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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.
Mon Jun 6 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
California Almost Mattered This Time, Sort Of
California is the most populous state in the nation, yet the state votes last in the presidental primary process. Major party nominees are usually declared before voters in the state get their say. This year promised to be different, with Bernie Sanders barnstorming across the state, bringing a more competitive race than is typical. On the eve of the California primary, though, corporate media outlets called the Democratic race for Hillary Clinton. Still there are a number of statewide and local candidates and issues to be decided on June 7.
Leading fair trade advocacy organization Fair World Project joined over thirty other organizations in signing a letter asking Driscoll’s, the largest distributor of berries in the world, to make good on its commitment to enforcing the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. At Sakuma Brothers Farm, a Washington farm that grows blueberries and blackberries for Driscoll’s, management has refused to negotiate a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia.
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.”
The California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard is one of the largest outdoor annual events in California that celebrates the success of the multi-billion dollar global agricultural industry. However, this success has come at the great economic, social and overall health expense to those who pick the berries. On May 22, a protest outside the Strawberry Festival challenged the industry and governmental efforts to overlook the social and environmental costs of strawberry production, and questioned the logic of charity festivals.
Thu May 26 2016 (Updated 05/27/16)
Salmon is Theme at San Francisco's Anti-GMO Action
Demonstrators spotlighted salmon at this year’s March Against Monsanto. In their protest in San Francisco on May 21, protesters called out Aquabounty for creating a GMO salmon that will be farm-raised, fast growing, and has recently been approved by the FDA despite insufficient safety testing. If these GMO salmon escape, they could forever change the genes of ocean salmon. Salmon are especially important spiritually to the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Shasta County. In Santa Cruz, protesters demonstrated wearing medical masks to bring awareness to the destruction that is caused by Monsanto and GMO's.
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.
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."
iCal feed From the Calendar:
3PM Saturday Jul 2 Rally: Estamos con Oaxaca
10AM Monday Jul 4 Annual 4th of July Protest
12PM Sunday Jul 17 Caring for Our Sacred Earth
Slow Food USA respalda el boicot de Driscoll’s Berries Boycott Driscoll's Thursday Jun 30th 5:44 PM
Four Days…the Slaying of Krista Deluca in the Santa Cruz County Jail Dr. Bruce Loisel (1 comment) Thursday Jun 30th 11:16 AM
Slow Food USA Endorses the Boycott of Driscoll’s Berries Boycott Driscoll's (1 comment) Wednesday Jun 29th 8:11 PM
Peace & Dignity Journeys runners arrive in Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Indigenous Solidarity Wednesday Jun 29th 2:44 PM
Watsonville Driscoll's Boycott Action Watsonville Brown Berets Tuesday Jun 28th 6:42 PM
The Summer Solstice Music Festival 6-25-2016 AutumnSun (1 comment) Sunday Jun 26th 12:02 AM
Ventura Oil Spill Highlights Big Oil Regulatory Capture Dan Bacher (1 comment) Friday Jun 24th 2:46 PM
Freedom Sleeper "No Assembly at City Hall Grounds at Night" cases Go to Court Robert Norse (11 comments) Wednesday Jun 22nd 11:25 PM
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Obama Administration Permitted 1,200 Offshore Fracks in Gulf of Mexico Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday Jun 28th 5:20 PM
Pipeline Company in Southern California Oil Spill Has Long History of Leaks Center for Biological Diversity Friday Jun 24th 5:04 PM
Unprecedented Offshore Fracking Threatens Alaska's Endangered Belugas Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday Jun 22nd 11:40 AM
Familias boycott of Driscoll’s berries is gaining momentum Dean Shelton (1 comment) Thursday Jun 16th 7:14 PM
Evergreen State College Students Vote in Solidarity with Palestine and Farmworkers Students for Justice in Palestine at TESC Monday Jun 13th 1:10 PM
Farmworkers Union Walk Out from the Fields This Morning Familias Unidas por la Justicia (1 comment) Thursday Jun 9th 12:29 PM
E.U. Countries Delay Approval of Toxic Chemical in RoundUp via Center for Food Safety Monday Jun 6th 1:11 PM
Renewed Concern Over Labor Dispute at Washington Farm via Fair World Project (1 comment) Thursday Jun 2nd 3:32 AM
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Free Alla Aleksandrovska! Steven Argue Wednesday Jun 29th 6:25 PM
The Working Class Will Benefit from The Brexit Steven Argue Thursday Jun 23rd 10:35 AM
Justin Vineyards criticized for clear-cutting oaks Skye Ravy, Paso Robles Daily News (2 comments) Saturday Jun 11th 4:06 PM
Oil Industry Continues Efforts to “Buy” California’s Electoral System via Sierra Club California Wednesday May 4th 3:01 PM
Scientists Recommend Immediate Action to Combat Changes To West Coast Seawater Chemistry via California Ocean Protection Council Friday Apr 8th 5:33 PM
Against Deporting Refugees To Genocidal Turkey Steven Argue Sunday Mar 20th 11:08 AM
March 8 challenge to Santa Cruz sleeping ban media archive IndyRadio/Roknich Thursday Mar 17th 4:09 PM
City of Santa Cruz debates criminalization of sleeping IndyRadio (1 comment) Thursday Mar 17th 8:29 AM
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