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Wed Nov 14 2018 (Updated 12/01/18)
Fire Season of 2018 Brings Historic Devastation
California anxiously awaited the first winter rains, seeking reprieve from the notoriously destructive "fire season" of 2018. In the Northern California Camp Fire, 88 people are reported dead and hundreds remain missing. The fire destroyed virtually the entire town of Paradise. Firefighter radio transmissions suggest that PG&E could be to blame. In Southern California, the massive Woolsey Fire started on the grounds of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the site of a partial nuclear meltdown, and area residents are concerned about contaminates. With heavy rains finally beginning on November 21, the wildfires are now either mostly contained or fully extinguished, and the hazardous air quality the fires created throughout the state has been cleared.
Sun Nov 4 2018 (Updated 11/08/18)
The Rent Is Too Damn High
UPDATE 11/8: While millions of ballots remain uncounted in California, it appears Prop 10 was defeated.

Grassroots activists have been campaigning hard for the Affordable Housing Act, a ballot initiative to repeal California’s Costa Hawkins state law and return control of rental housing law to local jurisdictions. Several localities have promised to act rapidly should Proposition 10 pass. But real estate interests have spent over $70 million to defeat Prop 10. Should it not pass on November 6, housing rights activists remain committed to pushing for rent control and other tenant protections locally and statewide in the future. Nationwide, a new movement has been inspired by California's efforts.
On October 19, the United Nations Special Rapporteur to the Right to Adequate Housing, Lelani Farha, released her new report documenting the “global scandal” of homeless encampments. In January of 2017, Farha spent time in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California to meet with unhoused residents and housed advocates and described the conditions as "cruel and inhuman." The only U.S. cities explicitly called out for violations in the UN’s report on global homelessness are San Francisco and Oakland.
UPDATE 9/18: Governor Brown signs AB-2178 into law.

The California Assembly and Senate have passed AB-2178, which would impose new restrictions on individuals and community groups like Food Not Bombs that share free meals. Volunteer groups feeding the poor and homeless pose little food safety risk. These grassroots groups have operated for decades and follow strong private food safety practices. They fill a critical gap that the state itself struggles to address.
Fri Aug 31 2018 (Updated 09/10/18)
Demanding an End to Modern Day Slavery
Prisoners in at least 17 states are coordinating sit-ins, hunger strikes, work stoppages and commissary boycotts from August 21 until September 9 — the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising. At New Folsom Prison, a hunger strike started by Heriberto Garcia on August 21 has grown. On August 25, around 500 activists turned out for a solidarity rally at San Quentin Prison.
Despite California’s image as a “green” and “progressive” leader, there has been a massive expansion of oil and gas drilling in the state under Governor Jerry Brown — and most of these new wells are located in communities with above average poverty rates and/or communities of color. On August 7, 35 youths held a sit-in at Governor Jerry Brown’s office demanding a plan to phase out oil and gas extraction.
The state agency charged with regulating California’s pesticide industry allows manufacturers to make up their own usage rules, continues to allow a brain-damaging chemical to be used on food crops, is slow to hold applicators accountable when workers are poisoned, and routinely ignores community input in its rulemaking process. That’s according to the California Environmental Justice Alliance’s 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment.
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