A survey of Comments -- All negative -- from - Carol Spooner

>From Peter Frank -- former Executive Director of Pacifica: At this writing I don't know if the steering committee has accepted Pacifica's offer, but one aspect of it bodes very ill: the statement that they will move the office to Washington immediately. Not only does this put it right under MFB, it will subject it even more than it has been to the pull of CPB and the inside the Beltway mentality. It will remove whatever vestige of connection Pacifica as an institution has had with the community. Its a terrible idea that has been resisted for years and should be blocked now.

Peter Franck, Attorney @ Law
Intellectual Property, Cultural and Constitutional Rights voice:415.381.9960; fax 415.381.9963; email:pfranck@culturelaw.com

From Lee Altenberg --
I wholeheartedly agree with Lyn Gerry that, if the details of the Steering Committee proposal are correctly stated, it is a dangerous capitulation, validating the authority of the current National Board and Chair Berry. Instead, as a member of the broader Pacifica listeners community, I endorse the "PETITION FOR A DEMOCRATIC PACIFICA" quoted below.
-- Dr. Lee Altenberg, University of Hawaii at Manoa

>From Lyn Gerry-- (Lyn is one of the leaders of the national movement to Free Pacifica that has been working for several years to wake us all up to the Pacifica Board's agenda.)

This is the proposal as explained to me

1) On Monday, KPFA would reopen with all staff except Sawaya and Bensky

2) No guards or gag rule - "the union would run the station" (what about the community?)

3) The Board would monitor "ratings and diversity." This in itself is enough to keep the station in bondage, because...

4) For 6 months the Board (of criminals, still in place) would decide whether to sell KPFA and give first right of refusal to the City of Berkeley.

This is grotesque.

1) The Board must resign, they have abrogated any right to monitor anything.

2) They are cutting this deal because we have them in a corner - we are literally steps away from winning a democratic Pacifica.

3) KPFA is not theirs to sell. Why should we have to buy what is already ours? Essentially, they are isolating KPFA, the seat of the most effective resistance, while the other 4 stations remain utterly under their heel to be further neutered. Meanwhile, with KPFA neutralized and chasing its own tail, no doubt talks will begin on selling WBAI...

I'd like to remind the people on the steering committee deliberating this deal that, no matter how one rationalizes it, acceptance of this deal would be a destruction of Pacifica. I have advocated for, and still believe, that Pacifica should be a federation of autonomous and locally controlled stations. In this, KPFA's "freedom" is bought with the continued thralldom of the other 4 stations. However, KPFA's community would be mortgaged to the tune of many millions of dollars, plus the outrageously malfeasant recent expenditures, to buy was was already theirs.

Prior to this seizure by this board the Pacifca network was financially stable, there was no need to discuss selling stations to pay debts. Basically, they have taken Pacifica hostage and are attempting to exact a ransom.

They hope to get off Scott free (pun intended) - the largest independent radio network in shambles, and we are supposed to think we've won something? They'll take away the guards? They shouldn't have been there in the first place. They'll lift the gag rule? Its only function was to cover-up their heist-in-progress. Of course they don't need the gag rule when you're going to agree to legitimize their "right" to sell the stations off. This is a Machiavellian manoevre of the vilest sort.

Where is the community in all of this? The community pays the bills, the community has been beaten, arrested and defrauded. KPFA should never belong to a government enitity, however supportive the present city council may be (and their support is greatly appreciated). Perhaps in the future, KPFA will be needed to uncover a corrupt city council - and a few of the Pacifica Board members should know all about that - this was not what Hill and the founders set out to create. This is a violation of the mission.

Below is what we should accept, and no less:


We, the undersigned listeners and supporters of KPFA, firmly believe that a network such as Pacifica that preaches democracy must practice it, as well.

We believe that the present conflict between Pacifica and KPFA has arisen, in whole or in part, from the present structure in which a self-selected governing board, whose members are accountable to no one but themselves, has clearly demonstrated its willingness to destroy the nation's first "listener- sponsored" radio station, in defiance of the efforts of its staff and listeners to preserve it.

To correct this manifest inequity, we demand major changes in the operation and management of Pacifica Radio, including, but not limited to the following, to wit:

We demand that the members of the Pacifica Governing Board as well the local station advisory boards shall be elected by the subscribers and staffs of the network's five stations, and will thereby be accountable to them, and that the mechanisms to implement this demand be developed with input from Pacifica's respective communities.

Believing that censorship has no place at a network that claims to be "free speech radio," we demand that the unwritten gag rule or "dirty laundry" rule that has been used to punish staff members for having the courage to speak the truth on the air , be formally and publicly eliminated and that the terminations of all staff members from KPFA, as well Pacifica's member stations who have lost their programs for exercising free speech be immediately and publicly rescinded.

In the interest of preserving KPFA as a "community-based" radio station, we demand that the actions by the Pacifica Foundation to enlarge its operations at the expense of the member stations by taking an ever-increasing percentage of listener contributions, now at 17.25%, be immediately reversed and returned to single digit levels and the size of its staff reduced accordingly.

Believing that those who produce the programs are what gives KPFA its essential value, we believe that an equitable balance should be established between management and staff salaries.

To ensure that KPFA and its sister stations live up to their reputation of being the "voice of the voiceless," and to make diversity into more than a propaganda buzzword for Pacifica management, we demand that deliberate efforts be made to reach out to those underserved communities ignored by the mainstream media with a view towards securing their involvement in station programming.

We embrace KPFA as a radio station that was founded and has struggled and survived on contributions from its listeners, and we want it to remain that away. Therefore, we demand an end to any efforts to secure donations from the same corporate foundations that fund National Public Radio.

Finally, the present Pacifica crisis cannot be de-linked from its close ties with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) whose collusion with Pacifica was instrumental in a recent by-law change which eliminated any local station representation on the National Governing Board. In addition, CPB has blocked listeners's efforts to open Pacifica board and committee meetings to the public. In 1998, Pacifica received $1,137.083, of which KPFA's part was $244.929. We demand that Pacifica end this corrupting relationship with the CPB.


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