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In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups organized more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California. (Check back on full feature as coverage is still coming in.)
On December 22, with the full support of marine conservation organizations, a group of California legislators called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets. “California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
UPDATE 11/14: New CA Ebola Mandate Inspired by NNU Appeal to Gov. Brown, Sets National Model
On November 11, two-day strikes started that effect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests in 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals. Large noon rallies were held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.
Conservation groups notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of their intent to sue the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the pinto abalone, an approximately six-inch snail with an iridescent inner shell that was once common in rocky, intertidal coasts from Alaska to Baja California.
At a rally in Palo Alto on October 5th, speakers Mary Kay Raftery and Chris Walker said that there is no such thing as the "closure" that death penalty advocates promote. Mary Kay's son was murdered; Chris spoke of his experience as an innocent man in Pelican Bay prison. Long time Amnesty International member Terry McCaffrey said it is clear that support for the death penalty is in decline, but "we must not let up on our struggle to put an end to capital punishment."
Wrongful conviction is one of the most troubling aspects of the criminal justice system and when execution is an option, there will always be a risk that the state may kill an innocent person. Former East Palo Alto resident Rick Walker was found guilty of murder by a jury even though Santa Clara County prosecutors had no physical evidence tying him to the crime. He told how he spent 12 1/2 years in prison for a criminal act he did not commit.
Also speaking was Fr. River Sims of the Society of Franciscan Workers. He helps street kids in San Francisco; he is a lone protester standing against the death penalty every week at the the Earl Warren Building located at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco. The Earl Warren Building is the headquarters of the Supreme Court of California. He invited others to join him and stand strong against the death penalty.
On September 24, the Surfrider Foundation
, scored a huge victory in its protracted legal battle against billionaire and venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla, to restore beach access at Martin’s Beach in San Mateo County, California. In 2010, Khosla had locked gates that provided the only public access to the beach. In a decision made by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach, Khosla will be required to seek a permit from the California Coastal Commission for the gates, signage and other access-blocking development at Martin’s Beach and begin a public process to consider the changes to the property and beach access.
“Today’s court decision upholding the Coastal Act is an important victory for Martin’s Beach and ultimately strengthens the public's right to beach access in California,” says Angela Howe, Esq., Legal Director for the Surfrider Foundation. “The Surfrider Foundation remains vigilant to protect beach access rights, not only in this case, but also in other cases where the beach is wrongfully cut off from the public.”
Although Khosla is believed to have intentions to appeal the decision, Joe Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, whose firm represents the victorious Surfrider Foundation says, “Today’s decision is a huge victory for all of the people of California. It affirms that great wealth cannot be used to circumvent and ignore the law. Everyone can again visit Martin’s Beach.”
On September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 968, a bill authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), which outlines a timeline and process for the State Lands Commission to acquire public access to Martin's Beach.
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Surfrider Martin's Beach campaign
On the evening of September 23, the airwaves were filled with reports of strikes by the United States and its allies against targets in Syria. Rapid response in Palo Alto by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center brought out Peninsula residents in protest.
Demonstrators in San Francisco and San José took the streets as well. The real objective of this war, said protesters, is to locate permanent Pentagon military bases in Iraq, Syria and the entire resource rich region of the Middle East. Endless war in the Middle East with the US leading the pack is to gain permanent imperial power and domination in a region that contains much of the world's oil reserves.
Emergency Protest "Stop the U.S. bombing of Syria!"
On September 9, the family of Yanira Serrano Garcia announced they filed a civil rights lawsuit
against San Mateo County and San Mateo Sheriff's Deputy Menh Trieu in Federal District Court in San Francisco for the June 3 killing of Yanira at her home in Half Moon Bay. On August 18, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe announced
charges would not be filed against Deputy Trieu for the killing.
The complaint alleges Deputy Trieu shot and killed Yanira without reasonable cause, which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's limits on police authority. "The fact of the matter is there was no reasonable basis to shoot her," said attorney Arnoldo Casiallas, who is representing the Serrano family in the lawsuit. The complaint also alleges the shooting was a result of negligence on the part of the San Mateo County Sheriff's office due to its insufficient training of Deputy Trieu, as well as the dispatchers who handled the 911 call
"They not only killed Yanira, they killed the entire family," said Carmen Garcia Serrano, Yanira's mother. "The goal is to prevent any other family from suffering this kind of pain."
"The only reason we called  was because she wasn't taking her medication," she said.
Read More with Photos, Video and Audio | See Also: Family of Yanira Serrano Marches in Response to DA's Decision Not to Indict Deputy Trieu
Previous Coverage: Family Demands Transparent Investigation Into Killing of Yanira Serrano Garcia
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. It's time for these words to be made constitutional law", said Jackie Speier, U.S. Representative for California's 14th congressional district at a rally in Redwood City on August 26.
Women in attendance at the rally, which was held at Redwood City's Courthouse Square, wore red bandanas in solidarity and sang in unison led by the Raging Grannies, "We fought this fight before and now we fight again today." The battle for passage of the ERA has been fought for 91 years since it was first introduced in 1923, and Speier introduced legislation for passage this year.
Granny Mandy writes:
Women in America are not guaranteed equal pay for equal work. They continue to experience unfair workplace conditions. Because the Equal Rights Amendment has not yet passed, there are still laws that favor the perpetrators over victims in cases of sexual assault. As we saw in the case of Hobby Lobby, women are subjected to restrictions on contraception and family planning services despite stipulations of the Affordable Care Act. The recent Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby made it safe to treat women and their health care needs differently. Hobby Lobby offers no exemption for the life or health of the woman and thus elevates an employer's religious beliefs over the value of a woman's life.
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