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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".
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."
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.
Thu Aug 4 2016 (Updated 08/14/16)
Boycott Driscoll's Won't Stop
On August 6 and 7, 2016, local activists engaged thousands of people at the 22nd Annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival to raise awareness about the Driscoll's Boycott and the harsh realities of farmworkers who pick the precious berries. A banner declaring "No More Blood Berries" was displayed from the third-story of the Lettunich Building on Saturday and from the roof of the Mansion House on Sunday while shouting, "Boycott Driscoll's" and "No More Blood Berries." The buildings are the most iconic structures in downtown Watsonville and stand as subtle reminders of the apple growing, packing, and export industry in the Pájaro Valley. Both buildings are Santa Cruz County Historical Trust Landmarks on Main Street and overlook the Watsonville Strawberry Festival.
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.
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.
A report released on July 8 by the Xerces Society shows a sharp two-decade decline in the number of monarchs which overwinter along the California coast. A comparison of the average number of butterflies overwintering in California during the periods 1997–2001 and 2010–2014 shows a decline of 74 percent, a figure that is comparable to declines documented at monarch overwintering sites in Mexico. Listed sites span the monarch’s overwintering range along the Pacific coast and the East Bay of San Francisco
Tue Jul 12 2016 (Updated 07/18/16)
New Wave of Black Lives Matter Protests Nationwide
The back to back caught-on-video police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile in St. Paul on July 6 kicked off a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. The people of Baton Rouge and St. Paul have been protesting daily since the killings. Solidarity actions have been held in cities across the country and internationally. Communities have staged rallies, marches, and vigils across Northern California as well. Multiple demonstrations have been held in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Watsonville.
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.
Thu Jul 7 2016 (Updated 07/09/16)
Peace and Dignity Journeys 2016: Dedicated to Seeds
Every four years since 1992, Peace and Dignity Journeys runners traverse the Western Hemisphere by foot, carrying stories, songs, and prayers, re-uniting Indigenous communities step by step. Departing simultaneously from Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the journey culminates seven months later with a final ceremony in Panama. On July 6, runners were received by the community of Santa Cruz at the Beach Flats Community Garden.
The Watsonville Brown Berets are keeping the pressure on Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, who are headquartered in Watsonville, California. On July 2, the Saturday before July 4th BBQs, the Brown Berets and other community members demonstrated in front of the Safeway on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville to raise awareness and show solidarity with farmworkers in Washington state and Baja California leading the worldwide boycott of Driscoll's berries, including all products made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries sold by Driscoll's.
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.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
4:30PM Sunday Aug 28 Rise Up Singing & Veg. Potluck
3PM Saturday Sep 17 East-to-West Scavenger Race
12PM Sunday Oct 9 Surf City AIDS Ride
Santa Cruz SEIU Candidate Forum Aug. 24,2016 AutumnSun (1 comment) Thursday Aug 25th 2:01 PM
Stop massive and possibly illegal statewide tree cutting by PG&E! via Valley Women's Club of San Lorenzo Valley (4 comments) Wednesday Aug 24th 1:33 PM
Freedom SleepOut #59 as RV Rights Struggle Continues Keith McHenry (story by Norse) (1 comment) Tuesday Aug 23rd 10:10 AM
California Mission Foundation Tries to Declare El Camino Real a UNESCO World Heritage Site via Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (1 comment) Monday Aug 22nd 2:25 AM
Drew Glover for Santa Cruz City Council 8-18-2016 AutumnSun Saturday Aug 20th 10:18 PM
Grand Jury Releases Report on 2015 Jail Death of Krista DeLuca; Family Sues County Santa Cruz County News (3 comments) Wednesday Aug 17th 6:23 PM
Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Continutes to Help Medical Marijuana Defendants in Federal Court Americans for Safe Access (1 comment) Wednesday Aug 17th 2:12 PM
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Lawsuit Launched Over California Cities' Killing of Threatened Santa Ana Suckers Center for Biological Diversity Monday Aug 22nd 4:29 PM
Hearing in Lawsuit Compelling USDA to Pull Foie Gras From Shelves via Animal Legal Defense Fund Tuesday Aug 16th 6:20 PM
Feds’ Approval of GE Mosquito Release Doesn’t Account for Risk via Center for Food Safety Thursday Aug 11th 5:48 PM
Public Records Sought Over Federal Surveillance of Climate Protesters Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Aug 11th 1:54 PM
Massive hydroelectric dam threatens Indigenous communities in Canada Amnesty International Wednesday Aug 10th 5:55 PM
Not Our Fault Won't Vote for Clinton Elise Casby (4 comments) Thursday Aug 4th 5:28 PM
Millions of Acres of Forest Will Remain Protected for Marbled Murrelets in WA, OR, CA Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Aug 3rd 3:37 PM
Reigning Debbie Was. Schultz Resigns Elise Casby Monday Jul 25th 2:24 PM
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Bummer Bernie Bylaws dogwood Friday Aug 26th 4:58 PM
Drew Glover for Santa Cruz City Council 8-21-2016 Event #2 AutumnSun (1 comment) Monday Aug 22nd 4:32 PM
Renowned Marine Biologist Asha de Vos Joins Oceana Oceana Thursday Jul 28th 1:46 AM
Hillary Clinton - war bird mile mills (3 comments) Tuesday Jul 26th 5:13 AM
The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost in Dallas Texas Steven Argue (3 comments) Monday Jul 11th 4:12 PM
CNN Claims on Chinese Organ Harvesting Are Not Credible Steven Argue (9 comments) Saturday Jul 2nd 9:55 AM
Free Alla Aleksandrovska! Steven Argue Wednesday Jun 29th 6:25 PM
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