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Sat May 2 2020 (Updated 05/06/20)
Dueling May Day Protests at SF City Hall
A coalition of activists marked May Day with demands to cancel rent, mortgage and utility payments for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic with a car caravan at San Francisco city hall, and also counter-protested against a simultaneous Republican-sponsored demonstration to "open" up the economy. Republicans want to resume economic activity as soon as possible in an attempt to salvage the reelection of Trump, wrapping their intentions in American flags and slogans of "freedom" and "liberty."
On April 19, San Francisco's Refuse Fascism joined nationwide demonstrations that dumped body bags at Federal locations and Trump properties. People arrived in cars at the Federal building at one o'clock and then laid out "body bags" on the sidewalk. Activists read out their demands. "We recognize the Trump/Pence regime, with its opposition to science and its fascist program now poses an even greater danger to humanity due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
On April 11, Oakland Black Housing Union mobilized a caravan of 100 cars for a mobile march demanding housing for unsheltered individuals during the COVID-19 emergency, protesting the lack of urgency from local governments to protect those who cannot shelter indoors. The action also highlighted the disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases in Black communities. Moms4Housing and ACCE joined to lead the car rally.
On April 3, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and after a nine-month moratorium on new fracking operations, California's Department of Conservation approved 24 new fracking permits in Kern County, the center of the oil industry in California. Fracking opponents strongly condemned the approval of new fracking permits at a time that the state is virtually shut down, and people are dying everyday from the COVID-19 virus.
While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates public health measures to reduce the impact of the virus on our communities and health care systems, the National Lawyers Guild urges vigilance and resistance to authoritarian and violent tendencies. Emergency powers often criminalize movement, freedom of expression, protest, and oppressed communities. Even though the state has severely restricted the right to assemble, people still find creative ways to protest.
While California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered residents to shelter in place because of the COVID-19 virus, local Bay Area law enforcement agencies are continuing to expand their powers and resources. On March 24, the Vallejo City Council voted unanimously to purchase a cell site simulator for the Vallejo Police Department. On Tuesday, March 31, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to vote on a surprise $85 million additional budget allocation for Sheriff Department staff at Santa Rita Jail.
Demanding action for homeless families at higher risk from coronavirus, homeless and housing insecure families successfully moved into six vacant, state-owned properties in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles on March 14, with scores of community supporters coming out in support. In the next few days, similar families reclaimed more houses, with thirteen providing shelter now. CalTrans owns the houses, and activists estimate that nearly 200 sit vacant.
Sat Mar 21 2020 (Updated 03/26/20)
California on Coronavirus Lockdown
California residents have been ordered to "stay at home" to suppress the spread of COVID-19. Stringent mitigation measures mean millions are without an income. Students face the possibility of going hungry. Curbside communities and incarcerated persons are especially at risk for contracting the virus. The stress and isolation of the pandemic take a toll on mental health. Not waiting for government action, people are stepping up with mutual aid efforts to assist those most in need.
Thu Mar 12 2020 (Updated 03/22/20)
COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Most Vulnerable Populations
The World Health Organization officially named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. As of that date, over 128,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and 4,717 people have died (updated statistics). Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, the immunocompromised, the prison population, people who are experiencing homelessness, and hospital workers who have a high likelihood of exposure to the contagious virus as they care for the public health.
Santa Cruz City Councilmember Drew Glover faces attack after attack by City Staff and other City Councilmembers. Several members of the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women (CPVAW) have continued their attacks on Glover by filing a complaint on behalf of former CPVAW Commissioner Kevin Grossman, regarding a Facebook post by Glover. Also, Councilmembers Donna Meyers and Martine Watkins are continuing to seek Drew's censure, even after a video has circulated clearly showing Councilmember Meyers screaming at Councilmember Glover and pounding her fist loudly on the council dais.
On February 28, the Westlands Water District signed a permanent water repayment contract with the Bureau of Reclamation to provide Central Valley Water Project water in perpetuity to the growers in the powerful, politically-connected water district on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, stated, “At a time of unprecedented climate changes and droughts we should not be circumventing the law and promising by federal contract far more water than actually exists to one large irrigation group at the expense of others.”
Thu Feb 27 2020 (Updated 02/29/20)
Saranap Development Will Destroy Old-Growth Oak Trees
On February 25, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors doomed an old-growth grove of oak trees, and an easement trail, by deciding in favor of real estate moguls Tambri Heyden and David Montalbo. Despite opposition, the developers have been given the green light to proceed in the unincorporated community of Saranap, located between Lafayette and Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County. In their way stands a grove of old-growth oak trees. Also, at issue is the possibility of Indigenous remains and cultural artifacts on the site. However, it is not too late to stop the construction if people act up and speak out.
Thu Feb 27 2020 (Updated 02/29/20)
Corruption in the Fresno Police Department Runs Deep
Mike Rhodes reports: My first history lesson about Fresno’s corrupt underbelly was in the late 1990s when I read Mark Arax’s book "In My Father’s Name." It is a great book about Arax’s search for the killer of his father, which dives deep into Fresno’s interesting but corrupt past. Arax, writing for the Los Angeles Times, quoted Larry Miller, a retired federal agent who busted numerous Fresno bookies with connections to the Fresno Police Department in the 1960s. “It was a rotten town with a rotten police force and the citizens didn’t mind. Their indifference was practically suffocating.”
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The Deterioration of the United States Troy Prouty* Wed Apr 29th 3:11am
Shakespeare on Trump Entering 6th Week of Quarantine Mon Apr 20th 11:25am
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Open Letter to KPFA's Sunday Show Host Philip Maldari Ann Garrison (1 comment) Sun Mar 15th 3:47pm
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Super Tuesday and Standing up to Racists Conrad Schuhler and Judith Duesberg (1 comment) Mon Mar 9th 4:22am
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