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Why I Risked Arrest for Democracy

April 24, 2016

Sierra Club Leaders Arrested for Standing Up for Voting Rights

Yesterday in the nation’s capital, Sierra Club President Aaron Mair, “Stop Dirty Fuels” campaign director Lena Moffitt, and Washington, D.C., chapter chair Matt Gravatt were among hundreds of citizen activists arrested for participating in an act of civil disobedience on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to protest attacks on voting rights. “We’ve learned that in order to protect our environment — our clean air, clean water, and wild places — we must have a fully functioning democracy,” says Mair. “This means all eligible Americans have access to voting. When our democracy is not working, it is our most vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of dysfunction.”…

For the second time in the Sierra Club’s 120-plus-year history, on April 18 representatives of the Sierra Club allowed themselves to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience.

The first time was just three years ago, when Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Sierra Club president Allison Chin, and Sierra Club director Jim Dougherty stood alongside influential leaders like civil rights activist Julian Bond and handcuffed themselves to the White House fence, protesting the then-proposed, now-rejected Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This simple act of defiance, which landed our fearless leaders in jail that day, ended the Sierra Club’s 120-year embargo on civil disobedience. They did this because they had to. They were arrested to evoke the urgency of the need for President Obama to reject this dangerous project that would have been disastrous for communities throughout the country, not to mention irreversible damage to our climate.

This Monday, I allowed myself to be arrested for another cause vitally important to the Sierra Club: a democracy where every voice is heard. In this organization’s history, we’ve learned that in order to protect our environment—our clean air, clean water, and wild places—we must have a fully functioning democracy. This means all eligible Americans have access to voting. This means money from the super wealthy and corporate polluters does not drown out the voice of everybody else. This also means we need a fully functioning Supreme Court, with all seats filled. All three branches of our government must be fully functioning for our rights to be protected… (more)

Tell your CA Legislators: Help end Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse!

April 23, 2016

Police should not be allowed to legally take innocent people’s cash and property and then keep a portion of the loot. But it’s happening across the country everyday through an unjust, racist policy leftover from Ronald Reagan’s failed War on Drugs called Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Civil Asset Forfeiture gives police a free pass to impose on people’s civil rights and disproportionately steal from low-income people of color without even charging someone with a crime. In California alone, police pocketed nearly $600 MILLION from Civil Asset Forfeiture between 2006 and 2013.

It’s legalized robbery. And it’s past time for California to put an end to it.

SIGN THE PETITION to help reign in this rampant form of policing for profit in California by telling your state legislators:

“Please vote YES on Senate Bill 443 by Senator Holly Mitchell to curb Civil Asset Forfeiture abuse by law enforcement.”

We’ve gathered nearly TENS of thousands of signatures telling California state legislators to vote yes on Senate Bill 443 to help stop law enforcement officers from legally robbing innocent people through a practice called Civil Asset Forfeiture. Join us to keep up the momentum and add your name to help stop Civil Asset Forfeiture abuse

SIGN THE PETITION to tell your state legislators to support Senate Bill 443 by California State Senator Holly Mitchell to help stop Civil Asset Forfeiture abuse…

Law enforcement officers across the country have been legally robbing innocent people like the James’ for decades. How? Through Civil Asset Forfeiture — an unjust, racist policy leftover from Ronald Reagan’s failed War on Drugs, which gives police a free pass to impose on people’s civil rights and disproportionately steal from low-income people of color.(2) And California’s police are some of the worst offenders…

Click here to send an immediate message to your state Assemblymember urging them to vote yes on Senate Bill 443 to reign in Civil Asset Forfeiture abuse… (more)

‘Hope everyone pukes on your artisanal treats’: fighting gentrification, LA-style

April 22, 2016

By Rory Carroll : theguardian – excerpt

Hardline tactics succeed in keeping outsiders away from Boyle Heights, the Latino community that is the last holdout to Los Angeles gentrification

A realtor who invited clients to tour the neighbourhood for bargain properties and enjoy “artisanal treats” felt the backlash within hours.

“I can’t help but hope that your 60-minute bike ride is a total disaster and that everyone who eats your artisanal treats pukes immediately,” said one message. “Stay outta my fucking hood,” said another.

Fearing violence, the realtor cancelled the event.

An opera company which tried to stage a performance at the park was drowned out by shouts, whistles and a brass band. Students from across town who attempted an educational walking tour of the area encountered masked activists who shadowed them and ordered them to leave.

Welcome to Boyle Heights – or not, depending on how locals view you.

This hardscrabble Latino community, just across the Los Angeles river from the lofts and skyscrapers of downtown, is waging a vigorous and in many ways effective campaign against gentrification.

Where Brooklyn, San Francisco, Oakland and other parts of LA have yielded to and often embraced moneyed outsiders, Boyle Heights has dug a metaphorical moat…. (more)

Regional government sells out Bay Area cities

April 15, 2016

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

I’ve been covering the current power struggle between the Association of Bay Area Governments, our region’s land use planning authority, and its transportation planning counterpart, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, since the feud burst into public last July. This is no ordinary bureaucratic turf war. The scope of MTC’s largesse alone—to take one recent and controversial example, the recently announced $260 million dollar emergency bailout of the Transit Center includes a $100 million loan from MTC—means that the outcome of this fight will profoundly affect life in the Bay Area.

And now there’s a new chapter – a meeting next week that could leave many of the smaller cities and counties in the region completely disenfranchised as what is supposedly a representative body moves to railroad through a very questionable merger deal.

So far my stories have cast MTC as the villain of the piece—for good reason:… (more)

How does this merger effect the residents of the cities that are contained in the area under “regional” government? How does this play into the Prop AA bill the voters of those same 9 counties will be required to pass in order to establish a first ever regional parcel tax on all properties within the region?

Read more…

Douglas Rushkoff Deconstructs the Digital Economy

April 14, 2016

New Yorker writer who used to come to San Francisco for respite from the Wall Street rat race comments on how tech has sucked the soul out of San Francisco.

Douglas Rushkoof : 92Y (video)

In my early writing days I would go to SF to find out what’s happening next and get this sort of spiritual, deeply humanistic recharge and then come to New York and argue why all these great things are going to happen and how human potential is gonna… and I would be arguing against publishers who would just laugh me out of the room.

I remember my first book on San Francisco internet culture, it got canceled in 1992 because the publisher thought the internet would be over by 1993 when the book would come out. And they saw those crazy San Francisco people and their peace and love stuff.

And I was out there for a week, and there was really not a vestige of that sensibility. If anything it felt to me, this New Yorker was going to San Francisco to remind them of the humanity underneath these technologies and the possibility for peer to peer interaction and all that. And it is strange.

And now I come back to New York and you would think, oh here it’s this New York thing and we are in the Bloomberg Bubble and all, and… it’s very relaxing for me. It’s a strange sort of homecoming. And you would think, this is Wall Street, that this would be the more severe place. And it’s actually the opposite. And I don’t know quite how I’m going to deal with that.

I guess I should be glad I didn’t move out. I stayed and you know if you wait long enough, you end up in the human place…

What’s going on there, it’s in the title of the book. it was really crystallized by my twitter stream when I saw that people were laying in front of the buses that Google was using to transport its workers from San Francisco to the Google place down in Mountain View…




Mayor Lee Vows To Crack Down On Homeless Encampments Citywide

April 12, 2016

by Brittany Hopkins : hoodline – excerpt

Homeless encampments citywide are now being considered safety hazards, and a “systematic citywide takedown policy” is being drafted, Mayor Ed Lee told the Chronicle this weekend.

Lee’s statement came two days after two San Francisco police officers shot and killed 45-year-old Luis Gongora, a resident of the homeless encampment on Shotwell between 18th and 19th streets in the Mission. It’s been just over a month since the city cleared the controversial Division Street encampment.

According to the Chronicle, Lee’s takedown plan involves officials from the SFPD, health department and SF Public Works selecting “hot spots” and moving residents of those encampments into shelters, as beds become available.

Lee said that the encampment on Shotwell will be one of the first to go. “Once the various investigations have finished, collecting evidence and completed their interviews of witnesses, I will be ordering the Shotwell camp to be taken down, and for it not to come back,” Lee told the Chronicle.

According to the ExaminerSFPD officers didn’t wait to act: they began dismantling the tents on Shotwell late Saturday night, tearing many of them apart with knives. A Public Works spokeswoman said nine residents of the tents were moved into the nearby Homeless Navigation Center… (more)

The Airbnb of backyards is bringing hot tubs and strangers to your lawn

April 12, 2016

By Katie Dowd : sfgate – excerpt

Have you ever looked at your backyard and thought, ‘If only I could charge yard-less strangers to utilize this space?’

A new app called Nookzy is hoping to help you with this problem you never knew you had. The space-sharing app is quietly launching in San Francisco, according to a flier obtained by SFist.

“The backyard has entered the sharing economy,” the flier boldly proclaims, proving that in this city, the concept of sharing can be monetized by anyone.

Nookzy’s pitch also includes the sentences, “How often do you really use your yard? Why not share it?” which is exactly the kind of nagging tone that users really embrace…

So what happens if your yard-using guests treat your garden like Dolores Park on a sunny day?

“In the unlikely occasion that anything goes wrong, Nookzy will do its best to rectify it,” its site reads.

Oh, sure. That’s reassuring… (more)

Hopefully this is an April Fools joke. What will people not sell these days?



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