freA warm thank you and a year’s reflection from TURN executive director Mark Toney.
Letter From Our Executive Director—Spring 2009
Dear TURN Family,
My first year at TURN has been incredible! I really appreciate the welcome and support I’ve received from the entire TURN community as we continue to rack up consumer savings and bring TURN’s agenda to a wider audience.
I want to take this opportunity to thank some of the TURN members, supporters and staff who have contributed to our many victories for California consumers in the little over a year since I started at the beginning of 2008.
TURN Partners, Thank You!
Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches
Special thanks to youth organizer, Minister L.B. Tatum, and executive director, Cheryl Branch, for mobilizing over 400 people to attend public hearings. Their activism helped win a ruling that defeated the utilities’ attempt to shift $100 million of the annual costs for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) low-income assistance program from big corporate customers to small residential ones.
Special thanks to Casey McFall of the Campaign for Social Justice in Los Angeles and Sally Alvarado of Lighthouse Services in San Bernardino for mobilizing two dozen organizations to win improvements to the LifeLine phone program.
Environmental Justice Organizations
Special thanks to Angela Johnson Meszaros of California Environmental Rights Alliance and Bill Gallegos of Communities for a Better Environment for making a commitment to include consumer cost protections in their campaign to expand renewable energy.
Special thanks to executive director Orson Aguilar and managing attorney Samuel Kang for working to strengthen their partnership with TURN to protect low-income families and communities of color.
TURN Members, Thank You!
San Diego Area
Special thanks to Peter Manes for alerting TURN to the need to improve its timely acknowledgment of gifts and for exercising patience and understanding as we introduce new systems to improve membership services.
Special thanks to Malik Muhammed and Kingman Khan, loyal members who not only volunteer for events at the Capitol but travel 100 miles to San Francisco to attend TURN hearings and events.
California and Beyond
Special thanks to each and every one of the 20,000 members who supported TURN in the past year by writing letters, sending in postcards, signing petitions, sending emails, attending meetings, and making a gift.
TURN Staff, Thank You!
Suspending AT&T Contract
Special thanks to TURN’s telecom team (Bill Nusbaum, Christine Mailloux and Regina Costa) and communications team (Mindy Spatt and Brianna Chesser) for mobilizing over 2,000 people to send emails, letters, and speak out in person. We created enough pressure to force AT&T to suspend their disagreeable Customer Service Service Agreement, which imposed mandatory arbitration and other unfair terms, thus preserving the rights of millions of telephone customers to legal redress as well as basic consumer disclosures.
Saving Consumers Over $800 Million in Energy Bills
Special thanks to TURN’s energy team (Bob Finkelstein, Mike Florio, Hayley Goodson, Nina Suetake, Marcel Hawiger and Matt Freedman) for winning $145 million in customer refunds from Edison, stopping a $600 million proposal for an unnecessary and unfair Climate Change Institute, and slashing unjustified utility bonuses for energy efficiency by $70 million.
Advocating for Consumers Special thanks to TURN’s organizing team (Ana Montes, Rochelle Robinson and Dwight Cocke) for responding to 1,000 emails, phone calls, and letters to the Consumer Hotline, and for assisting consumers in resolving billing problems, shut-offs, and customer complaints in addition to organizing hundreds of people to attend and testify at public meetings.
Keeping the Wheels TURNing
Special thanks to finance and operations director Richard Perez for managing books and personnel, development director Kristin Jeffries for cultivating relations with donors and foundations, executive and development assistant Serrita Teer for managing my schedule and planning events, and administrative assistant Larry Wong for filing legal briefs and handling the switchboard.