So jasonshellen is off to a really great start here...
My good sir, you have managed to blow LJ, Inc's decent first impression, peeve a large segment of the userbase, and earn the distrust of at least one of your volunteers (I speak for myself here).
LiveJournal users consider themselves more like shareholders than like mere users of a service. If a change is planned that will substantially affect the day-to-day working of the site, even if it is an area that you might not think that we would need to know about, we want advance notice and input whenever possible.
If you fear the reaction of the userbase to any given planned change, do not try to conceal the change or implement it without notice. This will make the reaction easily ten times worse when word does get out. If the userbase learns to expect that you hide things, people will actively look for problems before they occur, and will start reacting badly to the first sign of any change, and will over-analyze any change for the hidden disadvantage.
Listen to the advice of the people who know the userbase. They are one of your most valuable assets, and you ignore them at your peril.