DON’T BE DUPED,
HOODWINKED OR BAMBOOZLED:
A very polished, sophisticated notice titled PACIFICA IN CRISIS is circulating throughout our community. It’s very impressive and yet it’s very deceptive. It urges you to vote yes and it lays out chapter and verse all of the financial and managerial ills facing the network over the last decades.
But here’s what they don’t tell you:
While lauding how “powerful and influential” all five stations (WPFW, WBAI, KPFK, KPFA AND KPFT) could be, they fail to state that the bylaws they propose SHRINKS EACH STATION’S INPUT INTO THE GOVERNANCE OF THE NETWORK. Only one individual from each signal area will sit on their board to represent the entire station and the entire community. Those 5 station representatives will be permanently outvoted by the 6 at large directors they have appointed (unvetted and unelected) to serve. The station reps will be no more than toothless tigers. They can’t serve as Chair or Treasurer!
The 200 plus affiliate stations that carry Pacifica programming and help to make up the rest of our network WILL NOT HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE AT ALL OR A VOICE IN THE PROCESS. One of the at-large directors is from an affiliate station (Norman Stockwell) and he is expected to represent the interests of all 200 plus affiliates.
In these dire political times, with the rise of white nationalism, the destruction of our planet, creeping militarism, and the very foundation of our democracy being diminished by corrupt and spineless politicians — why restrict input from our network of progressive stations and from station reps who are closest to the issues?
Putting our precious network in the hands of six unelected, unvetted, unproven individuals is — TOO HUGE A RISK TO TAKE.
Indeed changes in our bylaws and our governance structure are overdue…but this IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
The vote yes people, also failed to mention that two of the individuals (Carol Spooner and Peter Franck) recently pushed the network TO FILE BANKRUPTCY and now ask us to believe that they’ve had a sudden change of heart and want the network to flourish.
In fact, their proposal makes it easier for their board to sell off our stations or swap our prime location on the dial for lesser signals in exchange for funding. Bill Crozier, one of the litigants in their lawsuit, (yes lawsuit) shutdown our sister station WBAI in NY just a few months ago. A judge forced them to put the popular WBAI back onthe airways. Their proposal lowers the threshold for selling one of our stations by reducing the number of members needed to vote in favor of selling to just a little over 2200 listener members voting. THAT MEANS ROUGHLY 2200 LISTENERS ON THE WEST COAST COULD VOTE TO SELL WPFW AND THEY WOULD BE WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS UNDER THE PROPOSED BYLAWS.
It should be noted that the 9 member group that filed the lawsuit against Pacifica insisting the bylaws be changed are largely from the Berkeley area of station KPFA. Interestingly enough KPFA is facing a serious financial threat of BEING SOLD AT AUCTION next month for failure to pay over $400,000 in property taxes. Could this not be a reason to shut down WBAI, sell it and invest the money in ‘saving Pacifica?’
DON’T BE DUPED, HOODWINKED OR BAMBOOZLED!
They state ‘to put in place a capable, stable, respected board of directors who can attract and retain a knowledgeable and experienced Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer’ is the best way to get Pacifica’s finances under control. Perhaps. But what compromises might that ‘respectable, stable’ board of directors have to make to get that funding? Will they be asked to have Pacifica stations tone down their programming? Or will this respectable board (that’s totally devoid of diversity) decide to tone it down themselves? Is that a risk we are willing to take? THIS IS NOT A SOLUTION — THIS IS PURE SPECULATION!
There’s no guarantee that if we gut our governance structure and reduce it to 6 individuals with a permanent majority vote over our 5 station reps that funding will come gushing into Pacifica. And if it does, AT WHAT COST? Will we have traded in the very soul of our network and abandoned our sacred mission? THIS IS TOO HUGE A RISK TO TAKE
Indeed a bylaws change is long overdue. But let’s amend them, not abolish them. The majority of these financial matters can be addressed by a competent CFO. In 2005 under the leadership of Dan Coughlin and Verna Avery-Brown Pacifica experienced the largest and most rapid expansion in audience and revenue in the network’s history. This was accomplished under the current Bylaws structure. In fact there are provisions in the By laws that allow for a By Laws Convention to be convened to amend By Laws when it’s determined to be necessary.
Finally, Pacifica has for decades functioned as a voice for the voiceless. It is our mission to represent those who are poor and underserved. To provide a platform for people of color, indigenous people, the homeless, returning citizens, the LGBT community, single moms without affordable housing, the workers earning less than a liveable wage, the unjustly incarcerated, victims of police brutality…WHO ON THEIR BOARD WILL SPEAK FOR THESE PEOPLE?
VOTE “NO!” (for more, go to: https://www.wbaifightback.org/how-to-vote/)