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Feature Archives

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.
About 500 people participated in the Sanctuary for All march in downtown Fresno on February 18. In their call out for the march, organizers wrote: This is the first of many responses to our Mayor’s press conference. Our undocumented community is telling us that they DO NOT feel safe after the press conference. Our county Sheriff continues a close partnership with ICE. We are committed to a Fresno culture that emphasizes the dignity and safety of every Fresnan. We will show that Fresno is a sanctuary community, and communicate to our elected officials that we expect policies and structures that represent our values!
The Trump administration this week granted requests from Gov. Jerry Brown's regulators to exempt three aquifers in California's Kern County from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Approval of these "aquifer exemption" applications by the Environmental Protection Agency gives oil companies permission to dump contaminated waste fluid into these underground water supplies. California officials plan to submit dozens of additional exemption applications for other aquifers across the state, including underground water sources in Alameda, Monterey, Ventura, Kern and other counties.