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An annual census of monarch butterflies overwintering along California’s coast reveals that populations in western North America are at their lowest point in five years, despite recovery efforts. Volunteers with the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count visited more sites this past year than have ever been counted since the survey began in 1997, yet they tallied fewer than 200,000 monarchs. Pismo Beach State Park was down by 38%, a private site in Big Sur was down by 50%, and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove was down 57%. The few sites in which monarch numbers remained stable or increased compared to 2016, include Natural Bridges State Park, Moran Lake, and Lighthouse Field State Park, all in Santa Cruz County.
Mon Jan 22 2018 (Updated 01/30/18)
Millions March for Women's Rights Worldwide
On January 20, the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of President Trump, women, children, and allies worldwide demonstrated in hundreds of cities, often in freezing temperatures, to stand up against against Donald Trump and his policies, patriarchal and racist violence and oppression, and for a brighter future for women. The numbers were massive across North America, with 300,000 Chicago, 200,000 in New York City, a half million in Los Angeles, and at least 100,000 in San Francisco. Tens of thousands marched in medium-sized cities such as Oakland, and in smaller towns such as Fresno, thousands took a stand. On January 21, many more took to the streets of Las Vegas, Berlin, Paris, London, and other cities across the globe.
Mon Jan 22 2018 (Updated 04/17/18)
California Mobilizes to Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling
On January 4, the Trump administration released a draft five-year plan that would open federal waters in the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than thirty years. The plan proposes new offshore drilling in almost all federal waters, including the currently protected Arctic and Atlantic oceans and eastern Gulf of Mexico. Resistance to Trump's plan spread throughout California quickly. Supervisors in San Franciscio and Marin County passed resolutions opposing offshore oil drilling. North coast environmental groups vowed to do everything in their power to fight it. In Santa Cruz and Laguna Beach, environmental groups have planned protest rallies on February 3
Sun Jan 21 2018 (Updated 01/22/18)
'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette Granted Parole
On January 12, 2018, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to an elderly inmate named John Clutchette. However, supporters of parole for Clutchette are concerned that California Governor Jerry Brown will reverse the Board's decision, and Clutchette will not be released. Supporters have a reason to be concerned. After all, this is exactly what happened in 2016 when Clutchette was similarly granted parole by the Board but Governor Brown chose to reverse the Board's ruling. In an Angola 3 News interview, legal scholar Angela A. Allen-Bell contextualizes Brown's reference to the Soledad Brothers, and identifies other troubling aspects of the case.
Protect Monterey County and its attorneys will appeal the Monterey County Superior Court decision that overturns portions of Measure Z. Last year Monterey County voters passed Measure Z, an initiative that bans hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), prohibits new oil wells and phases out oil-industry wastewater injection wells. The court’s decision leaves the fracking ban in place, holding that oil-industry plaintiffs lack standing to challenge it. However, the decision strikes down the ban on new oil and gas wells and wastewater injection.
Thu Jan 4 2018 (Updated 02/07/18)
KPFA Radio at Risk
On January 8, Berkeley's KPFA radio may have its money and property seized by the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) because of a 1.8 million dollar debt accumulated by sister station WBAI in New York. At that point, KPFA's building and bank account may no longer be under their own control, potentially taking not only WBAI off the air, but the entire Pacifica Network which includes KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington D.C. The Pacifica National Board has yet to take decisive action to protect the assets of the foundation, leaving the future of the network uncertain. How aggressive ESRT will be regarding Pacifica's assets remains unknown.
On November 29, over a dozen climate justice activists protested Governor Jerry Brown’s speaking appearance at the Metreon in San Francisco as part of the New York Times ClimateTECH summit. They called out the hypocrisy of Brown claiming to be a “climate leader” while he promotes fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in the state. One of the organizers of the San Francisco protest was twenty-nine-year-old Daniel Gustavo Ilario of Castro Valley, who was in Bonn, Germany as a part of an indigenous delegation and was one of the protestors who interrupted Brown's speech. Ilario is a member of Idle No More San Francisco Bay, an indigenous-women-led climate justice organization.
California:   2