[Brenda's 2004 Sierra Series:
The battle to reclaim the Sierra Club from the totalitarian forces of the dark side continues, most recently in the California courts on Wednesday, January 19. The group "Club Members for an Honest Election" has sued the Sierra Club for its unfair tactics in the 2004 Board of Directors election.
The courtroom held proponents from both sides. There was Sierra President Larry Fahn, looking worried and hardly distinguishable from every other attorney in the room. Also present was river legend Martin Litton, a long-time conservationist and supporter of David (us) against Goliath (them). A recipient of the Sierra Club's highest honor, the John Muir Award, Litton is historically linked with the Grand Canyon. He founded the Grand Canyon Dories and celebrated his 80th birthday by rowing 277 miles down the Colorado through the canyon, the oldest person ever to do so.
The issue: whether the Sierra Club Old Guard/ management had violated California corporate law and its own bylaws in the way that it ran the 2004 Board election.
"Club Members for an Honest Election" were the less well known players left over from an earlier lawsuit when the Sierra Club Old Guard threatened to countersue former Colorado Governor and insurgent board candidate Dick Lamm and others for everything they owned.
The Club lawyer was clearly expert in corporate minutiae, navigating slickly through rules and bylaw loopholes that only an attorney could love. Judge James Warren asked probing questions of each side and showed familiarity with the larger issues and context.
At the end, the Judge asked "Club Member" attorney Jeff Hoffman to name his druthers in terms of remedy.
Hoffman responded that removing the top five vote getters from the Board would be acceptable.
The Sierra Club Old Guard's 2004 election tactics were extreme to say the least. The Club's management had allowed several stalking horse candidates, including the well known fundraiser Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who promised not to serve if elected. His only function was to make false accusations against several excellent candidates who threatened to end the Old Guard's one-party rule.
In addition, the Old Guard's lies about the threat of a right-wing takeover were repeated by MoveOn.org, a group funded in the millions of dollars by loopy open-borders billionaire George Soros, one of Executive Director Carl Pope's pals in advancing a Democratic Party agenda, though not an environmental one. (I write here as a life-long Democrat.) MoveOn.org sent around one of its famous emails to its huge list, urging Sierra members to vote against dangerous "outsiders" like former Governor Dick Lamm (D!!-CO) and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Frank Morris.
Of course the real outsiders were MoveOn.org, Morris Dees and George Soros. There was big money at stake and Sierra management was not going to allow any annoying population realists to remove their cash cow (Wall Street investor David Gelbaum, who stated "I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.").
As a result of the hardball electioneering, the Old Guard slate of candidates won again—this time.
As of this writing, Judge Warren has not made a decision in the case. Participants on the side of democracy and the environment are hopeful for a positive outcome.
The next Sierra election will include a ballot question on the subject of U.S. population stabilization. So this promises to be a very interesting spring.
Brenda Walker [email her] has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1984. This evening, she is watching the shadows of low-slung creatures as she celebrates Groundhog Day with the traditional Bushmills, in anticipation of glorious spring in northern California.