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A 'Takeover' Timeline

Read a timeline detailing anti-immigration forces' recent attempts to alter the mission of the environmentalist Sierra Club.

1986 Anti-immigration maestro and U.S. English founder John Tanton writes private memos naming the Sierra Club as a potential target for immigration activists.

1988 Tanton's memos are leaked, and their bigoted language provokes executive director Linda Chavez and advisory board member Walter Cronkite to quit U.S. English.

1996 Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization (SUSPS) is formed by Ben Zuckerman, Alan Kuper and others to lobby the Club to support immigration restriction.

1998 SUSPS engineers a Club ballot proposition committing the Club to immigration restriction. The proposition fails, 60%-40%.

1999 SUSPS begins supporting candidates for the Club board. The first two — Alan Kuper and Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder — are defeated.

2001 A SUSPS-backed ballot proposition opposing urban sprawl, which SUSPS blames largely on immigration, is defeated.

April 2002 Zuckerman is elected to the board.

April 2003 SUSPS-supported candidates Watson and Doug LaFollette join Zuckerman on the board.

Oct. 21, 2003 Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok writes to Club President Larry Fahn warning of a "hostile takeover attempt" by anti-immigration forces.

Fall 2003 Tanton's hate group, The Social Contract Press, asks backers to join the Club to vote for board candidates concerned with "endless U.S. population growth."

Fall 2003 SUSPS announces support for five candidates in the 2004 board elections: Robert van de Hoek, Richard Lamm, Kim McCoy, Frank Morris and David Pimentel.

Jan. 14, 2004 Groundswell Sierra, a group within the Club opposing anti-immigration candidates, goes public.

Jan. 14, 2004 Southern Poverty Law Center co-founder Morris Dees announces he will run for the board, not to win but to urge Club voters to oppose an anti-immigration takeover.

Jan. 15, 2004 Ten former Club presidents write an open letter warning of an "organized effort" to take over the Club. Three other past presidents sign on later.

Late January 2004 Several more hate groups urge their members to join the Club by Jan. 31 to be eligible to vote for the 2004 board election.

Jan. 31, 2004 The period for new members to join in time to vote ends.

Feb. 9, 2004 Board candidates Lamm, Morris and Pimentel sue the Club, demanding "fake candidates" who do not really seek election be forced out.

Feb. 18, 2004 Lamm, Morris and Pimentel unexpectedly drop their lawsuit.

March 1, 2004 Mail-in board election ballots are sent out to all 700,000-plus Club members.

April 21, 2004 Results of the Club's board election are expected to be announced.