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The Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement agreement om 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.
State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) have introduced legislation that would impose a moratorium on fracking and acidization in order to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this form of oil and gas extraction. The bill was introduced as California reels from a record drought and Governor Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).
Senators Mitchell and Leno's bill, SB 1132, faces an uphill struggle. All but one fracking bill, including fracking moratorium legislation, failed to pass through the Legislature last year due to intense lobbying by the Western States Petroleum Association and oil companies. The only fracking bill to pass through the legislature and be signed by the Governor in 2013 was Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, legislation that gives the green light to fracking in California. SB 1132 calls for a moratorium on all forms of "extreme well stimulation," including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and acidization until a comprehensive, independent and multi-agency review exploring the economic, environmental and public health impacts is complete.
“A moratorium on fracking is especially critical as California faces a severe drought with water resources at an all-time low,” said Senator Mark Leno. “We are currently allowing fracking operations to expand despite the potential consequences on our water supply, including availability and price of water, the potential for drinking water contamination and the generation of billions of barrels of polluted water.
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.
On February 13, a protest of more than one hundred people, including dozens of family members of Californians murdered by police, was held outside Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office at the State Building in Oakland in order to deliver a letter to Harris. Family members from the following police murder victims were present at the protest: Alan Blueford, Oscar Grant, Gary King, Jr., James Rivera, Jr., Ernest Duenez, Jr., Kenneth Harding, Kayla Moore, Lamarr Alexander, Andy Lopez, Jessie Hamilton, and Mario Romero. The demonstration ended with ten arrests when protesters refused to vacate the lobby of the State Building, insisting on first speaking to a representative of Harris’ staff.
The letter to Attorney General Harris began:
On behalf of the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, we request that you exercise your authority to open a criminal investigation into the killing of Alan Blueford by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6, 2012. Despite overwhelming evidence that Officer Masso committed multiple acts of misconduct in connection with Alan's death, the Alameda County District Attorney has failed to initiate criminal proceedings and has instead exonerated Officer Masso without conducting any meaningful inquiry into his actions.
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Kamala Harris - Do Your Job! Prosecute Killer Cops! |
On February 4, the ACLU of Northern California and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) filed a lawsuit charging the state with unconstitutionally stripping tens of thousands of people of their right to vote. According to the lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the state’s actions clearly violated state law when the secretary of state issued a directive to local elections officials in December 2011 asserting that people are ineligible to vote if they are on post-release community supervision or mandatory supervision. These are two new and innovative forms of community-based supervision created under California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act for people recently incarcerated for low-level, non-violent, non-serious crimes.
“The Secretary of State should be working to increase voter participation, not to undermine it,” said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “California has dismal rates of voter registration and participation. The Secretary of State is making this even worse by disenfranchising tens of thousands of California citizens who are trying to re-engage with their communities.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three people who have or will soon lose their right to vote, along with the League of Women Voters of California and All of Us Or None, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of formerly and currently incarcerated people and their families.
On February 13, UC Berkeley students took over the Blum Center in protest of the appointment of Janet Napolitano as President of the UC system, as well as the UC regents privatization of California higher education. The day began with a rally and march to mark the arrival of Napolitano, with the march ending at the Blum Center, where students occupied the building and remained in protest of both Richard Blum as regent and Napolitano as president.
Students say Richard Blum, the primary funder and namesake of the Blum Center, represents and acts as a driving force of privatization and reorganization of the University of California system. As an investment banker, Blum profits from the fact that the UC is no longer funded primarily through the federal government. Students also claim UC regent Richard Blum was central in proposing Janet Napolitano as UC president. They say that although the Regents state that this was done through a headhunting agency, Blum was instrumental in making the final decision.
"We conclude that central decisions for filling the highest-ranking positions in the UC system continue to be made by those who stand to profit from privatization," demonstrators wrote in the Blum Center Takeover Manifesto. "Blum’s interest in keeping a business-as-usual that allows for massive profits for companies to which he has ties indicates Napolitano’s appointment as a means to continue this process of implementing policies of social control during her time in the Department of Homeland Security."
Occupiers left the building of their own accord the following day.
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12:02 am: Cops with batons are at the UCB Blum hall occupation |
Occupation of UCB's Blum Center ended at 4:30 pm today |
Collective Statement Regarding the February 13th Day of Action
Previous Coverage: Immigrant Youth, Students, & Workers Protest Napalitano Appointment at UC Regents Meeting
In January 2013, Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now, using the California state anti-cruelty code against an animal testing facility known as Santa Cruz Biotechnology. The company “harvests” blood from tens of thousands of animals, including goats and rabbits, and the case is currently on appeal. Last week, the Court denied a motion filed by Santa Cruz Biotech to keep secret the names of those who have a financial interest in the outcome of the animal cruelty lawsuit.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition on January 16 with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident population of orcas. If successful the proposal would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. After several drastic declines, only 81 killer whales remain in the Southern Resident population.
On January 16, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) officially recommended Santa Cruz County to receive $25 million it requested for jail expansion at Rountree Detention Center in Watsonville. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors now has 90 days to approve or reject the jail expansion proposal from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the BSCC's recommendation, Sin Barras and other community members demonstrated later that day at the Clock Tower in downtown Santa Cruz to say, "NO MORE MONEY FOR JAILS!"
Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, attended a rally on December 13 at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. Tunnel opponents pointed out “fatal flaws” of the tunnels they said would be too costly, create no new water and do nothing to increase regional water self-reliance.
On November 29, Black Friday 2013, Walmart employees, family members, and allies protested at hundreds of Walmart stores across the U.S. to demand improved working conditions, including increased wages, full-time jobs, and an end to retaliatory practices against those who stand up for workers' rights. Numerous workers chose to strike for the day, despite the fact that Walmart commonly fires striking and protesting workers. Strikers were members of OUR Walmart, a non-union workers group that draws support from the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.
In Roseville, over 100 people including Walmart Associates, labor union leaders, and community activists converged on the Walmart on Pleasant Grove Boulevard. “We're standing with Walmart Associates across the nation today,” said Meisha Bradley, who works at the Florin Road Walmart and is a member of OUR Walmart. “I consider this protest to be a big success - we got young and old people here today and we’re going to win this fight together." Roseville police arrested 15 people for failure to disperse while blocking a street near the store.
In Clovis, protesters held signs in front of the Shaw avenue Walmart. Walmart employee Anthony Goytia said, “I am a father of three. With the insufficient hours and the low pay that I get at Walmart, I will make around $12,000 this year. I don’t need cable or to own a house, but I shouldn’t have to rely on food stamps or donate plasma just to feed my kids when I have a job.”
In San Leandro, more than six hundred people protested at the Hesperian Boulevard Walmart. The Brass Liberation Orchestra performed. San Leandro police arrested 15 people for failure to disperse as they blocked a street near the store. In the evening, a large dollar sign in the parking lot was set on fire.
Roseville report |
Fresno/Covis report |
San Leandro announcement |
OUR Walmart website
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Richmond and San Leandro Walmart Workers Protest in National Action on Black Friday 2012
Friends and family from coast to coast are mourning the loss of 28-year-old Anthony Messer, who died in Santa Cruz on the evening of December 2. Anthony was well known across California as a veteran of the U.S. military, a political activist, a traveler, and a generally friendly person who exuded positivity. Funeral services were held for him on December 9 in Chipley, Florida.
Students and workers at UC Santa Cruz blocked both entrances and shut the campus down in support of a University of California-wide unfair labor practices strike on November 20, called for by AFSCME 3299. The strike was called in response to a, "coordinated campaign of illegal intimidation, coercion, and threats," against UC Patient Care and Service Workers who participated in a walk out in May over unsafe staffing levels at UC supported hospitals.
University of California student academic workers from around the state who serve as union negotiators gathered at UC Santa Cruz to meet with UC managers during the second day of the northern California bargaining session. To bring more voices to the process, a march to the bargaining location in the Humanities building was held and the group attempted to coax managers out of hiding with a sing along.
On the morning of October 22nd
, supporters and members of some 50 families of those executed by California police will converge on Sacramento as part of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They will demand an end to police violence from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. They will demand proper investigations into their loved ones' deaths — not whitewashes performed by police investigating themselves and District Attorneys refusing to thoroughly investigate the police.
The event is being organized across multiple channels, including families of victims, The Stop Mass Incarceration Network
, and Anonymous. One of the key organizing groups is the Duenez family and supporters. Ernesto Duenez Jr. was gunned down on June 8, 2011, in Manteca, California, in what many have called a police execution. John Moody, who killed Duenez, was cleared of the shooting of Ernesto Duenez Jr. on December 13, 2012 by the county District Attorney, just a day before the police video of the incident was released to the public. And so, with essentially no check, police murders and assaults continue; the ranks of those killed are added to in the United States at an unparalleled pace.
After the rally In Sacramento, there will be another in Oakland at 2:30pm
at 73rd and International Blvd. and one at 4:30pm
at the Fruitvale BART Station. There will also be events held
in Fresno, Hayward, Redding, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities in California and across the United States.
Read More |
Oakland events |
October 22nd Coalition list of events