Michael Costello's 5.26 letter
Of all the Pacifica stations KPFA represents the biggest challenge to the Pacifica National Board. Station management at all the other stations is firmly in control of the PNB. The National Board is very aware of the threat that KPFA presents to their plans to reform the whole network.
Pacifica has posted the position of KPFA station manager and has hired a corporate headhunting firm to find a new station manager. They claim that they have 40 applicants. Whether this is true or not is anyone's guess. As you know, the firing of Nicole Sawaya was the spark that ignited the listener rebellion at KPFA last spring. KPFA's acting interim manager Jim Bennett's term comes to an end in June. Nicole has been prevented from re-applying for the manager position at KPFA due to some legal incumberances that I don't have details on. The Pacifica Board has structured this situation so that the job application period closes just a day or two before Nicole would be free to apply for the position.
A letter has been written to the PNB demanding that no new manager be hired at KPFA before Nicole is offered the job. This letter which was sent on May 9th says, amongst other things, "Should Nicole Sawaya decline the position we demand that no permanent manager be hired except by a process designed by and centered at KPFA." It continues with this statement, "We assure you [the PNB] that anyone hired under circumstances that do not comply with these demands will find it impossible to manage KPFA." This letter was signed by eight major Bay Area support groups including the KPFA LAB.
Unfortunately, parts of the staff at KPFA are not in solidarity with this demand. This makes solid confrontation with the PNB more difficult. As listeners we must stand together regardless of staff support. The direction of the PNB is still firmly in Mary Berry's hands. David Acosta, the puppet chair of the board, has admitted that he is only following Berry's orders and defers to her judgement every step of the way. The board is trying to dissolve the local advisory boards completely before the LAB lawsuit fully kicks in. Berry is holding secret Executive Committee meetings and it appears that she and her cohorts are going to try to expel Tomas Moran from the Board. Pete Bramson seems to have been shoved aside as well.
So, we are very close to another major confrontation. If anything can be said about Mary Berry it is that she is extremely stubborn and a slow learner. The one thing that can stop this escalation is bodies in the streets. We proved this last summer. I am sending this letter to warn of an imminent crisis. It's time again to begin to organize for rallys and demonstrations. Better to be prepared than caught by surprise. The ultimate power that we have is the numbers of loyal KPFA listeners who are willing to physically stand in the way. Better make some space on your calendar for the month of June.
See you in the streets.
North Bay for KPFA
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