New Cannabis Prohibitions in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors On March 24, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 before an overflowing room to ban the cultivation of cannabis in all unincorporated territories of the county, with limited exceptions. Personal grows of 10×10 square feet are still permitted, with restrictions. Outdoor cultivation is entirely banned in the 2nd District, represented by Zach Friend, and includes the communities of Aptos, Corralitos, Freedom, and portions of Watsonville.

The vote amended the Santa Cruz County Code by deleting the existing Chapter 7.126, passed on February 11, 2014, in its entirety, and adding a new Chapter 7.126. The new version of the code drastically reduces the legal rights of patients to cultivate and access the wide-range of medicines they depend upon from the cannabis plant.

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Hundreds March for Freedom at Cages Kill Rally in Santa Cruz

Demonstrating solidarity with prisoners at the Santa Cruz County Jail.

Demonstrators shout in solidarity with prisoners at the Santa Cruz County Jail.

At least 6 people have died in the Santa Cruz County Jail since August 2012 while in the hands of the Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG). In light of the most recent death in November 2014, community-based organization Sin Barras, which fights to abolish prisons and the prison industrial-complex, held a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in downtown Santa Cruz.

Hundreds of people came together to protest and raise awareness around the deaths, to highlight the broader context of overcrowding and lack of healthcare inside California jails and prisons, and create a space for community empowerment.

Speakers, including Fox Sloan, mother of Amanda Fox Sloan, who died in the jail July of 2013, shared personal stories which shed light on the violence of the prison system and strategies for building alternative forms of justice.

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Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King’s Legacy

Power concedes nothing without a demand. -Frederick Douglas

Power concedes nothing without a demand. -Frederick Douglas

A weekend of direct actions, teach-ins, politically charged cultural events and marches throughout the Bay Area culminated with a Jobs and Economy March for the People on January 19. The event began with a multicultural rally outside the Fruitvale BART station — an infamous site of police terror where Oscar Grant III was murdered by BART police. The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland, and ended at the Coliseum City development site with a rally and concert featuring Jennifer Johns and Kev Choice.

Since sunrise on Friday, Jan. 16, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings responded to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for 96 hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, January 16 – 19, 2015. The Bay Area joined thousands across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination.

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Watsonville Police Sponsor Annual Peace and Unity March

Suck It In Boys The annual Watsonville Peace and Unity March took place on Saturday, November 1, 2014. This year, for the first time since the initial event in 1994, the Watsonville Police Department was given a large role in determining the route of the march.

The march was founded in 1994 by the Watsonville Brown Berets, and the group remained primary organizers of the event from the beginning through 2011.

In 2012, the Watsonville Brown Berets were still key organizers of the event, however they also established The Watsonville Peace and Unity Coalition.

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Frank Alvarado Sr. Speaks Out Against Salinas Police; Declares “There Will Be Justice”

Angelica Garza, Frank Alvarado's Sister: "Police Should Not Police Themselves"

Angelica Garza, Frank Alvarado’s Sister: “Police Should Not Police Themselves”

At an October 1 press conference in front of Salinas City Hall, family members of Frank Alvarado reacted to the Salinas Police Department’s release of names of officers who shot and killed four Salinas residents in separate incidents this year — all four were Latino men in East Salinas.

The press conference was coordinated by Margaret Serna Bonetti, a civil and human rights activist in Salinas advocating on behalf of the families of Carlos Mejia and Frank Alvarado. Bonetti, who stated she is not being paid for her advocacy, serves as a link between the families and Oakland-based attorney John Burris. On behalf of the Mejia and Alvarado families, Burris asked the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in July to investigate incidents and patterns of police brutality by SPD.

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