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With the hope of nudging the city forward toward making good on its months-old public promise to initiate permanent investment in the Beach Flats Community Garden, and under imminent threat of legal proceedings against them, on February 16 the gardeners of Beach Flats decided to sign a city letter acquiescing to temporarily leaving the garden plots they have tended so carefully over the past two decades.
On February 18, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the reclassification of the Santa Cruz cypress from “endangered” to “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act. The tree was protected in 1987 due to threats to its habitat, but now the habitat for all five populations is secure.
Fri Feb 19 2016 (Updated 03/11/16)
Santa Cruz Police Target Homeless Sleepers Downtown
This month the downtown post office in Santa Cruz was cleared by police of what had been a large and regular presence of sleepers at night. The post office had been used as shelter for 6-12 people a night for some time. A homeless man who was sleeping outside of Bookshop Santa Cruz and cited with two other sleepers for trespassing this month said he thought the police were ticketing at increased rate recently to get homeless people to move along before the next rains arrived.
Sun Feb 14 2016 (Updated 02/16/16)
Three Arrested Defending Gill Tract from Development
On February 9, farm defenders halted construction on the Gill Tract farm in Albany once again. Five farm defenders sat in silent meditation in the path of heavy machinery that was removing topsoil. Contractors attempted to operate the heavy machinery around them despite the risks to the safety of those on site. Three were arrested and two were taken to jail. The two were released later in the day.
Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo (Miwok), a long-time resident of Vallejo, will be taking part in the Longest Walk 5 beginning February 13 at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Wounded Knee is the Founding Executive Director of the Vallejo based organization Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes. (SSPRIT). He is the only person who will have participated in all five Longest Walks.
Thu Feb 11 2016 (Updated 02/20/16)
Hundreds March for Beach Flats Community Garden
On February 9, hundreds of people marched through downtown Santa Cruz from the Beach Flats Community Garden to the City Council meeting. Gardeners, along with a large coalition of supporters, are seeking a creative solution to preserve twenty five years of cultivating food and culture in the heart of the Beach Flats.
Freedom Sleepers writes: Beginning last July 4th, advocates for people experiencing homelessness have been working to directly address the criminalization of homelessness and for the repeal of the city’s camping/sleeping ban. Activists have been consistent in their position that ordinances prohibiting and criminalizing lying, sitting, and sleeping in public are unconstitutional and such laws pose a grave danger of being selectively enforced against an entire class of people. In August, this position found unexpected support from the Obama Administration.
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