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News :: Environment & Food : Labor & Economics

Demonstrations at Two Santa Cruz Taco Bells in Solidarity with CIW

On February 27, at least 300 people took part in demonstrations focusing on the sweatshop conditions in the Florida fields where Taco Bell's tomatoes are picked. People rallied at the Mission St. Taco Bell before marching through parts of downtown Santa Cruz and on to the Laurel St. Taco Bell. A large number of UCSC students took part in the demonstration, as well as various labor organizations such as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and United Farm Workers (UFW).

There were puppets, megaphones, poi dancing, and even a critical mass bike ride which included a critical drive-thru.

An important message of the day was, "Farmworkers Feed America! Stop the Exploitation!"

more photos: [ 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 ]

[ Coalition of Immokalee Workers - Boycott the Bell I Student Farmworker Alliance I Taco Bell Truth Tour ]
 

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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development : Transportation

Unfair Labor Arrangements Hurt Us All

This article describes a labor arrangement that affects many thousands of people in Santa Cruz County. The employer is not the University, the County Government, or even the Seaside Company, owners of the Boardwalk. Most of the people affected aren't employees, for that matter.

What follows is an analysis of a contract. It's a real contract, in effect today, right here in our county.

The rules are from the contract between Local 23 of the United Transportation Union (UTU) and the Lift Line division of Community Bridges. The contract covers paratransit van drivers. Half of their work involves transporting the 3,400 people who are currently registered for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit. The rest of their work involves transporting clients of other programs, such as Medi-Cal (medical insurance for the very poor).

UTU, for its part, doesn't seem to want us to know what's in the contract. I mentioned, at a recent Metro board meeting, that the UTU/Lift Line contract was on the UTU Local 23 Web site. The files were gone within hours, replaced by a dummy screen saying that the information was password-protected (by permission only!). It is a dummy because, unlike the other password-protected parts of UTU's site, this one does not have a place for you to enter a password. Even before the contract was removed, UTU had deleted Appendix A, the pay scale. What could UTU be hiding from the public? Since we pay for and/or use the service, shouldn't we be allowed to see the document?

 

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News :: Alternative Media

Free Radio Santa Cruz Receives Award from SCAN

On February 13, SCAN held their annual awards dinner and ceremony in downtown Santa Cruz. Free Radio Santa Cruz was presented an award for best local radio station in defense of free speech.

SCAN, short for Santa Cruz Action Network, states they are the city's leading non-partisan grassroots organization devoted to organizing around local community issues.

Photos: SCAN Awards Ceremony

Audio: The History of Free Radio Santa Cruz

Free Radio Santa Cruz is looking for a new home

[ Free Radio Santa Cruz I Donate to FRSC I Archive of FRSC on SC-IMC ]
 

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Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Labor & Economics

National Day of Action in Solidarity with CIW

On February 27, the Taco Bell on Mission St. will be the starting point for the National Day of Action in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to highlight the sweatshop conditions in the Florida fields where Taco Bell's tomatoes are picked. This action is expected to have over 300 participants, with speakers, music, and art-in-action. This is the second largest planned action next to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' demonstration in Kentucky. Marchers will gather at 3:30 PM on Friday, February 27 at the Mission St. Taco Bell and march to the Pacific Ave. Taco Bell. This will be a big, action-oriented event that is not to be missed.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers
 

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Announcement :: Gender & Sexuality

The BIG Event - Body Image & Gender

The BIG - Body Image & Gender Event is a Sex-Positive event on Sexual Politics taking place on Sunday Feb. 29 from 4:00 - 10:00 PM at the Vets Hall.

The 2nd annual BIG Event brings sex to the foreground while addressing issues of sex work, alternative relationships and sex practices, safer sex, and reclaiming sex for survivors and partners. BIG features Daisy Anarchy (an activist with Sex Workers Organized for Human, Labor, and Civil Rights) and local community activist Monica Morales of Santa Cruz AIDS Project.

Ultimately, we hope to further our understanding of what it means to be sex positive.

Audio: Daisy Anarchy Speaking at the BIG Event

[ Gender Funk Collective I I Deserve To Be Safe I Download the .pdf Flyer! ]
 

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News :: Police State

Journey of Hope in Monterey

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Abe Bonowitz, Bill Pelke, and Juan Melendez are on a Journey of Hope, travelling around the country speaking out and educating people about the reality of capital punishment. The trio were in Monterey on Valentine's Day for a conference of defense attorneys.

Bill Pelke lost his grandmom to a brutal murder and initially sought her killer's execution, but he had an epiphany and now works against the death penalty.

Juan Meledez spent 17 years, 8 months and a day on Florida's death row for a crime he did not commit. He was set free in January 2002. Juan has become an activist, working to end capital punishment.

Abe Bonowitz is with Citizens United Against the Death Penalty. He has been working to educate the public about human rights problems, in particular the death penalty and the need for alternatives to the death penalty, for over 15 years. But he only came to his position after arguing FOR the death penalty for almost a year in an attempt to disprove the facts presented by death penalty opponents.

Audio from Journey of Hope in Monterey I raw audio

[ Bill Pelke I Juan Melendez I Abe Bonowitz I Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CUADP) I Journey of Hope ]

 
 

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News :: Transportation

Save Santa Cruz to San Jose Transit

Do you ride the bus between Santa Cruz and San Jose? Your main option will be canceled -- "probably" as early as October, according to a Caltrans official.

Several agencies are cooperating to extend the Highway 17 Express bus to Downtown Santa Cruz (Metro Center) and add weekend service. Today, the Highway 17 Express just runs between San Jose and Scotts Valley, and there is no weekend service.

There is a public meeting on Friday, February 27th at 9:00 AM at Santa Cruz City Hall. Metro, the transit agency for our county, can approve or reject the plan.

Once again, we will lose the main daily service between Santa Cruz and San Jose if the plan doesn't pass.

The Metro Riders Union / La Unión de Los Pasajeros de Metro
>> A new, independent organization for concerned bus riders in Santa Cruz County
>> Un grupo neuvo y independiente para pasajeros de autobús en el condado de Santa Cruz

Update: Metro approved the integration of the Highway 17 Express and the Amtrak bus. The Highway 17 Express will be extended from Scotts Valley to the Metro Center in downtown Santa Cruz, and will operate 7 days a week.

 

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Announcement :: Arts & Culture : Civil & Human Rights : Police State : Resistance & Tactics

Leap Day 2004 - Take Back Santa Cruz!

This year, the month of February has an extra day - Leap Day, Sunday the 29th. This unclaimed, extra day allows a window for us to jump out of the runaway train of modern society. Let this day be a blank canvas, which we can transform into anything our hearts and minds desire for the world we most want to live in. Let us tap into our own wild, fearless creativity to turn the everyday grind of war, capitalism and inequality into a new society based on mutual aid, cooperation, freedom and love. In short, let us use Leap Day as a no-holds-barred day of action to break out of the mold we as activists have been stuck in for far too long.

The call for a day of action on Leap Day is completely open-ended, with nothing off-limits in terms of tactics, goals, or strategies. Some of us have already begun planning a party of sorts, which will take place on Leap Day and will feature creative resistance, anarchist fun and games, and much more. And everyone who wishes Santa Cruz and our society as a whole to become greater, fairer, more equal and free is invited. Bring yourself, any costumes, toys, music, art, and anything else that helps you create the new world within the dying shell of this one.

Converge at 1 PM on Sunday (2/29) at San Lorenzo Park

Pirates Reclaim The Streets at Haight & Ashbury On Valentine's Day

[ Background on Reclaim The Streets I RTS, San Francisco I A Modality of Resistance I Organizing Suggestions ]
 

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Announcement :: Alternative Media

Support the African Indymedia Conference

imc_africa.jpgThe imc-africa working group is seeking donations to support travel and other expenses of delegates to the upcoming African Indymedia conference in Dakar, Senegal, March 1-14. Without your help, delegates from all over Africa will not be able to come to the conference.

Since 1999 when the first Independent Media Center formed in the streets of Seattle the Indymedia network has grown by leaps and bounds. Much of that development has taken place in the Global North which has a well-developed multimedia structure that allows for quick and cheap media content. IMCs in some other parts of the world, notably South America, have grown by organizing non-hierarchically to make media, despite not having as much access to multimedia infrastructure.

On the other hand, Indymedia has grown very slowly in Africa. To give Indymedia Africa the push it needs, the imc-Africa working group, with support from other activists, is organizing an Alternative (Indymedia) Conference in Dakar, Senegal, from March 1 to 14.
 
 

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News :: Poverty & Urban Development

Homeless Attacks Continue in Fresno

tent 550.JPGIn a coordinated multi-agency attack on homeless encampments earlier this month, the City of Fresno destroyed tents and other shelters used by the homeless community. Reversing a policy implemented a couple of months ago, the Fresno Police Department (FPD) has returned to the tactic of not allowing the homeless to build any permanent structures. With thousands of homeless on the streets in Fresno, and homeless shelters able to provide only a couple hundred beds, a majority of the homeless have been turned into criminals. If you are homeless and can’t get into a shelter, you are breaking the law if you try to sleep anywhere in the city. This new policy penalizes the homeless and criminalizes poverty.

An earlier story provides some background on the situation. Meanwhile, new questions about these attacks on Fresno’s homeless are being asked as Indymedia reporters interview spokespersons from the H Street encampment.

>> Don't Get Drunk in Fresno!

Live interview with Mike Rhodes THURSDAY, Feb. 19 on Free Radio Santa Cruz.
 
 

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