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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.
A coalition of local and community groups hosted a town hall in the East Bay town of Rodeo on March 7, drawing over 150 people to discuss the risks of a proposal by Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo to bring in more oil tankers and process more heavy crude oil like tar sands. The tar sands expansion proposal would impact local health and the climate by increasing refinery emissions and worsening air quality for nearby communities while also increasing tanker traffic and the risk of a devastating oil spill in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Thu Mar 14 2019 (Updated 03/20/19)
San Francisco Bay Area Says Hands Off Venezuela
Venezuela has been in the crosshairs of the U.S. since 1999 when Hugo Chávez began implementing socialist reforms. Upon Chávez's death in 2013, Nicolás Maduro was elected President. Maduro's second inauguration was on January 10, 2019. On January 22, U.S. Vice President Pence offered Juan Guaidó the presidency of Venezuela and Guaidó then appointed himself "Interim President." Trump recognized the self-appointment, in effect instigating a coup against the Bolivarian government. Several protests and marches have been held in the Bay Area to demand the U.S. take its "Hands Off Venezuela." On March 16, thousands marched in D.C.
UPDATE 2/26: County Leaders Dump “Urban Shield” Name, Adopt Vast Majority of Committee Recommendations

An Alameda County task force recommended Urban Shield be transformed from a highly militarized SWAT competition and weapons expo into a community-focused safety exercise. The Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies are expected to push back hard when the recommendations come to a vote on Tuesday, February 26. Urban Shield opponents say a large "Stop Urban Shield" presence at the meeting is important, but that you can also reach out to Supervisors and tell them not to buckle to the pressure.
Wed Feb 20 2019 (Updated 03/10/19)
Oakland Teachers Shut It Down
UPDATE 3/3: Oakland Education Association members vote to ratify new contract with OUSD, return to work on 3/4.

Oakland teachers are the lowest paid teachers in Alameda County. Students are under-resourced with only one academic counselor per 600 students and 21 nurses for all 37,000 students. Oakland teachers are demanding smaller class sizes, more student support, a moratorium on charters, no more school closures, and a living wage. To fight for those goals, teachers went on strike city-wide on Thursday, February 21. There are morning and afternoon picket lines every weekday. Teachers and allies request folks to join them on the line and show solidarity at mid-day rallies.
Mon Feb 18 2019 (Updated 03/11/19)
Irish Bill Banning Israeli Settlement Goods Passes
The lower house of the Irish parliament passed a bill preventing the importation or sale of goods from Israeli settlements on January 24. The law would "make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances." Conversely, the U.S. Senate passed a bill on February 5 which included the "Combating BDS Act of 2019" that would allow state and local governments to sanction those who support the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement.
Mon Feb 18 2019 (Updated 02/20/19)
Civil Rights Violations Never End with Vallejo Police
Since 2003, Vallejo has paid out at least $10.1 million related to police misconduct. And the civil rights violations keep piling up. On January 22, Adrian Burrell was assaulted by Vallejo police while video recording a traffic stop. On February 9, six Vallejo police officers shot Willie McCoy to death after they found him asleep in a Taco Bell drive-through. Family members and allies touched by the death of Willie McCoy gathered outside the Taco Bell where he was killed to remember him and protest the police on February 16 and 17.
Mon Jan 14 2019 (Updated 02/17/19)
Trump Shutdown Increasingly Harms Low-Income Renters
UPDATE Jan 25: Hours after staffing shortages forced LaGuardia Airport to cancel all incoming flights, Trump agreed to end the shutdown for 3 weeks.

As a result of Trump's government shutdown 70,000 to 85,000 low-income households already face possible higher rents or eviction. By the end of January, the shutdown will affect another 30,000 to 40,000 low-income households. If the shutdown continues past February millions of public housing and Section 8 renters will be placed at risk of higher rents or eviction because HUD does not have any funding to cover those programs in March.
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.
January 1, 2019, marked ten years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. A number of news pieces have been produced to commemorate the anniversary, but it's rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for efforts of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice. Thousands of people raised their voices for justice for Oscar Grant.
The "Green New Deal" is a proposed program for moving America quickly away from a climate catastrophe and into an ecologically sustainable future, simultaneously creating millions of new jobs and addressing economic inequality. On December 11, the Sunrise Movement of young people demonstrated at Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco office. The day before, over 100 protesters were arrested at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office had drones on the scene for many high-profile protests in Berkeley and on the University of California Berkeley campus throughout 2017, at the request of the Berkeley and UC police departments. The Contra Costa County Sheriff deployed drones over immigrant rights rallies outside the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, which houses detainees for ICE.
The polling place at the Unitarian Universalist church was eliminated in November because of a “Black Lives Matter” sign. It was moved to the Cross City evangelical Christian mega church with three huge crosses out front. The 25,000 students of CSU-Fresno do not have a polling place on campus. Two thirds of the 3,000 inmates at the Fresno County Jail have not been convicted of a crime, yet are not provided a polling booth either.
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.
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.

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