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The Take Back Oakland Coalition is now gathering signatures to recall Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. On September 18, recall organizers handed out the first recall petitions all afternoon in front of Oakland City Hall. Primary among the objections to Schaaf are her inaction in the face of massive displacement of long-time residents, the deference she continues to show to the corrupt and murderous Oakland police department, and her failure to support local youth and job centers.
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.
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".
Fri Aug 19 2016 (Updated 08/20/16)
Protect Our Right To Stay: No Suban La Renta
Renter protections are on the ballot for voters to vote on this coming November in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View. On August 8, the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), tenants and other community members rallied to protest against no-cause evictions — and evictions at the Bay View Apartments in Alameda. Tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections during the upcoming November elections, urging people to vote against weak proposals placed on the ballot by the City Council in Alameda and Mountain View.
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.
In the wake of the Chinatown homeless sweeps that displaced hundreds of people in downtown Salinas in March of this year, a small but thriving tent community has established itself at Salinas City Hall, where a group has been camping out every night for over four months. An anti-camping ordinance was recently passed by the Salinas City Council that allows for the city to quickly remove "bulky items" stored on public property, and outlaws setting up tents on public property between the hours of 6am and 6pm.
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.
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.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
In April, the BART Board passed a law making it illegal to occupy two seats during rush hour on a BART train. The law was not to take effect until the BART police presented their implementation strategy. At the most recent BART Board meeting on June 23, BART police presented how they intend to enforce the new law. Fines of up to $500 will ensure that those least able to afford it become debtors, potentially subjecting violators to criminal warrants and further harrassment. Longtime BART director Joel Keller admitted he wants police to target the homeless.
Thu Jun 16 2016 (Updated 06/17/16)
Historic Court Ruling for Net Neutrality
It’s being called one of the most important moments in the history of the internet and a First Amendment for the internet. A federal appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled this week that internet service providers must offer essentially the same protections to users that are required of phone companies. Digital activists are gleefully celebrating one of the most significant parts of the ruling: the FCC can apply its net neutrality rules to cellphone data as well as home broadband.
On June 15, law enforcement officers raided Care By Design and CBD Guild, a medical cannabis grower and manufacturer that tens of thousands of patients depend on across the state. The enforcement comes just days after the company hosted local and state public officials and regulators for a walk-through of their new facilities and to discuss regulations for the emerging industry resulting from the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act passed by the California legislature last fall.
Take Back Santa Cruz, "a non-profit community organization focused on creating awareness and working together to build a better, safer and cleaner Santa Cruz," tried to go silent about one of their most high-profile members facing felony charges for firearms and drug manufacturing. Sixty-year-old James Burtnett of Boulder Creek faces multiple felony counts ranging from illegally synthesizing a Schedule 1 narcotic, to being illegally armed with a firearm. According to court documents, Burtnett was involved in a narcotic processing operation. The illegal lab exploded on September 29, 2013, in Santa Cruz.
Wed Jun 15 2016 (Updated 06/16/16)
Love and Solidarity from Watsonville to Orlando
SOMOS LGBT, a community organization raising awareness on equality and acceptance for all, began in Watsonville nine years ago. On the evening of June 13, SOMOS LGBT held a vigil at Watsonville Plaza to "remember one of the most horrific tragedies committed against the LGBT community." The day before, a mass shooting occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, resulting in 53 wounded and 50 dead, including the gunman. SOMOS LGBT will hold a vigil in the Plaza every day until Sunday from 6:30 to 7:30.
On May 31, students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to de-shelve Sabra hummus, and prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
Why won't the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) support the Driscoll's Boycott? That's one of the questions UFW Vice President Lauro Barajas would not answer after he spoke at Hillary Clinton's rally in Salinas on May 25. The UFW will not reveal when their friendship with Driscoll's began. However, a photograph from May 2013 reveals their relationship with Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based subsidiary of Driscoll's.
On June 2, the Fair and Affordable Richmond coalition submitted more than 5,000 signatures to qualify the coalition’s Rent Control and Just Cause Eviction Protection ordinance for the November ballot. Members of the coalition and Richmond tenants spoke about the ordinance in front of Richmond City Hall, and how it will protect Richmond renters and the community. The Richmond City Clerk and Contra Costa County have thirty days to determine if the Coalition has collected the 4,198 valid signatures required.
Wed Jun 1 2016 (Updated 06/02/16)
Bus Riders in Wheelchairs: Don't Leave Us Stranded
A group of bus riders and drivers staged a rally at the Santa Cruz downtown METRO station on May 21 in protest of planned cuts to the county bus system. METRO plans to reduce service across the county and cut more than 40 driver positions. According to documents provided at a METRO public comment meeting on May 3, “METRO needs to reduce its annual operating budget by $6.5 million for the next fiscal year.”
iCal feed From the Calendar:
7PM Wednesday Dec 7 Rebecca Solnit
Termination of Street Spirit newspaper threatens the homeless Lynda Carson Thursday Oct 20th 5:58 PM
Renter protections on the ballot in November to look for Lynda Carson (1 comment) Tuesday Oct 18th 6:01 PM
Winter is Coming - Stop Persecuting the Homeless! Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission Tuesday Oct 18th 11:10 AM
Rain or Shine--Freedom SleepOut #67 Rolls On Keith McHenry (story by Norse) (1 comment) Tuesday Oct 18th 12:53 AM
Police and Ranger Raid on Homeless In the Rain Reported Robert Norse (2 comments) Friday Oct 14th 7:22 PM
First They Came for the Homeless is Making the Wait for Affordable Housing Better for All Mike Zint, Mike Wilson, Paul Kealoha Blake Friday Oct 14th 8:15 AM
As Weather grows Chilly, Freedom SleepOut #66 Keeps the Homeless Fires Burning Keith McHenry (story by Norse) Tuesday Oct 11th 1:31 PM
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