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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
Sun Jan 21 2018 (Updated 01/22/18)
'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette Granted Parole
On January 12, 2018, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to an elderly inmate named John Clutchette. However, supporters of parole for Clutchette are concerned that California Governor Jerry Brown will reverse the Board's decision, and Clutchette will not be released. Supporters have a reason to be concerned. After all, this is exactly what happened in 2016 when Clutchette was similarly granted parole by the Board but Governor Brown chose to reverse the Board's ruling. In an Angola 3 News interview, legal scholar Angela A. Allen-Bell contextualizes Brown's reference to the Soledad Brothers, and identifies other troubling aspects of the case.
Protect Monterey County and its attorneys will appeal the Monterey County Superior Court decision that overturns portions of Measure Z. Last year Monterey County voters passed Measure Z, an initiative that bans hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), prohibits new oil wells and phases out oil-industry wastewater injection wells. The court’s decision leaves the fracking ban in place, holding that oil-industry plaintiffs lack standing to challenge it. However, the decision strikes down the ban on new oil and gas wells and wastewater injection.
Thu Jan 4 2018 (Updated 01/18/18)
SCPD and Santa Cruz NAACP to Cosponsor MLK March
In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the Santa Cruz branch of the NAACP and the Santa Cruz Police Department are co-sponsoring an event titled "March for the Dream: Honoring the Past - Impacting the Future" on January 15. In an open letter to police chief Andy Mills, former city council candidate Steve Schnaar questions if SCPD's dream for a better society is really in line with the dream of King.