Vigil at Military Recruiting Center in Honor of Father’s Day

Don’t Kill Other People. Don’t Kill Yourself. Don’t Join the Military.

On June 19, 2009, a vigil in honor of Father’s Day was held in front of the Military Recruiting Center on 41st Avenue in Capitola calling for an end to war in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Demonstrators held signs and banners to “Shut Down the War Machine”, “Bring Our Fathers Home” and “Fund Peoples’ Needs! Not War & Bank Bailouts”. Neither the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines were open for business during the demonstration. Advocates for peace stuffed flowers and literature into the door jams of all four recruiting offices.

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Demonstration at Courthouse Against Gang Enhancements and the Overcriminalization of Youth

On June 17th, community members, organized by the newly formed Alliance Against Gang Enhancements, rallied and handed out flyers on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and the corner of Ocean and Water to educate the public about the realities of gang enhanced sentences. Organizers say that the sentencing “enhancements” [sic] broadly criminalize youth and do not deter future gang crimes. Rather, they result in huge costs passed on to taxpayers and overcriminalize youth in marginalized communities.

Support for the demonstration was expressed by many car drivers and passengers, as well as people entering the courthouse. However, some folks were apparently less enthusiastic, such as the prosecutor against Richard Bentancourt. The jurors for Bentancourt’s trail were reportedly brought into the courthouse through a backdoor. Bentancourt and two other people are on trial this week for a “gang crime” in which the defendants allegedly participated in a fight in Santa Cruz.

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Rally at Natural Bridges to Save State Parks & Beaches

If approved by the state legislature, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget plan will close 220 of 279 State Parks and Beaches, including each and every State Park and Beach in Santa Cruz County.

The proposed Santa Cruz County State Park and Beach closures are Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Castle Rock State Park, Castro Adobe State Historic Park, Coast Dairies State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Lighthouse Field State Beach, Manresa State Beach, Manresa Uplands State Park, Natural Bridges State Beach, New Brighton State Beach, Palm State Beach, Rio Del Mar State Beach, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Seabright State Beach, Seacliff State Beach, Sunset State Beach, The Forest of Nisene Marks, Twin Lakes State Beach and Wilder Ranch State Park.

A rally to save State Parks and Beaches took place on June 1st at Natural Bridges State Beach. On June 2nd, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks took a bus to Sacramento for the only public hearing on this proposal before the Legislative Budget Conference Committee.

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