Monday, October 28, 2013

Rosario for Andy Lopez

On October 28, the friends and family of Andy Lopez held a Rosario for the 13-year-old at the location where he was killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy on Moorland Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Andy's father Rodrigo Lopez, in the white sweatshirt, is illuminated by a television camera during the Rosario.

Andy was reportedly killed by deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. In a press release issued later that day, sheriff's say deputies first observed Andy walking with, "what appeared to be some type of a rifle." After the scene was, "secured," deputies say they, "learned," that the rifle was a replica of an assault weapon.

One community member at the Rosario handed out a flier calling the killing an assassination, saying Andy was profiled, hunted, and then killed like prey by an impulsive sheriff. The flier also questions whether partner agencies are covering up the truth in the case.

Approximately 150 people were in attendance at the Rosario. After the citation of the Rosary, Andy's father let out a gasp of pain as he touched some of the pictures of his son that were on display.

Earlier in the evening authorities passed over the Rosario twice in a patrol helicopter. Those who have visited the site of Andy's death say police helicopters regularly fly over the location.

One man said that since the killing, the authorities have only been driving in the area in unmarked vehicles.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Artists and Allies Continue to Blanket Downtown at Latest Sidewalk Sit-In

On October 24, community members joined street performers and artists for a "blanket sit-in" on the sidewalk along Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. The 24th was the day that a new city ordinance takes effect that restricts the amount of space artists, musicians, and petitioners may use downtown.

Regular protests have been held since September when the Santa Cruz City Council first proposed reducing the space allowed for street vendors, artists, performers and others exercising their first amendment rights downtown from 16 square feet to 12. Blankets have been banned as a form of "display device" on which artists (and anyone else who wishes to display something downtown for any reason) may show their work, and the allowed amount of space between people with displays was also reduced.

The new 12 square feet limit equates to approximately three squares on the sidewalk, and some demonstrators used chalk to show the public the new amount of space allotted to them.

Sitting on the sidewalk for any reason has been outlawed on Pacific Avenue for years, and writing with chalk is also illegal.

The sit-in was co-sponsored by the Committee for Fairness & Equal Opportunity for Artisans and Musicians, and HUFF - Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

San Lorenzo Valley Residents Protest Impending Water Rate Hikes

Several community members held signs and distributed petition forms at the corner of Highway 9 and Graham Hill Road in Felton today to protest the impending SLV Water District rate increases which would fund various infrastructure projects, including a new multi-million dollar administration facility. Individuals with the group San Lorenzo Valley Watchdogs want to get the word out that the deadline for receiving the petitions is on October 24th, before the end of the prop 218 public hearing with the water board. Just over half of the district's homeowners must sign the petition to stop the rate increase from being enacted.

Those protesting distributed fliers that stated the cumulative water rate increase spread out over five years would amount to 65%, making a bill that is currently $90 increase to $190 or more in five years. They say the community cannot afford a new water district campus that would cost over $9 million, and they have proposed ways to scale it down, also stressing that badly needed water infrastructure work should be the main priority for rate increases.

One demonstrator was unhappy that renters had no say in the process, which she says is a requirement of Prop 218.

51% of the 7400 property owners within the SLV Water District need to sign the protest form to stop the rate increase, and all of the forms will be counted after a question and answer period with the SLV Water Board on October 24, held at 7pm at the Senior Center at Highlands Park in Ben Lomond.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Janet Napolitano Visit Protested at UC Santa Cruz

Students and workers protest incoming University of California President Janet Napolitano on the second day of her visit to UC Santa Cruz on October 18. Individuals made their voices heard in Clark Kerr Hall when the former head of homeland security met with a representative of UC Santa Cruz's student government privately inside of the building.
Student demands:

1. UC enforce a sanctuary against ICE (immigration) for the protection of undocumented students and workers
2. Regents roll back all tuition and fee hikes
3. and grant all UC workers a fair contract.
And, because the appointment of Napolitano is antithetical to a safe and democratic UC,
4. We demand that Napolitano resign from office.