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Health, Housing, & Public Services News

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Nothing better illustrates the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party — for all progressive intents and purposes — than California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s announcement on June 26 that he was going to put a “hold” on the single-payer health care bill (SB 562) for the state, effectively killing its passage for at least the year. Democrats like Rendon, who “claims to be a personal supporter of single-payer,” will make sure that the governor is not put in the embarrassing position of having to reject what he’s been ostensibly arguing for for twenty-five years.
Fri Jun 30 2017 (Updated 07/01/17)
Agreement Reached to Close Cemex Sand Mine in Marina
On July 13, the California Coastal Commission will consider an agreement that would close the Cemex Lapis Sand Mine in Marina. The mine has been linked to severe coastal erosion in southern Monterey Bay, which is losing more coastline than anywhere else in the state. Cemex mines about 300,000 tons of sand each year from a self-made pond right on the beach in Marina. This is essentially like carrying away one 14-yard dump truck full of sand from the beach every 40 minutes, around the clock. And this has been going on at the plant for decades — although at lower quantities when operations began — without a requisite Coastal Development Permit.
From the open-publishing newswire: Berkeley's new mayor, Jesse Arreguin, has been meeting in private with UC Berkeley's new chancellor, Carol Christ. The new mayor and the new chancellor are in agreement: People's Park must end. According to Berkeleyside, the mayor "is enthusiastic about the plans" to develop housing on People's Park. This is a crucial time to defend People's Park, through occupy tactics, and other methods of public support. The development plan includes two large buildings: a unit for student housing and allegedly a unit to house the homeless. Increasing housing is a noble cause; however, the city of Berkeley has a shortage of truly public open space.
Thu May 25 2017 (Updated 06/22/17)
Hunger Strike Begins at Folsom State Prison
The men at Old Folsom State Prison in the ASU and Ad-Seg will begin a hunger strike on May 25 due to ongoing issues with the conditions of confinement that violate the Eighth Amendment. All the prisoners held in Folsom’s ASU and Ad-Seg are without food bowls, therefore having to eat out of ziplock bags. They have no cups, needing to drink water from an old milk carton. They have no TVs, no property at all. The mail is sometimes withheld for no reason — up to a month for some prisoners, for others even longer. All they’re asking for is to be given day-to-day necessities. So, in order to have their voices heard, they feel they have no choice but to hunger strike.
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 05/10/17)
Affordable Housing Crisis in Sonoma County
The bay area's affordable housing crisis continues to expand, and students at Sonoma Student University are trying to cope with the implications. Kendyl Saxby writes: Sonoma County is in a rent crisis that is negatively effecting everyone and it is only growing. People are stuck living in squalor due to the 1% vacancy rate in Santa Rosa. Families can no longer afford extracurricular activities for their children. College students cannot afford rent and end up living at home with their parents or homeless. Employers are losing workers who can no longer afford to live here.
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.
Tue May 2 2017 (Updated 05/04/17)
UCSC's Kerr Hall Reclaimed Until A/BSA Demands Are Met
Update: In a meeting on May 4, Chancellor George Blumenthal agreed to meet all four demands presented by A/BSA. Students stress that the struggle continues.

On May 2, hundreds of students rallied in Quarry Plaza at UC Santa Cruz to "let the Chancellor know Black Students need support from the University." Students then marched to Kerr Hall, the main administrative building at UCSC, and launched a reclamation of the building. Employees left the building, as students declared they will remain until the demands from Afrikan Black Student Alliance (A/BSA) are met. Their demands begin by stating, "The Afrikan Black Caribbean identified students have spoken. The issues on this campus far exceed anything easily fixed. However Black students at UCSC have composed a list of uncompromisable demands."
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.”
Pacifica Foundation is a non-profit organization which owns five independently operated, non-commercial, listener-supported radio stations known for their progressive/liberal political orientation. Its national headquarters adjoins station KPFA in Berkeley. Bill Crosier, Pacifica Foundation's interim Executive Director, addressed members of the 5-station radio network after it became known that at least one of the KPFA Local Station Board members, with others, has secretly contacted celebrities and prominent supporters of progressive causes, falsely claiming that Pacifica is “collapsing”, and asking them to be on the board of a new nonprofit organization which would seek to acquire Pacifica's assets, or at least those of station KPFA.
Wed Apr 12 2017 (Updated 04/15/17)
"I Don't Work With Pot, I Work With People"
Valerie Corral and her former husband founded Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz, the nation’s oldest continuously operating medical cannabis collective that provides free cannabis for 30 percent of its members. She also helped write and pass Proposition 215, California’s revolutionary medical marijuana law. She has helped build the medical industry and seen it change into what it is today. Now, another twenty years later, the financial climate around cannabis in the United States has changed into a million dollar industry, but Valerie still isn't interested in making money from cannabis.
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.
Luis Góngora Pat was a 45-year-old indigenous Mayan Mexican, an immigrant worker, and a family man who supported his wife and three children in southern Mexico. On April 7, 2016, his life was brutally taken by SFPD. Luis’s killing was at the nexis of several struggles faced by low income people of color: indigenous peoples’ struggles, housing rights, illegal evictions, immigrant rights, dignified wage labor, homelessness, racial profiling and discrimination, police brutality and utter impunity for killing Black and Brown residents. On Friday, April 7, the one year anniversary of his death, Luis’s family will march against police terror in the so-called Sanctuary City of San Francisco.
Mike Zint & JP Massar write: What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. Stability that the housed take for granted. A lack of stability means the homeless barely survive. Figuring out how to exist with no sense of safety and security and nowhere to go, worrying about the police yet having committed no crime, takes all that someone has. Sometimes it’s too much and a short note appears in a local paper.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
11AM Saturday Jul 29 Great American Secchi Dip in
Rallies in the Bay Area and across the nation to save affordable housing Lynda Carson (1 comment) Friday Jul 21st 10:13 PM
Houseless In Santa Cruz Being Pushed Out of Public Spaces Steve Pleich (8 comments) Sunday Jul 16th 8:40 AM
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again Jim Kavanagh, CounterPunch Monday Jul 10th 9:06 PM
Shut Down YIMBY Town ANTIFA (2 comments) Saturday Jul 8th 3:49 PM
Bathrooms....in Santa Cruz??!! Robert Norse (12 comments) Sunday Jul 2nd 1:14 PM
Agreement Reached to Close Cemex Sand Mine in Marina Kevin Miller, Surfrider Foundation Thursday Jun 29th 2:57 PM
Berkeley mayor & UC Chancellor agree to end People's Park It's Time to Occupy (6 comments) Wednesday Jun 28th 5:16 PM
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The US's Public Housing Crisis May Worsen With Trump Budget Lawrence Vale Sunday Jul 23rd 8:25 AM
Release the Bill! Healthcare for All! Healthy California Friday Jun 30th 7:14 PM
California EPA Becomes First U.S. Agency to Declare That Roundup Causes Cancer Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday Jun 27th 11:47 PM
Video: Science in the New Dark Age, 28 min Dr. Martin Donohoe Thursday Jun 8th 12:08 PM
California’s Attorney General Asks EPA to Ban Brain-Harming Pesticide Safe Ag Safe Schools/Lucia Calderon Wednesday Jun 7th 10:43 AM
GOP Healthcare Bill in Senate: Act Now asiangreennews.com Thursday May 25th 1:48 PM
Neoliberal Austerity Leads to Deeper Crisis Atila Kilic (1 comment) Monday May 22nd 6:18 AM
Section 8 Vouchers Help The Poor — But Only If Housing Is Available Laura Sullivan & Meg Anderson / NPR Wednesday May 17th 10:54 AM
Nicole Humphrey, 'Not Racist or Bigot,' on Class and Section 8 Housing FRONTLINE in Dallas, TX (18 comments) Wednesday May 10th 5:14 PM
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Video: After Words with Naomi Klein, 57 min www.booktv.org (1 comment) Sunday Jul 16th 6:34 PM
Trump Tuesdays - Louisianans Protest Senate GOP Health Bill WTUL News and Views Monday Jun 26th 9:24 AM
Close down the casino economy! attac.org Monday May 29th 9:42 PM
From 9/11 Inside Job to Repeal of AHA: US Gov't Murders Americans Never Forgive, Never Forget (1 comment) Thursday May 4th 9:43 PM
Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy Franz Segbers Friday Apr 14th 4:54 AM
Cower or Continue? Bob Lamonica (1 comment) Wednesday Feb 22nd 9:07 PM
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