DRONES OVER WINE COUNTRY?
SURVEILLANCE DRONES AND YOUR PRIVACY
Over 140 people came to the Friedman Event Center May 17th to honor Mei T. Nakano, mingle over fine wine, eat a delicious meal, enjoy music by Happy Accident and listen to a fascinating presentation by Trevor Timm of Electronic Frontier Foundation as he discussed the use of surveillance drones, the threat they pose to your privacy and what you can do about it at the Chapter’s Award Celebration and Annual Dinner.
MEI T. NAKANO RECEIVES 2013 JACK GREEN CIVIL LIBERTIES AWARD
Award presented at the Sonoma Chapter’s Awards Celebration and Annual Dinner.
Activist and author Mei T. Nakano has chronicled the lives of generations of Japanese Americans in books and articles. Incarcerated at the age of 17 in concentration camps in California and Colorado, she later returned to school to earn a master’s degree. She fought racism and sexism and led the successful campaign to create Sonoma County’s Human Rights Commission, where she served as its first chairperson.
YOUTH COURTS – A BETTER WAY FOR OUR STUDENTS
Sonoma County’s schools have some of the highest rates of expulsions and suspensions in California. Each of these acts deprives a student of learning time and puts the student on a path that can lead to dropping out, getting in trouble and winding up in the prison system. It also deprives the school of money from the state’s Average Daily Attendance funds.
There is a better way to handle school discipline and your chapter’s Education Committee is exploring it with other civil rights and community groups. Committee members Jackie Leonard, Marty McReynolds, Nancy Palandati and Judith Volkart have traveled to Marin County to observe Youth Court in action – managed by the Marin YMCA with strong support from the Marin Chapter of ACLU.
They saw students acting as jurors, advocates and bailiff, with a volunteer adult acting as judge in a procedure that works out penalties while keeping the student out of the criminal justice system and in school.
The Youth Court is only one of the ways to involve students in their own discipline in a supportive, non-punitive approach.
Join us in working to end harmful applications of school discipline in Sonoma County. Phone us at (707) 765-5005 or email email@example.com
A FREE SPEECH VICTORY FOR MUSIC
With members of the Occupy Santa Rosa Band leading the way, your chapter obtained assurances from the City of Santa Rosa that police will not interfere with music played in the streets as part of a free-speech protest.
After Santa Rosa City Police warned members of the band that they were violating a city ordinance requiring a permit to perform, Occupy came to the ACLU of Sonoma County. Santa Rosa police officers not only threatened band members with criminal prosecution, they threatened to confiscate the band members’ instruments.
Chapter Board Members Marty McReynolds, Evan Livingstone and Judith Volkart, along with Occupy Band musicians Jean Redus and Miles Atchison, met with City Attorney Caroline Fowler October 16th. They requested the meeting because the board members stressed to the City Attorney that the music was part of a constitutionally protected protest and that the musicians were not violating the ordinance’s requirements.
City Attorney Fowler agreed that police should be instructed not to interfere with the band’s performances, which have been a key part of Occupy protests in Santa Rosa and elsewhere.
On November 29, she confirmed this position in a letter to the Chapter in which she said she had advised the Santa Rosa Police Department “and they have confirmed that officers have been advised that there is no requirement for persons performing music that are not soliciting donations or placing structures in the public right of way to have a street performers permit.”
Let the music play…
MARIO SAVIO SPEAKER’S CORNER MEMORIAL AT SSU DEDICATED
On November 15th, Sonoma State University dedicated a free speech Speaker’s Corner to honor Mario Savio. Savio helped lead the Free Speech Movement at University of California Berkeley in 1964, when police arrested a member of Congress of Racial Equality for “tabling.”
Speaking to protestors on the steps of Sproul Hall Savio stated, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
The Sonoma Chapter worked closely with Savio upon his moving to Sonoma County in 1990 to teach at SSU, and helped fund the memorial.
The Winter 2013 Sonoma Civil Liberties is out!
NARROW LOSS ON PROPOSITION 34 DEATH PENALTY INITIATIVE
Californians Closely Divided on Maintaining Largest and Costliest Death Row in U.S.
Sonoma Chapter active in support of measure.
By a small margin California voters chose to keep in place the nation’s largest and costliest death row rather than replace it with a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. Votes for Proposition 34 were at 47% with 53% against — just 500,000 votes determined the final outcome.
The Sonoma Chapter was very active in circulating petitions to get 34 on the ballot and then handed out thousands of leaflets at farmers markets and other locations in Sonoma County. “The vast majority of people I talked to about 34 walked away saying they were going to vote for the measure, even if initially they were for the death penalty” noted chapter board member Steve Fabian. “Once the savings and other provisions of the Proposition were explained to them, opinions against often changed to support.” Board member Imam Ali Sadiqui participated in a forum discussing the measure.
Proposition 34 ultimately passed in Sonoma County 56.5% yes, 43.5% no.
“The mere fact that the state is evenly divided is nothing short of extraordinary. In 1978, 71% of the electorate supported the Briggs Death Penalty Initiative and now, after hearing the facts, voters are almost evenly split,” said Jeanne Woodford, the official proponent of the SAFE California Campaign and former Warden at San Quentin State Prison where she oversaw four executions. “This is a dramatic shift in public opinion. Millions of Californians now prefer the sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole to a wasteful and risky death penalty that has no benefit.”
California’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office determined that Proposition 34 would have saved the state $130 million a year. A separate study by Federal Judge Arthur Alarcón and Loyola Law Professor Paula Mitchell estimated that California had spent $4 billion since 1978 on the death penalty and that the state will spend $5 to $7 billion more on the death penalty in the next 35 years.
“While we are disappointed by this narrow loss, the conversation on the death penalty in California has changed forever. For the first time ever, millions of voters know that the death penalty is exorbitantly costly, and that it costs far more than a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole,” said Woodford.
California has the largest and costliest death row in the United States. If Proposition 34 had passed, the death sentences of California’s 726 death row inmates would have been converted to a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. Convicted killers would also have been required to work and pay restitution into a victims’ compensation fund–right now, less than 1% of death row inmates work. They would have also lost special treatment which includes extra visiting hours, exercise time and private cells. With the defeat of Proposition 34, death row inmates will continue to be housed one per cell and will continue to get taxpayer-funded legal teams for life.
The initiative also would have established the “SAFE California Fund” to tackle the 46% of murders and 56% of reported rapes go unsolved every year in California.
“My lifelong goal as a corrections professional has been to protect public safety across California. We will continue to work towards that goal and to move forward with this powerful new alliance seeking justice that works for everyone in California.”
CHECK OUT WHAT THE SONOMA CHAPTER HAS BEEN UP TO:
Read our Sonoma Civil Liberties newsletters
2011-2012 The Year in Review
ACLU of Sonoma County’s
2012 Awards Celebration & Annual Dinner
THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE 2012 AWARDS CELEBRATION AND ANNUAL DINNER A SUCCESS!
Supporters of the Sonoma Chapter filled the Friedman Event Center to hear Jeanne Woodford and honor David Grabill. Read more…
JEANNE WOODFORD – Keynote Speaker
FORMER WARDEN OF SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DEATH PENALTY FOCUS
WHY A PRISON WARDEN DECIDED TO FIGHT THE DEATH PENALTY
DAVID GRABILL – 2012 Jack Green Civil Liberties Award Honoree
OCCUPY HITS SANTA ROSA