SIGN THE PETITION HERE In our last newsletter we pointed out that, when Tracy Rosenberg used a lawsuit to scuttle the count of recall ballots, her own court filings argued that it would cost KPFA very little money to fix the recall’s procedural problems by sending out a new ballot in the same envelope as the general election ballots due to be mailed on November 6.
Here’s what Rosenberg’s legal filing says: “It is understood that that PACIFICA has incurred expenses in conducting the present recall….However, the cost to Pacifica of a new election can be mitigated since it is about to begin a general election, and it is possible that a recall election can be conducted in tandem therewith, thereby avoiding some duplication in cost.”
We also predicted that, having won an injunction from the court, Rosenberg would make a 180-degree turn and try to prevent KPFA from doing just that — conducting a quick, cheap re-vote by stuffing an extra piece of paper in each ballot package.
True to form, Rosenberg delivered, arguing during the last meeting of KPFA’s Local Station Board that it would be too expensive to include a re-done recall ballot on November 6. (You can listen to the October 6 meeting here: part a, part b, part c, part d, part e. The recall discussion occurs in part d.) And she wonders why KPFA listeners want her out of Pacifica?
It’s time for listeners to once again speak up.TAKE A MOMENT TO SIGNTHIS PETITION, asking Pacifica’s election supervisors and national board allow all KPFA listeners to have a vote on the recall as part of this fall’s general election.
And after you’ve done that, please help us spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to friends who may be KPFA listeners. Thank you!
An Alameda County judge has granted Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg‘s request to block any counting of the thousands of ballots in the recall election against her cast by KPFA members this summer.
The election was triggered after more than 800 KPFA listeners who signed petitions seeking Rosenberg’s removal from the Pacifica National Board over her role in killing the Morning Show, misappropriating members’ email addresses, and other abuses. At the time, the Morning Show was the most listened-to program produced at KPFA, and the station’s biggest fundraiser.
Rosenberg delays vote, then sues over delay
Shortly before the ballot count was to take place, Rosenberg filed suit against Pacifica, whose national office she effectively ran by proxy during the tenure of the soon-to-depart executive director Arlene Engelhardt. Rosenberg’s suit said there was an illegal delay between the cutoff date for voting eligibility and the date ballots actually hit the mail.
Pacifica’s filings did not dispute the fact that its conduct of the recall election against her had broken the law — instead, it argued that Rosenberg used her position on the Pacifica National Board to contribute to the delay of sending out recall ballots, and that she knew about the deadlines being used for the election, but waited until the last possible moment to file suit over them.
Pacifica offered to correct its violation by sending out additional ballots to people who would have been eligible to vote if not for the early cutoff — but Rosenberg’s attorney rejected that proposal. That’s not the conduct of someone who wants to fix an election — it’s the conduct of someone who fears she’s lost the vote, and wants to keep it from being counted.
The judge’s decision does not bar Pacifica from sending out new recall ballots, as long as it uses a new eligibility date. Rosenberg’s own court filings suggested Pacifica could save money by mailing out new ballots in the same package as the general election mailing set to go out in early November. Now that the path is actually cleared to do so, look for Rosenberg to reverse course and try to block or delay the recall, again.
Meanwhile, Rosenberg is currently using her position as Pacifica’s treasurer to try to impose harsh austerity on KPFA. She scuttled a no-cuts budget drafted by KPFA’s local management, and approved by KPFA’s elected Local Station Board (this was after she and her allies walked out of the local board meeting scheduled to discuss the budget.) Despite the fact that KPFA’s currently running a surplus, Rosenberg led the charge to impose line-by-line cuts, including staff cuts, on KPFA. Her legal challenges may have bought her enough time to see that process through to whatever end she has in mind. Rosenberg and her allies have renamed their “Independents for Community Radio” slate as “United for Community Radio” for the 2012 KPFA elections.
The big picture: democracy when?
Rosenberg’s success at delaying her own recall election calls into question the very foundations of Pacifica’s democratic reforms. The recall provisions currently in Pacifica’s bylaws were created as a check on unaccountable boards run amok — like the board that, in 1999, locked out KPFA’s staff and boarded up its studios.
Many KPFA listeners felt similarly betrayed when Rosenberg attacked KPFA’s union, orchestrated the purge of its biggest fundraiser, and hand-picked her own political allies to fill the Morning Show‘s timeslot. But even after KPFA’s listeners gathered more than double the number of signatures needed to trigger a recall, Rosenberg, and Pacifica, have delayed the election for close to a year. Stay tuned for the next step, which we hope to announce soon.
Now Rosenberg is asking a judge to throw the recall out, and for Pacifica to pay her attorneys’ fees, because of the delays. But Pacifica’s legal counsel Andrew Gold writes in an August 27 brief to the court that Rosenberg “is complicit in the actions of the PNB that caused the delay in the selection of an election supervisor and thus the delay in the distribution of ballots. As a result, she cannot benefit from that delay.”
“Plaintiff Rosenberg participated in all of the PNB meetings where the recall election was discussed,” writes Gold, “and personally opposed one of the proposed election supervisors….Despite her intimate knowledge of the procedures, and her involvement in all of the decisions being made, Ms. Rosenberg never objected to the delay in appointing an election supervisor, never raised any issue concerning the record date…and never questioned the timing of the distribution of the ballots. Instead, she waited until the very end of the process to file her complaint.” | READ MORE at the court’s website; enter case number RG12641585. (Gold’s brief is dated 8/27/12 and titled Opposition to Application for Preliminary Injunction Filed.)
NOTE DATE CHANGE: The case will be heard on Tuesday, September 11 at 2:30pm in D-514 in the Hayward Hall of Justice (directions). The public is welcome to attend, so mark your calendars!
In early August, a large number of ballots was picked up by the election supervisor from the Berkeley Post Office, and as witnesses watched, transferred under court order to safe deposit boxes at nearby banks (see photo here).