Our objection is that an individual sent numerous emails to sierraclub.org email addresses campaigning against the population-sprawl ballot question, a violation of Election Rules. The Election Inspectors ruled that these emailings were not in violation because a) rules have been relaxed to allow campaign emailing to sierraclub.org email addresses, and b) we did not produce enough evidence that the emailings were sent in "bulk".
March 17, 2001
To: Sierra Club Election Inspectors:
Gene Coan < email@example.com >
Charlie Ogle < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Carl Pope < email@example.com >
Judith Kunofsky, SPST < firstname.lastname@example.org >
George Klein (Chair) < George.email@example.com >
Ron Weisen (former Chair) < Ron.firstname.lastname@example.org >
Joan Jones Holtz, CA (Angeles Chapter) < Joan.email@example.com >, <Jholtzhln@aol.com >
Ned Grossnickle < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Chris Kennedy < email@example.com >
Karen Gaia Pitts < gaia @ calweb.com >
Todd Daniel < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Objection - violation of Club Bylaws
We are formally objecting to email mailings to official Club email addresses for the purposes of campaigning against the population-sprawl ballot question. The offender is Joan Jones Holtz < Jholtzhln@aol.com >, a member of the Global Population and Environment Program Committee (GPEPC). From the attached emails, it is clear that multiple emails that violate Club bylaws are being sent out by Joan Jones Holtz, and are possibly orchestrated by other Club leaders. Obviously, this is a blanket emailing. It is also fairly clear that the email addresses have been complied from an internal source such as Club Leader lists.
Since the GPEPC, SPST, and Board of Directors has formally come out in opposition to the population-sprawl ballot question, we must presume that Joan is issuing these emails as a result of a directive from the GPEPC and/or the SPST and/or the Board of Directors.
We therefore request the inspectors issue the following ruling:
1. An immediate cease and desist of all emailings in opposition of the population-sprawl ballot question to any Sierraclub.org email addresses.
2. As remedy, we request that the complete mailing lists used by Joan Jones Holtz be provided to us within two days so that a response mailing can be issued.
2.a. To all non sierraclub.org email addresses, we will issue an email supporting the population-sprawl ballot question.
2.b. To all sierraclub.org email addresses, the Inspectors will issue an email explaining this violation of bylaws.
3. We are to be made aware of any and all other such email, sent by any Sierra Club leader or member, that has violated, or may potentially violate Club bylaws.
4. An notice issued by the Election Inspectors to all Club leaders restating the applicable bylaws.
5. An injunction through April 25, 2001 against Joan Jones Holtz from sending campaign email to anyone, even if not under a sierraclub.org email address, regarding any component of the current election. Violation would be cause for disbarment from the GPEPC and from the Sierra Club. This injunction would also apply to anyone else found violating the bylaws under discussion.
6. An injunction through April 25, 2001 against anyone on the GPEPC from sending campaign email to anyone, even if not under a sierraclub.org email address, regarding any component of the current election. Violation by any member would be cause for disbarment from the GPEPC and from the Sierra Club. Violation determined to be a result of committee decision would be cause for disbarment of current GPEPC members from the committee and from the Sierra Club.
Since this offense is undoubtedly continuing as we "speak", we request that you rule quickly on this issue.
Fred Elbel, SUSPS
Ed Glaze III, population-sprawl ballot coordinator
This following email is from the recipient of one of Joan Holtz's
emails. The "To" email addresses show that this email
violates Club bylaws by containing Sierraclub.org email
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 13:25:09 -0600
From: [undisclosed sender. Contact Fred Elbel for additional details.]
Subject: FW: OPPOSE Sprawl Ballot Question--Please Sign
To: Fred Ebel
...here is this email FYI.
From: Jholtzhln@aol.com [mailto:Jholtzhln@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 11:52 PM
To: < recipient list not included on this web presentation >
Subject: OPPOSE Sprawl Ballot Question--Please Sign
Dear Friend and Sierra Club member:
I urge you to join the signers of this letter along with Sierra Club
from all corners of the country and the National Board of Directors in
NO on a measure on the Club's ballot that would severely constrain the
anti-sprawl campaign. The Sprawl Ballot Question would require that ALL
anti-sprawl campaign materials and programs at the national, regional, and
chapter level "emphasize both regional and national population stabilization
as essential components."
We certainly understand the importance of addressing population growth.
so is one of humanity's great challenges around the globe. We would enjoy a
chance to underscore that fact. But the question on the ballot with its
inflexible wording is the wrong way to do that, and would undermine the
credibility and effectiveness of both the Club's sprawl and population
The Club already has an effective population campaign and current board
policy directs the anti-sprawl and population campaigns to work together to
emphasize the connection when appropriate. If you look at the web site
(www.sierraclub.org) you will find that the sprawl campaign has clearly
this charge seriously and hasn't pulled its punches in the slightest.
You will also find that while population is often a contributor to sprawl,
is not the only contributing factor. Moreover, some aspects of sprawl such
inner-city decay have little to do with population growth and yet are
critically important. The anti-sprawl campaign's attention to inner-city
issues is ground breaking for the Sierra Club and for the conservation
movement as a whole. We think it is critical that the anti-sprawl campaign
able to continue to develop materials addressing such problems without
incorporating an emphasis on population growth where it is clearly out of
We are also concerned about the impact that this ballot question would have
on chapters in the Mid-West and North-East where many cities are sprawling
aggressively in spite of stable or declining populations. A number of
Club chapters in these areas have mounted effective anti-sprawl campaigns
involving the same kind of inner-city/suburban coalitions that have worked
well in faster growing areas. Forcing chapters in these areas to emphasize
population growth as the problem when that just isn't the case isn't fair,
and it would undermine the Sierra Club's credibility. That would be a
Club members should not abide.
The following are some of the chapters, committees, and Club leaders who
taken a position OPPOSING the Sprawl Question on the Sierra Club ballot.
Please add your name to the list and distribute it as widely as possible:
The National Board of Directors
Sustainable Planet Strategy Team
Challenge to Sprawl Campaign
Global Population and the Environment Program Committee
National Environmental Justice Committee
Robbie Cox, NC, President, Sierra Club
Tim Frank, CA, Chair, Sierra Club Challenge to Sprawl Campaign
Peter Kostmeyer, DC, Former Congressperson, Executive Director, Zero
George Klein, NY, Chair, Sierra Club Global Population Stabilization
Jim Dodson, CA, Co-chair, National Political Committee, John Muir Award
Patrick Murphy, IL, Chair, Sierra Student Coalition Conservation Committee
Kirstin Replogle, IL, Chair, Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee
Becky Gillette, MS, Chair, Sierra Club Mississippi Chapter
Vicki Lee, CA, Chair, Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter
Steve Glaser, CO, Chair, Sierra Club Colorado River Task Force
Connie Wilbert, WY, Member, Sierra Club Conservation Governance Committee
Joyce Coleman, OR, Former Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Oregon Chapter
Dick Mochow, TN, Chair, Sierra Club South East Ecoregion Task Force
Marge Sill, NV, Federal Lands Coordinator, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter
Tom Ransburg, IN, Member, Sierra Club Sustainable Consumption Committee
Joan Jones Holtz, CA, Member, Sierra Club Global Population/ Environment
Judy Kunofsky, CA, Chair, Sierra Club Sustainable Plannet Strategy Committee
Lois Snedden, NV, Former Director, Vice President for Conservation, Sierra
Peter Tyler, TX, Chair, Sierra Club Houston Challenge to Sprawl Committee
Frank Blake, TX, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Houston Group
Emil Lawton, CA, Chair, Sierra Club California Political Committee
Julia Bott, CA, Chair, Sierra Club California
Paul Sailer, CA, Former chair, Angeles Chapter
Alan Aronson, CA, Chair, Angeles Chapter Political Committee
The following email identifies Joan Jones Holtz as Jholtzhln@aol.com
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 14:48:26 -0600
From: [undisclosed sender. Contact Fred Elbel for additional details.]
Subject: FW: Apology
To: Fred Ebel
In case you wanted to know who Jholtzhln@aol.com is here is a follow up from
From: Jholtzhln@aol.com [mailto:Jholtzhln@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2001 12:50 AM
To all who have received a from me this evening asking that you oppose the
Sprawl Ballot Question:
I most sincerely apologize for failing to block the e-mail addresses of the
other recipients...................................Joan Jones Holtz
Applicable bylaws / standing rules
SR. 11-1-2: Promotion of Positions on Ballot Issues
B. Promotion of Positions (Electioneering)
7. Use of Club Resources. Without authorization of the Board of
Directors, no Club funds or other resources, such as official
publications and other forums or means of communication, including
newsletters and web pages and including those of Sierra Club chapters,
groups and other entities, shall be used in support of or opposition
to any ballot issue, including circulation of petitions or
solicitation of signatures on petitions, unless both sides have the
8. Mailing Lists. No person, group, or Sierra Club entity shall have
access to, use, or release any portion of a Sierra Club membership
list, other than a published leader list, for fundraising or
communicating with the membership on a ballot issue beyond the means
provided above, except that candidates using Club labels pursuant to
Standing Rule 5-2-6.7 may also promote or oppose a ballot issue in a
mailing promoting their candidacy.
R U L I N G :
Subject: RULING (2001-7) ON COMPLAINT BY FRED ELBEL AND ED GLAZE, III, REGARDING USE OF EMAIL BY JOAN JONES HOLTZ
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 12:33:19
Dear Fred and Ed:
Below is the ruling of the Inspectors on your complaint regarding Joan's use of email and related questions. Please contact us if you have questions regarding this ruling.
RULING (2001-7) ON COMPLAINT BY FRED ELBEL AND ED GLAZE, III, REGARDING USE OF EMAIL BY JOAN JONES HOLTZ FOR CAMPAIGNING ON THE POPULATION/SPRAWL BALLOT QUESTION
On March 17, 2001, Mr. Fred Elbel of Sierrans ® For U.S. Population Stabilization, and Mr. Ed Glaze, III, "pro" position Coordinator of the Population/Sprawl Ballot Question on the 2001 ballot, filed a complaint with the Inspectors of Election in regard to the use of email for campaigning on the population/sprawl ballot question.
The complaint states: "We are formally objecting to email mailings to official Club email addresses for the purposes of campaigning against the population-sprawl ballot question. The offender is Joan Jones Holtz, a member of the Global Population and Environment Program Committee (GPEPC). From the attached emails, it is clear that multiple emails that violate Club bylaws are being sent out by Joan Jones Holtz, and are possibly orchestrated by other Club leaders. Obviously, this is a blanket emailing. It is also fairly clear that the email addresses have been complied [sic] from an internal source such as Club Leader lists."
"Since the GPEPC, SPST, and Board of Directors has formally come out in opposition to the population-sprawl ballot question, we must presume that Joan is issuing these emails as a result of a directive from the GPEPC and/or the SPST and/or the Board of Directors."
Mr. Elbel and Mr. Glaze state that the applicable Standing Rules are SR 11-1-2 (B) (7) and SR 11-1-2 (B) (8).
SR 11-1-2 (B) (7) Use of Club Resources, reads as follows: Without authorization of the Board of Directors, no Club funds or other resources, such as official publications and other forums or means of communication, including newsletters and web pages and including those of Sierra Club chapters, groups and other entities, shall be used in support of or opposition to any ballot issue, including circulation of petitions or solicitation of signatures on petitions, unless both sides have the same opportunity.
SR 11-1-2 (B) (8) Mailing Lists, reads as follows: No person, group or Sierra Club entity shall have access to, use or release any portion of a Sierra Club membership list, other than a published leader list, for fundraising or communication with the membership on a ballot issue beyond the means provided above, except that candidates using Club labels, pursuant to Standing Rule 5-2-6.7 may also promote or oppose a ballot issue in a mailing promoting their candidacy.
The difficulty of tracking email violations of the existing rules led the Board of Directors to approve a major alteration in the Club's election rules in November 1998. This resulted in a redefinition of Club Resources in Standing Rule 5-2-6.3, which specifically excluded the Club's email system from the restrictions applied to other Club Resources in electioneering for Board Candidates : ...Resources include official publications and other forums, such as newsletters, Web pages and electronic bulletin board systems, but the Club's e-mail system may be used, except for broadcast campaigning...
While the language in SR11-1-2 (B) (7) does not contain similar wording of this exclusion for email, the problem of policing email violations on ballot questions is similar to that concerning Candidates.
The questions before the Inspectors are:
1. Is mailing campaign materials to a Club email address a violation of the election rules?
2. Do the mailings provided as evidence to the Inspectors constitute "broadcast" campaigning?
3. Do the mailings provided as evidence demonstrate that email addresses were compiled from a
Sierra Club membership list in violation of the election rules?
There is no rule that states that simply sending email messages to a Club email address constitutes a use of Club resources.
Unless Ms. Holtz's activity rises to the level of "broadcasting", use of the email system is allowed. We find no evidence that the alleged offending emails were in any sense broadcast messages. Two email messages were provided to the Inspectors by the complainants. In the first there were 45 recipients with only 3 with the sierraclub.org domain; in the second there were 51 recipients with only 6 containing the sierraclub.org domain.
The complainants have provided no evidence for their contention that a Club membership list has been used for these mailing. Therefore, 11-1-2 (B) (8) does not apply to this ruling.
As we find no violation of election rules, the remedies suggested by the complainants do not apply.
Chief Inspector of Election, For the Inspectors