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Joel Block writes: Clearly, there is a split in the California State Party, which reflects the split in the National Party since the beginning of Bernie Sanders' campaign and even earlier. The current issue splitting the California Party is over who won the recent Party Chair election at the State Convention in Sacramento, May 19-21. Everyone agrees the California State Convention Chair election between "insider" Eric Bauman and "outsider" Kimberly Ellis was extremely close. No official election vote report was made to the Convention Delegates. The ongoing informal "ballot review/audit" process to resolve the election and the challenges is clearly not working to unite the Party.
On Thirteenth Street in front of the Sacramento Convention Center where the Democratic Convention was being held on May 20, a group of activists held a mock “tug of war" between the people of California and the oil industry for the loyalty of Governor Jerry Brown. The skit depicted the contradiction between Jerry Brown the “climate leader,” who appeals to his Democratic base by preaching against climate change and for green energy, and the other guy, “Big Oil Brown,” who supports the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the Delta Tunnels — and has received millions in contributions from the oil and energy industries.
Tue May 30 2017 (Updated 05/31/17)
Fuck Trump at the Oakland Coliseum
From the open-publishing newswire: Don the Con has admitted to obstructing justice, and he should be impeached. We tried to project just that on a billboard next to Oracle Coliseum, after a Warriors game (victory!). IMPEACH didn't fit the sign as well as Fuck Trump. As fireworks went up so did the chant, "Fuck Trump! Fuck Trump!" Security noticed. A policewoman asked us to leave, and we packed up. As we were on our way out, we were surrounded and seized by coliseum security. Some of us were handcuffed. Our projector tripod was broken. The coliseum security did not wear badges and refused to give their names.
At a meeting between representatives of the Santa Cruz chapter of ACLU of Northern California; Sanctuary Santa Cruz; Peace United Church of Christ and the Public Defender’s Office on April 19, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart was presented evidence of the ongoing arrangement whereby the Sheriff’s Office notifies ICE of release dates of arrested but non-convicted undocumented locals. When confronted with this evidence Hart confirmed the jail policy of cooperation and agreed to consider the information presented to him about other jurisdictions who refused to cooperate with ICE. At a meeting on May 10, however, Hart said that he would not change Santa Cruz County's jail policy.
A new study released by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Paying More for Being Poor: Bias and Disparity in California’s Traffic Court System, shows that Californians pay some of the highest fines and fees in the country — more than three times the national average for running a red light. And new Bay Area data reveals that African-Americans are four to sixteen times more likely to be booked into county jail on a charge related to inability to pay a citation. Two bills before the California Legislature (SB 185 and AB 412) seek to address many of the disparities
Wed May 17 2017 (Updated 05/19/17)
The Poverty, Politics and Profit of Section 8 Housing
More than 2 million families now use Section 8 vouchers to keep from becoming homeless. It's the government's largest program to help low-income families pay their rent. However Section 8 housing proposals face stiff opposition in cities across the US, including the McKinney and Frisco suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Nicole Humphrey, an opponent, proclaimed, "In this neighborhood, most of us are stay-at-home moms with young kids. The lifestyle that goes with Section 8 is usually working, single moms or people who are struggling to keep their heads above water. It's just not people who are the same class as us."
Defund OPD writes: The process of allocating Oakland’s 2.6 billion dollar budget for 2017-2019 has begun. We believe that the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional Oakland Police Department consumes far too many of our city's resources. It’s time to audit police spending and performance, and redirect wasted funds to community-building, constructive strategies for making Oakland a safer and better place to live. The people of Oakland know that policing is the wrong framework for bringing true security to our communities. Oakland’s budget needs to reflect our values and our priorities.
Fri May 5 2017 (Updated 05/16/17)
Reclaim Our Democracy from the Oil Industry
California is often portrayed as the nation's “green leader,” but the reality is much different. Over the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, the oil industry spent a historic $36.1 million to lobby California lawmakers. During the last six years, the industry has spent $122 million in Sacramento, more than any other interest group. “This spending spree has paid huge dividends for these companies, allowing them to dismantle and crush any meaningful legislation that might significantly curb their power to drill and pollute in California,” said David Braun of Rootskeeper. Braun urged people to join a diverse array of activists on Saturday, May 20 for a march and rally in Sacramento.
The City of Santa Cruz is considering a number of new policies that would impact local homeless people. There is an effort by a handful of property owners and their allies at City Hall to end the Food Not Bombs meals outside the downtown Post Office. Officials may implement a number of new restrictions and architectural changes to make the lives of those without housing more painful. One unhoused person, Greg Mercado, died of complications from an old surgery twelve hours after the police kicked him out from the City Hall grounds and gave him a ticket for being in a park after hours.
Wed Apr 19 2017 (Updated 04/20/17)
The End of Money Bail in California?
California warehouses thousands of people in jails while they await their court dates — simply because they can’t afford to post bail. Meanwhile, wealthy people can easily buy their freedom. Research shows that Black people are assigned higher bail amounts than white people accused of similar offenses. People who can’t post bail are at a higher risk of being convicted, pleading guilty (even if they’re innocent), and receiving harsher sentences. The California Money Bail Reform Act, however, will create a system that prioritizes pretrial services and prevents people from being held in jail simply because they can't make bail.
Tue Apr 18 2017 (Updated 04/23/17)
Tax Day Protests Demand Trump Release His Taxes
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would release his taxes, but that he couldn't until a supposed IRS audit concluded. Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, despite mounting questions regarding conflicts of interest and how much he might be beholden to those representing foreign powers such as Russian oligarchs. Protesters gathered in over 150 cities on April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline, to demand that Trump release his taxes. In Northern California, Tax Day protests were held in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and other cities.
Thu Apr 20 2017 (Updated 04/24/17)
Cops Boot Santa Cruz Homeless Folks to the Curb
Keith McHenry reports: On April 17, the police came and kicked people out from under the Santa Cruz City Hall awning into the pouring rain during a very severe storm. On April 18, following a community meeting at the public library on solutions to homelessness, library staff shared that city manager Martin Bernal was making several changes, including the removal of the benches outside the library and the stationing of two police officers. After the meeting, members of the Freedom Sleepers gathered at City Hall to plan a march on Tuesday, May 9 with the message “Housing For All — No Penalty For Poverty.”
Fishery scientists are expecting a record low return of fall-run Chinook salmon to the Klamath River this year, due to a combination of several years of drought, water diversions in the Klamath Basin and to the Sacramento River and the continued presence of the PacifiCorp dams. Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen are currently waiting for the decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on the fishing seasons at its meeting in Sacramento on April 10, but the outlook is dismal, based on the low Klamath salmon estimates.
Left wing activists, in partnership with tech employees, staged a rally against White House policies on March 14 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in Palo Alto. The demonstration was attended by hundreds of people. Speakers at the four hour "Tech Stands Up" rally called for inclusion, diversity, and civil liberties. Tech Stands Up is an organization of people in the tech world who object to the Trump administration’s alt-right policies, and wants tech company leaders to speak out against the White House's discriminatory actions.
About 500 people participated in the Sanctuary for All march in downtown Fresno on February 18. In their call out for the march, organizers wrote: This is the first of many responses to our Mayor’s press conference. Our undocumented community is telling us that they DO NOT feel safe after the press conference. Our county Sheriff continues a close partnership with ICE. We are committed to a Fresno culture that emphasizes the dignity and safety of every Fresnan. We will show that Fresno is a sanctuary community, and communicate to our elected officials that we expect policies and structures that represent our values!
The Trump administration this week granted requests from Gov. Jerry Brown's regulators to exempt three aquifers in California's Kern County from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Approval of these "aquifer exemption" applications by the Environmental Protection Agency gives oil companies permission to dump contaminated waste fluid into these underground water supplies. California officials plan to submit dozens of additional exemption applications for other aquifers across the state, including underground water sources in Alameda, Monterey, Ventura, Kern and other counties.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
The Great Trump Show Daniel Leisegang (3 comments) Sunday Jun 11th 3:52 PM
Pence as president could be worse than Trump Anti-capitalist Monday Jun 5th 12:20 PM
G7: Famine, Debt and Corruption Abby Wilhelm Friday May 26th 2:25 PM
UN Forum Focuses on Financing for Development Goals Abby Wilhelm Tuesday May 23rd 9:25 AM
Section 8 Vouchers Help The Poor — But Only If Housing Is Available Laura Sullivan & Meg Anderson / NPR Wednesday May 17th 10:54 AM
Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Process Begins Abby Wilhelm Tuesday May 16th 3:26 PM
Nicole Humphrey, 'Not Racist or Bigot,' on Class and Section 8 Housing FRONTLINE in Dallas, TX (17 comments) Wednesday May 10th 5:14 PM
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