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The farm worker movement mourns the passing on June 7, 2015, of Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, who played a key role with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the farm worker movement and on behalf of many other worthy causes over seven decades. Sal was motivated by deep faith in a movement grounded in the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has become viral on social media and national and international media websites over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations during the state’s record drought.

At the protests, activists delivered 515,000 signatures from people in California and around the nation who signed onto a series of petitions to Nestlé executives, Governor Brown, the California State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Forest Service urging an immediate shutdown of Nestlé’s bottling operations across the state.

Led by the California-based Courage Campaign, the protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year. The first two protests were "shut downs" this March and last October organized by the Crunch Nestlé Alliance.

photoRead More | photoPhoto essay of protest against Nestlé in Sacramento

Previous Related Indybay Feature: Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
Homeless and Allies in Tulare Organize for Change A group of about 100 homeless people and their supporters attended the Tulare City Council meeting on April 21 calling for specific changes in public policy. The group, which delivered a petition signed by over 1,000 residents, called for improvements in the way homeless people are treated by the police, a safe place to sleep and equal rights. The Union of Hope in Tulare filled the City Council chambers with an overflow crowd. There was standing room only. This was the statement they delivered to the mayor and council members:

We thank you for this opportunity to address this issue that we want to bring to your attention. The issue is the poor treatment of houseless people here and the lack of a long term solution to the problem in this beautiful city. According to the Homeless Central California Area Social Services Consortium 2015 there are 595 houseless persons in our County, and in our city of Tulare there are 100. We find it deplorable that three houseless persons have died already this year, and Raul Galegos encountered a houseless mother with her 8-month-old child who were both as cold as ice. The houseless have reported being assaulted, having bones broken, and their belongings taken. These people are residents of Tulare and as such deserve to have access to shelter and provisions in their time of need. They deserve to be protected and not assaulted. They are human beings and they need to have access to emergency shelter in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It is time to stop kicking this particular can down the road. The houseless need solutions, not a cold shoulder.

photoRead More
Stewart Resnick Expands Almond Acreage as Cities Forced to Slash Water Use A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent.

“While farmers make their own decisions on what to plant, the public is paying the price for poor decisions made by greedy mega-growers, who plant permanent crops where there is no water,” Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, told reporters in a news conference about the “tunnels only” version of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that Governor Jerry Brown is now pushing. “That is not sustainable and the tunnels would subsidize unsustainable agriculture.”

Barrigan-Parrilla said Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, uses as much water for his almonds as the amount of water 38 million Californians are now required to conserve. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.

Read More: photoStewart Resnick expands almond acreage as cities forced to slash water use | photoGovernor Brown's drought order lets agribusiness, oil companies off the hook | photoDrought legislation must target agribusiness and Big Oil | photoDrought Shows Folly of Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels | photoWill drought relief money be used to support overpumping Delta water? | photoHouse Passes Salmon-Killing Drought Relief Bill | photoFeinstein delays controversial drought legislation until next year | photoFeinstein's fish-killing drought bill being negotiated in secrecy | photoMeet the Resnicks, the Koch Brothers of California Water | photoBrown fails to discuss wholesale draining of reservoirs in drought statement | photoBrown declares drought state of emergency as protesters urge halt to fracking

Previous Related Indybay Features: Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant | Steelhead Suffer From Emptying of Northern California Reservoirs | "Sucked Dry: Drought and Privatization" Art Show Shut Down by GMO Dean at UC Berkeley | 3 Billion Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Dumped into Central Valley Aquifers | Reducing Beef Intake by One Pound Saves More Water Than Not Showering for Six Months
In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on April 9 that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas. “Threats like habitat destruction from urbanization and agriculture are driving western pond turtles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer.
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant Holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” activists formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. Members of the “Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including ”We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.” The protesters stayed until about 1 pm, but there were no arrests.

Representatives of the alliance said the company is draining up to 80 million gallons of water a year from Sacramento aquifers during a record drought. They claim Sacramento City Hall has made it possible through a "corporate welfare giveaway."

“This corporate welfare giveaway is an outrage and warrants a major investigation,” Coalition spokesperson Andy Conn said. “For more than five months we have requested data on Nestlé water use. City Hall has not complied with our request, or given any indication that it will. Sacramentans deserve to know how their money is being spent and what they’re getting for it. In this case, they’re getting ripped off.”

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | Nestle Continues Stealing World's Water During Drought | California water restrictions must include Nestlé, Big Ag and Big Oil!

Previous Related Indybay Coverage: Nestle Fouling Our Nests | Stop the Privatization of Sacramento’s Water by Beverage Bottlers | Sacramento City Council tackles Nestle, water issues | Group Urges City Council to Stop Nestlé Raid on Sacramento Water | Nestle Announces Sacramento as Replacement for McCloud - Take Action | Nestle is out in Shasta! | Nestle on the Prowl - Poised to Steal Sacramento's Water | Nestle Waters & Westlands Irrigation District to Leverage “Evil Evil Economy of Scale” | Nestle Tries Another Foot in McCloud's Watershed Door | McCloud; Community Forum About Nestle Bottling | A Major Victory for the McCloud River: Nestlé Agrees to Rework EIR For Bottling Plant | Help put the brakes on Nestle's Water Bottling Plant! | Nestle corporation's after McCloud's aquifer agua | Water Cannot be Owned: Nestle Out of McCloud's Aquifer! | Save our Springs! No to Nestle!!
Pit River Tribe and Allies Rally to Protect Medicine Lake On March 12, the Pit River Tribe and their Native American and environmental allies optimistically left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco following oral arguments in their long legal battle to protect the Medicine Lake Highlands from geothermal destruction and desecration. The Pit River people, the lead defendants in the case, are fighting in court to defend the Highlands, known to them as “Saht Tit Lah," an area that has been used for healing, religious ceremonies and tribal gatherings for thousands of years.

Pit River, Wintun, Karuk, Shasta and Modoc Nations hold the Medicine Lake Highlands sacred, and have used the region for spiritual purposes for untold generations, according to Morning Star Gali of the Pit River Tribe. The Tribe and their supporters appeared at the hearing with their attorney, Deborah A. Sivas, Director of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, in the case of the Pit River Tribe vs. US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, & Calpine Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.

“Medicine Lake is a sacred place and it needs to be protected at all costs,” said Pit River Tribal Chairman Mickey Gemmill. “We’re trying to preserve our culture and Medicine Lake is part of the beginning of our people. If we allow these corporations to come in and frack, we could lose that chance to bring back that part of our culture. So we’re asking the Calpine Corporation to step back and leave the Medicine Lake Highlands alone.”

"The judges asked really good questions and we are optimistic about the outcome,” said Gali. “At one point Calpine said that nobody had the authority except for themselves to challenge the leases. This showed total disregard for the Tribe's utilization of the sacred lake and highlands for over 10,000 years."

Read More | Pit River Tribe | See Also: Indigenous Nations Rally to Protect Medicine Lake from Geothermal Desecration

Previous Coverage: Pit River Tribe Unanimously Resolves to Protect Medicine Lake Highlands
On February 8, the University of California Student Association, the independent official voice of 240,000 UC students, passed two advisory resolutions: Resolution Calling for the UC Regents to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights and Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California by an 9-1 vote, with 5 abstentions.
Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Benzene levels over 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water were found in fracking flowback fluid tests dating back to April 2014 obtained and analyzed by the Center. Benzene in excess of federal limits was found in 320 tests, and chromium-6 was detected 118 times. Both chemicals can cause cancer.
Wed Jan 14 2015 (Updated 01/15/15) Statewide Tour Urges Governor Brown to Stop Fracking
While Governor Jerry Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's abysmal neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians are convening January 12-18 as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking.
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Street Heat - June 2015 Mike Rhodes
Saturday Jun 27th 3:40 PM
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan Forges Ahead Dan Bacher (1 comment)
Monday Jun 22nd 9:40 AM
Pacfic Fisher Recommended for California Endangered Species Act Protection Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Jun 19th 5:25 PM
Hearing on Mistreated Mother Pigs at State Fair via Animal Legal Defense Fund
Friday Jun 19th 5:00 PM
Conditions Improve for Stockton Animals After Animal Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit via Animal Legal Defense Fund
Friday Jun 12th 5:14 PM
More Local News...
Bells Across the Land: Sesquicentennial Celebration of Freedom khubaka, michael harris
Wednesday Feb 25th 11:30 AM
Forest Service Agrees to Reconsider Wilderness Protection in Los Padres National Forest Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Oct 24th 6:50 PM
Court Upholds Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban Center for Biological Diversity
Tuesday Sep 30th 5:38 PM
Urban Agriculture ~ U.S. Census of Agriculture 2017 khubaka, michael harris
Saturday Sep 13th 5:57 AM
Big Oil Permanently Poisons 2 Million Gallons of California Water Each Day Californians Against Fracking
Sunday Aug 17th 3:29 AM
Lawsuit Launched to Halt Destruction of 14,000 Acres of Condor Habitat at Tejon Ranch Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Jul 18th 1:50 PM
2014 World Maritime Day ~ ALC ~ Congressional Black Caucus Weekend Khubaka, Michael Harris (1 comment)
Sunday Jun 29th 8:28 PM
A Farm Worker Union Emerging in Whatcom and Skagit Counties repost from karani
Saturday Jun 28th 7:49 AM
More Global News...
Valley's green vision marred by ignorance? Christine Kroll
Saturday Mar 28th 9:37 AM
African, Wampanoag, and Scottish ~ Rev. Jeremiah Burke Sanderson Khubaka, Michael Harris
Wednesday Feb 18th 10:45 PM
Activists Flood California Capitol with Calls for Investigation of Court Sex Trafficking Child Protection Network (1 comment)
Sunday Dec 14th 9:45 PM
Statement on Gov. Brown’s Remarks at the UN Climate Summit via Californians Against Fracking
Thursday Sep 25th 5:26 PM
Yoga at the California State Capitol ~ National Yoga Month 2014 Khubaka, Michael Harris
Friday Sep 12th 8:36 PM
Serious Drought May Uncover Authentic California Gold Rush History khubaka, michael harris
Thursday Jul 31st 9:12 AM
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