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KPFA Local Station Board Elections: Vote to Save Progressive Radio
by Aaron Glantz
Friday Sep 17th, 2010 6:21 PM
The battle here isn't between left and right. It's been competent, professional journalists who know how to dig up dirt and hold government and corporations accountable and a small group of gadflies who think following journalism ethics and protecting labor rights somehow constitute selling out.
I've always tried to avoid writing about the internal politics of KPFA Radio. There are so many big issues that I'd rather spend my time covering - the wars, the economy, the November elections to name a few. But right now, KPFA is at a critical moment and I couldn't stay silent.

The station's board of directors is up for election this month and it's critically important that one slate of candidates prevail if the station is to remain relevant.

The battle here isn't between left and right. It's been competent, professional journalists who know how to dig up dirt and hold government and corporations accountable and a small group of gadflies who think following journalism ethics and protecting labor rights somehow constitute selling out.

One slate, Save KPFA, is made up of prominent academics, attorneys, labor and community advocates who understand how to get things done.

They understand that it takes experienced, professional journalists to break the big stories. They support important new programs like Letters to Washington, where host Mitch Jeserich breaks news on a daily basis. They supported the Winter Soldier broadcasts I hosted where dozens of veterans stepped forward and testified about atrocities they personally committed or witnessed while deployed overseas. And they support the hard work that KPFA's News Department does day in and day out to bring the best local, state, national and international information that you can get anywhere on the dial.

The candidates running under the banner of Save KPFA want to keep the station true to its founding goal of investigating the causes of conflict between people and nations, and to reach a broad audience--not by watering down its radical message, but by making well-crafted and intelligent programming that doesn't condescend to the listener. They believe that they can serve the station's mission, raise revenue, and weather hard times by producing smart programming for an expanding audience.

On the other side, are those who believe that "professionalism" is a dirty word. In a time when one expects to hear calls for austerity from the right, not the left, this group thinks that the unionized paid staff of the station should be dispensed with and replaced by a station of volunteers. If one were wondering what sort of content such a station might broadcast, these folks strongly support conspiracy programming, which they seem to forget is the province of the far right. (Their allies in the network have suggested that Amy Goodman, host of the award-winning Democracy Now!, is taking CIA money to cover up the "truth" about 9/11 and have been vigorously promoting the snake oil of various hucksters as a way of raising revenue for the stations).

It's not hyperbole to say that the future of this venerable and history-making institution hangs in the balance. Whichever side wins this election will determine whether KPFA will continue to put resources into high quality programming like Winter Soldier or whether it will go the way of the rest of the media towards gutted and lackluster programming, mass lay offs, and busted unions. If you're a KPFA subscriber, I strongly encourage you to vote for the ten SaveKPFA candidates for the Local Station Board: Matthew Hallinan, Dave Saldana, Tanya Russell, Margy Wilkinson, Mark Hernandez, Suzi Goldmacher, Terry Doran, Mal Burnstein, Jack Kurzweil, and Don Goldmacher.

Voting continues until September 30. You can find out more information on the SaveKPFA slate at The website of the competing slate, the Independents for Community Radio, is at

Aaron Glantz is the author of "The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans"

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Stop Thug Hallinan Gang
Friday Sep 17th, 2010 7:50 PM
From the reactionary drivel about professionalism, which is always anti-labor by definition, to the attack on the shining star of the peace movement, the 9/11 Truth Movement, Aaron Glantz has shown his true reactionary colors in supporting the Thug Hallinan Gang. The one slate you SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR IS THE GANG WITH THE STOLEN NAME, SAVE KPFA formerly known as Concerned Listeners and better known as the Thug Hallinan Gang.

Here is the history of the violence perpetrated by this Gang:

Please consider Voices for Justice Radio and Independents for Community Radio, and all the young people not affiliated with any slate.

For all the candidate statements, see:

You can hear the candidates on air or meet them off air as follows:
You can meet the candidates at the following forums or hear them on KPFA:
For transit info or carpool to any forum call 510.332.7181 or email les_kpfa [at]

Sunday, Sept. 19 2-5 p.m. Sonoma Peace and Justice Center 467 Sebastapol Ave, Santa Rosa

Monday, September 20th 6:30-9pm Richmond Public LibraryCommunity Room/patio325 Civic Center Plaza (at MacDonald ) Richmond lots of parking co-sponsored byRichmond Progressive Alliance

Thursday, September 23 at 7 p.m. San Jose Peace & Justice Center, 48 South 7th St. San Jose, CA

O N A I R F O R U M S:
Third and Final Round:
Monday Sept. 27th: 8-10pm
Tuesday Sept. 28th: 8-10pm
Wednesday Sept.29: 8-10pm

AT LEAST 10% of 20,000 must vote to make the election valid; all KPFA listener-subscribers are educated enough to vote so please do so soon.
From: Peter Phillips
To: project-censored-L@xxxxxxxxx
Sent: Fri, August 27, 2010 6:12:02 PM
Subject: [Project-Censored-L] KPFA Election

KPFA Radio, the Northern California radio station that pioneered the idea of listener-sponsored community radio in 1949, is having board elections. Here is what at stake and what KPFA subscribers need to know.

At the heart of Pacifica's struggles and that of much of progressive media, is a split between two visions. The first calls for more professionalism, mainstreaming, providing a progressive alternative that is comfortable and not too challenging. Known by many names in the past, including the Healthy Station Project, it is represented in this election by the candidate group called “Save KPFA”, formerly “Concerned Listeners”.

The second, closer in spirit to the WWII pacifism of founder Lew Hill, seeks to feature radical voices ahead of their times, uncomfortable and challenging points of view, perspectives that are rarely if ever heard in media, and directly connect with communities that are the most deeply impacted by social and economic injustice, here and around the world. This point of view is represented by “Independents for Community Radio (ICR)”.

I am personally endorsing Independents for Community Radio. Visit their important website at

Your vote will make a real difference to help make KPFA a place where news will be covered that won't be covered anywhere else.

Independents for Community Radio-affiliated candidates:

Stephen Astourian Ph.D - Professor of History UC Berkeley, Chair of Armenian Studies

Cynthia Johnson - Chair, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee

Monadel Herzallah - President/Founder of the Arab American Union Members Council

Gina Szeto - Director of Worker’s Rights Clinic, Boalt School of Law, executive editor of the Asian-American Law Journal

Tracy Rosenberg - Executive Director, Media Alliance

Kate Tanaka- Green Party of Alameda County, land-use (Oak-to-Ninth) and anti-corporate activist

Hyun-Mi Kim – Immigrant rights organizer

Janet Kobren – Gaza Freedom Flotilla survivor

Georgia Frazier- Former VP, American Women in Radio and Television, Goldman School of Public Policy - UC Berkeley

Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Professor Sociology—Sonoma State University
President—Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored
Daily News at:
Validated News & Research at:
Daily Censored Blog at:
Project Censored:
Daily News in Spanish:
by Akio Tanaka
Friday Sep 17th, 2010 9:55 PM
The website for Independents for Community Radio is at

by Viva National Union of Health Care Workers
Friday Sep 17th, 2010 10:25 PM
I will split my vote between the Indys and the Voice for Justice . The Concerned Listeners mob have shown that they want to turn Pacifica into a Mainstream Liberal mouthpiece where true radicals need not apply .
But i will defintely will not vote for at least one Indy Candidate . Monadel Herzalleh is one of the SEIU International guys working to destroy the New National Union of Health Care Workers . The election concerning who will represent tens of Thousands of Kaiser workers is one of the most important in Labor history . Monadel Herzalleh is on the wrong side of this historic battle . The Indy Slate screwed up badly in signing up Herzalleh .
Media democracy and Union democracy go hand in hand . Hopefully both the Concerned Listeners and the SEIU Tops will go down in flames soon .
PS Aaron Glantz knows that what he wrote is bullshit . But he obviously doesn't give a shit about the truth .
by Daniel Borgström
Friday Sep 17th, 2010 10:51 PM

Dear Aaron Glantz

As a professional journalist, you might take a closer look at the people you're endorsing. Consider the Nadra Foster incident, or the $375,000 check that got left in the drawer. Those are symptoms of very UNPROFESSIONAL management.

Another symptom. Consider the board meeting on March 7th, when the former chair from the slate you're endorsing advanced on the new chair in a threatening manner, shouting at her, clearly an attempt at physical intimidation. I was there and wrote an account. But you don't have to take my word for it. There's an audio, and also a video. And you might interview the chair, ask her about the experience.

It was quite a day. Less than 2 hours later at that same meeting, another luminary from that same illustrious group tried to pick a fist fight. That too is on video. All of that was in front of about 40 people, myself included.

I've been attending KPFA's LSB meetings as a listener-member for five years, and while the CL/saveKPFA's actions on that day went beyond their norm, what I typically have seen is serial filibustering, an endless use of parliamentary tactics to waste time and render the board dysfunctional.

The CL/saveKPFA people have a sorry record. But my real problem isn't just with their bad manners--it's that they front for a small clique of station staff & management who have run KPFA into the ground. The CL/mgmt handling of station finances has brought KPFA to the brink of collapse.

But here again, you don't have to take my word on this. Just go around and ask a few questions. Then, see if you still care to endorse them, or even call them "professionals."

Daniel Borgström

by repost
Saturday Sep 18th, 2010 1:05 AM
There are two meaning of the word "professional" One is to do a good, thorough, skilled job at what one is trying to accomplish. No one is arguing that that kind of professionalism is good. The other is to create an elite who are accorded special privileges by the society they set themselves apart from. That has not helped journalism to thrive. The use of the word professional to drive a wedge between those who try to make a livelihood in communication and those who are simply expressing their human right to make their voice heard, is pernicious.

KPFA is too full of the latter - as is much of public media.

From medi-ocracy - and Chicago Media Action

Elite Governance or Community Control of Public Media - Which Will It Be?

Based upon comments delivered on June 24, 2010 at the U.S. Social Forum workshop, “Control of Public Media as a Social Justice Issue: Lessons from the U.S. and Latin America”. (Published at

We must first understand that the U.S. public media system has been purposefully and severely handicapped by the professional culture of journalism, and by corporate and government powers, and philanthropies, from the beginning. Only with this knowledge can we discover that the primary solution to this problem is not simply more money and technology for public media but rather the direct, democratic, community control of public media. Only with this knowledge can we take action to create a public media system that enables marginalized groups to speak to themselves and to wider audiences.

The ideal public service media system would be nonprofit, noncommercial, accountable and independent, available on multiple platforms, and require ubiquitous broadband and internet freedom. It would include public, educational and government access, community and low power radio, other community media centers, and community print and text, and have public and community media working together in new ways. Those who have historically subjugated U.S. public media have something else planned for us however.

Professional control, corporate control, government control, and philanthropic control over public media in the U.S. together have created a system of social control and not one of social justice. I will offer governance models as solutions that I want you to keep in mind. I’ll focus on activism aimed at achieving community control over public media during two eras, 1920-1960 and 1960-present, and then upon today’s situation.

It is important to understand that by the time commercial radio gained dominance in the 1930s, journalists and publishers had won widespread acceptance of professional norms over independent news models. The journalists’ and publishers’ culture of “detached” “science” “without ideology” determined they would control media for generations.

It is crucial to recognize the racism in professional culture of the 1920’s and 30’s. Lagemann says the trustees of the Carnegie Corporation worried about and financed eugenics projects intended to help preserve the racial purity of American Society. They were convinced of the superiority of the white Anglo-Saxon “race” and were determined to preserve this nowhere more than in the “public profession of the law”. This is the same foundation that helped shape U.S. media at every key step and whose 1967 report led to the creation of U.S. public broadcasting.

The 1927 Radio Act created the Federal Radio Commission, which shoved educational stations around the dial as a cop would a vagrant, and slashed their power allotments. 128 educational stations in 1925 fell to 48 in 1930. Those left got daytime hours only.

NBC parent RCA, and CBS, in collusion with the Carnegie Corporation and J.P. Rockefeller, created the National Advisory Council on Radio Education in 1930, which advised educators to work with (surrender to?) the networks. Other educators formed the National Committee on Education by Radio, a vanguard attempting to establish a U.S. broadcasting system with the nonprofit and noncommercial sector dominant. The passage of the 1934 Radio Act was both a complete defeat of public media in the U.S. and an archetype for media governance extending to the present.

Another path was possible. In the mid-1930’s, the French government decreed each community with a state owned station would hold an annual meeting to elect a community council of program management. All persons who owned radio sets and had paid the use tax would be eligible to participate.

In 1946, pacifist Lewis Hill incorporated what became the independent Pacifica radio network, a pioneer in listener-supported radio. During the 1950’s however, the only new educational radio licenses authorized by the FCC were for itty-bitty ten-watt stations. No educators initially accepted the FCC’s 1948 invitation to request tv channels. In 1952, the FCC reserved 242 for education. By 1960, only 1/5th were in use.

Surprisingly, there was no grassroots struggle for public tv channels or funding for public tv or radio. The prime movers of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 were educational broadcasters, the Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation, the Johnson administration, commercial networks, AT&T, media union officials, and some academics. Virtually 100% absent from the 1967 testimony in the House and Senate were diverse and marginalized groups advocating for civil rights, peace, the environment, the poor, and so on. Professionals and elites made a severely handicapped, small system that they could control. The handful of letters from the public in the legislative record show the people felt a government propaganda machine was being shoved down their throats. They were right.

From the start, public broadcasting was unambiguously part of the military-industrial complex. Carnegie Commission chairman James Killian was Kennedy’s chief intelligence advisor and held top posts at MIT, GM, and AT&T; Killian didn’t want public broadcasting to have independent, permanent funding. The first chair of the CPB was General Frank Pace, former army secretary, nuclear weapon technology pioneer, and head of General Dynamics. Yes, even Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney had worked at the US Information Agency, the government propaganda office.

Similar links occur at elite neo-liberal philanthropies, including major early public broadcasting funder the Ford Foundation. Its co-founder Henry Ford’s Nazi ties have been researched in depth elsewhere and its history of collaboration and interlock with the CIA is almost as well known. More obscured is the fact that the first head of the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Adult Education was the president of Shell Oil and that later, in 1965, Shell became public tv’s first “enhanced underwriter.” It is also important to point out that the Ford Foundation has been linked in the past by researchers to CIA and CIA-like projects including the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Student Association, and (along with the Carnegie Corporation) the CIA-founded African-American Institute, a group active on campuses in Africa.

In 1972, African Americans picketed outside a CPB board meeting because only 7 of 887 NPR station managers were black. In 1975, women’s groups, people of color, labor and others successfully fought Nixon’s nomination of conservative funder and John Birch pamphleteer Joseph Coors to the CPB. Nixon’s disdain for public broadcasting is widely understood, but less known is the fact that activists worked very hard in the 1970’s to correct public broadcasting’s serious shortcomings.

Filmmaker DeeDee Halleck and physicist Larry Hall organized The National Task Force for Public Broadcasting in the late 1970’s. They characterized public broadcasting as a system closed to creative staff, independent producers, and interested citizens. It assembled the powerful grass roots coalition missing from the 1967 deliberations. Its most significant victories were requirements for open meetings and access to records. Similar movements emerged in Boston, New York, St. Louis, and Washington D.C. and addressed lack of diversity on boards, neglect of local programming, censorship of controversial programming, under-representation of minorities in employment and programming, and insufficient citizen participation generally.

1978’s A Public Trust: The Report of the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting called for public involvement in station governance, mixed boards with staff appointed and elected seats, and funding from spectrum fees. Congress and the FCC ignored these, its most important recommendations.

President Reagan and the Congress imposed major cuts to CPB. The Cable Act of 1984, befitting its Orwellian year, gave municipalities the right to request funding for public access channels but Aufderheide tells us that by 1990 only 17% of cable systems actually had public access channels. The unrelenting campaign by cable companies and municipalities against community television would have had far worse consequences were it not for activist organizing to save public access (PEG).

That’s where my personal story begins. I became an active community tv producer in Evanston, Illinois in the mid-eighties, co-creating a progressive news program. But the cable provider wanted to eliminate our access. My co-producer and I were banned — almost permanently. Instead of walking away, I organized for an independent democratic governance structure, akin to the models forged earlier in Canada and elsewhere, and helped carry the nonprofit Evanston Community Media Center through the legislative course — and we won. I know how that’s done. In the process, I was threatened with arrest several times and arrested for loitering.

Congress heard the complaints of independent producers in 1987 when it directed the CPB to establish the Independent Television Service to address the concerns of minorities and working people. Activism increased in the 1990’s in Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and elsewhere. I led Chicago efforts, which included a large coalition to press for programming and structural reforms. We increased the diversity of Chicago public tv station WTTW’s trustees, but the lock local elites have on the station is formidable. An FCC warning concerning home shopping with my name on it was cited in an FCC fine levied against WTTW for airing commercials — the first and only such fine ever involving a large public tv station.

More recently, Chicago Media Action activists issued a study of WTTW’s nightly news show that swept out three elite news execs. And while co-panelist Cass Sunstein nodded in approval at a 2005 event, I told the entire public broadcasting system that it had failed on the run up to the Iraq invasion. We’ve sought wider distribution of “Democracy Now!”, and advocated for Chicago Access Network TV, low power radio, and other needs. A critical public radio fight holds the remaining key we need.

In 1999, the CPB insisted Pacifica radio centralize and be more secretive. Program hosts and the station manager at Berkeley’s KPFA were fired. A network gag rule was implemented. Listeners issued thousands of protests. In June 1999, activists who staged a sit-in at Pacifica’s offices were arrested and charged with trespassing. In July, a Pacifica veteran was physically removed by guards in the middle of a broadcast. Some 400 staged a sit-in. 53 were arrested. Next, some 10-15,000 rallied and a lawsuit was filed.

Pacifica ‘s struggle created a governance model of great importance. Today, 2/3 of each Pacifica station board is member elected using instant runoff voting and proportional representation. The remainder are staff appointed. The station boards select the national board. This structure is unique and, on this scale, unprecedented. But virtually no other models of direct action aimed at public media in the U.S. have been found — to date.

So the early movement to create community controlled public media in the U.S. failed miserably. Then the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and U.S. government funded and shaped public media to their purposes. Since, corporations have dominated it. Now, some tell us that new funding and technology will fix it.

The rotary press, telegraph, radio, and tv were each proclaimed to be democratic when first introduced; it may be easy to speak in cyberspace, but it remains difficult to be heard. That fact will not change until we win the capacity to shape at least the public part of that system, as it is vulnerable to sustained local organizing in ways that commercial media is not.

To be very clear, social justice movements need a radically re-envisioned U.S. public service media system that would be almost unrecognizable alongside the current version. Public service media’s governance could resemble Pacifica’s, the French model, public access models, or the publicly elected boards of many public schools, public libraries, community colleges, and public utilities. Gale research says about 94% of Americans living in school districts elect their public school trustees. But 0% of Americans watching or listening to CPB funded outlets — except the five owned by Pacifica — have any direct say about the selection of public station trustees.

Public media elites offer us a “partnership” in which they’re the parents and we’re the children, anxiously waiting with our bibs on for our media to be spoon fed to us. Unless we change this power relationship, we will remain subject to the arbitrary dominance of wealthy, racist, militarists shaping new technologies to sustain their power.

Democratic participation in civic and cultural media production only happens when the powerless can speak to themselves and to wider audiences. The oppressed and marginalized have a rare historic opportunity to wholly re-envision our public service media system. We could use it to create stories, produce culture, and change conditions.

Will we?

Scott Sanders has co-founded a number of media activistorganizations including Chicago Media Action, and led efforts to constitute public community media centers with member elected boards and to increase diversity on non-elected public media boards. He also led campaigns resulting
in the only FCC fine of a major public tv station concerning commercialism. He is a video documentarian and periodicals and technology librarian producing research for MMTC, MAP, and the University of Chicago, and author of articles for Truthout, Counterpunch, Z magazine, FAIR Extra!, and a number of daily newspapers.
by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Saturday Sep 18th, 2010 10:13 AM
2004= "KPFAForward". 2006= "Concerned Listeners". Now they are stealing the name of a former grassroots movement which their folks opposed at the time "Save KPFA"!

They may add new people as some old ones leave and their goal is the same, stymie or destroy the democratic process so that they can control the jobs and air time without any transparency or accountability to the listeners and subscribers.

If they spoke truthfully their pitch would be "Send in your checks and then shut up and let us run things" Below is some of their history they are trying to hide from. Aka, avoiding accountability!

In November 2008 a Trust donated money to KPFA and Pacifica, it included various checks that were turned over to LemLem Rijio GM. I believe that KPFA, then Treasurer, Brian Edwards-Tiekert ( famous for his: "dismantle the LSB" and "How do we blame our enemies for the problems to come" agenda items for this groups private strategy meetings), Sherry Gendelman, and Dan Siegel were present when these checks were given to KPFA/Pacifica.

LemLem didn't deposit a check for $375,000.00 for a year. It was discovered when an audit was approaching. This was no accident and maybe some day we will find out the details their nefarious scheem. After it was discovered and folks asked for a new check to be issued the Trust would only put it into another foundation to manage it. So once we had a $375,000.00 check to be deposited straight into KPFA/Pacifica accounts and now we have to ask a manager for the money!

Is that how they plan to "SAVE KPFA"??????????


After mass listener support rescued KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation from a self appointed Pacifica National Board (PNB) that was planning to sell KPFA or one of the other stations and take the “community” out of the network, new democratic Bylaws were written and adopted. The Bylaws process was long and difficult and like all new progressive ideas on governance they aren’t perfect. Neither is the U.S. Constitution, which has 27 amendments and still needs some major work. You can read the Bylaws at . Pacifica’s Bylaws state a commitment for peace and social justice, Article One, Section 3. It seems inconceivable that peace and social justice can even be approached with out a democratic process with transparency and accountability. As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

What has become clear, as Pacifica embarked on a new democratic path, is that everyone that fought the Hijackers didn’t do so for the same reason! Most listener activists and some staff supported the new democratic process and welcomed the involvement and input of the listener/subscribers who are the regular audience and the financial supporters of the station and Pacifica.

At KPFA some staff and their listener supporters sought to defeat the Hijackers so that they could control KPFA and make the decisions about who gets air time and jobs. This latter group has used the power of the stations progressive reputation and the power of the microphone to maintain control and frustrate the new Bylaws in many ways. The staff/ listener group I am referring to was identified by an e-mail from Brian Edwards-Tiekert to the other “insiders” that became public in 2005. You can read the e-mail at The author acknowledged its authenticity and the group now claims that it never met to discuss “dismantling the Local Station Board (LSB)”, aka the democratic process, or “how do we make our enemies own the problems that are to come?” The other members of this group were a mix of listeners, paid staff, unpaid staff and management in 2005, when the e-mail was written. Most have moved up in the power hierarchy: Lemlem Rijio, then Development Director, now General Manager; Sasha Lilley, then paid staff, now Interim Program Director appointed by Lemlem Rijio; Bonnie Simmons, then LSB staff representative, now PNB; Amelia Gonzalez-Garcia, then unpaid staff, now paid Director of Arts and Public Affairs; Sherry Gendelman, then Listener LSB, now PNB; Lisa Rothman, paid executive producer of the Morning Show, Lisa had a beautiful baby and in 2006 left KPFA. This group has been supported by their electoral counter parts, first called KPFAForward in the 2004 election and now Concerned Listeners (CL).

Let’s see what these folks have done to “dismantle the LSB”*. In 2003 the KPFA Program Council, made up of paid and unpaid staff and listeners, voted to move Democracy Now! (DN!) to Prime time, 7-8am and move the morning show to 8-10am. There had been significant listener demand/support for this time change and having worked several years in radio, AM & FM, I know the following, it is common practice and common sense to put your most popular/dynamic program in prime time. Lisa Rothman didn’t want “her” program moved from “its” prime time position and her allies in the control group made sure it didn’t happen.

In May 2004 the LSB voted to move DN! to prime time as per the Program Council’s prior vote and set up a protocol on how to deal with program changes with management and the Program Council. The new interim GM, Jim Bennett, refused to make the time change and ignored the LSB Resolution*. Dan Coughlin, the Executive Director (ED) of Pacifica, appointed Jim Bennett. Coughlin was an ally of the KPFA control group and worked closely with them to stifle transparency and Director’s Inspections of the financial records. Director’s Inspections are an “absolute right” given to Corporate Directors to facilitate their fiduciary responsibilities, California Corporations Code Section 6334 and Article 12, Section 3 of the Pacifica Bylaws.

In 2007 GM Lemlem Rijio and her appointed Interim Program Director, Sasha Lilley, quietly ended the Program Council after some months of describing it as “advisory.”* The LSB under CL majority control ignored the previous Resolution codifying the Program Council and did nothing to save the Program Council. The CL majority didn’t vote to overturn the prior resolution since that would have exposed their undemocratic nature. They just looked the other way.

In 2007 GM Rijio took away the official status of the Unpaid Staff Organization (UPSO)*. UPSO existed to represent the unpaid staff at KPFA, more than 200 people. These are the people who do the majority of the work that goes on the air. After a two-year struggle UPSO is now being recognized after a change in Pacifica leadership and a directive to GM Rijio to do so. See the May 14, 2009 BDP article for more details on the change in leadership.

The vote on UPSO recognition at the LSB in 2007 was one of the very few times the CL didn’t vote in lock step to support Rijio’s consolidation of power. However the few defections didn’t change anything since at that time they controlled the PNB in collusion with some others local tyrannical majorities. This collusion elected Sherry Gendelman Chair of the PNB in 2008 and she did nothing to change the UPSO denial by the KPFA GM. Only after a change in the PNB majority, with the CL collusion losing control did the new PNB Chair and Interim ED, Grace Aaron lean on the KPFA GM to reinstate the UPSO.

The CL slate literature for the 2006 and 2007 LSB elections was silent on the issues of the Program Council and the DN! move to prime time. and most listener activists have consistently supported a Program Council with listener participation and the DN! move to prime time.

In January of 2009 the CL LSB majority voted to meet only once every other month. This despite the backlog of work to be done and how it effected the selection of LSB members to important PNB committees. All the stations elect the committee members in February. This year KPFA didn’t elect their committee representatives until March, despite my bringing this up to them during the January meeting before the vote to meet half as often and not in February.

How has the CL maintained its slim majority on the LSB. Here are some of the dirty tricks they have used to dominate the elections. In 2006 and 2007 GM Rijio refused to allow any election information to be broadcast when the ballots were sent out. Rijio’s justification was that there was, coincidently, a fund drive in progress. Election information was broadcast during fund drives at other stations. Each year CL spent thousands of dollars and sent out a slate mailer to arrive with the ballots during the election black out imposed by their ally Rijio. To top that off, in 2007 when they finally did run some candidate carts, they ran all 22 at once and Sherry Gendelman was first.

After the election there was only one news story on KPFA about the election. Interviewed were Sherry Gendelman, a CL candidate, Matthew Lasar, a CL endorser, and Dan Siegel and Larry Bensky both CL allies and supporters and both guilty of using station or Foundation resources to support CL or attack their opponents in violation of election ethics. No listener activist candidates were interviewed.

In the upcoming election there will be ample airtime for the election since the new PNB majority has resolved that it will be so. Bonnie Simmons a CL/Rijio group PNB member recently made a motion to rescind the Resolution to require ample airtime for the election. As of this writing her motion hasn’t been up for debate and vote. However it comes out, the CL/Rijio group’s desire to limit information about the election and the candidates is clear and stands in stark contrast of the Mission of Pacifica.

Over a year ago Rijio took the visible link to the LSB page off the front page of the KPFA web site and hid it under “ABOUT”. They don’t announce the LSB meetings on the front page of the web site and often don’t announce them on the air as required by the Bylaws.

When they did the 60th anniversary celebration for KPFA and Pacifica this year they held a $300 dinner. I support having fundraisers and there also should have been a celebration open to the majority of our listeners. There was nothing official about the 10th anniversary of the struggle against the Hijackers, which brought 15,000 people to a rally and ended with new democratic Bylaws.

What is clear from the actions described above is that the CL/Rijio/Lilley regime has sought to eliminate democratic centers of power at the station and reduce listener input and concentrate power and control in their hands contrary to the Bylaws. At a LSB meeting in 2007 Rijio referred to the Bylaws when addressing the LSB as “your” Bylaws. Sasha Lilley has also made comments attacking the Bylaws.

“Our leadership elite may still want to believe in democratic principles-they certainly profess that they do-but in practice they have shown themselves all too willing to violate those principles in order to gain or retain power”, Cornel West from his book Democracy Matters. And if democracy matters for you, it is time for a new majority on the KPFA LSB.

Richard Phelps, former Chair, KPFA LSB, 35 year listener/subscriber, former AM & FM radio announcer. July 6, 2009.



Former WBAI management did not pay their rent for four months and received a Three Day Notice to pay or be subject to eviction in March of 2009. This was not promptly communicated to the financial or executive management of Pacifica. WBAI has been losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for several years and currently owes Pacifica over $1,100,000.00 in back central services contributions. Each station contributes 20% of its listener-generated revenue to run the Foundation. When one station isn’t making its contribution the results are that the Foundation is short on money or the other stations have to pay more. This several year problem at WBAI and the current economic downturn has caused serious financial problems for Pacifica. The current Pacifica National Board (PNB), elected in January, gives hope for the survival of Pacifica.

Why didn’t Pacifica correct this problem early on? There was collusion among some PNB members from various stations to allow WBAI to do what they wanted to do with no oversight or accountability to the Bylaws or the listener/subscribers. The major players in this collusion were from KPFA, WBAI and WPFW, with a vote or two from KPFK and KPFT and the affiliate Reps on the PNB of past years.
The Local Station Board (LSB) majorities at KPFA and WBAI generally elected three PNB members that supported this collusion and WPFW, until recently, often sent four. There are 22 members of the PNB, four from each station and two Affiliate Representatives. An LSB majority can elect three of the four PNB members for their station. With ten votes from KPFA, WBAI and WPFW it only takes three votes from the ten from the other two stations and affiliate reps to have a majority to control the PNB and continue this collusion. Until this last January the Colluders had the majority for several years.

Who are the Colluders and why did they do this? Local tyrannical majorities wanted to run their stations without regard to the Bylaws and with no oversight from the Foundation. At KPFA the “KPFAForward” (2004) and “Concerned Listener” (CL) (2006 & 2007) slates represented the same management/staff faction and generally endorsed majorities that sent three PNB members who consistently voted to protect and continue the collusion. This group included William Walker, Sarv Randhawa, Rosalinda Palacios, Mary Berg, Sherry Gendelman, Bonnie Simmons and Andrea Turner. They consistently vote/voted with the Justice & Unity majority from WBAI and the WPFW majority. They generally sit together at the PNB meetings and are regularly seen privately caucusing together at lunch and before and after meetings, sometimes with GM Lemlem Rijio when in Berkeley.

Prior to this year’s PNB, Bob Lederer was the Justice & Unity leader on the PNB. I have attended many PNB meetings and listened to most of the others on line. During those meetings if KPFA Colluder PNB members were not sure how to vote they often passed if Bob Lederer hadn’t voted or passed. When he voted they would follow. If you don’t believe me go to the archives of the meetings and listen.

Whenever there was a move to correct the problems at WBAI the KPFA Colluders always voted with the others to protect the LSB majority at WBAI. Patty Heffley, the minority PNB Rep from WBAI, made a motion to have the PNB order the WBAI LSB to do a performance review of the general manager (GM) and the program director. The Bylaws require these to be done annually. At WBAI they had never been done, despite complaints from the LSB minority. The PNB Colluder majority refused to order the WBAI LSB to follow the Bylaws. Many others complained about WBAI being out of control and losing money and the Colluder PNB majority did NOTHING as the red ink continued to flow.

At KPFA the CL slate and the Rijio/Lilley management work together to make sure they maintain a majority on the LSB to elect three PNB members from their group. One of their methods was to have no election information on the air when the ballots went out and at the same time the CL sent a slate mailer. After the first time this happened I wrote a motion on the PNB Election Committee requiring election information to be on the air during the election. It passed out of the election committee by a 10-2 vote. The Colluder majority on the PNB voted it down. When KPFA finally ran some candidate information they ran 22 candidate statements in a row, always with Sherry Gendelman first! At the April 2009 PNB meeting in Berkeley the new non-Colluder PNB majority passed a motion requiring broad election coverage on the air. Bonnie Simmons, CL endorser, made a motion to rescind the required election coverage. It didn’t pass. And we will have a more inclusive election this year, no thanks to CL and its allies.

The Colluder majority was consistently against transparency. The Bylaws and California law allow Directors the “absolute right” to inspect all documents and facilities at any reasonable time. For years the Colluders fought to stop or hinder Directors’ Inspections. When inspections were finally allowed due to potential lawsuits it was discovered that $65,000 worth of equipment had been sent to a WBAI former GM’s father’s house and was not accounted for. As recently as 2008 a Director was ordered out of WBAI in the middle of a lawful inspection without any justification. Who gave the order? Dan Siegel, interim Executive Director, hired by the Colluder majority and a recent CL candidate.

So when you hear Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Sherry Gendelman, Bonnie Simmons, Conn or Matthew Hallinan, Warren Mar or any of the CL allies complain about KPFA money going to shore up WBAI, they and their allies are responsible for this crisis for trading fiscal responsibility for their power to ignore the Bylaws, transparency and accountability.

KPFA/Pacifica is a Commons that belongs to all of us, and it must be protected and preserved above the CL/Rijio group’s desire for unrestrained and unaccountable power.

Richard Phelps, former Chair, KPFA LSB May 2009
by Anthony Fest
Saturday Sep 18th, 2010 1:02 PM

Aaron, you've invoked “journalistic ethics,” while abandoning them yourself.

Journalists assemble *evidence* to support their conclusions. But you've stooped to spreading the ridiculous falsehood that “this group thinks that the unionized paid staff of the station should be dispensed with and replaced by a station of volunteers.” How do you know what “this group” thinks? Did you speak with any of the candidates? If you did, you'd have learned that the lay-off-all-the-paid-staff accusation is just a Big Lie, not unlike Sarah Palin's “death panels” nonsense.

And about the slate you favor, you write, “They believe that they can serve the station's mission, raise revenue, and weather hard times by producing smart programming for an expanding audience.” Well, maybe they believe that, but, in three years in power, they didn't make it happen. The audience didn't expand, and neither did the revenue. In fact, KPFA's savings shrank, and calamitously so. Probably because they hadn't much of a record to run on, the “Concerned Listeners” changed their name to “Save KPFA,” swiping the name of the group that truly saved KPFA in 1999.

To KPFA subscribers who want to elect diverse and responsible Local Station Board members to guide our priceless institution, I (and many other KPFA staff members and Bay Area community leaders) recommend a vote for Hyun-Mi Kim, Stephen Astourian, Cynthia Johnson and the other Independents for Community Radio (ICR) candidates. Please vote for all ten, in any order you prefer. Read about the candidates and see the extensive list of endorsements at

And Aaron, please think twice before putting your name on a hit piece.

Anthony Fest
KPFA Weekend News host
KPFA Local Station Board member
by the situation
Saturday Sep 18th, 2010 8:28 PM
What a windy load of nonsense. Imposing a "democracy" where it isn't needed or wanted is undemocratic. According to voting statistics, about 90 percent of the listening audience couldn't care less about the governance of the network. They don't even bother to mark a ballot.

A self-styled group of network democrats imposed this idiotic electoral governance system when everyone else was going about their lives. This handful of obsessives have made Pacifica internal politics their entire life. The overwhelming majority of staff and listeners were to busy dealing with jobs, families, outside interests and other commitments to bother with this nonsense. In effect, they had stuff to do. The people who imposed this system apparently don't. That's what's at stake here. Do you let a tiny minority of compulsive people run the network into the ground, or do you let the people who are responsible for the station's license and financial well-being go about running the station without these idiotic distractions? Vote for Save KPFA for sanity's sake.
by Repost
Sunday Sep 19th, 2010 10:45 AM
"Do you let a tiny minority of compulsive people run the network into the ground, or do you let the people who are responsible for the station's license and financial well-being go about running the station without these idiotic distractions?"

Unfortunately, it has been a tiny minority of compulsive people (the entrenched staff at the station, some of whom are into their 3rd decade at the place) that have run the network into the ground, running through all the assets and trying to chase off anyone who crosses them.

Voting Save KPFA is a vote to let them continue to run the station as a private playground where they steal money from Democracy Now to cover their own salaries, and mangle their own union seniority chart to punish Nora Barrows-Friedman.

The idiotic distractions line is about normal checks and balances that must exist and do exist everywhere but this nutty place.

Vote Independents for Community Radio.

by repost
Sunday Sep 19th, 2010 11:08 AM
Sunday, March 29, 2009

Real Journalism Versus "Professional Journalism"

If Jon Stewart walked out of his studio with his camera crew, went to where establishment figures were speaking, and threw tough questions at them, you'd get something like We Are Change.

The We Are Change reporters have asked the tough questions - a la Stewart (well, minus the comedy) - to former presidents, secretaries of defense, leading Neocons and Iraq war architects, and many other establishment figures.

So their interviews are syndicated nationally and they've all received Pulitzer prizes, right?

Not exactly . . .

We Are Change founder Luke Rudkowski was arrested for trying to ask New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about his refusal to pay for the health care of 9/11 first responders.

The charges? "Impersonating a member of the press" and trespassing.

Professional Journalism

Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, created the concept of "professional journalism". What is professional journalism, you may ask?

Renowned veteran journalist John Pilger summarizes it as follows:

Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It is a history few journalists talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising. As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called “professional journalism” was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment-objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well, “entirely bogus”.

For what the public did not know was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources, and that has not changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories-domestic and foreign-you’ll find they’re dominated by government and other established interests. That is the essence of professional journalism.Think of the role Judith Miller played in the New York Times in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Yes, her work became a scandal, but only after it played a powerful role in promoting an invasion based on lies. Yet, Miller’s parroting of official sources and vested interests was not all that different from the work of many famous Times reporters, such as the celebrated W.H. Lawrence, who helped cover up the true effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August, 1945. “No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin,” was the headline on his report, and it was false.

Consider how the power of this invisible government has grown. In 1983 the principle global media was owned by 50 corporations, most of them American. In 2002 this had fallen to just 9 corporations. Today it is probably about 5. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there will be just three global media giants, and his company will be one of them. This concentration of power is not exclusive of course to the United States. The BBC has announced it is expanding its broadcasts to the United States, because it believes Americans want principled, objective, neutral journalism for which the BBC is famous. They have launched BBC America. You may have seen the advertising.

The BBC began in 1922, just before the corporate press began in America. Its founder was Lord John Reith, who believed that impartiality and objectivity were the essence of professionalism. In the same year the British establishment was under siege. The unions had called a general strike and the Tories were terrified that a revolution was on the way. The new BBC came to their rescue. In high secrecy, Lord Reith wrote anti-union speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and broadcast them to the nation, while refusing to allow the labor leaders to put their side until the strike was over.

So, a pattern was set. Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that principle has been upheld ever since.

And as Newseek's Evan Thomas admits in a new article:

By definition, establishments believe in propping up the existing order. Members of the ruling class have a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are. Safeguarding the status quo, protecting traditional institutions, can be healthy and useful, stabilizing and reassuring.... "If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am). . . ."

The Significance of Rudkowski's Arrest

The media organization which sponsors Rudkowski is, a website which has many times the readership of small town "establishment" or "professional" newspapers. Indeed, given the popularity of Infowars and its sister sites, and, the Infowars news network probably has more readers than all but the largest traditional newspapers.

So the issue cannot be one of size or audience.

Moreover, bloggers are journalists, and are entitled to press credentials.

Indeed, in Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938), U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."

by the situation
Monday Sep 20th, 2010 3:27 AM
That last post is a riot. What are you talking about "entrenched staff"? You mean people who work at a place? That's called having a job. Evidently that's something the previous poster knows very little about. Talk about wasting money. How much do these elections, which I'll repeat (9 out of 10 people don't vote in), cost? It has to be in the hundreds of thousands by now. Look at what subscribers are getting for their money. A handful of people, who have made this tiny radio network their lives, are now threatening its very existence through this pointless elected board. If you don't like the programs on the station, listen to something else, or start your own station. With new technology, that's not very expensive or difficult to do. But that would take effort and initiative wouldn't it? It's so much easier to whine and complain and ruin something that already exists, without a whit of concern for the 90 percent of listener subscribers who just want to hear their favorite program from time-to-time. You know, busy people. People with other things to do with their lives.
by repost
Monday Sep 20th, 2010 8:56 AM
I'm sorry to tell you this, but the problem you are experiencing is not one of elected boards. It is that in fact, most of your audience is tuning out and finding other things to listen to. As a person with a job at the station (for now), you seem remarkably uninterested and unconcerned about that as long as you can diss on your board of directors, but that is a sadly misplace priority for an organization that hemorrhaged up a million dollars and 25% of its subscribers in the past few years.
by Aaron Aarons, Candidate for LSB
(kpfa2010 [at] Tuesday Sep 21st, 2010 1:54 AM
Why are we supposed to respect the entrenched staff faction when they are the people who didn't utter a peep for nearly a decade against the right wing, Democratic Party hijacking of the station that culminated in the 1999 lockout? Shouldn't we have a lot more respect for the many people -- volunteer programmers like Bill Mandel, Mama O'Shea, 'Beedle-Um-Bum Larry' and dozens more -- who were purged in 1995 without any protest from the likes of Mark Mericle, Aileen Alfandary, Philip Maldari, Larry Bensky and Kris Welch*?

To this entrenched staff faction and their fake 'Save KPFA' interference-runners, the work they do for pay, much of which is a pale imitation of NPR programming, is so much more deserving of support than was the work of the (mostly more radical) volunteer programmers who they stabbed in the back in 1995.

While we can't bring Mama O'Shea back from the grave, and it will take time to develop a corps of volunteer programmers like those who were purged 15 years ago, it is the KPFA of the 1980's that we should look to as a model, if imperfect, of what the station should be like, especially if we don't want it to drown in a swamp of unaffordable salaries.

* Kris might be forgiven for failing to speak out back then because she was a single mom raising a disabled daughter and wasn't in a position to risk her job. But her role in recent years hasn't been any better.
by Anti-Disinformation
Tuesday Sep 21st, 2010 11:49 AM
One of the most inaccurate attacks by the CL'' Save KPFA'' clique is that practically all of the station staff oppose the ICR, VFJ, PR, CDP et al. Au Fucking Contraire ! The staff elected Four of the Democratic opposition allies as their reps to the LSB and only two flunkies for the '' Entrenched ''.
And re the '' Entrenched '' contrary to the previous posters assertion that term doesn't apply to all staff members .
Probably no more than a dozen some of whom have been around for decades . They feel that they own the station .
They damm sure don't .