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Feature Archives

Luis Góngora Pat was a 45-year-old indigenous Mayan Mexican, an immigrant worker, and a family man who supported his wife and three children in southern Mexico. On April 7, 2016, his life was brutally taken by SFPD. Luis’s killing was at the nexis of several struggles faced by low income people of color: indigenous peoples’ struggles, housing rights, illegal evictions, immigrant rights, dignified wage labor, homelessness, racial profiling and discrimination, police brutality and utter impunity for killing Black and Brown residents. On Friday, April 7, the one year anniversary of his death, Luis’s family will march against police terror in the so-called Sanctuary City of San Francisco.
Mike Zint & JP Massar write: What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. Stability that the housed take for granted. A lack of stability means the homeless barely survive. Figuring out how to exist with no sense of safety and security and nowhere to go, worrying about the police yet having committed no crime, takes all that someone has. Sometimes it’s too much and a short note appears in a local paper.
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.