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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.
Tue May 3 2016 (Updated 05/04/16)
Driscoll’s Runs Away At Watsonville Earth Day
As the top sponsor of Watsonville's 14th Annual Earth Day / Day of the Child Festival, the philanthropy specialists at Driscoll’s were hopeful that April 24, 2016 would be a great day at Ramsay Park for promoting their brand. When a few people started speaking about the international boycott of Driscoll's and handing out flyers, the Driscoll's representatives quickly dismantled their event booth and got rid of their strawberries as fast as they could.
Protests against Donald Trump are heating up in California as the June 7 presidential primary approaches. On April 29, it was the Bay Area's turn. Trump was scheduled to speak on the opening day of the California Republican Convention in Burlingame. Protesters blocked streets and pushed through police barricades. Trump's motorcade was unable to reach the site and was forced to walk from Highway 101 through concrete barriers to reach the convention via a back entrance.
Fri Apr 29 2016 (Updated 04/30/16)
New Fees to Be Charged to Subsidize Delta Tunnels
Attendees at the April 14 public meeting of the Santa Clara County Water Commission's Board of Directors in Gilroy were surprised to learn that a new fee will soon be added to their groundwater bills to support the Cal WaterFix, also known as the Delta Tunnels. Several users of small private residential water systems complained bitterly about the cost of the current groundwater charges on top of the cost of pumping and maintenance of their own wells.
On April 3, members of Watsonville Brown Berets (WBB) traveled to Salinas to attend the annual Cesar Chavez March and Rally presented by United Farm Workers (UFW). WBB were joined by members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), an independent farmworker union in Burlington, Washington fighting for a union contract, and initiators of the boycott against Driscoll's. Although advocating for farmworkers' rights seems like it would be warmly welcomed by UFW, that was not the experience for WBB and FUJ members.
On Monday, April 11, 2016, around 800 State of Mexico riot police at the service of Grupo Higa laid siege to the Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, destroyed the camp set up in defense of the forest, used heavy machinery to illegally tear down the house of Dr. Armando García Salazar, and violently dragged out at least 25 men, women and children who were inside the house, including 64-year-old Isabel Hernández, a member of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla.
Tue Apr 12 2016 (Updated 05/08/16)
Housing State of Emergency Declared in Oakland
Oakland renters have been facing nearly 1,000 evictions per month. Rents have skyrocketed and the median rent is currently $3,000 per month. Housing activists have been pushing for a temporary freeze on evictions and rent hikes to protect tenants from the massive upheaval. On April 6, the Oakland City Council responded by voting unanimously to support a 90-day moratorium on rent increases, but failed to pass a temporary freeze on evictions.
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