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On January 22, the Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project (HPLAP) filed and served a lawsuit on the City of Santa Cruz challenging the constitutionality of the recently passed parks “stay away order” ordinance, Municipal Code Section 13.08.100. HPLAP is bringing this suit on behalf of the homeless community for whom City of Santa Cruz parks and beach areas are traditionally places of rest, relaxation and communal association.
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.
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 January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries
. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
Since 1999, more than 1,400 people — including farmworkers and other rural residents — have reported symptoms from chloropicrin exposure as it drifts from neighboring fields, sometimes several days after an application. Exposure can lead to eye irritation and severe respiratory damage, in addition to an increased risk of cancer. Chloropicrin, an agricultural pesticide of public health concern to communities across the state, is heavily used in close proximity to schools.
“More pounds of chloropicrin are applied near Pajaro Valley schools than any other highly hazardous pesticide. The effects of chloropicrin on children’s health is a top concern of parents and teachers in the Monterey Bay area,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers President and special education teacher.
Read More | Californians for Pesticide Reform | Dark Side of the Strawberry
See Also: Chloropicrin Sickens Residents of Lamont, California
(Oct. 3 and 4, 2003) | Groundbreaking Report Finds High Rates of Pesticide Use Near Monterey County Schools
Brent Adams writes:
On December 30 and 31, with forecasts below freezing, the Santa Cruz Warming Center Program had its inaugural opening. Calvary Episcopal Church stepped up to provide the needed hall, a dozen people volunteered for overnight monitor shifts and 100 blankets were donated in a 24-hour period. A van was rented to shuttle people from Homeless Services Center and to cruise the area searching for people needing shelter. On the first night we served nearly 50 people and on the second night we hosted nearly 60, who snoozed warmly and peacefully.
During the 10-day cold snap of 2013, it became apparent that hundreds of people sleep outside when it freezes, while numerous large halls and auditoriums remain locked closed.
How can it be that in an area of such affluence, with more nonprofits and community groups than one can count, we don’t have a program ensuring that people who sleep outside by the hundreds have a warm place to rest when it freezes? Exploring the nature of this inexplicable void, one finds concern but very little public will to change the situation. We have an office of Emergency Services that issues freeze warnings for pets and outdoor plants, but not for human beings who sleep outside.
In Mexico and Central America, a tianguis is traditionally thought of as an open-air market where merchandise is sold. The word tianguis is derived from the Aztec language, and the cultural tradition has been practiced by Indigenous peoples since before colonial contact. To create a space where community organizing skills can be shared, the concept of a "community action" tianguis was created by individuals in the Mayfair community of San José. The first such tianguis was held at Lee Mathson Middle School (MIT) on November 15, and featured participation from a wide range of organizations working in the areas of health, education, labor, food safety, immigration, and legal defense.
Visually, the Community Action Tianguis held at MIT resembled a traditional tianguis, however no merchandise was sold. Instead, individuals representing community organizations spoke, tabled and shared information, and a variety of goods and services were available at no cost. Hair stylists offered young people free haircuts. Community members cooked hot dogs which were distributed for free, and fresh produce was given out by Good. To Go., which displayed a box full of huge, organic pomegranates in front of a neatly arranged produce cart.
Read More with Photos
On November 8, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shared food in solidarity with those who have been arrested for serving food in public in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Volunteers with Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs have been serving food continuously to the hungry and homeless at the same location, the Santa Cruz downtown post office, for several years now. An event announcement for the solidarity event stated, "No one should be arrested for helping the community. Sharing food is an unregulated act of compassion." Events have been held worldwide in support of those being arrested in Fort Lauderdale.
A new law that bans the sharing of food in public in Fort Lauderdale was officially approved on October 22 and went into effect on October 31. The measure requires feeding sites to be at least 500 feet away from each other, and 500 feet from residential properties. Additionally, sharing food in public is now limited to one group per city block. The issue received national attention when 90-year-old Arnold Abbott received arrest citations from authorities on two different days for serving food in Stranahan Park, which is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
At the November 8 event in Santa Cruz, Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry estimated that he has been arrested nearly 100 times for serving food to hungry people in various locations around the United States. Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shares food every Saturday and Sunday at 4pm at the downtown post office. The Santa Cruz group had some brushes with authorities when first serving at that location, but since moving their serving location a bit, volunteers have operated without any further problems.
Read More with Photos | Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs | See Also: Dennis J Bernstein Interviews Keith McHenry, Founder of Food Not Bombs
On November 5, a woman died in the Santa Cruz County Jail. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department immediately claimed there was nothing suspicious about the death, calling it a “medical event.” Sin Barras, a Santa Cruz-based prison abolition organization, has said the deaths were, "preventable in more ways than one."
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.
The annual Watsonville Peace and Unity March took place on November 1. This year, for the first time since the initial event in 1994, the Watsonville Police Department was given a large role in determining the route of the march. The event was originally founded by the Watsonville Brown Berets, and the group remained primary organizers of the march from the beginning through 2011, but in 2014 organization of the event became professionalized.
Shortly before the October 28 City Council session, it was announced that the second reading of Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 13.08.100, pertaining to orders to vacate park property, had been pulled from the meeting agenda. Civil rights groups have voiced strong opposition to the ordinance and called into question the constitutional sufficiency of the amendment.
On October 22, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) participated in the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization with a demonstration in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department. This week, HUFF announced that after analyzing the citation records of SCPD Community Service Officer B. Barnett, they have found that he has disproportionately targeted homeless people and African-Americans.
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.
1PM Thursday Feb 12
CARA SF CAT Meeting
1PM Saturday Feb 28
Art Was Here