Category Archives: California Story

A Native Son Recounts His Tale…

September 17, 2017

Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission in Santa Barbara

The Junípero Serra statue that stands at the base of the staircase leading into the Old Santa Barbara Mission was beheaded and defaced with bright red paint in the early morning hours of this past Monday.

It was the second attack on a Junipero Serra statue since the movement to remove, destroy or deface any public image of the Confederacy began. In August, a statue of Serra in Mission Hills was covered in red paint and the word “Murder” written in white down the saint’s cassock.

According to the Los Angeles Times,

This week … workers were forced to remove the statue of the controversial figure after someone poured red paint over the sculpture and cut off its head.

“I think people forget the friars do live here,” said Monica Orozco, the mission’s executive director. “Anytime something like this happens to anyone’s home it’s difficult for people.”

The vandalism, which occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. Monday, has triggered an investigation, said Sgt. Joshua Morton, spokesman for Santa Barbara Police Department. No arrests have been made.

Employees are reexamining security measures for the 13-acre property, which is home to 20 friars and houses the Franciscan School of Theology, Orozco said. It also serves as a historical museum, mausoleum and event space.

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September 16, 2017

UC Berkeley Faculty Want to Shut Down Campus for Free Speech Week

“This is a clear threat to public higher education.”

A faculty letter addressed to the UC Berkeley campus and the Berkeley community at large is calling for a complete boycott of classes and campus activities during the upcoming “Free Speech Week,” which will feature conservative speakers whose very names inspire college students to seek safe spaces and therapy.

The Berkeley paper called The Daily Californian reports that the letter was co-written by seven faculty members, including Michael Cohen, a campus associate teaching professor of African American studies. The letter urges fellow faculty members to take three steps: cancel classes and tell students to stay home; close buildings and departments and allow staff to stay home; and not penalize students who are afraid of coming to campus. The letter was signed by 132 campus faculty members from various departments, and by 56 individuals who aren’t part of the UC Berkeley faculty.

Cohen said that most of the students in his African American Studies class are students “of color,” and he believes it is unethical and discriminatory for him to ask his students to be on campus during Free Speech Week, which will be held on campus from Sept. 24-27.

As noted by the Daily Californian, Free Speech Week is being hosted by the Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student newspaper. The four-day event includes themes such as “Feminism Awareness Day” and “Mario Savio is Dead.” Speakers scheduled to be on campus include libertarian provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, and dreaded Breitbart honcho Steve Bannon.

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September 14, 2017

Berkeley letting cops use pepper spray on violent protesters

For the first time in 20 years, Berkeley is allowing police officers to use pepper spray for crowd control as the city prepares for possibly violent riots at a Ben Shapiro event. Officers will only be allowed to use their pepper spray on those who commit acts of violence, which the city is hoping to prevent by prohibiting weapons and masks during Shapiro’s speech.

The Berkeley Police Department has been authorised to use pepper spray as a crowd control weapon for the first time in 20 years as officers prepare for protests on Thursday night.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the Berkeley City Council approved the move in a 6-3 vote Tuesday, just two days before the University of California, Berkeley is scheduled to host popular conservative speaker Ben Shapiro, and just over a week ahead of another controversial event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos.

The decision, requested by Police Chief Andrew Greenwood, overturns a 1997 ban on the use of the chemical agent for crowd-control, and allows police to utilize the tool on protesters “who are committing acts of violence upon police or others.”

Despite the relaxation of restrictions, however, officers are still not allowed to spray protesters engaged in nonviolent behavior or disperse crowds.

Meanwhile, the city also announced a temporary prohibition on weapons at various parks during Shapiro’s speech, a precaution that failed to prevent an outbreak of Antifa violence at a previous demonstration in August.

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San Diego awash with ‘fecal matter’ due to lack of public toilets and surging rates of homeless people, health officials warn as they try to control hepatitis A outbreak

The outbreak has killed 15 people and close to 400 people have been infected. San Diego is now implementing street washing every other week and extending public restroom hours. The homeless and ‘illicit drug users’ are most impacted by the outbreak. Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease in those who are infected. It can spread from ingesting food or water that contains feces from someone with the deadly virus.

San Diego is covered with fecal matter due to a rising homeless population and lack of public restrooms, which is said to have contributed to the hepatitis A outbreak.

Officials declared a public health emergency in the city after the outbreak killed 15 and infected close to 400 people.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can spread through ingesting food and drinks that have come in contact with feces from people who are already infected.

County health officials told the city that they needed to come up with a plan to fix the ‘fecally contaminated environment’ that is in the downtown area.

Officials first attempted to contain the outbreak by providing vaccinations to people and improving educational methods, but the virus continues to spread.

The city is now implementing street washing every other week and an extension on public restroom hours to stop the spread of the virus that has affected the homeless population the most.

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September 13, 2017

UC Berkeley Poll: 53% of California Democrats Oppose Free Speech

A new poll conducted by the University of California Berkeley reveals that a majority of California Democrats oppose the First Amendment right of freedom of speech and assembly, at least as it applies to extreme right-wing groups. A plurality (46%) of all Californians feels the same way.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Forty-six percent of California voters say we’ve gone too far in allowing white nationalists to demonstrate while 43 percent say the rallies should not be restricted and 11 percent had no opinion.

And Democrats, especially, appear to be grappling with the complex issue in deep blue California.

In the wake of violent protests from Charlottesville to Berkeley, more than half, a full 53 percent of California’s Democratic voters, believe we have gone too far in allowing those demonstrations. Some 50 percent of California Republicans, meanwhile, believe the right to demonstrate should not be restricted, compared with 39 percent of Democrats.

The poll’s results reportedly surprised the pollster who conducted it. “I would have thought the liberals would be defending the right to demonstrate in general,” Mark DiCamillo told the Mercury News.

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September 10, 2017

Banned Pesticides Showing Up in California Water

The chemicals have turned thousands of acres of forest into waste dumps so toxic that law enforcement officers have been hospitalized after inadvertently touching plants and equipment, and scores of animals have died.

Toxic chemicals from illegal marijuana farms hidden deep in California’s forests are showing up in rivers and streams that feed the state’s water supply, prompting fears that humans and animals may be at risk, data reviewed by Reuters show.

The presence of potentially deadly pollutants in eight Northern and Central California watersheds is the latest sign of damage to the environment from thousands of illegal cannabis plantations, many of them run by drug cartels serving customers in other states, according to law enforcement.

“I don’t drink out of the creeks – and I used to,” said Sergeant Nathaniel Trujillo, a narcotics expert with the sheriff’s department of Trinity County, about 200 miles north of San Francisco. “I grew up drinking out of them.”

California accounts for more than 90 percent of illegal U.S. marijuana farming. There are as many as 50,000 marijuana farms in California according to state estimates, and even though voters legalized the drug last November, only about 16,000 growers are expected to seek licenses when commercial cultivation becomes legal next year.

Many of the illegal growers use fertilizers and pesticides long restricted or banned in the United States, including carbofuran and zinc phosphide.

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September 8, 2017

Report Shows UC Berkeley’s International Education Rating in Freefall

While students at Berkeley have earned a reputation for silencing opposing viewpoints with violence, the university itself seems to have faltered in its reputation as an educational institution.

Times Higher Education down-ranked UC Berkeley in its annual university ranking report for 2017-2018. The California-based university is known for its dominant liberal ideology, and, more recently, the administration quashing talks by controversial speakers accused of spreading wrongthink ideas. While it is not clear whether the violent riots aimed at quelling the expression of opposing viewpoints contributed to its decline, Berkeley fell eight ranks, from #10 last year, to #18, with a new score of 84.3 percent. That’s a solid “B” grade by Berkeley’s own grading scale which, by way of analog, were it a sanitation rating at a restaurant, would leave much to be desired.

By comparison, Berkeley’s #10 rank last year was an improvement from the previous year’s #13, which makes the effective rate of decline much more significant, showing an 11-point reversal from last year’s rating trend.

Berkeley has become a hot topic in the last year for its tendency to support silencing opposing viewpoints, which, as a state institution, is a flagrant violation of constitutional protections against government censorship. Private schools and companies, by comparison, are not beholden to the Constitution, and are not obliged to protect the right to free expression. The distinction is not always made clear on either side of the debate, but is a necessary distinction to make in any informed conversation on the topic.

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September 3, 2017

Public School Teachers Behind Violent Antifa Group

In Berkeley, Felarca and other BAMN members repeatedly abused their positions of influence over students in service of their own radical goals, Berkeley’s public school district charged in court filings obtained by local news organization Berkeleyside.

Public school teachers are behind a leading far-left militant group that is part of the Antifa network that federal officials say is committing “domestic terrorist violence.”

By Any Means Necessary, which has played a key role in riots in Berkeley, Sacramento and elsewhere, has dozens of public school teachers among its members, including among its most prominent leaders.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security began paying closer attention to Antifa groups in general after BAMN and other extremists started a riot and attacked marchers at a white nationalist rally in Sacramento last July, Politico reported on Friday. The Sacramento violence left at least 10 people hospitalized, several of whom had knife wounds.

One of BAMN’s most prominent organizers is Yvette Felarca, a Berkeley middle school teacher and pro-violence militant. Felarca currently faces charges of inciting a riot for her role in the Sacramento violence.

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August 30, 2017

Berkeley Mayor Wants To Cancel Milo’s ‘Free Speech Week’

Free Speech Week will tackle threats to free speech endemic in movements and ideologies such as feminism and Islam.

The Berkeley mayor advised UC Berkeley to cancel conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned September Free Speech Week.

Jesse Arreguin, mayor of Berkeley, expressed concern on Monday about the Sept. 24-27 slew of events planned by Yiannopoulos after the Aug. 27 Antifa violence, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” Arreguin told the Chronicle. “I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem.”

“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said.

UC Berkeley stressed that cancelling invitations to the university is not within its prerogative and that the school is helping the conservative student host group, Berkeley Patriot, to find a time and place for Yiannopoulos’ appearance.

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August 29, 2017

Berkeley Mayor: Time to Classify Antifa as a Street Gang

Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin is calling for “Antifa” — the so-called “anti-fascist” group that proudly uses violence to silence views with which it does not agree — to be classified as a street gang by police.

Arreguin’s comments came after hundreds of Antifa activists jumped police barricades on Sunday and assaulted right-wing protesters, injuring five. National media generally reported that Antifa had initiated the violence.

CBS San Francisco reported:

“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Arreguin said that while he does not support the far right, it was time to draw the line on the left as well, especially on the black-clad activists who showed up in force and took over both the protests and the park, and played a part in Sunday’s violent clashes.

The mayor said it was also time for the non-violent protesters to take a stand.

“We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” said Arreguin.

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