I have received (March 18, 2004) a note from MoveOn.org which tells of an attempt by outsiders to take over the Sierra Club for their own (IMHO racist and elitist) purposes. MoveOn is not quite that blunt - here is how they put it:
Following the link provided by MoveOn, I found the following paragraphs at the Groundswell Sierra site.
I am a 40 year member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, (I hope you will join me) and can attest to their dedication in tracking and fighting racial prejudice and the activities of right wing hate groups, so the SCLC warning is both credible and frightening. I know the Dick Lamm name as well, after three terms as the Democratic Governor of Colorado that basically destroyed the Democratic party there - it is still attempting to rebuild - he moved even further to the right, and was involved in the Reform Party campaingn against the US's last elected president, President Clinton, during the 1996 elections. In a June 10, 1996 interview with Jim Lehrer on Lehrer's "News Hour" he talked about cutting Medicare by 10 times the amount currently proposed over the next decade, as part of his run for president on the Reform Party ticket.
I believe the election of the additional "Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization" (SUPS) directors to the Board of the Sierra Club will destroy that organizations credibility due to SUSPS elitist and racist program, and to the flight of membership from the organization in protest against the conversion of its mission and agenda from environmental protection to racist and elitist anti-immigration policy advocacy. If you are a Sierra Club member you must vote now in the Sierra Club board election to avoid this takeover. You probably have already received the ballot in the mail.
PO Box 751
La Crosse, KS 67548
Morris Dees is the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and known as a civil rights, not an environmental activist. I assume that he is there because of the controversy over the anti-immigration slate, in some way. It may be that membership other than the folks at Groundswell Sierra who were involved in the controversy over the anti-immigration members already on the board (Zuckerman) petitioned for his inclusion as a candidate.
For SPLC's October 21 2003 letter to the Sierra Club, which is a good indicator of where they are coming from, you can see http://www.groundswellsierra.org/splc-letter.php
And if you look at the list of outside organizations on the "URGENT ELECTION NOTICE", you can see why Morris Dees might want to be candidate, and why the SPLC might want to be a counterbalance to many of the other organiztions seeking to influence the election. http://www.groundswellsierra.org/board_resolutions.php
Morris Dees' presence as a petition candidate let him do what the Sierra Club board could not, initially, do: Use a candidate statement to call the attention of membership to the nature of the - putting it plainly - attack on the Board. I am inferring this from description at the Groundswell site
That's at http://www.groundswellsierra.org/lawsuit.php
Researching this note, I found
We are not talking about joining here. We are talking about joining shortly before an election for the organization's Board, and then running for membership on that Board with the concealed purpose of diverting its resources to ugly policies having nothing to do with the environmental mission of the organization.
All the efforts to keep secrets have been by the outsiders, especially the abortive lawsuit to prevent the current board from disseminating information about the outsider takeover effort, and to force the withdrawal of other petitioner candidates' statements from the ballot.