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The Fight for $15 Takes the Bay Area by Storm Activists in Oakland came out in the hundreds to rally and march for a $15 minimum wage on April 15, tax day. They started their protests by shutting down all of the McDonald's restaurants in Oakland with chanting, flash mobs and and banners. The San Pablo McDonald's was greeted by activists handing out over 200 free "burritos for justice" made with vegetables from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. Protesters also received a surprise visit by former United States Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. About mid morning, participants from all of the thirteen McDonald's restaurants marched and congregated at the 45th Avenue fast food branch. At the end of the day all gathered at UC Berkeley for a final rally and march.

The action in Berkeley began with a rally at Sproul Plaza. Participants came from actions all over the San Francisco Bay area earlier in the day, including San Jose and surrounding South Bay communities, San Francisco, and Marin County, many of which targeted McDonald's outlets. Mayor Ruth Atkins of Emeryville drew cheers from the rally crowd as she announced that on July 1, the city's minimum wage would rise to $14.42 an hour. Other area communities including Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley have raised or are in the process of increasing their minimum wage, while State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has introduced a bill to raise the state's minimum. After the rally, over one thousand protesters marched through the heart of Berkeley, stopping at the downtown McDonald's, and temporarily snarling traffic.

photoThe fight for $15 takes Oakland by Storm | photoBerkeley demonstration for $15 at site of 60’s Free Speech Movement | photo3 #FightFor15 Protests in 1 Day, Featuring Robert Reich | photo"No Justice No Peace" Bay Area Workers & Unions Rally for $15 & A Union On April 15, 2015 | photoWeek of Success! Fight for Fifteen, Boycott Sprouts, and EIR Lawsuit! | calendarFight for $15 on 4/15 March, Oakland to Berkeley
250 Native Elk Die Inside Fenced-in Area at Point Reyes National Seashore The National Park Service has acknowledged that that more than 250 tule elk died inside the fenced Pierce Point Elk Preserve at California’s Point Reyes National Seashore from 2012 to 2014, likely due to lack of access to year-round water. While nearly half the elk inside the fenced area died, free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds with access to water increased by nearly a third during the same period.

The news comes as the Park Service considers a ranch management plan to either remove or fence in some of the free-roaming elk herds, while extending park cattle grazing leases for up to 20 years.

“Tule elk need room to roam, and native wildlife in our national park should not be fenced in or prevented from finding water and food,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The loss of nearly half the Pierce Point elk herd highlights how important it is that the Park Service not cave to commercial ranchers who want free-roaming Point Reyes elk fenced in.”

Read More | Center for Biological Diversity
Activists Protest Sprouts Grand Opening in San Rafael On April 15, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers took action together at an Oakland McDonalds, in conjunction with Fight for Fifteen actions happening all across the country. Free burritos made with vegetables from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm were distributed at the McDonalds. By noon, fast food workers and Gill Tract farmers joined forces again for a Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the greenwashing, union-busting corporate supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany. Sprouts is known for their low pay, labor violations and union-busting. Protesters arrived by bus with signs, speakers and music to demand that Sprouts not only cancel its plans to develop the Gill Tract farm but that workers be paid at least $15/hour and be allowed union representation. Activists and community members have been fighting UC Berkeley for decades trying to save this farm land from being lost, but UC and Sprouts have agreed to turn a significant portion of the Gill Tract into a shopping center.

photoPhotos | photoWeek of Success! Fight for Fifteen, Boycott Sprouts, and EIR Lawsuit! | Occupy the Farm | Boycott Sprouts

Previous Related Indybay Features: Protesters Shut Down Sprouts Farmers Market to Stop Planned Development of Historic Gill Tract | UC's Capital Projects Races to Remove Trees to Make Way for Development
Shutting Down Sprouts On March 14, farmers and neighbors of the historic Gill Tract turned out in large numbers to disrupt business as usual and eventually shutdown a local Sprouts supermarket. Their message to this corporate supermarket chain? "Don't build a Sprouts 'Farmer's Market' on our historic Gill Tract Farmland".

A crowd of protesters, including a brass band, "occupy the farm" activists, and a large delegation of workers from the Fast Food Workers Union converged on a normally quiet Sprouts Supermarket in suburban Walnut Creek. Protesters held a sit-in to block the main entrance to the store, rallying around a 600-pound stump that had been recently cut down by contractors preparing to pave the Gill Tract for the construction of the Sprouts store. Meanwhile, at the the other set of doors, protesters bearing branches from felled Gill Tract trees held a robust picket line turning away many would be customers. After the rally concluded, protesters decided to move their pickets into the store for a "shop-in". One shopper was arrested.

Occupy the Farm reports that one week after a large demonstration at their chain in Walnut Creek, protestors planned a follow-up action for the chain in Petaluma. Over the course of the week before the Petaluma action, Sprouts management sent protestors legal documents suggesting that the parking lot in front of the chain supermarket was not a "free speech" zone, in an attempt to intimidate protestors. On the morning of the protest, the management called for an unprecedented large turnout of police before the first protestors had even arrived, again as an attempt to intimidate. Finally, the Sprouts Management mislead their employees to perceive protestors as violent, telling them false and embellished stories of past protests.

photoProtesters Shut Down Sprouts Farmers Market to Stop Planned Development of Historic Gill Tract | photoShutting Down Sprouts: Reportback from the #GilltractDefense Action in Walnut Creek | photoSprouts Management Intimidates Protests of Their Brand | Occupy the Farm

Previous Related Indybay Feature: UC's Capital Projects Races to Remove Trees to Make Way for Development
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups organized more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
On December 22, with the full support of marine conservation organizations, a group of California legislators called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets. “California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
UPDATE 11/14: New CA Ebola Mandate Inspired by NNU Appeal to Gov. Brown, Sets National Model
On November 11, two-day strikes started that effect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests in 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals. Large noon rallies were held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.
Conservation groups notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of their intent to sue the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the pinto abalone, an approximately six-inch snail with an iridescent inner shell that was once common in rocky, intertidal coasts from Alaska to Baja California.
Drakes Bay Oyster Company Agrees to Close On October 6, the Department of the Interior and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company announced a settlement agreement that will dismiss the oyster company’s failed litigation and assign clean-up costs for the mess caused by the company’s non-native oyster cultivation. The settlement agreement follows four consecutive Federal court decisions that upheld DOI’s November 12 decision to let Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease expire as long planned, thereby protecting the West Coast’s first marine wilderness at Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore.

The DOI and oyster company agrees that the settlement agreement “is fair, reasonable, and in the public interest.” Most recently, the Supreme Court of the United States denied hearing the oyster company’s case. As of October 6, 2014, the company has had 22 extra months to plant, harvest, and sell its non-native oysters rent-free, thus profiting far beyond its November 2012 lease expiration.

“The settlement agreement is a very generous deal for the oyster company that will have had 25 months to operate rent-free since its lease expired. We are glad that Drakes Estero, a magnificent ecological treasure, is finally on its way to be restored to its wild, natural rhythm, free of non-native and invasive species,” said Amy Trainer, Executive Director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

Read More | SavePointReyesWilderness.org

Previous Coverage: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Drakes Bay Oyster Company Petition For Review || Drakes Bay Oyster Company Seeks to Privatize Point Reyes National Seashore
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
Protesters Block Highway 101 Demanding Justice for Andy Lopez In response to the decision from Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch's decision not to prosecute Erick Gelhaus, the Sheriff's Deputy that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, protesters assembled in Santa Rosa on July 12 and marched through the downtown streets. The group stopped in intersections to trace themselves in chalk as a reminder that an innocent boy was killed. After the official march was declared to be over, many continued to march in an act of civil disobedience towards Highway 101, where they blocked an off-ramp and all three northbound lanes of traffic, causing a response from riot police.

imc_photo.gifPhotos | Shooter of Andy Lopez Not Being Prosecuted | See Also: Public Letter to DA Ravitch
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Drakes Bay Oyster Company Petition For Review On June 30, the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a private business that has been operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The company sued the Interior Department in December of 2012 after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let their 40-year lease to expire on its own terms. This decision affirms the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of the Company's preliminary injunction lawsuit. Environmental groups now hope the Department of the Interior will set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero.

“The Court made the right decision in upholding the long-anticipated oyster lease expiration that protects Drakes Estero, the wild ecological heart of Point Reyes National Seashore, which is particularly important on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “We look forward to a time of healing in the community and stand ready to do our part to support the workers’ transition.”

The company has been operating for 19 months past its lease expiration under the soon-to-be-lifted court injunction. The company's workers living on-site will be allowed to remain in the housing for the foreseeable future until equivalent housing can be located, and they will receive a generous relocation package allowed under federal relocation assistance laws.

Read More | Save the Point Reyes Wilderness

Previous Related Indybay Feature: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Seeks to Privatize Point Reyes National Seashore
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Fracking Bohemians—more evidence Don Eichelberger, Bohemian Grove Action Netwo
Wednesday May 27th 1:58 PM
CSU Teaching Staff in a "Race To The Bottom: Losing Ground and Losing Faith" California Faculty Association (3 comments)
Monday May 18th 11:40 AM
New Data Shows West Coast Whale Entanglements Now at Record High Levels Center for Biological Diversity
Tuesday Apr 28th 11:01 AM
Activists protest Sprouts Grand Opening Kelly Johnson
Friday Apr 17th 8:55 PM
250 Native Elk Die Inside Fenced-in Area at Point Reyes National Seashore Center for Biological Diversity (2 comments)
Thursday Apr 16th 10:04 AM
Zeke Grader, Legendary Fish Advocate, Honored at Sausalito Gathering Dan Bacher (1 comment)
Monday Apr 13th 6:55 PM
Ocean Salmon Season Will Open April 4 Dan Bacher
Thursday Mar 26th 10:00 AM
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