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Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, from January 16 through 19. They joined thousands of others across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19, beginning at 11am at Oscar Grant/Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.
The ninety-six hours of direct action across the Bay Area highlighted the unjust economic and political structures that King fought to defeat. Thousands unified, regardless of skin color, religion, or creed to reclaim King’s legacy and act, in tandem, against police and economic violence, two primary tools of white supremacy. Actions took place throughout the Bay Area, at BART stations, community meetings and street corners and came in the form of shut downs, guerrilla theater, teach-ins, and concerts. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, activists in Oakland staged a pre-dawn home demo at the house of new mayor Libby Schaaf before protesters held a large march through the neighborhoods where systematic and state sanctioned murder of Black, Brown, and Poor people occur most.
Read More |
Massive March & Concert Planned For MLK Holiday to Culminate 96 hours of Bay Area Direct Action to “Reclaim King’s Legacy” |
Community Demands |
Bus stop ad modified in Oakland: 96 hours of direct action MLK weekend
Other groups are organizing marches, teach-ins, movie screenings, environmental actions, and more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
Black Lives Matter Demands Read at Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Office
Third World for Black Power Lockdown at Federal Building in Oakland
March For Black Community Control Of The Police!
Holiday Appeal for Class-War Prisoners
Shut It Down: WAL-MART Edition
Fuck the Police March
From Oscar Grant to Ferguson: Racism and Police Repression in America
Black Lives Matter Activists Brings the Noise to Home of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King's Legacy
Justice Now-MLK Oakland Rally/Workers & Community Demand Justice And An End To Privatization
Hard Knock Radio: Martin Luther King Jr. Day audio and interviews
“Reclaim King’s Legacy” Oakland March
Lawyers and Public Defenders for #blacklivesmatter
BART Friday Shuts Down SF Stations, Disrupts Morning Commute
interview with BARTfriday Montgomery Street station
First arrest at BARTfriday Montgomery Street station San Francisco
Photos and video from #BARTFriday: NO BUSINESS AS USUAL
#BARTFriday: NO BUSINESS AS USUAL #BlackLivesMatter Reclaiming King's Legacy
Forum/Foro: The Real Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Queers" Protest in the Castro #Blacklivesmatter
Sleepout in San Francisco Draws Demonstrators on the Eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Rebellion and Resistance from Ferguson to Ayotzinapa
Reading the Roots of MLK's Social Justice
Stanford Students Shut Down San Mateo Bridge on MLK Day, 68 Arrested
MLK Birthday Commemoration: Film Screening
MLK Day in Fresno
Black Lives Matter Film Series: "War Witch"
Protest Berkeley Police Violence at Special City Council Meeting
Free Movie: Do the Right Thing
Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service - Richmond Greenway
Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service - Point Pinole
4 Mile March
Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine
On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries
. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
Since 1999, more than 1,400 people — including farmworkers and other rural residents — have reported symptoms from chloropicrin exposure as it drifts from neighboring fields, sometimes several days after an application. Exposure can lead to eye irritation and severe respiratory damage, in addition to an increased risk of cancer. Chloropicrin, an agricultural pesticide of public health concern to communities across the state, is heavily used in close proximity to schools.
“More pounds of chloropicrin are applied near Pajaro Valley schools than any other highly hazardous pesticide. The effects of chloropicrin on children’s health is a top concern of parents and teachers in the Monterey Bay area,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers President and special education teacher.
Read More | Californians for Pesticide Reform | Dark Side of the Strawberry
See Also: Chloropicrin Sickens Residents of Lamont, California
(Oct. 3 and 4, 2003) | Groundbreaking Report Finds High Rates of Pesticide Use Near Monterey County Schools
While Governor Jerry Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's abysmal neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians are convening January 12-18 as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking
While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state's environmental policies than Big Oil.
In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Not only did she serve on this panel, but she also was a member of the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
These so-called "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.
Read More | California Crossroads Tour:
Delano (Jan 16), San Juan Bautista
(Jan 17) and Oakland
(Jan 18) | March for Real Climate Leadership
See Also: California Oil Officials Release Deeply Flawed Fracking Environmental Review
Previous Coverage: "Big Oil Brown" Expands Fracking in California
|| Voters Approve Fracking Bans in San Benito and Mendocino Counties
In response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for monarch butterflies. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on monarchs, which have declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.
The butterfly’s dramatic decline is being driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born. The vast majority of genetically engineered crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in Midwestern corn and soybean fields. In the past 20 years 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.
Read More | Previous Coverage: After 90 Percent Decline, Federal Protection Sought for Monarch Butterfly
Dan Bacher writes:
Governor Jerry Brown continued to live up to his reputation as "Big Oil Brown" with his administration's release of the finalized text of the state's regulations for fracking and well stimulation on December 30, 2014.
Although Senate Bill 4, passed in September 2013, requires California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to complete an environmental impact report and approve an independent scientific study, "neither one of those documents were ready in time to inform the final rules," according to a news release from CAFrack Facts
“California has essentially reversed the regulatory process when it comes to fracking,” said Jackie Pomeroy, spokesperson for CAFrackFacts. “State regulators have finalized California's fracking rules a full six months before any of the mandated scientific studies have been completed. Given the long-term and potentially irreversible impacts of fracking and well stimulation, it is critical that we make policy decisions based on science—unfortunately, the current timeline makes this impossible.”
Read More | See Also: Big Oil spokesman admits water use will rise with expanded fracking
|| Protesters urge Brown to protect California's water by banning fracking
|| Big Oil spends big money to stop fracking ban in Santa Barbara County
|| Voters Approve Fracking Bans in San Benito and Mendocino Counties
|| Lawsuit Launched Against Offshore Fracking in California's Santa Barbara Channel
|| Congressman Mark Pocan Introduces Bill to Ban Fracking on Public Lands
Dan Bacher writes:
Unfortunately, I fear that the abysmal management of the American, Sacramento, Feather and other Central Valley rivers over the past few years has spurred this apparent decline in the steelhead population. Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation officials systematically drained Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River, Lake Shasta on the Sacramento River, Lake Oroville on the Feather River and Folsom Lake on the American River in 2013, during a record drought, to export water through the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project.
This water was shipped to fill the Kern Water Bank and Southern California reservoirs, as well as to supply water to corporate agribusiness interests in the Westlands Water District and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County. Little carryover storage in the reservoirs, particularly in Folsom, was left in 2014 as the drought continued. Folsom Reservoir reached a record low of 17 percent of capacity in January 2014, due to mismanagement by the state and federal governments.
Read More | American River fish hatcheries evacuated as water is mismanaged
On December 22, with the full support of Turtle Island Restoration Network, OCEANA and other marine conservation organizations, California Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets.
Every fishing season mile-long drift nets are set to soak overnight in California's coastal waters. They have entangled an average of a hundred marine mammals in recent years, including protected whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, as well as thousands of sharks, sunfish and other fish. Sea turtles are also at risk. The vast majority of marine wildlife is dumped back into the ocean, dead or injured. The swordfish and sharks they keep are so high in mercury, that the U.S. FDA warns women and children never to eat it.
“California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa, legal program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “We applaud Assemblymember Levine for taking a leadership role to ensure our oceans are not indiscriminately mined.”
Read More | Turtle Island Restoration Network | OCEANA
Previous Coverage: New Data Shows California Drift Gillnets Not Sustainable, Continue to Kill Marine Mammals
|| Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restricted to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles
|| Whales and Sea Turtles Win One: No Driftnet Expansion in California
On December 17, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the California Rodeo Salinas and its head veterinarian Tim Eastman for failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law. The defendants are accused of significantly under-reporting the number of animals injured at the California Rodeo Salinas, the largest rodeo in the state and one of the largest in the country.
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 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." Determined not to be silenced, students at UC Berkeley brought the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Proposition 1 to the steps of Sproul Plaza, where 50 years ago students demonstrated for their right to disseminate political materials, kicking off the Free Speech Movement.