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Feature Archives

The Freedom Sleepers celebrated their one-year anniversary together on July 5 with a march through downtown Santa Cruz, and then an outdoor movie screening at Santa Cruz City Hall. After celebrating their one-year anniversary, the Freedom Sleepers have returned to Santa Cruz City Hall for three more sleepouts. The most recent was their 55th community sleepout on July 26. Since July 4 of 2015, a coalition of unhoused and housed community members in Santa Cruz have converged to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness.
In front of Oakland City Hall on July 11, Leigh Davenport of the Anti Police-Terror Project announced community activists' intention to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf. Primary among the concerns cited as cause for Schaaf's removal from office are her failures: 1) to address the massive displacement of long-time Oakland residents; 2) to support local youth and job centers; and 3) to hold Oakland police accountable for corruption, sexual exploitation, and those they've killed. “The level of discontent is high in the City of Oakland," notes Cat Brooks.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
In April, the BART Board passed a law making it illegal to occupy two seats during rush hour on a BART train. The law was not to take effect until the BART police presented their implementation strategy. At the most recent BART Board meeting on June 23, BART police presented how they intend to enforce the new law. Fines of up to $500 will ensure that those least able to afford it become debtors, potentially subjecting violators to criminal warrants and further harrassment. Longtime BART director Joel Keller admitted he wants police to target the homeless.
On June 15, law enforcement officers raided Care By Design and CBD Guild, a medical cannabis grower and manufacturer that tens of thousands of patients depend on across the state. The enforcement comes just days after the company hosted local and state public officials and regulators for a walk-through of their new facilities and to discuss regulations for the emerging industry resulting from the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act passed by the California legislature last fall.
Thu Jun 16 2016 (Updated 06/17/16)
Historic Court Ruling for Net Neutrality
It’s being called one of the most important moments in the history of the internet and a First Amendment for the internet. A federal appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled this week that internet service providers must offer essentially the same protections to users that are required of phone companies. Digital activists are gleefully celebrating one of the most significant parts of the ruling: the FCC can apply its net neutrality rules to cellphone data as well as home broadband.
Take Back Santa Cruz, "a non-profit community organization focused on creating awareness and working together to build a better, safer and cleaner Santa Cruz," tried to go silent about one of their most high-profile members facing felony charges for firearms and drug manufacturing. Sixty-year-old James Burtnett of Boulder Creek faces multiple felony counts ranging from illegally synthesizing a Schedule 1 narcotic, to being illegally armed with a firearm. According to court documents, Burtnett was involved in a narcotic processing operation. The illegal lab exploded on September 29, 2013, in Santa Cruz.