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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.
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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.
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
California is a state where many powerful corporate interests are based, ranging from corporate agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley to the computer and technology industry in the Silicon Valley, but none are more influential in state politics than the oil industry. Stop Fooling California recently released a chart revealing that the oil industry, including the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, BP and other oil companies, spent over $56.63 million on lobbying at the State Capitol in the five years from 2009 through 2013.
This money amounts to an average of $471,000 for each California
Senator and Assemblymember, according to the organization (http://www.stopfoolingca.org
), "an online and social media public education and awareness campaign
that highlights oil companies’ efforts to mislead and confuse
Californians." The money spent by Big Oil on lobbying has apparently been a very good
investment, since the industry was able to make sure that the only
fracking legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the
Governor last year was Senator Fran Pavley’s SB 4, the“green light for
fracking bill." SB 4 is an ominous piece of legislation that will
result in the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in Kern County,
coastal areas and offshore waters.
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, placed first in "The Big Oil Dirty Dozen” with $23,987,896 spent on lobbying in Sacramento from 2009 through 2013. The organization spent $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013.
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Western States Petroleum Association spent $1,456,785 in 3 months |
Rachel Lederman and Jacob Crawford write:
The Oakland Police purchased PDRDs (Personal Digital Recording Devices) following the videotaped murder of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009. Although Grant was murdered by a BART officer, there was fallout in the streets of Oakland against OPD, which has been unable to bring its police force under control despite its 2003 agreement to a federal court monitored consent decree. Oakland was one of the first agencies to implement PDRDs, so our experiences here should be instructive for those calling for PDRDs in other large urban areas where there is an entrenched police culture of racism and impunity.
In his most recent, January 2014, quarterly report, the court appointed Independent Monitor of the OPD found that “The matter of the proper use of the Department’s PDRDs remains a concern. In too many instances, there are questions about the measure to which personnel throughout the Department understand the use, review, and utility of these devices.” While there had been some improvement in the past six months over previous years, “recent assessments of force cases revealed several serious incidents in which officers – who were in a position to obtain evidence of the facts and circumstances surrounding the use of force – did not have or activate their PDRDs.”
Moreover, even when they are used, the chest cam doesn’t show close proximity physical encounters between an officer and victim, allowing the officer to supply his own narration, such as yelling “Stop resisting” while pummeling a person, or turning the camera on and stating that she smells marijuana or that he has just seen the person drop something that might be drugs, to justify a search, arrest or brutality. And officers are able to turn the cameras on and off at will, thus editing on the fly. Since, absent lawyers and major effort and expenditure, the videos are only accessible to the police and not the public, they effectively turn primarily into tools for the police to collect evidence against the public and combat the public’s videotaping of the police, by creating their videos from the law enforcement point of view videos.
Hundreds of indigenous people from California and across the country gathered with a crowd of over 4,000 activists at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15th. They demanded that Governor Brown ban fracking, the environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and oceans.
In a victory for ocean wildlife, federal fishery managers in Sacramento on March 13 decided not to expand driftnet fishing into protected sea turtle habitat in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and along the California coast because it would significantly raise the risk of capture and drowning of endangered whales, sea turtles and dolphins.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (the Council) called for immediate action to: 1) impose strong whale protections regulations on the driftnet fleet that expired in January 2014, and to 2) test lower bycatch fishing gears for catching swordfish. But the Council failed to take direct action to remove driftnets from the California coast, though the gear is banned in Oregon and Washington.
Not long ago, an estimated 16 endangered sperm whales died in the California driftnet fishery. Last season at least one gray whale and two short fin pilot whales perished in the driftnets, according to preliminary observer data.
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.
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.
8PM Friday Sep 12
This is the Girl