Dual Sierra Club Endorsement a Possibility in Oakland Mayoral Race By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday February 28, 2006

While the Sierra Club has endorsed Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel in the city’s mayoral race, a spokesperson for the organization said the group is also “in the process of considering an endorsement” of her rival, former Congressmember Ron Dellums, and a dual endorsement is a possibility. 

While there are several Sierra Club chapters in the area, the organization authorizes individual chapters to make political endorsements in the name of the entire organization. 

Nadel, Dellums, and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente are the top candidates running to replace outgoing Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown in the June 6 primary. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff in the November general election. 

Last week, Nadel’s campaign sent local media a press release on the Sierra Club’s endorsement of her mayoral candidacy, quoting the club’s Helen Burke as stating that “for over 20 years, Nancy Nadel has consistently been a leader on environmental issues. She’s one of the few elected officials in Oakland to work so hard for the environment.” 

In the press release, Nadel said that “as an Oakland city councilmember, I have worked on countless initiatives to make Oakland a cleaner, healthier city to live in. It’s important that the residents of Oakland know that they have a viable environmental choice for mayor. And that candidate is Nancy Nadel.” 

But Andy Katz, chair of the Northern Alameda County group of the Sierra Club, which includes Oakland, said this week that the Nadel endorsement “was done early, before Dellums entered the race.” 

He said that organization leaders were presently meeting on the issue, with an announcement expected the first of next week. 

While Katz said he would not comment on what the organization’s decision might be, he said that the Sierra Club “has done dual endorsements in the past.” 

Dellums regularly received high marks from environmental organizations during the years he served in Congress. 

In 1996 for example, the last year Dellums ran for Congress, a Sierra Magazine feature entitled “Who are you most looking forward to voting for in November?” quoted Sierra Club member Judith Kunofsky as saying, “Representative Ron Dellums. He is committed to the environment, with a League of Conservation Voters score that is invariably 100 percent. On almost all other issues, he holds views identical to mine as well. ... [I]t is nice to be able to cast one vote with no reservations whatsoever.”›