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Tenants in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and Mountain View are celebrating rent control victories. Tens of thousands of renters will have new protections from greedy landlords, realtors and speculators around the Bay Area. The renter protection ballot measure in Oakland, known as Measure JJ, was voted into law with 74% of the vote. In Richmond, after a long hard struggle, 64% of voters passed rent control and just cause eviction protections into law with the passage of Measure L. In a victory for Mountain View over corporate interests, the grassroots renter protection measure known as Measure V was passed with 53% of the vote.
At 5:00am on November 4, the Berkeley Police Department violently raided an encampment of people living in tents at the corner of Fairview and Adeline Streets. The encampment served as a safe, clean and drug-free place for those seeking shelter from the rain and cold. Four people were arrested, including District 2 City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple. In response, a "Housing Not Handcuffs Sunrise Vigil" is scheduled for 6-10am on November 7 at Berkeley City Hall. In Oakland, from 8am-4pm the same day, a call has gone out to pack the Wiley Manuel courtroom in solidarity with arrestees.
Thu Nov 3 2016 (Updated 11/10/16)
Community Responds to SCPD Killing of Sean Smith-Arlt
Following the killing of Sean Smith-Arlt by officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department on October 16, residents are organizing in the community with the intention of preventing another killing like his. On October 22, a candle light vigil for Sean was organized at the Town Clock, which coincided with the 21st annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. On October 25 a large group of community members attended the City Council meeting to voice their concerns during oral communications, and on November 1 a community forum hosted by the newly formed Social Justice Alliance was held.
It was 1966 when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Initially, their goals were to make use of California's open-carry laws at the time to directly challenge police brutality in Oakland and to turn Black rebellion into political power. In little time, the party expanded nationwide, fed hundreds of thousands of children, and created free health clinics and a number of other social programs. October 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party.
Many long-time Bay Area residents have been displaced over the last several years. The median rent in Oakland is now $3,000 a month and heartless landlords are taking extreme measures to boost their profit at the expense of tenants. In one recent case, an East Palo Alto property owner and his son were arrested for a plot to push tenants out of rent-controlled units by destroying their property. Tenant advocates across the Bay Area urge voters to support the strong renter protections in Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View.
Word got out that the Oakland Police Department had intentions to do neighborhood outreach in West Oakland on October 18. Knowing that OPD holds public relations events such as these to whitewash their earned reputation as racist, violent, and corrupt, the Anti Police-Terror Project set out to prevent OPD from exploiting local residents for a propagandistic photo op. As an unexpected bonus, a man's home was saved from being confiscated by the police.
Officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt outside of a home on the corner of Chace and Getchell Streets on the west side of Santa Cruz. Police have stated that Smith-Arlt, who was experiencing mental health issues, was advancing towards officers with a gardening rake when officers deemed him a threat and shot and killed him at about 3:30 am on October 16. In response, residents have organized a candle light vigil at the Town Clock in Santa Cruz for No Police Brutality Day on October 22.