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Feature Archives

On March 8, striking community members marched through downtown Santa Cruz in solidarity with Women's Strikes organized around the world on International Women's Day as a follow up to the massive Women's Marches held on January 21, 2017, the day after the Inauguration of Trump. One group participating in the March 8 demonstration was the UCSC March Collective, who invited people of all genders to join the action, stating, "We strike because we can't afford not to care."
Keith McHenry writes: The most common government response to the suffering of those being forced into homelessness is the passage of laws against being homeless. Laws against sleeping, sitting, asking for money, living outside, or what officials call “quality of life crimes” make this bad situation even worse, and make the lives of homeless men, women, and children even more miserable. Another aspect of this punitive response to homelessness is passage of laws prohibiting the public sharing of meals with the hungry. The hope is that hiding from public view the problem of homelessness will make it go away.
Santa Cruz is a Sanctuary City. Following the DHS/ICE raids in Santa Cruz on February 13, SCPD Chief Kevin Vogel claimed the department cooperated with DHS only because they thought the raids were to target violent gang members, and that DHS lied about their intention to detain non-criminal undocumented individuals. During deliberations to strengthen the status of Santa Cruz as a Sanctuary City at the February 28 Santa Cruz City Council meeting, however, members of the public pressured Vogel to admit that an ICE/DHS agent has not only been working closely with, but even given office space by the Santa Cruz Police Department since 2009, and was involved in the recent raids in some capacity.
On February 16, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced his office will not file charges against Erik Bailey, the Santa Cruz Police Department officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt on October 16, 2016. SCPD Officers Erik Bailey and Adam Baker were the first officers to be dispatched to a house on Chase Street that evening after residents called to report a disturbance at the home. When police arrived they say they confronted Sean, who was advancing towards them with a gardening rake. Within 20 seconds they deemed him a threat and opened fire on him.
What sounded like a garbage truck at first in the dark hours of the morning turned out to be a nightmare for many families in the Beach Flats, Lower Ocean, and Live Oak neighborhoods of Santa Cruz on Monday morning, February 13. Beach Flats residents report hearing helicopters overhead and flash grenades cast into several homes while an unidentified voice (no indication of jurisdiction) on a loudspeaker demanded that "[street address] come out with hands on head" blared. This caused confusion because [street address] is the address to the entire apartments complex.
Wed Feb 15 2017 (Updated 03/21/17)
Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One Third
The annual overwintering count of monarch butterflies released on February 9 confirms Monarch numbers fell by nearly one-third from last year’s count, indicating an ongoing risk of extinction for America’s most well-known butterfly. Scientists report that this year’s population is down by 27 percent from last year’s count, and down by more than 80 percent from the mid-1990s. A survey of monarch butterflies overwintering in California shows that the Western population has not rebounded. On the West Coast of California, key sites such as Pismo Beach and Natural Bridges saw lower populations this year than in the prior year.
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.