During election season one of the most confusing things to be has almost always been the local Sierra Club endorsement process. There’s always something behind the scenes drama where the local folks can always dictate who to support and then get approval from the larger regional organization. Unless someone steps in and says, “wait a minute, these folks don’t really espouse the ideals of the Sierra Club” typically it’s a rubber stamp through the process which, often times, renders the candidate and the positions taken by the local Sierra Club to be a lot less progressive that the national Sierra Club.
Apparently the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation (SF BARF) is going to be the first housing advocacy group to make the change from inside the Sierra Club, from the SF Business Times:
As election season approaches, a pro-density housing group is trying to stage a coup at the Sierra Club, with accusations that the environmental group is blocking high-density housing and abandoning its mission of protecting the environment.
The San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation, which has also threatened lawsuits to increase housing production, is trying to get five pro-density candidates elected to the Sierra Club’s San Francisco group executive committee, which is one of eight groups in the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.
SFBARF believes that blocking dense housing near transit encourages sprawl, which the group says is harmful to the environment. Sonja Trauss, founder of SFBARF, began organizing the election effort on the group’s mailing list and on social media. She urged SFBARF members to join the Sierra Club by paying its $15 annual dues and vote in the election.
“They’re supposed to be promoting compact, walkable communities,” said Trauss.
“The Sierra Club, which is an international organization, has a clear policy to support infill development,” said Matt Vander Sluis, Greenbelt Alliance’s program director. “The local groups make their own decisions. There have been times when local chapters take positions that aren’t in line.”
Vander Sluis said the Greenbelt Alliance had no position on SFBARF’s political move, but said while housing production was needed, it had to include supply for the poor.
Should be fun to see how SF BARF fares in their campaign to take over the San Francisco Sierra Club chapter.