July 29, 1999
KPFA STEERING COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO PACIFICA ULTIMATUM PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY FRIDAY, JULY 30 9 AM
The Pacifica Foundation has made an end run around the mediation process and has gone straight to the press with an ultimatum to the KPFA community, the eleven-member KPFA steering committee said. The committee, comprised of union and non-union staff, community members and local management, emphasized that KPFA staff will not be rushed back into the station, especially when the sale of the station is still on the table.
The steering committee remain committed to resolving this crisis and returning to the station. However, one and a half hours into mediation today, Pacifica had yet to offer its proposal to the mediator or to the KPFA steering committee. In fact, Pacificažs negotiating team seemed surprised by the offer that Dr. Mary Frances Berry put out to the media.
They are disrespecting the mediation process, disrespecting the mediator, and even disrespecting their own mediating team, said KPFA Local Advisory Board member and steering committee representative Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi.
The Steering Committee's initial reaction to the Pacifica ultimatum is that there are three major concerns:
* Sale of station. The sale of the station is still on the table; we cannot allow Pacifica to sell 50 years of free speech radio to the highest bidder. We demand that Dr. Berry and the Pacifica board members sign a binding legal document stating that KPFA and KPFB have not and will not be sold.
* Accountability. The same people who led us into this crisis are still in power and are still unaccountable to the local community.
* Prevention. Unless we take this time to responsibly address the underlying issues, we have no assurance that the same thing won't happen again.
When Pacifica makes its proposal to the KPFA steering committee in mediation--which it has yet to do -- the steering committee will discuss it with our constituencies. The committee represents thousands of people in the KPFA community, and, unlike Pacifica, is accountable to its constituents.
The committee would like to thank the incredible community of listeners in the Bay Area and the supporters of free speech radio throughout the country who have tirelessly organized to defend this priceless public resource. It is only because of their support and vigilance that Pacifica was stopped yesterday from selling KPFA immediately and that the negotiating process might finally become a serious one.
The Steering Committee will hold a press conference on Friday at 9 a.m. in front of KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley. Bay Area station supporters continue to mobilize for the Saturday July 31, 11 a.m. mass march and rally at U.C. Berkeley's Sproul Plaza.
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