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News :: Education & Youth : Government & Elections : Labor & Economics

Monterey Bay Area Labor Terminates Governor's Visit

Organized labor in the Monterey Bay area is a potent force -- powerful enough apparently to intimidate Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from visiting Salinas. The Governor was planning an appearance in Salinas on Wednesday, May 12, to commemorate the opening of a new California Highway Patrol facility, but when a sizable protest organized against him was publicized, he canceled out at the last minute on Tuesday evening. Representatives from Schwarzenegger's office deny that he had planned on being at the Salinas ceremony, but insiders confirm that the city was preparing for the governor's visit.

Various labor groups have been organizing against Schwarzenegger throughout the state. The first was the California Nurses Association, who have protested his ban on safe nurse-to-patient ratio mandates in medical facilities throughout the state. The California Teacher's Association and California Federation of Teachers have worked in solidarity opposing Schwarzenegger's theft of two billion dollars from last year's education budget, which has yet to be returned. Meanwhile, schools throughout the state are suffering from budget shortfalls. Other labor groups, including state and school employees and service workers, have fought the privatization of the state's retirement system, cutbacks to Worker's Compensation and the Governor's proposed anti-Proposition 98 special election slated for November.

Despite the governor's absence, the demonstration on Wednesday brought record numbers of union supporters out into the streets of Salinas, according to Monterey Bay Central Labor Council's Executive Director, Paul Johnston. He estimated that there were 100 - 200 representing a wide variety of unions in the morning and another several hundred of school employees who arrived in the afternoon. "Outside of farm worker demonstrations, this is probably one of the biggest in the last 50 years," he observed.


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News :: Government & Elections : Health & Drugs : Police State

Roger Mentch Gets Leniency from Courts

Sentencing for local medical marijuana provider Roger Mentch, took place May 2, in the chambers of Superior Court Judge Samuel Stevens. Nearly two years ago, the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs drug task force raided the Felton home of Roger Mentch, managing director of the Hemporium, a medical marijuana consultant and delivery service, with about 20 clients.

The prosecutor who tried the case, Thanh Ngo, argued for a 150 day jail sentence and demanded the DA's office retain all evidence, particularly the cash seized by sherrif's deputies. Judge Stevens handed down, a 5-day jail sentence, giving Mentch credit for time served, and summary probation for 3 years. He was also ordered to pay $220 in court costs. Throughout the hearing, Judge Stevens repeatedly stipulated Mentch could continue to operate his marijuana deliveries, saying, "If he wishes to conduct himself under the law, he will not be in violation of probation." Read more...

Roger Mentch comments: First and foremost I want too thank eveyone that has played a part in supporting me/us in this medical marijuana battle. We are very happy with the verdict, timed served and probation and a $220 fine. A different outcome could of easily distroyed this family unit and the service we provide for many local patients. After my sentencing today I signed documents starting the appeals process. Read the full comment...

Another commenter writes: While Roger and friends were pretty happy about the sentence (no jail time), it still leaves unsettled the question of why Mentch was prosecuted in the first place to the tune of $80,000 in public funds (or so says Mentch) and if he can be prosecuted again for selling medical marijuana to patients with medical marijuana cards. What was never clear to me (perhaps someone can enlighten me?) is what was illegal about what Roger Mentch did in 2003 that prompted his eightteen month ordeal. Read the full comment...

Audio: Rockin' the Boat: Medical Pot Provider Gets Leniency

Photos: Roger Mentch will continue the Hemporium, LLC. a Professional Caregiving Service


News :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Government & Elections

Felton Residents To Vote on Water Buyout

For two and a half years, residents in Felton, CA have been battling with German energy giant, RWE, the world's third largest private water utility, over that companies buyout, of the local system. On Wedneday, April 27, Santa Cruz County Supervisors unanimously agreed to hold a special election, and let Felton voters decide on an 11 million dollar bond to purchase the system from Cal Am/RWE. A special mail-in ballot deadline has been set for July 26.

The California Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a public hearing for May 13 at the Felton Community Hall to take testimony on Cal-Am/RWE's proposal to consolidate the Felton and Monterey water districts.

Audio: Felton Residents Fight Water Privatization

[ Felton Flow || Felton Water News ]


Announcement :: Government & Elections : Health & Drugs : Police State

Rocking Reggae Benefit For Medical Marijuana Provider Roger Mentch!

On Friday, April 22, a reggae extravaganza featuring Rocker-T, Soul Medic and R-evolution was held at the Vet's Hall (846 Front St.) from 8:00 pm to midnight. The evening of music, food and raffle drawings was a fundraiser for the legal defense of Roger Mentch, a medical marijuana provider and caregiver who currently faces up to seven years imprisonment for possessing 1 1/2 oz. of marijuana. (.pdf flyer for 4/22/05 benefit)

On June 6, 2003, the home of Roger Mentch was raided by the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs drug task force. A warrant was issued because the money smelled funny, Monterey Bank stated. At 7:30am guns were drawn on Mr. Mentch as well as his girlfriend and 8 year old daughter.

Previous coverage: Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz


News :: Government & Elections : Peace & War

SC City Council: Start Bringing The Troops Home Now

On April 12, the Santa Cruz City Council approved a resolution in support of House Concurrent Resolution 35 - Withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces From Iraq, introduced by Councilmembers Emily Reilly, Tim Fitzmaurice and Mayor Mike Rotkin. Santa Cruz joins other Cities For Peace, including the majority of townships in New Hampshire, demanding that President Bush "Bring The Troops Home Now."

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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Government & Elections : Peace & War : Resistance & Tactics

Advice From An Old Man


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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights : Government & Elections : Peace & War : Police State

Photos: "Just Us" Action Against SCPD Spying

jzh011006_1.JPG01/10/06 - Around 100 Santa Cruzans showed up at the City Council today to demand a denouncement and investigation into the Santa Cruz Police Department's infiltration of a local group's organizing meetings.

Far from being limited to the individuals that were spied on, protesters included former mayors, the ACLU, artists, peaceniks, high school students, UCSC Students Against War members that were recently spied on by the Pentagon, and a local man who fled fascist Czechoslovakia.

From the "Just Us" Campaign and Rally announcement:

"The Santa Cruz Police Department was discovered infiltrating and conducting undercover surveillance of two of the meetings of the organizers of the Last Night DIY Parade, which was a totally peaceful, positive, and creative event in downtown Santa Cruz on New Years Eve!!...

"This event was organized by 'just us' - 'just us' the people who live here, work here, and try to create positive and peaceful change - if this group can be spied on, so can any of the rest of our groups."

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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Government & Elections : Peace & War : Resistance & Tactics

Impeach the Liar-in-Chief


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Announcement :: Government & Elections

Recall Arnold Campaign In Full Swing!!


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LOCAL Commentary :: Government & Elections : Poverty & Urban Development

Update on Federal Budget From Rep. Sam Farr

Even though we might all be tired of hearing "it's a budget emergency!" again, we need to be informed about what is going on with the federal budget situation. Recently, over 100 people were arrested outside federal offices in D.C., protesting the immorality of this budget.

If these budget cuts are indeed passed, it will not only affect the quality of life for all of us, people and our environmment will die as a result. Even if you consider yourself an antigoverment anarchist, please consider doing all you can to try and stop this from passing anyway. It is a reality that the majority of the population resides in a urban areas. Many will not be able to meet their (very) basic needs without some form of goverment programs.

Here is Rep. Sam Farr's response to my inquiry about the budget. I thought it was worth sharing.

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