Government & Elections News

Contribute by publishing to the newswire or calendar and selecting the topic "Government & Elections" Links | Upcoming Events | photoPhoto Gallery
Massive numbers of long-time Bay Area residents have been displaced over the last several years. Median rent in Oakland is now $3,000 a month. Heartless landlords are taking extreme measures to boost their own profits at the expense of tenants. For example, an East Palo Alto property owner and his son were arrested recently for a plot to push tenants out of rent-controlled units by destroying their property. Tenant advocates across the Bay Area urge voters to support the strong renter protections in Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View.
The Take Back Oakland Coalition is now gathering signatures to recall Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. On September 18, recall organizers handed out the first recall petitions all afternoon in front of Oakland City Hall. Primary among the objections to Schaaf are her inaction in the face of massive displacement of long-time residents, the deference she continues to show to the corrupt and murderous Oakland police department, and her failure to support local youth and job centers.
While previous attempts to reign in police seizures have failed in the California legislature, state lawmakers approved Senate Bill 443 in August with bipartisan support. On September 29, the bill limiting civil asset forfeiture abuse in California was signed into law, marking a victory for the larger asset forfeiture reform movement underway throughout the country. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017, requiring a conviction in most cases before state and local law enforcement agencies may permanently keep people’s property.
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 09/24/16)
Getting a Good Night's Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall
Presently the only location in downtown Santa Cruz where people on the street are able to sleep regularly as a group is at the weekly community sleepouts organized by the Freedom Sleepers. Homeless sweeps conducted by the Santa Cruz Police Department beginning in January of this year have for the most part cleared the downtown area of groups of people sleeping together in other locations, such as at the post office. Since July of 2015, the Freedom Sleepers have gathered to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness. September 20 marked the group's 63rd sleepout.
Wed Sep 21 2016 (Updated 09/25/16)
East Bay Cops Charged with Sex Crimes and Corruption
Recent reporting exposed widespread crimes, corruption, and coverups in the Oakland police department. As more and more came to light about Oakland police sexually abusing and trafficking a teenage girl since she was a minor, community activists issued demands, protests turned up on OPD's doorstep, and calls for accountability came from all quarters. In this environment, it became untenable for Alameda County District Attorney O'Malley to do nothing. O'Malley has now charged five cops for the sexual exploitation of a teenager and related corruption. Two more are yet to be charged.
Sat Sep 10 2016 (Updated 10/01/16)
Three Federal Agencies Block Dakota Access Pipeline
On September 9, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota. Minutes later, the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior issued a joint statement announcing a temporary halt to work on the pipeline. Actions in support of the Water protectors continue to be held across California in response to the global call for solidarity by the Standing Rock protest camps for September 3-17.
The official campaign kick-off party for Yes on Measure Z, to ban fracking in Monterey County, will be held in Salinas on Saturday, September 10. A rally will be held in addition to the grand opening of the campaign's new headquarters, which is located in the heart of Salinas on Main Street. Measure Z made it to the November ballot as the result of months of work by volunteers with Protect Monterey County, a group working to safe-guard local water supplies and protect the county's agricultural production.
On August 22, Maria Magdalena Rodriguez and Teodoro Valencia, the parents of Teo Valencia, 23, gathered at the Federal Courthouse in Oakland to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Newark and the Newark police officer, Conrad Rogers, who shot Teo Valencia to death on March 11, 2016. Teo was shot in the back with an AR-15. Family attorney Dan Siegel said, “The only word for what the police officer did to Teodoro is murder.”
On August 11, the California Coastal Commission found by an 11-1 vote that the City of Santa Cruz' midnight to 5 PM RV (recreational vehicle) parking ban involved a "substantial issue" and so would require a new hearing in the months to come. The CCC was not convinced by Assistant City Manager Scott Collins's claims that Santa Cruz provides RV alternatives, is dealing with an RV "crime crisis", and is only duplicating what other cities have done.
In the wake of the Chinatown homeless sweeps that displaced hundreds of people in downtown Salinas in March of this year, a small but thriving tent community has established itself at Salinas City Hall, where a group has been camping out every night for over four months. An anti-camping ordinance was recently passed by the Salinas City Council that allows for the city to quickly remove "bulky items" stored on public property, and outlaws setting up tents on public property between the hours of 6am and 6pm.
The Freedom Sleepers celebrated their one-year anniversary together on July 5 with a march through downtown Santa Cruz, and then an outdoor movie screening at Santa Cruz City Hall. After celebrating their one-year anniversary, the Freedom Sleepers have returned to Santa Cruz City Hall for three more sleepouts. The most recent was their 55th community sleepout on July 26. Since July 4 of 2015, a coalition of unhoused and housed community members in Santa Cruz have converged to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness.
Thousands are marching for Bernie Sanders' platform at the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia. On July 24, San Francisco activists held a protest in solidarity with demonstrators at the DNC as part of a national day of action, "March for Bernie USA." Marchers gathered in the Mission district cheered and shouted when they heard breaking news from one of the rally leaders that Wasserman Schultz would be resigning as party leader. Bernie Sanders and supporters have long been critical of Wasserman Schultz for not playing a neutral role during the Democratic primaries.
In front of Oakland City Hall on July 11, Leigh Davenport of the Anti Police-Terror Project announced community activists' intention to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf. Primary among the concerns cited as cause for Schaaf's removal from office are her failures: 1) to address the massive displacement of long-time Oakland residents; 2) to support local youth and job centers; and 3) to hold Oakland police accountable for corruption, sexual exploitation, and those they've killed. “The level of discontent is high in the City of Oakland," notes Cat Brooks.
On July 6, activists in Sacramento held a vigil memorializing the 47 people killed in Canada in the Lac-Mégantic Disaster three years ago. The Sacramento Oil Trains Coalition, including 350 Sacramento, ANSWER, Sac Activist School, and STAND, organized the event. The Central Valley rally and vigil was one of over 40 actions the same week across the U.S. demanding a halt to plans to run these explosive “bomb trains,” carrying fracked Bakken crude oil from South Dakota, through cities across the nation.
UPDATE: The City Council voted to put the Police Commission on the ballot (now known as Measure LL), but went with the weakest language for any elements of the proposal that faced opposition from police, labor unions, or the mayor.

A November 2016 ballot measure for a new Oakland Police Commission was expected to be finalized and approved by the Oakland City Council at their meeting on July 19. Instead, it will be July 26. The measure, originally proposed by the Coalition for Police Accountability and since taken up by the City Council, continues to be watered down and faces new threats from the City Attorney and the Oakland Police Officers' Association (OPOA). Community groups are calling for Oakland residents to turn out in large numbers at City Hall to stand up and demand strong police accountability.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
The Anti Police-Terror Project has issued a call-out for all police officers ready to speak up about illegal, unethical or biased conduct by members of the Oakland Police Department or other City staff or officials to take a stand now. Their legal team at the Siegel & Yee law firm has created a hotline to call to report such conduct and can provide legal advice for those who may face retaliation, protecting whistleblower anonymity.
In April, the BART Board passed a law making it illegal to occupy two seats during rush hour on a BART train. The law was not to take effect until the BART police presented their implementation strategy. At the most recent BART Board meeting on June 23, BART police presented how they intend to enforce the new law. Fines of up to $500 will ensure that those least able to afford it become debtors, potentially subjecting violators to criminal warrants and further harrassment. Longtime BART director Joel Keller admitted he wants police to target the homeless.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
2PM Saturday Nov 5 Lies, Bribes, and Elections
7PM Wednesday Dec 14 Sarah Jaffe
Aromas - San Juan School Officials: Remove Shredded Tire Mulch from Playgrounds Play It Safe Aromas and San Juan (1 comment) Monday Oct 24th 12:18 PM
We Have a Right to Exist First They Came for the Homeless & JP Massar Monday Oct 24th 8:19 AM
Proposition 57: A Vote For Justice Steve Pleich Sunday Oct 23rd 10:24 AM
Stop police violence in Santa Cruz Free SANTA CRUZ (1 comment) Saturday Oct 22nd 9:52 PM
Big Money Funds Yes on Measure D Campaign in Santa Cruz County via Widening Won't Work Thursday Oct 20th 6:32 PM
More Local News...
[ × close ]
ACLU Urges Justice Department to Investigate Police Use of Face Recognition American Civil Liberties Union Sunday Oct 23rd 11:45 PM
Philippines: Duterte’s first 100 days Akbayan (Citizens Action Party) Friday Oct 21st 4:04 AM
The Surveillance State Descends on the Dakota Access Pipeline Spirit Camp via ACLU of North Dakota Tuesday Oct 11th 4:14 PM
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will continue fight against pipeline despite court setback via Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Tuesday Oct 11th 3:02 AM
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman's Statement Following U.S. Court of Appeals Hearing via Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wednesday Oct 5th 2:57 PM
Puerto Rico Oversight Board Holds First Meeting Greg Williams Thursday Sep 29th 7:50 AM
New Report: Biased International Observers Failed Haiti in 2015 National Lawyers Guild Tuesday Sep 27th 5:34 PM
More Global News...
[ × close ]
The proclaiming of Clinton mil Monday Oct 24th 12:19 AM
Capitalistic Way of US-elections mil Saturday Oct 22nd 5:42 AM
What Narcissists Have Done to Our Jobs and Health Paul Buchheit (2 comments) Tuesday Oct 18th 4:52 AM
Obama Preparing for Hillary to Wage War on Russia? repost Saturday Oct 15th 9:33 PM
2016 Presidential Party Debates Halloween Costumes Tomas DiFiore Wednesday Oct 5th 8:42 AM
Jill Stein on Twitter Answers Clinton-Trump "Debate" Questions Register Peace & Freedom or Green (1 comment) Monday Sep 26th 6:13 PM
Open Up The Debates - Petition The Commission: Deadline 09262016 Tomas DiFiore Saturday Sep 24th 10:33 AM
Both Trump & Clinton Have Ties to Epstein's Pedo Island Amanda Prestigiacomo (Daily Wire) Tuesday Sep 6th 9:46 AM
Open Newswire...
[ × close ]