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Indybay Feature
Another Narrative - Fight for Independent, Non-Corporate Radio
by Akio Tanaka
Monday May 24th, 2021 2:50 PM
A group of people are proposing changes to the Pacifica Radio’s bylaws, and another group of people are opposing the change to the bylaws.
The Pacifica members should hear out both sides before voting on the Bylaws referendum.
Recently, CounterPunch published an article by Pete Dolack on Pacifica.

May 21: “The Fight for Independent, Non-Corporate Radio Flares Up Again”

A group of people are proposing changes to the Pacifica Radio’s bylaws, and another group of people are opposing the change to the bylaws.

The Rashomon effect refers to an instance when the same event is described in significantly different (often contradictory) ways by different people who were involved.

Pete Dolack alleged that:
1. The people behind the bylaws are “same people who violently shut down WBAI in 2019.”
2. The people behind the bylaws are trying to execute a “corporate-style takeover that would have placed uncontested power in the hands of coupsters.”

The New Day Pacifica’s narrative:
1. The New Day Pacifica had nothing to do with the WBAI shut down in 2019. The shut down of WBAI by the Interim Executive Director was the result of the failure of the Pacifica National Board to address the financial situation at WBAI over the years. The Board is unable to address the problems of the Foundation because the Board is always locked in factional battles.
2. The people behind the New Day Pacifica Bylaws are trying to change the governance structure of the Foundation, so that the Board can address the problems of the Foundation.

Following are some of the governance issues that beset the current Board and the solutions proposed by the New Day Pacifica Bylaws.

1. Reducing the size of the Board will result in more effective governance.
Current Board has 22 representative directors. 2019 Pacifica’s auditors, Rogers & Company, said: “We believe that all divisions should restructure their Boards with fewer members, which would hopefully reduce the number of disparate voices and result in more effective governance.”

The proposed new Board has 15 directors: 8 representative directors, 4 officers, and 3 at-large directors.

2. The new Bylaws will have officers who are accountable to the members.
With the current Bylaws, the officers are elected by the Board, so they are accountable to the majority faction on the Board.

With the New Day Pacifica Bylaws, the officers are directly elected by the entire membership, so there is more democracy and more accountability.

3. The new Bylaws will invite people with experience in media, radio and finance to the Board.
A critical gap in the current Bylaws was the failure to require any qualifications to serve on the board of directors. Consequently, the Board, for the last 18 years, have lacked experience in either media, radio or financial oversight and controls.

With the New Day Pacifica Bylaws, 3 at-large directors are elected by the 12 elected directors to bring to the Board experience and expertise that 12 elected Board members lack but the Board needs. The 12 elected directors always have super majority over the 3 at-large directors, to prevent any possibility of having a self-selecting Board.

4. The new Bylaws will have directors who are accountable to the members and not to the factions.
Authors of the current Bylaws mistakenly believed that by including the element of single transferable voting in electing local and national Board members that the resulting Board would be able to resolve the differing interests of various factions through dialogue and mutual commitment to the best interests of the membership and the Foundation. However, what has happened instead is that the entire governance system has been hijacked by competing factions, who have gamed the system to ensure that they control portions of the local station boards. The 4 directors elected by each local station board are not elected on basis of their merit or qualification, but are elected as part of factional slates, and bring the local factional battles onto the national board.

With the New Day Pacifica Bylaws, each station elect one director, so the one director has to stand on ones’ own merits. The 2 staff directors and 1 affiliates’ director also have to stand on their own merits. They are joined by 4 officers who are directly elected by the entire membership, and 3 at-large directors, which will result in a Board with less factionalism. The role of the Board is to ensure the financial health of the Foundation.

5. The new Bylaws will end the Boards working at cross purposes.
One of the major flaw in the current Bylaws is that it allows for local and national governing Boards which often are working at cross purposes. 2018 Pacifica’s auditors, Regalia and Associate, said: “It appears Pacifica is unable to map out an effective and safe strategy due to the disjointed nature of its various governance Boards which appear to be working at cross purposes.”

The New Day Pacifica Bylaws take the power to oversee the finances and other items away from the Local Station Boards, so that the National Board can function. Community Advisory Board is mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to advise the station if the programming is meeting the needs of the listeners. It also carries out a vital role in assisting with fundraising and outreach for the station.

Summary:
New Day Pacifica does not claim they “will miraculously reverse Pacifica’s difficult financial situation”; however, New Day Pacifica Bylaws will result in a Board with less factionalism, so it will be better able to address problems and ensure the financial health of the listener-sponsored alternative to the corporate media. Restoring the stability of governance and finance will also reassure Pacifica members and supporters.

The Pacifica members should hear out both sides before voting on the Bylaws referendum.



Akio Tanaka is a current Delegate of the KPFA Local Station Board, former Secretary of the Pacifica National Board, and will become Pacifica’s Transition Secretary if Pacifica members vote to approve the New Day Pacifica bylaws.

by Bullshit Detector
Tuesday May 25th, 2021 11:49 AM
Here goes Akio Tanaka again in his desperate effort to swindle people into making him a Pacifica corporate officer for the next three years. Which as usual, he forgets to mention in his post.

The "narrative" language is to avoid addressing issues of truth and falsity. Some narratives are true. Some are not.

"The New Day Pacifica had nothing to do with the WBAI shut down in 2019. The shut down of WBAI by the Interim Executive Director was the result of the failure of the Pacifica National Board to address the financial situation at WBAI over the years."

Three of the four people New Day wants to install as board officers for three years, including Tanaka, were strong supporters of the appalling raid on WBAI, where the station was assaulted, the doors locked, the employees all fired with no notice, the broadcasting equipment was smashed, the bank accounts emptied, the computers taken and all local programming was taken off the air and replaced with NPR programming piped in from 3,000 miles away. Including hours of "Celtic music" at a primarily Black station, if the white supremacy aspects were otherwise unclear.

This was the same conduct by that made 10,000 people march in protest in Berkeley 22 years ago. Not okay then and not okay now and anyone who defends it, like Tanaka, should NEVER be placed on the national board.

The board had taken action on WBAI's financial problems. In 2018, the station was rescued from its predatory antenna lease at the Empire State Building and relocated to another antenna location at 25% of the cost. And the debt caused by that terrible stupid contract from 2005 has been financed with a philanthrophic charity. Tanaka, while on the national board himself did not accomplish these things.

"2. The people behind the New Day Pacifica Bylaws are trying to change the governance structure of the Foundation, so that the Board can address the problems of the Foundation".

The people behind the New Day Pacifica bylaws are simply trying to put themselves back in power. That's all it is. They tell you nothing about what they intend to do and are running for office without a platform using a bylaws change device to allow them to obscure their intentions.

Aki: Right now, name 10 actions you intend to take if installed as a board officer until 2024.

We're waiting.
by James McFadden
Wednesday May 26th, 2021 1:49 AM
22 years ago a Pacifica takeover was attempted with a similar propaganda campaign centered around "professionalism" - as if that magic word would hide the true nature of both bylaws coups -- which is a return to a centralized, self-selecting board structure with no room for local oversight. The proposed board’s primary concern is apparently financial, but they have no plan on dealing with finances. Their only plan is to adopt a hierarchical corporate management structure because that always produces a magical solution – except when it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, they will shake their heads and quote TINA -- there is no alternative other than to sell a station to create financial stability. And with their proposed bylaws, there will be no opposition voices to prevent such sales.

Déjà vu all over again. Here are some quotes from that bylaws coup from 22 years ago:
https://www.laprogressive.com/hostile-takeover-of-pacifica-radio/
“The Pacifica debacle is the single best example of the cancer that has been eating at non-commercial media for more than a decade, disempowering communities in the name of professionalization, commercializing the airwaves in the guise of development, centralizing authority in the name of efficiency, and promoting high protection values at the expense of local color. Is Pacifica facing challenges currently? Absolutely. But before we move to a different governance model, we should examine the rest of the media landscape. Guess what? Media in the U.S. is in a tailspin! In comparison, Pacifica actually looks good!"

Today the biggest threat to Pacifica is not its finances, but the lack of vision to re-create the anti-war, anti-racism, and anti-sexism fervor that challenged the establishment and powered the network. And putting in a board of directors whose primary concern is finances – and who will then draw “professionals” from corporate media – all to Make Pacifica Great Again – well I’m not buying it. Today's media tailspin is rooted in hierarchical corporate control of bland media and fake news – what Chomsky and Herman called manufacturing consent. When finances become the key consideration, voices are silenced, investigative journalism halted, and journalists fear to challenge the Washington consensus so they just report the same bland non-stories -- or worse yet, the fake news fed to them by anonymous sources. We already have National Propaganda Radio (NPR) – do we really want Pacifica to use them as a model of professional reporting and political dialogue?

What was true 22 years ago is true again today -- a small group attempting to seize control of Pacifica -- constructing bylaws in secret -- then using a pot of money to sell the scam hoping misinformed listener-members either don’t notice or can be fooled by their massive sales pitch. (By the way, who is funding this New Day campaign which blasts us nearly every day with more sky is falling tales?)

Think about what New Day is asking of its members. The initial unelected national board consists entirely of a single New Day minority faction that would have complete control of the network for 3 years, allowing consolidation of programming and management that could lock in their control indefinitely. How is this any different from last year's bylaws coup attempt -- which lost 2-1? Are they just throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping someday it might stick – that no one is paying attention?

I again remind the listeners that the New Day faction has not offered any real solutions to exaggerated financial problems rooted in decisions decades ago when an onerous antenna contract was signed after 911. Instead New Day has described the PNB as being unprofessional and dysfunctional for the last 15 years – a PNB that they were very much a part of. Instead of offering solutions, they say “trust us” -- so we are left to examine their track record. Their faction’s choice for the new Executive Director in 2019 promptly shut down WBAI in New York just as it started a fund drive -- without informing the PNB. WBAI, the most radical of the Pacifica stations, has been a target of their faction for at least a decade. That Executive Director was fired but not before KPFA lost $80k in retainer fees to his lawyers in an attempted lawsuit against the PNB. Several lawsuits by this faction, and now two bylaws elections, have cost Pacifica hundreds of thousands in lawyer fees and election costs.

Based on their track record, New Day is not to be trusted. Vote NO on the bylaws.
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