Who’s voting YES on the critical Pacifica bylaws change, and why

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Vote YES on new Pacifica bylaws to save our stations!

If you did not receive a ballot, you have until Thursday, March 19 to request a replacement here. Have you learned more and want to change your vote? You can have your ballot “reset” (once only) until March 19 for e-ballots. Fill out this form and explain in the last box that you want to change your vote. DEADLINE for receipt of all ballots (paper and email) is Thursday, March 19

LISTEN to this KPFA News story about the bylaws vote

 

Join these endorsers to vote YES for Pacifica’s future

Over a thousand listeners and staff are urging a YES vote on the Pacifica bylaws change, including Brian Edwards-Tiekert & Cat Brooks, co-hosts of KPFA’s Upfront | William (Bill) Fletcher, Jr., host of WBAI’s Arise! | Larry Bensky, former national Pacifica correspondent | Mitch Jeserich & Diana Martinez, KPFA’s Letters & Politics | Kris Welch, host of KPFA’s Living Room | Sonali Kolhatkhar, KPFK’s Rising Up with Sonali | Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, activist/author | Ian Masters, KPFK’s Background Briefing | Mimi Kennedy, actress/activist | Matthew Lasar, Pacifica historian, author of Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network | Sasha Lilley, KPFA’s Against the Grain | Roy Tuckman, host of KPFK’s Something’s Happening | Aileen Alfandary, KPFA News co-director | Peter Franck, past president, Pacifica Foundation (1980-1984) | Corinne Smith, KPFA’s Upfront | James & Coleen Nagel, KPFT’s Howlin the Blues | Philip Maldari, KPFA’s Sunday Show | Bonnie Simmons, KPFA music programmer | Mark Maxwell, host of KPFK’s RISE | Nuri Nuri, host of KPFT’s Blues Brunch | Carol Spooner, former PNB member (2002-2004) | Reyna Cowen, KPFA film interviewer | Richard Wolinsky, KPFA’s Bookwaves | Dwayne Bradley, KPFT staff | Don Goldmacher, film producer | Bob Baldock, KPFA staff, and many others | SEE ALL ENDORSERS and add your own name

The future of Pacifica depends on you

Pacifica’s five stations – KPFA, KPFK, WPFW, KPFT and WBAI – are a critical resource for progressives, but its dysfunctional national governance has brought the network close to financial collapse. The Pacifica National Board has mortgaged the buildings of KPFA, KPFK, KPFT and the historically significant Pacifica National Archives as loan collateral for $3.25 million in debts accrued by WBAI. The board does not have a plan to pay this loan off, which comes due in 2021. READ MORE on what the problems are and why we need new bylaws from Rethinking Pacifica.

Why should you vote YES on the bylaws change?

Brian Edwards-Tiekert, co-host of KPFA’s Upfront: “I served 10 years as a worker representative on boards for KPFA and Pacifica, and am 100% certain about one thing: the current byzantine, factionalized board structure is killing this organization. A YES vote represents a chance to pull Pacifica our of its nosedive.” READ BRIAN’s OPEN LETTER

William (Bill) Fletcher, Jr., writer/activist, host of WBAI’s Arise!: Pacifica is in a terminal crisis. Let’s face it truthfully and without the rhetoric…Pacifica needs a new business model if it is to survive and play its crucial role.”

Fourteen members of KPFA’s Local Station Board write open letter urging a YES vote VOTE YES: “We are concerned that the Pacifica network and KPFA are threatened by mismanagement by the Pacifica National Board” write 14 members of the local board. “PNB dysfunction put KPFA’s building at risk for auction for unpaid taxes because Pacifica officers failed to take action to clean up the paperwork” after two corporate name changes.” It is time for change: READ THEIR OPEN LETTER

We, the members, are the guardians of KPFA and all Pacifica stations
“Our stations could be powerful and influential at a critical time,” writes RethinkingPacifica.org, the group of members who are proposing the changes, but “Pacifica is too dysfunctional to rise to the challenge.” A new board and bylaws can get the network back to health and back on track for the progressive community. Be aware there have been many false allegations from opponents (more here). VOTE YES!

YOUR BALLOT must be received by March 19 at 11:59 p.m. EST. If you didn’t get a ballot or misplaced it, request another ballot here. You can also change your vote by filling out the same form and noting that you want to change it in the form’s last field — your ballot can be “reset” only once. VOTE YES!

Please circulate and share this message broadly with your friends in all the listening areas: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, DC and New York City. This is a nationwide-effort to get out the vote.

QUESTIONS? email us at votesavekpfa@gmail.com | visit us at savekpfa.org | join us at Facebook.com/SaveKPFA

It’s not too late! You can still vote in the KPFA election…

This year, KPFA ballots have to make their way to a central counting facility in New York by December 11. If you haven’t yet mailed your ballot, your only option at this point is overnight it to the collection facility so it arrives 12/11. [UPDATE: results are due this week, and we’ll post ’em as soon as we get them!]

Here are the 9 SaveKPFA candidates: Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Carole Travis, Craig Alderson, Paula Erkkila, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Barbara Whipperman, Burton White and Dan Siegel. Please vote for all 9 , ranking them from 1 to 9, or if you’d rather not rank them, give a “1.”

SaveKPFA‘s endorsers include KPFA stalwarts like Mitch Jeserich, Aileen Alfandary, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Sasha Lilley, and John Hamilton; as well as incredible community leaders like Rashidah Grinage, Sal Roselli, Raj Patel, Carlos Munoz, Jr., and Al Young. See the full list of endorsers here.

sasha_lilley_and_noam_chomsky
KPFA's Sasha Lilley with Noam Chomsky

Need a little inspiration? Sasha Lilly, co-host of KPFA’s Against the Grain, and co-author of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, endorses SaveKPFA. “While Pacifica’s governance system is clearly broken,” Lilley says, “it’s still important that people vote in this election — and vote SaveKPFA. If you think that Pacifica should not call the shots at KPFA, and if you support the work of skilled reporters and broadcasters — paid and unpaid — then please vote for all the candidates on the SaveKPFA slate.”

SaveKPFA‘s candidates are campaigning to support KPFA’s workers, deliver strong programming, grow KPFA, and defend the local control and network accountability we need to make those things happen. | READ What We Stand For

Incumbents from the opposing slate have made very clear where they stand: they backed Pacifica’s top-down purge of KPFA’s Morning Show, counter-demonstrated at union pickets, made excuses for Pacifica’s decision to hire Jackson Lewis (which the AFL-CIO calls “the nation’s #1 union-busting law firm”) and as recently as this summer, they pushed for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary layoffs at KPFA — even as the station was running a surplus. For more on the stakes, read this detailed endorsement essay by Brian Edwards-Tiekert.

Elections at KPFA are generally low-turnout affairs that are decided by relatively small margins. Every vote makes a big difference, so tell any KPFA members you know to look for their ballots and vote for the 9 SaveKPFA candidates. You can also forward this election flyer (PDF) and/or election postcard (JPG) to friends, and urge them to vote. Or ask friends to visit www.SaveKPFA.org or call us at (510) 969-9373 to learn more.

Why I’m Supporting SaveKPFA in KPFA’s Board Election

Brian Edwards-Tiekert speaking with listeners

By Brian Edwards-Tiekert

This month, KPFA is going through what will probably prove to be one of the most important elections of its 10-year experiment with democracy. I’m supporting the candidates listed at www.savekpfa.org, along with many other endorsers, because what’s at stake is the survival of KPFA as we know it.

Right now, KPFA is slowly recovering from a near-mortal blow. When Pacifica purged The Morning Show two years ago, it removed KPFA’s biggest fundraiser from the air. To compensate, the station had to increase the amount of days it spends in fund drives by 30%–a sure recipe for dropping listenership and diminishing pledge totals.

Then, Pacifica racked up hundreds of thousands in legal fees—some from the country’s most notoriously anti-union law firm, Jackson Lewis—and stuck KPFA with most of the bills.

Thanks to heroic fundraising efforts by KPFA’s staff, the generosity of KPFA listeners who kept donating, some of them under protest, and to a fortuitous bequest gift, we’ve made it this far—barely.

And, against the odds, we’ve started to re-build.

Thanks to our union, several of us won reinstatement after Pacifica’s purge. With support from local management, we launched UpFront—KPFA’s new 7:AM program. Since day one, we’ve been the station’s top fundraiser—and thanks to the boost in morning fundraising, KPFA’s fund drives are now raising more money per day, and ending sooner. Meanwhile:

  • ·A SaveKPFA campaign forced Pacifica to ditch Jackson Lewis—which should prevent further inflated legal bills.
  • ·Another SaveKPFA campaign fended off a move by Pacifica management to impose another disastrous round of cuts on KPFA.
  • ·Now, the Pacifica National Board has apparently seen the light—they decided to let go of the two executives who carried out the Morning Show purge in the first place.

KPFA is still extremely fragile, but we are headed in the right direction. And that is largely thanks to the fact that we’ve had SaveKPFA boardmembers supporting us every step of the way.

The dividing line on KPFA’s board is this: austerity vs. growth.

On the growth side: SaveKPFA thinks the way to build KPFA is by building great programs that attract large audiences so there are more people to give come pledge drive. We already know what success looks like: KPFA’s two newest daily programs, Letters and Politics and UpFront, are also its two largest fundraisers, bringing in far more than they cost to produce. Together, those two hours account for over a third of KPFA’s fundraising. Building on those successes with more cutting-edge programming is the key to strengthening KPFA.

As for austerity: this year, its champions are calling themselves “United for Community Radio.” Of course, they never use the word “austerity” – but rest assured, when you hear them call for “financial responsibility” and “supporting unpaid staff”, it translates to firing KPFA’s unionized programmers and parceling out the airtime to their allies. Some of them are philosophically opposed to paying people to produce daily shows–they’d rather KPFA sound like a volunteer-run local-access cable station. Others have axes to grind with specific programmers on KPFA’s payroll, and use the station’s finances as a pretext – which is how The Morning Show got targeted, despite the fact that it was the station’s biggest fundraiser.

Their incumbents have had two years to prove exactly what they stand for. When our union protested impending cuts, they came to counter-protest. When Pacifica fired the entire staff of The Morning Show, they supported it (at least one of them, it turned out, had been pushing behind closed doors to have Pacifica cut us).  When Pacifica hired the nation’s most notorious union-busting law firm to fight us, they publicly defended it. When KPFA’s local management proposed a balanced, no-cuts budget, they boycotted a meeting to block its passage – even though KPFA was running a surplus.

Does that mean everyone running on their ticket supports more of the same? Not necessarily. There are a lot of new faces in the election this year, and they don’t all necessarily understand what they’ve signed up for. But the first thing they’ll do once they’re on KPFA’s Local Board is vote to send their slate-mates to the Pacifica National Board, where the real power lies. And those slate-mates will make their worst decisions behind closed doors in Executive Session meetings, where there’s very little accountability.

Again, the record speaks for itself: For four years, the “United for Community Radio” (UCR, ICR) precursor slates have been in a majority coalition on the Pacifica National Board. They, and the executives they’ve installed, have left Pacifica a hollowed-out wreck: with millions in unpaid bills, corporate law firms baying at the door, a finance office now incapable of handling even simple payroll transactions, workers’ own contributions to their retirement accounts undeposited (for several months now), donor checks meant for KPFA intercepted and kept away from the station for months.

Now is the chance to turn things around: Next year’s boards will choose a new manager and program director for KPFA, as well as a new Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for Pacifica. It’s a chance to put the entire Pacifica network on the right track – if SaveKPFA scores a solid win.

KPFA elections have low turnout, and tend to be decided by relatively small margins, which means every vote counts a lot. Please spread the word to KPFA members to vote for the candidates listed at savekpfa.org. And if you’re a voter yourself, return your ballot now so you don’t forget.

For the first election ever, Pacifica is not allowing any in-person ballot drop-offs—you have to mail your ballot.  That ballot has to arrive at the ballot-counting location in New York by December 11. It will be competing with holiday mail traffic to get there, so send it now.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert is co-host of KPFA’s UpFront, which airs weekday mornings at 7:AM. He’s served two terms as a worker-elected representative on the KPFA Local Station Board. [This essay originally appeared in Fog City Journal.]