$0.00 donated in past month
Everyone on the left recognizes gentrification is happening. Its political, economic and social implications are far-reaching, with the state aiding and abetting the process. Neighborhoods in L.A., San Francisco and Oakland look completely different now than even ten years ago. In a gentrifying neighborhood, residents feel the effects with evictions and foreclosure notices. Many are forced to find ways to cope or resist the shifting nature of their neighborhoods; while those conscious of it, and even active in confronting the major players driving it (banks, real estate companies and big developers), recognize they also play a role in it.
The East Bay Solidarity Network is a community group of volunteers living mostly in West Oakland who believe gentrification is a deliberate, engineered process that benefits only a few and hurts many. They’ve spent months base-building in West Oakland by hosting monthly tenants’ rights meetings, door knocking to neighbors, flyering around liquor stores, laundromats and dollar stores, in addition to organizing neighborhood BBQ’s. "East Bay Sol" has produced a 79-page pamphlet entitled Evict This! The Landscape, History and the Battle Against Evictions in West Oakland
which breaks down the history of displacement in Oakland and the resources available to fight the ongoing gentrification. Evict This!
chapters include: You Are Not Alone, How Did We Get Here, Legal Resources, and Fighting Back.
Read More |
Evict This! The Landscape, History and the Battle Against Evictions in West Oakland
(5mb PDF) |
East Bay Solidarity Network
Thousands gathered in the pre-dawn hours for the Indigenous Peoples Annual Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) on November 28. This was the 44th year that the event was held to commemorate the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, according to Morning Star Gali, one of the event organizers and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pit River Tribe.
In addition to the Yaqui Deer Dancers, the event featured the Round Valley Reservation Pomo Dancers and Aztec Dancers. Speakers included LaNada War Jack, one of the original Alcatraz occupiers, Ann Marie Sayers from the Ohlone Indian Tribe, Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Two Kettle Lakota and one of the original members of the American Indian Movement, and Radley Davis and Mickey Gimmel of the Pit River Tribe.
“As we gather today to celebrate, we do not celebrate the re-write of history that has become Thanksgiving," said Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council. "We celebrate our survival as indigenous people. In reality, on this day so long ago, 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Nation were slaughtered during their sacred Green Corn ceremonies by Pilgrims they had saved during the winter months with their own food."
Read More with Photos
Steve Schnaar writes:
"The Santa Cruz Public Safety Task Force has completed their work and is presenting their recommendations to City Council on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7pm. The recommendations include some positive, proven ideas like funding drug treatment and after-school youth programs. However the report also recommends ideas which are not evidence-based, such as misdemeanor charges for multiple infractions, restricting the needle exchange program, and increasing the size of the police force based on sloppy statistics. Come to City Hall on 12/3 to let the Council know this report does not represent a community consensus."
"The Task Force report includes many ideas which are not evidence-based, including tougher sentencing such as misdemeanor charges for multiple infractions, restricting the needle exchange program, increasing the size of the police force based on sloppy statistics, and attacking marijuana cultivation and use.
"A group of concerned individuals, including Steve Schnaar, Peter Klotz-Chamberlin, Rick Longinotti, Stacey Falls, Mary Howe, Doug Engfer, and Brent Adams, sat down to review the material and came up with a list of concerns about the Task Force recommendations."
Continue Reading | See Also: Another Response to the Task Farce and the Schnaar Critique
Previous Coverage: Mayor's Public Safety Task Force Member Is "Fine with Junkies Dying"
In March of 2013, the city of Oakland signed a contract with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for design and construction of the first of two phases of a city-wide surveillance system called the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC. Recently, however, the Oakland city council learned that its prime contractor for the project is involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, a fact that violates Measure T, a city voter proposition that makes Oakland a nuclear free zone.
Despite a second round of public comment against the DAC at the November 19 Oakland City Council meeting, as well as the ongoing controversy with finding non-nuclear contractors, council members voted yet again to continue with the city-wide surveillance project.
After spending $17 million, Santa Cruz City officials now want to re-engage the public by backing off on their promised desal vote in 2014. In response, the Desal Alternatives steering committee has issued a call to all citizen supporters to advocate that the City Council adopt water security measures that can be implemented immediately.
In a joint press release
issued by Mayor Hilary Bryant and City Manager Martin Bernal, Bernal states that the EIR for the Desalination facility proposed for the Westside of Santa Cruz will be completed in order to, "inform future discussions about the City’s water supply." Rick Longinotti, of Desal Alternatives, believes that decision should be made by the city council.
Rick Longinotti writes:
"The decision whether to complete the EIR belongs to the Council, since it will cost a lot more money to complete than the $1.6 million already spent. The four hundred comments submitted on the Draft EIR comprise a devastating critique of the desal project. There is only one way that a final EIR can "fix" the deficiencies in the Draft: by recommending a package of alternatives to the project. Anything less from a Final EIR would not be credible. The Council may hesitate to spend more money just to get a Final EIR that recommends alternatives to the project. Council members can reach that conclusion just by reading the comments on the Draft."
Read More | Desal Alternatives | See Also: Bethany Park Desal Alternatives
Previous Coverage: City of Santa Cruz Entangled in CalDesal’s Advocacy and Lobbying Activities
|| Supporters of Right to Vote on Desal Turn in Petitions at Santa Cruz City Hall
|| Invitation-Only Meeting Held to Promote a Desalination Plant in Santa Cruz
Assembly member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and eight other California lawmakers are calling on the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast. Assembly members Mark Stone, Marc Levine, Richard Bloom, Adrin Nazarian, Bob Wieckowski and Senators Fran Pavley, Noreen Evans and Hannah-Beth Jackson have signed on in support of Williams' letter to federal regulators.
Governor Brown has proposed building two massive $50 billion water tunnels to divert the Sacramento River to corporate interests in the Central Valley. Fracking opponents say the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could play a role in increasing fracking in California, so that oil companies and huge agribusinesses can make even more profits.
The Berkeley Post Office is being sold off as one of the first steps in the privatization of the Postal Service. JP Massar writes:
"We petitioned. We wrote letters. We got the City Council and the Mayor to write letters. We rallied and marched. We got our state reps and Barbara Lee, our US Representative, to make entreaties. The decision to sell the historic Berkeley Post Office was made in flagrant disregard to all such."
Despite what seems to be the end of the road in terms of administrative challenges, a three-pronged local attack is being launched by various Berkeley community groups, Save The Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area. The first is a medium term threat of a lawsuit to block the sale: As soon as an actual sale is announced, attorneys will go to court to block it with a temporary restraining order. At the same time, steps will be taken to file a lawsuit to preserve the historic building as public space and to protect its New Deal-era art.
Secondly, a direct defense of the Berkeley Post Office begins on Saturday, July 27th.
The third is a thinking-out-of-the-box attempt to rezone the space the Berkeley Post Office sits on so that it cannot be used for private, commercial enterprise. That would make the building a lot less attractive to potential buyers, perhaps lowering the price enough to make selling the building economically unattractive to the Post Office powers-that-be.
Read More |
Save The Berkeley Post Office |
Strike Debt Bay Area
Steve Schlicht, a member of the City of Santa Cruz's Public Safety Task Force and the director of marketing communications and information technology for Take Back Santa Cruz, posted on Facebook that he is "fine with junkies dying somewhere else. Outside the county is fine by me."
The City's website describes the task force: "The Santa Cruz City Council created the Public Safety Citizen Task Force (Task Force) to provide a platform for the community to come together to better understand our current public safety concerns and recommend actions we take to improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz. The Task Force consists of community members, business owners, educators, and safety experts and broadly represents the community. Task Force members will work together over the next six months to identify and explore the underlying safety concerns we face as a community and present their independent findings and recommendations to the City Council."
Read More |
Strongly Biased Public Safety Survey
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department's policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to.
The Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, has been designated as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area. In June, supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect Drakes Estero charged that opponents of the Obama administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law.
On May 15, the City of Santa Cruz issued a press release
entitled “Santa Cruz Water Director Key to Non-Profit CalDesal Success. Bill Kocher Named Vice-President of the Board." Opponents of the proposed desal plant say the piece appears designed as a damage control tactic to both re-frame and obfuscate the city’s role as a prominent member of the CalDesal advocacy and lobbying organization.
Opponents of desal point out the city’s CalDesal news release coincides with the release of the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
evaluation study for building the controversial regional seawater desal plant complex, which is proposed to be located along the shores of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary on the west side of Santa Cruz.
Paul Gratz writes:
"A lack of transparency, overall exclusionary attitude, and cozy industry relationship of our water agencies, is inspiring desal opponents not only to challenge their political hegemony with renewed vigor, but to question the nature of regional water resource planning and growth management as a whole. From a preliminary examination of public records, an inconvenient reality is coming into view that raises serious questions about the appearance of conflict of interest, cozy relationships, aggressive advocacy and lobbying, and lack of oversight and accountability."
Read More | The Desal EIR & Lobbying: Plunging trust in SC City Council? | Desal Advocacy and Conflict of Interest - Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District
Thursday, June 13: Desal Alternatives Presents its Response to the Draft Environmental Impact Report
See Also: Pro-desal EIR marketing campaign pitches “green boutique” plant, downplays expansion | Santa Cruz Desal EIR Detached From Reality?
Previous Coverage: Supporters of Right to Vote on Desal Turn in Petitions at Santa Cruz City Hall
| Invitation-Only Meeting Held to Promote a Desalination Plant in Santa Cruz
In a precedent-setting victory for fracking opponents, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal of the U.S. District Court in San Jose ruled on March 31 that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold the leases without properly assessing the threat that fracking could pose to water, fish and wildlife. Some of these leases are within the Salinas River watershed, a habitat for endangered Central Coast steelhead.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial, environmentally destructive process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or gas. Many Delta advocates believe that the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) will be used to deliver water to expand fracking operations in Kern County and coastal areas.
The ruling responded to a suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club that challenged a September 2011 BLM decision to auction off about 2,500 acres of land in southern Monterey County to oil companies. “This important decision recognizes that fracking poses new, unique risks to California’s air, water and wildlife that government agencies can’t ignore,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “This is a watershed moment — the first court opinion to find a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the monumental dangers of fracking.”
On February 17, individuals gathered in Monterey for an Idle No More flash mob held in solidarity with First Nations and Chief Theresa Spence. Organizers described the flash mob as an opportunity for "dance and prayer" and to educate the public. Groups represented at the gathering included the Ohlone and the Chumash, as well as a number of others.
The gathering resembled other Idle No More events and flash mobs where participants sing traditional songs and join together in round dancing. Isaac Orozco, who also dances with Amah-Ka-Tura
, an Ohlone group based out of the Pajaro Valley, sang traditional Ohlone songs. In addition to drumming, individuals played clap sticks, which are a traditional instrument of central Californian Indian groups.
The flash mob began in front of the Museum of Monterey, which is located at Custom House Plaza, and is part of Monterey State Historic Park. After a brush with rangers, the group moved in front of the "Old Customhouse" itself, which is the oldest colonial government building in California.
Read More with Photos and Videos |
Idle No More