$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
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."
Students and workers at UC Santa Cruz blocked both entrances and shut the campus down in support of a University of California-wide unfair labor practices strike on November 20, called for by AFSCME 3299. The strike was called in response to a, "coordinated campaign of illegal intimidation, coercion, and threats," against UC Patient Care and Service Workers who participated in a walk out in May over unsafe staffing levels at UC supported hospitals.
Since Cinco de Mayo, when local anarchists and housing advocates organized a block party in the Mission to call attention to the ongoing onslaught of Ellis Act evictions, a new ground swell of support has risen for direct action against displacement and gentrification in San Francisco. In June, a two week occupation began of the Hayes Valley Farm to block the construction of condos and in solidarity with the Turkish Uprising
around Gezi Park. As the summer wore on, a new organization was formed, Eviction Free SF, which vowed to take on landlords that were evicting tenants to pave the way for converting homes into condos.
Since then, the Mission and San Francisco has seen large marches and protests, a campaign to stop Jack Spade from coming in on 16th Street, and rallies outside the homes of numerous residents threatened with expulsion. In the past few months alone, protesters grabbed headlines, and in the case of the Lee family, people held off the cops for a fair amount of time. As the Mission braces for yet another wave of development projects which seek to displace even the "hoodest" working-class districts, FireWorks
sat down with Carmen from Eviction Free SF to talk about the evolving movement.
Read the Interview
Mission District Day of the Dead Celebration Marked by Call Out Against Evictions
Demand $100,000 Relocation Fee to Stop SF Evictions
11/5/13 SF Voters Defeat Props B&C, Luxury Condos
Will SF Supervisors make sleeping in San Francisco parks a crime?
Will SF Supervisors make sleeping in our parks a crime? Part 2
Criminalization of the Homeless on the Rise
On November 2, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, more than 150 people participated in the annual Peace and Unity March in Watsonville to commemorate the lives of community members who have been killed since 1994. That year, Watsonville youth organized the first Peace and Unity March to address ongoing violence in the community, particularly after the slaying of 9 year-old Jessica Cortez and her 16 year-old brother, Jorge Cortez.
The Peace and Unity Coalition includes local youth, community groups and families who have lost loved ones to violence. The Coalition says the march provides "a safe space for families of victims and our local community to come together to organize an event to speak out against violence in the streets of South Santa Cruz County." For the first time in many years, demonstrators crossed over the Pajaro River and marched through Pajaro, the small and oft-forgotten community which is part of Monterey County. The march was led by Yaocuauhtli Danza Cultural, Aztec dancers from Salinas, and backed by the Warrior Circle from Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos.
Sep Susunaga, one of the march organizers, states "I think the Peace and Unity March is crucial in ensuring that we remain aware of the violence happening around us ... this serves as motivation for community members to come together and help shape a safer environment and come up with ways to prevent violence."
Read More with Photos
Previous coverage of the Peace and Unity March: 2005
Organizers with Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp released the first draft of their proposal
, and the group hopes to establish a 25–50 person pilot camp as a safe space for homeless people to sleep before the onset of winter this year. Requiring ¼-½ acre to begin with, activists stated, "We aim to start strong and small to demonstrate effectiveness and efficiency." According to the Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp proposal, recent counts show there are at least 3000 homeless people in Santa Cruz.
During weekly Sanctuary Camp meetings, county and city maps have been examined, as well as Google Maps, to find potential open spaces that might be suitable. Camp organizers hope to find a portion of land that is away from "close proximity to population or business centers," yet within easy foot or bike access to these, and with county bus access also. Organizers say one expectation is to be offered land for use from one of the following categories of landowners: city, county, state, university, church, or private. They hope to operate the camp initially as a non-profit, but the proposal states that after a period of time it may be appropriate to seek funds, beyond grants, taken directly from local governments.
Planning meetings for Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp are held every 1st & 3rd Wednesdays at 6pm at the Resource Center for Nonviolence on 612 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.
Read More with a PDF of the Proposal | Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp Video Presentation | See Also: Activist Proposes Sanctuary Camp for Santa Cruz
| Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp Endorsement Petition
| Take the "Clean Camp" pledge
Public safety "activists" in Santa Cruz recently began planning a protest against those they believe are creating hypodermic needle waste in outdoor and natural areas locally. One individual has suggested shaming clients outside of the county's needle exchange, where drug users may obtain clean needles when they turn in used ones. When proposing a possible protest in the Facebook group "Needle Free Zone - Santa Cruz County," Chris Brown suggested, "What about taking pictures of those going in and out and posting them to a web site in an effort to shame them? I admit it seems rather creepy and low but????"
Some members of Needle Free Zone Santa Cruz County say they are still angry that in March, members of Take Back Santa Cruz "softened" down a protest march that went from from Harvey West to City Hall. The protest was originally to include a stop by the Homeless Services Center (HSC), which Samantha Olden said was supported by Ken "Skindog" Collins.
The idea to stop at the HSC was scrapped. Olden said the protest was, "softened up into the event that took place." Other individuals expressed anger and frustration regarding their own efforts. Kim Gardner said, "obviously pictures and data and speaking at meetings aren't changing anything." "People NEED to get their needle bubble popped," Meriah Campbell said. "Cleaning isn't working," Janell Whiting said.
Called organismo modificado genéticamente or organismo transgénico in Spanish, genetically modified organisms (GMO) were the topic of the day on October 12, in conjunction with a global day of action
. Members of La Defensa del Maiz San José gathered in front of San Jose City Hall to protest Monsanto's corporate control of food.
Sergio Nesaulakoyotl Martinez of La Defensa shook a sheath of black corn and called out "Adelante! Forward!" for victory over Monsanto's "heinous rule." While some speakers called out for labeling, others said, "ban the GMOs and jail the corporate criminals!"
La Defensa del Maiz San José was joined by the Raging Grannies (Las Abuelitas Enojadas), members of the San Jose Peace and Justice Center, and others concerned for food safety. Food Not Bombs provided lunch. Also speaking at the event were representatives of the Green Party and Move to Amend. Barry Chang of Cupertino, who is running for political office, summed up the sentiment of the protesters saying, "corporations lie."
Read More with Photos
Over sixty long-time residents of the former landfill known as the Albany Bulb are facing eviction as early as this month. For decades, however, the Bulb has been a safe place for those in the East Bay without traditional housing to make a home. The land also serves as a free-flowing, open-air art museum featuring the works of numerous artists. Bulb residents and artists have long co-existed with recreational users. Nevertheless, the Sierra Club and Citizens for an East Shore State Park have pressured the Albany City Council to take action to remove those who live at the Bulb and declare the land "recreation only." This is despite the fact that the City of Albany provides absolutely no homeless services whatsoever. After having lived quietly at the Bulb for years, residents are now organizing and taking action to raise awareness of their plight and fight impending eviction.
On October 2, a solidarity campout was held at the Albany Bulb to support residents and strategize together for future actions in defense of the land as one of, if not the only, free and open spaces remaining in the Bay Area.
On October 7, residents of the Albany Bulb and local community members rallied outside Albany City Council's bi-monthly meeting and spoke during the public comment section in defense of the Bulb. The gathering then left the meeting and marched down Solano Avenue to set up a one-night encampment, demonstrating what the thoroughfare will look like if the Bulb’s 60-plus residents are evicted from their homes.
Allies Camp on Solano Avenue to Protest Impending Bulb Eviction |
Rally to Save Albany Bulb! MARCH and CAMPOUT on SOLANO AVE!
Share the Bulb video
Albany Bulb Solidarity Campout, 10/2/13
Solidarity Camp-Out at Albany Bulb
Stop the Bulb Eviction!
Reportback from the 9/28 Gathering at the Albany Bulb
Save the Albany Bulb with Blackbird Raum!
Community Gathering to Save Albany Bulb with Live Music!
Discussion and Film showing on Albany Bulb
Dylan Greiner was removed as an administrator of the Santa Cruz Clean Team's Facebook group shortly after he was arrested for victimizing young female students through his surf school. He first became a public figure involved with community safety organizations Take Back Santa Cruz and the Clean Team in 2012 when he uploaded a video to YouTube showing drug paraphernalia on Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz. After Greiner shared the video through Take Back Santa Cruz, the organization reported their Facebook group acquired approximately 500 new members.
In 2013 Take Back Santa Cruz member Steve Schlicht was appointed by Mayor of Santa Cruz Hilary Bryant to the city's newly formed 'public safety task force' that critics argue
has focused on petty crimes relating to drug use and homelessness, over more direct approaches to violent crimes such as rape and violence against women.
TBSC Watchdog writes:
"As a result of the viral publicity and unquestioned support by Take Back Santa Cruz, The Clean Team, and the Santa Cruz Patch, Greiner's surfing school business may have expanded, thereby giving him more access to victims. Has the anti-homeless agenda of these so called public safety groups had a negative impact on public safety overall in Santa Cruz? Are their viral advocacy methods shifting focus away from real crime, and towards misdemeanors and petty infractions?"
Previous Coverage: Mayor's Public Safety Task Force Member Is "Fine with Junkies Dying"
|| Video of Take Back Santa Cruz Supported Clean Team Harassing Homeless
After two days of destroying property, the City of Fresno completely dismantled and removed the homeless from several of the largest encampments in downtown Fresno on August 27. Much of the homeless people’s property was put in roll-off dumpsters by city workers where they say it can be "reclaimed."
All of the Golden State off ramp encampment (there were probably 50 people living there), Santa Clara street (where another 50 people lived), F street (about 30 people), and G street south of the Rescue Mission (another 50 people lived) are now gone. The people have moved to other encampments or they are planning on returning once the dust settles.
On Tuesday,September 3
, the City of Fresno will begin again, this time destroying the encampment across Golden State Blvd, west of E street, between California and San Benito. There are at least 100 people living at that encampment, probably more because of all of the new arrivals. Help Fresno's Homeless is a new homeless advocate group that is attempting to stop these ongoing attacks against the unhoused.
Read More with Photos |
Fresno Homeless Advocates Hold Press Conference |
Fresno Tenants Demand Withdrawal of Illegal Eviction Notices |
Walking Through Fresno’s Homeless Encampments |
Found: A homeless encampment that the City of Fresno does not intend to destroy |
Help Fresno's Homeless
Who is burning down the Fresno Homeless Encampments?
Homeless Encampments Targeted (Again)
Previous Coverage: Fresno Irrigation District Evicts Homeless Encampment Along Canal
The federal government announced on August 2 the start of two new analyses of fracking risks to California public lands. The Bureau of Land Management will begin developing a new “environmental impact statement” for fracking in Central California, along with a statewide independent scientific assessment of the dangerous oil extraction process. Completion of the environmental impact statement and scientific review are likely to take more than a year. It is unlikely that further oil leasing and development activities can occur in the areas covered by the impact statement until its completion.
The Bureau’s impact study will address the impacts of fracking in the region managed by the agency’s Hollister field office, which encompasses 280,000 acres of public lands and 440,000 acres of split-estate lands in Central California, including areas subject to leasing in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties. The independent scientific review will analyze the scope and impacts of fracking statewide.
Fracking has been tied to water and air pollution in other states, and the process can release huge quantities of methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas. Increased fracking threatens to unlock vast reserves of previously inaccessible fossil fuel deposits that would contribute to global warming and bring us closer to climate disaster. “The BLM's decision to conduct a full EIS on fracking and drilling in the Monterey shale is a good first step toward understanding how destructive the process can be, and to what extent it pollutes our air and water,” said Nathan Matthews, associate attorney with the Sierra Club's Environmental Law Program.
Read More | See Also: Californians Oppose Expanded Fracking
| Distant Quakes Trigger Tremors at U.S. Waste-Injection Sites, Says Study
Previous Coverage: Opponents of Fracking in California Win Court Victory
|| New California Water Grab for Fracking and Agribusiness