The rogue faction of the Pacifica National Board that took WBAI off the air for over a month in the fall of 2019, replaced local programming with remotely provided canned content, and totally disrupted fundraising crucial to WBAI’s survival, have even more destructive plans for the entire Pacifica network.
They have gone to court in Berkeley to force a vote on a complete revision of the Pacifica Foundation bylaws, masquerading as an “amendment.” And despite the fact that all local station boards voted “no” on the proposed new bylaws – WBAI’s board voted “no” unanimously – the California Judge ruled that there will still have to be a referendum of the entire membership of the Pacifica Foundation, starting February 18. Here’s what they want you to sign off on:
Eliminating democratically elected local station boards. This would terminate local oversight of the manager, the program director, and the budget of each station – i.e., feedback and ideas from local staff and listeners. Each of the 5 stations would be allowed to elect just one representative to the national board, and these 5, with the 6 outside at-large directors to be listed on the ballot, would have complete control over all 5 stations as well as the central organization.
Disenfranchising/“firing” listeners and staff. This would be accomplished not only by the elimination of local station boards, but also by doubling the cost of membership. And after an initial all-or-none, all-or-nothing referendum, 6 at-large members of the Pacifica National Board (“directors”), hand-picked by the new bylaws’ supporters, would be the “transitional” ruling authority over the network for at least six months, or until the first new elections could be organized for listeners to vote for the single, token director from each station. The 6 appointed members, whoever they might be at any moment, would always outnumber the 5 elected members. If voters at a station recalled an elected station director, or members at all 5 stations removed an at-large director, their replacement would immediately be selected by the national board, not elected by the voting members. Staff – including the many unpaid producers who work hard to create the programming you enjoy, and who currently make up about one-quarter of the local and national boards – would actually be barred from running for the Pacifica National Board.
Facilitating the sale of WBAI and other stations. WBAI, at the center of the FM dial in the largest media market in the US, has long been in the crosshairs of the would-be hijackers. Selling or swapping its frequency would enrich the rest of Pacifica at the cost of silencing the voices of WBAI. The proposed revisions, which would halve the threshold for approval of the sale or disposal of assets from a “quorum” of 10% of the membership to only 5%, would greatly increase the likelihood that assets could be sold off as soon as a new national board was constituted by at-large members exclusively. A single station with a large-enough membership, such as KPFA, could meet the reduced quorum all by itself, thus robbing WBAI’s listeners of some of the most challenging and critical community radio in the country just to prop itself up.
The quorum for the upcoming referendum will still be 10%. Ballots arrive in email on February 18, or they will be sent via USPS mail for those members for whom there are no email addresses.
YOUR VOTE WILL BE KEY TO WBAI’S SURVIVAL.
Everyone who is a member of any of the 5 Pacifica stations MUST become fully informed and VOTE NO!
For more information, go to wbaifightback.org or call 917-781-0366.