Wes Chesbro's office says he has been out of town last week and this week and hasn't been able to sign on the Joint Legislative letter. I left a strong request for him to sign on anyway. I was told there had been many calls requesting the same thing. It wouldn't hurt for everyone to call if you haven't already. After all, he is our representative in the State Senate and there to do our bidding (insert tongue in cheek here).

Michael Costello

For your pleasure, and thanks to Michael Daley, here is the text of the letter with the signatures as of 7/21/99:

July 15, 1999

Honorable Scott Wildman, Chair
Joint Legislative Audit Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Chairman Wildman,

We write to request a hearing by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on the troublesome situation at KPFA Radio, a nonprofit station licensed to the Pacifica Foundation to serve large portions of northern and central California.

The Pacifica Foundation is incorporated as a public service tax exempt corporation in California. It owns five public radion stations, one of which is in Los Angeles and one of which is in Berkeley. (The others are in New York, Houston and Washington D.C.) Over the past several months a dispute between the Pacifica Foundation and KPFA has escalated alarmingly, leading yesterday to a lock-out of KPFA staff--including union members, nonunion staff, and volunteers--by the Pacifica Foundation.

KPFA and Pacifica have a 50 year history of promoting free speech and community radio. Indeed, KPFA and Pacifica have provided some of the best alternative coverage of state issues for some time. This year, KPFA increased its state coverage further by opening a Sacramento Bureau.

We are concerned that Pacifica has undertaken a number of actions which may violate its charter and its tax-exempt status. Its Board has voted to disenfranchise its Local Advisory Boards and allegations have been raised that funds may have been used for purposes inconsistant with its charter. In addition, the recent lock-out of staff violates Pacifica's collective bargaining agreement with the Communications Workers of America Local 9415 which has a clear no lock-out/no strike provision.

These charges and concerns are of particular import to us because KPFA and Pacifica are public treasures that were developed in California and have served as a national model of alternative broadcasting. When there are reasons to suspect that Pacifica is acting unethically or illegally, we believe a hearing is warranted.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

[This letter is signed by the following:

Senator John Burton (SF/Marin)
Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa (LA)
Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (Berkeley)
Assemblyman Kevin Shelley (SF)
Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (Sacramento)
Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett (Hayward)
Assemblywoman Audie Bock (Oakland)
Senator Tom Hayden (LA/Santa Monica)
Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (Davis)
Senator John Vasconcellos (San Jose)
Senator Don Perata (Berkeley/Oakland)
Assemblywoman Carole Migden (SF)
Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (Santa Monica)
Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo (LA)
Assemblyman Michael Honda (San Jose)
Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin (Eureka/Santa Rosa)

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