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On March 27, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition claimed victory in its four-year battle to stop Urban Shield, a war games and weapons convention for cops held in Alameda County every year since 2007. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-facilitator of Oakland Privacy, a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment. She has worked with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition since 2014.
Supervisors President London Breed joins city leaders in announcing first-in-the-nation legislation...
President London Breed today joined City leaders and community advocates in announcing groundbreaking legislation that will eliminate all existing criminal justice fees within the City and County of San Francisco’s jurisdiction. This includes fees related to adult probation, home detention, alcohol testing and others which are levied on individuals coming into and out of the City’s criminal justice system.
We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.
During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois, participated in a boycott of the overpriced phone calls, commissary goods and vending machines. “Mass incarceration is a luxury business,” stated Patrick Pursley, one of the men who joined in the boycott. The boycott comes at a time of growing demonstrations led by those inside U.S. prisons.
Urgency to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of poor people and people of color is growing. The general public’s awareness that it simply does not make sense to lock up people with substance abuse or mental health issues is setting the stage for important reforms to our justice system. With this understanding, California voters passed Proposition 47 “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.”
Our Formerly Incarcerated Quest for Democracy (Q4D) Day continues to grow and evolve. This year we had over 250 committed people. We had around 30 teams advocating on legislation relevant to formerly incarcerated people and our communities. Grassroots co-sponsors got a chance to educate community members about their bills. And Sen. Holly Mitchell as well as Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Autumn Burke addressed participants.
The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.
San Franciscans working from 2004 to 2013 to keep tasers out of SFPD officers’ hands as they “talk down” people in public crisis are today celebrating SFPD Chief Greg Suhr’s Wednesday, April 10, decision to drop his “less lethal” taser proposal for San Francisco cops. Idriss Stelley Foundation Program Director Jeremy Miller affirmed: “The Police Commission should be commended for engaging this issue seriously in a manner that befits their political responsibility. Tasers torture and kill. They are unaccountable weapons for unaccountable officers. But it was the people of San Francisco who forced Suhr’s hand.”
As part of a larger effort called the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, a delegation representing Bay Area organizations is petitioning Conngresswoman Barbara Lee to ask the FCC to address the high cost of prison phone calls by passing the Wright Petition.
The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.
About two weeks ago, the IGI (Institutional Gang Investigator) searched my cell in SHU and confiscated my Bay View newspapers, saying they are contraband if any articles speak on George Jackson or Black August. They said that the newspaper with said articles would be used to re-validate me at my six-year review. I should not be penalized for a newspaper article.
Bikes 4 Life is on the cutting edge of the earth conscious movement that has to take place in this country if the human race is to survive. From the naked eye, it is a used bike shop that repairs and sells used bikes. In reality, it is one of the community anchors in West Oakland where people go to socialize and congregate and discuss community issues, including bikes.
THE VERDICT is INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER. Justice for Oscar Grant says: ' All out to Broadway and 14th!' And heed these wise words: 'Requesting Activists and Citizens over 50 years old to show up at 14th street and Broadway. HANDS AROUND OUR YOUTH! We the older generation need to be present to protect our youth from possible police brutality. We must bear witness to our youths right to assemble and peacefully demonstrate. Let OPD know these are our children and deserve to be respected as full USA citizens with the right to peacefully demonstrate without police or outside interference. Come and protect our children.'
The right wing bullies at Fox News – Glenn Beck and his ilk – are going after a man known for years of progressive work in the Bay Area: Van Jones. Van’s real crime? He’s the triple threat: He’s Black, he’s effective and he is empowering the people in this country who have the least resources.
In early October, ethics reporting revealed that PG&E is the source of all but $100 of the entire $5.5 million spent so far to attack Prop H - the San Francisco Clean Energy Act. Prop H is a vital ballot measure that will switch us to 100 percent clean electricity in just three decades, and at the same or lower rates than PG&E.
Assemblymember Sandré Swanson joined Mayor Ron Dellums, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and other officials at a public unveiling of the Oakland Green Jobs Corps program, which will provide "green-collar" skills training and jobs to young adults, many of whom face significant barriers to employment.