The current tree-sitter, Sunshine, reports that she is prepared for an extraction attempt by police to occur soon. A few days ago, a piece of heavy equipment called a “brush hog” was used to clear out the brambles from under Sunshine’s perch. Now, a worker with a chainsaw has been sent into the grove. He didn’t respond to Sunshine when she called out to him, but has not yet begun cutting. A large cherry picker of the type used to extract tree-sitters has been spotted on the other side of town.
In Little Lake Valley, the machines used to install drains into the wetlands, “Wick Drain Stitchers”, are nearing the tree-sit, bringing with them workers and highway patrol guards. Last week, a Calfire helicopter repeatedly circled the tree-sit and flew by slowly within 100 ft of the tree-tops. The-tree-sitters are doing well, other than the intense noise coming from the stitchers all day as they shove drains 85 ft. into the ground.
Tree-sitter “Centipede” recorded a statement on KMUD community radio last Friday detailing the situation. His statement begins at 1:08.
Starting at 7pm tonight, Caltrans plans to have a convoy of dump trucks running to the site from a nearby hill they are demolishing. They plan to dump tons of dirt and stone onto the wetland draining area, thereby beginning to squeeze the water up through the drains.
The Strawberry Rock Festival this past weekend drew a modestly sized but enthusiastic crowd from around the north coast. Speakers at the event included activist Jeanie McCovey of the Yurok people and Rob Diperna, industrial logging monitor for the non-profit Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). There was array of talented musicians and EF! Humboldt demonstrated the set up of a 40 ft. tri-pod where climbing techniques were put on display.
The tree-sit near Tsurai (as the place has been called long before Spanish explorers arrived) continues despite a somewhat murky future, Green Diamond may sell a recreation easement protecting a patch of trees that includes the sits, but the status of the plan is unknown and clear-cutting rages on on nearby slopes. If you are considering tree-sitting here, please get in touch with us.
People rallied this morning on the north end of town as festival goers headed south from Reggae on the River. Actions have continued as the town government dukes it out over allowing Caltrans contractors to use city streets for work vehicles. The wick stitchers draw nearer to the tree-sitters every day. Recently, two women locked down to a massive bulldozer in the intense summer heat.
In yet another stealthy pre-dawn action, protesters against the Caltrans bypass around Willits again snuck onto the construction site, this time on the south end of the route, locking themselves to a giant bulldozer called a ripper. The machine is tearing apart a hillside and using the soil to fill in wetlands and streams to build a freeway. For the first time, press has access to the protest site, after Willits News photographer Steve Eberhard was arrested when he tried to cover a protest last week.
Two women, Kim Bancroft and Maureen Kane, have locked their hands around the equipment in welded steel tubes, which are difficult to remove and must be sawn through. A third protester, Steve Keyes, was arrested when he would not leave their side, where he was stationed with water. Temperatures have been in the nineties all week. Read the rest here.
Update 7/13/13 3:43pm:
Repost from Save Our Little Lake Valley- Will demanded a jury trial, and District Attorney David Eyster responded by throwing the book at him. Will is being charged with 16 misdemeanors. His maximum jail sentence is eight years.
Visit their website to see ways to help Will and SOLLV.
Update 7/12/13 11:30 am:
Joined by a crowd of two dozen supporters, Little Lake Valley Defender Will Parrish attended his arraignment this morning at the Mendocino County. Local attorney Omar Figueroa is now representing him pro-bono and doing an excellent job.
The counties head prosecutor had charged Will with three identical infractions, meaning Will would be ineligible for a jury trial where he could argue his case to other members of the public. Supporters suspect this move was aimed to exclude such a trial. Will intends to take the case to jury and was seeking for the charges to be elevated to misdemeanors in order for that to be possible.
The judge stated that he wasn’t aware of any statutes allowing this to occur, but defense attorney Omar Figueroa was ready with case law supporting Will’s right to have a jury trial.
The prosecutor grumbled about it being strange that a defendant should have this right, and said that he had already found charges that would be mutually agreeable. Then he stated that he would be filing different charges now that they need to be misdemeanors. He had initially argued against charging Will with misdemeanors, saying that the original charges could be either infractions or misdemeanors but that he’d chosen infractions.
Will’s Court Schedule:
July 24th, Pre-trial conference
Aug 1st, “Motion in limine”
Aug 5th, Jury trial begins at 9:00 am
Tomorrow at 8:00 am, supporters will be rallying for Will outside the Mendocino County courthouse, just before his next hearing. He is being charged with three identical infractions related to trespassing after spending 12 days high up on a machine used to install wick drains into wetlands for highway construction. The other charges are believed to be linked to previous arrests during protests of the Willits bypass.
Meanwhile, work continues on the bypass as workers strip topsoil from a wetland near the tree-sit. Tree-sitters reported that in the middle of the night, dump truck after dump truck left the site full of soil. Nearby, wick drains are still being installed and farther off, pile drivers ram huge rods down into the ground for new bridges.
Warbler and Will are featured in a new story from TUC radio.
Authored collectively by: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Support Prisoners?
It is hard to run a large campaign against a powerful adversary. In
struggle, our resources are few. We have to prioritize and sometimes
things fall through the cracks. However, legal and prisoner support are
absolutely essential for a worthwhile campaign and a vibrant movement. If
individuals don’t believe they will be supported by those around them if
they are singled out by the state, they may be dissuaded from taking on
personal risk or acting boldly for the benefit of a campaign. We should
not be in the business of making martyrs and no one should feel isolated
and left behind. Isolation is a tool of the state and capital to silence
resistance. We can fight back through mutual support and cooperation.
Why would the State come down on someone if they hadn’t done something wrong?
The States tools are rooted in coercion through violence or the threat
thereof (including taking money or freedom). Often the state will work to
wedge apart folks involved in campaigns based on who they think they can
get away with locking up without losing “legitimacy” (that person broke
such and such a law and has to face the consequences) versus who they can
co-opt or render ineffective through intimidation or “bargaining” Continue reading »