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KPFA Election: Gross Violations Detailed in Open Letter
by Fair Elections Committee ( fair_elections(at)yahoo.com )
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 2:58 AM
KPFA’s recent Local Station Board (LSB) election was not the example of media democracy it was designed to be. This LSB election:
OPEN LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FAIR ELECTIONS: BYLAWS & RULES VIOLATED IN KPFA BOARD ELECTION

KPFA’s recent Local Station Board (LSB) election was not the example of media democracy it was designed to be. This LSB election:

▪ Was not conducted in conformance with the Pacifica Bylaws;
▪ Was corrupted by KPFA and Pacifica management and some staff intentionally violating rules to get votes for their allies' slate;
▪ Did not provide adequate information about the candidates to enable voters to make educated choices;
▪ Did not provide ballots to many eligible voters in a timely manner.

New bylaws were adopted after the 1999 “hijacking” attempt was defeated by mass listener activity to protect and preserve KPFA and Pacifica. These Bylaws incorporated fair elections of governing boards for each station to eliminate the prior practice of self-appointing boards, which led to the crisis in the 1990s.

Every subscriber and staffer, whatever their views on the issues and candidates, has a right to expect that the process by which we select our governing board will be fair, open, and orderly, in accordance with the Fair Campaign Provisions established by Pacifica's bylaws and election supervisors; that the information voters need to make an informed choice will be available in a timely way; and that all candidates will be afforded an equal opportunity to present their views and their qualifications to the voters.

In reality, the process has fallen far short of these standards:


• MANAGEMENT INFLUENCE AND IMPROPER USE OF STATION RESOURCES:
The 2007 Fair Campaign Provisions, which every staff member, including managers, was required to read and sign, state that "No Foundation or radio station management or staff (paid or unpaid) or any other person may use or permit the use of radio station air time, website space, email lists, or other resources to endorse, campaign for or against, promote or disparage, or recommend in favor of or against any candidate for election as a Local Station Board." Yet on October 24, just over a week after ballots were mailed to listener-sponsors, KPFA and the other Pacifica stations posted on their websites an open letter from Dan Siegel, then Interim Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, with the admitted objective of influencing voters’ choices: the letter directly disparaged one easily identifiable group of KPFA candidates, denouncing their strongly stated but clearly political free speech criticisms of some station personnel and management-allied LSB members, as "abusive," "hateful," "personal attacks." This letter remained prominently featured on the KPFA website for more than a week, and was never removed from the National Elections Web page, to which KPFA's was linked.

Siegel's was not the only serious violation of the Fair Campaign Provision quoted above. On October 30 veteran programmer Larry Bensky used a KPFA e-mail list and server to send out to an as yet unknown number of voters a message endorsing one slate of candidates and attacking the incumbent board.

• DEFIANCE OF SUPERVISORS' AUTHORITY:
In the event of any violation of the Fair Campaign Provisions, the Pacifica bylaws say "the local elections supervisor and the national elections supervisor shall determine, in good faith and at their sole discretion, an appropriate remedy." In response to Bensky's blatant violation of the rules, the election supervisors devised a partial remedy, instructing station management to allow each competing slate to send a 300-word message of their own to the same e-mail list Bensky used. The slates promptly produced their proposed messages, but KPFA's managers simply stonewalled, refusing to take the steps necessary to get these messages sent out on the list. As the national election supervisor eventually ruled – after the ballot deadline - this refusal to comply with the election supervisors' order amounted to nothing less than "obstruction of the governance of the foundation."


• INADEQUATE INFORMATION:
Without understanding of the issues at stake in LSB elections or of the views of the candidates, listener-sponsors can't make meaningful choices. The candidate statements mailed to listeners-subscribers with their ballots go only a small part of the way toward meeting this need; on-air candidate forums and announcements and in-person events are also essential for informing the electorate. After past elections, there have been both widespread sentiment and reports by election supervisors calling for more such events and publicity, but this year KPFA had less than ever before.

Only one two-part on-air forum was held before ballots were mailed to listener-subscribers, but it was poorly publicized in advance, and afterwards the audio archives were not posted at the station website for weeks. Candidates were required to respond to a detailed questionnaire about their views and experience, but their responses were not posted online until the voting period was almost over. Candidate statements were posted briefly, but then removed from the web for much of the voting period. During the fall fund drive, which ran from Oct. 16 to Nov. 2, the station provided no information whatsoever about the election, on the dubious grounds that election information can't be combined with fund-raising. KPFT in Houston does both. Even after the drive ended, station management did not begin airing candidates' pre-recorded statements until less than a week remained in the voting period, and then there was no transparent system to ensure all candidates' carts got equal treatment. Management even tried to satisfy its obligation to air the carts by playing them all in a bloc –21 in a row - an approach guaranteed to minimize listenership, and one that was particularly unfair to the candidates whose statements were aired last. The management-allied slate's number-one candidate had her statement played first on the list of 21. Only one in-person candidate event was organized, in Berkeley, and it received very little publicity over the air.

The black-out of election information during the fund drive was especially damaging: it left voters with minimal information when they first received their ballots, thus magnifying the advantage of the KPFA management-backed, "Concerned Listeners" slate, that spent thousands of dollars to send its own carefully-timed mailing to arrive with the ballots during the black-out.


• FAILURE TO PROVIDE BALLOTS TO ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS:
While, as in past elections, many listener-sponsors reported not receiving ballot packets, the problem is – still – particularly acute among volunteers voting in the staff elections, because management failed in its duty to provide a timely, accurate, and complete list of the unpaid staff. As recently as Nov. 29, after the elections should have been closed, more than 40 unpaid staff members had not received a ballot; on the other hand, members of management, who were not entitled to vote at all, did receive ballots. The election supervisors have had to extend the election deadline several times, but it still appears that many eligible staffers will not receive ballots before the election finally closes.

KPFA and Pacifica listeners fought hard for the right to elect their governing boards, and for good reasons: to prevent a recurrence of the kind of takeover that occurred in the 1990s; to give the listeners whose support keeps the station and network afloat a way to shape their direction; and to demonstrate that communities can govern themselves. All these reasons remain valid today. We are deeply dismayed that some powerful elements within the KPFA community have shown themselves willing to subvert our hard-won bylaws and abandon basic principles of fairness and democracy.

If you would like to support fair elections at KPFA/Pacifica send contact information to Committee for Fair Elections at fair_elections(at)yahoo.com.


FAIR ELECTION COMMITTEE ENDORSERS: (in progress)

Richard Phelps**, Henry Norr, Stan Woods, Akio Tanaka, Noelle Hanrahan, Joe Wanzala, Attila Nagy, LaVarn Williams*, Chandra Hauptman* **, CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS {*also PNB; ** Reelected in preliminary (uncertified) results}

Carol Spooner, Steve Conley. Gerald Sanders, Sepideh Khosrowjah FORMER BOARD MEMBERS;

Tracy Rosenberg**, KPFA LOCAL ELECTION SUPERVISOR 2006 & BOARD CANDIDATE;

Bob English, Dave Heller, Mara Rivera, Steve Zeltzer, Carl Bryant, CC Campbell Rock, 2007 BOARD CANDIDATES;

Linda Hewitt, Virginia Browning, Daniel Borgström, Steve Gilmartin, Gregory Wonderwheel, Jim Curtis, Adrienne Lauby, Stephen Kessler, Molly Beyea, Janet Kobren, Chuck O'Neil, CR (Bob) Briscoe, Ann Garrison, Rabea Chaudhary LISTENER MEMBERS,







Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Tony
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 9:14 AM
This sounds very convincing . I don't know the exact procedure but if the above is accurate i think that the election should be rendered null and void . The Pacifica honchos may talk the talk about democracy and social justice but they sure don't walk the walk .
by Richard Phelps, re-elected Listener LSB
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 9:23 AM
For a quick reflection on the not so passive attack on listener participation by giving the election as little on air coverage as they think they can get away with and still have some plausible deniability, ask youself "How many times in the last two weeks have I heard the Crafts Fair promoted on the air", by formal recorded announcements and casual ones by those on the air? We all got the message that the Crafts Fair is very important to station management

We never get that message about the election! We get lip service and the lack of promotion tells the true intent of management.

Notice the Crafts Fair location on the station web site. Right in the middle. The election link was off to the side after originally being listed in the left column with one line.

The LSB meetings are not fully promoted on the air, often in violation of "our" Bylaws or as station management calls them during LSB meetings, "your Bylaws".

The LSB Radio Report is not promoted on the air much, if at all, and preempted sometimes by management. This year with a Concerned Listener majority running the LSB, two LSB Radio reports didn't happen and we didn't have a Town Hall meeting. In 2006 when I was Chair no LSB Reports were missed and we did have a Town Hall meeting. Did I forget to mention that the Concerned Listener slate came about at the request of and with the support of station management.

Management invites only its favorite LSB members to the annual Peace Awards. Even when I was Chair of the LSB I wasn't invited. I did go that year with PNB Director La Varn Williams after we heard an announcement on the air that a few seats were still available. What was conspicuous in its absence during the program, which took place about a week after the 2006 LSB election results were reported, was that there was NO mention of the LSB or the recent election at all! As if it hadn't taken place and there was no LSB. Each year when this happens some LSB members complain and management swears it won't happen again and like Lucy with the football and Charlie Brown, the promise is never kept.

The same prople that argue that not many people vote are the same ones that support management's failure to energetically promote the election process.

The only way to see if democratic governance will work is to give it a real chance. So far management refuses to do so. The listeners that donate $4,000,000 a year deserve some representation with regard to station affairs IMHO.


• INADEQUATE INFORMATION:
Without understanding of the issues at stake in LSB elections or of the views of the candidates, listener-sponsors can't make meaningful choices. The candidate statements mailed to listeners-subscribers with their ballots go only a small part of the way toward meeting this need; on-air candidate forums and announcements and in-person events are also essential for informing the electorate. After past elections, there have been both widespread sentiment and reports by election supervisors calling for more such events and publicity, but this year KPFA had less than ever before.

Richard Phelps
by S
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 10:47 AM
The Courts cannot be trusted to be fair and impartial . Especially when it comes to resolving disputes within progressive organizations or unions . But sometimes there's no choice . i think that might be the case here. i not only do not trust the greatly flawed election process but i don't trust the vote total . How could a mentally troubled elderly man like Jim Weber come in ahead of several of the , what i call, True Left candidates .I don't believe it .
by Sunni
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 11:33 AM
To add to what i posted earlier. Perhaps a truly independent investigation, with people that both sides trusted involved , could be a alternative to going to court . That being said things are so polarized i don't know if such a neutral body could be created. i was at a party recently and a prominent Labor figure shouted at me for''supporting those fucking trots '' ! I replied that i didn't know we were recreating the Moscow trials of the 1940s . His rage didn't prevent him from hitting on me a couple of hours and a few drinks later . I declined his generous offer .
Back to the main issue Kpfa Listeners and our movement deserve much better.
by Virginia Browning
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 8:40 PM
First the Trots:
Unfortunately It seems to be all to often that to say it enough times makes people think it's true. I think there MAY be one or two in all the NON-CL, ("Concerned Listeners") group of recent activists, I think better termed those wanting to see what a really fair election would look like...who may have once, in younger days, actually been card-carrying "Trots." I'm not one. Some are Dems, some are Greens, some are who knows what. We are a diverse group who want to see fair elections at KPFA.

As "Pacifica" is, by definition, concerned with pacifism, with finding common cause and creating dialog, it seems unlikely that militant Trots are going to get very far in taking the station hostage....the closest reality to that seriously is the situation with some management completely disregarding dialog in a meaningful way, including using their power in unfair ways.

And thoughts: Please sign on if you endorse the critique. Say yes, I want fair elections and I agree with the critique in the letter. The letter is not calling for going to court. That may or may not happen, but that's not in this letter at all. The letter is saying, Yes, it was corrupted, and we want that changed. It's a way of saying publicly that many people DO care!
by Stalinists! Mass graves!
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 10:17 PM
As has been attributed (most likely apocryphally) to Comrade Uncle Joe himself: it matters not who asks for votes, nor who receives them. It is who counts the votes that decides the election.

Silly Americans! Do you not by now know this?
by Chris Stehlik
Saturday Dec 8th, 2007 11:23 PM
To S (whoever you are)
You're arguing about unfair elections while at the same time, slandering Jim Weber and saying that the court system can't be trusted ?
Do you see the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of your statement?
If the court system can't be trusted, how can disputes be resolved where both parties disagree on something ? If you find fault in the entire court system, you're likely to find fault in any arbitrator or 3rd party that is selected unless they match your exact views.
by Sunni
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 12:52 AM
I Slandered Jim Weber? The man who compared Richard Phelps to Adolph Hitler .Adoph Hitler ! Yes the old fool is loco .
I don't trust the US Court/'' Justice'' system . i wonder why . Could it have something to do with all the crimes committed by Old White (occasionally Black or Brown ) reactionares over the centuries ? Or all the cops that have murdered many Blacks Or Latinos for reaching for their wallet or their cell phone but are almost never brought to trial . On the rare occasions that they are , if convicted are never sentenced to life or death row.
Or all the strike breaking injunctions Judges have imposed on unions . And on and on . So yes, i do think that the courts should only be used to attempt to resolve disputes among progressives as a last resort .
by ?
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 7:33 AM
This letter sounds good but what are you going to do with it? Are you going to have the management fired who refused to cooperate with the partial remedy to Larry Bensky's illegal email and with airing the carts as requested? Are you going to have Dan Siegel fired? Are you going to fire the website monitors who published his garbage? If you cannot do these things, then let's look at alternatives. Apparently only 3,401 people voted out of a subscriber list of some 23,000. Since the Voices for Justice and People's Radio slates were supported by Peace & Freedom Party and the Green Party, those two organizations need to participate actively in publicity of the KPFA elections to their members on their websites and in their Email announcements. What is clear in this election and the previous election is not enough people voted. We need at least 10,000 votes cast to get a decent Local Station Board.
by micron
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 11:34 AM
Why is not all of this "political free speech" ? Why are we reprimanding Larry Bensky for giving his opinion to his email list or address book or whatever? If this is really a rule of the bylaws to restrict the free speech rights of citizens this way then it is a stupid rule, and I think several of these people are hypocrites for wanting to use their kpfa listener-financed candidate mailings to give negative opinions and false information about named individuals while at the same time they move to restrict those people's right to express their opinions. This is just another Gag Rule, leveled again by a board against the programmers and support staff of KPFA, extending beyond the FM signal now into people's email accounts as well. What's next, no voicing of certain opinions on the phone? What about the sidewalk outside the station? How far will Pacifica go in restricting the free speech rights of its programmers and staff? At the urging and influence of several of the current and former board members who signed the above. This is bogus and has no place at KPFA and Pacifica.
by Daniel Borgström
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 11:59 AM

It would be nice to have a level playing field--which we didn't get because the management team used their control of the mic to favor their own slate.

by goat
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 12:10 PM
I am not surprised (if it is true) that the station did not allow the election supervisor to send all these people's screeds to Bensky's list. I did not give Larry Bensky my email address for his list so that it could be used by the station, either for fund raising, sharing, or political wrangling, or anything. Bensky's list is one he compiled, it's members understand that, and the station should have no right to its contents, they are simply letting him host it on their servers. Going into people's email address books and lists and whatnot just because they reside on your server and you technically "own" them is very EVIL!! Larry has a right to the privacy of his email list as do those on it. All employees should be secure in that emails they save in their address books or email accounts or lists they compile will not be snooped and lifted by the Foundation or the Board and sent unsolicited emails. Hurray for management for refusing to do this.
by Get over it
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 6:38 PM
First of all the reason so few people vote in these elections is because the vast majority don't FRIGGIN GIVE A DAMN! All the on-air, or off-air promotion is not going to make most listeners as obsessed with the inner workings of KPFA as those creepy fixated People's Radio types. Most KPFA listeners, like listeners to any other radio station, simply want to turn on their radio and hear their program. When a program they don't like comes on, they switch to another station or turn off their radio and go out and live in the world. You People's Radio folks should really try it sometime, you know the whole go out and live a normal life thing, and stop obsessing over this radio station and give it a rest already. Let me say this as plain as I can: HARDLY ANYONE WOULD GIVE A FLYING F IF THE WHOLE LSB WENT AWAY TOMORROW! Why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORE IMPORTANT STUFF TO WORRY ABOUT THAN THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF A COMMUNITY RADIO STATION!

In the name of holy sanity, go on with your lives. Do something productive. Plant a tree. Tutor a kid in math. Play catch with your kids. Tend your back garden. But, for Pete's sake GET OVER KPFA ALREADY!
by Old Lib
Sunday Dec 9th, 2007 8:25 PM
The board had little to do with any 'gag' rule in this case; it was solely the ruling of the election supervisor, who has repeatedly slanted and biased the process towards the Peoples Radio cabal from the beginning.

Peters set up the "no attack" rule. When the first attacks began, Siegel acted to stop them. Peters overruled Siegel and allowed Peoples Radio to continue, with no recourse for those being attacked.

When Bensky set up his personal mailing list, it was Peters who ruled in favor of Peoples Radio, and ignored the numerous violations by Peoples Radio members.

Now, because Peoples Radio lost the Listener vote so badly, Peters is delaying the Staff voting in order to insure that Peoples Radio will get more voters illegitimately included in the Staff Election, which is now a month overdue by delay.

Apparently, it's "Free Speech" and "Democracy" if you are a Peoples Radio member. All else can be ignored and forgotten.
OL: The board had little to do with any 'gag' rule in this case; it was solely the ruling of the election supervisor, who has repeatedly slanted and biased the process towards the Peoples Radio cabal from the beginning.

th: notice how Old Lib makes accusations without ever giving concrete examples.

OL: Peters set up the "no attack" rule. When the first attacks began, Siegel acted to stop them. Peters overruled Siegel and allowed Peoples Radio to continue, with no recourse for those being attacked.

th: Political criticism is not a violation of the "no attack" rule which is so vague. Calling someone stupid and ugly would be a personal attack. Pointing out the positions they have taken and the games they play with democratic process is ACCOUNTABILITY. Something the current station management doesn't believe in or want, along with their CL allies. Siegel's letter was a classic example of an "attack". Conflating problems with two stations to make them both seem worse than they were and directing voters on how to vote. His letter was one of the worst violations of Pacifica's general nature that I have ever seen.

OL: When Bensky set up his personal mailing list, it was Peters who ruled in favor of Peoples Radio, and ignored the numerous violations by Peoples Radio members.

th: The ruling was not infavor of Peoples Radio, it was against a gross violation of the election rule that prohibits station resources from being used for any candidate(s) in the listener election. Bensky used a station server to send it out. A clear violation.

OL: Now, because Peoples Radio lost the Listener vote so badly, Peters is delaying the Staff voting in order to insure that Peoples Radio will get more voters illegitimately included in the Staff Election, which is now a month overdue by delay.

th: the staff vote is delayed because the same management that wants to stop the unpaid staff from organizing refused to play fair with the staff voting list and it took time to get that straightened out and get ballots to all staff entitled to vote.

OL: Apparently, it's "Free Speech" and "Democracy" if you are a Peoples Radio member. All else can be ignored and forgotten.

th: If you ever want to study demogagic speech writing go back and review OLD LIB's posts. Seldom a fact without distortion and heavy with hyperbole and unsupported allegations.

by micron
Monday Dec 10th, 2007 10:49 AM
> It would be nice to have a level playing field--which we didn't get because the management team used their control of the mic to favor their own slate.

How does inadequate on-air election promotion favor any one side? it effects everyone the same and none of the above says anything about favoring any one side on the air. Anyone can campaign at local events, anyone can post to public forums such as this, anyone can have a blog. After doing these things if no one is interested in your message then yes, you might have trouble raising any money for further campaigning. That's not a tipped playing field, that is the natural progression of organizing people, the more support you have, the more outreach you can do, a snowball effect. If you are so worried about it you should argue for spending limits, not call for the heads of the managers because you were out-campaigned by a little yellow postcard.
by L. S. B. Civil
Monday Dec 10th, 2007 11:42 AM
The OPEN LETTER FROM THE so-called, self-described COMMITTEE ON "FAIR ELECTIONS" is indeed designed to SOUND convincing, but it is highly INACCURATE, to put it mildly. The facts favor the Concerned Listeners, not Peoples Radio, and that would hold up in court or in mediation. Yes, the court system is very often unfair and tends to favor the establishment, and CL is the more "establishment" of the slates, but CL would prevail in court on the merits anyway if it comes to that. Even if the election is rendered null and void, what is accomplished? KPFA loses many thou$and$ more by holding another election, and the result will be the same.

Yes, great idea to get more subscribers voting (and more listeners subscribing, and more listeners period with even more professional quality and relevant programming and by increasing our signal.) Many subscribers reported throwing away their ballots in disgust and confusion at the negative serial screed that was published with Pacifica resources in the ballot pamphlet. That cast KPFA in very poor light to all of the subscribers who read it. Any competent management, given that scenario, would have given the election short shrift on-air (within by-laws requirements) rather than publicize bad-mouthing of the station and listeners they serve.

To get more voters, run positive campaigns in the future. We all hate Reagan, but his Rethuglican handlers did understand that one to his advantage. Swift boat type tactics are far less effective, especially for the kind of peole who subscribe to KPFA because they look deeper, but even in middle america. Afterall, Kerry and Edwards did win, if votes were counted as cast. There are photographic images of all kpfa ballots cast, and the paper ballots themselves are preserved, so a witnessed hand recount could be done.

Jim Weber campaigned vigorously the old-fashioned way--talking to people one on one at numerous progressive events week after week in listener areas. Most of the time he managed to turn off his occasionally horrendous hyperbole which is a turn-off to voters but which may explain how he got thousands of internet "hits" while other candidates got hundreds or mere dozens.

About Bensky, he was not informed, until after the fact, of the new election supervisor's new rule forbidding not only staff on-air endorsements but even emails, which new rule is indeed a constitutional violation of the 1st amendment right to free speech right here in the home of the Free Speech Movement. Bensky emailed the local e.s. first asking if there is any problem with a retired programmer sending an endorsement to his own email list, and he never received a reply. Now he is banned from the air for 2 months or more as a "remedy." Regardless of how you feel about him, that "remedy" is AGAINST KPFA'S BEST INTEREST. Worth repeating: "Why are we reprimanding Larry Bensky for giving his opinion to his email list...? [There is NOT a bylaw to restrict the free speech rights of citizens this way. It was a new election supervisor's erroneous decision.] ...these people are hypocrites for wanting to use their kpfa listener-financed candidate mailings to give negative opinions and false information about named individuals while at the same time they move to restrict those people's right to express their opinions. This is just another Gag Rule, leveled again by [certain board members and their supporters] against [some] programmers and support staff of KPFA, extending beyond the FM signal now into people's email accounts as well."

That said, "Get over it" needs to get over the fact that there are many wonderful people who care deeply about kpfa and, though some of them are often misguided, are willing to spend significant time acting in what they see as the station's interest. It is GREAT that people care so much. They are a priceless resource. Instead of bad-mouthing them and suggesting they give up, we need civil dialog to get to a place where we can work together for the goals we all share. There is a lot of common ground, but some on all sides provoke and preoccupy us in quibbling minutiae and name-calling instead of considering the various concerns respectfully. Everyone involved wants a larger listener and subscriber base, a stronger signal, even better programming, etc. We are all progressives and the reason we care so much is that we know the power the network and station hold as a diverse voice for the Left. Some want less music and more public affairs, and music programming may gradually be lessened somewhat but will not be drastically cut because it is a powerful form of communication, too, reaching people in ways that words alone can't, and because even full time activists need nourishing breaks. Eventually there will be enough reasonable people seated on the LSB who are willing to work collaboratively and compromise to achieve the greater good.
About Bensky, he was not informed, until after the fact, of the new election supervisor's new rule forbidding not only staff on-air endorsements but even emails, which new rule is indeed a constitutional violation of the 1st amendment right to free speech right here in the home of the Free Speech Movement.

th: No one has a constitutional right to use a station server to deliver his or her e-mails during an election. Bensky has every right to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants during an election as long as he doesn't use station resourses, the station server!

Bensky emailed the local e.s. first asking if there is any problem with a retired programmer sending an endorsement to his own email list, and he never received a reply.

th: lack of a reply is not permission. Also, did Bensky communicate that he was going to use a station server to send to "his list".?

Now he is banned from the air for 2 months or more as a "remedy." Regardless of how you feel about him, that "remedy" is AGAINST KPFA'S BEST INTEREST. Worth repeating: "Why are we reprimanding Larry Bensky for giving his opinion to his email list...?

th: because he used a station resources to support one group in a listener election and that is not fair and against the rules.

[There is NOT a bylaw to restrict the free speech rights of citizens this way.

th: where were you when the interim PD was telling programmers that they couldn't encourage listeners to attend peace marches?

It was a new election supervisor's erroneous decision.] ...these people are hypocrites for wanting to use their kpfa listener-financed candidate mailings to give negative opinions and false information about named individuals

th: if the truth is negative that is too bad. Then people need to change their behavior. Accusations of false information and yet not one example given???
Typical mudslinging from the status quo that is afraid of the facts and so they never mention them.

while at the same time they move to restrict those people's right to express their opinions.

th: I don't see that at all. Just asking to keep station resourses out of the listener election.

This is just another Gag Rule, leveled again by [certain board members and their supporters] against [some] programmers and support staff of KPFA, extending beyond the FM signal now into people's email accounts as well."

th: why must you distort the truth to make your points? Do you even care about the truth? No one wants to get into people's e-mail accounts. The NES ordered that to make up for Bensky's violation he had to send a balancing message out to the same people he sent his first message. It wouldn't have made up for the Bensky violation, since it would have been sent after many voted if it had been sent right away. It has never been sent.

by creeped out
Monday Dec 10th, 2007 8:06 PM
I think it is creepy of KPFA to tell its programmers what they can and can't communicate in email accounts hosted on their servers. Only the worst corporations pull this kind of crap. Are they going to tell them what words they can and can't verbalize on the phones as well? When I call the on-air studio will the programmer be monitored for what they are saying? How will the foundation police this crazy new rule? Why is a temporary election supervisor making rules like this for Pacifica? What about when a private email between friends at the station surfaces months from now? How will the foundation prove it's authenticity? By going into the server and the private accounts and snooping around for evidence? Impossible to enforce, impossible to defend, creepy and bad for KPFA.
by Sam Soares
Monday Dec 10th, 2007 11:52 PM
I share Sunni's distrust of the legal system but i there might be no alternative to going to court . I am not a member of any slate or committee . But i'm sorry, articles like the one by Carol Spooner convinced me that there are serious problems at the station .
I took the trouble to read the bylaws . They seen clear to me . Siegel and Bensky did violate the election rules in a blatant way .
i do not what to see a new election . I understand there's another option . That if the election supervisor refuses to santion the election results the current board would remain intact for another two years .
Might that not be a fair alternative ? The Concerned Listeners would still have a majority . But the peoples radio people wouldn't lose as much ground if this very controversial election stands . Messy and imperfect , no doubt . I think either a deal like this needs to be cut or court it will be !
by programmer
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 1:32 AM
how about this: you let the people who work at the station in on the conversation. You don't push for the censorship of hosts or directors or anyone! That would be "Free Speech." and then you can run campaigns based on your own merits and experience and intentions.. eh? rather than attack people who cannot debate or defend themselves because of a gag rule that you pushed for!
by election watcher
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 1:40 AM
I'll buy that lack of promotion should be maximized and ballot mailing snafus minimized, but I hardly think that either of these un-surprising problems could not be ironed out without bringing costly legal action against the station. Lets not forget that these elections are new to Pacifica, and an organization learns with time and practice just like a person. I think it is good for a committee to be formed, documentation to be gathered for next time, policy to be clarified and refined for next time, and that's all the above signatories are pledging to do in the above statement. I think those that are suggesting legal action are misguided or perhaps ill-meaning, because this stuff above doesn't warrant that kind of response, especially if you take out the part about the organization not doing a good enough job censoring its staff and director in their online communications, which is just silly given Pacifica's mission!
by election watcher
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 1:43 AM
I meant promotion should be maximized or increased, so that there is more promotion if that is the problem (not that the Lack of promotion be maximized!)
by Brendan
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 9:32 AM
Much as been said (falsely ) about how the democratic opposition dislikes the staff, disrespects their hard work etc. Of course one can search the websites of the I team, Voices of Justice , or Peoples Radio and find nothing remotely like that .
But hey . why let the facts get in the way of a good smear ?
But aside from all that , the staff is not monolithic . Miguel Molina , Nora Barrows- Friedman , Dennis Bernstein, Bonnie Faulkner, J.R., Lisa Detmer and all of the '' Voices of the Middle East and North Africa '' staffers are opposed to the Lilly/Riggio/Malderi/Edwards-Tiegert clique .
There are also quite a few other staffers that , while not openly opposed to mgmt. are certainly not hostile to those fighting for a far better KPFA .
So there is a ''Other staff ''.
by Truly Independent
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 10:08 AM
I'm truly independent .I voted for Medrano,Enriquez,and Hallinan,Wanzala,Rosenberg, Heller, Woods, Rivera and Conley . (not in that order ) Why? Because i think both sides have good points and talented, dedicated people .
I want a ceasefire . The best way for that to happen is by a negoitated settlement . There must be a group of mutually respected, trusted leftists, radicals , progressives , who could broker a agreement about this election . If they can't be found here on Northern Cal maybe they could be recruited in Chicago or somewhere and flown in ,
Soemthing needs to be done . Negotiate dammit!
by watcher
Tuesday Dec 11th, 2007 11:05 AM
> The evidence is strong that the so called ''problems ' were deliberate . That the KPFA Mgmt . worked with their allies of the '' Concerned Listeners'' to sabotage a fair election process

What is this "strong" evidence? This allegation was leveled at Concerned Listeners in the ballot about last year's election again without a shred of supporting argument. Are you saying that because someone on staff has a family member in Concerned Listeners that constitutes sabotage? That is the only thing you have to back up your allegation of 'strong evidence'? Where is the sabotage? Anyone is free to mail a postcard. If the evidence were "strong" then where is it? Why do people keep saying there is evidence and then throwing out nonsense like someone is friends with or related to someone else? that alone does not constitute sabotage!
by Missing In Action
Wednesday Dec 12th, 2007 10:38 AM
It is interesting that while Flashpoints can spend hours and hours on the rigging of elections in
Florida and many other places around the world, it is conspicuously silent when it comes to the rigging
of the KPFA elections. Their failure to sign on to a statement raising issues of how the election
process was violated and organized to prevent democracy raises questions about the integrity
of this show's staff. Where do they stand on the flagrant violations of democratic procedures right
here at KPFA or are they only interested in their own show?
by listener
Wednesday Dec 12th, 2007 11:12 AM
probably because no one has brought forward ANY "FLAGRANT" violations, maybe Flashpoints is too busy doing actual work in the world to worry about the hyperbolic exaggerated claims flying around this little radio station election. Maybe they can smell BS when they see it. Maybe they stand for free speech and are not going to take a position that would support CENSORSHIP and GAG RULES for themselves and others. Raising "questions about their integrity" because they haven't had the time or inclination to get involved with your particular pet issue? ridiculous.
by Staffer in the know
Wednesday Dec 12th, 2007 3:27 PM
The Flashpoints staff haven't signed the open letter only due to people being out of town , oversight in them being contacted and other technical reasons . Not in agreement ? Are you nuts ? If they would to publish a Open Letter it would make the PeoplesRadio/I team/Voices for justice commentary seem tame and very mild in comparison .
by Staffer In The Know
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 4:37 AM
Now that the Flashpoints team is aware of the rigged election and the statement has been posted
publicly on the internet, I hope they can get on the ball and sign the statement and encourage
their supporters to sign the public statement for fair elections. It is time that all those staffers at
KPFA and Pacifica get off the fence and go public about what is going on in the station.
by Recent observer
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 8:56 AM
"and the election supervisors decisions to allow unfounded attacks in the ballot and then to ban Bensky are an abomination of democracy."

Recent Observer: All this talk about "unfounded attacks" And yet all they seem to be are unsupported alligations. In politics isn't it appropriate to bring up candidates records and the records of who they are supporting? It seems to me accountability is something the current station management wants to avoid at all costs. Why is it that defenders of the this anti-accountibility management and CL slate never give any real examples of these so-called attacks? To me it looks like they are afraid of the truth. Why are none of the station management supporters willing to debate Phelps and embarrass him in public if he is so wrong on all the issues discussed on indy and that will prove who is right and shut him up if he is wrong? Wouldn't that be in the Pacifica tradition?
by Laughing even harder now
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 9:21 AM
Oh, all the elections supervisor allowed in the ballot was unsupported allegations. My bad. That's much more fair than unfounded attacks. Are you for real?
by Recent Observer
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 10:10 AM
Oh, all the elections supervisor allowed in the ballot was unsupported allegations. My bad. That's much more fair than unfounded attacks. Are you for real?

Recent Observer: So please point out one allegation in the election materials that is not true? I would like to know what you really base you points on.
by Laughing at you, joke
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 10:45 AM
Here's one example of unsupported allegation:

In their joint statement, People's Radio claims that an email from a single person is "powerful evidence" of a group at KPFA subverting the will of the listeners.

The email in question (and let's never mind the sinister means by which People's Radio invaded the privacy of the sender and recipients) proposes that the LSB, which voted 5 to 20 against dismissing a general manager who had sexually harassed several female employees, should be called to task for this decision. Within the by-laws, it would be the responsibility of KPFA to bring the opposing board members to task for this horrible decision by waging a recall election, thereby 'dismantling' the sitting board, which were evidently 80% apologists for sexual predation.

The email is "powerful evidence" of a group at KPFA UPHOLDING the will of the listeners.
by micron
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 12:46 PM
Another unsupported allegation is that Concerned Listeners rigged the 2006 election. They straight up say that in the ballot and don't say anything else as to the how they know this or what happened or what was reported. All they've said to support this on indyBay is that the slate was "set up" by staff or that they are friends or related to staffers. That alone does not support allegations of "cheating" and "rigging."