Silence from Pacifica on recall vote; Pacifica overrules KPFA board on budget

Stack of recall petitions.

It’s been over a month since members of SaveKPFA submitted petitions seeking a recall vote against KPFA board member and Pacifica Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg, the driving force behind Pacifica’s destruction of KPFA’s Morning Show, and its war against the station’s workers and listeners.

Thanks to your efforts, a delegation of SaveKPFA activists submitted over 800 signatures from KPFA listener-members — that’s over twice the number needed — to trigger a recall ballot under the network’s bylaws, in which every current member is entitled to vote.

The response from Pacifica? Complete silence. KPFA staff confirm Pacifica has finally turned over the signatures for validation against KPFA’s member database, but from Pacifica, there has been no word on when the recall election will be held, or who will run it. All discussion of the recall process at last month’s 4-day meeting of the Pacifica National Board happened behind closed doors. The only information released from that meeting is that Pacifica has found a lawyer to tell it, bizarrely, that a successful recall would take nearly ten times the number of votes required by Pacifica’s bylaws.

This is a blatant misreading of Pacifica’s bylaws. Like most of Pacifica’s election manipulations, it probably won’t hold up in court. But it does demonstrate Pacifica’s willing to bend the rules in Rosenberg’s favor — which is why we need to demand a fair process.

ACTION ALERT: Sign this petition demanding a fair recall
KPFA listeners are signing this petition demanding that Pacifica run the recall vote promptly, and that supervision of the process be turned over to a neutral party (such as the American Association of Arbitrators, or California State Mediation and Conciliation).  CLICK HERE to add your support!
KPFA fall fund drive chart

Why a recall is important: a fund drive in crisis
KPFA’s Fall fund drive is struggling. Why?  Pledging from 6-10 AM has dropped over $9,000 per day since last year, before Pacifica cancelled the KPFA Morning Show and re-arranged the rest of the morning lineup in a shake-up engineered by Pacifica Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg (see this chart).

Prior to its cancellation, the Morning Show was KPFA’s biggest fundraiser. Andrew Phillips, the manager Pacifica installed at KPFA after the shakeup, has been unresponsive to calls from KPFA’s staff, listeners, and elected Local Station Board to restore the Morning Show.

So, what’s his plan?

First off: Longer fund drives. Phillips has already extended the Fall drive to 24 days — the longest in at least a decade. And, even with the extension, the fund drive is on track to finish at least $40,000 short of its goal.

Second: Kooky content. Last Thursday, Phillips put himself on the air for 90 minutes to hawk the DVD Zeitgeist, a bizarre amalgam of populist, religious, and right-wing conspiracy theories that allegedly provided inspiration to the man who shot Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

SaveKPFA is encouraging everyone who cares about the future of KPFA to contribute during this fund drive in spite of the lunacy — your donation secures your right to vote in the upcoming recall, and it deprives managers like Phillips of a pretext to lay off union workers.

Staff cuts loom, after Pacifica overrules KPFA’s board on budget
-affiliated representatives on the Local Station Board worked hard this summer to craft a balanced budget for KPFA that would preserve the programs listeners care about, and put resources into off-air fundraising. KPFA treasurer Barbara Whipperman even brought to light a whopping $300,000 error in the budget template Pacifica had issued to KPFA. Fixing the error made it possible to budget for shorter fund drives.

Then, after KPFA’s budget was passed by a majority vote and sent to the network, Pacifica management moved the goalposts and overruled KPFA’s local elected representatives. Pacifica said KPFA would have to budget an additional $113,000 for “depreciation” —  an accounting abstraction that does not actually cost any money. Then Tracy Rosenberg used her position as Pacifica treasurer to unilaterally slash $121,000 out of KPFA’s personnel budget to pay for that depreciation.

The last time Rosenberg inserted herself into the budget-cutting process, Pacifica eliminated the most listened-to program produced at KPFA, and violated the union contract at KPFA by laying off staff out of seniority order, following a list Rosenberg herself drafted that included her political opponents. Which leads to an obvious question — who’s she targeting this time?

PLEASE MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TODAY by signing this petition demanding that Pacifica fast-track this recall election under the auspices of a neutral third party. And give to KPFA to ensure you’ll be able to vote. You can make an online donation here.