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

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].

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME
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.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE STATUS QUO
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.

THE RESULTS OF THE STATUS QUO:
-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.

WHAT THE PROPOSED CHANGES DO
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

Pacifica: putting the pieces back together

pacifica logoLast month, we reported on the dire state of the books at Pacifica, the nonprofit that owns KPFA. Pacifica’s new CFO Raul Salvador and board chair Margy Wilkinson (a member of SaveKPFA) found an operation in disarray, after being locked out of the network’s National Office next door to KPFA for two months by ousted executive Summer Reese. Bookkeeping entries had not been made for nine months, and there were unpaid bills lying in large, unorganized stacks, some of which were slated to be shredded until Wilkinson intervened.

After weeks spent reconstructing financial data, Pacifica’s new staff have now issued the most complete network financial statements since Pacifica’s 2012 audit.

Stiffing pension to pay consultants

moneyThere was massive overspending at the National Office, which, according to a report from Pacifica National Finance Committee chair Brian Edwards-Tiekert “produced the largest loss the Pacifica National Office has posted since the height of Pacifica’s civil war in 2001.”

Adding injury to injury: while last year’s leadership was running up large bills with temp agencies, consultants, and law firms, they were skipping payments to the pension fund for Pacifica workers, and holding on to payroll taxes that were supposed to go to the IRS.

The good news: the overspending and deficits appear to have leveled out. So far this year, the network is basically breaking even, and there are more savings on the horizon. If Pacifica is able to restore its eligibility for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding, it should run a healthy surplus. (CPB funding was suspended in 2013 over compliance issues, cutting the network’s revenues by over $1 million per year). | READ financial report, Excel financial spreadsheets (balance sheets, income statements, consolidated monthly sheet)

Crisis management

The biggest challenge facing Pacifica’s new leadership are the angry creditors they have inherited from the Reese era — several of which have initiated lawsuits.

But there is progress on this front as well: new interim executive director Margy Wilkinson negotiated a 21-month interest-free payment plan with an attorney who had been suing Pacifica over unpaid bills. And in early September, the Pacifica National Board voted to approve a 0% interest loan of $156,000 to cover an unpaid tax bill it inherited and head off further penalties. The loan comes from Aris Anagnos, co-founder of the Los Angeles Peace Center and the Humanitarian Law Project, as well as a long-time supporter of Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles. (You can learn more about Anagnos by listening to this interview with him on KPFK). Anagnos had asked that the discussion of the loan and his name both be made public — to inspire other major supporters to join him in helping Pacifica through its current difficulties.

Now that Pacifica’s financial records are getting cleaned up, Wilkinson reports that it’s getting easier to push back on some claims by creditors. Recently, she talked down a vendor threatening to sue over money Pacifica had already paid.

Still unresolved is the money owed to Pacifica’s pension fund, and lawsuits over unpaid bills, including one from a temp agency Pacifica used heavily last year, and another from Free Speech Radio News, which was forced off the air in mid-2013 after Pacifica stopped making payments for its daily newscast.

RELATED STORIES:  Fixing Pacifica (includes financial report) | Lawyer representing board minority jumps ship | Finally, local control at KPFA