October 21, 2014

Chapter gets behind “Raise the Wage” campaigns

A Whole Foods worker goes on strike. Photo via Flickr.com/ari.

A Whole Foods worker goes on strike. Photo via Flickr.com/ari.

This year, the Bay Chapter took the historic step of supporting local campaigns to raise the minimum wage in several of its member cities. Bolstered by President Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage, recent attempts by state legislators to do the same in California, and the successes of  “Raise the Wage” campaigns in San Francisco and San Jose, a broad coalition has emerged around this issue in the East Bay. Many leaders within the Sierra Club have supported “Raise the Wage” campaigns in Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland, writing letters to and speaking in front of city councils and participating in strategy meetings. A strategy meeting hosted by the Bay Chapter earlier this summer drew nearly forty representatives from labor, communities of faith, and progressive organizations.

In June, the Chapter Executive Committee voted to support all campaigns to increase the minimum wage within its member jurisdictions. This decision is in line with the Club’s commitment to sustainable communities and the goal of curbing carbon pollution, because when workers can afford to live in or near the cities where they work there is an aggregate reduction of sprawl and greenhouse-gas emissions. The ExComm decision also demonstrates solidarity with workers and other organizations that support this important issue, such as the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Bend the Arc, and Tax the Rich.

Although “Raise the Wage” campaigns in the East Bay called for a minimum wage of $15/hour, the city councils of both Richmond and Berkeley ultimately passed watered-down resolutions featuring more modest wage increases and a number of exemptions. This suggests that placing an initiative directly before the voters may be a more effective way to raise the wage. In Oakland, the Sierra Club recently signed on to a November ballot initiative supported by coalition partners that raises the wage from $9 to $12.25/hour. Meanwhile, a business-aligned coalition is currently lobbying the Oakland City Council to place a competing measure on the ballot that would phase in minimum wage increases over three years and exempt certain employers.

As strategy discussions continue around the Oakland campaign and next steps for Richmond and Berkeley, we welcome participation from Sierra Club members. To get involved, contact Bay Chapter Vice Chair Igor Tregub at itregub at gmail.com.

—Igor Tregub, SF Bay Chapter Vice Chair

New editor for Yodeler

Yodeler banner small copyThe June-July issue is the final issue of the Yodeler to be edited by retiring editor Don Forman. The Chapter’s new communications manager, Virginia Reinhart, will be the new editor. She will be on the job starting May 28.

Yodeler seeks classified-ad manager

Yodeler banner small copyThe Yodeler seeks a new classified-ad manager. (The classifieds are among the Yodeler features that do not appear in our electronic version.) This volunteer contacts past advertisers to remind them to renew ads, and handles ad paperwork and data entry. The job requires less than an hour every other month, but is much appreciated because it relieves the editor of a detail-oriented task at the busiest time of the production cycle. To volunteer, contact new editor Virginia Reinhart at yodedit@sfbaysc.org or (510)848-0800.

A committee for folks who care about all the Sierra Club’s issues

400x400_sc-logoThursday, June 5, 6:30 pm, Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley.

By Arthur Feinstein, chair, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Conservation Committee

Is climate change getting you down?

Do you occasionally think that the largest mass extinction of species since the dinosaurs might be a problem?

Are you frustrated with local policies that ignore nature and let our natural areas disappear under developers’ backhoes?

Or maybe you’re sad that salmon populations are disappearing in order to provide water for cotton and alfalfa?

Are you frustrated because you don’t know how to make your voice heard and how to influence these fateful decisions?

The Conservation Committee is being reorganized to help folks like you become effective advocates for the environment.

We will talk about how to be an effective advocate:

  • how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media tools;
  • when and how to write e-mails, letters, etc. to influence decision-makers;
  • how to speak effectively at hearings and meetings–what makes an effective presentation in your allotted 2 – 3 minutes;
  • how to best use the few hours a month you may have available for preserving our world.

We’ll invite experts to brief us on major environmental issues and discuss the tools we have to influence decisions. For example, we’ll learn about:

  • the California Environmental Quality Act–what is it? How is it a tool to help preserve our environment? How do we use it?
  • the agencies that are supposed to protect our environment, such as the state and regional water and air boards and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission;
  • local agencies and zoning laws that that truly decide the fate of our communities;
  • federal and state laws on endangered species and other wildlife.

Of course, the Conservation Committee will also address specific conservation issues as they arise, and as members of the Committee you will help choose those issues. The Chapter has many issue-specific conservation committees such as the Energy, Water, Zero Waste, Transportation, and East Bay Public Lands Committees. But it is up to the Conservation Committee to address conservation issues that fall outside the purview of those issue-specific committees; for example, we may want to work to save threatened wetlands or work on sea-level rise issues.

The world is a scary place as its natural functions are being altered at a frightening pace. But everyday people have made a difference in the past and we can do it again. We just need to decide what we want to do and figure out how to do it. Join us to keep the Bay Area a healthy thriving environment and maybe even to set a model for others.

Come to our first meeting on Thu., June 5. At that meeting we will discuss future meeting dates and look for those that work best for everyone. If the first Thursday of the month doesn’t work for you, let me know at (415)282-5937 or arthurfeinstein@earthlink.net, so that we can find the best repeatable date.

Uncle Muir wants you–to fill Executive Committee vacancies right now, or run in fall elections

339x250_chapter-election-art-kristen-schlottThe Bay Chapter needs candidates to run in this fall’s elections for the Executive Committees (ExComms) of the Chapter and its eight groups–and to fill current vacancies on the Chapter, Marin, Northern Alameda, and TriValley Group ExComms. We also need volunteers to serve on the Chapter Nominations and Elections Committee to help recruit candidates and administer the elections.

Congratulations! As a member of the Sierra Club, you’re part of the largest volunteer-driven environmental organization in the country. If you’re one of our active members—or want to be—with a passion to explore, enjoy, and protect our planet, please consider becoming part of the Chapter’s core leadership team.

The Chapter Executive Committee is the Chapter’s board of directors–responsible for overseeing the management and financial sustainability of our Chapter, setting the Chapter’s policy/advocacy directions, and assuring a structure that supports the development and success of our grassroots leaders. The Chapter ExComm meets the second Monday evening of each month. With preparation and follow-up, members typically spend 10 hours per month on this. In addition, ExComm members have subcommittee assignments or additional leadership roles that take varying amounts of time.

Group ExComms have similar kinds of responsibilities, though for smaller groups these typically take less time.

The Nominations and Elections Committee is seeking candidates to run for election this November for a two-year term beginning in January 2014. The ideal candidate should have the ability to look at the big picture, take initiative, and make decisions. Some of the relevant skill areas for an ExComm member (no one member has all of these) include management, budgeting/finance, grassroots organizing, fundraising, knowledge of specific issues, volunteer organizing, leadership development, publishing, knowledge of community interests or concerns, local politics, environmental law, ethnic diversity, computer or internet knowledge, and social media.

If this describes you (or someone you know), consider applying (or recommending someone).

To apply for current vacancies, contact:

Chapter ExComm (one vacancy)
Igor Tregub

Marin Group ExComm (one vacancy)
Michele Barni

Northern Alameda County Group ExComm (one vacancy)
Olga Bolotina

TriValley Group ExComm (two vacancies)
Janis Kate-Turner

To serve on the Chapter Nominations and Elections Committee, to run in the fall elections, or for more information, contact committee chair Elizabeth Lam at lamyuting@gmail.com or (206)225-8232.

Join in 2014 anniversary celebrations

At trailhead for Arrowhead Canyon wilderness service day. Photo by Jose Witt, Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

At trailhead for Arrowhead Canyon wilderness service day. Photo by Jose Witt, Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

This year of 2014 marks two special anniversaries–the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and the 90th of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter.

Readers of the Yodeler already know a lot about the Bay Chapter and its ongoing work for the Bay Area environment. Less conspicuous in the paper in recent years, but no less dear to the Sierra Club’s heart, is our work for wilderness and wildlands in general.

When the Chapter was first founded, our focus was primarily in defense of wild places all around California and the nation. Over the decades we have added many local concerns such as stopping pollution and changing development and transportation patterns. In the last 15 years, energy and climate change have risen in prominence. But during all these years our Chapter Wilderness Committee has steadfastly kept the Chapter anchored in our original wilderness tradition.

So when the Wilderness Act was proposed, in the 1950s and early ’60s, the Chapter was there working for it, and we joined in the celebration when Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed it in 1964, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System, which today includes over 750 areas totaling nearly 110 million acres within our national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. We were there in the following campaign that led to the California Wilderness Act in 1984. We campaigned for many years for the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Our efforts have not been just for California: we campaigned actively for wilderness in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, and we continue to work for smaller wilderness bills all over the nation and for other types of protection for the nation’s varied wildlands.

All of these bills establish federal wilderness areas, lands given the nation’s highest level of protection for public lands, where, in the words of the Wilderness Act, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

We’re also celebrating new successes: on March 4, ending a five-year hiatus, Congress designated a new wilderness area: over 32,500 acres in Michigan’s beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. And on March 11 Pres. Obama added the Stornetta Public Lands along the Garcia River near Point Arena to the California Coastal National Monument (see http://theyodeler.org/?p=9196.

So help celebrate!


A coalition of some 30 non-governmental organizations and federal agencies, known as “Wilderness50”, is organizing a diverse array of events across the country to highlight wilderness. A key goal is to promote wilderness to a broader public, inspiring more Americans—especially young people and communities of color—to experience wilderness themselves and in time to join in protecting our remaining natural places from development. Learn more about the anniversary at www.wilderness50th.org and www.facebook.com/50thAnniversaryOfTheWildernessAct.

To volunteer here in the Bay Area, contact Anne Henny at anneth16@sbcglobal.net or Vicky Hoover at (415)977-5527.

The Bay Chapter too is organizing a series of events for its 90th anniversary. To help, contact Joanne Drabek at (510)530-5216 or joanne1892@gmail.com.

For word of the events as they are scheduled, see future Yodelers and the Chapter Calendar at http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/activities.

Ann Henny

Vote in national Sierra Club elections

Vote in Sierra Club elections!

The national Sierra Club ballot will be sent out in early March to eligible voters. It will include information on the candidates and on finding additional information on the Club’s web site.

The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation.

Learn more about candidates by asking questions of your group and chapter leadership and other experienced members, and by visiting the Club’s election web site.

Ballots are due Wed., April 16.

Bay Chapter seeks communications manager

400x400_sc-logoThe Bay Chapter is looking for a unique individual with a blend of writing/editing/publishing, online-marketing, and website-management skills to be our Chapter Communications Manager. Experience with HTML is a must, and a background in Drupal would be a strong plus. Expert-level written English skills and a strong eye for editorial detail are must-haves in this position; for full details and application instructions, see: https://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=SIERRACLUB&cws=1&rid=384

We’re hiring a volunteer coordinator

400x400_sc-logoDoes hiking, planting trees,and helping people engage in the environmental movement sound like the ideal job for you?  
Do you have the organizational skills to coordinate people and the personality to make it fun?
If so, consider a part-time job with the local Sierra Club. We are looking for a volunteer coordinator to:
  1. work with coalition groups and chapter leaders to develop outreach programs and volunteer opportunities;
  2. maintain a database of volunteer information;
  3. assist with the operations of the Chapter Office and volunteers;
  4. write items for the newsletter and flyers;
  5. train, supervise and schedule volunteers.
 To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to michelle.myers@sierraclub.org.
Title:              Volunteer Coordinator

Reports To:     Chapter Chair or Chapter Director

Context:            Organizes and implements a volunteer development program.

Scope:              The Volunteer Coordinator works with Chapter leaders and staff to develop and implement programs for volunteer identification and training to support various chapter activities, outings programs and office functions.

Job Activities:

1.  Works with groups and chapter leaders to develop outreach programs to identify and recruit potential volunteers, match volunteers to their areas of interest, and increase volunteer participation.

2. Maintains volunteer database and lists of volunteer openings and refers interested members to appropriate chapter committees and leaders.

3.     Assists with the operations of the chapter office, implementing office procedures and membership services.

4.     Writes newsletters and flyers to keep the Club membership and the general public informed.

5.     Trains, supervises and schedules volunteers on office systems and functions.

6.     Coordinates with coalition partners and outside interest groups to plan volunteer activities supporting the Club’s campaign objectives.

7.       Provides clerical and administrative support to Chapter Chair and/or Chapter Director.

8.       Performs miscellaneous duties as directed.

Knowledge & Skills:

‑‑ Strong written and oral communication skills.  Demonstrated public speaking ability.

–Ability to work effectively with a diverse group of organizations and volunteers.

– Ability and willingness to be trained as an Outings leader a plus.

–1 year general office experience.

–Valid driver’s license required.

  • Flexible work hours, with some evenings and weekends required.


National Sierra Club election coming in spring


The annual election for the Club’s national Board of Directors will soon be under way. In March ballots will be mailed to eligible voters (or sent by Internet to those who have chosen electronic delivery). This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club’s web site.

The Sierra Club is democratically structured at all levels.  Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is a privilege and a responsibility of membership.