Coverage: Hundreds Oppose Governor Brown’s Massive Water Export Tunnels at State Capitol Rally
|| New California Water Grab for Fracking and Agribusiness
Citing concerns about water use and contamination, a Monterey County Superior Court judge has ruled that San Benito County unlawfully approved a dangerous new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. As the judge’s ruling notes, “There are numerous opportunities for toxic spills to occur that the County has apparently not contemplated.”
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
This is the first time the conservation area has been closed since it went into effect over a decade ago. Today’s action came after the Center for Biological Diversity
, and Turtle Island Restoration Network
called upon NMFS earlier this month in a letter urging them to implement this important closure. “We are glad to see that Pacific loggerhead turtles are now protected in California’s coastal waters,” said Todd Steiner, a biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “But enough is enough. It’s time for California to follow the lead of Washington and Oregon, and close this deadly fishery to protect not only sea turtles, but also whales, dolphins and sharks regularly killed by this fishery.”
NMFS is required by law to close the more than 25,000-square-mile Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area to protect the sea turtles during June, July and August when an El Niño event is occurring or forecasted. The seasonal closure protects loggerhead sea turtles that follow warmer waters off California in search of their preferred prey, pelagic red crabs. Although NMFS implemented the conservation area and drift gillnet prohibition almost two months late, conservation groups commend the agency for taking the proper steps to ensure protection of endangered loggerhead sea turtles as the fishery picks up in mid-August. The swordfish drift gillnet fishery operates from May 1 to January 31, but over 90 percent of the fishing occurs from August 15 through January 31.
Previous Coverage: Whales and Sea Turtles Win One: No Driftnet Expansion in California
In response to the decision from Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch's decision not to prosecute Erick Gelhaus, the Sheriff's Deputy that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, protesters assembled in Santa Rosa on July 12 and marched through the downtown streets. After the official march was declared to be over, many continued to march in an act of civil disobedience towards Highway 101, where they blocked an off-ramp and all three northbound lanes of traffic.
On June 30, the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a private business that has been operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The company sued the Interior Department in December of 2012 after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let their 40-year lease to expire on its own terms. This decision affirms the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of the Company's preliminary injunction lawsuit. Environmental groups now hope the Department of the Interior will set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to log 661 million board feet of timber in the area burned by the Rim fire last summer in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. The new proposal, issued as part of a draft environmental impact statement, would sell almost four times the timber volume sold by the Forest Service in the entire state of California in 2013. It would ignore longstanding rules protecting old-growth trees and destroy habitat for roughly 60 percent of imperiled black-backed woodpeckers.
"It’s little more than an excuse to cut old trees in forests that would otherwise be protected," said Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Decades of science have shown the importance of preserving burned areas for wildlife like black-backed woodpeckers and the function of these complex ecosystems. Throwing that away to make the timber industry happy is shortsighted.”
The forests in the Rim fire area continue to thrive: Hillsides are now covered with blooming flowers and plants, birds are feeding off of the dead trees, new conifers are sprouting, and deer and other wildlife thrive.
Read More |
Center for Biological Diversity |
See Also: New Report: Logging Would Impede Rim Fire's Benefits for Wildlife, Water, Forest
Lawsuit Launched to Protect Rare Black-backed Woodpeckers in California, Oregon, S. Dakota
New Study: Sierra Forest Fire Severity Is Not Increasing
In a move that stunned but was welcomed by long-time opponents, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) suspended the permit for the Caltrans Willits Bypass on Friday, June 20. The project has been highly contested, with Native American involvement and over 50 arrests last year. “This appears to be the first time ACE has ever pulled a permit on an approved project under construction,” said Ellen Drell, co-founder of the Willits Environmental Center, one of the project’s opponents.
California is experiencing a serious drought and the media is filled with recommendations about how to save water: Switch to dry landscaping; don't run water when you are shaving or brushing your teeth; install low-flow showerheads; and don't wash your car. All those ideas would help, but much less than people think.
According to a 2012 report by the Pacific Institute, only 4% of California's water is used by individuals. An astounding 93% of California's water goes to agriculture; and most of that 93% is misused or wasted. Humans drink less than one gallon of water per day. A cow drinks 23 gallons per day — and we have 5.5 million of them.
Low-flow showerheads help save much less water than people think. Most people shower once a day and use an average of 14 gallons of water. You could save more water by reducing your beef intake by one pound than by not showering for six months!
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"California's Water Footprint" report by the Pacific Institute
Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.