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Anti-homeless architecture is common in Santa Cruz, including hi-frequency Mosquito Boxes in parks, removing planter boxes and free speech zones on Pacific, replacing the City Hall lawn with gravel and rocks, and now the ugly chain link fencing at the historic downtown post office. On March 11 and 12, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs decorated the anti-homeless fence at the post office to make it more attractive. Signs, toys, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, soap, clothes, shoes, flowers, and strips of fabric were weaved through the links of the fence.
Keith McHenry writes: The most common government response to the suffering of those being forced into homelessness is the passage of laws against being homeless. Laws against sleeping, sitting, asking for money, living outside, or what officials call “quality of life crimes” make this bad situation even worse, and make the lives of homeless men, women, and children even more miserable. Another aspect of this punitive response to homelessness is passage of laws prohibiting the public sharing of meals with the hungry. The hope is that hiding from public view the problem of homelessness will make it go away.
On February 16, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced his office will not file charges against Erik Bailey, the Santa Cruz Police Department officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt on October 16, 2016. SCPD Officers Erik Bailey and Adam Baker were the first officers to be dispatched to a house on Chase Street that evening after residents called to report a disturbance at the home. When police arrived they say they confronted Sean, who was advancing towards them with a gardening rake. Within 20 seconds they deemed him a threat and opened fire on him.
On March 8, International Women's Day events are scheduled for Berkeley/Albany, Oakland, San Francisco, Cupertino, Santa Cruz and throughout Northern California. A diverse group of radical feminists issuing a call-out for an international women's strike write: In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. Let us use the occasion to build a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism – a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.
Thu Feb 9 2017 (Updated 02/24/17)
A Public Bank for Oakland
Emily Wheeler of the Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland writes: A thriving local economy is something we all want to see—no controversy there. But we’ve been too quick to accept the prevailing notion that there is a trade-off between that and providing ourselves with adequate housing, health care, or education programs. It’s time to align our fiscal practices with our social ideals. It’s time for the Public Bank of Oakland. On February 9, the City of Oakland hosted a public forum on the potential of the Public Bank of Oakland.
On January 21, religious extremists once again held their annual anti-abortion Walk For Life march in San Francisco. They believe holding these events in liberal San Francisco packs a bigger punch because San Franciscans by and large believe that no laws or religion should govern decisions about their bodies, health, and welfare. Every year they are confronted by pro-choice protesters, even though this year there were dueling events in San Francisco. A larger anti-choice event was held in Washington D.C. on January 27.
Over the past several years, Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project has been working with the City of Santa Cruz to develop the city's first community orchard. Riverside Community Orchard was launched in early 2015 when more than fifty volunteers came out to plant twelve dwarf apple, pear, and citrus trees along a fence line at Riverside Gardens Park. On Saturday, February 4, the group will break ground on a major expansion of the orchard, planting upwards of twenty more trees across the street, in an open area adjacent to the skate park and ball courts of Mike Fox Park, by the San Lorenzo River levee.
On the morning of Saturday, January 21, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, a public plot of land at 36th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic, and other services — declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic needs and services. The group which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from Feed the People and Asians for Black Lives said that the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
Dozens of reporters, videographers and photographers thronged around the yellow tape surrounding the block containing the Ghost Ship warehouse the morning after the tragic fire that killed 36 people in the center of Fruitvale. Voices in Fruitvale, a neighborhood where almost half the children live in poverty, weren’t heard for days at all. In this sensational story that garnered nation-wide attention, it was weeks before journalists evinced the slightest interest in the neighborhood where the fire occurred.
Toxic lead levels are dangerously high in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, which has the highest level of contamination in California and are worse than in Flint, Michigan, according to a national report. Unlike Flint’s contaminated water crisis, which caught national attention in 2015, Oakland’s lead is not in the water system but is coming from old buildings and chipping paint that is getting into the dirt and being tossed up in the wind. The result is that 7.57 percent of children under the age of seven who were tested have high levels of lead in their blood.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a report last week detailing the 2014 results of their Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program. The report, documenting all reported pesticide-related illnesses from all California counties, shows 20.1% of agricultural pesticide-related illnesses occurred in Tulare County, making it the county with the most agricultural pesticide illnesses in the state. Santa Cruz County came in second with 17.2%. Of the 53 counties with documented pesticide-related illnesses in 2014, Tulare County accounted for over 1 in every 5 cases of poisonings from agricultural pesticides.
A lawsuit filed on December 13 by civil rights groups charges the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with violating the constitutional rights of homeless people by confiscating and destroying their property in ongoing sweeps. Plaintiffs have lost cherished and necessary items, including family heirlooms, photographs of loved ones, tents, sleeping bags, warm weather clothing, tools, food, camp stoves, bicycles, and personal documents. “Caltrans has been a major obstacle to getting my life together," said plaintiff James Leone. "Twice in six years, I’ve been left with only the clothes on my back. Twice I’ve lost everything I own in the world.”
An oil company with a long history of hazardous spills in California wants state and federal permission to dispose of contaminated waste fluid into an underground water supply in Livermore. The proposal, announced by California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, seeks to exempt an aquifer in eastern Alameda County from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act on behalf of E&B Natural Resources, the oil company seeking the exemption. State officials are now taking public comments and will hold a January 11 hearing on the proposal.
Chanti Ollin, a well-known autonomous cultural center in the gentrified financial district of Mexico City, was violently evicted on November 22. Eight hundred riot police, two helicopters, and an armored car executed the operation, illegally breaking into the building and detaining 26 individuals without so much as a judicial order. This eviction takes place against the backdrop of Mexico City's new constitution, which seeks to privatize land and resources, and suppress any political or cultural activity that disrupts this profit-making program.
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.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
12PM Saturday Apr 1 March for Health, Santa Rosa
1PM Thursday Apr 6 Veterans Job Fair
5:30PM Tuesday Apr 11 Remembering Michael Randell Mears
10AM Saturday Apr 15 TEDxBerkeley 2017: Constellate*
2PM Saturday Apr 15 What the Health
11AM Saturday Apr 29 Uhuru Community Health Fair
12PM Sunday May 7 YTHLive
Remembering Michael Randell Mears Keith McHenry (1 comment) Friday Mar 24th 6:59 PM
Remembering Michael Mears Steve Pleich (2 comments) Wednesday Mar 22nd 12:14 PM
California regulators weaken proposed rules for pesticide use near schools via Californians for Pesticide Reform Friday Mar 17th 4:54 PM
Brytanee Brown on Housing and Urban Displacement: Oakland and New Orleans WTUL New Orleans 9.15 News & Views Thursday Mar 16th 10:21 AM
Anti-Homeless Fence Decorating Party Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs (2 comments) Monday Mar 13th 5:16 PM
Court Support for DAMN Member Arrested at Houselessness Protest Direct Action Monterey Network (2 comments) Thursday Mar 9th 5:49 PM
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