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On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle."
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.
At least 145 of America's last wild, migratory bison have already been captured inside Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap this week as a result of the park and other entities working under the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). They intend to kill upwards of 900 of the gentle giants under the guise of population control and "disease risk management."
Stephany Seay writes:
Many believed that a Salmon, Idaho-based wolf and coyote killing spree was canceled when organizations released to the media that the BLM had revoked permits for the event. However the Forest Service still allowed it, and the derby was still on. Eight individuals braved the hostile Salmon community to be on the ground and document the carnage.
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
On December 9, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 6-1 to approve the purchase of a $250,000 armored emergency response and "rescue" vehicle. The proposed purchase was placed on the council's consent agenda and was announced with very little notice, but the public quickly mobilized to protest. In response to the city council’s vote, members of the public broke out into chants of, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and Mayor Lynn Robinson then had the chambers cleared by the police.
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
The Committee for Responsible and Accurate Posters (CRAP) writes:
Chevron, in exercising their completely hard-fought right to defecate unlimited cash into a small-town election (thanks, Citizens United), has flooded Richmond with $3 million in propaganda both to support their own prop candidates and to shamelessly attack Team Richmond, a courageous slate of candidates from the Richmond Progressive Alliance. Why? Because progressive city council candidates Eduardo Martinez, Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles, and Mayor Gayle McLaughlin have a proven track record of holding Chevron accountable for polluting Richmond’s air, land, water, and democracy. Should Chevron elect its own candidates, perhaps the oil barons could avoid paying out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle this lawsuit filed by Richmond under those pesky progressives. From Chevron’s perspective, spending $3 million in a local election - amounting to a whopping ~$120 per voter, outspending their progressive opponents at least 25 to 1 - is chump change compared to what they’ll save by owning their very own city council.
Here at CRAP we call out bullshit when we see it. Richmond residents should know that Nat Bates isn’t running for Richmond’s mayor, he’s running to be Chevron’s puppet. And so are city council candidates Donna Powers, Charles Ramsey, and Al Martinez. Sorry Chevron, but Richmond’s election is not for sale.
A Beehive Collective presentation originally scheduled as an event at the Gill Tract Community Farm was shut down with a week’s notice 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." According to a news release from Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL), "The event highlights the privatization of water across Mesoamerica and the potential for water privatization in CA under Prop 1." Water bond opponents have criticized California's Proposition 1 as a sweetheart bill for water-intensive industrial agriculture.
The students said the event had been approved with strong support from community members, students, and the farm’s events working group. This was the first interference in farm events from the administration — and students feel that it is a clear example of repression against free speech on campus, with political motivation. Determined not to be silenced, students at the University of California, Berkeley brought the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Prop. 1 to the steps of Sproul Plaza, where 50 years ago students demonstrated for their right to disseminate political materials, kicking off what is known as the Free Speech Movement.
Read More |
Event Announcement |
Santa Cruz City Council Member Micah Posner writes:
Deputy Chief Steve Clark labeled Santa Cruz City Council candidate Leonie Sherman an "anarchist" on the evening news due to the fact that she hung a banner at the WTO protest 15 years ago. The courage and conviction that she displayed as part of this non-violent protest are just some of the reasons why Sherman will be an excellent City Councilmember.
Just so you don’t get it twisted, we want to let you know the facts about the new Colosseum Area Specific Plan. It is being financed with money from HayaH Holdings in Dubai and Colony Capital LLC in Los Angeles.... With help from Mayor Quan and the other good old boys, this development promises to completely transform East Oakland and start a process of gentrification worse than anything seen in West Oakland. They wish to call their new development Colosseum City.
On Tuesday, June 10
, council members Lane and Posner will introduce an ordinance that amends campaign finance rules in the City of Santa Cruz. They are proposing that donation limits for city council candidates be changed from voluntary to mandatory, and that the city implement a 1-to-1 match to campaign contributions if candidates agree to a $26,641 over-all expenditure limit. Former city council candidate Simba Kenyatta believes the ordinance does not go far enough and he is calling for real election reform in Santa Cruz.
Simba Kenyatta writes:
"As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies. Just because you put a ceiling on the amount of money doesn't do anything for people having a hard time raising any money because their friends and neighbors are as poor as the candidate, and raising money is much harder no matter how viable you might be as a candidate."
"We will have to be creative in financing the elections. I've often thought a quarter of a cent city tax on businesses would bring in enough money to finance it. I'm sure businesses will object but it would be a minor inconvenience, to support an actual democracy. They can pass that tax on to us because as a concerned citizenry we want to see the best candidates available, even if they are horrible at raising money. Sometimes as a candidate it felt way too close to begging. It would be nice to see businesses/corporations contribute toward a democracy instead of destroying it, as recent court rulings will allow them to do. I'm sure we have enough intelligent, forward thinking people to come up with a way to ensure equality in our electoral processes. Where there's a will, there is a way."
Read More: Real Election Reform | See Also: Video: Simba Kenyatta on Election Reform
| Santa Cruz City Council to Consider Campaign Finance Reform Initiative
Tuesday, June 10: Bring Campaign Finance Reform to Santa Cruz
Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.