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Health, Housing, & Public Services News

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New reports spotlight pesticides used in the food system and the harmful effects they are having on the nation’s children. In particular, the reports find that Latino children living or attending school near California agricultural fields face some of the greatest risks of exposure from pesticides linked to cancers and the developing brain. One report discloses for the first time internal Environmental Protection Agency documents that reveal the EPA’s persistent unwillingness to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
On two consecutive Saturdays, May 7 and May 14, farmworkers called for an international day of action to bring attention to the ongoing struggles in the berry fields in Washington State and San Quintin, Mexico. May 7 was initiated by Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Washington state, while Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas (SINDJA) farmworkers in San Quintin, Mexico called for a global day of action on May 14. Demonstrations took place in many locations, including Mexico City; Burlington, WA; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and Eureka, Rohnert Park, Fairfield, San Leandro, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and San Diego, California.
On Sunday, May 1, Joff Jones and Alex Skelton were arrested for defiantly displaying art "outside of a blue box" on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. This is their third arrest for displaying art in a public space but outside of small boxes since August of 2015. Jones and Skelton created a video with footage showing numerous Santa Cruz Police officers ticketing and arresting them for simply being "outside of a blue box" while displaying their art.
Thu May 5 2016 (Updated 05/06/16)
May Day in Northern California, 2016
International Workers' Day was first declared in the late 1800's to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago and as a celebration of laborers and the working classes. Around the world on May 1, workers continue to unite to press demands in the streets through marches, rallies, and direct actions. In the United States, May Day is also a day to push for immigrant rights, especially since the massive "Gran Paro Americano" general strike and marches of 2006.
At 5am on April 12, US Postal Police and Inspectors, with support from the Berkeley Police Dept., arrived at the Main Berkeley Post Office and literally dragged protesters out of their tents, seized all their belongings, and tore down the information tent, the shelter for a 17-month occupation. Two groups of activists – First They Came for the Homeless and Berkeley Post Office Defenders – had occupied the grounds of the Main Berkeley Post Office continuously since late November, 2014.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) has placed medical marijuana users in its crosshairs, including recreational marijuana users if voters approve marijuana for legalization in November. The CAA is sponsoring a bill (AB 2300) that allows landlords to prohibit renters from smoking medical marijuana in their apartments, and on April 26 the bill advanced to the Assembly floor. Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) is the author of AB 2300.
On April 26 the Santa Cruz City Council gave their six-month report on the progress of the City’s efforts to acquire the property containing the Beach Flats Community Garden. At the meeting, the City Council agreed to a three year lease for the garden. However Josh Brahinsky of the Beach Flats Garden Coalition points out, "The lease only covers 60% of the previous garden, and has a 60 day escape clause for Seaside Company, and thus does not provide long-term security for the garden."
Fri Apr 29 2016 (Updated 04/30/16)
New Fees to Be Charged to Subsidize Delta Tunnels
Attendees at the April 14 public meeting of the Santa Clara County Water Commission's Board of Directors in Gilroy were surprised to learn that a new fee will soon be added to their groundwater bills to support the Cal WaterFix, also known as the Delta Tunnels. Several users of small private residential water systems complained bitterly about the cost of the current groundwater charges on top of the cost of pumping and maintenance of their own wells.
On Monday, April 11, 2016, around 800 State of Mexico riot police at the service of Grupo Higa laid siege to the Otomí community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, destroyed the camp set up in defense of the forest, used heavy machinery to illegally tear down the house of Dr. Armando García Salazar, and violently dragged out at least 25 men, women and children who were inside the house, including 64-year-old Isabel Hernández, a member of the Supreme Indigenous Council of Xochicuautla.
Tue Apr 12 2016 (Updated 05/08/16)
Housing State of Emergency Declared in Oakland
Oakland renters have been facing nearly 1,000 evictions per month. Rents have skyrocketed and the median rent is currently $3,000 per month. Housing activists have been pushing for a temporary freeze on evictions and rent hikes to protect tenants from the massive upheaval. On April 6, the Oakland City Council responded by voting unanimously to support a 90-day moratorium on rent increases, but failed to pass a temporary freeze on evictions.
Sun Apr 10 2016 (Updated 04/18/16)
San Francisco Police Execute Homeless Man
On April 7, a homeless man, Jose Luis Gongora, allegedly brandishing a knife, was executed by SFPD. Surveillance camera video shows police cars rolling up, cops getting out and approaching Jose Luis off-camera. Police claimed they attempted to deescalate the situation, but the video shows two cops approaching Jose Luis with a shotgun pointed at him and shouting at him. The cop with the shotgun can be heard firing four "less lethal" bean-bag rounds at Jose Luis before at least one of the cops shoots and kills him. On April 9, SFPD raided a nearby tent encampment on Shotwell Street, knocking over objects with sticks, including several memorial candles that lined the front of Jose Luis' tent which is still at the scene.
Community activists working independently on separate ballot measures have come together under the umbrella of the Oakland Justice Coalition. Together, the three measures they propose would radically transform police accountability, renters' protections, and the minimum wage in Oakland. On March 24, Oakland Justice Coalition members made a formal announcement of their intentions in front of Oakland City Hall. The canvassing kickoff will be held on April 2.
A bulldozer rumbled into the Beach Flats Community Garden early Thursday morning, March 24, tearing out mature fruit trees and nopales plants that city staff had earlier promised would not be touched, and damaging an already strained relationship between the City and community. Despite the loss of land, fruit trees, and nopales, the Beach Flats Gardeners are committed to making the best of the 2016 planting season.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) has been meddling in the affairs of city after city in Northern California in an effort to stop any and all renter protections being promoted by renters, tenant activists, and their supporters. The same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the Renters Upgrade, the CAA announced that they were keeping an eye on things, and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenants' movement efforts.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
6:30PM Thursday Jun 2 Screening of: Occupy the Farm
1:30PM Saturday Jun 11 Documentary: "The Family Next Door"
Cabrillo College Foundation bankrolling Yes on Q campaign Bruce Holloway (1 comment) Thursday May 26th 9:57 AM
Oakland landlords offer ghetto location rentals for Rolls-Royce prices Lynda Carson (1 comment) Thursday May 26th 4:13 AM
A Tribute to Our Friend, Photographer and Organizer Bob Fitch Josh Sonnenfeld, and Paul Ortiz (1 comment) Wednesday May 25th 8:03 AM
Mathews Council Crushes Handicraft Vendors; Freedom SleepOut #46 Soldiers On Robert Norse (5 comments) Tuesday May 24th 12:58 PM
Anti-Hillary Clinton Action in Salinas Watsonville Brown Berets (6 comments) Monday May 23rd 5:29 PM
El Festival de la Fresa 2016: Traído a usted por la explotación Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo Monday May 23rd 1:54 PM
Strawberry Festival 2016: Brought To You By Exploitation Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo (1 comment) Monday May 23rd 1:33 PM
Riders and drivers rally against bus cuts in Santa Cruz Zav Hershfield (2 comments) Sunday May 22nd 11:28 AM
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And Here’s Another Thing the Clinton’s Fucked Up. Lloyd Hart Wednesday May 25th 9:57 AM
New UK Report Supports Strong Action on Antibiotics in Ag via Center for Food Safety Friday May 20th 3:37 PM
The Language of Neoliberalism Sebastian Friedrich (1 comment) Friday May 20th 5:58 AM
National Research Council GMO Study Compromised by Industry Ties
 via Food & Water Watch Monday May 16th 2:51 PM
Groups Ask FDA to Protect Consumers from Misleading Labels on “Natural” Foods via Animal Legal Defense Fund Thursday May 12th 4:26 PM
Sacred Psychology & Plant Medicine: Dr. Kat Coder WTUL News and Views Wednesday May 11th 12:27 PM
EPA Uses Industry-funded Studies to Determine Glyphosate Does Not Cause Cancer Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday May 3rd 3:08 PM
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