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Feature Archives

Fri May 5 2017 (Updated 05/16/17)
Reclaim Our Democracy from the Oil Industry
California is often portrayed as the nation's “green leader,” but the reality is much different. Over the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, the oil industry spent a historic $36.1 million to lobby California lawmakers. During the last six years, the industry has spent $122 million in Sacramento, more than any other interest group. “This spending spree has paid huge dividends for these companies, allowing them to dismantle and crush any meaningful legislation that might significantly curb their power to drill and pollute in California,” said David Braun of Rootskeeper. Braun urged people to join a diverse array of activists on Saturday, May 20 for a march and rally in Sacramento.
The City of Santa Cruz is considering a number of new policies that would impact local homeless people. There is an effort by a handful of property owners and their allies at City Hall to end the Food Not Bombs meals outside the downtown Post Office. Officials may implement a number of new restrictions and architectural changes to make the lives of those without housing more painful. One unhoused person, Greg Mercado, died of complications from an old surgery twelve hours after the police kicked him out from the City Hall grounds and gave him a ticket for being in a park after hours.
Thu Apr 20 2017 (Updated 04/24/17)
Cops Boot Santa Cruz Homeless Folks to the Curb
Keith McHenry reports: On April 17, the police came and kicked people out from under the Santa Cruz City Hall awning into the pouring rain during a very severe storm. On April 18, following a community meeting at the public library on solutions to homelessness, library staff shared that city manager Martin Bernal was making several changes, including the removal of the benches outside the library and the stationing of two police officers. After the meeting, members of the Freedom Sleepers gathered at City Hall to plan a march on Tuesday, May 9 with the message “Housing For All — No Penalty For Poverty.”
Wed Apr 19 2017 (Updated 04/20/17)
The End of Money Bail in California?
California warehouses thousands of people in jails while they await their court dates — simply because they can’t afford to post bail. Meanwhile, wealthy people can easily buy their freedom. Research shows that Black people are assigned higher bail amounts than white people accused of similar offenses. People who can’t post bail are at a higher risk of being convicted, pleading guilty (even if they’re innocent), and receiving harsher sentences. The California Money Bail Reform Act, however, will create a system that prioritizes pretrial services and prevents people from being held in jail simply because they can't make bail.
Tue Apr 18 2017 (Updated 04/23/17)
Tax Day Protests Demand Trump Release His Taxes
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would release his taxes, but that he couldn't until a supposed IRS audit concluded. Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, despite mounting questions regarding conflicts of interest and how much he might be beholden to those representing foreign powers such as Russian oligarchs. Protesters gathered in over 150 cities on April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline, to demand that Trump release his taxes. In Northern California, Tax Day protests were held in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and other cities.
Fishery scientists are expecting a record low return of fall-run Chinook salmon to the Klamath River this year, due to a combination of several years of drought, water diversions in the Klamath Basin and to the Sacramento River and the continued presence of the PacifiCorp dams. Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen are currently waiting for the decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on the fishing seasons at its meeting in Sacramento on April 10, but the outlook is dismal, based on the low Klamath salmon estimates.
Left wing activists, in partnership with tech employees, staged a rally against White House policies on March 14 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in Palo Alto. The demonstration was attended by hundreds of people. Speakers at the four hour "Tech Stands Up" rally called for inclusion, diversity, and civil liberties. Tech Stands Up is an organization of people in the tech world who object to the Trump administration’s alt-right policies, and wants tech company leaders to speak out against the White House's discriminatory actions.