Bitter Division for Sierra Club on Immigration
March 16, 2004 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Bitter Division for Sierra Club on Immigration [NY Times]. An anti-immigration slate battles the old guard in an attempt to take control of the Sierra Club's board. The battle is fierce, and accusations of racism, treason, moral corruption, and bigotry color their annual election.
posted by F Mackenzie (9 comments total)
This issue looks pretty cut-and-dried to me. You have a bunch of people who have joined the Sierra club in the last six to nine months who are running for the Board as a bloc. Most of them have no previous volunteer or employment history with the Sierra Club. They want to gain control of the Club's $90 million budget and citizen membership.

How can that be justified? If they want to work on immigration, population control, animal rights, or Pez collecting, they should form their own organization rather than initiating a hostile takeover of an existing organization that is doing positive (if somewhat flawed) work.

I just got my ballot in the mail last night and voted. I hope all MeFites who are members will take this election seriously and vote to preserve the club.
posted by alms at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2004

This is ugly, and it's going to get worse.

For the isolationist lobby, this little piece of politics is positively masterful. They just might have the wherewithal to take over a truly esteemed institution and bend it to their own ends. I'm quite impressed.

I hate their platform, and wish them nothing but failure, but I'm impressed.

Hopefully it will mobilize people on both sides of the issue instead of just the one. (Maybe, as alms suggests, there should be recruiting drives to keep this bloc from gaining power as well as -- whatever they're doing.)
posted by chicobangs at 9:50 AM on March 16, 2004

Is immigration a conservancy issue? Or won't immigrants have to learn to use the land carefully like everyone else?

Sooner or later though, we are going to have to face the fact that the tired huddled masses are going to have to breathe free where ever they came from. Which means we have to over through North Korea, obviously. And get some judicial authority over there in Britain.
posted by ewkpates at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2004

An advantage of single-issue organizations is that they, unlike mainstream political parties, don't have to have a policy for everything. For example, the US Plastics Council would not be able to do its work if it spent its time formulating policies on terrorism, interest rates or obesity.
posted by Triplanetary at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2004

I think the Sierra Club has around 800,000 members and only 8.7% of them voted in their last election. A very small number of voters can sway this whole organization. As a member, I'm a little concerned that I haven't received my ballot yet. It was supposed to arrive in early March.
posted by culberjo at 10:37 AM on March 16, 2004

As a member, I'm a little concerned that I haven't received my ballot yet. It was supposed to arrive in early March.

Culberjo, you can call club headquarters at 415-977-5500 to get your membership / ballot info. At the prompts, press 1 and then 1. Voting is mostly online.
posted by alms at 11:00 AM on March 16, 2004

It'll be a shame if this faction is able to take over and sully the name of an organization that many have worked very hard to build up. It'll also be interesting to see how the demographics of the SC change if this faction is able to take over, and to see if some of the other environmental groups see an increase in their numbers.

Another scary scenario if this group takes over: Right-wingers who may have some of the same beliefs can take advantage of a population that is largely unconcerned with the Sierra Club and say "See, even these tree-hugging hippies agree with us, we're not extremeists!"
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:23 PM on March 16, 2004

I'm not a current member of the SC, partially due to restrictions of a board on which I currently serve. However, I often work with Sierrans on trails in my area. I've brought up the immigration/board issue several times, and have been nearly astounded with the collective ignorance I've met. The folks I've worked besides have no idea what's going on with national leadership.

After my FPP, I contacted the two major SC offices in the area to gather their thoughts on the upcoming board elections. Both conversations were similar: 'Um, yeah, there is an issue. You should look at the people running and be sure to vote."

Neither office's website offered any opinion on the board nominees, nor did they highlight the election prominently on their front page. I'm beginning to believe that (at least in this area) the entrenched SC supporters would like this issue to slowly fade away.

If the leading members of the Sierra Club want to bury the topic of immigration and the board nominees that want to stop it, then they're almost begging for an outside group to make it policy. The blind need to see and the silent need to speak, lest they hand over their 112 year legacy to the reactionary right.
posted by F Mackenzie at 7:18 PM on March 16, 2004

Yeah, I just got my regional newsletter yesterday and they were very implicitly making a plea for people to figure out what the hell was going on and doing the right thing. Lots of talk about looking at how long prospective candidates had been members, if they were on the ballot due to the "month long committee nomination process" or "simply collecting a few hundred names on a petition", and being sure to check the main issues. But it was all very implicit.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:28 AM on March 17, 2004

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