[See also: Democracy Has Day In Court]
[Brenda's 2004 Sierra Series:
Just what is the cost to buy off the Sierra Club—once the most respected environmental organization in America?
A low nine figure sum does the job according to the Los Angeles Times in its story last fall about David Gelbaum, one of the key funders of the 112-year-old environmental organization. ["The Man Behind the Land" by Kenneth R. Weiss, Oct. 17, 2004]
A nice round $100 million was enough for Executive Director Carl Pope to toss the principles of honesty, democracy and conservation out the window.
Many of us involved in the grassroots effort to restore population sanity to the Sierra Club were suspicious that the mysterious $100 million in donations might have immigration strings attached.
After all, the 1996 switch from common sense to political correctness was an abrupt change from the earlier position that the Club should work to "bring about the stabilization of the population first of the United States and then of the world."
Our suspicions were correct. The LA Times article revealed that shadowy funder Gelbaum donated generously on condition that the Sierra Club not address immigration as an environmental issue.
Said Gelbaum, "I did tell [Sierra Club Executive Director] Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."
The story continued:
"Gelbaum, who reads the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión and is married to a Mexican American, said his views on immigration were shaped long ago by his grandfather, Abraham, a watchmaker who had come to America to escape persecution of Jews in Ukraine before World War I.
" 'I asked, 'Abe, what do you think about all of these Mexicans coming here?' 'Gelbaum said. 'Abe didn't speak English that well. He said, 'I came here. How can I tell them not to come?''
"I cannot support an organization that is anti-immigration. It would dishonor the memory of my grandparents."
Gelbaum's reasoning is patently anti-environmental. It assumes that this country can absorb millions of new foreign residents annually who come with dreams of American level consumption.
Thoughtful conservationists balance past values versus a future reality of a population explosion most could not imagine a hundred years ago.
What if Grandaddy Abe had been a slave-owner, deeply worried about who would pick the cotton come emancipation?
And surely Gelbaum's grandfather could not have foreseen the invasion of millions of illegals, largely from Mexico. And if safety for Jews is still an issue as it was for Gelbaum's Ukrainian forebears, then the "strongly anti-Semitic" views of 44 percent of foreign-born Hispanics should be of great concern.
Gelbaum may be unwittingly supporting the increase of anti-Semitism in America which his grandfather sought to escape.
But Carl Pope obviously answered with an immediate, "No problema!"
As the Club's #1 honcho, Carl Pope is a well-paid fellow, receiving a salary of $141,704 and benefits of $16,995 as of a couple years ago.
A firehose revenue stream assures the Sierra Club's financial health and continued fat paychecks for Pope, so there is a personal benefit to this arrangement as well.
Pope sits on the Board of Wildland Conservancy, which is also funded generously by Gelbaum and his brother Daniel. The LA Times article lauded Gelbaum's impressive purchases of land to be conserved, 1,179 square miles of scenic country, and his contributions to conservation education so that poor children could see what wilderness actually looks like.
So the Sierra Club's soul was sold for some very nice trees and mountains, and thousands of underprivileged kids got the outdoors experience so valued by hiking enthusiasts.
That may be a fine short-term bargain if you are essentially corrupt anyway and have the political wheel-and-deal mentality in which everything has a price.
But consider a different example of questionable money offered for a worthy cause.
In 2001, a Saudi sheik presented $10 million dollars to Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the terrorist attacks. That money could have gone a long way toward rebuilding New York City. But the mayor felt the moral cost was unacceptable and the money was refused. The honor of a great city was not for sale.
In case there is any question, Pope is no Giuliani.
Pope and his cadre have moved the Sierra Club to the left in alignment with the Democratic Party, poisoning the bipartisan nature of American support for environmental protection.
For example, the Sierra Club has financially supported factually challenged filmmaker Michael Moore in his get-out-the-vote tour of college campuses.
Pope has appeared with the chubby auteur.
Pope was also one of the upscale D-Party brain trust who met at the Southhampton mansion of billionaire open-borders extremist George Soros to plot their regime change against G.W.Bush. One result of the high-powered confab was the formation of America Coming Together, a liberal organizational group, where Carl Pope is listed as Treasurer.
What's up with these extramural activities? Does the Sierra Club no longer need a full time Executive Director?
When it became clear to the Sierra Old Guard that population realists might take control of the Board, the mega-dollars of the hardball left-wing were brought in to defend the Gelbaum ideology—which conveniently coincides with many on the globalist left and the Democratic Party.
The Gelbaum scandal has fatally compromised the management of the Sierra Club.
Interestingly, Pope has written eloquently on the corrupting influence of money in politics. As the motto goes: "Campaign finance for thee, but not for me."
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.