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Feature Archives

Thu Nov 3 2016 (Updated 11/10/16)
Community Responds to SCPD Killing of Sean Smith-Arlt
Following the killing of Sean Smith-Arlt by officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department on October 16, residents are organizing in the community with the intention of preventing another killing like his. On October 22, a candle light vigil for Sean was organized at the Town Clock, which coincided with the 21st annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. On October 25 a large group of community members attended the City Council meeting to voice their concerns during oral communications, and on November 1 a community forum hosted by the newly formed Social Justice Alliance was held.
Sun Oct 30 2016 (Updated 11/05/16)
D is for Dilemma in Santa Cruz County
Big money is being spent to influence the outcome of Measure D on the November Santa Cruz County ballot. Unlike political offices, campaigns for ballot measures have no limit to the amount of money that can be contributed. There is no restriction on the source of contributions, so special interests from outside the County can buy influence in our local ballot measures. This week, The No on D group, Widening Won't Work, has organized two public demonstrations in front of two of the major corporate donors to Measure D, Granite Rock Construction Company and Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Santa Cruz Progressives write: The official list of campaign donors confirms what has been no secret in this year's Santa Cruz City Council election: it's a battle between four big money conservative candidates and four grass roots progressives. All four of the conservative candidates have each raised about twice the amount of money the progressives have and they are funded by wealthy contributors. Progressive candidates Chris Krohn, Drew Glover, Steve Schnaar and Sandy Brown, also known as the "Brand New Council" slate, show moderately funded campaigns.
On October 15, about 40 people, including students from UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Watsonville High School, as well as community members from Santa Cruz and Watsonville, came out to the Driscoll's Distribution Center and Berry Store in Aromas, California, to relay the message that the boycott of Driscoll's continues until Driscoll's negotiates a union contract with the farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico who harvest the lucrative berries. Currently, farmworkers receive as little as $6 a day for 12-15 hours of work, with no benefits or job security.
Officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt outside of a home on the corner of Chace and Getchell Streets on the west side of Santa Cruz. Police have stated that Smith-Arlt, who was experiencing mental health issues, was advancing towards officers with a gardening rake when officers deemed him a threat and shot and killed him at about 3:30 am on October 16. In response, residents have organized a candle light vigil at the Town Clock in Santa Cruz for No Police Brutality Day on October 22.
A U.S. district judge on September 6 overturned a Bureau of Land Management plan to open more than one million acres of public land and mineral estate in central California to drilling and fracking. The ruling notes that BLM officials estimate that oil companies would frack 25 percent of new wells drilled on vast stretches of land in California’s Central Valley, the southern Sierra Nevada, and in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. Yet the bureau’s 1,073-page management plan contained just three brief mentions of fracking and offered no analysis of fracking pollution’s threats to endangered species or California’s water supplies.
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 09/24/16)
Getting a Good Night's Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall
Presently the only location in downtown Santa Cruz where people on the street are able to sleep regularly as a group is at the weekly community sleepouts organized by the Freedom Sleepers. Homeless sweeps conducted by the Santa Cruz Police Department beginning in January of this year have for the most part cleared the downtown area of groups of people sleeping together in other locations, such as at the post office. Since July of 2015, the Freedom Sleepers have gathered to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness. September 20 marked the group's 63rd sleepout.