KPFA Local Station Board majority endorse the Pacifica bylaws amendment

After an extensive investigation, the majority of the KPFA Local Station Board announce their endorsement of the proposed Pacifica Bylaws Amendment. We urge all KPFA listener and staff members to vote YES on the amendment: Christina Huggins, Carol Wolfley, Sharon Adams, Susan da Silva, Andrea Turner, Aki Tanaka, Philip Maldari, Tim Lynch, Darlene Pagano, Shirah Dedman, Don Goldmacher, Ahmad Anderson, and Mark Van Landuyt

We are concerned that the Pacifica network and KPFA are threatened by mismanagement by the Pacifica National Board, which is controlled by multi-millionaires and their allies who undermine democratic processes to maintain control. The network governance system is way too large with the majority of directors and board members having little experience in broadcasting, media, or finances, and with most PNB directors coming from small stations with lower listenership.

Those who control Pacifica’s decision-making have recently authorized the PNB to have direct access to KPFA’s bank accounts. It seems likely that the PNB will use this access in ways that are detrimental to KPFA, and to pay off WBAI’s debts. KPFA’s internationally recognized staff face lay-offs once KPFA’s accounts are depleted.

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 to protect KPFA’s charitable trust tax exemption after two corporate name changes. Now finally the network appears to be taking action to resolve that problem with the help of KPFA management.

KPFA has the only fully functioning news department in the network and is the most technologically advanced station with the highest membership and listener support. PNB allies publicly attack KPFA’s diverse award winning management, staff, and quality programming addressing accelerating political chaos, environmental emergency, and social justice issues. A handful of PNB directors and self serving producers from Pacifica stations WBAI and KPFK want to shift broadcasting away from Pacifica’s historic progressive mission to become a high priced vitamin and beauty product shopping premium network as has been done at their own financially unstable stations. There are also efforts that threaten the network’s non-commercial status with proposals for broadcasting professional football and commercial underwriting.

When WBAI failed to pay its transmitter rental fees resulting in a judgment against them, PNB directors orchestrated two loans borrowing $3.7 million without a workable repayment plan. They are using KPFA’s, KPFK’s and KPFT’s buildings as collateral for the loan. They fired Executive Director John Vernile who was in the process of addressing urgently needed programming changes and accounting irregularities at WBAI, and was attempting to stop the on-going $30,000/month operating deficit at WBAI. Vernile was also working on national news and climate emergency coverage for all Pacifica stations.

After a careful review of recent court and financial documents and actions of the Pacifica National Board, the majority of KPFA LSB members are mobilizing to support KPFA’s amazing management and staff. We want to let the listeners know about the urgently needed bylaws amendment that will create a smaller functional Board of Directors with progressive at-large directors and representatives from each station. Local station board members will transition to Community Advisory Boards working on outreach efforts across the signal range and there is a proposal for staff to be represented by a national programming director.

Information about the bylaws amendment is available at rethinkingpacifica.org

Here are some recent articles on the current challenges facing Pacifica and KPFA:

Berkeley-based KPFA radio station building scheduled for auction because of unpaid taxes (Daily Cal)

Crisis at Pacifica, KPFK (Los Angeles Times)

KPFA’s building set to be auctioned off for non-payment of taxes (Berkeleyside)

Can KPFK find its way? (Spark News)

Voting information

Please look for your ballot from the Pacifica Foundation sent February 18 and vote YES in support of the Pacifica Bylaws Amendments.

The “ballots” for the bylaws amendment petition were sent to most Pacifica’s members on Feb 18, 2020. Ballots must be received before 11:59PM EST on March 19th in order to be counted. All members who donated a minimum of $25 or who volunteered a minimum of 3 hours between Jan. 03, 2019 and Jan. 02, 2020 are eligible to vote.

If you did not receive a ballot, you can fill out a request form at this link:

Please make sure to check your SPAM folder and safe-list vote@simplyvoting.com and nes@pacifica.org.

If you need more help you are welcome to write to PacificaRestructuring@gmail.com

Ralph Nader and Amy Goodman urge support for Pacifica network

KPFA graphic
New KPFA web graphics.

Thanks to all who donated so generously to the station’s winter fund drive, which ended today with $335,000 pledged. That’s only $25,000 short of the goal.

Please consider making an end-of-the-year, tax deductible gift to help put KPFA over the top. You can pledge securely online at KPFA.org, and while you are there, have a look at the colorful new graphics that are enlivening the station’s webspace.

Meanwhile, supporters of all five Pacifica stations are receiving this letter from Ralph Nader urging them to help the network “remain a vibrant and sustainable source of information that serves the public interest and our diverse communities.”  Among other things, Nader cites Pacifica’s “eclectic mix of programming that educates and empowers for change.”

Also endorsing the call for support is Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, who is quoted on the letter’s envelope: “The Pacifica Network is a vital cornerstone of our independent media landscape that depends on your financial support. Please donate today to safeguard the future of listener-powered community radio.”

 

Long-time programmers Denny Smithson and Mary Berg pass

MaryBerg
Mary Berg

Denny Smithson
Denny Smithson

KPFA lost two long-time programmers last month.  Denny Smithson, who worked at the station for 47 years, much of it interviewing authors about their work, died November 1. KPFA’s website has this photo of Denny in the studio and a link to the obituary that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

On November 29, Mary Berg, long-time host of the crack o’ dawn early music show, A Musical Offering, died. Former KPFA music director Charles Amirkhanian and morning host Bill Sokol write about her here.  Both Mary and Denny will be greatly missed.