February 11, 2000

People ex rel Spooner vs. Pacifica Foundation

Mr. Bill Lockyer
Attorney General
State of California
Sacramento, CA
94244-2550

Dear Attorney General Lockyer,
We are writing to you concerning an issue of extreme importance to us. We are listeners and sponsors of radio station KPFA and have been for over 30 years. In our present society, the credibility of radio, television and print media is eroding at an alarming rate. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, not the least of which is corporate consolidation of the ownership of both media outlets and media sponsors. We recently witnessed the shameful distortion, by commercial media, of the events surrounding the WTO meeting in Seattle. This is but one example of the use of popular sources of information as tools of propaganda. Witness the brazen manipulation of public opinion during the Gulf War.

We cannot stress enough how important the Pacifica Network is as a source of truth in this ever-deepening morass of media untruths and distortions. It is critical that the Pacifica Network remains free of corporate and governmental influence. The current Pacifica National Board is headed by Mary Frances Berry, a Federal Government appointee who also serves as the head of the United States Civil Rights Commission. One of the inevitable purposes of the Pacifica Network is to criticize the actions of the Federal Government that, in its judgement, are found to be offensive on legal or moral grounds. To have this source of criticism under the direct control of a government appointee seems obviously conflictive. It also appears that the present Pacifica Board has every intention of substituting corporate underwriting for listener sponsorship. This would effectively serve to stifle, what criticism still exists, of the sponsoring corporations.

My wife and I, over the course of more than thirty years, have donated thousands of dollars to the Pacifica Network through our local Pacifica station, KPFA. Until the current effort to disconnect the listeners from their station, we were considered "members" of KPFA. We donated special funds to help build the new building that houses KPFA and until recently served as the national headquarters for the Pacifica Foundation. This building was designed and built specifically for this purpose. Now, under the leadership of the current Pacifica Board of Directors, the Pacifica Foundation offices have been abandoned. With full approval of the Pacifica Board, the Executive Director of Pacifica, Lynn Chadwick, has moved the Pacifica Foundation offices into the home of her mother in Washington D.C.

We feel that we own a small piece of this network that plays such a large role in our lives and that we should be allowed standing to sue for the removal of this criminal, illegally constituted board. Please consider our position.

Sincerely,

Michael Costello and Janet Costello
P.O. Box 31
Bodega, CA 94922-0031
707-876-3181

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