San Francisco Bay Chapter Sierra Club


Chapter and Group Elections 2014 — Candidate Statements

Vote!

Make your voice heard in the Sierra Club elections to select leaders for the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter and its eight regional groups! All ballots must be received before 2 pm on Friday, December 13. You can cast your electronic ballot here.

Candidate Statements for the Chapter Executive Committee are immediately below. You can also jump directly to Candidate Statements for Group ExComms.

Chapter and Group ExComms represent you in deciding local conservation policy, endorsing political candidates, and administering programs and activities: essential functions that require a substantial, sustained commitment from our volunteer leadership. Your vote truly matters, so study the candidates closely and choose carefully!

The Chapter-wide ExComm supervises essential Chapter functions, from fundraising to conservation. It’s a big job: with over 30,000 members, ours is the third-largest chapter in the Club, with a budget of around $1 million and over 10 staff members.

Groups are the smallest geographic units of the Sierra Club, so group ExComms are important to making sure we keep an ear to the ground in our neighborhoods, parks, and streets, and keep tabs on our city councils, school boards, and other decision-making bodies.

Note that the membership dates listed for each candidate are those listed in the Club membership database, but may not be completely accurate, especially for earlier time periods.


Chapter-wide Executive Committee

Five candidates; vote for four or fewer.

Executive Committees (ExComms) are the decision-making boards for the Bay Chapter and its groups. The Chapter-wide ExComm supervises essential Chapter functions, from fundraising to conservation. It’s a big job: with over 30,000 members, our Chapter is the third-largest chapter in the Club, with a budget of around $1 million and over 10 staff members.


Olga A. Bolotina

Olga Bolotina

Residence: Oakland

Occupation: Community Outreach Director, City of Oakland office of Councilmember Dan Kalb

Sierra Club member since: 2000

Activities:
Chair of the Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group, 2013-2014; NAC Group Executive Committee member, 2011-2014; NAC Group representative to the SF Bay Chapter; ExComm member of Sierra Club California, 2013-2014; CA State Political Committee representative, 2014; Representative to the Council of Club Leaders, 2014; Executive board member of League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay.

Statement:
It is a privilege to serve you as an elected leader. I owe my love for nature and a lifelong enthusiasm for conservation to my beloved Grandmother and mentor who was a wilderness guru and helped foster my passion from early on in my childhood.

I have a comprehensive background in political organizing, group leadership, facilitation, and event organizing. I spearheaded Green Media and International Sustainability clubs at the Presidio School of Management, organized international renewable energy tours and planned and implemented statewide transportation summits and lobby days. More recent campaigns that I took leading roles in are: the successful Fossil Fuel Divestment by the City of Oakland; passing legislation regarding crude by rail; and passing the greenest Zero Waste contract with expanded residential composting in Oakland.

I urge you to get involved and look forward to your help in saving open spaces, public parks, and wildlife all over the Bay Area by voting and fighting against Measure KK in Union City and Measure T in Dublin; saving Alameda’s Crab Cove and protecting the harbor seals on Alameda Point; preserving the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Albany; and supporting anti-sprawl affordable housing and transit oriented development.
I humbly ask you to give me the opportunity to continue putting my skills, experience, expertise and passion to work for the benefit of the Sierra Club. Thank you for your vote.

 

Becky Evans

Becky Evans

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: paralegal, retired

Sierra Club member since: 1969

Activities: Chapter Chair, 2014; Chapter Executive Committee member since 2011; San Francisco Group activist since 1993; Chapter Political Committee member; recipient of San Francisco Tomorrow’s Jack Morrison Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014; Official Proponent, San Francisco Height Limit Measure, 2014; park founder, Golden Gate National Recreation Area; member, Bay Area Water Stewards, People for the Parks and Presidio Environmental Council.

Statement: I ask for your vote to re-elect me to the Chapter Executive Committee. I have worked on issues at all levels of the Sierra Club—local, state and national. My major work has been on parks, waterfront and water issues, and community efforts on sewage and transportation.
You may want to know what the “ExComm” is and what we do. There are nine members elected by the Chapter membership—now at more than 30,000—and representatives from the Chapter’s 8 groups. We are volunteers—consultants, scientists, civil servants, attorneys, tech experts, Outings leaders and retirees. We are responsible for Chapter staff, budget and conservation campaigns as well as political endorsements and approving litigation.

I have served as Chair of the Executive Committee this year and found it a demanding and exhilarating experience requiring infinite patience.

I frequently represent you. But the Sierra Club has many representatives: the Chapter’s successes are your successes. You attend hearings, write letters, meet with elected officials and populate phone banks. Your dues and contributions make the Chapter’s work possible.

We need to meet the challenges of sea level rise, climate change, and a growing Bay Area population. It will take all of us working together to meet these challenges.

Please vote for me for the San Francisco Bay Chapter Executive Committee. Thank you.

 

Arthur Feinstein

Arthur Feinstein

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: conservationist

Sierra Club member since: 1981

Activities: Chapter and San Francisco Group Executive Committee Member, 2006 to present; Vice-Chair, Chapter Executive Committee, 2009; Executive Committee Chair, 2010 to 2013; Chapter Director, 2011 (Interim); San Franicsco Group Political Committee Chair, 2008; SF Group Conservation Committee Chair, 2009-2012; Chapter Conservation Committee Chair, 2014; awarded national Sierra Club’s Susan Miller Award, 2014; awarded Clean Water Network’s 30-Year Heroes Award; National Audubon Society’s Bay Champion Award.

Statement: It’s been my pleasure to serve on the Chapter ExComm for eight years and as interim Chapter Director for about a year. We have a wonderful organization of dedicated staff and volunteers who are a true pleasure to work with.

I have spent my life fighting for the ecological preservation. I have worked on wetlands issues at local, state, and federal levels. I played instrumental roles in saving East Bay wetlands, expanding the Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge by 20,000 acres. I led the effort that stopped the Port of Oakland from filling hundreds of acres of wetlands. I played a key role in saving two square miles of East Bay habitat in our 14-year struggle to save Gateway Valley in Orinda. With many others, I helped establish the McLaughlin East Shore State Park.

But never has the environmental news been more daunting: climate change, sea-level rise, extreme weather, drought, species extinction, fracking… As never before we need a strong environmental movement. Thankfully, the Sierra Club, especially in the Bay Area, provides just that. The Club makes a difference. The Bay Area is a healthier place for us and for the critters with whom we share this world thanks to our efforts.

I believe I have the skills and experience to help the Club continue this essential work.

 

Nick Pilch

Nick Pilch

Residence: Albany

Occupation: software engineer

Sierra Club member since: 1990

Activities: National and local Outings Leader, 2005-present; Northern Alameda County Executive Committee member, 2010-2011; Bay Chapter ExComm member, 2011-2014. Outreach Committee Chair, 2011-2012. Nominations and Elections Committee Chair, 2013.

Statement: I have been an advocate for the environment since I was a teenager. I’m a long-time Sierra Club member, admiring the Club’s ability to fight and win the good fights. In my work with the Northern Alameda County Group, I successfully convinced the USDA to allow their land to be used for a path to the Albany waterfront, and I was the lead in drafting comments on Albany’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). On the Chapter ExComm, I’ve helped guide the Chapter through difficult times and been an advocate for environmental candidates and ballot measures, such as Measure BB. I’m the sole representative from Albany. I will use my position to advocate for many other sustainability issues in Albany, the East Bay, and the region.

As an Outings Leaders, I’ve twice led groups to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with the goal of building advocates for designating it a wilderness area. I co-founded the now 400+ member-strong Albany Strollers and Rollers, a citizen’s group advocating for active transportation in Albany (walking, bicycling, etc.). Active Transportation helps get cars off the road and reduces carbon emissions. I’m also a founding board member of Carbon Neutral Albany. We helped shape Albany’s CAP and we spread alternative-energy awareness.

I am a member of Friends of Five Creeks, and a member of a dozen other local and national environmental organizations.

I want to continue working with the Sierra Club on influencing environmental policy in my area. I will do so armed with resolve, and also with respect for everyone I am working with.

 

Igor A. Tregub

Igor Tregub

Residence: Berkeley

Occupation: Department of Energy Engineer, Berkeley Commissioner

Sierra Club member since: 2008

Activities: Vice Chair, San Francisco Bay Chapter; Conservation Chair, Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group; At-Large member, S.F. Bay Chapter Political Committee; Northern California Secretary, California/Nevada Regional Conservation Committee; Active member, S.F. Bay Chapter Transportation and Water Committees; Steering Committee, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition; Vice Chair, Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission; Commissioner, Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board; Delegate/Legislation Committee, California Democratic Party; Membership VP, California Young Democrats; Active Member, Bike East Bay

Statement: Preserving the environment has always been at the forefront of my work as a legislator and environmental advocate. As a formerly elected and currently appointed Berkeley commissioner, I fought to expand recycling services in multifamily buildings and access to energy upgrade financing for homeowners, and have successfully campaigned to introduce a third (composting) bin to Oakland’s apartments. Through the Sierra Club and Berkeley and Oakland Climate Action Coalitions, I’ve focused on building a blue-green alliance around issues like preserving and expanding open space locally and statewide, housing and transportation justice, and the promotion of Community Choice Energy.

As the Chapter’s Vice Chair, I have used my own experience as an immigrant to expand the Chapter’s membership, mentor new members, and enhance the diversity pool of our leaders. I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that the Chapter is here to serve you, whether you are interested in getting involved in a conservation issue, on our local, statewide, and national campaigns, or simply want to “explore the wild places of the Earth” through our fantastic outings program.

I respectfully ask for your vote so that I can continue to serve you for another term. Together we will remain a potent and effective voice for the environment and build partnerships within and outside of the Club. Please email me at itregub at gmail.com with any questions. Thank you for your support!

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Group Executive Committees

In addition to voting for the Chapter Executive Committee, members may vote in one group election: the group to which they belong. To see a map of group boundaries, click here.

Groups are the smallest geographic units of the Sierra Club, so Group Executive Committees are important to making sure we keep an ear to the ground in our neighborhoods, parks, and streets, and keep tabs on our city councils, school boards, and other local decision-making bodies. Group ExComms also serve to give leaders experience at running an organization of volunteers—experience that they can carry to the Chapter level.

Click on the name of a group to be brought to that groups's candidate statements:

Delta Group
Southern Alameda County Group
Marin Group
San Francisco Group
West Contra Costa County Group
Northern Alameda County Group
Mount Diablo Group
Tri-valley Group



Delta Group Executive Committee

One candidate; vote for one or fewer.

NOTE: In this group there are fewer candidates than vacancies. To inquire about procedures to fill vacancies after the election, contact Delta Group Chair Tim Donahue at (925)754-8801 or timothy-donahue at sbcglobal.net.


Pamela Arauz

Pamela Arauz

Residence: Antioch

Occupation: administration manager of Global Community Monitor

Sierra Club member since: 2006

Activities: Member, Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition (BARCC).

Statement: Growing up in Nicaragua in the middle of a revolution exposed me from a young age to drastic social and economic changes. I am fortunate to have been brought up by parents who taught me to always question injustices; and to try to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Climate change is the most eminent threat in our lifetime. Injustices committed against people are connected to the injustices committed against nature and all other species. It is only small percentage of the population who are privileged to be involved in a movement for social change; so that it is our responsibility to keep informing, and engaging other people in our communities to create solutions.

Community organizing is my passion. I love to see the change in people’s attitude once they become involved. We know that corporations, specifically the oil industry, want to keep us distracted. I have volunteered with various local, state, and national political campaigns that I think are fighting those distractions. I have volunteered registering and motivating new and young voters to make their voices heard on the issues that affect our local communities and our environment.

In 2013, I became involved fighting a crude-by-rail project in Pittsburg, fifteen minutes away from my house. With the support of organizers and nonprofits from all over the Bay Area we were able to put the WesPac Energy Infrastructure project on hold. I am now a member of BARCC, a coalition of five towns fighting oil expansion in the Bay Area.

I am experienced administrative professional; and I am applying my knowledge and passion to the environmental health and justice movement. I have a Bachelor of Science in International Business, a minor in Latin America Studies, and a Master's degree in Business Administration.

 


Southern Alameda County Group Executive Committee

Three candidates; vote for three or fewer.


Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen

Residence: Fremont

Occupation: software engineer, retired

Sierra Club member since: 1994

Activities: Member, Southern Alameda County Group Executive Committee, 2010-present; Co-chair, San Francisco Bay Chapter Water Committee, 2012-present.

Statement: I am running for the Sierra Club Southern Alameda County Group Executive Committee because I want to continue to be an active part of the largest grass-roots environmental organization in the country. Since retiring from the high-tech industry, I’ve been active in local land-use politics, acting as a steering committee member for Friends of Coyote Hills—the group opposing development in front of Coyote Hills Regional Park—and currently serve on the steering committee for Fremont Citizen’s Network, a group formed to oppose building a stadium in Fremont and to support non-traditional slow growth candidates.

I have a strong interest in water supply and demand in California, and have been one of the main organizers for a conference on the Bay Area Regional Desalination Project and another on the Bay Delta twin tunnels proposal. I love watching and photographing birds, and am dedicated to preserving their lives and habitats in the Bay Area.


Diana Brumbaugh

Diana Brumbaugh

Residence: Fremont

Occupation: school administrator

Sierra Club member since: 2000

Activities: Serving on the Southern Alameda County Group will be my first direct activity with the Sierra Club.

Statement: Much of my environmental work has been in education. As a science teacher, I established an eco-friendly school garden, worked with other Alameda County high schools with recycle/reuse programs, and taught the first AP Environmental Science class in the Fremont Unified School District.

I have been active with the Alameda Creek Alliance and served as their outreach coordinator, planning their 10-year anniversary celebration and tabling at events. I also volunteered for the Measure K (Protect Coyote Hills) initiative. I have recently developed a love of birding and have been attending as many GGAS and Ohlone Audubon activities as possible.

I would be honored to serve on the Southern Alameda County Group Executive Committee as we continue to work on preserving open space, protecting the Alameda Creek watershed, electing environmentally-aware officials, and ensuring smart growth.

 

William Yragui

William Yragui

Residence: Fremont

Sierra Club member since: 2012

Statement: I have watched as watersheds, grasslands and open spaces have become threatened by the activity of people or animals under the control of people. The extent of the damage can be as small as 60-foot-wide bootlegs up the face of a steep hillside or deep ruts caused by bikers or graffiti spread across rock faces.

The ability of the organizations responsible to protect these habitats is always a matter of perspective, funding, and public outcry. The Sierra Club is a natural allay to focus attention on maintaining our public spaces for the benefit of all. It is a natural allay to increase the public’s awareness of what they can do to minimize their impact on our environment.

I look forward to working with the local chapter to increase membership and focus on park and transportation issues.



Marin Group Executive Committee

Three candidates; vote for three or fewer.

NOTE: In this group there are fewer candidates than vacancies. To inquire about procedures to fill vacancies after the election, contact Marin Group Chair Michele Barni at (415)453-4162 or dmmes at netzero.net.


Elena Belsky

William Yragui

Residence: San Geronimo

Occupation: science educator and artist

Sierra Club member since: 1998

Activities: Founding director, Watershed Preservation Network, 2001-present; board member, Marin National Organization for Women, 2004 -2008; board member and instructor, REC Inc. (serving developmentally disabled adults), 2004-present; investigator, S.F. BayKeeper, 2000-2003.

Statement: Throughout my life as a social, political, and environmental activist, I have felt strongly that a healthy environment is the basis of a healthy society, whether it is an urban, rural, or wilderness setting. It is essential that we inspire others in the most important mission of caretaking our natural world, and to create the future we envision for our children.

I have a strong background in the sciences and public and environmental health issues: water quality, open space, habitat and wetlands preservation and restoration, protection of our streams, bays and ocean areas, pollution, toxics and hazardous materials. Through my work as an environmental investigator, I have collaborated with non-profits and litigators to bring Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act violators to justice.

I look forward to lending my skills, experience and enthusiasm to the Sierra Club Marin Group’s Executive Committee. I strongly support the Sierra Club’s goals and vision for a better future and hope to contribute in the effort to achieve these goals.

 

Laura Chariton

Laura Chariton

Residence: Mill Valley

Occupation: environmental restoration and policy consultant

Sierra Club member since: 1996

Activities: M.A., Riparian Policy and Restoration; Tule Elk docent, Point Reyes National Seashore; member, Marin Group Executive Committee, 2013-present; director, Watershed Alliance of Marin; research co-chair, Mount Tam Task Force; Permaculture Design Certificate; former board member, Mill Valley StreamKeepers; hiker.

Statement: I am currently a Marin Group Executive Committee member active in: watershed issues, land preservation, saving endangered coho salmon and steelhead, protecting biodiversity, habitat restoration, preventing ecologically sensitive lands from damage, and have written articles for the Yodeler. I have been working to improve watershed and Bay health through restoration, education, outreach and policy advocacy, and have been extensively engaged in the Marin County Stream Conservation Area ordinance.
The most pressing issues of our time include: clean water, food and air, extinction, loss of biodiversity, pollution, overpopulation, climate change, and what Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything describes as “the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth.”

We must divest from fossil fuels to stop climate change and embrace clean renewable energy sources by living within our ecological footprint. Saving natural ecosystems is necessary for the health and life of our planet.

Through the Sierra Club we have the ability to support better environmental protection policies, organize political clout, and endorse candidates who express our mission. The Sierra Club challenges environmentally destructive interests to achieve protections while we remain one of the great environmental organizations in preserving our natural resources. I am honored to be a part of this great legacy organization, and, with gratitude, will continue this work.

 

Peter Lacques

Residence: Fairfax

Occupation: attorney; Fairfax Planning Commissioner

Sierra Club member since: 2010

Statement: I’m running for the board of the Marin Group because we have an important role in shaping environmental policy and raising awareness of environmental issues here in Marin. Although much of our beloved county is pristine parkland and open space that requires careful protection, just as important are the many complex urban and quality-of-life issues facing Marin, particularly transportation, growth and development, and consumption of energy, water, and natural resources.

I joined the executive committee in 2010, after my election campaign for the Marin Municipal Water District and efforts to stop the desalination plant proposed by the District. I also successfully sued to overturn the flawed EIR for this misguided project.

Although not my primary focus, my law practice has included representing people injured by toxic exposures and environmental contaminants, environmental remediation litigation, and land use. I think my training, skills, and experience as an attorney are valuable for effective advocacy for the Group, and in quickly absorbing complex details in a variety of disciplines. 

I have served as a Fairfax Planning Commissioner for eight years, addressing planning issues, affordable housing, drafting ordinances to protect trees, and revising the general plan, among other issues. I also served as a member of the Solid Waste & Recycling Advisory Committee for San Anselmo, advising the Town Council on solid waste issues and achieving  state-mandated waste reductions goals.

I have been involved in environmental activism much of my adult life. In the 1980s I worked as full-time organizer for the Alliance for Survival, a non-profit focused on opposing nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and militarism.

I thank you for your support.



San Francisco Group Executive Committee

Five candidates; vote for four or fewer.


Joshua Arce

Joshua Arce

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: civil rights attorney / environmental justice advocate

Sierra Club member since: 2010

Activities: Member, S.F. Group Executive Committee; President, S.F. Commission on the Environment; Alternate Commissioner, S.F. Bay Conservation and Development Commission; lifelong trout fisherman.

Statement: Since 2007, I have worked with the Sierra Club to build powerful coalitions with community groups, social-justice organizations, and labor unions around environmental justice, clean energy, and green-job issues. I have served the Club for the past two years on the S.F. Group ExComm and would very much like to continue to serve the membership for another two years.

I am the Executive Director of San Francisco civil-rights nonprofit Brightline Defense, working to protect and empower vulnerable Bay Area communities. I believe that the environmental movement is stronger when we partner with low-income communities and communities of color not traditionally engaged in environmental campaigns.

In addition, I have served as President of the San Francisco Commission on the Environment since January 2013. I am proud that in my time on the Commission we have taken groundbreaking action to mandate solar on new construction to create jobs and benefit the environment; ban plastic water bottles; stop the ceremonial release of butterflies; and, most recently, to prohibit the transportation and export of coal and other dirty fossil fuel materials in San Francisco.

I have worked tirelessly with the Sierra Club to accomplish major environmental victories, including:

  • Banning coal, petroleum coke, and crude oil export as prohibited uses at S.F.’s Pier 96 Cargo Facility
  • Closing S.F.’s polluting Potrero Power Plant
  • Stopping the construction of new dirty power plants in Hunters Point
  • Promoting renewable energy initiatives
  • Supporting affordable housing and jobs at Pier 70

As a member of the S.F. Group ExComm, I will continue to promote a stronger, broader environmental movement to meet the challenges that climate change presents us all.

 

Karen Babbitt

Karen Babbitt

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: urban planning / community development

Sierra Club member since: 2010

Activities: Vice Chair, San Francisco Group Conservation Committee, 2012; Chair, San Francisco Group Conservation Committee, 2013-2014.

Statement: I have lived in San Francisco for 22 years and have been active in the Sierra Club since 2010. I became active in the S.F. Group Conservation Committee at the urging of a member who knew of my interest in environmental issues, and I have been very active ever since, serving as Vice Chair in 2012 and Chair in 2013 and 2014.

Aside from chair-related duties, my main activities have been communicating Sierra Club positions to elected officials; providing articles for the Yodeler; actively supporting candidates and ballot-measure positions endorsed by the Club; and participating in outreach activities to educate the public on issues important to the Club.
I am running for a seat on the S.F. Group Executive Committee because I believe the Sierra Club provides a crucial environmental voice in San Francisco and I want to play a larger role in seeing that continue and expand. The Club provides strong advocacy on a range of important issues (e.g., clean power, parks, the Bay, public transit, and environmental justice) and my experience has given me the knowledge and skills to be a valuable addition to the committee.

I would like to see the S.F. Group work toward two main goals in the coming years: build further alliances with groups across a range of communities, and engage local officials on environmental issues at an earlier stage in the process. My involvement and relationships with other local groups (political, good government, housing rights, and sustainable transportation) will enable me to assist with attaining both of these goals. I ask for your support.

 

Becky Evans

Becky Evans

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: paralegal, retired

Sierra Club member since: 1969

Activities: Chapter Chair, 2014; member, Chapter Executive Committee, 2011-present; San Francisco Group leader, 1993-present; member, Political Committee; San Francisco Tomorrow’s Jack Morrison Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014; Official Proponent, San Francisco Height Limit Measure, 2014; park founder, Golden Gate National Recreation Area; founding member, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters; member, Bay Area Water Stewards, People for the Parks, and Presidio Environmental Council.

Statement: Over the past 24 months I have been a participant in citizen campaigns to protect San Francisco’s waterfront from the Presidio to Pier 70. There were firsts for me: testifying in Sacramento, appearing before the Ballot Simplification Committee, and being a defendant in litigation. Lots of public meetings.

'The Sierra Club has been key to successes protecting the Mid-Crissy area in the Presidio from inappropriate development and the defeat of 8 Washington on the November 2013 ballot. We participated in the rapid collection of signatures that put the Waterfront Height Limit measure on the June 2014 ballot; we then campaigned for Prop. B, which won 59%-41% voter approval citywide. These successes were yours as well; countless members circulated petitions and participated in phone banks organized by Chapter staff and interns.

San Francisco’s environment is threatened by many things: unhealthy air where there is traffic congestion, lack of parks in high-need neighborhoods, toxics, loss of dark skies, looming sea level rise. I will continue to work for parks and open space, preservation of natural areas, livable/walkable neighborhoods, better Muni service, clean energy, and accountability from our elected officials.

Please vote for me for the San Francisco Group’s Executive Committee. Thank you.


Carolyn Johnston

Carolyn Johnston

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: attorney, retired

Sierra Club member since: 2013

Activities: Member, Conservation Committee; member, Conservation Committee, Golden Gate Audubon Society; Secretary and Land Use Chair, Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association; President, San Francisco Forest Alliance.

Statement: As a new member of the San Francisco Group Conservation Committee, I have seen the many ways the group is helping our city, especially in its advocacy for open government, affordable housing, height limits for developments, clean power, and improved public transit, and its opposition of synthetic turf, commercialization and privatization of parks, and efforts to water down CEQA. I want to help.

Fighting climate change is a top environmental priority. I encouraged other organizations I am involved in to support the People’s Climate Rally (the Sierra Clubs Bay Chapter was a partner). We should look for more ways to act locally.

I would also like to see the S.F. Group become involved in two other issues that are very dear to my heart. First, San Francisco needs more trees, but its tree canopy is shrinking. UCSF and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department plans to cut down many thousands of healthy, mature trees in San Francisco. The Sierra Club should encourage city, state, and federal agencies to preserve and maintain healthy, mature trees on public land where possible, and to plant more trees. Second, I think the S.F. Group should seek to reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides and other toxins in the City’s public parks. We should promote sustainable gardening practices that do not pollute our groundwater.

As a member of the S.F. Group ExComm, I would seek to form alliances with other local groups, such as the Golden Gate Audubon Society, the West of Twin Peaks Council, and the San Francisco Forest Alliance, to oppose these deforestation efforts and to protect wildlife habitat.


Linda Weiner

Linda Weiner

Residence: San Francisco

Occupation: air quality policy, retired

Sierra Club member since: 1999

Activities: Member, San Francisco Group Executive Committee, 2010-2012; member, Conservation Committee, 2010-2012; member, Group Diversity Committee, 2011- 2012.

Statement: During my second two-year term, I have been involved with a variety of Sierra Club issues, both on the policy level as well as supporting action—with an emphasis on air quality and global warming. In the policy arena, I: participated in Sierra Club Lobby Day in Sacramento; testified on behalf of the Sierra Club at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in support of the proposed regional climate plan; testified for the Club at the Regional EPA hearing on reducing carbon pollution from existingpower plants; and developed a resolution concerning overdevelopment of large houses in a dense San Francisco neighborhood.
Supporting actions: participated in numerous special meetings to interview candidates for various San Francisco political offices; participated in an all-day Sierra Club chapter planning retreat; organized small contingents of Club members to participate in climate change events; volunteered to help staff the David Brower Sierra Club dinner; and distributed Sierra Cub calendars to select San Francisco Supervisors.
Having previously worked as Director of Air Quality Advocacy at the American Lung Association, and as previous chair of the Bay Area Clean Air Task Force, I have had a decade of experience in advocating for clean air and global warming policies, locally, regionally, and statewide, with the Sierra Club an important partner in these efforts. I am especially interested in carrying on the work of shaping similar policies and activities in the environmental justice arena. As well, I have many years professional background in communications, advocacy and public health. I will continue to be active on these issues and others as a champion for the Sierra Club.


West Contra Costa County Group Executive Committee

Four candidates; vote for three or fewer.


Charles Davidson

Charles Davidson

Residence: Hercules

Occupation: chiropractor

Sierra Club member since: 2014

Activities: Grassroots organizer, energy research; California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus.

Statement: I am a resident of Hercules, which is adjacent to Phillips 66 in Rodeo, California’s most polluting refinery. I am deeply involved in community organizing against the refining and importation of tar sands and propane-laden, fracked crude oil into the Bay Area.

I have a graduate-level university education in chemistry and biology and have studied refinery chemistry, petroleum geology (related to fracking), and hazardous material transport. I am a founding member of the Sunflower Alliance, a grassroots environmental justice coalition involved in uniting Bay Area refinery communities against the impact of importing dangerous forms of petroleum.

As a state Democratic Party delegate, I authored a resolution against the crude-by-rail WesPac mega-terminal in Pittsburg that was adopted by the Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee and unanimously adopted by both the Pittsburg Unified School Board and the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus.

I authored an anti-fracking moratorium plank that became part of the California Democratic Party platform. Additionally, I authored a Party resolution pertaining to the disposal of potentially radioactive wastewater that is a byproduct of fracking.

As a member of the Chapter Energy Committee, 350 Bay Area, and the Sunflower Alliance, I frequently speak at the regional Air District on refinery pollution and climate issues. I am a strong advocate of Community Choice Aggregation for clean energy acquisition, an important avenue for local control for expanding a green economy.

The Sierra Club’s leadership is exemplary on issues ranging from opposing dangerous crude-by-rail operations, refinery expansions, and promoting a clean and healthy environment. My goal as a member of the ExComm would be to help advance these and similar efforts into adopted public policy.


Norman La Force

Norman La Force

Residence: El Cerrito

Occupation: lawyer

Sierra Club member since: 1983

Activities: Chapter Chair: 1991-1993; 2009-2012; Chapter Executive Committee: 1985-present; Chair, East Bay Public Lands Committee (formerly East Shore State Park Task Force): 1984-present; Chapter Political Committee: 1991-present; Chapter Legal Chair: 1984-present; West County Group Chair: 2004-Present

Statement: You know me as the Chapter leader on parks and open space for the past 30+ years. I led the effort to create the McLaughlin East Shore State Park and saving the shoreline for parks and open space. I just received the East Bay Regional Park District’s award for Citizen Advocacy in working to make Crab Cove in Alameda part of the Crown Beach State Park. In 2010 the Chapter honored me for my service to the Chapter and Sierra Club. In 2004 the Sierra Club awarded me its William Penn Mott Award for park advocacy.

As Group Chair I have led work to preserve the West County Shoreline; clean up toxic sites like the Zeneca site; stop Chevron from refining the heavy tar sands for oil; keep heavy tar sands oil from being refined in West County and shipped out of West County; and keep dirty coal from being transported through the Bay Area in open rail cars causing pollution and contamination to our neighborhoods.

I have been a major donor to the Chapter and have led successful fundraising campaigns. I have also represented the Sierra Club pro bono in lawsuits as its lawyer.

As a member of the Group, I will continue our strong advocacy on issues that matter to Sierra Club locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. We still have to create a major park at Point Molate, save more of the Richmond shoreline from development, keep Chevron from polluting our neighborhoods, and try to reverse climate change and sea-level rise.

 

David McCoard

David McCoard

Residence: El Cerrito

Occupation: retired library worker

Sierra Club member since: 1964

Activities: Member, Executive Committee and Outings Chair, Kern-Kaweah Chapter, 1975-6; Member, Wetlands Task Force and Solid Waste Subcommittee, 1984-86; information table coordinator, 1983-1998; member, Conservation Committee, mid-1990s-2001, 2004-2008, 2010-present; member, Political Committee, 2004-2008; member, West Contra Costa County Group ExComm, 1990-present, Chair 1994-95; member, Sierra Club California Air Quality Committee, 2008-present; member, Energy Committee, 2012-present, Co-chair, 2014.

Statement: I feel that the four most important issues facing the West County Group are land use, transportation, air quality, and toxics. These are interrelated and directly affect the quality of life of residents (human and otherwise). As a resident of Hercules through 1998, I participated in citizens’ groups working to protect Franklin Canyon and to influence land-use and planning decisions.

Basic to action on environmental issues is the task of increasing the number of people actively involved in the Group. We can do this by actively inviting and creating opportunities for participation, and making members know that their activity and feelings count.

I will bring my experience in working with information table volunteers, Chapter committees, and community groups, as well as my time on the Group ExCom, to the internal management of the Group.

I am running so that I can continue to contribute to the Club’s effectiveness as I have in the past.

 

Rita Minjares

Rita Minjares

Residence: El Cerrito

Occupation: retired technical consultant for Charles Schwab

Sierra Club member since: 1988

Activities: Group chair from 2002 to 2005, Vice chair 2006 to 2013, Treasurer 2014

Statement: There are a lot of worthy environmental groups out there, and many of them need your money to do their work nationally. The Sierra Club is a grassroots organization and you can become involved on many levels. The Bay Area is a crucible for urban issues, transportation, land use, air quality, energy. This is the bread and butter of the groups. Going to city council meetings and speaking up, talking to candidates, trying to find common ground, going to neighborhood meetings, building alliances—this is key to keeping abreast of the issues.

I bring my experience of the past 12 years working in the West Contra County Group Executive Committee to the table. I am running to continue to contribute my skills to the Sierra Club.



Northern Alameda County Group Executive Committee

Six candidates; vote for four or fewer.


Luis Amezcua

Rita Minjares

Sierra Club Nominated Candidate*

Residence: Berkeley

Occupation: Intake Coordinator at Dolan Law

Sierra Club member since: 2013

Activities: Conservation Committee, Northern Alameda County Group; Energy-Climate Committee Co-chair, Sierra Club Bay Chapter; Commissioner, Berkeley Community Environmental Advisory Commission; member, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition; Water Committee, Sierra Club Bay Chapter; Oakland Clean Energy and Jobs Campaign.

Statement: The Sierra Club, since the beginning of my membership, has provided me with the resources and opportunities to become the passionate and well-rounded environmental leader that I am today.
As a Sierra Club leader and Berkeley Climate Action Coalition member, I have conducted numerous climate change workshops for seniors, children, and low-income families to raise awareness, educate, and work to resolve environmental issues in their communities. Through my involvement with low-income communities, I have tirelessly worked to enact policies that would mitigate air pollution, improve air quality, and boost living conditions for individuals and families in bad air quality areas.

I have been a strong advocate of enacting a lead hazard prevention and control ordinance in Berkeley and other cities in the Bay Area; creating a countywide Community Choice Aggregation program in Alameda County; increasing recycling and compost services in Alameda County to reach our zero waste ambition; enhancing our water conservation efforts; and expanding hazardous waste services throughout Alameda County.

Making connections with different communities, including those that speak Spanish, and working closely with the Sierra Club and different local entities will continue to be my priorities in tackling the environmental issues that we face. Climate change is a challenge we must face together.

I would be honored to have your vote to continue our efforts in creating new environmental leaders by providing them with the resources we have all been given at the Sierra Club. Thank you for your consideration!


Richard Bangert

Richard Bangert

Sierra Club Nominated Candidate*

Residence: Alameda

Occupation: self-employed house painter

Sierra Club member since: 2012

Activities: Member, East Bay Public Lands Committee and Northern Alameda County Group Conservation Committee; Sierra Club representative, Alameda Point Restoration Advisory Board (citizen cleanup oversight); author, Alameda Point Environmental Report blog; volunteer, Golden Gate Audubon Society work at the Alameda Point least tern colony; member, Sierra Club Alameda candidate and issues interview/recommendation committee, 2014.

Statement: As a member of the NAC Group Executive Committee, I will defend our natural habitat and advocate for ecologically-sustainable energy use and land-use planning, and social justice.

I have advocated for open space and wildlife issues at Alameda Point, the former Naval Air Station, for 14 years. Articles on my blog (often reprinted in the Alameda Sun) inform the public about cleanup, parks, wildlife, and open space issues.

I blew the whistle on the Navy’s plans to construct an unnecessary permanent security fence around a 100-acre shoreline cleanup site that is arguably the most breathtaking spot in Alameda. The cleanup is done, and there is no fence around this wetland/grassland area where the Bay Trail will soon be opened for public use.

I drafted the resolution that became the city zoning ordinance for 511 acres of federal property at Alameda Point formerly slated to become a national wildlife refuge. Instead of “Federal Facilities,” it is now zoned “Nature Reserve,” transmitting to the new owner, the VA, our city’s desire for conscientious and deliberate commitment to wildlife habitat and limited public access.

I helped garner Sierra Club support for expanding wetlands at Alameda Point. The Yodeler published two of my stories about the controversial Crown Beach Crab Cove expansion issue, which we brought to the Club’s attention.


I will work to advance the mission of the Club through communication, collaboration, and action, and to engage and serve our members.


Olga A. Bolotina

Olga Bolotina

Sierra Club Nominated Candidate*

Residence: Oakland

Occupation: Community Outreach Director, City of Oakland office of Councilmember Dan Kalb

Sierra Club member since: 2000

Activities: Chair of the Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group – 2013 – 2014; NAC Group Executive Committee member 2011 – 2014; NAC Group representative to the SF Bay Chapter; Executive Committee member of Sierra Club California 2013 – 2014; CA State Political Committee representative 2014; Representative to the Council of Club Leaders (CCL) 2014; Executive board member of League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay.

Statement: I appreciate your consideration for my candidacy. Born and raised in Russia, I earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a Master’s degree in Sustainable Business Administration in San Francisco.

My love for nature and a lifelong passion for conservation were nurtured from early in my childhood. After moving to the U.S. in 1999, the Sierra Club was the very first organization that I joined. I have worked with numerous wildlife rehabilitation organizations such as the Marine Mammal Center, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Montclair Veterinary Hospital, and The Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue.

Through my work and volunteer leadership I gained a comprehensive background in political organizing, group leadership, facilitation and event organization. More recent campaigns that I took leading roles in are: the successful fossil fuel divestment by the City of Oakland, passing legislation regarding crude by rail, and expanded residential composting. In the free time I have available, I enjoy wilderness trips, sustainable gardening, and interviewing green business leaders.

I’m urging you to get involved and look forward to your help in saving Oakland’s public parks, Alameda’s Crab Cove, preserving the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Albany, and rehabilitating native species in the Oakland and Berkeley Hills.

 

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson

Sierra Club Nominated Candidate*

Residence: Oakland

Occupation: social worker

Sierra Club member since: 2010

Activities: Hiking, camping, playing with my three-year-old daughter at various parks and other open spaces, cooking, advocacy around environmental-impactful issues.

Statement: I’ve been a passionate advocate for environmental quality of life issues since as a teenager I noticed that my neighborhood lacked trees and open space, and that we were located in between two power plants and a sewage-treatment plant.

As a member of the Community College Board I was proud to work with President John Rizzo to enact our City College sustainability plan, which set the standard throughout Bay Area Community Colleges for sustainable and environmentally-positive building practices and enhanced recycling efforts.

As a board member for Arc Ecology, I’m proud to have partnered with the Sierra Club to demand that the redevelopment project in Bayview/Hunters Point have zero impact on the existing urban habitat.

I would like to focus on three efforts:

  • Inner-City Urban Farming: many areas in the inner city lack access to affordable healthy food options. Liquor stores are sometimes the only place where residents can buy food at affordable prices. I believe that we should work to craft public policy to make it easier for non-profits and co-operatives to acquire vacant land for this use.
  • Coalition Building: I believe that as an environmental movement, its important to find connection with efforts such as the minimum wage, affordable housing, locally-sourced jobs, and food access.
  • Land Use and Affordable Housing: more and more families are relocating to the furthest outstretches of the Bay Area and beyond. This trend is not environmentally sustainable and rolls back all of our current effort around zero emissions and climate change. Affordable-housing advocacy is to important the environmental movement.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Mario Juarez

Mario Juarez

Sierra Club Nominated Candidate*

Residence: Oakland

Occupation: small business owner

Sierra Club member since: 2010

Activities:Sierra Club Northern Alameda County (NAC) Group Executive Committee, 2010-present; NAC Political Chair / Vice Chair, 2010, 2011, and 2014; board member, East Bay League of Conservation Voters; vice chair, Alameda County Democratic Party; hosted multiple Sierra Club outreach events.

Statement: I recognize the value of Sierra Club engagement on issues affecting all of us—air and water pollution, toxic contamination, and climate change—with better Club connections in communities of color being especially important. I’m a small business owner and community leader in Oakland’s Fruitvale district and one of my priorities as a NAC Group ExComm member is developing stronger ties between the Latino community and the Sierra Club.

Environmental preservation is a passion for me and I’m investing money, time, and talent to develop a biodiesel facility in West Oakland to deliver environmentally-beneficial biofuel to trucks servicing the Port and improve air quality in this area—a project that also aligns with Sierra Club advocacy to promote emerging green collar jobs.

As a former Oakland Parks Commissioner, I worked to eliminate toxic pesticides in parks to combat their poisonous runoff. I pushed for non-toxic strategies for weed control, and today the City’s use of these poisons is essentially eliminated.

The Sierra Club is a recognized leader in environmental issues and I’m determined to attract new members and supporters, and employ more efficient ways of operating. I will continue to offer my business, organizational, financial, and personnel management, project planning, and implementation skills to further strengthen the Club. We must continually revisit the value our local chapter provides to its members to keep the Sierra Club in the forefront and maintain our position as the premier environmental-protection organization. I am committed to making this happen, appreciate your consideration, and ask for your vote.

 

Stephen Murphy

Stephen Murphy

Petition Candidate**

Residence: Berkeley

Occupation: attorney

Sierra Club member since: 2011

Activities: Member, Northern Alameda County Group Conservation Committee, 2013-present.

Statement: I am honored to be considered as a candidate for the NAC Group ExComm. I faithfully attend the monthly meetings of the Group’s Conservation Committee. I am the Vice Chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission, and former Chair of the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission. I am an attorney, a Cal grad, and am raising my two daughters (ages 4 and 1) in Berkeley.

I have been endorsed by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and Berkeley Councilmembers Linda Maio and Laurie Capitelli. My petition to qualify me for this ballot was signed by 27 Sierra Club members including Matt Williams and Chris Peeples. As an ExComm member I would advocate passionately for:

  • reaching city, regional, and state climate action goals to reduce GHG emissions by coordinating transportation and land use planning.
  • creation of affordable, mixed-use residential development near our transit hubs.
  • supporting bus rapid transit (“BRT”). BRT would greatly assist in the Climate Action Plan and Measure G, which aimed for an 80% GHG reduction.
  • policies to improve pedestrian amenities and bicycle infrastructure. I also favor re-examining the zoning code to reflect a more current and sustainable parking management strategy.
  • incentivizing overall waste reduction. I would support examining the feasibility of levying additional fees to modernize the transfer station and exploring alternative ways to reduce waste.

The NAC ExComm is a wonderful stakeholder in improving our lives. I would be honored with the duty to help all of us move forward and insist that all decisions be made through the lens of what is good for our environment.


* Sierra Club Nominated Candidates submitted applications to the Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Nominations Committee, and were nominated based on: Record of membership and participation with the Sierra Club and/or other environmental organizations,application materials submitted, and other relevant skills and experience.

** Petition Candidates qualify for the Sierra Club Northern Alameda County ballot by submitting the signatures of 15 Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Group members. This candidate was not evaluated by the Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Nominations Committee.



Mount Diablo Group Executive Committee

Four candidates; vote for four or fewer.


Jim Blickenstaff

Jim Blickenstaff

Residence: San Ramon

Occupation: letter carrier, USPS

Sierra Club member since: 1988

Activities: Chair, Mount Diablo Group, 1993 to present; co-leader, San Ramon for Open Government, 2008 to present.

Statement: I would like to continue in my role as Chair of the Mount Diablo Group of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter. There are current and upcoming environmental challenges in our region that will require a strong Sierra Club presence and response. I believe, from my many years of experience, that I can continue to be an effective leader on issues not only critical to the Sierra Club, but to other organizations, with whom we will need to coordinate so as to maximize our support and success.

Right now there is a huge plan for 740 residential units in the Los Trampas foothills between San Ramon and Danville. The City of San Ramon ignored the protests from hundreds of locals, state agencies such as the Water Quality Control Board, and the Mount Diablo Group, representing the Sierra Club—and, incredibly, approved the full project.

The challenge to the environment, and for the Sierra Club, remain, however. The next step will be to coordinate forces to legally challenge a very destructive and flawed plan. The Mt. Diablo Group has—and with my leadership will continue to have—a key role in this fight, doing everything we can to make San Ramon pull back such a destructive plan.

Right now, there are delicate negotiations with the County to permanently protect the Tassajara Valley. I want the Mount Diablo Group to continue to support, and be involved with, these efforts. Long-term enforcement of the Urban Limit Line is also “on the line” in Tassajara Valley.

With your help, I will keep working toward a strong and coordinated environmental stance on whatever challenges come before our group.

 

Tamhas “Tom” Griffith

Tom Griffith

Residence: Martinez

Occupation: Communication and Program Associate, Global Community Monitor

Sierra Club member since: 1988

Activities: Co-founder, Martinez Environmental Group and Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition; member, Refinery Corridor Healing Walks organizing committee; member, Sunflower Alliance.

Statement: I am a committed environmental activist and spend most of my time involved in local environmental issues. I am running for this position because I care deeply for nature and want to participate in an even larger vision.

In December 2013, I co-founded the Martinez Environmental Group (MEG) to organize residents on environmental and refinery issues. MEG is working to pass a city resolution opposing fracked, explosive crude from coming through Martinez; we are collecting signatures, speaking at city council meetings, and writing columns in the Martinez News-Gazette about the dangers of crude-by-rail. We also work on conserving Alhambra Hills, which was land owned by John Muir and currently sited for development. MEG was a primary force in pushing our mayor to convene stakeholders to save the land.

Earlier this year, I participated in planning four Bay Area Refinery Corridor Healing Walks. Led by the Native American group Idle No More, these walks between Pittsburg, Martinez, Benicia, Rodeo, and Richmond educated hundreds of people about the refineries and brought us in touch with the land and waterways that have absorbed a century of fossil fuel pollution.

I have worked in a number of different technical fields and recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from CSUEB, with a focus on Natural Resource Management. I am certified as a UC California Naturalist, and interned at the John Muir site of the National Park Service, managing native plants on the park grounds. I am ethical, collaborative, and resourceful; I enjoy problem-solving and I am an advocate for diversity and fairness. I hope to bring all these resources and points of view to the Sierra Club leadership.

 

Jerry Cambra

Residence: Oakland

Sierra Club member since: 2009

No photograph or candidate statement submitted.

 

Doug Graver

Residence: San Ramon

Sierra Club member since: 2007

No photograph or candidate statement submitted.



Tri-Valley Group Executive Committee

Two candidates; vote for two or fewer.

NOTE: In this group there are fewer candidates than vacancies. To inquire about procedures to fill vacancies after the election, contact Tri-Valley Group Chair Janis Kate-Turner at (925)344-6150 or janiskate at gmail.com.


Dick Schneider

Dick Schneider

Residence: Oakland (member of Tri-Valley Group)

Occupation: environmental scientist, retired

Sierra Club member since: 1974

Activities: Executive Committee, Sierra Club Tri-Valley Group; Sierra Club representative, Altamont Landfill Open Space Committee; former Chapter Conservation Chair; former member, National Conservation Governance Committee.

Statement: I am running for Tri-Valley Group Executive Committee to continue protecting open space, habitat for endangered species, scenic beauty, and quality of life for Tri-Valley residents. I was appointed to the Group ExComm in 2013 to fill a vacancy and now seek election to continue serving.

For the past 15 years, I have been involved in many TriValley conservation campaigns. I was a leader of Alameda County Measure D in 2000, protecting 250,000 acres of East County land from excessive, badly located, and harmful development. I continue to make sure Measure D is faithfully implemented.

In 2002, I helped write and qualify the Protect Livermore’s Environment Initiative, which established an urban growth boundary for North Livermore. After its adoption, I worked in the 2005 campaign to defeat Pardee Homes’ plan to break the UGB and build a huge housing project in North Livermore.

Recently, I helped write and collect signatures for the Dublin Open Space Initiative of 2014 to protect Doolan Canyon from development. After the Dublin City Council unanimously adopted the initiative in June, I was part of the campaign to defeat Pacific Union’s counter-initiative, Measure T, which would break the new Dublin urban growth boundary.

I strongly support protecting Tesla Park from off-road vehicles by stopping expansion of Carnegie State Recreational Vehicle Area.

I try to maintain good working relationships with County supervisors and staff, County planning staff, Tri-Valley city councilmembers, and city staffs.

The Tri-Valley is a beautiful place with many natural qualities that deserve lasting protection. I would appreciate your vote to continue serving as a member of the Tri-Valley Group ExComm to help protect this area. Thank you.

 

Richard Pugh

Residence: Pleasanton

Sierra Club member since: 2007

No photograph or candidate statement submitted.

 

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