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Feature Archives

Anti-homeless architecture is common in Santa Cruz, including hi-frequency Mosquito Boxes in parks, removing planter boxes and free speech zones on Pacific, replacing the City Hall lawn with gravel and rocks, and now the ugly chain link fencing at the historic downtown post office. On March 11 and 12, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs decorated the anti-homeless fence at the post office to make it more attractive. Signs, toys, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, soap, clothes, shoes, flowers, and strips of fabric were weaved through the links of the fence.
Keith McHenry writes: The most common government response to the suffering of those being forced into homelessness is the passage of laws against being homeless. Laws against sleeping, sitting, asking for money, living outside, or what officials call “quality of life crimes” make this bad situation even worse, and make the lives of homeless men, women, and children even more miserable. Another aspect of this punitive response to homelessness is passage of laws prohibiting the public sharing of meals with the hungry. The hope is that hiding from public view the problem of homelessness will make it go away.
On February 16, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced his office will not file charges against Erik Bailey, the Santa Cruz Police Department officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt on October 16, 2016. SCPD Officers Erik Bailey and Adam Baker were the first officers to be dispatched to a house on Chase Street that evening after residents called to report a disturbance at the home. When police arrived they say they confronted Sean, who was advancing towards them with a gardening rake. Within 20 seconds they deemed him a threat and opened fire on him.
On March 8, International Women's Day events are scheduled for Berkeley/Albany, Oakland, San Francisco, Cupertino, Santa Cruz and throughout Northern California. A diverse group of radical feminists issuing a call-out for an international women's strike write: In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. Let us use the occasion to build a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism – a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.
Thu Feb 9 2017 (Updated 02/24/17)
A Public Bank for Oakland
Emily Wheeler of the Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland writes: A thriving local economy is something we all want to see—no controversy there. But we’ve been too quick to accept the prevailing notion that there is a trade-off between that and providing ourselves with adequate housing, health care, or education programs. It’s time to align our fiscal practices with our social ideals. It’s time for the Public Bank of Oakland. On February 9, the City of Oakland hosted a public forum on the potential of the Public Bank of Oakland.
On January 21, religious extremists once again held their annual anti-abortion Walk For Life march in San Francisco. They believe holding these events in liberal San Francisco packs a bigger punch because San Franciscans by and large believe that no laws or religion should govern decisions about their bodies, health, and welfare. Every year they are confronted by pro-choice protesters, even though this year there were dueling events in San Francisco. A larger anti-choice event was held in Washington D.C. on January 27.
Over the past several years, Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project has been working with the City of Santa Cruz to develop the city's first community orchard. Riverside Community Orchard was launched in early 2015 when more than fifty volunteers came out to plant twelve dwarf apple, pear, and citrus trees along a fence line at Riverside Gardens Park. On Saturday, February 4, the group will break ground on a major expansion of the orchard, planting upwards of twenty more trees across the street, in an open area adjacent to the skate park and ball courts of Mike Fox Park, by the San Lorenzo River levee.