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ACLU Santa Cruz Begins New Era of Activism

Defending Freedom
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It’s time to rein in government spying of innocent Americans. Urge House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to co-sponsor The USA FREEDOM Act.
It’s time to reform the NSA.Dear Steven,Each week brings new revelations of how the National Security Agency is spying on innocent Americans, snooping on our conversations, emails and Internet surfing.What can you do to protect your privacy?

Public outrage over government spying is starting to have an impact on Congress. We must keep the pressure on our legislators to make sure they keep our private lives private. Take action »

The USA FREEDOM Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) would do just that. This bill would end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and create a Public Advocate to help safeguard the privacy interests of innocent Americans before the government’s secret surveillance court.

While 20 California Congress members have taken a stand for privacy and co-sponsored the bill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has not yet taken a stand on this bill. Will you ask Leader Pelosi to take a stand for privacy and co-sponsor The USA FREEDOM Act?

When the author of the Patriot Act, Rep. Sensenbrenner, has said that the government has abused the law, it is time for reform. We don’t have to sacrifice our freedom and privacy for our security.


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Nicole A. Ozer
Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director
ACLU of Northern California


In communities across Northern and Central California, ACLU members help turn America's most cherished principles - freedom, fairness and justice - into reality. Join the ACLU

Santa Cruz council reverses public gathering permit limit

By J.M. Brown

Santa Cruz Sentinel

POSTED:   12/10/2013 06:23:25 PM PST


SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday reversed an earlier decision to reduce the limit of public gatherings to 50 people before a city permit is required.

Five-time former mayor Mike Rotkin, speaking on behalf of the Santa Cruz County American Civil Liberties Union chapter, urged keeping the limit at 100. He said the city has not demonstrated how less than 100 participants in a rally or other event pose a public safety risk that would justify a restriction on free speech.

“Changing the threshold from 100 to 50 people would immediately impact the ability of people to organize protests at the town clock and county building steps,” he said.

Mayor Hilary Bryant and Councilmen Don Lane and Micah Posner voted in favor of keeping the number at 100 on Nov. 26 but lost on a 4-3 majority. Posner raised the issue again Tuesday during a final reading of ordinance changes governing public expression and commercial events, and council members agreed unanimously to make the reversal.

“As public assemblies get larger, almost invariably there are traffic impacts,” Posner said. “From the stand point of freedom of assembly, (traffic costs) shouldn’t trump those considerations.”

The city’s special events coordinator, Kathy Agnone, said there are several public places downtown where more than 50 participants in rallies or other events can cause traffic problems, and the proposed rule change was designed to help the city plan better. The city permit would not cost anything unless a street closure was required.

“I positively regret that this was something seen as penalizing and criminalizing folks gathering because that’s not what this is about,” Agnone said. “We are really just trying to be reasonable and streamline the process.”

Councilwoman Cynthia Mathews moved the proposed reversal as a good-will gesture, saying she hopes common sense will prevail.


The Statement Read on Behalf of the Chapter:

Free speech is a precious right, protected by the U.S. Constitution. Any limits or restrictions on it need to be based on very strict necessity. Several of the proposed limits on free speech that you have approved on a first reading will have real and significant impacts on the ability of members of our community to express their concerns about issues affecting their lives and the lives of others in our community and nation.

For example, changing the threshold for requiring a permit for a public demonstration from 100 people to 50 people would immediately impact the ability of the public to organize protests or other free speech events at the town clock or County Building steps,  traditional free speech areas in Santa Cruz. We regularly see demonstrations at the town clock with crowds that number between 50 and 100. Often these demonstrations are organized for the afternoon of the same day as the event that triggered them. Requiring groups that organize such protests to obtain a permit that would take several days to process is a very real and severe limitation on free speech rights.

I don’t believe that the City has gathered or presented any evidence that requiring a permit for such events is necessary for any public safety purpose. While requiring permits for events that block traffic and require police planning and preparation may well be justified, events such as the ones mentioned do not require any public safety planning and, even if they required some, the importance of protecting free speech rights easily outweighs the need for more notice time for such events.

The ACLU of Santa Cruz County strongly advises the Council to reject the ordinance in front of you, that you take the time to much more carefully consider which, if any of the proposed changes can actually be justified by public safety considerations, and only bring back necessary changes that can be justified by more than a hasty, reactionary, generic, and ill-considered desire to appear “tough on crime.”


copy-aclusantacruz_header2.jpgPride 2012ACLU at Pride 2012 –

The ACLU of Santa Cruz County

Celebrates its 50th Anniversary




Sunday, October 6, 2013

2:00 to 5:00 PM

Michael’s on Main

(2591 South Main Street, Soquel)


Civil Liberties Awards:


Hammer of Justice: Craig Reinarman

Bell of Freedom: Adam Spickler

Lifetime Achievement*: Barrios Unidos

*Paul Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award


Program Theme: LGBT Rights


Keynote speakers:


Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director

National Center for Lesbian Rights–leading experts in LGBT civil and human rights, and


Aleshia Brevard, still-gorgeous actress, author, and former university instructor whose gender reassignment was in 1962


Stanley Stevens will talk about the 1962 formation of the Santa Cruz ACLU Chapter

Election of Board of Directors for 2013-2014 by Chapter Members


Marvelous finger food; no-host bar; great company. Feel free to dress gaily!


This fundraising event is open to the public. Admission is sliding scale, $25 to $100. Space is limited. Please reserve now.


Make your check payable to SC-ACLU and mail to Joyce Nordquist, PO Box 66271, Scotts Valley, CA 95067, or reserve by email or phone: or 831-335-1060 and pay at the door

Do you stand with California women and families?

2:17 PM (21 hours ago)

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We’ve seen attacks on abortion access and clinics being forced to close their doors nationwide. This is the only bill in the country right now that will expand access to abortion.
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Ask Gov. Brown to stand with California women and familiesDear Steven,We’re so close to expanding abortion access for women in California. The Early Abortion Access bill (AB 154) is headed to Gov. Brown’s desk. Let him know that you stand with California women and families. Ask Gov. Brown to continue his leadership on reproductive health by signing AB 154 into law.Even in California, access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare is a problem for thousands of people:

  • In urban areas, women may have to wait weeks for an appointment for abortion care.
  • A single mother from the Lake Tahoe area had to travel to the Bay Area for abortion care. She didn’t have a car so she took a 5-hour train ride to San Francisco. She arrived late at night and had to sleep on a bathroom floor because she didn’t have money for a hotel room. This is not an isolated incident, rather one of many stories told by strong, resilient California women who face barriers to care.

1 in 3 women will decide to end a pregnancy in her lifetime.

Being able to see a trained health provider in your own community means that early abortion is affordable and available.

Stand with California women and families today and urge Governor Brown to make California the first state to expand abortion access in years. Make sure California remains a leader in comprehensive reproductive health care services.

Ask Gov. Brown to continue his leadership on reproductive health by signing AB 154 into law.


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Phyllida Burlingame
Reproductive Justice Policy Director
ACLU of Northern California
Defending Freedom

second chance
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A minor record shouldn’t prevent someone from accessing employment and housing.Evidence shows that the ability to become self-sufficient is crucial to reducing California’s sky-high recidivism rate.
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Close California’s revolving prison doors.Stable job and housing opportunities are critical to ensuring that a person is able to transition into a healthy, successful life after incarceration. When a person becomes self-sufficient, they are more likely to remain crime-free, creating safer and stronger communities.Tell your legislator to support a second chance for low-level, nonviolent offenders to rebuild their lives.The Reentry and Employment Opportunity Act (AB 651) will give a person convicted of a low-level, nonviolent crime the opportunity to ask the court to set aside a conviction after he or she has demonstrated evidence of rehabilitation. That means greater access to housing and employment and a safer and stronger community.A low-level conviction doesn’t warrant a lifetime of diminshed opportunity. Tell your legislator to support AB 651 and give low-level offenders a second chance.Sincerely,

Caitlin O’Neill
Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Associate
ACLU of Northern California



Submit AB 1195 Support Letter to Gov. BrownCorrection: Please only fax letters to 916-558-3177. Please re-submit any emailed letters by fax. Thank You. Thanks to your continued support, AB 1195 (Eggman) is heading to Governor Brown’s desk!If Governor Brown signs AB 1195 into law, state/local law enforcement agencies would be prohibited from denying immigrant victims of crime access to their crime report. A crime report could allow survivors obtain restraining orders, apply for essential services, or apply for U or T visas.

Show your organization’s support for AB 1195 by modifying and sending this template support letter to Governor Brown’s office by next Wednesday, August 28. Every support letter counts in ensuring that immigrants are not denied their crime reports due to immigration status. Take action today!

Support Immigrant Survivors of Crime
For more info:

Overview of Caravan Pilgrimage –

Immigrants are Our Past, Present, and Future: We Need Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now


On August 13th, the Santa Clara County Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will launch a coastal caravan pilgrimage to demand that the House of Representatives move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.  The Caravan Pilgrimage will join two other statewide pilgrimages in Delano and march together to Bakersfield to put pressure on Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Whip in the House to bring reform to the floor.  This leg of the pilgrimage is meant to supplement, and will be coordinated with, the Pilgrimage organized by PICO California from Sacramento to Bakersfield.  Sacramento will feature 11 people walking 300 miles.


The Coastal Caravan includes the voices of farmworkers, manufacturing and service workers impacted by the I-9 audits, DREAMers, and community allies including unions, congregations, and youth.   The Coast Side Pilgrimage will also highlight the diversity of the Immigrant Movement, thereby illustrating that Immigration Reform is an urgent issue of the people of California.


Eleven million undocumented immigrants currently live in the US; 170,000+ live in Santa Clara County.  Comprehensive immigration reform would provide a means for these immigrants, who are our neighbors, workers, friends, and family members, to obtain citizenship, adequate labor protections, and a way to unify families torn apart by deportation.


The coastal Caravan will include nine events on the way to Bakersfield, and will partner with local organizations to register voters and meet with elected officials, Bishops, and other community leaders.  The Pilgrimage will target the agricultural industry and local officials to sign on to “Dear Colleague” letters addressed to Representative McCarthy.



Why Bakersfield?


The third most powerful man in the House is Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Whip.  He and the Republican leadership are not willing to bring up on the floor comprehensive immigration reform that provides a means in which 11 million persons living in the US can obtain citizenship, adequate labor protections for workers, and a way to unify families torn apart by deportation.


What will the statewide pilgrimage look like?


There are three legs of the Pilgrimage: Sacramento to Bakersfield; San Diego to Bakersfield and the SCCoC4CIR’s leg, San Jose through San Luis Obispo and on to Bakersfield.  All along the way the Pilgrimage will stop in towns, small and large and will work with local organizations by doing voter registrations, public actions, appearances by elected officials, Bishops and other key public figures.


Our PICO colleagues in the Central Valley have already made contact with Representatives Denham, Nunes, and Valladeo.  The Southern California leg will engage targeted Republican Representatives and the Coast Side leg will target the agricultural industry.




A look at History California History

For over 200 years, Immigrants are the builders of the “Golden State”. Immigrants are the past, present and future of the state from gold miners during the gold rush, to high tech workers of the present to the scientists of the future. People from all around the world have provided an enrichment of values and skills for the development of our country.


California has the wealth, knowledge and the diversity of the world.  California has the largest undocumented population in the county.  It is estimated that Californian has 25% of the undocumented presentation, which is over 2.4 million people..  In a nation immigrants in which we value democracy and freedom, the people will be united to celebrate their ancestors’ achievements, to heal past and present pains, and to claim justice for the 11 million human beings that have the right to be recognized as good citizens of the United States of America. In each event the participants will have an intimate encounter with history and its effects. The purpose is to share experiences and find the common purpose of life, to be part of something bigger than us, to get in contact with the fountain that moves everything – Love.



NAACP Action Alert re ERPA.pdf From the Political Action Committee of the Santa Cruz NAACPNAACP Action Alert re ERPA.pdf
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ACLU of Northern California

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Throwing people in prison for low level drug possession exacerbates California’s overincarceration crisis and wastes hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

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Demand drug sentencing reform in California.Dear Steven,The War on Drugs has been a costly failure – in terms of both lives and dollars wasted. Right now, nearly 4,000 people are locked up in California’s overcrowded prisons because of drug possession for personal use.Take action today: tell your legislator to support a bill (SB 649) that just says no to the ineffective tactics of the failed War on Drugs.The California Assembly will soon vote on SB 649, which would allow possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use to be charged as a misdemeanor rather than an automatic felony.Needlessly locking people up for possession of small amounts of drugs wastes taxpayers dollars that could be used to pay for drug treatment for thousands of people.Passing SB 649 and revising the drug possession penalty would:
  • Save up to $160 million a year that could be used for rehabilitation, drug treatment and solving serious crimes.
  • Help alleviate over-crowding in our prisons and jails.
  • Reduce the racial inequality in our criminal justice system. African Americans and Latinos are arrested and sentenced disproportionately for low level drug offenses.
  • Support reentry and safety. A felony is a barrier to the kinds of things – jobs, housing and education – that help people successfully re-enter the community and that keep communities safe.

Take action today to move California away from failed drug war tactics and toward a smarter approach to addressing crime and addiction.


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Allen Hopper
Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Director
ACLU of California


There are extremist politicians across the country who think we are stupid.


Throughout the country, these politicians are proposing (and in some cases passing) extreme measures that would rob women of the services they need to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference. In some states, politicians are pushing measures that ban most abortions. In others, they are doing everything they can to outlaw women’s health centers, and in some places, politicians are even trying to end programs that provide birth control, putting women at high risk for unplanned pregnancy.


These politicians MUST think we are stupid if they think we want politicians playing doctor and interfering in our private decisions. Enough is enough. Now is the time for all of us to tell our elected officials to leave these decisions with a woman, her doctor and her family.


The ACLU is at the frontlines — at statehouses and in the courtrooms across the country to stop these extreme attacks on women’s health. Stand with us and tell those who seek to undermine our private and personal decisions that you are NOT stupid.


Texas – (07/15/2013) The Texas legislature gave final approval last week to the sweeping anti-abortion bill that could block women from accessing abortion care in most of the state. The bill now awaits action from the Governor.


North Carolina – (07/15/2013) North Carolina legislature amended sweeping anti-abortion provisions on an unrelated bill and rushed it through the process. The bill has passed the House and now awaits action in the Senate.


Wisconsin – (07/05/2013) The Wisconsin legislature enacted a bill that could require a woman seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound, force doctors to display and describe the ultrasound image to her, and force the doctors performing the abortion to have special hospital privileges that have proven impossible to get in other states. The ACLU, ACLU of Wisconsin, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America have challenged this bill in court.


Ohio – (06/30/2013) The Ohio governor signed a bill that includes provisions aimed at shutting down women’s health centers if they provide abortion care. The bill would make it more difficult for clinic doctors to obtain written agreements from hospitals confirming hospitals’ willingness to accept the doctor’s patients in the rare event they need hospital care, even though (or because) hospitals face political pressure to deny such written confirmations.


Pennsylvania – (June 2013) The Pennsylvania legislature enacted a bill to block women from accessing comprehensive insurance coverage that includes abortion care, even in cases when an abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s health.


Arizona – (05/29/2013) The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Arizona on behalf of the NAACP of Maricopa County and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) challenging a state law that relies on harmful racial stereotypes to shame and discriminate against Black women and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women who decide to end their pregnancies.


Michigan – (05/24/2013) The Michigan Board of Canvassers has cleared for circulation a petition calling on legislators to prohibit a woman’s access to comprehensive insurance coverage when it includes abortion care. Should the proponents receive more than 258,088 signatures on their petition, the proposal will appear on the 2014 state ballot unless legislators enact it.


National – (05/23/2013) The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on H.R. 1797, which would ban abortion care starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy. As introduced, the proposed ban would apply only to Washington, D.C., but its sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), recently announced his intention to expand it nationwide.


For a detailed look at abortion restrictions passed in 2013 see Major Restrictions on Abortion Access Enacted 2013.


Take Action

States across the country are in competition with each other to pass the most extreme abortion bans and the cruelest attacks on women’s health care. Let politicians know where you stand by signing the pledge.
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Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin v. Van Hollen

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin have filed a lawsuit today a state law that places medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers that would severely restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion in a state where access is already heavily restricted.
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States Where They Think We’re Stupid

During the 2012 state legislative sessions more than 300 abortion restrictions were introduced by lawmakers across the country– including some of the most extreme we’ve seen in years. This map shows the states that saw major threats to, and new laws, restricting abortion access.
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The ACLU Stands with Texas Women

The ACLU Stands With Texas Women Texas Governor Rick Perry has called a second special session that starts today (July 1, 2013), and a bill that threatens to shut down most abortion clinics in the state is on the agenda. Today, thousands of people are rallying at the Capitol in Austin to stand up for women everywhere. ACLU staff members in offices across the country stand with them in spirit.
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In the States: Legislative Attacks on Abortion

Read the most recent blog posts on extreme laws that would rob women of the services they need to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference.
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Challenges to the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Rule

Nearly 60 lawsuits have been filed across the country challenging the federal rule that employers include contraception in the insurance they provide employees. One of these many cases is likely headed to the Supreme Court. The cases now being heard pose the fundamental question: “Does the right to religious freedom include the right of a business or institution to impose its views on a diverse workforce?” We don’t think so.
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