Open Letter to Club Members

March, 1998

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Also see Myths and FACTS


March 6, 1998

Fellow club members:
Many have been talking recently about the infiltration of the club by radical pro-mass immigration advocates recently. It has been pointed out that Cathi Tactaquin and Santos Gomez (National Population Committee members that were mysteriously appointed to the committee upon joining the Sierra Club a few years ago) have very strong ties to the Political Ecology Group--(Cathi is on the Advisory Board and Santos is on the organizing Board) as well as club members Brian Andreiga (Environmental Justice Task Force Chair), Julie Beezely (California/Nevada Regional Population Issues Chair, also National Population Committee), Karen Jones (Baton Rouge and National Popcom), and Rich Hayes (Former recent Sustainable Planet Strategy Team). These individuals all appear as supporters on Political Ecology Group's (PEG) web page.
Bold associations with non-club affiliated groups such as The Federation For Immigration Reform and even the KKK have been used to demonize proponents of the "A" population ballot initiative (by insinuation of shared motives) in an effort to move the focus from numbers to social justice issues in this campaign, though they have no role in this campaign. My concern here is that there appears to have been a successful effort to infiltrate the club by open borders groups with an agenda to associate population activists with Nazi's. I am disheartened by the utter silence of the leadership on these matters.

Who is the Political Ecology Group?

This is the group that has an ongoing campaign to "reframe the immigration debate" (along with Cathi Tactaquin's National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) and has a track record of accusing NPG, CCN and Population-Environment Balance of the "greening of hate." The Coordinator of the group, Brad Erickson, along with Cathi T. appeared on NPR recently in San Francisco to oppose ballot measure A. The two, along with PEG board member Santos Gomez, have coordinated and executed a campaign to frame all concerned about US population growth as racists.
Following are some quotes from materials distributed from this hysterical PEG group. We'll start with a recent fund raising letter that was signed by all board members except for Cathi.
Dear Friend, "It's no joke Did you hear the one about a strawberry picker, a Sierra Club member, A Whole Foods executive and a neo-Nazi?..Okay, it's no joke. But by the time you finish reading this letter, you'll understand how these disparate players are connected, and learn how you can double your money to support PEG's work."
The next title reads IS RACISM AN ENVIRONMENTAL VALUE? "The Sierra Club continues to be a key battleground in the greening of hate."
The next title brags about how PEG joined in the debate and was quoted in the L.A. Times using this issue.
"PEG members are working closely with progressive members of the Sierra Club as well as other environmental leaders to resist the takeover by anti-immigration zealots."
NOTE: Alan Kuper and the two other co-sponsors have nearly 100 years of membership combined.

Following are exerpts from a transcript of a gathering put on late last year by the "Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment."
Cathi gave a speech called "Anti-Immigration and the Dividing of America." Brad gave a planned response to her speech. All of the materials I have read by Cathi and Brad's groups closely parallel the arguments of the Sierra Club National Population Committee and Board of Directors, as well as other proponents.
"Now there's a new kind of scapegoating called the "greening of hate." Anti-immigrant groups such as the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), Negative Population Growth (NPG), and Population-Environment Balance (PEB) are exploiting the valid fears of the millions of people who consider themselves environmentalists." "They have wrapped themselves in green robes but they still can't hide the white sheets they wear underneath."
NOTE: Maria Sepulvuda, Executive director of PEB is the daughter of Chilian immigrants. Leon Kalenkowitz, Network Cordinator with CCN and a former club leader, is married to a Latina woman and speaks Spanish at home.

Later, Erickson reveals that: "Although mainstream environmentalists aren't our main constituency, we do have a strategy to fight the greening of hate at a national level. We believe that if environmentalists see the leaders they respect oppose immigrant scapegoating, they will think twice before signing up for NPG's witch hunt (NOTE: refers to a call to deport illegal immigrants). We've asked those leaders to to a position and make public statements that will help."
Considering the fact that four of the members of our National Population Committee and members of two key committees are listed as supporters on PEG's web page and they have managed to get two of their main people on our board, we can safely assume that the leaders of the club are fully aware of this issue.
I complement PEG for getting our leaders to make statements in their favor, the above stated goal. What I have presented here is not a "red herring" but factual information about a really sinister plot that happens to be reality. The red herring is in the accusation that because John Tanton was a club leader long ago, and that he solicited money for his current group from a fund that in 30's allegedly funded eugenics (DNA) research, that this means we are all a bunch of Nazi's infiltrating the club - all a bunch of nonsense.
It has not even been established that Pioneer Fund has funded the "Nazi" (the Nazis took eugenics and misused it) eugenics back in the unenlightened era. PEG defines eugenics as the study of "proving colored people inferior." I researched this and it appears that eugenics is simply DNA research to better humankind through genetic research. I felt the accusations against the Pioneer Fund were serious, so I looked into it a bit. I found that the group funds medical research at Stanford University and Tel Aviv University (In Israel). So if we are "racist" because an unrelated immigration group accepted funds from the Pioneer Fund, then Stanford and Tel Aviv Universities are both racist.
Garret Hradin has also been attacked by this vile group and their accusations have been repeated in the media as fact. His opinions about carrying capacity have been misrepresented as supporting "infanticide" among other things. This, all in an effort to discreidt environmental population stabilization group who are affiliated with him.
Initiative proponents are no more associated with the KKK and eugenics than the club is with the unabomber, though some have tried to make the association. The term "anti-immigrant" has been used often in an attempt to personalize this debate and get people off the numbers and on to the emotion. The initiative has nothing to do with immigrants already here, but instead asks for a comprehensive policy that factors in mass immigration levels, as our policy has done that for decades. In short, it is a re-affirmation of (pre-1996 politics) decades of realization that mass immigration is a major component of population growth.
The talk about some immigration reform groups' agendas (some are concerned more about culture and demographics) is all a diversion from the fact that we have an organized group of individuals with conflicts of interest who were planted in key positions to fight this sensible initiative. I have repeatedly seen individuals and experts like Leon Bouvier, the Ehrlich's and Garrett Hardin attacked by the PEG group that has managed to worm their way into running this campaign. They have taken to attacking the concept of numbers as well, as is clearly illustrated in their literature. The "so-called population explosion" is how they phrase it.

What does the Board think about this?

Well, they have hired a Public Relations firm to run their campaign. They authorized the use of club funds to do so, which would otherwise be prohibited. But the bylaws (which I would hope to change) prohibit funds being used for promotion of one director or referendum "unless authorized by the Board." The Board has not responded to the many complaints made on this infiltration issue. They have subverted petition efforts in a number of ways. When the initiative was obeing circulated, Groups and Chapters received a one-sided lobby letter (using club funds) from the National Population Committee that was clearly in violation of the bylaws.
There was a complaint lodged and the Election Inspectors ruled that the committee or the individuals) should pay the club back for the mailing costs. Apparently, someone on the Board was deeply involved and the Population Committee refused to take the blame. The Inspectors' advice was then passed by the Board to the Ex-Com. Ex-Com never acted and the issue was never resolved. Lately, our Board has been busy rigging the ballot question as to make this appear as a National vs. global position. Both should be addressed. But out of fear that the membership may vote for this initiative, the BOD decided to frame the question as a "choice" between their "reaffirmation of existing policy" or national stabilization.
This, rather than the bylaw mandated yes/no on each initiative. Again, the Elections Inspectors ruled that the club should follow the bylaws, which the Board opted NOT to do. This could cause litigation. This is nearly identical to the ballot tampering a few years back on the forest ballot. One has to wonder why it was even necessary to put an "alternative B" on the ballot, as opponents could have simply written a counterpoint to "alternative A" on the ballot.?
More recently, they have rigged the "objective" mailing that has gone out around the same time as the ballots. Unfortunately, the foxes (Carl Pope and Adam Werbach) are in charge of the chicken coop - "fairness" of the mailings. The "A" supporters were hounded for verification of every piece of information that sounded objectionable to the B's, while the very proponents of "B" were not challenged on the content of their statements. The content, we have recently learned, has a quote from David Duke's web page saying he will do what he can to reduce overpopulation via immigration reform! This, in a desperate attempt to link "A" supporters with the KKK. This mailing goes out to all club members! Also included in their statement are quotes from major newpapers opposed to "A" with race-baiting content. The statements were attributed to the respectable newspapers, but no mention of the fact that these were mostly opinion pieces.

Mass Immigration is an Environmental Issue

This is a very serious issue for those of us who are struggling to protect our open space, etc.. Immigrants and their descendents have accounted for 60% of our population growth since 1970. We receive over a million newcomers each year- most of whom can begin reproducing immediately and generally have higher birth rates than the native-born. If we had kept immigration levels at their pre-1970's level of under 200,000 a year, we would have stabilized at 247 million in 2035. Instead, we liberalized the law and can now expect nearlt 400 million in 2050. (See numbers.)

What is our policy Now?

Club policy still states the goal of ending US population growth as soon as possible, but new policy says we are neutral on immigration numbers. Factors in US growth include births minus deaths and immigration minus emigration. We already have replacement-level fertility, but immigration is about 6 times higher than emigration. We cannot possibly have a stated goal of population stabilization in the US without addressing mass immigration levels.
      Anonymous Sierra Club member


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