Our daily news is overflowing on the tragic conditions at our southern border. The tv and print reporters are on it, and some of our leaders in Washington, D.C. are on it. But the Trump administration keeps on separating children from their parents, detaining, caging and even abusing desperate humans who have fled their homes and appealed to the greatness of the Land of Liberty, appealed to you and me, asking for a hearing, for asylum, for the long-held open-armed welcome of the USA.
Emma Lazarus wrote an American treasure, and we have offered it to the world: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” – As it appears on the statue of liberty, offering freedom, safety and prosperity to all the world.
The reporters and some in power are on it, but you and I find it difficult to know what to do. Join me in a moving and informative candlelight vigil this Friday at the gazebo in City Park. Our vigil here in Benicia will be one of over 600 such events across the USA and around the world on July 12, calling for an end to human detention camps, and offering ways to help effect change.
Come to Benicia City Park from 7-9pm this Friday, July 12. Gather near the gazebo, check out the information tables and the art, listen to the music and song, hear the stories of those who work with immigrants and asylum seekers, and find out more about what WE can do to help.
Thank you to all who care about this tragic situation, and all who helped organize this important event here in Benicia.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday directed his secretary of natural resources to fire Ken Harris, the state’s top oil regulator, after learning from The Desert Sun/USA TODAY and watchdog groups that fracking permits have doubled without his knowledge since he took office and that seven supervisors charged with regulating the industry own shares in major oil companies.
Ann O’Leary, chief of staff to Newsom, sent a letter to Wade Crowfoot, California’s secretary for Natural Resources, asking him to immediately make several changes in the Department of Conservation, including firing Harris.
Harris is the head of the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, also known as DOGGR. He could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
O’Leary also told Crowfoot to “continue at full pace the investigation you have already started related to the allegations that employees at DOGGR have holdings in energy companies, which could constitute actual or apparent conflicts of interest, and take the maximum disciplinary action appropriate under law.”
In the meantime, she directed him to ensure that all employees and contractors who own oil or gas stocks recuse themselves from all permitting decisions pending individual reviews based on new conflict rules that are being formulated.
On Wednesday, The Desert Sun reported the pace at which fracking permits are issued has doubled since Newsom took office in January, and thousands of permits for new and re-used oil and gas wells also have been approved, angering environmental and public health groups who hoped for a phase-out of the state’s billion-dollar industry following the retirement of Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Desert Sun also reported on the findings of two watchdog groups, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance, who uncovered records showing that top state regulators and engineers held investments in Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Valero and other petrochemical giants.
Almost half of the 2,300 well permits issued in 2019 have benefited oil companies invested in by agency officials, the consumer groups said.
Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance uncovered the regulators’ personal investments and permit data through public records requests, and the two groups shared the documents with The Desert Sun and the USA TODAY Network.
“This is a good start,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “This shows the governor wants to change the culture at the agency to make sure it’s free of conflicts and safety comes before the oil companies’ interests. The next move has to be to hold accountable Mr. Harris’ supervisors, who were well aware that this was an agency that was permitting wells with the oil companies’ interests first in its mind and the public last.”
SOLANO COUNTY, CA — Residents of Benicia, Vacaville and many other Bay Area cities are planning to take part in Lights for Liberty vigils Friday, July 12 as part of worldwide protests against detention camps at the U.S.-Mexico border. The vigils are targeting reports of inhumane conditions in the camps, mass deportation and deaths at the border.According to a release from Santa Cruz Indivisible, as of Wednesday there were over 689 registered Lights for Liberty events on Friday planned around the world. Most events are asking participants to bring a flashlight, an electric candle or a phone.In Benicia, residents are meeting from 7 -9 p.m. at the Gazebo in the Park at 1st Street.The Vacaville vigil begins at at 8 p.m. at 1 Town Square.
In Napa, community members are asked to meet at 8 p.m. at Soscol Avenue and 1st Street in the Oxbow Commons area.
Petaluma residents are gathering from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Petaluma Regional Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive.
A Santa Rosa vigil is planned at 7 p.m. at the Courthouse Square.
In Davis, a vigil is planned from from 7 -9 p.m. at Central Park, 401 C St.
The Concord gathering will be held from 7:30-9 p.m. at Todos Santos Plaza, 2151 Salvio St.
Oakland will see at least two separate vigils: one at City Hall and another at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater. The City Hall vigil has over 40 sponsors and will begin at 5 p.m. The Lake Merritt vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m.
San Franciscans will also get multiple chances to participate in a Lights for Liberty vigil. Interfaith leaders will host an 11:30 a.m. event outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices at 630 Sansome St.
Another San Francisco vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at the Powell Street Cable Car Turnaround.
San Jose’s Lights for Liberty event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at City Hall Plaza, 200 East Santa Clara St.
A Santa Cruz vigil is planned at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.
According to the Lights for Liberty website, vigils will also be held in Monterey, Novato, Pacifica, Palo Alto and Redwood City.