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Indybay Feature
Bringing Peace to KPFA-Pacifica
by Akio Tanaka
Sunday Jul 1st, 2012 12:41 PM
Don’t Shoot the Messenger – Vote NO on the Recall!
Current situation

As long-time observers know, there never seems to be peace at KPFA-Pacifica.

In 2001 Pacifica Radio had new organizational bylaws which called for democratic governance by the listeners and staff, both paid and unpaid. Immediately, a divide formed between those embracing the new bylaws and those that were wary of them. The current conflict is a continuation of this divide.

It is important to note that KPFA relies on a large number of unpaid staff; 75% of the programming is done by the unpaid staff. At KPFA there simply is not enough money to pay all of those who contribute to the station.

Between 2000 and 2005, KPFA saw large increases in listener support, from $2.2M to $4.0M, and management allowed salaries and benefits to increase from $1.0M to $2.4M, plowing the new revenue into on-going salary expenses and little into equipment or technology upgrades.

Between 2005 and 2010, listener support declined, from $4.0M to $2.9M, but corresponding cuts in salaries and benefits were not made. KPFA was the only station within the Pacifica network not to make any significant cuts during the economic downturn that began in the fall of 2008.

By the end of fiscal year 2010, KPFA was over $500K in the red for the 2nd consecutive year, so the Pacifica National Office stepped in to make the cuts to prevent insolvency. As soon as the cuts were made, the KPFA’s CWA bargaining unit and much of the long-term staff jumped in and made the following allegations:

1. Pacifica was usurping local control and engaged in union busting.
2. The layoffs did not follow union seniority rules.

Even though the NLRB and the labor arbitrator rejected the claims made by the union, many people still believed and supported the allegations. There seem to be two reasons for the confusion:

Many labor supporters will always be in solidarity with a union in a dispute with management, right or wrong, and many listeners trust familiar personalities, even though broadcasting is a very different skill than nonprofit management and governance.

The CWA bargaining unit has portrayed the conflict as a traditional management–labor conflict; but Pacifica finances are very different from traditional corporations.

In fact, the finances of the network and the stations are very simple and straightforward. Revenues come mainly from listener support with the rest from grants like the CPB. Expenses are mainly salaries-benefits with the rest being fixed expenses. Pacifica intervened only to bring salary and benefit expenses in line with the current level of listener support.

The Underlying Problem

In the case of profit-making corporations the role of the union is clear - it is to represent the interests of the workers in seeking a fair share of the profits. It is less clear when there are no profits being sought or made. Pacifica, a non-profit organization, describes itself in its mission statement as “Foundation organized and operated exclusively for educational purpose no part of net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member of the Foundation”.

One major area of friction is programming. A union looking after the financial security of its bargaining unit members may like to have programming that will appeal to a more affluent, if progressive audience. But many would define the mission of Pacifica to be also a voice of the voiceless.

Another area of friction is the working relationship between the paid and the unpaid staff. Until 1996 both were represented by one union; however, since 1996 unpaid staff has not been represented by a union, so there is always an uneasy working relationship between the paid and the unpaid staff.

These tensions were exacerbated by the 2001 bylaws which gave listeners a voice in the governance of the station.

Democratically run Program Council that includes listeners is also a contentious issue. It is understandable why some paid and unpaid programmers with established shows as well as people who want the station to be the voice of middle and upper-class progressives would be wary of a democratic Program Council.

Possible Solutions

So what to do with these conflicting needs and interests? How does the union look after the financial security of its members in an organization whose mission basically shun money-making endeavors?

The primary task of the station should be to fulfill the mission of Pacifica. Then management and the union should carefully work out a program staffing level, above the core technical and administrative staff, that can be sustained over the economic up and downs, and avoid the temptation to add people during economic boom times. With a stable staffing level, the paid and unpaid staff can work together to fulfill the mission of Pacifica.

Pacifica holds the unique position of giving a platform to the powerless and voiceless, as did the union movement at one time, and while the notion of workers’ rights resonates to all within the progressive community it must be remembered that it is to respect and honor ALL labor, not only paid, union labor.

Bringing Peace to KPFA-Pacifica

Current campaign to recall Tracy Rosenberg from the KPFA’s Local Station Board, the main accusation being that she destroyed the ‘Morning Show’, is a continuation of the ongoing divide.

The problem was not caused by the Pacifica National Office, or by Tracy Rosenberg, but was caused by KPFA adding way too many people to the payroll during the boom time of 2000-2005.

As the KPFA Rep to the Pacifica Finance Committee, Tracy saw that KPFA was headed for insolvency in late 2010 and helped alert Pacifica’s national board and management to the danger. What she did do was to help save KPFA and the Pacifica network.

It is time for all the staff, paid and unpaid, and all listeners to embrace the democratic victory that was won for all of us by Carol Spooner and the original SaveKPFA in 1999. KPFA was not sold out from under us, and thanks to Ms. Spooner, it never will be. But it is more than time for Pacifica to really mean “peace”.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger – Vote NO on the Recall!

For more information go to the website:

by listener
Sunday Jul 1st, 2012 5:58 PM
This is a message from Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who hosts UpFront on KPFA.

Hi everyone,

If you’re a KPFA member, you should have just received what may be the most important KPFA ballot you ever get. It asks whether or not to recall Pacifica Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg. At stake is whether KPFA survives as we know it. That’s why I’m urging you to vote “yes” on the recall.


Some background: Rosenberg was the chief architect of a political purge that killed KPFA’s biggest fundraiser—The Morning Show. That purge was a watershed: it was the first time the factionalism of KPFA’s board (where I served as a worker-elected representative) penetrated the station’s day-to-day operations (where I worked as a program host). Rosenberg and Pacifica used a real financial crisis as a pretext to fire their political enemies, throw us off the air, and replace us with their own supporters.

That move cost KPFA tens of thousands of listeners, and hundreds of thousands of pledge dollars. It also violated the station’s union contract – which is why Pacifica had to reverse most of the layoffs (including my own) it made in that purge.

Inside KPFA, we’ve been slowly re-building. Thanks to heroic fundraising efforts, excruciatingly long fund drives, and a windfall estate gift, we’ve managed to keep the station solvent — KPFA’s April financial statements show us almost exactly on-budget (within 0.75% of budget goals), which means we’re on track to finish the year with an operating surplus of over $150,000.

We’re moving forward: in late May, KPFA launched UpFront — a program I co-host at 7:AM. We launched on three days’ notice, with no publicity, in the final week of a fund drive. But in that first week, we still became the station’s top fundraiser, clocking $40,000 raised in the seven days we were on the air. If we can keep it up, KPFA can start shortening its fund drives and try to win back some of the listeners who’ve left.

Unfortunately, we’re poised to lose it all.

Yesterday, Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt sent a letter to KPFA’s union (and copied to Tracy Rosenberg), giving formal notice that there will be a new round of layoffs in 30 days. As long as Engelhardt is in charge of Pacifica, and taking her cues from Rosenberg, any such cuts will come in the form of another political purge. I doubt KPFA’s ability to recover from this one.

But if Tracy Rosenberg is recalled, it will send a strong message about what KPFA’s listeners will and will not stand for – it may back Pacifica off from making these unnecessary cuts, or at least from making them into a political purge. Most importantly, recalling and replacing Tracy Rosenberg should tip the balance on the Pacifica National Board, and lead to the swift departure of Pacifica’s Executive Director, Arlene Engelhardt–the most aggressively anti-union manager I’ve seen in my nine years at KPFA.

They are killing our network. The Rosenberg/Engelhardt regime has racked up massive bills from $400- to $500-per-hour law firms that Pacifica’s used to fight its unions, its dissident board members, and the organizers of this recall election. Meanwhile, Pacifica’s been routinely shorting paychecks for union members at KPFA, and fallen so far behind on payments to Free Speech Radio News that the program may cease broadcasting within a month. (And yet, somehow, Pacifica’s board majority has found tens of thousands of dollars with which to fly 22 board members from across the country to a four-day meeting in a Hotel in Berkeley next month.)

The best defense Rosenberg’s supporters have mustered is a tepid appeal to “stop the infighting”. But Rosenberg is actually one of the worst purveyors of infighting — she just happens to be doing it from a position of power, from which infighting comes in the form of politically-targeted layoffs and program changes.

Help get out the vote. KPFA elections have low turnout, and tend to be decided by relatively small margins—which is why your actions are so important. Please:

Pass this email on to people you know who might be KPFA members.
Go to the website to learn more about the recall campaign.
Most importantly, return your ballot now so you don’t forget.

In solidarity,
Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Co-Host, “UpFront”, KPFA 94.1 FM
Former staff representative (2004-2010), KPFA Local Station Board
The outcome of the recall either way won't bring peace to KPFA. The only way to get peace is to unite all the real progressives that have honest values and vote out the phony save Kpfa people that care more about their air time and/or their democratic party allies than the survival of Pacifica. And that means that you also have to stand up against the opportunists pretending to be for a democratic KPFA that have divided and weakened your movement. if my memory is correct the ICR folks took the worst beating ever in the last election losing 6 seats out of 9.
by Stop Bitching
Sunday Jul 1st, 2012 10:17 PM
If you want to vote Save KPFA out, vote them out. It's in your hands. Organize, recruit good candidates and raise money to support them. ICR won big in 2009 because they did that. Do the work.
by Learn the truth
Monday Jul 2nd, 2012 9:11 AM
ICR won 5 seats but not on their own. Despite the fact that they refused to unite with PeoplesRadio folks and others, and instead chose to put Annie Hallett and Sasha Futran on their slate, Peoplesradio did a major education campaign that turned a lot of independent voters off to the SaveKPFA lies and helped defeat SaveKPFA in 2009. Several of ICR candidates had low attendance or disappeared and those that lost completely disappeared from the listener movement.

For the record Annie Hallett voted with the Concerned Listeners 90% of the time when she she was on the LSB. Sasha Futran had already demonstrated that she was truly only on "her own" side and couldn't be trusted as time has show what all knew already if you were paying attention.

ICR's refusal to unite the listener movement so their leaders could run things their way, weakened the opposition to SaveKPFA and led to their losing 6 out of 9 in 2010 and gave the LSB majority back to SaveKPFA and the entrenched staff.

Only a complete understanding of this will help unite the listener movement and actually save KPFA from SAVEKPFA.
by Reality
Monday Jul 2nd, 2012 11:40 AM
Stop carrying on. The issue is beating back Save KPFA, not trying to promote yourselves. People's Radio lost 2 elections in a rowin both 2006 and 2007, and that was before the Concerned Listeners/Save KPFA monolith built up its email machine and started sending out $10,000 postcards. This is in bad taste and serves no purpose. Your real enemies need to be fought with everything you have. The rest is trivia and egoism.
Losing 6 of 9 seats like ICR did in 2010 will be repeated if you apologists don't learn from your mistakes. That is where the ego problem is centered.
by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Wednesday Jul 4th, 2012 5:54 PM
REALITY, I happened to see your comment and had to put out the truth for you and others, perhaps you are a Concerned Listener ally or someone on our side who doesn't know the facts or doesn't care for the truth. I will give you the benefit of the doubt an assume that you are honest and just ignorant or confused.

The 2006 election was lost to the CL by Carol Spooner! Yes, Carol Spooner. You probably didn't know that she endorsed and helped elect 4 of their candidates. Conn Hallinan, Andrea Turner, Tico Chacin, and Phoebe Sorgen. Sending these endorsements out on her huge e-mail list to the potential voters against CL helped elect those 4 CL allies. Spooner's close ally Peter Franck endorsed Conn and Andrea so there goes lots of Marin votes to CL candidates and away from non-CL candidates.

Had thay not crossed the line and endorsed and elected these folks we could have avoided the reign of undemocratic action by Lem Lem Rijio, who became GM when CL had the majority. Rijio dumped the Program Council and the Unpaid Staff Organization along with many other bad actions which included refusing to cut payroll when it was desperately needed.

REALTY, perhaps you didn't know that Spooner endorsed and elected Rosalinda Palicios a CL loyalist, in 2004. Spooner dropped her endorsement of Stan Woods and switched to Palacios, who was virtually unknown and couldn't possibly have been elected without Spooner's endorsement. Stan lost to Palacios by just a few votes. The Spooner endorsement was the difference. Palacios voted 100% with the Justice and Unity sectarian group the year she was on the PNB allowing WBAI to sink deeper in debt. There is much more about what might have been if some on "our side" had not sold out our loyal candidates for whatever reason. We have never seen a self-criticism for these endorsements. Neither Spooner or Franck endorsed Bob English a truly loyal listener activists who would have stood tall for the Mission and the new democratic process and for a listener involved Program Council.

In 2007 Dan Siegel, as Interim Executive Director, future CL candidate, put out the hit piece below attacking the PeoplesRadio slate on the Pacifica website and it was sent out widely by the CL folks corrupting the election along with other dirty tricks such as Rijio and Sasha Lilly ran all 22 of the candidate carts at one time despite being ordered by the National Election Supervisor to rotate them in smaller groups as had been done before. They ran their candidate Sherry Gendelman first each time. and guess who got the most votes? Do you think many listeners were still listening after the first 3 or 4?

An Open Letter to the Pacifica Community

An Open Letter to the Pacifica Community
From Dan Siegel, Interim Executive Director
October 24, 2007

Dear Friends,
Pacifica’s local station board elections have taken a particularly nasty turn. A group of candidates running for the KPFA local board have issued statements that contain little more than personal attacks on their opponents and station staff. A candidate at WBAI engages in blatant race-baiting.
As a community and a progressive organization we must ask ourselves whether this type of rhetoric is acceptable. Pacifica has important challenges. We live in a nation whose leaders wage unjust and unpopular wars around the globe, attack our civil rights and liberties, oppose efforts to achieve racial justice and equality for all people, and pursue policies that widen the gap between rich and poor. The often toxic debate within Pacifica restricts our ability to respond to these issues, saps the morale of our hard-working and underpaid staff, and discourages people of good will from participating in our organization.
Many people are now calling for administrative and legal responses to abusive candidate speech. We are reviewing our options, but libel laws, difficulties in distinguishing between reasonable criticism and “personal attacks” (as well as deciding who should be empowered to make such judgments), and Pacifica’s tradition of support for free speech make such measures problematic.
In the end, Pacifica’s members will decide whether hate speech and hateful speech will be tolerated in our community. We need leaders who will work to improve our programming, broaden our listener base, and attract needed financial support. I urge all of you to carefully review the candidate statements and to cast your ballots for candidates who reflect both your views on how this organization should be run and your values on how democratic debate should occur in a progressive organization that reflects the diversity of our society.
Dan Siegel
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation

The election rules and tradition prohibit staff or management from influencing an election. Dan Siegel, never believes the rules apply to him. As to the charge that there were "personal attacks" in the elections statements by PeoplesRadio candidates, that is another Siegel big lie. Notice there are no examples of one in his letter! I have challenged him many times to quote one example and he has never done so, since he can't since it was all factual political criticism.

There is much more that needs to be said and understood if the listener movement is ever going to get united and be able to win the battle against CL and their money and labor bureaucrat influence. That will have to wait until after the recall is over, but I couldn't let your ill informed comments stand. That has been one of the failings by many on our side, too often our allies either don't know the history of what the KPFAForward, Concerned Listener, SaveKPFA folks have done or don't think it is important to make sure that our listeners know the truth about what they have done in their attempt to control KPFA and Pacifica. As Cornel West said in his book "Democracy Matters" where he was speaking about our national leadership, I think this quote speaks accurately about the CL/SaveKPFA practices at KPFA and the PNB.

“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”.

KPFA/Pacifica must remain a "Commons" for all progressive voices and must never be allowed to taken over by a sectarian group, especially one connected to the democratic party, with tyranny of the majority tendencies, that puts their power before progressive principles of transparency, democratic and due process and fair elections, etc.

Vote NO on the Recall and NEVER vote for any candidate on a SAVEKPFA slate or whatever new name they may come up with.

ONLY the TRUTH will set us FREE!

by activist
Saturday Jul 7th, 2012 8:52 PM
Sounds like Carol Spooner's endorsement should be avoided.

Either that, or the people who joined the "other side" after she supported them simply agreed with the other side. Maybe they were actually thinking people. Imagine.
by Bob English
Thursday Jul 12th, 2012 8:52 AM
You have to like Akio Tanaka's article, "Bringing Peace to KPFA-Pacifica." It's a very nice, accessible piece and, with some reservations, mostly effective. I mean nice as in reasonable, moderate, nonjudgemental, emotionally detached, nearly Buddhist. He invites us to take a closer look at the seemingly intractable KPFA Pacifica conflict without pointing a finger or rubbing our faces in the mess (as I/other observers and activists often find necessary, read below). It's an honest and very restrained attempt to cut through the contradictions and general confusion surrounding the long struggle, identifying some key issues, components and misunderstandings of "the underlying problem," offering insights and a simple, positive solution to "frictions" between opposing interests and perceptions of staff and listener community groups, all without assessing fault or blame.

Although concluding with calls to embrace the new Pacifica Bylaws democracy and reject the proposed recall of Local Station Board (LSB) member Tracy Rosenberg, the article tone and content is a surprising, pleasant contrast to the feverous recall debate, particularly the malicious attacks and misleading, manufactured, disingenuous charges and self-serving rhetoric from the pro-recall camp.

He sees (with some logical extension and expansion here by me) the station staff and listener community divided in relating to Pacifica/KPFA as either: 1) a radio corporation with a peace and educational mission and an autonomous local station, producing programs for a left/liberal market, generating sufficient listener donation revenue to sustain a substantial, professional work force represented by a traditional union; or 2) a nonprofit foundation and radio network with a peace and community mission, providing a progressive voice and programming for diverse local communities, with primarily volunteer staff and limited funding to sustain minimal salaried staffing, as needed and affordable. Therefore, he tolerates and explains as natural the divergent interests and tendencies of senior paid staff and their political support group to defend and insulate its ranks, prime time programs, exclusive culture and control from budget reductions and governing board interference, and to produce moderate programing that appeals to an affluent upper middle class audience; as opposed to the primarily volunteer staff and independent activist groups committed to the community radio mission and programs for/by community people and the voiceless, through democratic participation, oversight, power sharing, collaboration and accountability.

As such the article provides an informative and accessible introduction and guide to many average listeners who are not involved in and marginally aware of station internal affairs, government and politics: that is, the majority of listeners who are uninformed or misinformed by the core staff group, but who are expected to vote for representatives to the LSB, and now to remove or retain Tracy. I hear the piece is getting a positive reception and feedback from the street.

However, in some respects the article is just too damn diplomatic, polite and reasonable; it doesn't go far and deep enough to expose the fundamental power dynamics and players for a realistic understanding and response to the problems. For example:

"Another area of friction is the working relationship between the paid and the unpaid staff. Until 1996 both were represented by one union; however, since 1996 unpaid staff has not been represented by a union, so there is always an uneasy working relationship between the paid and the unpaid staff. "

Absolutely relevant and correct. But don't we want to know how, why and by whom the unpaid staff lost its union representation, rights and benefits??

Aki is too polite and "non-confrontational" to accurately expose and hold the senior union paid staff accountable for their exclusive move from the UEW to the CWA (paid staff only), dumping and betraying their volunteer co-workers and support staff and violating the most fundamental progressive and union principles and practices of solidarity and collective bargaining! It is outside the article's scope and historical review to recount and analyze how this union downsizing travesty happened, while in the same period the senior paid staff were complicit with the old Pacifica regime management in mass purges of volunteer staff and radical, diverse community programs, and while they enabled the reactionary hijacking and make over of the Pacifica foundation and stations, as Maria Gilardin recounts in her classic letter "Why Did the Staff not Prevent the 10-Year Corporate Raid?" (essential reading for an understanding of KPFA history and present realities). So the paid staff complicity and decertification of their former union sisters and brothers is not only related but central to the rise of the old Pacifica regime management style, power structure, staff patronage culture and Healthy Station/NPR style programing (which sadly, partly survives and thrives to the present with the remaining and succeeding senior staff and insider clique, resistant to and unchecked by the new democratic process and institutions).

To digress from the main article thread for a moment, it's a measure of the adverse impact of the Concerned Listener/SaveKPFA/KPFA Worker propaganda campaign revision of this Pacifica history, and a measure of it's apparently calculated, lethal damage to KPFA's and Pacifica's financial viability, that a listener named "Matt" (Hallinan? Lasar? - probably not), commenting under a recent Indybay post by Tracy Rosenberg "Shame on Save KPFA" (Jun 21), takes credit for withholding over $17,000 in fellow listener donations and plans to continue supporting the alliance inspired boycott until "…the fascist, union-busting actions of the current management … right wing extremists like Rosenburg and Engelhart (sic)" are removed, because he concludes: "There are many listeners like us that understand that killing KPFA is better than letting it linger on under this right-wing cabal that has seized control of it in the last few years" ("Fundraising" June 30).

Of course if we were back in 1999-2001, a financial boycott of Pacifica would be just fine. But it doesn't matter to Matt and his alliance mentors that in the partly transformed Pacifica we have membership voting rights, LSBs with elected reps who select a national board that appoints and holds the Executive Director accountable, or that Tracy is actually one of the community activists, as well as director of the progressive nonprofit Media Alliance, who/which took a leading role in not only the 1999 listener movement and KPFA uprising, but also in the launching of Indybay as a populist publishing website. But in the recall rhetoric that turns history and reality on it's head, Pacifica is once again the enemy of the people, Rosenberg and Englehardt are somehow the equivalents of Mary Francis Berry, Bessie Wash, Lynn Chadwick and Pat Scott. To return to planet Earth, Matt and many KPFA folks need a lot of reading, reflection and education, maybe starting with Aki's article.

My secondary criticism of this article has to do with the credit reserved to Carol Spooner and the listener lawsuit for the "democratic victory," with the "original SaveKPFA" receiving only an honorable mention. The simplification and omission of the larger local and national movement are forgivable but not passable. Aki may not have been directly involved in the listener democracy movement in the 1990s and early 2000s (until he later joined Peoples Radio and ran for the LSB in 2006 with Henry Norr, myself, et. al. on the fractured, faulty, phony-unity Alliance for a democratic Pacifica slate). But it should never be forgotten that it was the difficult daily organizing work of thousands of listeners and staff, and regional working groups such as Coalition for a democratic Pacifica (CdP) and North Bay for KPFA, that effectively overthrew the old regime, supported and paved the way for the court settlement, new Bylaws and a democratic Pacifica. That before Free Pacifica and CdP, there was Take Back KPFA. If we're going to name individuals who deserve special public recognition and credit for these partial victories and accomplishments, besides Carol we can't leave out key people, including locally our late brother Les Radke, John Sheridan, Barbara Lubin, Robbie Osman, Jeff Blankfort, Maria Gilardin, Curt Gray and others before my time.

Finally, in his above comment ("The 2006 and 2007 elections were lost to CL by Listener Sellouts and Dan Siegel Sabotage" July 4), Richard Phelps refers to Carol and Peter Franck's 2006 election endorsements and non-endorsements, and explains the negative impact, in effect tipping the election to the Concerned Listeners (CL).(Remembering that election btw, what a nightmare! - running with Sasha Futran who made it all about Sasha from the get go, spending more time dealing with her, the shaky alliance and vicious attacks/lies than campaigning against CL.) Since Richard is kind to give me a glowing reference there, I should also mention that Carol did marginally include and give me a nod in her endorsement message, but that was omitted on Peter's website check marks of his and her endorsements. I wrote to Peter requesting a correction, which was delayed and eventually done, after the election, thanks a lot.
by longtime listener
Thursday Jul 12th, 2012 1:55 PM
Margy's statement is a tissue of lies and distortions.
Please go to , , ,for true facts.

At KPFA, there is a struggle is between those who want a democratically run station, muckraking programming, and access to the airwaves for local communities, and those who want top down decision making and moderately progressive programming inoffensive to moderate progressives.
With the latter - now known as SaveKPFA, now in the driver's seat with their Local Station Board majority, their big financial resources, their professional PR and anonymous websites, their access to the airwaves and their unfair use of it in station affairs, and their willingness to lie, slant, and distort, it is time to stop acting as if they are "people" not an interest bound alliance, and say Which Side Are You On.

The existence of KPFA and Pacifica hangs in the balance.

If a member now, Vote NO on the recall!

One or more commenters above have it right: we need to vote them out (of being the majority at KPFA - they are not now the Pacifica National majority), but to do so we need to educate the electorate - as tactfully as we can, but not pull our punches.

If not a member now, or your membership will soon expire, sign up with KPFA to vote in the next election

by sally
Thursday Jul 12th, 2012 5:10 PM
Margy's piece is clear, unemotional, full of specifics and evidence - it explained what is happening at KPFA in a way that's understandable. I'm voting "yes" and I hope others do to. KPFA is too important to lose to the sectarian wackos who are pushing to take it over.

As for the comment above on the union at KPFA, this is based on someone's myth of what the union was in the mid-90s. For the real story, see

KPFA’s work is made possible by both unpaid and paid staff. Paid staff at KPFA are represented by CWA Local 9415. While unpaid staff at KPFA do not have collective bargaining rights under labor law, many are strong supporters of labor rights for themselves and coworkers, and believe in solidarity with their sisters and brothers in the paid staff, and working together for a stronger, healthier station. Both paid and unpaid staff are voting members of the Pacifica Foundation, and together elect 6 representatives to their 24‐member local station board.

In the mid‐1990s, Pacifica management made it clear they intended to get tough with KPFA’s union. Pacifica management hired an anti‐union consultant to fight the existing union, United Electric workers (or UE), which represented KPFA, WBAI and KPFK staff. At KPFA, while unpaid staff were not dues‐paying members of the union and were rarely were active in it, they had some protections under the contract, such as reimbursement and grievance rights.

Pacifica went to the National Labor Relations Board to challenge the unpaid staff’s rights. The NLRB made a ruling, which remains in effect to this day, that unpaid staff be excluded from the union. (See‐26‐99.pdf )

Later, in 1999, Pacifica also hired armed guards, locked the staff out of KPFA and piped in programming from afar. After more than 2 weeks, staff and community solidarity forced the network to back down and reopen the station.

By the mid 1990s, many Bay Area manufacturing businesses had closed and UE’s membership base had shifted to Southern California; the closest local was in Los Angeles. When the UE contract expired, KPFA’s paid staff decided they needed a union that was better positioned to help them fight Pacifica. With the support of UE, and after the old contract had expired, they chose to organize with the Communications Workers of America Local 9415, which had a thriving local in the East Bay and represented thousands of other Bay Area workers.

In 1997, groups of unpaid staff attended a series of meetings with CWA representatives, who offered to represent the unpaid staff, to the extent legally possible. However, at that time, not enough unpaid staff members were interested in joining the union.

All staff, whatever their status, should have workplace protections such as a grievance procedure, a safe and healthy working environment, reimbursement for expenses, etc. We invite all staff to come together to discuss these issues, in the spirit of cooperation and for a better KPFA.

by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 9:45 AM
People are always trying to distort history, anonymously. The four CL ers that Carol Spooner endorsed and helped elect in the 2006 election were part of the CL endorsed candidates. None of them switched to the CL side after she endorsed them. The same is true for Rosalinda Palacious who ran on the KPFAForward slate (CL precursor) in 2004 and Spooner endorsed and elected her over Stan Woods, a dedicated, loyal advocate of listener involvement and principled democratic process and a long time rank and file labor activist. Spooner helped elect those that supported the entrenched. She same ones that are allies with those that dumped UE for CWA etc. Why?
by KPFA Board Member
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 9:49 AM
If you've made it thru Bob English's l o n g and totally ridiculous post, please do read on And Vote Yes on the Tracy Rosenberg Recall

KPFA Board Member Speaks Out
by Board Member
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 9:29 AM

The fighting does need to end but it won't be able to with all the non-radio egotists who simply want to win at all costs run things from behind the scenes. Lies, faux democracy, and vilification is the trademark of the Tracy Rosenberg/Carol Spooner forces. When it comes to working in radio, they are the amateur hour. When it comes to disrupting a radio stationat work, they are the true professionals. Sorry, "professional" is a word they don't allow around the radio station.

KPFA is a little station with a big signal. Little because it is trying to do alot with few resources for what it is attempting.News and information -- public affairs programming -- are labor intensive enterprises particularly when trying to provide the ever-growing body of information not available elsewhere.

Working in radio takes a particular skill-set. Not everyone can jump right in and produce or host good radio.

Running a radio station takes a particular skill-set. Having a bunch of non-media people duke it out incessantly behind the scenes makes that impossible to do.

In other threads there is a lot of analysis by people who don't know what they are talking about when it comes to either KPFA or radio in general. The posts are filled with rewritten history, vilification of people trying to save KPFA and Pacifica from going under, and election maniuplators. You have to wonder where they came from and their mission.

Here's what it comes down to: The Pacifica Foundation is deeply in debt. The auditor's report makes it clear that the auditor doubts it will be around much longer. Something needs to change. Pacifica has five stations. One regularly runs a million dollar (or more) deficit eavery year with no end in sight.
That is because that station has annual costs of just under a million for maintaining a facility and transmitter. This has been true and known for years. Yet nothing has been done about that.

Another station needs to move because the building it is in has been sold. That is another huge expense.

The other three stations are just getting by and are not generating enough excess income.

KPFA doesn't even have a budget that will allow for a program director or a development director. A program director would not just oversee the current shows, but be a knowledgeable determiner of scheduling that makes sense and run the fund raising drives. That last point, in terms of the fiscal state of the KPFA, is important. A development director would also raise money from a variety of sources.

The Executive Director and national board think that cutting back on staff is the solution to the fiscal problems. They don't understand that taking away more people who have experience in programming or running a radio station will lead to even less income. I doubt much of a case can be made that rank amateurs can do better at any sort of job than those with a proven track record of success.

That is the problem.

Diverting the talk into whether someone said or did this or that , ruminating about who they have ever known or worked with, speculating endlessly about sinister motives as a result of *conclusions* drawn from such idiocy is not addressing the problem.

This it is being down by a bunch of rank amateurs when it comes to radio, or for that matter,designing the democracy they put in place..

Since an honest vote hasn't worked out well for them, they have ever since worked behind the scenes to manipulate the voting system.

We need to address the real and serious financial problems. Something needs to be done. It needs to be a logical solution with all the factors and possible outcomes weighed to the best of the ability of people who have the best interests of KPFA in mind, know what they are doing, and aren't lost in a cesspool of hate and their own egos. That is putting the best spin possible on what they are up to; it could be something much worse.
by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 11:15 AM
Who knows if they are a board member, and if they won't be accountable for what they write, nothing else needs to be said!!!

by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 11:33 AM
Anonymous Board Member, what are your "professional credentials"? I worked in radio for 5 1/2 years both AM and FM and had a #1 rating in my time slot, and 48 years as a progressive activist and your folks miss the boat for the Pacifica Mission and have put their personal interests ahead of the listeners and the Mission in almost every move they have made.

So before you opine any more tell us who you are and why we should listen to anything you say.

It is already established that Margy Wilkinson will lie to the listeners at LSB meetings and on the air so why should we believe that her allies won't when they go along with her lies.
by Just-love-your-arguments
Saturday Jul 14th, 2012 7:28 PM
Please tell the listeners how many times have you been elected to the KPFA Local Station board? How many times have you resigned from the KPFA Local Station board? Ya know, every time you run and resign you keep someone else from being seated--someone who will stick it out and serve......the listeners who elected them.
by Richard Phelps, former chair KPFA LSB
Sunday Jul 15th, 2012 10:25 AM
One thing has been constant since 2003 when I became actively involved in KPFA/Pacifica. Whenever I raise factual issues to show the listeners what the others are doing that is undemocratic, denying due process or just plain selfish anti-Mission behavior, they try to change the subject and go after me. If you notice they generally don't respond to the facts I have raised in my attempt to educate the voters/listeners about what they do which is so often 180 degrees different from what they say.

My personal reasons for resigning have no bearing on the issues at hand. I did consider who would replace me and wouldn't have resigned had it been some one from the CL camp. If any of you anonymous jokers would agree to a public debate on the important issues I would gladly discuss why I resigned as a small part of the discussion. Mostly it had to do with dealing with a tyrannical majority that wouldn't allow fair play and open discussion and was in NO way interested in collaboration for the benefit of KPFA.

For example the denial of due process on the censure of Tracy, the CL vote against having the budget implemented in line with the union contract, which would mean that the CL folks couldn't continue to manipulate the hiring and firing. Their dishonest running of the LSB Radio Hour. The last one I attended I arrived at 10 minutes before the start and was not allowed into the studio until 8:30 after 30 minutes of straight uncontested spin, and then they announced that I had just arrived!!! Then they wouldn't keep my mic open so I could respond to their BS. When I was LSB Chair I always invited the other side to come on the many programs I produced and hosted. I was never afraid to hear and rebut what ever they might say and in the spirit of the Pacifica Mission I always wanted the listeners to ear both sides. The CL on the other hand has always been afraid of what I have to say since I rely on facts and the true history of their sectarian conduct.

I have challenged just about every KPFAForward/CL/"SaveKPFA" member over the years to publicly debate the issues and none of them have ever agreed to do so. Why? I think it is because the spin they push can't hold up to a factual rebuttal so they choose to avoid being confronted by the truth of what they have done.

My issues/reasons for resigning pale in comparission to this phony recall and the current LSB Chair lying to the listeners on the air and at LSB meetings while denying Tracy's right to full due process.

Do you still contend that censure is not discipline? And you still can't produce the "list" Tracy is accused of making for layoffs. Why? Becaue you made it up!! It never existed.
by The Truth Hurts a Lot
Monday Jul 16th, 2012 9:51 PM
Do you think its Ok that Tracy used an email list with the word "election" in its title? That she used it to send an email blast 2 times from her own organization, Media Allience? I just received a packet from KPFA asking for a donation. The packet among other things, included a card requesting an email address. The card stated that "email addresses are not shared with other organizations". It was signed by Andrew Phillips.

Instead of trashing Margy Wilfinson I think you should be more concerned about that email list from a past election that was not supposed to be distributed. As a matter of fact, ALL of ICR should be concerned about that email list.

Ask Tracie if she destroyed that email list.
When and if she answers are you going to believe her?

And, oh, BTW, Media Alliance has gone down hill in a big way since Tracy has headed the organization. No employees??? It used to be a great organization. Maybe that email list was supposed to help.

If this is the way Tracy heads up media organizations, why would anyone take her suggestions on how KPFA should be run?
by The Lies Hurt Even More!
Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 3:36 PM
"The Truth Hurts a Lot", maybe you could tell us just exactly how "SaveKPFA" compiled ITS mailing list.

I sure as shit didn't sign up for it, but I suddenly got LOTS of their mailings, totally unsolicited.
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