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On November 1, Nancy Pelosi said she is "not a big fan of Medicare for All." Likewise, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo, who chairs the Subcommittee on Health, has been criticized for being "in the pocket of Big Pharma." At rallies in front of both Congresswomen's offices this fall, protesters asked why neither of them represent what their constituents want. Both Congresswomen will face opposition from candidates who support Medicare-for-All. The primary election in California is set for March 3, 2020.
The Kincade Fire has created a calamitous path through Northern California’s wine country, forcing nearly 200,000 people to flee their homes. Many of them are reliving the disastrous fire that raged through the same area in 2017. On October 25, PG&E admitted its electrical equipment may have ignited the inferno, despite electrical blackouts imposed across Northern California to prevent blazes. In the San Francisco Bay Area, activists say we need to replace private control of utilities. Two new campaigns, Let's Own PG&E and Utility Justice Campaign, are calling for a publicly-accountable takeover of the monopoly. Protests have been held in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and other cities.
On October 4, the Trump administration dismissed protests and made a formal decision to open 725,500 acres of public lands and mineral estate across California’s Central Coast and the Bay Area to new oil and gas drilling and fracking. The public lands the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has earmarked for leasing are in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus. The move will end a more than five-year-old moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in the state to oil companies.
Hundreds of Direct Action Everywhere activists occupied a Whole Foods store and an Amazon office in San Francisco on September 30, with dozens chaining and/or locking themselves in place until thirty-seven were arrested. Simultaneously, several activists chained themselves together inside an Amazon office in San Francisco. The following afternoon, activists urged the SF Board of Supervisors to support of “Rose’s Law: An Animal Bill of Rights.” In response to the protests in San Francisco, Whole Foods’ parent-company Amazon filed for a temporary restraining order against Direct Action Everywhere covering all California locations.
Thu Sep 5 2019 (Updated 09/30/19)
Global Climate Strike Week of Action
Climate Strikes began on September 20, three days out from the United Nation's climate emergency summit in New York, and continued to September 27. As young climate strikers have shown, there is huge power in sustained action week after week to match the scale of the climate emergency. Millions walked out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and to show politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.
As news continues to pour in that the Trump administration’s attacks against immigrants and refugees has reached new lows, Bay Area residents are feeling a renewed sense of urgency. On the heels of protests throughout the region on July 2 and further official announcements about coming ICE raids, July 12 saw a new round of demonstrations, including protests at the city of San Francisco's Sansome Street ICE facility. In Santa Clara County, the Rapid Response Network (RRN) reported an increase in calls of observed ICE activity, as people are on high alert. Volunteers who document ICE interactions with immigrants have seen their ranks increase quickly.
Fri May 10 2019 (Updated 05/12/19)
Protest Pushes Retailer as California Considers Fur Ban
Activists with animal rights groups Direct Action Everywhere and In Defense of Animals staged a visual demonstration against fur at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto on April 28. The “Bloody Fashion Show” included a commentator, models, cages, fake blood, and even a red carpet. After the fashion show, activists entered Nieman Marcus and spoke out about the cruelty behind the fur products being sold there. The action comes on the heels of fur bans in West Hollywood, San Francisco and Los Angeles. A bill to ban fur sales statewide is being considered in the California assembly (AB 44).
The Newsom administration on May 2 shelved the plan to build twin Delta Tunnels — and announced it will start a renewed environmental review for a single Delta Tunnel to facilitate the export of northern California water to San Joaquin agribusiness and Southern California Water agencies. The announcement marks the end of the twin tunnels project that Arnold Schwarzenegger began in 2007, itself a revival of the peripheral canal plan that the voters overwhelmingly rejected in the November 1982 election. After beginning his third term as Governor, Jerry Brown continued to pursue the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as it was called, until it was renamed the California WaterFix in 2015.
Mon May 6 2019 (Updated 05/09/19)
Support Grows for the California Act to Save Lives
Hundreds of police accountability activists and family members who have lost loved ones to police violence traveled to the Capitol Building in Sacramento on April 9 to show their support for AB392. In a huge milestone for limiting the ability of police to kill at will, the California Act to Save Lives (AB 392) passed in the State Assembly Public Safety Committee by a 5-2 vote. The bill heads to the Rules Committee and then a full Assembly vote. On May 7, the Oakland City Council approved a resolution in support of AB 392.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Fish Conservancy sued the Trump administration in April for mismanaging West Coast salmon fisheries and harming critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That orca population has dropped to just 75 individuals, mostly because declining salmon runs have left them without enough to eat. The National Marine Fisheries Service responded by committing to expanded designation of critical habitat off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Schubert announced that she will not pursue criminal charges against the murderers of Stephon Clark on March 2. Outraged by the decision to not hold accountable Sacramento police officers Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal, the community protested and police mass arrested 84 people. But Stephon Clark is the name you know. There are at least ten other black and brown men that have been murdered by deputies and police under District Attorney Schubert's watch.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund sent cease and desist notices to California restaurants and retailers that appear to continue selling foie gras despite a state ban on the sale of this cruelly-produced “gourmet” delicacy made from the liver of a duck or goose. Over the past two months, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has received dozens of tips and reports from concerned citizens identifying California restaurants and retailers that appear to be flouting the foie gras law.
Sun Apr 28 2019 (Updated 05/04/19)
Earth Day in California Site of Creative Protests
A week before Earth Day was not too early for San Francisco activists with Extinction Rebellion who staged direct action designed to draw attention to the planet's peril. On April 15, they led a march and rally, shutting down 7th Street for close to two hours. Elsewhere in California there were Earth Day die-ins, dance demonstrations, and invitations to rethink waste and save trees. In Los Angeles protesters scaled the iconic globe outside Universal Studios; four people were charged with felonies.
Sun Mar 31 2019 (Updated 04/02/19)
Governor Newsom Suspends Death Penalty in California
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an order on March 13 putting a moratorium on California's death penalty, thus ordering a reprieve for the 737 people on death row. The action suspends any further executions in California as long as Newsom is governor. But only California voters can repeal the death penalty, which they narrowly rejected at the ballot in 2016. Newsom also ordered the immediate closure of the state's execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The order does not otherwise change any existing convictions or sentences — and will not lead to any death row inmates being released.
The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Bureau of Land Management over its refusal to provide public records of its plans new oil drilling and fracking along California’s Central Coast and in the Bay Area. The BLM has yet to publicly release the final plans, but earmarked for leasing are lands in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties. The Trump administration’s plans would end a six-year moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in California to oil companies.

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