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Feature Archives

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.
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 10/13/16)
Driscoll’s Boycott in Full Force
Labor groups have issued a statement clarifying the Driscoll's berries boycott is still in full effect and farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico continue to work for the recognition of their union in order to negotiate the signing of a collective bargaining agreement. In Washington State, the results of an election on September 12 confirmed the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia as the formal representatives of farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farm, a supplier to Driscoll’s. A rally and protest will be held at the Driscoll's distribution center in Aromas on October 15.
Crude from Monterey County's biggest oilfield is more climate damaging than any other large source of oil produced in, or imported into, California, according to a new Center for Biological Diversity analysis of state data. The Center’s report, titled Stealing California's Future, found that crude from the San Ardo oilfield is even more carbon-intensive than notoriously dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada. The report also found that the San Ardo field is the most carbon-intensive large oilfield in California, ultimately generating about 3.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution a year.
Sat Sep 10 2016 (Updated 11/26/16)
Three Federal Agencies Block Dakota Access Pipeline
On September 9, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota. Minutes later, the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior issued a joint statement announcing a temporary halt to work on the pipeline. Actions in support of the Water protectors continue to be held across California in response to the global call for solidarity by the Standing Rock protest camps for September 3-17.
The official campaign kick-off party for Yes on Measure Z, to ban fracking in Monterey County, will be held in Salinas on Saturday, September 10. A rally will be held in addition to the grand opening of the campaign's new headquarters, which is located in the heart of Salinas on Main Street. Measure Z made it to the November ballot as the result of months of work by volunteers with Protect Monterey County, a group working to safe-guard local water supplies and protect the county's agricultural production.