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University of California Berkeley (Cal) reinstated a student-led course on Palestine on September 19, following an outcry over its arbitrary suspension the previous week. The suspension, taken in apparent response to pressure from Israel advocacy groups, was widely condemned -- by students, professors, and observers -- as a violation of academic freedom, shocking, and unjustifiable. The organization Palestine Legal had sent a letter to Cal Chancellor Dirks on September 16 warning that the suspension infringed on First Amendment rights and principles of academic freedom.
Wed Sep 21 2016 (Updated 09/25/16)
East Bay Cops Charged with Sex Crimes and Corruption
Recent reporting exposed widespread crimes, corruption, and coverups in the Oakland police department. As more and more came to light about Oakland police sexually abusing and trafficking a teenage girl since she was a minor, community activists issued demands, protests turned up on OPD's doorstep, and calls for accountability came from all quarters. In this environment, it became untenable for Alameda County District Attorney O'Malley to do nothing. O'Malley has now charged five cops for the sexual exploitation of a teenager and related corruption. Two more are yet to be charged.
On September 10, over 300 people took part in a march, rally, and demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Prison Strike happening across US prisons, jails, and detention facilities. People gathered at Latham Square in downtown Oakland where several speakers addressed the crowd. Grabbing banners, flags, and signs, people then took to the streets and marched to several corporations that profit from prison labor. AT&T, UPS, and Bank of America were called out for their use of prison labor.
On September 9, activists chained themselves to the entrances of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton to protest Urban Shield, the SWAT training and weapons expo hosted annually by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Hundreds of community members from cities across California, including Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, marched and rallied. Twenty-three activists were arrested, cited, and released.
On August 22, Maria Magdalena Rodriguez and Teodoro Valencia, the parents of Teo Valencia, 23, gathered at the Federal Courthouse in Oakland to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Newark and the Newark police officer, Conrad Rogers, who shot Teo Valencia to death on March 11, 2016. Teo was shot in the back with an AR-15. Family attorney Dan Siegel said, “The only word for what the police officer did to Teodoro is murder.”
Plaintiffs Anne Weills, Mollie Costello, Allyssa Eisenberg, and Tova Fry were taken to Santa Rita Jail after being arrested for civil disobedience in 2014. The Four were held with other women in filthy jail cells. Toilets were overflowing. There were no menstrual pads for women who needed them, no garbage containers so used menstrual pads sat on top of left over food. All the women in those cells are “presumed innocent”. The Four and their attorney Yolanda Huang filed a civil rights complaint in order to be a voice for other women and demand they be treated with respect and human dignity.
Fri Aug 19 2016 (Updated 08/20/16)
Protect Our Right To Stay: No Suban La Renta
Renter protections are on the ballot for voters to vote on this coming November in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View. On August 8, the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), tenants and other community members rallied to protest against no-cause evictions — and evictions at the Bay View Apartments in Alameda. Tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections during the upcoming November elections, urging people to vote against weak proposals placed on the ballot by the City Council in Alameda and Mountain View.
UPDATE 9/9: In the early morning, protesters locked down across the entrance of the Alameda Fairgrounds, preventing passage into the Urban Shield expo. Twenty-three people were arrested.

In July, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office withdrew its sponsorship of a "Bulletproof" street survival training course for law enforcement officers after community activists questioned whether the former "Bulletproof Warrior" class should be offered by the department. Urban Shield, the controversial police militarization exposition and training, is scheduled for September 8 in Pleasanton. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition is calling for a mass demonstration on September 9.
A call went out for Freedom Now protests on July 21 targeting the support infrastructure for police oppression, especially police "unions" for their defense of cops accused of brutality. Lockdowns and demonstrations were held in cities across the country. In Oakland, the offices of the Oakland Police Officer's Association were shut down and an entrance to Oakland police headquarters was locked down. A Black Lives Matter educational event for children was held in Oscar Grant plaza, followed by a march down Broadway.
In front of Oakland City Hall on July 11, Leigh Davenport of the Anti Police-Terror Project announced community activists' intention to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf. Primary among the concerns cited as cause for Schaaf's removal from office are her failures: 1) to address the massive displacement of long-time Oakland residents; 2) to support local youth and job centers; and 3) to hold Oakland police accountable for corruption, sexual exploitation, and those they've killed. “The level of discontent is high in the City of Oakland," notes Cat Brooks.
On July 6, activists in Sacramento held a vigil memorializing the 47 people killed in Canada in the Lac-Mégantic Disaster three years ago. The Sacramento Oil Trains Coalition, including 350 Sacramento, ANSWER, Sac Activist School, and STAND, organized the event. The Central Valley rally and vigil was one of over 40 actions the same week across the U.S. demanding a halt to plans to run these explosive “bomb trains,” carrying fracked Bakken crude oil from South Dakota, through cities across the nation.
A report released on July 8 by the Xerces Society shows a sharp two-decade decline in the number of monarchs which overwinter along the California coast. A comparison of the average number of butterflies overwintering in California during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows a decline of 74 percent, a figure that is comparable to declines documented at monarch overwintering sites in Mexico. Listed sites span the monarch’s overwintering range along the Pacific coast and the East Bay of San Francisco
UPDATE: The City Council voted to put the Police Commission on the ballot (now known as Measure LL), but went with the weakest language for any elements of the proposal that faced opposition from police, labor unions, or the mayor.

A November 2016 ballot measure for a new Oakland Police Commission was expected to be finalized and approved by the Oakland City Council at their meeting on July 19. Instead, it will be July 26. The measure, originally proposed by the Coalition for Police Accountability and since taken up by the City Council, continues to be watered down and faces new threats from the City Attorney and the Oakland Police Officers' Association (OPOA). Community groups are calling for Oakland residents to turn out in large numbers at City Hall to stand up and demand strong police accountability.
Tue Jul 12 2016 (Updated 07/18/16)
New Wave of Black Lives Matter Protests Nationwide
The back to back caught-on-video police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile in St. Paul on July 6 kicked off a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. The people of Baton Rouge and St. Paul have been protesting daily since the killings. Solidarity actions have been held in cities across the country and internationally. Communities have staged rallies, marches, and vigils across Northern California as well. Multiple demonstrations have been held in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Watsonville.
Mon Jul 11 2016 (Updated 07/21/16)
Justice for Teo: Rally and March in Newark
Justice for Teo writes: Please, join us [on July 14] in a peaceful-family friendly vigil/rally and march for our Brother Teodoro Valencia Jr.. Teo was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend. On March 11, 2016 Teo was wrongfully killed by the Newark Police Department. He was shot intentionally in the back with an AR-15 assault rifle. Our family's goals are to bring justice for Teo, as well as truth and light to the darkness that the police have been using to mislead and oppress our community.
The Anti Police-Terror Project has issued a call-out for all police officers ready to speak up about illegal, unethical or biased conduct by members of the Oakland Police Department or other City staff or officials to take a stand now. Their legal team at the Siegel & Yee law firm has created a hotline to call to report such conduct and can provide legal advice for those who may face retaliation, protecting whistleblower anonymity.
In a first-of-its-kind decision and a victory for police accountability and transparency, an Alameda County judge has ruled that a public agency can't charge excessive fees for police body worn camera footage. The public interest served by the disclosure outweighs the financial burden of the city to produce the footage, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evilio Grillo ruled. The court ordered the city of Hayward to refund to the NLGSF the entire $3247 cost, except a $1 charge for a DVD.
In April, the BART Board passed a law making it illegal to occupy two seats during rush hour on a BART train. The law was not to take effect until the BART police presented their implementation strategy. At the most recent BART Board meeting on June 23, BART police presented how they intend to enforce the new law. Fines of up to $500 will ensure that those least able to afford it become debtors, potentially subjecting violators to criminal warrants and further harrassment. Longtime BART director Joel Keller admitted he wants police to target the homeless.
On May 30, members of the animal liberation network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) rushed the stage of a Bernie Sanders rally in Oakland, decrying Sanders’ support for animal agriculture and demanding an end to violence against animals. Activists climbed over metal barricades at the rally in front of Oakland City Hall to display banners reading “Animal Liberation Now” and “Animal Rights is Social Justice.” The activists halted Sanders’ speech before being removed from the rally by Secret Service agents.
Mon Jun 6 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
California Almost Mattered This Time, Sort Of
California is the most populous state in the nation, yet the state votes last in the presidental primary process. Major party nominees are usually declared before voters in the state get their say. This year promised to be different, with Bernie Sanders barnstorming across the state, bringing a more competitive race than is typical. On the eve of the California primary, though, corporate media outlets called the Democratic race for Hillary Clinton. Still there are a number of statewide and local candidates and issues to be decided on June 7.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
What was behind the suspension of a UC Berkeley Course on Palestine? via Palestine Legal Monday Sep 26th 4:35 PM
Beyond Occupy - Five Years Hence Occupy Oakland Monday Sep 26th 10:59 AM
Berekelyside's editor-In-chief says homeless death is low priority news News Junkie (3 comments) Sunday Sep 25th 12:08 PM
Oakland Approves Petition to Recall Mayor Schaaf Sydney Johnson, Oakland Post (1 comment) Saturday Sep 24th 6:11 PM
The Surreality of the Actual Steve Martinot Saturday Sep 24th 2:30 PM
Solidarity with the Charlotte Rebellion! Solidarity with Charlotte Saturday Sep 24th 12:01 PM
Benecia, California Votes Unanimously to Deny Crude by Rail Facility via Sierra Club (1 comment) Thursday Sep 22nd 4:50 PM
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WW CA Farmworkers Getting 8 Hour Day & Attacks On Workers Comp By DIR and Governor Brown KPFA Pacifica WorkWeek Radio (1 comment) Wednesday Aug 31st 8:28 PM
This Week in Palestine, July 29th, 2016 IMEMC Friday Jul 29th 9:58 PM
Palestinian Workers, Human Rights, US Labor & Zionism Labor Video Project (3 comments) Wednesday Jul 27th 10:56 PM
This Week in Palestine, July 22nd, 2016 IMEMC Friday Jul 22nd 6:16 PM
OSHA Chief Michaels and DOL Secretary Perez In Corruption Scandal At DOL/OSHA Pacifica WorkWeek Radio KPFA Pacifica Thursday Mar 31st 5:37 AM
Mary Kay Henry - Members Demand Say Aside The Rigged Election Results In SEIU 1021! Labor Video Project (1 comment) Sunday Mar 27th 11:34 PM
This Week in Palestine, March 4th, 2015 IMEMC Friday Mar 4th 9:27 PM
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