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On October 4, the Trump administration dismissed protests and made a formal decision to open 725,500 acres of public lands and mineral estate across California’s Central Coast and the Bay Area to new oil and gas drilling and fracking. The public lands the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has earmarked for leasing are in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus. The move will end a more than five-year-old moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in the state to oil companies.
Fri Oct 11 2019 (Updated 10/12/19)
Union Members Strike at Janus of Santa Cruz
National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) members at Janus of Santa Cruz held their first-ever strike on September 26, after management imposed a first contract that did not remedy poverty wages that have forced many workers to find new jobs. In the nearly two years since Janus workers joined NUHW, more than 60 percent of them have left for other jobs. With its workforce in constant flux, state records show that Janus is serving fewer clients and forcing more of them to wait for services that were once immediately accessible, worsening Santa Cruz’s addiction crisis.
Thu Sep 5 2019 (Updated 09/30/19)
Global Climate Strike Week of Action
Climate Strikes began on September 20, three days out from the United Nation's climate emergency summit in New York, and continued to September 27. As young climate strikers have shown, there is huge power in sustained action week after week to match the scale of the climate emergency. Millions walked out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and to show politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.
Demonstrators staged sit-ins on September 3 in the men's and women's restrooms at Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz, effectively keeping the facilities open to the public for an extended period of time. Once open to all, the Louden Nelson restrooms have been closed to the public since 2018, which staff claims is due to complaints of vandalism and drug use. Those at the demonstration were particularly concerned about the effects the restroom closures have had on homeless residents in the area, who often congregate in the park adjacent to the Louden Nelson Center where there are no other services.
In the wake of an alleged assault on a middle school student in the San Lorenzo Valley, Captain Daniel Bonfante, formerly of the Felton Fire Protection District, has called for vigilante justice against homeless people, who he blames for the majority of crime in the area. On August 21 on Instagram, Bonfante called for community members to "get the posse together" and "let the rift raft know that we are vigilant". "99% of all crime is homeless in Felton right now," Bonfante said. "They are getting aggressive and don't care anymore."
Joe Netro, who authors the Santa Cruz, CA: Keepin' It Real hate blog anonymously as 'Big Joe 77', has admitted to creating a fake news story over the course of multiple blog posts about California State Assembly Bill 516 (AB 516). Netro apologized to his followers on August 22 for the "confusion", calling the multiple false posts he made a "mistake". "If you have lost the trust and would like to track this Bill for yourself, here's the link," Netro wrote.
Dogs were pitted against bulls and forced to attack them at the California Rodeo in Salinas in July. As attendees were filing out of the Salinas Sports Complex, six bulls who had just been run hard by the rodeo clowns were charged repeatedly by a mixed pack of five dogs. Two of the big dogs in the group, the boerboel and the Catahoula, lunged again and again at the bulls’ faces, biting and sometimes drawing blood.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Fish Conservancy sued the Trump administration in April for mismanaging West Coast salmon fisheries and harming critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That orca population has dropped to just 75 individuals, mostly because declining salmon runs have left them without enough to eat. The National Marine Fisheries Service responded by committing to expanded designation of critical habitat off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.
Sun Apr 28 2019 (Updated 05/04/19)
Earth Day in California Site of Creative Protests
A week before Earth Day was not too early for San Francisco activists with Extinction Rebellion who staged direct action designed to draw attention to the planet's peril. On April 15, they led a march and rally, shutting down 7th Street for close to two hours. Elsewhere in California there were Earth Day die-ins, dance demonstrations, and invitations to rethink waste and save trees. In Los Angeles protesters scaled the iconic globe outside Universal Studios; four people were charged with felonies.
The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Bureau of Land Management over its refusal to provide public records of its plans new oil drilling and fracking along California’s Central Coast and in the Bay Area. The BLM has yet to publicly release the final plans, but earmarked for leasing are lands in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties. The Trump administration’s plans would end a six-year moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in California to oil companies.
The Santa Cruz Police Department has opened an internal affairs investigation into the conduct of Officer Chris Galli, who in January referred to a man he had previously arrested as a "dindunuffin" on social media. Galli, posting as "Chris Meriekuh", made the comment about the individual, who is African American and homeless. A screen capture of the comment was posted in an Indybay article, helping to raise awareness concerning the racist nature of the term, which originated among law enforcement officers to mock activists participating in the Black Lives Matter Movement during its initial rise in 2014 and 2015.

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