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The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California and the West, but it should be. WSPA is the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California. It represents a who's who of oil companies including Aera Energy, Chevron, California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum), ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Valero and many others. Yet most people — even many environmental activists — have never heard of the organization and the enormous influence it wields over politicians and regulators in the western states.
Calls to boycott Altai Brands began after a disturbing photo was circulated on social media showing a nearly nude woman laying on a table covered in slices of salami and other meats. The event, hosted by Altai Brands, was a private after-party on November 17 for the fifth annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo which took place from November 15-18 in Las Vegas. Aliza Sherman writes, "Altai Brands apparently went culturally tone deaf when they covered a woman in deli meats and served her up on the appetizer table. Comments ranged from shock to outrage in social media with calls to boycott the male-led company."
Santa Cruz police initiated a raid at City Hall on November 23 at 3:30 am, shortly after it stopped raining that evening, to clear from the area approximately two dozen individuals who had been sleeping and sheltering themselves from the weather under the eaves of the buildings in the complex. Officers issued citations to individuals, and made one arrest. Many of those sleeping at City Hall were participating in the weekly Freedom Sleepers sleep protest, while others were simply sheltering themselves from the wet weather temporarily with the group.
Sun Nov 27 2016 (Updated 12/01/16)
Standing Rock Solidarity in Northern California
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation called for indigenous nations and others to stand in solidarity as they fight to prevent continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in their ancestral lands, especially near the Missouri River. Since federal agencies blocked construction under the Missouri River in early September, police have greatly increased the violence unleashed against the Water Protectors. Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested and injured by police weaponry. Now, federal authorities are threatening to close the NoDAPL camp by December 5, but protesters promise continued resistance.
Luke Smith, a 15-year-old Aptos High School sophomore, was shot and killed by deputies with the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office on November 19. Students identified Luke as the victim at a gathering that took place outside of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office on the afternoon of the killing. The report quotes a friend of Luke, who stated at the gathering, "He was active. He was a skate aficionado. He was brilliant. Just tragic." Many of the friends and loved ones who have donated to Luke's fund included personal messages online.
Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) is targeting community members again on social media, which is being aided by the false identification of a "suspect" by Officer Wes Hansen of the Santa Cruz Police. On November 16, TBSC published a photo of two "suspects" of a crime on their public Facebook page. The post has been shared over 300 times. In the comments section on the TBSC post, a witch-hunt style attack on the men ensues, containing the false accusation from SCPD Officer Wes Hansen.
Dozens of local supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe gathered at the Town Clock on the evening of November 15 for a loud, raucous and joyous celebration of the NoDAPL Day of Action. Allegra David, an organizer of the demonstration, led the group on short walk to full throated chants of "Water is Life" and "You Can't Drink Oil." The group's spirits were uplifted by the report that the Army Corps of Engineers dealt a blow to the progress of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying in a letter that more analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is needed before construction can take place under the Missouri River.
Mon Nov 14 2016 (Updated 11/29/16)
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now
The first anti-Trump protests began almost immediately, shortly after election results were announced. By the evening of November 9, protesters poured into the streets across the country. The Northern California cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Cruz, Salinas, Hollister, Santa Rosa, and Fresno have stood up against Trump, the rallying cries being "Not My President" and "Fuck Trump!" Demonstrations continue on a daily or near-daily basis all over. There is no end in sight. Calls have gone out to disrupt inaugural events on January 20 and for a Women's March on Washington on January 21.
On November 11, the transmitter for Free Radio Santa Cruz went silent following the eviction of their host. The radio collective is actively looking for a new site for their transmitter and antenna. Meanwhile they continue streaming through their website. Free Radio Santa Cruz is the only local, independent community radio station remaining in Santa Cruz.
Voters in Monterey County, California's fourth-largest oil-producing county, passed Measure Z to ban fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques. The measure won with more than fifty-five percent of the vote, despite supporters being outspent thirty to one by oil companies, including Chevron and Aera Energy. Measure Z also phases out toxic wastewater injection and prohibits new oil wells in the county. "David beat Goliath in Monterey County's stunning victory against oil industry pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Thu Nov 3 2016 (Updated 11/10/16)
Community Responds to SCPD Killing of Sean Smith-Arlt
Following the killing of Sean Smith-Arlt by officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department on October 16, residents are organizing in the community with the intention of preventing another killing like his. On October 22, a candle light vigil for Sean was organized at the Town Clock, which coincided with the 21st annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. On October 25 a large group of community members attended the City Council meeting to voice their concerns during oral communications, and on November 1 a community forum hosted by the newly formed Social Justice Alliance was held.
Sun Oct 30 2016 (Updated 11/05/16)
D is for Dilemma in Santa Cruz County
Big money is being spent to influence the outcome of Measure D on the November Santa Cruz County ballot. Unlike political offices, campaigns for ballot measures have no limit to the amount of money that can be contributed. There is no restriction on the source of contributions, so special interests from outside the County can buy influence in our local ballot measures. This week, The No on D group, Widening Won't Work, has organized two public demonstrations in front of two of the major corporate donors to Measure D, Granite Rock Construction Company and Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Santa Cruz Progressives write: The official list of campaign donors confirms what has been no secret in this year's Santa Cruz City Council election: it's a battle between four big money conservative candidates and four grass roots progressives. All four of the conservative candidates have each raised about twice the amount of money the progressives have and they are funded by wealthy contributors. Progressive candidates Chris Krohn, Drew Glover, Steve Schnaar and Sandy Brown, also known as the "Brand New Council" slate, show moderately funded campaigns.
On October 15, about 40 people, including students from UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Watsonville High School, as well as community members from Santa Cruz and Watsonville, came out to the Driscoll's Distribution Center and Berry Store in Aromas, California, to relay the message that the boycott of Driscoll's continues until Driscoll's negotiates a union contract with the farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico who harvest the lucrative berries. Currently, farmworkers receive as little as $6 a day for 12-15 hours of work, with no benefits or job security.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Oil Company Applies for First New Offshore Fracking Permit in California Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Dec 8th 5:09 PM
Forest Service Agrees to Halt Oil, Gas Leasing in Los Padres National Forest Center for Biological Diversity (1 comment) Tuesday Dec 6th 1:32 PM
Vigil Honoring Sean Arlt and Luke Smith Dec. 3, 2016 AutumnSun Saturday Dec 3rd 11:38 PM
Santa Cruz Holiday Parade December 3, 2016 AutumnSun Saturday Dec 3rd 10:26 PM
Support Fund for Sean Arlt's Son Established Santa Cruz News Friday Dec 2nd 5:18 PM
Pipeline Protesters Shut Down Bank of America Free Speech Matters Thursday Dec 1st 10:59 AM
New Report on an Old Story: Can Santa Cruz Learn from Yale Law School? Yale Law School, Robert Norse Monday Nov 28th 1:41 PM
HUFFing and Puffing: A Warm Wind from Berkeley Robert Norse (8 comments) Sunday Nov 27th 8:56 AM
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Report highlights 17 bad actors waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns via Environment California Tuesday Dec 6th 2:08 PM
New Study: Mounting Evidence Supports Eating Less Meat for Health of People, Planet Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday Dec 6th 1:59 PM
Feds Block Offshore Arctic Drilling, Allow New Oil and Gas Leases in Gulf Center for Biological Diversity Saturday Nov 19th 4:36 PM
EPA Approves Use of Dangerous Herbicide Dicamba on GE Crops Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Nov 10th 1:16 AM
This Election, Keys Residents Vote “NO” on GE Mosquitoes via Center for Food Safety Wednesday Nov 9th 12:22 PM
New Fracking-related Earthquakes in Oklahoma Spark Demand for Oil, Gas Lease Withdrawal Center for Biological Diversity Monday Nov 7th 12:42 PM
Oklahoma Shaking Richard Stover Saturday Nov 5th 11:58 AM
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CA Transportation Commission Commits $3.1 Million for Land Trust’s Hwy 17 Wildlife Crossing via Land Trust of Santa Cruz County Friday Oct 21st 9:35 PM
Fracking and measure Z AutumnSun Friday Oct 21st 11:05 AM
CA Coastal National Monument Expansion: One Step Closer to Reality Surfrider Foundation Thursday Sep 29th 8:20 PM
Leaders host public meeting on expanding the coastal national monument via The Wilderness Society Tuesday Sep 27th 5:42 PM
Leaving Edward Snowden in limbo will be a stain on President Obama’s legacy Amnesty International (1 comment) Saturday Sep 17th 6:07 PM
CEMEX Save Our Coast Surfrider Foundation Saturday Sep 17th 6:01 PM
Where the Vultures Feed Dr Bruce Loisel (7 comments) Tuesday Aug 30th 9:50 AM
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