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KPFA Interim Manager Ahmad Anderson Allows CL Old Guard To Run Rampant At Station
by repost
Wednesday May 5th, 2010 5:14 PM
The new interim manager brought in to run KPFA by Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt has allowed the CL supporter to run roughshod at the station. The old management group is still running the station despite the "new faces" at the top.

We have had enough. We can no longer be silent about, or allow ourselves to be identified in anyway, with the rampant corruption that now lives inside KPFA. The old manager is gone, but the people who used her as a human shield, to get everything they wanted, including getting rid of Flashpoints, and divvying up its budget, are still inside and still calling the shots. (Why do you suppose these KPFA insiders apparently fought harder to have the former manager returned to power, than for union workers, like Nora Barrow Friedman, who were slashed and burned in full violation of the union contract.) Vigilantism rules inside kpfa. We have already seen too many of our trusted colleagues and friends, scapegoated, degraded and demonized on a daily basis, by a bevy of conniving dissemblers, who will do anything, and say anything to flatten their opposition and sustain their power and control of KPFA. Now the vigilantes have run Nora Barrows Friedman out of the station, and I assure you, if they have their way—and they always do—Flashpoints will disappear altogether, and soon! We are calling for a series of KPFA town meetings, in which we really open the doors of the station to the community and to the listeners, in order to listen to, and hear what they have to say about what’s working and what’s not at LISTENER-SPONSERED KPFA. We call out to the board, programmers, and listeners, to help us make this happen: It is time once again to welcome and utilize the advice and deep imput of the true stewards of Pacifica and KPFA, the people!!

In Struggle, Dennis Bernstein Executive Producer, Flashpoints…
Migel Gavilan Molina, Flashpoints Roving producer, Flashpoints in Espanol,
Executive Producer, La Onda Bajita
by maggie
Thursday May 6th, 2010 3:02 PM
What happened to NORA? Her hours were halved in violation of a union contract that gives seniority preference. What happened? Where is the union? And isn't the next sentence supposed to be, "I will see you in court?"
by bsmeter
Thursday May 6th, 2010 6:41 PM
Was Flashpoints even bringing in enough pledge support to break even? Shouldn't a keystone program like FP, on for YEARS at the peak of drive time make more than it's own budget to help pull the weight for the rest of the station? Let's hit "pause" on the silly name-calling for just a minute and ask if Flashpoints is still as relevant to the listeners as it claims to be.
by kpfasponsor
Saturday May 8th, 2010 1:16 PM
Flashpoints bills itself as an "investigative" radio news magazine. Since when did anyone at the show ever investigate anything? Calling the usual suspects for the usual dogmatic lefty analysis does not make for "investigative journalism". I find Dennis insufferable as a host, and the radical posturing seems dated and counterproductive. Now he's apparently attacking everyone and their mother at KPFA. This is ugly, folks.
by Akio Tanaka
Sunday May 9th, 2010 11:25 AM
To the American public traumatized by the Bush Presidency, corporate America poured enormous amount of money to tout a African American man, Barack Obama, as the candidate of ‘Hope and Change’; however, once in office, President Obama kept Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in charge of the Military Industrial Complex and kept Bush’s Federal Reserve Chairman, Fred Bernanke, in charge of the Nation Banking System.

Everyone at KPFA was caught up in the Obama hype except for Dennis. While Flashpoints did investigative reports into Penny Pritzker, Obama's campaign finance chairman, which foretold what was to come, the KPFA news department launched ‘Letters from Washington: First 100 Days’, expecting another FDR.

Dennis might be at times insufferable to some but at least he is not a dupe.

"The new interim manager brought in to run KPFA by Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt has allowed the CL supporter to run roughshod at the station. The old management group is still running the station despite the "new faces" at the top."

Partly right, despite their unsuccessful campaign to retain former GM Lemlem Rijio, the old guard remains in control. But to understand the Flashpoints producers' sense of siege and crisis, and their appeal, we need more background info and explanation than simply blaming the Pacifica ED and appointed interim GM. And the posters, "bsmeter" and "kpfasponsor," who don't have the guts or conviction to use their names as they dismiss the language and content of Dennis' and Miguel's appeal as "silly name-calling," "hotair," "attacking everyone and their mother at KPFA" and "ugly," need to get the facts straight and learn some recent "peoples history" of the station.

The power clique and their loyalist gang have been "running roughshod at the station" for a long time. The senior "core staff" and department heads think they are KPFA and are used to running the station as they please. A GM has to be selected from their ranks or the station becomes a "management free zone:" outsiders selected through the by-laws process, notably Roy Campanella Jr. and former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, were rejected, sabotaged, harassed and forced out. The current situation seems similar with an outsider interim appointment, although I understand Anderson did intervene and met with staff to contain continued campaigning and acting out over the Rijio separation initiated by the Local Station Board (LSB).

Talk about getting ugly: While some staff "vigilantes" were indeed attacking and smearing Campanella in 2005 (over charges that the LSB investigated and found unsubstantiated) with a pirate website, wanted posters all over the station/windows, etc., they took advantage of their state of disorder to extend the attack and threats to Flashpoints staff, including pieces of toast in their mail slots, and for Nora Barrows-Friedman, a torn picture of her and her child.

Under the Rijio-CL management regime, the program and staff were subjected to continuous harassment, intimidation, censorship and the show was targeted for slow death through drastic, disproportionate budget cuts, including elimination of the Knight Report with Robert Knight, layoff of technical staff; and reduction of producer/reporter Nora Barrows-Friedman to part time hours, (as reported extensively; At the January LSB meeting, in public comment (preceding the closed confidential session and reported/speculated vote to initiate Rijio's termination), staff and listeners complained that recent staffing cuts, especially effecting "Flashpoints," were inequitable and disruptive to community based programming. Talented, dedicated and respected, Nora was in line to succeed Bernstein as Flashpoints Executive Producer but is effectively forced to leave KPFA this month.

As I wrote in a related article, "KPFA Workers & Community Step Up, Manager "Resign"

"The ending of the Rijio-Concerned Listeners management regime was accomplished through a succession and eventual convergence of political forces, factors, events and democratic process….The GM supporters' contra-campaign was unsuccessful and ….lacking in facts and substance."

"However, in the interim management period and resulting "management free zone" at the station, the senior "core staff" cabal remains in control, and the damages and consequences of former management's policies, decisions and actions are ongoing. The "Flashpoints" program and staff are especially vulnerable, still being attacked and squeezed; the producers are appealing for community support and "KPFA town meetings" at the station. Stay tuned as the struggle for democracy and collaborative, accountable management continues; the next battles will be the 2010 Board election and for the survival or revival of community programs, staff and effective representative institutions targeted by the former management and power clique, including "Flashpoints," the Program Council and LSB/committees."
by bsmeter
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 2:31 PM
Was Flashpoints even bringing in enough pledge support to break even?
As listener members we should but probably don't have easy if any access to figures on expenses and pledge support by program; we could request that info through the GM or LSB and see what happens - in fact, some people responding to the "Flashpoints" producers' appeal have proposed locating and reviewing data on different program budget/production costs and budget cuts.

But my understanding has always been that Flashpoints has a substantial community and listener base and bought in more than it's share of revenue. Given the intense hostile working environment and enmity of former management, the controlling clique and Zionists, the program's survival to this point or at least until recent years, like "Guns and Butter," can only be explained by it's fund raising capacity.

By the same logic it may be that management is lately able to justify staff reductions by recent trends of declining program revenue, which of course applies to most programs during the recession and the general loss of listener support that I discuss in the KPFA article (linked in my comment above), but also the lack of internal support and active management-staff harassment, censorship and subversion likely has negatively effected the programmers' ability to maintain former revenue levels. Dennis has written about this problem in other items posted on indybay.

However, community support - and resistance to the budget cuts and attacks on the program staff - continues and will grow when more listeners realize Nora is being forced out. I do know that during the last fund drive the phone room was packed with volunteers from 4-6 PM. The program is community based in content, coverage, guest contributors and support, including prominent local/national progressive leaders, intellectuals and journalists; and broadcasts weekly live segments from a community site and In Espanol.

As former SF Chronicle reporter and KPFA LSB listener rep, Henry Norr says in his article "Cuts to KPFA's Flashpoints Spark Outrage"

"….To the surviving staff, the cuts amount to a deliberate attempt to destroy the show. "There is no way we can survive at this [reduced] level," Barrows-Friedman wrote on her Facebook page."

"That prospect has sparked deep concern among Flashpoint's intensely loyal listeners, who value the show for its outspoken radicalism - so different from the NPR-like tone of pseudo-objectivity maintained on most of KPFA's news and public-affairs programming - and its focus on reporting the grassroots realities in hard-pressed communities rarely heard from in most of our media - Palestine above all (including Barrows-Friedman's moving reports from her frequent trips to Gaza and the West Bank), but also Haiti, New Orleans, immigrant and native American communities, and recently Honduras."

"As word of the cutbacks spread, protest flared…"
by bsmeter
Thursday May 13th, 2010 10:49 PM
One can have the impression that a show is more successful with listeners than it really is. It would be a more impressive argument if these beliefs were substantiated with verifiable facts. I'm just sayin'

If the community support for Flashpoints is as strong as you say it is, why not just spin it off as an independent production a la Democracy Now!?

"As word of the cutbacks spread, protest flared…"

And the money will come from where? If the FP team has better management skills than the 'entrenched, CL, zionist' whatevers, then they ought to take a shot at raising and managing their own funds for maximum benefit to the program and its listeners, verdad?

by Richard Phelps
Thursday May 13th, 2010 11:20 PM
I know I am not the only one that is tired of all the negative BS from anonymous people who take cheap shots without the courage to be accountable for what they post.
by proudly anonymous
Friday May 14th, 2010 3:05 PM
Phelps is accusing people of going negative? Really? He's done nothing but bash people he doesn't agree with for years now. And yes I'm going to remain anonymous because I don't want all kinds of half-witted slogans and lies put all over the internet with my name attached to them. Phelps, and a handful of other obsessed listener activist types, have no room to accuse anyone of being negative.
by Anonymous
Friday May 14th, 2010 9:28 PM
Anonymity is the second to last refuge of a scoundrel.
by bsmeter
Saturday May 15th, 2010 5:09 PM
"I know I am not the only one that is tired of all the negative BS from anonymous people.."

Maybe Mr. Phelps IS the only one. But he seems to be claiming the high ground by suggesting that he has enough like-minded supporters to dismiss critical questioning with wave of a hand.

IMHO, here's why some folks exercise the "anonymous option" here on indybay:

They want to participate and have something to say, but they simply do not trust some so-called community activists to play fair. They may suspect that no matter how civil their own behavior, they may be dragged into one of the slanderous knife fights that can ensue around KPFA topics.

Meanwhile, some posters here have much to gain by posting their names, a kind of I've-been-arrested-radical-cred that confers a certain kind of status in some circles. But even Mr. Phelps may well understand the privacy risks of the Internet -- his Facebook privacy filters are set at 100% "shields up."
It is comments like I have been "bashing people" from anonymous ones that offend. I write political criticisms and have facts to support my positions. When people can't handle the truth of their unprincipled behavior being exposed they anonymously attack, bash, slander etc. I have been willing to debate any of these issues in public so that people can hear for themselves and decide, and the CLers and their allies and the anonymous attackers, often the same, are all afraid to step up and be accountable for the things they say and do. How does that behavior square with the Pacifica Mission or building a more just society?
Some folks here would rather make this discussion about themselves (whoever they are) and their right to post anonymously rather than the causes and issues of the posted Flashpoints statement. I may've contributed to the distraction in a previous comment, so I'll respond:

While there may be some good reasons and situations for posting anonymously on KPFA/Pacifica issues (including protection against retaliation for being critical of station management or supporting staff/programs on the power clique's hit list), the rationales laid out by bsmeter and "proudly anonymous" register at a high level on my BS meter. While they claim innocence and integrity - "no matter how civil their own behavior" - and choose to withhold names because they refuse to get into a "slanderous knife fight" or be attached to "half-witted slogans and lies put all over the internet," who is actually being negative, attacking and using knives, slogans and lies, as well as distraction and confusion, in this and other exchanges about KPFA? Which set of comments are substantially concerned, informed, positive and on-topic and which are mostly biting and dismissive? Check and compare the tone, content and relevance of the posts by maggie (former KPFA News volunteer), Akio Tanaka (LSB member/Secretary), Richard Phelps (former LSB member/Chair) and myself (former LSB candidate) with the comments of the Flashpoints critics and "proudly anonymous" (whoever they are?), such as "hot air," "ugly" and other disparaging remarks (quoted above and in my comment of May 10), also the following: "…when did anyone at the show ever investigate anything?"; "…usual suspects for the usual dogmatic lefty analysis," "Dennis insufferable as a host," "the radical posturing seems dated and counterproductive," "He's done nothing but bash people," "Phelps, and a handful of other obsessed listener activist types," and "a kind of I've-been-arrested-radical-cred that confers a certain kind of status…" These guys can't keep the knives in their kitchens or pockets.

Serious staff and listener activists, in the independent opposition groups and some of the current independent Board members, aren't always angels or perfect in this respect, but they've been writing and campaigning critically and constructively for years to inform and support the Pacifica democracy movement and democratic institutions and progressive community based programming. People can make their own judgements about their integrity, truthfulness and positive intentions and objections by checking my recent KPFA piece with links to other articles, commentaries, statements and perspectives from the different staff and listener independent opposition groups/members, including current and former LSB Chairs Anthony Fest and Phelps

While I can appreciate or excuse some individuals' preference and need for concealing identity on Indybay and elsewhere, I generally feel it's annoying, often deceptive, and as Richard notes, allows BS and cheap shots without accountability. Further, I think there's a downside that applies particularly to discussion of KPFA issues: anonymity can also provide cover for KPFA old guard or AIPAC/other lobby trolls assigned to monitor, confuse and distract discussion of KPFA/Flashpoints issues. Since they won't identify, we don't know if "bsmeter" and others are commenting as partly informed, skeptical listeners or perhaps doing damage control, spin and pushing talking points for friends at the station who are trying to discredit and banish the Flashpoints staff. Sure, the right to free speech and practical considerations in a totalitarian, repressive state or environment may include being silent and writing anonymously or under an pseudonym, but the bottom line and the point here is that people who use that right or option as a pretense and cover to unfairly, inaccurately dismiss, attack and smear others have little if any heart or integrity and less than zero credibility. We don't live in a free or just society, but as Richard notes, Pacifica and progressives supposedly aspire to build one, and in terms of the belief and practice of free speech, especially when talking about our community "Free Speech Radio," that means stepping up to the plate, speaking up and standing behind what we know or believe is true, what is so for each of us. I like the ironic, humorous Mark Twain reference from "ashamed to be anonymous," but the flip side of that message is: don't be ashamed, just be yourself.

At least bsmeter deserves some respect and answers for continuing a dialogue on the Flashpoints subject, but also notice how he/she sticks to repetitive points and questioning Flashpoints fundraising value and commercial success - and now even the staff's fiscal management skills and option to leave KPFA and go independent "a la Democracy Now!" (see "Really?" comment above) - rather than recognizing their unique talent/skills, long term dedication and contributions as community radio journalists (Nora, Dennis, Miguel, Robert, JR, Francisco et. al), or addressing the issues raised by the producers' community appeal and the background information I provided to explain/justify the basis and language of that appeal (see previous comment). Is it reasonable or relevant to the issue to expect the few remaining radical investigative reporters and programmers at KPFA to also be great managers with financial expertise and entrepreneurial initiative?

The idea of Flashpoints following the example of Democracy Now!, as an ultimate remedy for dealing with vigilantism and a hostile working environment, is an interesting one that we could think about and discuss at length. Considering their outrageous treatment by the KPFA management/power clique regime and the partial parallel to the Democracy Now! experience and exile from WBAI, the Flashpoints team itself has probably thought about it, and may be forced to go there eventually. But like myself and other listeners, they would probably have mixed feelings about quitting or contracting with KPFA/Pacifica. Despite the overall multi-media success, progressive outreach and fundraising benefit of Democracy Now!, it's autonomous status and contractual arrangement aren't universally beloved. Some folks may recall the range of reactions to the interim PNB announcement of the contract. But again that's another subject, including information and input from people who are more knowledgeable about the contract pros and cons. For now many of us are pulling for demonstrations of community support to save and restore Flashpoints where it began and belongs within KPFA/Pacifica.

Now, a little more on bsmeter's follow up question "Really?" about the Flashpoints program's success and revenue productivity. In my prior comment I noted that program supporters agree on the preferred (but questionable) availability of verified program budget/expense/income data, that could be used, in addition to community radio standards and values, to evaluate and compare public affairs programs and make budget/staffing decisions. We'd like to locate that information and the actual staffing reduction numbers by programs to check management's claim of uniform, equitable across the board percentage cuts vs. the Flashpoints producers' claim of drastic, disproportionate cuts. Until that's made public or accessible for review, and given the politics and peoples history I summarized - as well as the undisputed extent and facts of the Flashpoints layoffs and cutbacks, including slashing the Knight Report, other program content and Nora's paid hours (beyond her means to continue her position and work), compared to the known favored, relative hands off treatment of The Morning Show, News and Music departments; and the recent addition of the "Letters to Washington" program (aka Letters from the DNC) - I think we have every reason to believe and support Dennis and Miguel's statements. Further, in the absence of the hard financial data, and despite the skeptical reaction, I've also noted several significant indicators of the program's recognized community value, contributions and support and past fund drive productivity (see previous comment).
by bsmeter
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 3:25 PM
When Dennis and others write about the "old guard," one has to wonder, as he's worked at KPFA for 21 years, which old guard are we talking about? Rumor has it that FP has always been deeply connected to its own benefactor/power base and to question anything about it was to touch the third-rail of KPFA politics. But hey, I'll admit, maybe that's just a rumor.

Let's just accept as a given that FP serves a key role as part of Pacifica's overall mission. Having said that, does FP need 5 hours per week to do it's best and most effective work? Maybe 30 minutes each day would be more than enough to do some really hard-hitting stories. No one denies Flashpoints' strengths. It's the weaknesses that need to be looked at so that the program and KPFA don't sink together.

Me? I'm a longtime listener/supporter, not part of what DB colorfully called at the beginning of this thread, a "a bevy of conniving dissemblers."

Monday May 24th, 2010 10:15 PM
I remenber years ago when rainbow grocery, the self proclame center of progressive shoping where everyone is very cool refuse for greed reason to boycot israel because they did not want for progressive Greed alienate their rich racist zionist customer base.Thats the day i never shopped again in this store. Its seems the cl are ready to take out fp in exchange for the rich zionist contributor money. I always though kpfa standed for independance progressive voice of the oppressed . For this very resaon they refuse corporate money . but they will take zionist money and seems ready to get ride of FP for this purpose. I feel a contradiction here . I beleive the cl are fake with no intellectuel honesty . the false voice of dissent . THE LIARS AND THUGS HIDEN BEHIND AN INSTITUTION DEVOTED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMANITY. I WILL END UP WITH THIS BEAUTIFULL WORD SAID BY JOHN TRUDELL IN 1980 .We do not want to make the trade...we must be willing in our lifetime to deal with reality. It's not revolution; it's liberation. We want to be free of a value system that's being imposed upon us. We do not want to participate in that value system. We don't want change in the value system. We want to remove it from our lives forever...We have to assume our responsibilities as power, as individuals, as spirit, as people...
We are the people. We have the potential for power. We must not fool ourselves. We must not mislead ourselves. It takes more than good intentions. It takes commitment. It takes recognizing that at some point in our lives we are going to have to decide that we have a way of life that we follow, and we are going to have to live that way of life...That is the only solution there is for us.
by bsmeter
Sunday Jun 6th, 2010 9:27 AM
"Its seems the cl are ready to take out fp in exchange for the rich zionist contributor money."

THAT's a leap! :-/