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Feature Archives

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.
Sun Apr 10 2016 (Updated 04/18/16)
San Francisco Police Execute Homeless Man
On April 7, a homeless man, Jose Luis Gongora, allegedly brandishing a knife, was executed by SFPD. Surveillance camera video shows police cars rolling up, cops getting out and approaching Jose Luis off-camera. Police claimed they attempted to deescalate the situation, but the video shows two cops approaching Jose Luis with a shotgun pointed at him and shouting at him. The cop with the shotgun can be heard firing four "less lethal" bean-bag rounds at Jose Luis before at least one of the cops shoots and kills him. On April 9, SFPD raided a nearby tent encampment on Shotwell Street, knocking over objects with sticks, including several memorial candles that lined the front of Jose Luis' tent which is still at the scene.
Community activists working independently on separate ballot measures have come together under the umbrella of the Oakland Justice Coalition. Together, the three measures they propose would radically transform police accountability, renters' protections, and the minimum wage in Oakland. On March 24, Oakland Justice Coalition members made a formal announcement of their intentions in front of Oakland City Hall. The canvassing kickoff will be held on April 2.
A bulldozer rumbled into the Beach Flats Community Garden early Thursday morning, March 24, tearing out mature fruit trees and nopales plants that city staff had earlier promised would not be touched, and damaging an already strained relationship between the City and community. Despite the loss of land, fruit trees, and nopales, the Beach Flats Gardeners are committed to making the best of the 2016 planting season.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) has been meddling in the affairs of city after city in Northern California in an effort to stop any and all renter protections being promoted by renters, tenant activists, and their supporters. The same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the Renters Upgrade, the CAA announced that they were keeping an eye on things, and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenants' movement efforts.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation released the results of annual pesticide use reporting – the only reporting like it in the country – offering a glimpse into what potentially hazardous pesticides are being used in the state. Despite fewer plantings and crop loss due to the drought across the state, hazardous pesticide use increased in some counties. From 2013 to 2014, in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, such pesticide use increased 10.0% and 9.4%, respectively.
Wed Mar 23 2016 (Updated 04/21/16)
Chemicals Used in Acidization Threaten Water Supplies
Oil companies use dozens of extremely hazardous chemicals to acidize wells in California, raising water contamination and public-safety concerns, according to a new study in the Journal of Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry. The University of California-Los Angeles study, which has national significance because it seems to be the first ever to examine the toxicity of acidization chemicals, finds that almost 200 different chemicals have been used in the process.