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Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 09/24/16)
Getting a Good Night's Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall
Presently the only location in downtown Santa Cruz where people on the street are able to sleep regularly as a group is at the weekly community sleepouts organized by the Freedom Sleepers. Homeless sweeps conducted by the Santa Cruz Police Department beginning in January of this year have for the most part cleared the downtown area of groups of people sleeping together in other locations, such as at the post office. Since July of 2015, the Freedom Sleepers have gathered to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness. September 20 marked the group's 63rd sleepout.
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.
Sat Sep 10 2016 (Updated 09/11/16)
Three Federal Agencies Block Dakota Access Pipeline
On September 9, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota. Minutes later, the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior issued a joint statement announcing a temporary halt to work on the pipeline. Actions in support of the Water protectors continue to be held across California in response to the global call for solidarity by the Standing Rock protest camps for September 3-17.
The official campaign kick-off party for Yes on Measure Z, to ban fracking in Monterey County, will be held in Salinas on Saturday, September 10. A rally will be held in addition to the grand opening of the campaign's new headquarters, which is located in the heart of Salinas on Main Street. Measure Z made it to the November ballot as the result of months of work by volunteers with Protect Monterey County, a group working to safe-guard local water supplies and protect the county's agricultural production.
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.”
On August 11, the California Coastal Commission found by an 11-1 vote that the City of Santa Cruz' midnight to 5 PM RV (recreational vehicle) parking ban involved a "substantial issue" and so would require a new hearing in the months to come. The CCC was not convinced by Assistant City Manager Scott Collins's claims that Santa Cruz provides RV alternatives, is dealing with an RV "crime crisis", and is only duplicating what other cities have done.
In the wake of the Chinatown homeless sweeps that displaced hundreds of people in downtown Salinas in March of this year, a small but thriving tent community has established itself at Salinas City Hall, where a group has been camping out every night for over four months. An anti-camping ordinance was recently passed by the Salinas City Council that allows for the city to quickly remove "bulky items" stored on public property, and outlaws setting up tents on public property between the hours of 6am and 6pm.
The Freedom Sleepers celebrated their one-year anniversary together on July 5 with a march through downtown Santa Cruz, and then an outdoor movie screening at Santa Cruz City Hall. After celebrating their one-year anniversary, the Freedom Sleepers have returned to Santa Cruz City Hall for three more sleepouts. The most recent was their 55th community sleepout on July 26. Since July 4 of 2015, a coalition of unhoused and housed community members in Santa Cruz have converged to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness.
Thousands are marching for Bernie Sanders' platform at the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia. On July 24, San Francisco activists held a protest in solidarity with demonstrators at the DNC as part of a national day of action, "March for Bernie USA." Marchers gathered in the Mission district cheered and shouted when they heard breaking news from one of the rally leaders that Wasserman Schultz would be resigning as party leader. Bernie Sanders and supporters have long been critical of Wasserman Schultz for not playing a neutral role during the Democratic primaries.
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.
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.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
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 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.
The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco's largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world. Thousands of people attend. The 12th annual Trans March was held on June 24, and this year's theme was "We Are Still Here Embracing Our Legacy." This year is also the 50th Anniversary of the Compton's Cafeteria Riot that occurred in 1966 at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets in San Francisco. At the pre-march event, politicians Mark Leno, David Chiu, and Mayor Ed Lee were booed off stage.
Tue Jun 28 2016 (Updated 06/30/16)
Ventura Oil Spill is No Surprise
Tue Jun 28 2016 (Updated 06/30/16)
Crimson Pipeline Has Long History of Spills
Just thirteen months after the massive Refugio Oil Spill fouled the pristine waters off the Santa Barbara Coast, a leak in an oil pipeline in Hall Canyon in Ventura County was reported at 5:30 a.m. on June 23. As many as 700 barrels of crude oil — 29,400 gallons — have been spilled. According to information released by the Center for Biological Diversity, the company responsible for the Ventura oil spill, Crimson Pipeline, has a decade-long history of oil spills in California.
Thu Jun 16 2016 (Updated 06/17/16)
Historic Court Ruling for Net Neutrality
It’s being called one of the most important moments in the history of the internet and a First Amendment for the internet. A federal appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled this week that internet service providers must offer essentially the same protections to users that are required of phone companies. Digital activists are gleefully celebrating one of the most significant parts of the ruling: the FCC can apply its net neutrality rules to cellphone data as well as home broadband.
On June 9, hundreds of New Yorkers demonstrated outside Governor Andrew Cuomo's offices, outraged by his executive order requiring the state to create a blacklist of corporations and institutions that support the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. On the west coast, the California Assembly voted unanimously on June 3 to pass AB 2844, yet another in a string of state-sponsored anti-BDS efforts currently moving forward across the country.
Communities throughout California and the country continue to demand increased police accountability. Senate Bill 1286 would have shined new light on how police departments handle confirmed instances of officer misconduct and serious uses of force. Police "unions" and lobbyists like the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) fought to maintain the secrecy police enjoy in the state and once again legislators cowed to their wishes.
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:
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
10/24 Voter Reg Deadline; 10/10 Starts Vote by Mail, Voter Guides for Cal & SF Now Online Register Peace & Freedom or Green (1 comment) Saturday Sep 24th 5:26 AM
Benecia, California Votes Unanimously to Deny Crude by Rail Facility via Sierra Club (1 comment) Thursday Sep 22nd 4:50 PM
Bay Area police re-victimize teenager in cop sexual abuse scandal Terri Kay (2 comments) Wednesday Sep 21st 9:04 AM
Freedom Sleepers Bed Down for #63 While Salinas Fights Camping Ban Keith McHenry (story by Norse) (1 comment) Tuesday Sep 20th 10:55 AM
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Causes of Great Problems Faded out in Elections Ernst Wolff Tuesday Sep 27th 6:01 AM
Jill Stein on Twitter Answers Clinton-Trump "Debate" Questions Register Peace & Freedom or Green Monday Sep 26th 6:13 PM
Open Up The Debates - Petition The Commission: Deadline 09262016 Tomas DiFiore Saturday Sep 24th 10:33 AM
Both Trump & Clinton Have Ties to Epstein's Pedo Island Amanda Prestigiacomo (Daily Wire) Tuesday Sep 6th 9:46 AM
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Drew Glover for Santa Cruz City Council 8-21-2016 Event #2 AutumnSun (1 comment) Monday Aug 22nd 4:32 PM
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