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The farm worker movement mourns the passing on June 7, 2015, of Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, who played a key role with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the farm worker movement and on behalf of many other worthy causes over seven decades. Sal was motivated by deep faith in a movement grounded in the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has grown over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations. The protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year.
A group of about 100 homeless people and their supporters attended the Tulare City Council meeting on April 21 calling for specific changes in public policy. The group, which delivered a petition signed by over 1,000 residents, called for improvements in the way homeless people are treated by the police, a safe place to sleep and equal rights. The Union of Hope in Tulare filled the City Council chambers with an overflow crowd.
A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.
In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on April 9 that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas. “Threats like habitat destruction from urbanization and agriculture are driving western pond turtles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer.
Wed Apr 8 2015 (Updated 05/30/15)
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
Holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” activists formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. Members of the “Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including ”We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.” The protesters stayed until about 1 pm, but there were no arrests.
On March 12, the Pit River Tribe and their Native American and environmental allies optimistically left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco following oral arguments in their long legal battle to protect the Medicine Lake Highlands from geothermal destruction and desecration. The Pit River people, the lead defendants in the case, are fighting in court to defend the Highlands, known to them as “Saht Tit Lah," an area that has been used for healing, religious ceremonies and tribal gatherings for thousands of years.
Central Valley:   3