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On August 5, Palo Alto's City Council passed a ban prohibiting people from dwelling in their vehicles. Violation of the ordinance, which will take effect in 2014, can result in a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and possible jail time of 6 months.
Before the council's decision dozens of homeless advocates staged a protest in front of City Hall, then took turns addressing the council in chambers. They screamed out "shame!" when the council voted 7 to 2 to enact the ban.
James (Lee) Han, a local activist and Redwood City native who pulled papers for the city council race in that city last week, emcee'd the Stop the Ban Coalition's rally. The Raging Grannies sang and told the gathered crowd of about 75 people that, indeed, two members of the Grannies had been vehicular dwellers in recent years.
Han reminded the rally audience that the ban targets the city's homeless population, many of whom work in Palo Alto but are paid far too little to afford to live in homes there, and end up living in their cars to get by. Homeless advocates Robert Norse and Becky Johnson came from Santa Cruz to speak of the viciousness of laws enacted in their own town. Johnson said that despite all the nit picky laws in Santa Cruz, including no sitting on blankets allowed, the number of homeless has not decreased, and that vehicle dwelling bans are inhumane.
Read More With Photos |
Palo Alto Joins Santa Cruz in Rejecting the Right to Sleep
The Center for Biological Diversity
filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet
, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park
in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains
The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitation and visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat, which the department admits will cause significant harm to marbled murrelets. The seabirds already face a high risk of extinction in the Santa Cruz region, in part because human trash is unnaturally increasing populations of ravens and other nest predators that eat murrelet eggs and chicks.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park provides the largest remaining stand of old-growth nesting habitat for marbled murrelets in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In Big Basin, Murrelets have been declining. “Time’s running out for murrelets in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” said Shaye Wolf, a CBD biologist. “State Parks should have committed to helping these beautiful little birds survive — if this misguided plan goes forward, it will likely push them closer to extinction.”
Read More | See Also: Public Comment Period for Big Basin Preliminary General Plan/Draft EIR Ends August 1st (2012)
Protests in Turkey began May 28 at Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park, against plans to turn the loved and historic city park into a shopping mall. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brutally attacked the peaceful demonstrators. As daily anti-government protests rocked Istanbul, demonstrators in the Bay Area showed solidarity against Turkish state repression with protests in Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and Oakland, in addition to the establishment of Gezi Gardens in San Francisco.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's new lobbying group has spent big money on ads to advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline, riling Bay Area environmentalists. Activists rallied near the CEO's San Francisco home on June 1st. Members of the Keystone XL Action Council previously spearheaded an action on May 1st at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park.
Demonstrators say they are appalled that political group FWD.US, co-founded by Zuckerberg and others in the tech industry, bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, but has spent considerable resources on ads advocating anti-environmental causes including promoting construction of the the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Last month protesters built a mock pipeline in front of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park and posed in front of the famous "thumbs up" signage on the company's lawn with their own thumbs down. Then on June 1st, activists marched in hazmat costumes and carried their pipeline up the street in Mr. Zuckerberg's San Francisco neighborhood. They projected a giant outdoor film screening about the dangers of the Keystone XL against a wall near his new home.
Demonstration at Facebook HQ |
Guerilla Action in Mark Zuckerberg's SF Neighborhood | See Also: Fight for Women's Rights in Front of Facebook CEO Home
Protesters mobilized to greet President Barack Obama who was in town for a series of fundraisers in San Francisco and Atherton on April 3 and 4. Approximately 1,000 demonstrators opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would extend from Canada to Texas, gathered outside the mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco the evening of April 3. The next day about 100 environmentalists, including many elderly, lay in wait along the President's route after a fundraiser in Atherton.
Rain meant the deployment of dozens of umbrellas in the tiny town on the San Francisco peninsula. President Obama's arrival in Atherton via military helicopter created disappointment among the demonstrators, some of whom had arrived before 8am. After two hours of waiting in rain, however, the protesters found out that the President would leave the fundraiser via motorcade. They were able to make their protest known as the State Department vehicle carrying the President passed directly along the route where demonstrators held their placards high.
Environmentalists are worried that the XL pipeline's existence would contribute to global warming because of greenhouse gas emissions from the process of extracting bitumen from Canadian tar sands. Many said they have not forgotten the President's inaugural promise to fight climate change and insist that he should follow through on that promise by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
Protest turns up heat on Keystone tar sands pipeline at Obama dinner |
"No XL Pipeline" Protest Near Obama Fundraiser on the Peninsula
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Bay Area Activists Prepare for Direct Action to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline
On February 22, rally participants in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza gathered to demand that measures proposed in Congress to ban semi-automatic and military-style firearms be debated and votes taken. They said that unfortunately supporters of the National Rifle Association's position will oppose reasonable legislation.
Community members raised candles, and then cell phones, to tell House Speaker Boehner that although Republicans may oppose some of the measures, he must allow them to come to a vote. Demonstrators said no member of Congress should oppose universal background checks for people attempting to buy guns.
Participants said they stand for tougher penalties for illegal purchases, and they want more funding to help states deal with mentally challenged persons. They asked "who would wonder why?" when our media is full of gun violence, and shooting people is glorified in TV and movies.
Read More with Photos |
Gun Buy-Back Program on the SF Peninsula
Justin Herman Plaza was the site of several feminist actions on Saturday, January 26th, as this week marks 40 years since the passage of Roe v. Wade. A Celebration of Women, Life and Liberty
began at 10 am with speakers including the famously Limbaugh-bashed birth control champion Sandra Fluke and a myriad of children's activities.
The celebration continued with a flash mob dance ritual
at 11:30 am to break the chain of violence against women and girls. From noon to 2pm Radical Women and supporters of women's rights gathered on Market St. at Justin Herman Plaza with signs to protest
the Walk for Life anti-abortion demonstrators as they marched through downtown San Francisco.
On January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, several groups sponsored a pro-choice march through downtown Los Altos
San Francisco Photos
On January 10th, demonstrators protested in Menlo Park in front of a $4.1 million Dream House that is being raffled off to benefit the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. They explained their objection to the Dream House model of fundraising saying that arts organizations should receive public funds from taxes paid by corporations instead of a raffle that is essentially "a tax on the people".
Speakers who stood in front of the house said there is a need to restore funding to public institutions like libraries, universities, and the arts so that the reliance on risky dream house style raffles are no longer needed.
Representatives of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Occupy Bay Area United and other social justice groups held the speak-out in front of the mansion to publicize their outrage that nonprofits are used by banks and other corporations for public relations subterfuges. They argued that corporations create the illusion of helping good causes while at the same time using tax loopholes and creating profits on the back of the 99%.
Occupy Bay Area United | Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment