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The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty released a report, Tent City USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities are Responding, reviewing the rapid growth of homeless people living in tents across the United States over the past decade, as measured by documentation in media reports. Research showed a 1,342 percent increase in homeless encampments reported between 2007 and 2017, with at least one encampment reported in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. As encampments become increasingly common, local governments have enacted laws to prohibit living in tents.
Wed Feb 7 2018 (Updated 02/08/18)
Californians Rally Against Offshore Drilling
Hundreds of Californians rallied against President Trump’s offshore oil leasing plan on February 8 in Sacramento, marching to the plan’s only formal hearing in California. Ahead of the hearing, thousands of Californians rallied in seven cities to oppose Trump’s proposal to open up the Pacific and other U.S. oceans to offshore drilling for the first time in more than 30 years. Rallies were held February 3 in at least seven communities after the federal government ignored requests by California’s congressional delegation and state leaders to hold additional hearings closer to coastal communities threatened by offshore drilling.
A broad-based coalition of community organizations and activists is championing a renter protection ballot initiative for the City of Santa Cruz on the November ballot. The initiative includes rent stabilization, eviction protections, and the formation of an elected “Rent Board” which will handle the regulation of rent prices and evictions. The rent control campaign kickoff will begin with a party at the Resource Center for Nonviolence on Sunday, February 11.
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.
Approximately 4.4 million gallons of untreated wastewater flowed into the waters of Monterey Bay through an ocean outfall discharge pipe 2.5 miles offshore, the result of an “equipment control failure” at the Monterey One Water Regional Treatment Plant in Marina on January 19 and 20. In response, the Monterey County Health Department issued beach closures from Moss Landing to Stillwater Cove. All Monterey County Beaches have been posted with a rain advisory due to the current weather. The public is advised not to have ocean water contact for three days after the rain event on January 22. The department warns that contact with contaminated water may cause gastroenteritis and other waterborne illnesses.
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