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Center Column Archives
A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.
Suppliers of Driscoll’s, which may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons, are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.
On March 9, U.S. Marshals chased the wrong man, leading to Jabari Shaw, a friend, and his daughter getting into a car crash in East Oakland. All three were hospitalized. Initial media reports labeled the “suspect” as a “violent fugitive.” Activists quickly mobilized to counter that story when the man turned out to be Jabari Shaw, a college student, father, and well known anti-police brutality activist. With hospital bills mounting, friends and supporters held a fundraiser at East Side Cultural Center on March 29.
The National Park Service has acknowledged that that more than 250 tule elk died inside the fenced Pierce Point Elk Preserve at California’s Point Reyes National Seashore from 2012 to 2014, likely due to lack of access to year-round water. While nearly half the elk inside the fenced area died, free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds with access to water increased by nearly a third during the same period.
On April 15, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers joined together at an Oakland McDonalds for Fight for Fifteen protest. By noon, fast food workers and Gill Tract farmers joined for a Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany. The action at the San Rafael Sprouts is the third in the last month.
Activists in Oakland came out in the hundreds to rally and march for a $15 minimum wage on April 15, tax day. They started their protests by shutting down all thirteen McDonald's restaurants in Oakland with chanting, flash mobs and and banners. Later in the day, over one thousand participants from Fight for $15 actions all over the San Francisco Bay area converged at Sproul Plaza in UC Berkeley. Protesters then marched through Berkeley main streets, snarling traffic, and stopping at the downtown McDonald's.
Sheriff Jim Hart is making an emergency requisition to install and iron fence in order to close off the area of the Santa Cruz County Main Jail's parking lot that is most commonly used by community members for public assembly and political demonstrations. Hart has specifically stated that recent political demonstrations held at the jail are the reason for building the new fence. In response, activists are calling for the community to pack the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 21
when the proposal will be voted on.