ARCHIVED PAGE: The 2011-2012 recall campaign against KPFA board member and Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg
GOOD PROGRAMMING. Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg has been the principal defender of the current regime at Pacifica, the corporation that owns KPFA. With Rosenberg’s support, that regime has declared war on KPFA’s listeners and workers. They have eliminated the Morning Show, KPFA’s biggest fundraiser, and most listened-to local program – putting the station’s fragile finances at risk. They’ve ignored thousands of phone calls and emails from outraged KPFA’s listeners. When SaveKPFA endorsers raised enough in pledges to restore the Morning Show, Pacifica refused it. Fundraising during KPFA’s morning hours has plummeted since the Morning Show’s removal, and the toll is projected to reach $500,000 annually. Pacifica is now demanding $1 million from the 5 stations — including KPFA — to fix its own mismanagement.
LOCAL CONTROL. Acting at Rosenberg’s urging, Pacifica has completely sidelined KPFA’s elected Local Station Board in choosing managers for KPFA, and illegally refused to seat KPFA’s democratically-elected representatives on the Pacifica National Board (based on a proposal by Rosenberg), then continued to deny them seats in violation of a California Superior Court injunction.
FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT. Pacifica has hired $400/hour anti-union attorneys to fight KPFA’s workers, and imposed the resulting costs – $115,000 and counting – on KPFA. Behind closed doors and with Rosenberg’s support, Pacifica hired Jackson Lewis on general retainer, a legal firm that the AFL-CIO has called “America’s number one union-buster.” On Rosenberg’s watch, it bounced paychecks and diverted workers’ own contributions to their retirement. Meanwhile, Pacifica is taking more money out of KPFA’s accounts for its own purposes than even the already-excessive amount budgeted. If we don’t break this costly impasse, we may lose KPFA.
Our only path forward is to directly remove the supporters of Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt from Pacifica’s Board. Tracy Rosenberg has been Engelhardt’s most ardent public defender. She drew up the secret layoff list that got The Morning Show cancelled. She’s also been the driving force behind Pacifica’s illegal moves to keep SaveKPFA’s representatives from taking the positions they were elected to on the Pacifica National Board. Rosenberg was censured by KPFA’s local board for her misappropriation of subscribers’ emails.
Who can vote? What if I didn’t get a ballot or need a replacement ballot?
You are eligible to vote if you are a current KPFA listener-member. That means in the past year you’ve either: 1) donated $25 or more to KPFA; or 2) volunteered three hours or more in the KPFA phone room. Please contact us if you fit these criteria but don’t get a ballot by July 4, 2012. Tips to make sure your ballot is counted or on obtaining a replacement ballot are here. If you’ve voted, we’d appreciate it if you’d take our brief voter survey.
How can I help?
Talk to your friends and neighbors about what is happening at KPFA. Sign up for our email updates (top right of every page). Circulate this recall flyer among your friends. If you’re willing to commit some time to doing outreach, email us and a SaveKPFA volunteer will follow up with you.
What’s the process?
Under Pacifica’s Bylaws, we needed valid signatures from at least 2% of KPFA’s listener-members, and we easily met that bar. Pacifica validated them in late 2011, and after a ridiculous delay of 7 months, they finally mailed ballots June 28. Now, all of KPFA’s roughly 22,000 members are voting on whether or not to remove Rosenberg. Ballots are due back via mail on Aug. 3. (BALLOT INSTRUCTIONS HERE).
What happens when we win?
Tracy Rosenberg will be removed from the Pacifica National Board and the KPFA Local Station Board. She’ll be automatically disqualified from running for re-election for a period of three years. She’ll be automatically replaced by the next runner-up from the last Local Station Board election. KPFA’s Local Station Board will pick a replacement to serve out the rest of Tracy Rosenberg’s term on the Pacifica National Board (PNB). | See Pacifica recall procedures & Pacifica bylaws | Matt Lasar’s How Pacifica Governance Works (pdf)
I want to know more about the charges in the petition.
Detailed background information is available at www.SaveKPFA.org. There is also informative reporting at www.KPFAWorker.org. Both sites source and attribute most of their information. Download this SaveKPFA flyer, or see our list of YES on the recall endorsers, or read the series of open letters in support of the recall from Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Aileen Alfandary, and Margy Wilkinson. Given that Rosenberg cites her financial acumen as background for the Pacifica treasurer’s job, you might also find it helpful to look at the financial record of the nonprofit Rosenberg heads, Media Alliance.
What relationship does Pacifica have to KPFA?
KPFA, which began broadcasting in Berkeley in 1949, is part of the 5-station Pacifica network. The other stations are WBAI (New York City), KPFK (Los Angeles), KPFT (Houston) and WPFW (Washington DC). Each station elects 24 listener and staff representatives to sit on its Local Station Board. Those 5 Local Station Boards then each elect 4 delegates to sit on the 20-member Pacifica National Board, which hires the network’s executive director. Currently, the executive director is Arlene Engelhardt. | See Matt Lasar’s How Pacifica Governance Works (pdf)
Why not recall other board members, or Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt?
Under Pacifica’s bylaws, KPFA listeners may vote to recall only representatives to the KPFA Local Station Board. Other Pacifica board members would have to be recalled by their local listeners. The four KPFA local delegates who sit on the Pacifica National Board (PNB) are Laura Prives, Dan Siegel, Andrea Turner and Tracy Rosenberg. Rosenberg is the only KPFA delegate to the PNB who has supported Pacifica’s autocratic actions against KPFA listeners and staff, including voting to hire Jackson Lewis, the nation’s top union-buster. She is therefore the only Pacifica National Board member whom KPFA’s listeners have cause to recall. Arlene Engelhardt is not an elected representative, she is an employee hired and overseen by the Pacifica National Board. We have to change that board in order to remove her.
Won’t Pacifica be running this election? Can’t they monkey-wrench it?
Per Pacifica’s bylaws, the recall election will be held under the supervision of Pacifica’s National Board, which probably does have an interest in seeing the recall fail. Even though over a thousand members signed a petition asking for a neutral election supervisor, Pacifica hired a supervisor with little experience, who appears not so neutral. KPFA members are documenting their votes to assure a clean election. Pacifica’s got a poor track record on fair elections: in the past year, they have thrown out the votes of staff members at KPFA in order to change an election outcome, refused to seat duly-elected representatives from KPFA on the Pacifica National Board, and tried to force a new election at KPFK in Los Angeles when they didn’t like the results. In every case, Pacifica’s actions have been overturned by court injunctions.
Has a recall election ever happened within Pacifica before?
Yes — one year ago, Tracy Rosenberg stage-managed a recall campaign against Morning Show co-host Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who was serving as a staff representative on KPFA’s Local Station Board. (Because there are far fewer staff members than listener members, she only needed 7 valid signatures from KPFA staff to get the ballot qualified). That recall failed by a 2-to-1 margin. Shortly after it failed, Pacifica laid off Edwards-Tiekert and canceled The Morning Show.
Will this cost KPFA money?
It will cost KPFA the price of mailing ballots to 22,000 listener-members – somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000. We believe the cost is worth it, because the destruction caused by Pacifica’s actions is costing KPFA much more than that – up to $500,000 over the course of a year (and that doesn’t even include the over $100,000 Pacifica has spent on anti-union consultants!) Also, our own surveys indicate large numbers of listeners became members in order to vote in the recall election and try to get KPFA back to health. With an estimated 400 people giving $25 in order to vote, the election expenses are a wash.
When will the votes be counted?
They were supposed to be counted August 4, 2012, but Tracy Rosenberg sued Pacifica a few days prior to that date to prevent the count . An Alameda County Superior Court judge has put the ballots under seal; a hearing is scheduled for September 10. A very large number of ballots were taken from the Berkeley PO box where they were received, and put into safe deposit boxes in local banks (photos and story here). We’ll update this page when we know more.
I have additional questions. How do I contact you?
SaveKPFA is an all-volunteer effort. The easiest way to reach us is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be patient as the response has been so overwhelming it sometimes takes us a few days to get back to you.