Volume 2 Issue 46, May 13, 2022 View as Webpage
Santa Cruz Has First Two Unionized Starbucks in California

< Zely Martinez is at the counter of California's first Starbucks to unionize, just a short time after votes were counted.

On May 11 at 2:30pm, supporters started gathering at the Starbucks at 1901 Mission St. in Santa Cruz. Before long, over 80 people had come to celebrate a win for working people. There were members of Service Employees International Union, Workers Student Solidarity Coalition from UCSC, California Federation of Teachers, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council and more. The vote to unionize was 15-2.
The second store to organize, the Ocean and Water Starbucks, voted 13-1 to organize. The Capitola Starbucks might be the next one to unionize.
Even though the difficult task of organizing is only the first step, it was so gratifying to unionists like myself to see this resurgence. For the last 20 years, the unionized workforce, especially in the private sector, has declined dramatically. 

I encourage all supporters to patronize these Starbucks and wear your union buttons, hats and t-shirts. And also, if necessary, be prepared to go there again and stand in support if they need assistance in getting a fair contract with good working conditions, fair pay and benefits.

Joe Thompson, lead organizer for Santa Cruz Starbucks Workers United, and Bodie Shargel. >
Santa Cruz City Council Members May Have Violated Brown Act and State and County Campaign Finance Laws
Four members of Santa Cruz City Council, former City of Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Myers, former City of Santa Cruz Mayor Martine Watkins, Councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Councilmember Renee Golder may have likely violated Brown Act provisions at a May 2, Santa Cruz Together Fundraiser held at Stockwell Cellars according to Ann Simonton, community member and head of Media Watch, who was at the meeting. Councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson may have also violated Santa Cruz County and State Campaign Finance Laws by openly campaigning at an event where donations over $500 were actively requested. Simonton has requested - see letter below - that Santa Cruz District Attorney Jeff Rosell investigate these violations.
The Brown Act basically states that four or more members of a legislative body, in this case Santa Cruz City Council, shall not discuss city business outside of official meetings. Councilcmember Myers held an extensive discussion at this event in support of Measure E, an initiative that would change how elections in Santa Cruz City are conducted.

Also, California State Campaign Finance Law may also have been violated when, Simonton contends, Santa Cruz Together (SCT) openly solicited funds for Kalantari-Johnson and Yes on E. At the meeting, head of SCT, Lynn Renshaw, said, "Tonight were aiming to raise $10,000. We need to have the funding for two mailers, and because of our generous donors, we have a matching grant so we can match donations up to $10,000 tonight." She then states "I myself am going to contribute $500 just to chip a way at that." According to Simonton, "this violates the Fair Elections mandate of the State and County as claiming to be given independent expenditures must only happen through individuals privately giving - not at an event. It is illegal for a candidate for a county seat to openly campaign at such an event. Renshaw made it clear when she said she would kick it off with 500 of her own dollars."

Below is the email she sent to Santa Cruz County DA Jeffrey Rosell. You may contact the DA yourself here to show support to have these issues be investigated.

May 10, 2022
Jeffrey S. Rosell
Santa Cruz County District Attorney
Santa Cruz County Governmental Center
701 Ocean Street, Room 200
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Dear Mr. Rosell:

I am a Santa Cruz City resident of 46 years who is deeply concerned about potential violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, and other provisions of fair election and campaign laws. 

On May 2, 2022 Santa Cruz Together held a fundraiser at Stockwell Cellars, 1100 Fair Ave. from 5:30-7pm in support of Shebreh Kalantari Johnson and the ballot initiative asking supporters to Vote Yes on Measure E for the June 7th Ballot and to stop the Empty Home Tax coming up for vote in November. There were four council members present and it was clear at the end that the dignitaries present were available to answer questions and to discuss city business concerning the upcoming June election.

Two or more violations of the Brown Act, and Campaign Finance Laws are thought to have occurred: 

Violation 1. 4 members of the current City Council met and discussed with the public City business. The persons who may have violated the Brown Act are all elected members of the Santa Cruz City Council, namely:
Former City of Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Myers, Former City of Santa Cruz Mayor Martine Watkins, Santa Cruz City Council Member Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Santa Cruz City Council Member Renee Golder.

Violation 2. I am asking you to investigate a possible violation of campaign finance laws and/or state laws relating to election campaigns. Santa Cruz Together is a political group, based in the City of Santa Cruz, with a website located at: https://www.santacruztogether.com Member Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson is a current candidate for the Third District seat on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, in an election scheduled for June 7, 2022. Kalantari-Johnson may have illegally attempted to avoid laws that establish campaign contribution limits for those who run for the Board of Supervisors. It appears that Kalantari-Johnson did so by illegally coordinating her campaign with groups and persons who might not face campaign contribution limits when they make truly “independent” expenditures. 

Violation 3. Donna Meyers also may have violated the Brown Act and Campaign Finance laws in her speech promoting Measure E as she coordinated her campaign with Santa Cruz Together, who don’t face campaign contribution limits when they make “independent” expenditures. An independent expenditure can only be done in private, not during a large fundraiser full of former mayors, City representatives and business owners being asked to match a 10K matching fund to create yard signs and $30,000 for mailers for Shebreh and Yes on E Measure. 

I am asking that you promptly investigate the issues outlined in this letter, and then take action to prosecute any and all of the named persons, if you determine that they, or any one of them, did in fact violate the law. 

I made an audio recording of the public meeting of Santa Cruz Together on May 2, 2022 and a link is provided to you, and has also been made available to members of the media covering local, city and county issues, and all four City Council Members listed above who attended. The recording is available on the following website with a guide to their comments:
https://youtu.be/LbLe_woU0pU Audio Link to May 2nd 2022 meeting.
As the following screenshot of the Santa Cruz Together website shows, Santa Cruz Together is actively supporting the supervisorial campaign of Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson. (Screenshot has been removed - editor)

At this Santa Cruz Together meeting on May 2, 2022, Ms. Lynn Renshaw, Director of Santa Cruz Together, reminded the audience that campaign contributions to her group are unlimited (Audio: 36:20-40:33) despite the Santa Cruz County ordinance limiting campaign contributions, because when such contributions to Santa Cruz Together are spent to benefit Ms. Kalantari-Johnson’s campaign they will be counted as “independent” expenditures. Renshaw went on to remind the audience that “those with the most mailers WIN.”

I was appalled that Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson is working directly with Santa Cruz Together to try to avoid the campaign contribution limits established by County and state ordinance. I consider this to be a brazen violation of the public trust, and, as noted, likely a violation of applicable state and local laws. 
Thank you for promptly investigating these serious concerns, and for then taking prompt prosecutorial action on the matters outlined in this letter, if indeed you find that violations of state and local laws have, in fact, occurred. 

Ann J. Simonton
cc:  Robert Taren
        All Members, Santa Cruz City Council
        Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)
        Santa Cruz Together 
        Santa Cruz City Attorney
         Santa Cruz Media
        Other Interested Persons
1.    Ralph M. Brown Act, Definition of Meeting - Government Code §54952.2 (b) (1):
A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.
As described in Chapter 8, a payment for a communication that expressly advocates support of or opposition to a candidate or ballot measure, which is not made at the behest of the candidate or measure committee, is an “independent expenditure.” [emphasis added] 
Reel Work Labor Film Festival - How We Work

This week’s films, shown May 11-17, features How We Work. For years, many of us trodded or still trod off to work, but most of this time we were unobserved by the larger outside world. These five films go closer and interact with workers at their workplaces. Most of these are short films that you can watch over several days. Feel free to share this message. The Victorias had to be cancelled because after submitting the film to the festival, they later engaged in an agreement that limited the showing. 

I also hope that you can be present at our panel discussion, May 17, 7pm PDT. 
To join the panel discussion Register at bit.ly/RW22May17. You will then receive a link. See more information below.
Vote No on D - The Risks of Abandoning the Rail Line

The Santa Cruz Coastal Rail Line and the Felton Rail Line both legally have Active status, which protects rail infrastructure like bridges and track from being demolished. If the line were to be Abandoned and lose Active status, railbanking would give some protection to the underlying corridor land, but would allow the bridges and track to be demolished. See the chart below.

The Santa Cruz Coastal Rail line is made of standard-gauge track that is easy to upgrade for passenger service. For example, existing tracks can be welded together to create a smooth ride; they do not need to be torn out and replaced. We also already have rail bridges, most of which are in good enough repair to carry passenger rail now. However if we allow our rail bridges and track to be demolished, as the ‘Interim’ trail scenario calls for, establishing rail transit would become prohibitively expensive. We are especially opposed to the recent idea of demolishing the rail bridges over the highway in Aptos without having a plan or funding to replace them.

This is why we oppose abandonment, even if it includes railbanking. We need to beat Measure D to bring home to the commissioners that voters want to use our rail infrastructure, not demolish it. 

Reminder: Take Grassroots Action Now!

Email 10 of your Santa Cruz County Friends Today to ask them to Vote No on D. Use this sample email text to make it easy: NO on D Letter to Friends

Still Fired Up? Here are Three More Ways to Help:
  1. Vote early! Look for your ballot in the mail, mark that NO on D box, send your ballot in and share on Social Media.
  2. Donate to the No-Way-Greenway NO-on-D Campaign.
  3. Volunteer for Voter Outreach
Looking for information about voting in Santa Cruz County? Find all the info here.
Santa Cruz Mountain Kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake that is native to the Santa Cruz Mountains where its existence is endangered. It resembles the dangerous coral snake but is harmless. This docent was on hand at the Watsonville Plaza on Earth Day to show off and educate us about this snake.
Santa Cruz County Covid-19 Report

The Santa Cruz County Health Department regularly releases data on the current status of Covid-19 in the county. Total known cases as of May 12 were 50,238, up 748 cases from last week's 49,490, rounding off to a 2% rise. There was one new death this week.

The government is issuing four free Antigen Rapid Tests for free here.

Because of all the home tests currently available, these numbers are underestimates according to Corinne Hyland, County Health Services Agency spokesperson. She recommends people with minor symptoms stay home, isolate and rest.

Hospitalizations increased by 1 to 650, the first change since March 10. Click to view a graph of hospitalizations here.

There have been changes in the last week in the active cases. Active cases in south county decreased by 1%, north county decreased by 2% and mid county increased by 4%. See details in the chart below.

On the county's vaccination webpage, the vaccination rate shows that 81% of the county have had at least one dose and 75% have had two doses. Here are more details on the county's vaccination data

This webpage also has a link where you can get a digital copy and scannable QR code of your vaccination record. Keep track of your four digit code because that is your access to the site.

The county's Effective Reproductive Number is now above one. See chart below. Numbers above one show the spread of the virus is increasing. Below one means the spread is decreasing.

To get information of COVID-19 testing locations around the county visit this site. Click here to make an appointment to get tested.

Any Californian age 12 or up can get vaccinated for free. For information on getting vaccinated, click here.
% deaths by ethnicity:
White - 57% 
Latinx - 34%
Black - 1% 
Asian - 6%
American Native - 0%
Unknown - 0%

% deaths by gender/% of population:
Female - 48%/50% 
Male - 52%/50% 

Deaths by age/262:
25-34 - 2%
35-44 - 3%
45-54 - 4%
55-59 - 2%
60-64 - 6%
65-74 - 20%
75-84 - 23%
85+ - 43%

% active cases testing positive by region/% of population:
Mid-county - 13%/12% 
North county - 70%/56% 
South county - 17%/32% 
Under investigation - 1%

Deaths by vaccination status: 
vaccinated - 28/261 = 11%
unvaccinated - 232/261 = 89%
Weekly increases in positive tests: 
June 12-19, 2020 - 7% 
June 19-26 - 23%
June 26 to July 3 - 22%
July 3-9 - 23%
July 9-16 - 40%
July 16-23 - 20%
July 23-30 - 27%
July 30-Aug. 6 - 13%
Aug. 6-13- 12%
Aug.14-20 - 16%
Aug.20-28 - 10%
Aug. 28-Sept. 3 - 10%
Sept. 3-10 - 6%
Sept. 10-17- 8% 
Sept. 17-24 - 7%
Sept. 25- Oct.1 - 5%
Oct. 1 - 9 - 4%
Oct. 9-15 - 4%
Oct. 15-22 - 5%
Oct. 23-29 - 4%
Oct. 30-Nov. 5 - 6%
Nov. 5-12 - 10%
Nov. 12-19 - 11%
Nov. 19-26 - holiday
Nov. 19-Dec. 3 - 29% 2 weeks of data for this week only
Dec. 3-10 - 16%
Dec. 10-17 - 17%
Dec. 17-24 - 14%
Dec. 24-31 - 19%
Jan. 1-7, 2021 - 13%
Jan. 7-14 - 14%
Jan. 15-21 - 11%
Jan. 21-28 - 5%
Jan. 28-Feb. 4 - 5%
Feb. 5-11 - 2%
Feb. 11-18 - 2%
Feb. 18-25 - 1%
Feb. 25-March 5 - 1%
March 5-11 - 1%
March 11-18 - 2%
March 18-25 - .5%
March 25 - Apr. 1 - .7%
Apr. 1-8 - 0.1%
Apr. 9-15 - 1%
Apr. 16-22 - 2%
Apr. 22-30 - 2%
Apr. 30 - May 6 - .3%
May 6-13 - 2%
May 13-20 - 0%
May 24 - Data readjustment by county means percentages cannot be calculated this week.
May 27 - June 3 - 0%
June 3-10 - 0%
June 11-17 - .25%
June 18-24 - 0%
June 25-July 1 - 0%
July 2-8 - .3%
July 9-15 - .2%
July 16-22 - .5%
July 23-29 - 1.2%
July 30-Aug. 5 - 2%
Aug. 6-12 - .7%
Aug.13-19 - 4%
Aug. 20-26 - .7%
Aug. 26-Sept. 2 - 3%
Sept. 2-9 - 2%
Sept. 10-16 - 1%
Sept. 17-22 - 1%
Sept. 23-30 - 2%
Oct. 1-7 - 0%
Oct. 8-14 - 1%
Oct. 15-21 - 1%
Oct. 22-28 - 1%
Oct. 29-Nov. 4 - 1%
Nov. 5-11 - 1%
Nov. 12-18 - 2%
Nov. 19 - Dec. 2 - 2 weeks 2%
Dec. 2-9 - 2%
Dec. 9-16 - 1%
Dec. 16-23 - 1%
Dec. 24-30 - 2%
Dec. 31 - Jan. 6, 2022 - 5% Growth of home tests underestimates cases below. See above .
Jan. 7-13 - 9%
Jan. 14-20 - 15%
Jan. 21-27 - 9%
Jan. 28 - Feb. 3 - 31%
Feb. 3-10 - 3%
Feb. 11-24 (2 weeks) - 5%
Feb. 25- March 3 - 1%
March 4-10 - 1%
March 11-17 - 1%
March 18-24 - 0%
March 25-31 - 1%
Apr. 1-7 - 0%
Apr. 8-14 - 1%
Apr. 15-21 - 1%
Apr. 22-28 - 1%
Apr. 20 - May 5 - 1%
May 6-12 - 2%
Fashion Street - A man walks past one of numerous outdoor murals in downtown San Jose.
Labor History Calendar for May 13-19, 2022

< Malcolm X

May 13, 1913: 10,000 IWW dock workers strike, Philadelphia.
May 13, 1968 Strikes in Paris leads to general strike by 10 million workers.
May13, 2014: 310 killed in Soma mine disaster after Turkish authorities ignore union safety warning.
May 14, 1771: Labor reformer and founder of utopian socialism, Robert Owen born in Newton, Wales.
May 14, 1993: 11-day East German metalworkers strike settled.
May 15, 1902: Anthracite miners in eastern Pennsylvania strike for higher wages, shorter workdays and union recognition of the United Mine Workers of America.
May 15, 1919: General strike in Winnipeg begins and lasts for six weeks.
May 15, 1931: Soldiers fire on strikers, killing many in Adalen, Sweden.
May 15, 1942: Death of IWW songwriter T-Bone Slim in NYC.
May 15, 2011: Indignados protest, demonstrate and occupy against austerity policies in Spain. Also called the M15 Movement.
May 16, 1821: Engineers start successful 5-month strike for 9-hour day in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
May 16, 1934: Minneapolis general strike backs Teamsters.
May 16, 2018: IWW songwriter U. Utah Phillips dies.
May 17, 1838: First women's anti-slavery conference in Philadelphia.
May 17, 1954: Supreme Court outlaws segregation in public schools.
May 18, 1814: Birth of Michael Bakunin.
May 18, 1855: Brith of Geroge Speed, IWW organizers active in Haymarket defense, Coxey's Army and the Pullman Strike.
May 19: 1920: Miners win battle of Matewan, West Virginia, over Baldwin-Felts gun thugs.
May 19, 1925 Birth of Malcolm X in Omaha, Nebraska.
May 19, 2017: 4,000 Haitian garment workers strike to double wages.

Labor History Calendar has been published yearly by the Hungarian Literature Fund since 1985.
February 21, 1965 Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, New York City. Below is the photo of the ballroom stage after the murder. White circles mark the bullet holes.

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”
Malcolm X

Sesame Snapper    
By SARAH RINGLER                           

If you have access to freshly caught fish, you are luckier than the richest and most powerful people in the world. The key to the best fish is freshness and even money can’t change that. 

Prices of fresh seafood have risen dramatically over the last few years. Demand is high but even more importantly, supplies are down. To continue to be able to enjoy this resource from our nearby Pacific Ocean, humans have to take action. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is studying our oceans and has come up with suggestions for the kinds of seafood that they recommend we should buy.

There are four areas of concern. The first category is called by-catch; one fourth of all sea animals caught are discarded into the ocean, dead or dying. The animals are discarded because they are not the kind the fishers want, have no market value or the boat is too small. 

The second problem is habitat damage that makes it impossible for a sea animal to live in an area any longer. Some sea animals like young cod live in rocky areas on the ocean floor. Sea scallops, sole and halibut like to nestle in the sand. Pacific rockfish like to live in kelp forests that have roots anchored to rocks on the ocean floor. Some fishing boats drag heavily weighted nets along the bottom of the ocean floor to catch their target. This destroys sea floors and can take, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, centuries to grow away. 

The third problem is over-fishing. Over-fishing means that fish are being caught faster than they can reproduce. Chilean sea bass live 40 years. A Pacific rockfish was caught in 2001 that was 205 years old. Between 1950 and 1994, the number of fishing boats has doubled and the amount of the fish caught has increased by four times. In 1989, the amount of fish caught has leveled off at 82 million metric tons of fish per year. This is one cause of the collapse of the fishing industry in many parts of the world leaving communities destitute like the one I lived in, years ago, on Cormorant Island off the northern coast of Vancouver Island. 

The final problem may seem like a solution, fish farms. For some seafood like oysters, clams or mussels, farming is ecologically sound. But many fish farms have large pens that are anchored offshore. To maximize production, fish are crowded together and then given antibiotics to control diseases that come from living so closely together. Feces from these fish and non-native farm fish escaping from the pens pollute the surrounding oceans, lakes and straits killing off native fish. A friend of mine who worked at a salmon fish farm off of the Johnston Straits in British Columbia said he’d never eat a farm fish because of all the welts and growths he’d seen on them.

Here is a short list that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has come up with that will allow you to enjoy seafood without contributing to the problems above: Alaskan wild salmon, Black Cod from Alaska or BC, White Seabass, California sardines, striped bass, Black Rockfish, Pacific Cod, wild Pollack, Dungeness crab, spiny lobster, farmed abalone, farmed clams, farmed Bay Scallops, farmed Tilapia, farmed Rainbow Trout.  The complete printable list is available here.

1 pound red snapper, cod or any rockfish – enough for 2 people
1 egg
1 tsp. hot sauce like Bufalo, Tapatio or Tabasco sauce
3/4 cup white flour
½ cup sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
Avocado oil or any cooking oil with a little butter added for flavor if desired

Get out two pie tins. In one beat an egg with the hot sauce. In the other mix up the flour, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

Wash the fish and dry it. Heat a cast iron fry pan on medium and add the cooking oil. When the oil is glossy add a little butter, if desired, and then the fish. Cook until golden brown and then flip to cook other side. Keep warm until you have cooked all the fish. Serve with lemon slices. 
Send your story, poetry or art here: Please submit a story, poem or photo of your art that you think would be of interest to the people of Santa Cruz County. Try and keep the word count to around 400. Also, there should be suggested actions if this is a political issue. Submit to coluyaki@gmail.com

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Thanks, Sarah Ringler
Welcome to Serf City Times Over time, our county has grown more stratified and divided with many people feeling left out. Housing affordability, racism and low wages are the most obvious factors. However, many groups and individuals in Santa Cruz County work tirelessly to make our county a better place for everyone. These people work on the environment, housing, economic justice, health, criminal justice, disability rights, immigrant rights, racial justice, transportation, workers’ rights, education reform, gender issues, equity issues, electoral politics and more. Often, one group doesn’t know what another is doing. The Serf City Times is dedicated to serving as a clearinghouse for those issues by letting you know what is going on, what actions you can take and how you can support these groups.This is a self-funded enterprise and all work is volunteer. 
Copyright © 2022 Sarah Ringler - All rights reserved