Out of the dead of night with no recent board debate or member input, newly elected PEC Director Paul Graff has prepared a resolution which, if passed TOMORROW, will enable qualified candidates for the PEC board to acquire the names and addresses of PEC members who voted in recent elections. This resolution, peddled as seemingly innocent, is nothing more than a sellout to high powered political operatives and special interests chomping at the bit to buy PEC board seats for pennies on the dollar.
If this resolution passes, it will mark a turning point in the history of PEC and a retreat for the hard-earned reforms fought for by PEC member-owners.
If passed, candidates in future elections will not need to bother campaigning at large or within their districts for votes. All they’ll need to do is secure the 20,000 names of the voting members and target just them with direct mail. (Over 200,000 of our members choose not to vote for one reason or another). Direct mail and other marketing tools will be used not only to extol a candidate’s virtues but to smear their opponents.
The same filthy money-slime that permeates American politics today, with control going to those with the deepest pockets, is about to arrive at PEC. Forget the quaint notion that any member can run for a board seat. In the future, only those with ACCESS to deep pocket influence peddlers (customer choice interests, private vendors who seek to do business with PEC, oil, coal & gas or, renewable energy interests…the list is endless) will have a chance.
When members truly understand the ramifications about what may happen, they’ll be outraged. At a minimum, this matter should have a full public hearing and a directive to send it to a member referendum for a vote.
Here is that resolution which is coming before the board TOMORROW, January 19, 2016:
Proposed Amendment to PEC Elections Policy & Procedures Relating to Voter History Information (Add new Section 7.12.1) Candidates Access to Voting History. After a Candidate has been duly qualified and approved to be listed on the ballot, the Candidate may request and be provided a Voter History List that contains only the names and mailing addresses of Members who voted in the election immediately preceding the current Election (i.e., email address and/or telephone number and other personal information is not to be provided). The Voter History List shall not contain any information that could indicate or otherwise reveal any selections made by the Member in the election (for example, for whom the Member voted or how the Member voted on any question). To obtain the Voter History List, a Candidate must request this information by contacting the PEC Election Liaison. The candidate must affirm in a sworn, notarized affidavit to use the list only as directly related to the PEC Board of Directors election and for no other purpose.
Passage of this resolution would constitute an invasion of privacy to our members (do our members really want their names identified as having voted in their cooperative’s elections? Do our member-voters really want to be targeted and inundated by marketers hired by candidates seeking a seat on the PEC board? Do our members wish to see board seats bought and paid for “on the cheap” by outside political interests ? Do members who choose not to vote wish for all time to be ignored and invisible to candidates running for board seats?
Director Graff is apparently doing the bidding of the Board President who attempted to pass a similar resolution a year ago and lost. Now in the driver’s seat and determined to show who’s boss, Oakley has apparently enlisted Graff to carry the water this time. It is Graff who will now own this loser.
I hope that board members are not so cynical. I am always hopeful that reason will prevail and that good people will do the right thing–that a profile in courage will emerge. In this case the right thing for the Board is to protect the members they were elected to serve and to keep the PEC board as far away from conventional politics as they can.