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Wed Apr 19 2017 (Updated 04/20/17)
The End of Money Bail in California?
California warehouses thousands of people in jails while they await their court dates — simply because they can’t afford to post bail. Meanwhile, wealthy people can easily buy their freedom. Research shows that Black people are assigned higher bail amounts than white people accused of similar offenses. People who can’t post bail are at a higher risk of being convicted, pleading guilty (even if they’re innocent), and receiving harsher sentences. The California Money Bail Reform Act, however, will create a system that prioritizes pretrial services and prevents people from being held in jail simply because they can't make bail.
Across California, and nationally, trans people are funneled into state prisons, detention centers and county jails. While incarceration is violent and unsafe for everyone, trans people face extreme conditions while locked up, including unsafe housing, physical/emotional/sexual assault, lack of access to basic transition health care and a refusal to be recognized by chosen names and genders. SB 310 would make it possible for trans people in custody to file for a legal name and/or gender marker change on their identification documents and would ensure that they are recognized as such while incarcerated.
Tue Apr 18 2017 (Updated 04/23/17)
Tax Day Protests Demand Trump Release His Taxes
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would release his taxes, but that he couldn't until a supposed IRS audit concluded. Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, despite mounting questions regarding conflicts of interest and how much he might be beholden to those representing foreign powers such as Russian oligarchs. Protesters gathered in over 150 cities on April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline, to demand that Trump release his taxes. In Northern California, Tax Day protests were held in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and other cities.
On April 15, students, anti-racists, anti-fascists, and other residents of the Bay Area clashed in the streets of Berkeley against an array of organized white supremacist and far-right forces. Trump supporters openly carried anti-Semitic signs, fascist symbols, and raised their arms in sieg heil Nazi salutes. Unlike most events and actions the far-right has organized in recent past, this time members of the Right were able to take the streets in a city regarded as a leftist stronghold. The far-right is now bragging that if it can take over Berkeley, it can do the same in any city. Meanwhile, much of the Left focused on marches around Trump's tax returns.
Pacifica Foundation is a non-profit organization which owns five independently operated, non-commercial, listener-supported radio stations known for their progressive/liberal political orientation. Its national headquarters adjoins station KPFA in Berkeley. Bill Crosier, Pacifica Foundation's interim Executive Director, addressed members of the 5-station radio network after it became known that at least one of the KPFA Local Station Board members, with others, has secretly contacted celebrities and prominent supporters of progressive causes, falsely claiming that Pacifica is “collapsing”, and asking them to be on the board of a new nonprofit organization which would seek to acquire Pacifica's assets, or at least those of station KPFA.
The staff at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, have formed the Ella Baker Workers Association, a staff union, and have selected the Communications Workers of America to serve as the EBWA’s collective bargaining representative. EBC’s management team has voluntarily recognized the formation of a union to represent its staff. Both staff and management assert that the formation of the union aligns with Ella Baker’s legacy and the organization's longstanding support for unionization, collective bargaining, and worker voice on the job.
Wed Apr 12 2017 (Updated 04/15/17)
"I Don't Work With Pot, I Work With People"
Valerie Corral and her former husband founded Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz, the nation’s oldest continuously operating medical cannabis collective that provides free cannabis for 30 percent of its members. She also helped write and pass Proposition 215, California’s revolutionary medical marijuana law. She has helped build the medical industry and seen it change into what it is today. Now, another twenty years later, the financial climate around cannabis in the United States has changed into a million dollar industry, but Valerie still isn't interested in making money from cannabis.
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