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On two consecutive Saturdays, May 7 and May 14, farmworkers called for an international day of action to bring attention to the ongoing struggles in the berry fields in Washington State and San Quintin, Mexico. May 7 was initiated by Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Washington state, while Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas (SINDJA) farmworkers in San Quintin, Mexico called for a global day of action on May 14. Demonstrations took place in many locations, including Mexico City; Burlington, WA; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and Eureka, Rohnert Park, Fairfield, San Leandro, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and San Diego, California.
On April 23, celebrating Earth Day and the fourth anniversary of the original occupation, about 30 farm defenders occupied two acres on the south side of the Gill Tract. The group made three demands: 1) stop the development, 2) preserve the land for sustainable agriculture, and 3) create a community process for design & stewardship of gill tract. Not reaching the numbers they had hoped for, the occupation was abandoned the following night.
On Sunday, May 1, Joff Jones and Alex Skelton were arrested for defiantly displaying art "outside of a blue box" on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. This is their third arrest for displaying art in a public space but outside of small boxes since August of 2015. Jones and Skelton created a video with footage showing numerous Santa Cruz Police officers ticketing and arresting them for simply being "outside of a blue box" while displaying their art.
Thu May 5 2016 (Updated 05/06/16)
May Day in Northern California, 2016
International Workers' Day was first declared in the late 1800's to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago and as a celebration of laborers and the working classes. Around the world on May 1, workers continue to unite to press demands in the streets through marches, rallies, and direct actions. In the United States, May Day is also a day to push for immigrant rights, especially since the massive "Gran Paro Americano" general strike and marches of 2006.
On April 26 the Santa Cruz City Council gave their six-month report on the progress of the City’s efforts to acquire the property containing the Beach Flats Community Garden. At the meeting, the City Council agreed to a three year lease for the garden. However Josh Brahinsky of the Beach Flats Garden Coalition points out, "The lease only covers 60% of the previous garden, and has a 60 day escape clause for Seaside Company, and thus does not provide long-term security for the garden."
The California Apartment Association (CAA) has placed medical marijuana users in its crosshairs, including recreational marijuana users if voters approve marijuana for legalization in November. The CAA is sponsoring a bill (AB 2300) that allows landlords to prohibit renters from smoking medical marijuana in their apartments, and on April 26 the bill advanced to the Assembly floor. Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) is the author of AB 2300.
On April 28, 2016, the BART Board of Directors stopped, at least temporarily, a BART Police plan to install Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) at MacArthur BART in Oakland – a pilot program to surveil all those entering and exiting the parking facilities. Alert members of the Oakland Privacy Working Group noticed the item buried on the BART Board’s agenda, and three OPWG members testified against the ALPR proposal going forward.
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