New Day Pacifica bylaws vote begins June 7 – VOTE YES!

Please VOTE YES in the upcoming 2021 Pacifica bylaws referendum, sponsored by New Day Pacifica. Ballots will go out June 7, 2021 via email and/or mail and deadline to vote is July 7, 2021. If you didn’t get a ballot, request a replacement here.

READ about what’s happening at Pacifica in this article from Zack Kaldveer and Sherry Gendelman in Counterpunch. LISTEN to a recent report broadcast on KPFA News.

KPFA’s Local Station Board (or LSB) VOTED YES on May 15th to support the New Day Pacifica bylaws to bring more accountability to the Pacifica National Board (or PNB). “New Day Pacifica wants governance to help all Pacifica stations to become financially self sustaining by producing engaging, diverse, independent, programming. KPFA with its higher membership, experienced management team and skilled staff have shown that it can be done,” writes listener group KPFA Protectors.

The New Day Pacifica bylaws would require a smaller, more functional national board. Twelve directors would be directly elected by the listeners, the paid and unpaid staff, and the affiliates. These 12 directors would appoint 3 at large directors with broadcasting, financial and management expertise. The Local Station Boards would focus on outreach, community engagement and fund raising.

In addition to KPFA’s LSB majority voting to support the new bylaws, the majority of the members of Houston station KPFT’s LSB present at their last meeting also voted to support the bylaws.

To learn more about current issues at KPFA and Pacifica, please check out these groups:

New Day Pacifica is widely endorsed by listeners and staff, and is proposing new bylaws and a new board structure to save the network from mismanagement and financial disaster.

Pacifica Safety Net, a California non-profit organization formed by Pacifica radio listeners, volunteers and donors to protect the Foundation’s five local stations.

Lawsuit against Pacifica directors for financial malfeasance moves forward

A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles is allowing a lawsuit filed against two leaders of the Pacifica National Board by three people affiliated with the local and national boards of KPFA to go forward. The LA Superior Court judge ruled late last month that the legal action charging malfeasance, negligence and financial mismanagement by Grace Aaron and Alex Steinberg of the Pacifica Foundation national board of directors, can proceed after minor amendments to the complaint. The action has been brought by Andrea Turner, Christina Huggins and Donald Goldmacher, all current or former members of the national or local KPFA advisory board, who say the defendants have the put the radio network in serious financial jeopardy. LISTEN | Larry Buhl reports on the Pacifica Evening News (May 7, 2021)

KPFA’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert urges a YES vote on Pacifica bylaws

Hello friends who are KPFA / Pacifica members:

You should have just received ballots on a bylaws reform. I’m recommending a “YES” vote. [if you need a replacement ballot, request it here].

I spent a total of 10 grueling years serving as an elected worker-representative on KPFA’s and Pacifica’s boards. Those years convinced me that any chance to change our governance structure is a chance we have to take.

Pacifica’s current governance system was set up with the best of intentions. But it has proven a byzantine, institutionally-paralyzing mess:
-It bifurcates authority between two tiers of boards (five local boards with at least 24 members each, and one national board with at least 22 members).
-The boards are too large for collaborative decision-making, and usually devolve into factions and infighting
-National board members in particular stand for re-election every year, and never have enough downtime between elections to build the mutual trust required to tackle hard decisions.

-constant churn in upper management (Pacifica’s averaging more than one Executive Director per year)
-institutional paralysis (our managers and board members have all learned that the safest course of action, under the current system, is to avoid any difficult decisions and just let circumstances make the decisions for us).
-steady financial decline

Now, we’ve reached the limits of deferring hard choices: to forestall asset seizure over unpaid rent in New York last year, Pacifica had to mortgage all its real estate, including KPFA’s studios, and has a large balloon payment coming due next year that will make us homeless if we don’t commit to a plan of action.

The proposed bylaw changes would:
-Shrink us from six feuding boards to one
-Cut the size of that national board in half, to 11 people
-Make board elections less frequent (and less expensive and destabilizing)
-Give Pacifica members a direct say in choosing our national board (currently, Pacifica’s national board is chosen indirectly, by the members of local boards)

Hopefully, the changes deliver a competent board that can weigh hard choices, then act decisively, with unity, and — lord willing — raise some money to help smooth transitions. Of course, they may not. But our current system spells certain doom, so it seems worth giving the only alternative on the table a try.

In solidarity,

Brian Edwards-Tiekert
co-host of KPFA’s Upfront and former worker representative on the KPFA and Pacifica boards