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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.
On March 18, climate activists targeted the nation's fourth largest bank for protest, just in time to crash its annual founding day celebration. They seized the entire block of California Street between Montgomery and Sansome for three hours, shutting down a major entrance at Wells Fargo headquarters during that time. The action was the culmination of the March for Fossil Fuel Freedom that started in Palo Alto days earlier, a trek of hundreds forming a human billboard to demand Wells Fargo stop funding the fossil-fuel industry.
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.

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California Has Its Faults Michael Steinberg Mon Jul 22nd 3:52pm
California to Evaluate Curbing Oil, Gas Extraction Center for Biological Diversity Mon Jul 1st 12:07am
California Safe Schools Honors Earth Day Heroes Kathleen Ann Roesch Thu May 30th 8:18pm
US Aggession Against Iraq-The San Diego Connection Michael Steinberg (1 comment) Tue May 21st 5:43pm
Trump Administration Weakens Offshore Oil Well-control Rule Center for Biological Diversity Thu May 2nd 4:35pm
SoCal Nukes Still Causing Problems * Years After Shutdown Michael Steinberg (1 comment) Thu May 2nd 1:43pm
Homelessness in California: A Problem We Can Solve? Yannick McGhee Wed Apr 24th 8:51pm
When Nonviolent Movements are met with Violent Opposition Olivia Ivans (1 comment) Tue Apr 23rd 10:16am
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