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Just months after Monterey County voters approved a ban on underground injection of oil waste, California regulators have announced a plan to turn an underground water supply in the county over to the oil industry for injection of contaminated waste fluid. The proposal — announced by California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources — seeks to exempt an aquifer that runs under the town of San Ardo from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. A similar aquifer exemption is currently under consideration in Livermore.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a report last week detailing the 2014 results of their Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program. The report, documenting all reported pesticide-related illnesses from all California counties, shows 20.1% of agricultural pesticide-related illnesses occurred in Tulare County, making it the county with the most agricultural pesticide illnesses in the state. Santa Cruz County came in second with 17.2%. Of the 53 counties with documented pesticide-related illnesses in 2014, Tulare County accounted for over 1 in every 5 cases of poisonings from agricultural pesticides.
A lawsuit filed on December 13 by civil rights groups charges the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with violating the constitutional rights of homeless people by confiscating and destroying their property in ongoing sweeps. Plaintiffs have lost cherished and necessary items, including family heirlooms, photographs of loved ones, tents, sleeping bags, warm weather clothing, tools, food, camp stoves, bicycles, and personal documents. “Caltrans has been a major obstacle to getting my life together," said plaintiff James Leone. "Twice in six years, I’ve been left with only the clothes on my back. Twice I’ve lost everything I own in the world.”
In a slap in the face to fishermen, Tribes, environmental justice advocates, conservationists and family farmers, President Obama on December 16 signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law with an environmentally destructive rider sponsored by Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman McCarthy (R-CA). The controversial rider, requested by corporate agribusiness interests, allows San Joaquin Valley growers and Southern California water agencies to pump more water out of the Delta, driving numerous fish species closer and closer to extinction, according to Delta advocates.
On December 6, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved Tejon Ranch Company’s disastrous Grapevine project, despite the harm the project will do to wildlife and nearby communities. The 8,000-acre development will straddle the San Joaquin Valley and Tehachapi Mountains and create a new city of up to 12,000 dwelling units and up to 5.1 million square feet of commercial real estate. The project will destroy habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and threatened San Joaquin antelope squirrel, along with up to 36 other rare and imperiled species.
The California Secretary of State’s Office announced that voters narrowly defeated Proposition 53, an initiative requiring voter approval of revenue bonds over $2 billion. Governor Jerry Brown is celebrating the victory because it would have required a vote on his controversial “legacy” projects, the Delta Tunnels and High Speed Rail. Dan Bacher writes: The results of the Proposition 53 vote are disappointing for those who care about salmon, the Delta and the public trust. However, there is no doubt that if an initiative solely requiring a public vote on the Delta Tunnels had been on the ballot, it would have been decisively approved.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California and the West, but it should be. WSPA is the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California. It represents a who's who of oil companies including Aera Energy, Chevron, California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum), ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Valero and many others. Yet most people — even many environmental activists — have never heard of the organization and the enormous influence it wields over politicians and regulators in the western states.
Calls to boycott Altai Brands began after a disturbing photo was circulated on social media showing a nearly nude woman laying on a table covered in slices of salami and other meats. The event, hosted by Altai Brands, was a private after-party on November 17 for the fifth annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo which took place from November 15-18 in Las Vegas. Aliza Sherman writes, "Altai Brands apparently went culturally tone deaf when they covered a woman in deli meats and served her up on the appetizer table. Comments ranged from shock to outrage in social media with calls to boycott the male-led company."
A timeline mapping Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police violence and militarization was collectively generated as part of a larger ongoing convivial research effort to expose low intensity war across the Bay Area and state. The timeline was produced through a collaboration between the Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy (CCRA) and Carville Annex Press as part of the struggle for Justice for James "Nate" Greer. The timeline is a tool that remembers, counts, mourns and honors our dead. It is a collaborative effort of documentation over time that makes visible the many resistances that have refused erasure.
Tenants in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and Mountain View are celebrating rent control victories. Tens of thousands of renters will have new protections from greedy landlords, realtors and speculators around the Bay Area. The renter protection ballot measure in Oakland, known as Measure JJ, was voted into law with 74% of the vote. In Richmond, after a long hard struggle, 64% of voters passed rent control and just cause eviction protections into law with the passage of Measure L. In a victory for Mountain View over corporate interests, the grassroots renter protection measure known as Measure V was passed with 53% of the vote.
On November 15, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation prohibiting new fossil fuel leases on city-owned property in an effort to combat climate change. The legislation by Supervisor John Avalos originated with 350 Bay Area analyst Jed Holtzman, who discovered the city was leasing to Chevron an 800-acre property that it inherited in Kern County. City finance officials say converting the property to a solar array could generate more revenue than current oil operations, which net the city about $320,000 annually.
Mon Nov 14 2016 (Updated 11/29/16)
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now
The first anti-Trump protests began almost immediately, shortly after election results were announced. By the evening of November 9, protesters poured into the streets across the country. The Northern California cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Cruz, Salinas, Hollister, Santa Rosa, and Fresno have stood up against Trump, the rallying cries being "Not My President" and "Fuck Trump!" Demonstrations continue on a daily or near-daily basis all over. There is no end in sight. Calls have gone out to disrupt inaugural events on January 20 and for a Women's March on Washington on January 21.
According to the Mountain View High School Oracle newspaper, MVHS principal David Grissom and other school administrators made the decision to put history teacher Frank Navarro on administrative leave. The leave was prompted by Navarro's alleged comments in class that made connections between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. "Whether or not he said this, it is dangerous and disgusting that the administration has decided to punish him for drawing parallels between two similarly dangerous moments in history," wrote MVHS alumnus Annie Ashmore in a petition to the principal.
Voters in Monterey County, California's fourth-largest oil-producing county, passed Measure Z to ban fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques. The measure won with more than fifty-five percent of the vote, despite supporters being outspent thirty to one by oil companies, including Chevron and Aera Energy. Measure Z also phases out toxic wastewater injection and prohibits new oil wells in the county. "David beat Goliath in Monterey County's stunning victory against oil industry pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.
UPDATE: ...And a new four-year nightmare is about to begin. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. For coverage of the first anti-Trump protests across Northern California, see We've Got a Bigger Problem Now.

Considering the campaign for president currently lasts nearly two years, made worse by the two major political parties selecting nominees with the highest unfavorable ratings ever for presidential candidates, most of the country is ready for the election to be over already. While Indybay has not received reports on everything and everyone up for a vote in every Northern California district on Tuesday, November 8, those who've chosen to publish their reports and recommendations have covered a variety of the issues at stake. See what they have to say.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Nuclear Shutdown News December 2016 Michael Steinberg Wednesday Jan 4th 10:35 PM
Jane Fonda Divests From Wells Fargo Ross Plesset Tuesday Jan 3rd 7:44 PM
Petition Seeks Ban on Import of Invasive Bullfrogs Into California Center for Biological Diversity (1 comment) Monday Dec 12th 2:48 PM
Oil Company Applies for First New Offshore Fracking Permit in California Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Dec 8th 5:09 PM
Report highlights 17 bad actors waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns via Environment California Tuesday Dec 6th 2:08 PM
Fuck Trump, But Fuck You Too: No Unity With Liberals Bobby London (1 comment) Friday Nov 18th 11:36 AM
Trump’s popular vote deficit may approach two million World Socialist Website (1 comment) Saturday Nov 12th 8:12 AM
For a World without Nuclear Risks Marcia Gomes Thursday Nov 10th 5:15 AM
New Fracking-related Earthquakes in Oklahoma Spark Demand for Oil, Gas Lease Withdrawal Center for Biological Diversity Monday Nov 7th 12:42 PM
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Value Human Life Bill K. Harley Monday Jan 16th 10:15 PM
5-4-3-2-1-Revolution Fhyre Phoenix (1 comment) Friday Jan 13th 1:03 AM
2016 Stockton Kwanzaa Nia Celebration ~ Taft Community Center Khubaka, Michael Harris (1 comment) Thursday Dec 29th 3:44 PM
Collected Anti-Trump chants protester (2 comments) Thursday Nov 10th 8:31 AM
California Investigating Wells Fargo for Criminal Identity Theft Richard Gonzales, NPR Friday Oct 21st 10:46 AM
Friendship Christine Harris Wednesday Oct 5th 5:58 PM
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