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Shortly before the Fall 2014 quarter was to commence at the University of California Santa Cruz, undergraduate student Marjorie Langdon decided to take a leave of absence from her studies. In a letter to administrators explaining the decision, Marjorie strongly denounced the UC system's connections to the military industrial complex.
Marjorie Langdon writes:
"When I was writing my last paper for field study, it all clicked into place. I cannot morally continue as a student of UCSC while the institution is benefiting from the war; benefiting from the death of the very people I work so hard to help protect, save, and heal. The University of California’s intimate relationship with Lockheed Martin morally prevents me from continuing as a student of the institution."
"I cannot get the thought out of my mind that every assignment I turn in feels like a ‘yes’ vote for military action in the Middle East; every sentence I type reminds me of the thousands of innocent people, especially the children, American military weapons are killing; weapons that UCSC helps create. I can feel the pain of Muslims in my wakefulness. I can see their fear in my dreams. This is how deeply I feel the war on campus, to the point of physical and emotional pain."
See Also: Santa Cruz Vigil for Iraq and Iraqis
A petition started by a student at UC Santa Cruz is calling for Chancellor Blumenthal to take the necessary steps to provide adequate housing and transportation on the campus. The petition also calls out the university's plans for expansion, stating, "we also believe that building into Upper Campus is NOT an adequate solution to this problem and will only add to the over-enrollment issue."
"After this first week of Fall Quarter 2014 it is clear that the housing and transportation systems of UC Santa Cruz are inadequate for the volume of students needing access to campus," the petition states. Students are asking UCSC to improve its relationship with the local area, stating, "the University must utilize and increase their community relationships to help students find affordable housing. Many students are sleeping on couches, living in hotels, and are paying exorbitant rents for dilapidated or crowded housing."
Related Indybay Features: LAFCO to Vote on Motions Concerning Expansion of UC Santa Cruz
|| LAFCO to Meet for Fourth Hearing Regarding UCSC Upper Campus Expansion
|| Longtime Santa Cruz Residents Forced Out of Town by City and UCSC
A petition has been circulated and community members are planning to attend the October 14 Watsonville City Council meeting to show their disdain for the approval of a new McDonald's restaurant in the historic downtown area of the city. "We can stop this from happening. Our children deserve better. Watsonville has moved forward, a McDonald's would be a huge step back," the petition states.
The Watsonville City Council voted on September 23 to approve the construction of the McDonald's, as well as the rezoning of the parcel to allow the new restaurant to operate a drive-through window 24-hours a day. Watsonville already has two McDonald's restaurants, and the area has struggled with higher than average obesity rates among its youth.
Organizers are encouraging people to bring posters, handouts, fact sheets, and whatever else will help convince council members that another McDonald's restaurant will in no way benefit the residents of Watsonville.
Tuesday, October 14: Watsonville City Council Meeting: No to McDonald's in Downtown Watsonville
Sign the Petition: No to McDonald's in Downtown Watsonville
On October 9, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Sin Barras, a group that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, authored a letter to the hosts requesting that they ask Chief McMillin to step down as a participant.
Following months of pressure by family members and the media, the Salinas Police Department announced that Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton were the officers that shot and killed Frank Alvarado on July 10. They were named in a press release
that also listed the officers involved in the killing of three other Latino residents in East Salinas in 2014.
Frank Alvarado Sr., Frank's father, and sister Angelica Garza, spoke out at a press conference held at City Hall on October 1, stating that justice would be served, if not in Salinas, then at the Supreme Court. Alvarado Sr. asserted, "If they don't do it right here, it can go to the Supreme Court, and believe it or not, justice is going to get done."
Activist Margaret Serna Bonetti was satisfied the Salinas Police Department decided to finally release the names, but said the delay was never justifiable.
Read More with Photos and Audio
See Also: Salinas Police Chief to Speak on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color”
|| Salinas Police Refuse to Release Names of Police Officers Who Killed Frank Alvarado
|| SPD Refuses to Identify Cops Who Killed Carlos Mejia, Osman Hernandez, and Angel Ruiz
Previous Coverage: Protesters Confront Salinas Police Chief at Bookstore Appearance in Santa Cruz
|| Demonstration in Salinas turns into Copwatch-in-Action
|| Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police
|| Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado
|| Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas
|| Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
On September 26, workers held a rally at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn to demand a fair contract with meaningful wage increases. Dream Inn workers are presently without a contract and have been negotiating with the hotel for months. Owners are proposing they take a three-year wage freeze followed by 1% and 2% raises in the fourth and fifth years. "We can barely support ourselves now and the Dream Inn wants to make it worse over the next five years," read a flyer handed out to hotel guests at the rally.
Workers demanding a fair contract at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn include everyone from room cleaners to bell persons, as well as servers, cooks and banquet staff from Aquarius, the hotel's restaurant. Many of those participating in the rally did so on breaks from work and while still wearing their Dream Inn uniforms.
"In this community it is very hard to live over here without wages," said Sergio Rangel, an organizer with Unite Here! Local 483, the labor union that represents hotel, restaurant, and hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area. Rangel said they would be back "again, again, and again," until the company's owners, "do the right thing." During contract negotiations held with the Dream Inn several years ago, workers had already agreed to take wage concessions because the economy was doing so poorly at the time. According to Unite Here! these are different times now, and business at the hotel has picked up. The workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, Rangel said.
Read More with Photos and Video | Unite Here! Local 483
After a lively debate, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) voted to endorse a "mellow" but visible presence
on the corner of Laurel and Center Streets in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department parking lot, that was held on September 17. Since 2013, HUFF has received complaints about officer Barnett of the SCPD targeting homeless residents for minor offenses, and the organization pressed the department to release the citations he has issued.
Robert Norse of HUFF writes:
"Our initial impetus for the road trip to the SCPD HQ was to search citations by Officer Barnett for race. Our goal was to see if he had found a crime wave for such public safety hazards as "smoking in a no smoking zone", "trespass in a public parking lot", "panhandling" "sitting within 14' of a building". And whether such citations disproportionately targeted homeless and minority people."
"We wanted to go forward with a small but visible and vocal presence near the SCPD to encourage the rest of the community that our police are not above criticism and accountability--or should not be at any rate. And that we and others should not be afraid to expose the nightly abuse homeless people suffer and the racial profiling that many blacks & Latinos I've spoken to quietly acknowledge happens here in 'liberal' Santa Cruz."
Read More with PDF of Citations Issued by Officer Barnett | Photos and Video: Protesters Demand Faster Response from SCPD Regarding Records Requests | Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom | See Also: Be on the Lookout for "Bad News" Barnett: Bully in Light Blue on the Beat!
Related Indybay Feature: Santa Cruz Police and First Alarm Brutalize and Arrest People for Being Black and Homeless
On August 29, the California Coastal Commission sent a letter to the developer of the Monterey Bay Shores Resort, Ed Ghandour, informing him his response to the requirements of the conditional Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was deficient. The Coastal Commission tentatively approved the development in April, after years of opposition from environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society. Monterey Bay Shores is planned to be built along a pristine stretch of coastal dunes in Sand City, and at risk is a population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.
The Sierra Club writes:
"Of primary importance to Sierra Club, the plans submitted do not adequately address specific provisions that enhance sensitive species habitats including Smith's blue butterfly and Western snowy plover habitats. Snowy plovers, a federally-threatened species have been nesting on the project site for many years and could be wiped out by the development. Ventana Chapter has been following this development proposal since 1998 and we have submitted extensive testimony intended to protect endangered species at this location."
Read More | Sierra Club - Ventana Chapter
Previous Coverage: Coastal Commission Approves Development of Monterey Shores "Eco-resort"
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
A Save Paula's Cottage supporter writes:
"Here we rally to save one person (and her daughter) in one granny unit. Perhaps if we can help this one person, that will start the ball rolling to save others. Paula, the popular teacher, mom, and PTA president has lived in the cottage on her parents' property for 22 years without difficulty. Now, thanks to the City's UCSC backed eviction program, she has received notice to be out on September 1st or face massive fines. Paula has spoken before City Council and has actually generated a lot of sympathy from public officials, so we may have a chance to save her home."