From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: East Bay | Indymedia
Vote ‘United for Community Radio’ for the KPFA LSB
by Akio Tanaka
Wednesday Nov 7th, 2012 7:29 AM
The upcoming elections for the local station board at KPFA are critical to KPFA’s future. It is time to bring peace to KPFA-Pacifica and help strengthen this priceless resource.
Current situation and background

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

After the 1999 Crisis, Pacifica reorganized with new bylaws which called for democratic governance by a board elected by the listeners and staff, both paid and unpaid. Immediately, a divide formed over the new governance. The current conflict is a continuation of this divide.

The current conflict began with the layoffs in 2010, when the union accused Pacifica management of union busting and usurping local control. While it is the duty of the union to fight to save jobs, anyone who has seen KPFA’s annual audited financial reports can see that KPFA’s local management more than doubled the payroll during the boom years between 2000 and 2006, and then failed to make the necessary cuts when the economy collapsed and listener support plummeted between 2006 and 2010.

The number of staff the station can afford to pay is directly tied to the level of listener support which in large part depends on the state of the economy. By 2010, the station was in danger of insolvency, which is the ONLY reason Pacifica stepped in.

There have also been claims that the layoffs were political and did not follow the union contract, but the National Labor Relations Board has dismissed as ‘without merit’ all five complaints filed by the union regarding this matter.

Underlying problems

One major area of friction is programming. It stands to reason that a trade union looking after the financial security of its members will prefer programming which appeals to a more affluent, if progressive, audience. But the mission of Pacifica is to be the commons of the airwaves, to represent a broader and more diverse community, to include the voices of the voiceless and marginalized.

Another area of friction is the working relationship between paid and unpaid staff. Until 1996 both were represented by one “industrial” union. In 1996 this was changed to a “craft” union that no longer represented the unpaid staff. This created a kind of a class system resulting in an uneasy working relationship between the paid and unpaid staff.

Possible Solutions

So what to do with these conflicting needs and interests? How does a union look after the financial security of its members in a non-profit organization that does not make profits and must live within a balanced budget?

The primary task of the station should be to fulfill the mission of Pacifica. The management and union should carefully work out a paid staffing level that can be sustained during the economic ups and downs and avoid the temptation to add too many people during the economic boom times, as happened between 2000-2006.

A sustainable paid staffing level would help remove the one main source of anxiety and tension. It would also end the practice of measuring the value of a program only by the amount of money it brings in, a sad and ironic state of affairs. This is not to devalue well-produced programs, but to invest more resources into training and support thereby increasing the production values of all programs.

Pacifica holds the unique position of giving a platform to the powerless and voiceless, as the union did at one time. 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 just paid labor.

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 those who contribute to the station.

A progressive organization like KPFA should have one all inclusive union for everyone who works at the station.

Bringing Peace to KPFA and Pacifica

It is time for all the staff, paid and unpaid, and for listeners to embrace the democratic victory that was won for us in legal and street battles of 1999-2001 and by the people who formed the original “Save KPFA” in the mid-1990’s. KPFA was not sold out from under us, and thanks to their efforts, it never will be. It is time to bring peace to KPFA and Pacifica and help strengthen this priceless resource.

‘United for Community Radio’ (UCR) coalition stands for:

Community Resource - Reclaim the mission of Pacifica and KPFA as commons, with broad and diverse participation, not to be controlled by any particular group or party.
Program Council - Programming decisions to be made in fair, collaborative, and respectful manner.
Mutual Respect – Foster cooperation and equality for paid and unpaid staff.

Please vote for the following ‘United for Community Radio’ candidates:

Ramsés Téon Nichols - Organizing Committee Chair of Local SEIU 1021, SF Green Party
Dr. Laurence Shoup – Historian, Author “Rulers and Rebels”, former Green Party candidate
Karen Pickett - Earth First!, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Global Justice Ecology Project
Andrea Pritchett - Incumbent board member, teacher, Copwatch founder
Samsarah Morgan - Oakland Green Party, Occupy Oakland, writer on birth, health and family
Dave Welsh - Labor organizer, delegate SF Labor Council, Haiti Action Committee, Occupy Oakland
Oriana Saportas - Community & Labor activist, former KPFA Local Election Supervisor
Kate Tanaka - Incumbent board member, anti-corporate stalwart
Beth Seligman - Vegetarian occupier, permaculturist, writer, law degree
Virginia Browning - Long time KPFA activist, former radio programmer

[Staff candidates: David Landau, Frank Sterling, Joy Moore]

UCR is endorsed by Carol Spooner, Gray Brechin, Michael Parenti, Barbara Lubin, Peter Phillips, Jack Heyman, Clarence Thomas[ILWU], Robbie Osman and many more.
See all the endorsers and our platform at

For real change, vote for all 9 SaveKPFA candidates in KPFA’s local board election

KPFA on the air

Art by Bob Baldock for the film "KPFA on the Air"

Check out the 9 wonderful activists running as SaveKPFA candidates in this fall’s KPFA Local Station Board Election: Craig Alderson, Paula Errkila, Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Dan Siegel, Carole Travis, Barbara Whipperman and Burton White.

Between them, they have a wealth of background in radio, nonprofit administration, fundraising, labor, grassroots organizing, and social and economic justice movements. They come from around the Bay Area and beyond, all enthusiastic listeners of KPFA who want to make a positive difference in its future.

Read SaveKPFA‘s election platform, What We Stand For, which includes: • Restore local control at KPFA • Ensure high quality, progressive programming • Respect KPFA’s listeners • Support KPFA’s staff • Require transparency and accountability from Pacifica.

Please distribute widely — let your friends and neighbors know that this vote will be crucial for KPFA’s future. Let’s elect all 9 SaveKPFA candidates and get KPFA and the Pacifica network back on track!

We welcome endorsements from all members of the KPFA community – listeners, staff, writers, artists, community and labor activists, etc.
by Want to Vote United for CR
Friday Nov 9th, 2012 8:03 AM
Where are the ballots? They were supposed to be mailed November 6. It is now November 9. San Francisco should have ballots by now. Does anyone know what is going on?
by leon
Friday Nov 9th, 2012 4:34 PM
The ballots mailed on schedule from the East Coast. You should get one in the next 1-3 days. Mail may be a bit slow due to the after-effects of the hurricane.
by John Tango Iversen, ACT UP EAST BAY
Wednesday Nov 14th, 2012 12:56 PM
well well well. my my my. PLEASE LOOK AT BOTH SIDES HERE. The union supports SaveKPFA and has a much larger list of left endorsers. Tracy rosenberg has amassed a group of disgruntled people, suppressed the vote of her own recall (14,000 votes cast to oust her-most in kpfa history)Tracy rosenberg harbors AIDS denialists among her supporters and is supported by pro-Management Peeps at KPFA, WBAI--her treaured eg which is $3.3 million in debt under her allies'leadership, and Pacifica. IOn new world we do away with ego and management will receive no more in salary than the highest paid worker. EXAMINE BOTH SIDES BEFORE MAKING YOUR DECSION. No one with AIDS has endorsed Miss Rosenberg's hand=picked candidates and most artist and musicans and union members endorse please join us SKA WAM!
Save Kpfa Assange Wikileaks AND Manning. TRUTH WILL OUT. I speculate savekpfa will win 8 out of 9. Samsarah only UCR worth your vote as she has a mind of her own. My top 7:
#1 Mark Hernanadez #2Kate Gowen #3 Dan Siegel #4 Babara Whipperman # 5 Craig Alderson #6 Samsarah Morgan, #7 Paula with the Finnish last name
by Richard Phelps, former Chair KPFA LSB
Friday Nov 16th, 2012 10:39 AM
Mark Hernandez was Secretary on the LSB during one of my terms as Chair. A staff Concerned Listener/SaveKPFA allied LSB Rep named Eric ( I am leaving his last name off at his request) didn't show up for meetings about 60% of the time. He should have been dropped but the CL/SK folks on the LSB kept excusing his absences. Eric told me later that he didn't ask to be excused since he no longer worked at KPFA but was working at another radio station. Why did they continue to excuse Eric when they knew he was gone? The next up on the list to replace him was Miguel Molina.

At a meeting in June 2006 the SK/CL folks forgot to excuse Eric and Mark Hernandez changed the minutes to show he was excused. I knew that they had not excused Eric when I saw the minutes and raised the issue. Max Blanchet, who kept attendence records and others agreed with me. Hernandez said he would listen to the audio of the meeting which was on his lap top and get back to us. He never did since Mark knew he had been caught. Below is an article I wrote at that time exposing Hernandez's playing fast and loose with the minutes. Do we want some one who was caught changing the minutes for political gain back on the LSB? Do we want people on the LSB (SaveKPFA folks) that would put such a person on their slate? NO!

Hernandez also spoke against a motion in support of the Berkeley Honda Strikers along with Sarv Randhawa, another SK/CL long time LSB/PNB member who has finally been outed as a Republican.

One final interesting thing about Hernandez, He likes to red bait. When I was chair we organized a Town Hall meeting as required by the bylaws. The SK/CL majority has never put one on. SK/CL talks local control but that means their local elite, not the listeners, so they don't want or need to do any Town Hall meetings since they wouldn't pay any attention to what listeners want since they have the "CORRECT LINE" and must lead the masses. Hernandez made this comment about our sides participation in the Town Hall Meeting. He accused us of bringing in "busloads of communists" to dominate the meeting. I find it very interesting that SK/CL ,who has many ex-CPUSA and current Committee of Correspondence members among them have allied with a red baiter who wouldn't support a strike that every progressive in the Bay Area supported??? Is this just an opportunist move to get Fresno votes? I will let you decide.

I believe Hernandez would best be described as a right wing libertarian . I never saw or heard anything left or progressive from him.


Transcript by Richard Phelps, LSB Chair, for July, 06 part of meeting regarding correcting the minutes on Eric listed as an excused absence. Mark’s comments are substantially complete. Some irrelevant comments are left out since I am not a swift transcriber.

Marnie: There’s an error in the uh minutes regarding the absences from last, that meeting, Eric’s name was not even mentioned that day and he was not excused.

Mark: Mr. Chair.

Max: This is my recollection as well. I had him down as a zero. Not an excused person in my chart.

(Interruption by unidentified person.)

Chair: She doesn’t have the floor, Mark you are next.

Mark: The motion made was to excuse all absences.

(Several people then said no, that’s not true.)

Chair: I know, I made careful note of it. I’m going to call on myself for my recollection. I just want to say that I remember explicitly that nobody asked for him to be excused and I wondered why? Several other people were brought up and approved but Eric was never put up to be excused.

Max: To explain my chart, if you attend you get a 1, if you are absent and you are excused by a vote you get an E and if you are not excused you get a zero. That ‘s the way my chart is and that is very explicit.

Mark: Mr. Chair, I ask the indulgence of the board. I am going to play it back in a few moments, that we table this for about 10 minutes.

Chair: And then?

Mark: I can play the motion for the board.

Chair: You are going to have to play the whole discussion, because it has to be in context…if we are going to listen to that we have to listen to the whole discussion about excused absences.

Mark: Mr. Chair, the final motion is the motion that is made and that is what is voted on.

Chair: Well, No, we have to hear the context because Eric’s name was not mentioned.

Mark: Mr. Chair, the motion that is passed is the motion of record. It does not matter, we do not take notational transcripts. We do not have the Federalist Papers which we can go back to and take word for word examination of the details of the arguments.

Chair: That’s not my point Mark. My point is it might say they are all approved but the point is you have to go back and see who was mentioned as approved because Eric was not mentioned. That’s the distinction I want to make clear. Nobody, none of the people over here ever said that I want Eric excused. It was never raised. I have a memory that is very, very good and I was surprised that nobody did, so the fact that it might say that all those mentioned are excused is fine but then you gotta go back and listen to who was asked to be excused. That’s the context I am talking about.

(After some discussion we were about to vote on the amendment to the minutes regarding Eric’s absence)

Brian: Point of Information.

Chair: Yes

Brian: Did Mark Hernandez ask to table or was that informal?

Chair: All right, we’ll table. If he can get that up so we can hear it that is fine. But like I said, I want to hear the whole thing not just the last 30 seconds.

Brian: Mr. Chair, maybe we can take on the consent calendar.

Chair: Yes, why don’t we take on the consent calendar, any objection, while Mark is trying to find that let’s go to the consent calendar. (and we did)

(Mark never got back to us to play the prior meeting discussion.)

Here is a transcript, also by Richard Phelps, from the June 06 meeting, the section on excusing absences. First is the only part Mark wanted us to hear, followed by the discussion that preceded the motion:

Chair: Anybody want to a make a motion regarding the peoples named?

Sarv: comments off mike

Chair: Sarv moved to excuse those people whose names have been mentioned, any second? ( it was seconded) any objections? No Objections. Ok.

(After the above motion Sepideh sought clarification.)

Sepideh: Who are the people named?

Chair: Sherry, Jane, Willie Ratcliff, and Debbie and Rosalinda are on their way.

Sepideh: La Varn is on her way, she is 5 minutes away.

Here is the discussion from the beginning up to the motion:

Chair: And just another reminder for everybody out there, if you came in late the sign up sheet for public comment is right here, if anybody wants to sign up. Ok. Uh I have been advised by Willie Ratcliff that he will not be here because of a Juneteenth celebration….anybody know of anybody who is absent, Willie asked to be excused…

Max: Jane Jackson

Chair: Yes, she’s out of town I believe.

Bonnie: A, Sherry Gendelman is out of town this weekend. I believe Debbie is on her way here and Rosalinda had a meeting for her work this morning and should be here soon.

Chair: Anybody want to a make a motion regarding the peoples named?

And we are back to where we started. It is easy to see that if you just played back the motion:

“Chair: Sarv moved to excuse those people whose names have been mentioned, any second? ( it was seconded) any objections? No Objections. Ok.”

You would not know who was excused without hearing the prior discussion to get the context of the motion, who was mentioned to be excused. One could try to construe this motion to mean that all absent would be excused, but only if you ignore the specific language:

“those people whose names have been mentioned”

and didn’t listen to the rest of the short discussion.

So why was Mark Hernandez so adamant that we only listen to the motion? Despite having the recording of the meeting Mark wrote in the minutes that Eric’s absence was excused. You can decide for yourself what you think this means about our Secretary’s trustworthiness to be the keeper of our records.

Other facts to consider: Mark Hernandez never asked to play the pertinent recorded part of the meeting for the LSB after he listened to it during our last meeting, after Mark asked to table the discussion so he could play it back for us. Mark had the June meeting recording available to him for review when he did the June minutes. Mark has always voted to excuse Eric and almost always votes with those that have fought to keep Eric on the LSB despite the fact that Eric’s attendance is around 40 % and he has not attended a meeting since January 7, 2006. Eric has not been an active member on any committee of the LSB or PNB. Eric hasn’t worked at the station since early April, 2006 and for several months prior to that he worked sporadically in a manner that would not qualify him as a staff member. He is not listed on the recently released Unpaid Staff list. Eric has not communicated with the LSB on the LSB list for some months and has not communicated to the LSB his intention to remain active on the board despite the controversy over his attendance and the facts supporting his being ineligible to be on the LSB.

The Bylaws state:
A Listener-Sponsor membership term shall expire twelve (12) months from that date on which said Member: (A) contributed a minimum of $25 to any Foundation radio station, or such minimum amount as the Board of Directors may from time to time decide; or (B) volunteered a minimum of 3 hours of service to any Foundation radio station. A Staff membership term shall expire: (A) on that date on which s/he is no longer a member of a radio station Unpaid Staff Organization or Bargaining Unit, or if the radio station has no such organization, then on that date on which s/he failed to volunteer a minimum of 30 hours in the preceding 3-month period; or (B) upon termination of employment as a non-management employee of a Foundation radio station, as applicable.

The evidence is clear that Eric is not a staff member of KPFA/Pacifica and thus is not eligible to represent the staff on the LSB. The evidence is clear that he has not been eligible since April 2006 and probably prior to that.

Mark Hernandez recently tried to get out of his getting caught misreporting the vote in the minutes by saying that since Sarv Randhawa’s statement was inaudible on the recording that we don’t know what his motion was. That is wrong both factually and legally. I heard it clearly and repeated it over the mic and Sarv did not say “hey that is not what I said”. And Mark was sitting right next to him and did not ask for a correction and Mark lives for the times he can correct me, as anyone who has been to a meeting or two knows. Also, when Sepideh asks for who was excused I didn’t mention Eric and neither Mark Hernandez or Sarv Randhawa said anything, not “what about Eric” or “my motion includes all absences.” So it is clear that this is a months old attempt to cover up Mark Hernandez’s being caught changing the minutes to benefit his faction.

Richard Phelps

I don't know Mark Hernandez but just think it's strange that he had a woman recording his pitch to be elected to the LSB (2012). I thought maybe he was unable to speak, but clearly not if he's been chairing LSB meetings (transcripts indicate him speaking). And even if it were due to a disability, you'd think you'd mention that; does he think listeners will not notice or want to know why? I have never heard any other candidate record someone else speaking for them and I think it's very odd.