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On January 19, at women's marches throughout the Bay Area, the focus was on unity rather than the rift in the national group. Optimism was abundant despite a slight decrease in attendance over last year. The marches were not without critics who cited a lack of attention to the plight of the underhoused and other issues effecting women. Unlike the city of New York where there were two separate marches, however, a spirit of solidarity ruled the day.
Wed Jan 16 2019 (Updated 02/19/19)
Get Up, Get Down! Oakland Is a Union Town
On January 12, several thousand teachers, students, staff and supporters marched and rallied in Oakland to defend public education and call for increased funding. The Oakland Education Association contract has expired and teachers are discussing striking in February. In Los Angeles on January 14, tens of thousands of teachers went on strike. Oakland teachers are promising a wildcat strike on Friday, January 18.
Sun Jan 13 2019 (Updated 01/16/19)
Delta Smelt on the Brink of Extinction
For the first time ever, a fish survey that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducts every autumn turned up zero Delta Smelt throughout the monitoring sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in the last four months of 2018. The Delta Smelt, listed under both federal and state Endangered Species Acts, is regarded as an indicator species, a fish that demonstrates the health of the entire Delta ecosystem.
Fri Jan 11 2019 (Updated 01/14/19)
DNA Testing May Save Kevin Cooper's Life
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1985. He has been on death row at San Quentin for decades. On December 24, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown ordered new DNA testing. Kevin Cooper responds: I am happy that we have finally “won” something from some entity in this state. But after learning what exactly outgoing Gov. Brown wrote... I am not as excited as I was at first, or should be.
Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, that reclaims what was lost during the African holocaust, the sense of an African connection. In California's Central Valley, Kwanzaa takes on special significance in the long standing African American farming community's journey to reestablish agriculture as the foundation of culture in the farm to fork capital of America.
US border authorities fired tear gas into a group of Central American asylum seekers on November 25. Shortly before the attack, over 200 people attended a rally in San Ysidro to support the caravan migrants. The violence of the attack is being condemned worldwide. In Northern California, protests were held on November 25 in San Francisco; November 26 in Palo Alto; December 1 in Oakland, El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz; and December 2 in San José.
A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to cease issuing permits for offshore fracking and acidizing in federal waters — waters over 3 miles from shore — off of the coast of Southern California. On November 9, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ruled that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed hydraulic fracturing and acidizing in offshore oil and gas wells in all leased federal waters off Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
On November 16, Forest Defenders in Humboldt County took to the trees on forestland owned by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), California's most massive clear cutter and largest landowner. They are defending old growth and mature trees on a timber plan very close to where they have been defending forests on Humboldt Redwood Company land. Activists are calling attention to corporate logging of large, fire-resistant trees, damage to water quality, and other destructive environmental impacts.
Wed Nov 14 2018 (Updated 12/01/18)
Fire Season of 2018 Brings Historic Devastation
California anxiously awaited the first winter rains, seeking reprieve from the notoriously destructive "fire season" of 2018. In the Northern California Camp Fire, 88 people are reported dead and hundreds remain missing. The fire destroyed virtually the entire town of Paradise. Firefighter radio transmissions suggest that PG&E could be to blame. In Southern California, the massive Woolsey Fire started on the grounds of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the site of a partial nuclear meltdown, and area residents are concerned about contaminates. With heavy rains finally beginning on November 21, the wildfires are now either mostly contained or fully extinguished, and the hazardous air quality the fires created throughout the state has been cleared.
Sun Nov 4 2018 (Updated 11/08/18)
The Rent Is Too Damn High
UPDATE 11/8: While millions of ballots remain uncounted in California, it appears Prop 10 was defeated.

Grassroots activists have been campaigning hard for the Affordable Housing Act, a ballot initiative to repeal California’s Costa Hawkins state law and return control of rental housing law to local jurisdictions. Several localities have promised to act rapidly should Proposition 10 pass. But real estate interests have spent over $70 million to defeat Prop 10. Should it not pass on November 6, housing rights activists remain committed to pushing for rent control and other tenant protections locally and statewide in the future. Nationwide, a new movement has been inspired by California's efforts.
On October 19, the United Nations Special Rapporteur to the Right to Adequate Housing, Lelani Farha, released her new report documenting the “global scandal” of homeless encampments. In January of 2017, Farha spent time in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California to meet with unhoused residents and housed advocates and described the conditions as "cruel and inhuman." The only U.S. cities explicitly called out for violations in the UN’s report on global homelessness are San Francisco and Oakland.
UPDATE 9/18: Governor Brown signs AB-2178 into law.

The California Assembly and Senate have passed AB-2178, which would impose new restrictions on individuals and community groups like Food Not Bombs that share free meals. Volunteer groups feeding the poor and homeless pose little food safety risk. These grassroots groups have operated for decades and follow strong private food safety practices. They fill a critical gap that the state itself struggles to address.
Fri Aug 31 2018 (Updated 09/10/18)
Demanding an End to Modern Day Slavery
Prisoners in at least 17 states are coordinating sit-ins, hunger strikes, work stoppages and commissary boycotts from August 21 until September 9 — the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising. At New Folsom Prison, a hunger strike started by Heriberto Garcia on August 21 has grown. On August 25, around 500 activists turned out for a solidarity rally at San Quentin Prison.
Despite California’s image as a “green” and “progressive” leader, there has been a massive expansion of oil and gas drilling in the state under Governor Jerry Brown — and most of these new wells are located in communities with above average poverty rates and/or communities of color. On August 7, 35 youths held a sit-in at Governor Jerry Brown’s office demanding a plan to phase out oil and gas extraction.
The state agency charged with regulating California’s pesticide industry allows manufacturers to make up their own usage rules, continues to allow a brain-damaging chemical to be used on food crops, is slow to hold applicators accountable when workers are poisoned, and routinely ignores community input in its rulemaking process. That’s according to the California Environmental Justice Alliance’s 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment.

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Democratic Party Delegate Elections al Thu Jan 24th 7:21pm
Matunda Ya Kwanzaa Khubaka, Michael Harris Mon Dec 10th 9:37pm
Police training and Mental Illness Samantha H. Thu Dec 6th 10:29am
Did California Fire Spread Radioactive Fallout? Michael Steinberg Fri Nov 30th 4:14pm
DPR Recommends Interim Restrictions on Use of Chlorpyrifos Charlotte Fadipe Thu Nov 15th 11:10am
11/9/18 Choking Smoke in SF from No. Cal Fire Smoke In My Eyes Fri Nov 9th 2:34am
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