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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.
On September 10, over 300 people took part in a march, rally, and demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Prison Strike happening across US prisons, jails, and detention facilities. People gathered at Latham Square in downtown Oakland where several speakers addressed the crowd. Grabbing banners, flags, and signs, people then took to the streets and marched to several corporations that profit from prison labor. AT&T, UPS, and Bank of America were called out for their use of prison labor.
On September 9, activists chained themselves to the entrances of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton to protest Urban Shield, the SWAT training and weapons expo hosted annually by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Hundreds of community members from cities across California, including Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, marched and rallied. Twenty-three activists were arrested, cited, and released.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an emergency motion on September 4 for a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of the Tribe’s sacred sites by the Dakota Access Pipeline. On the previous day, Water protectors clashed with security to successfully stop pipeline construction and some were viciously attacked by guard dogs. Protest camps have issued a global call for solidarity actions to be held September 3-17. In the Bay Area, solidarity actions will take place in Sacramento on September 7 and San Francisco on September 8.
On August 28, a number of organizations in Santa Cruz partnered to throw a party with the goal of bringing together the police with the social justice community. The party was called the "NAACP Peace Party" and among the officers that showed up was Santa Cruz Police Lieutenant Christian LeMoss, who broke the arm of a 60-year-old disabled woman when he arrested her on May 9, 2008.
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.”
Plaintiffs Anne Weills, Mollie Costello, Allyssa Eisenberg, and Tova Fry were taken to Santa Rita Jail after being arrested for civil disobedience in 2014. The Four were held with other women in filthy jail cells. Toilets were overflowing. There were no menstrual pads for women who needed them, no garbage containers so used menstrual pads sat on top of left over food. All the women in those cells are “presumed innocent”. The Four and their attorney Yolanda Huang filed a civil rights complaint in order to be a voice for other women and demand they be treated with respect and human dignity.
In June, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released its report on the death of 23-year-old mother Krista DeLuca, who died in the main jail on September 29, 2015. Shortly after the release of the Grand Jury report, DeLuca's family filed a civil lawsuit against the County of Santa Cruz. Besides the County, the lawsuit lists as defendants the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff-Coroner Jim Hart, Under-Sheriff Jeremy Verinsky, Chief Deputy Jeff March, Lieutenant Kelly Kent, and California Forensic Medical Group, Inc. (CFMG), as well as a list of unspecified "John Does".
Sat Aug 20 2016 (Updated 09/21/16)
A Call to Action Against Slavery in America
Prisoners across the United States, including in Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia, and elsewhere, are calling for a strike on September 9. Their call to action states: On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.
UPDATE 9/9: In the early morning, protesters locked down across the entrance of the Alameda Fairgrounds, preventing passage into the Urban Shield expo. Twenty-three people were arrested.

In July, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office withdrew its sponsorship of a "Bulletproof" street survival training course for law enforcement officers after community activists questioned whether the former "Bulletproof Warrior" class should be offered by the department. Urban Shield, the controversial police militarization exposition and training, is scheduled for September 8 in Pleasanton. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition is calling for a mass demonstration on September 9.
Davey D writes: I was alerted to an inflammatory story from Bay Area ABC news reporter Dan Noyes that basically sought to disparage the Black August celebrations. The story noted that "police sources" had leaked a memo to him stating that prison guards and police were gonna be attacked by members of the Black Guerilla Family in celebration of Black August. Many found the allegations to be outlandish.
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.
The Santa Cruz Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) announced a fundraiser for "law enforcement agencies, and organizations committed to racial justice." The fundraiser is being called a "NAACP Peace Party" and will be hosted at the end of August in Santa Cruz at Garfield Park Community Church. After publication of an article on Indybay critical of raising funds for the cops, event organizers changed the announcement and now state, "No money is being raised at this event for local law enforcement, but local officers are in support of this event and will be present."
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.
A call went out for Freedom Now protests on July 21 targeting the support infrastructure for police oppression, especially police "unions" for their defense of cops accused of brutality. Lockdowns and demonstrations were held in cities across the country. In Oakland, the offices of the Oakland Police Officer's Association were shut down and an entrance to Oakland police headquarters was locked down. A Black Lives Matter educational event for children was held in Oscar Grant plaza, followed by a march down Broadway.
It has become a tradition to celebrate the life of Frank Alvarado with flowers. On July 10, Frank's family was joined by a large group of supporters near the location of his death to mark the second year since his killing by Salinas police. His father, Frank Sr., handed out roses to many of the women gathered, saying the gesture was in memory of "lover boy" as he lightheartedly referred to Frank. His family fondly remembers how dearly Frank loved to give women gifts, and especially the gift of flowers.
Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot Philando Castile in his car in Minnesota, took a training course called "The Bulletproof Warrior" less than two years ago. The evidence suggests that this course, and courses similar to it, offered by a private company called Calibre Press, are even worse than Urban Shield — the organized para-military and terror response training put on for police by the Alameda Sheriff's Department. The course Yanez took is now called "BulletProof" and it's coming to San Jose this August 17 and 18.
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.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
11AM Sunday Oct 16 Million Mom March - BayArea
7PM Tuesday Oct 25 Keramet Reiter
7:30PM Thursday Oct 27 On The Hill: I Am Alex Nieto
8PM Saturday Nov 5 Pussy Riot: In Conversation
Signature Gathering Kicks Off for Recall of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Dave Id (2 comments) Friday Sep 30th 6:11 PM
64th Week-Sustaining the Safe Sleep Zone Keith McHenry (entry by Norse) (1 comment) Tuesday Sep 27th 11:28 AM
Oakland Approves Petition to Recall Mayor Schaaf Sydney Johnson, Oakland Post (1 comment) Saturday Sep 24th 6:11 PM
Solidarity with the Charlotte Rebellion! Solidarity with Charlotte Saturday Sep 24th 12:01 PM
ACLU Stands with Standing Rock ACLU of Northern California Friday Sep 23rd 11:39 PM
Interrupting Surveillance in the Bay Area and Beyond Tracy Rosenberg Friday Sep 23rd 10:47 AM
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Leaving Edward Snowden in limbo will be a stain on President Obama’s legacy Amnesty International (1 comment) Saturday Sep 17th 6:07 PM
Occupy Obama lawsuit clears federal hearing IndyRadio/David Roknich Wednesday Aug 17th 5:51 PM
Police Accused in Wrongful Death Seana Sperling Tuesday Aug 2nd 2:37 PM
Chelsea Manning incommunicado until Friday IndyRadio/David Roknich (1 comment) Wednesday Jul 6th 3:22 PM
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