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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. Come to City Hall on 12/3 to let the Council know this report does not represent a community consensus."
"The Task Force report includes many ideas which are not evidence-based, including tougher sentencing such as misdemeanor charges for multiple infractions, restricting the needle exchange program, increasing the size of the police force based on sloppy statistics, and attacking marijuana cultivation and use.
"A group of concerned individuals, including Steve Schnaar, Peter Klotz-Chamberlin, Rick Longinotti, Stacey Falls, Mary Howe, Doug Engfer, and Brent Adams, sat down to review the material and came up with a list of concerns about the Task Force recommendations."
Continue Reading | See Also: Another Response to the Task Farce and the Schnaar Critique
Previous Coverage: Mayor's Public Safety Task Force Member Is "Fine with Junkies Dying"
On the shopping "holiday" Black Friday, protesters positioned themselves in various locations at the Capitola Mall to raise awareness about SodaStream, a company with a factory built on illegal Israeli settlements located on occupied Indigenous Palestinian lands. Santa Cruz community members wore black and held large banners that read "Boycott SodaStream."
SodaStream is a product that allows users to make flavored carbonated drinks at home, and it is sold in the Santa Cruz area at Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Chefworks, Macy's, and Kohl's, among others. Demonstrators chose the Capitola Mall's Target store as the primary location of the Black Friday protest because of that company's overtly stated commitment to "corporate responsibility" and "responsible sourcing." Target's website has a plethora of web pages dedicated to the company's declared interest in these and other issues pertaining to environmental and social justice.
The Black Friday action at the Capitola Mall was cosponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-Santa Cruz Chapter, Palestine Israel Action Committee (PIAC), WILPF-Santa Cruz Chapter, and Women in Black.
Read More with Photos
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.
Workers represented by AFSCME include custodians, food service workers, cooks, bus drivers, licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants, and techs. Joining AFSCME on the picket line in Santa Cruz were members of UAW Local 2865
, the union that represents student academic workers, as well as a variety of student groups, which included Autonomous Students UCSC and MEchA de UCSC.
Those living in on campus family housing were allowed to enter the university during the strike. Emergency vehicles were also allowed to enter, but unlike previous campus shutdowns, the police were prevented from driving through, and according to demonstrators were turned away at least once. After a 12+ hour blockade in the rain, those blocking the west entrance marched down High Street to the base of campus for a final rally.
Read More with Video and Photos | More Videos | See Also: AFSCME 3299 Announces Nov 20 ULP Strike at University of California
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
University of California student academic workers from around the state who serve as union negotiators gathered at UC Santa Cruz to meet with UC managers during the second day of the northern California bargaining session on October 22. To bring more voices to the process, a march to the bargaining location in the Humanities building was held and the group attempted to coax managers out of hiding with a sing along.
When the large group of mostly graduate students reached the bargaining location, which was on the first floor of the building, managers were hiding on the fourth floor. They kept the crowd waiting for a short period, but did come out after the group sang a round of Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window." Management would eventually listen to testimonials from student workers and supporters who lined up to voice their concerns.
Student worker demands revolve around wages, student families, the quality of education, and social justice issues. They are members of UAW Local 2865, the union that represents more than 12,000 Academic Student Employees, readers, tutors, TAs, and others at the nine teaching campuses of the University of California. The Union gives them the power to bargain with UC management over salary, benefits, workload, grievance procedures, fair hiring processes, and other issues. University of California teaching assistants are paid about $16,970 per academic year, which they say is $3000 to $5000 less than comparable institutions.
Read More with Audio, Video, and Photos |
University of California Bargaining Testimony |
UC Student-Workers Union Local 2865 | See Also: Towards Mediocrity: Administrative Mismanagement and the Decline of UC Education
| Janet Napolitano Visit Protested at UC Santa Cruz
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.
After the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) altered its mission statement following the appointment of director Nina Simon two years ago, one critic says the institution has sacrificed the experience of art and history to become a "second community center." In a recent column, Bruce Bratton cites a report that details how museums across the country have been seeking to increase attendance numbers as proof to justify grants and larger sums of monies to subsidize programs.
In his September 18-24 column, Bratton argues the shift in the museum's mission statement has lead to new meanings for the institution, musing that the "H" in MAH may more accurately be equated with "happenings" or "hobbies" than history. He admits some complicity in the process, describing how the MAH exhibited his collection of toothpaste.
Bruce Bratton writes:
"MAH Board members have been quitting over this, and professional historians, curators and staff members have either left or are completely devastated by the changes that Nina Simon has created in the two and a half years she’s been executive director...Historians have told me many times in the last two and a half years that there are no longer any qualified historians cataloguing and curating and handling our MAH’s collections. Future generations will suffer from this. Concerned community members are wondering why the MAH Board of Directors have allowed this hobby-circus to take over MAH."
Read More | Bratton Online | See Also: PechaKucha Night: Found in Santa Cruz
5PM Friday Dec 20
Winter LOVE IN