Lawyer representing board minority jumps ship

Members of the Pacifica board minority, who sued over the termination of former executive Summer Reese, have lost on every issue they have brought into Alameda Superior Court before Judge Ioana Petrou. The judge last week also issued a tentative ruling denying the group’s attempt to disqualify SaveKPFA activist and attorney Dan Siegel from defending Pacifica Radio. | READ the legal background, Judge Petrou’s 17-page decision, Siegel’s declaration, list of who’s on which side

Now, the lawyer for the so-called “Pacifica Directors for Good Governance” (PDGG) has asked the court allow her to quit the case, in heavily-redacted public papers filed June 19. Sources close to the case tell SaveKPFA that the attorney is tired of footing the PDGG plaintiff’s growing legal bill, as well as with members of the PDGG group giving her conflicting “instructions” that are illegal.

This is the same group that is circulating a petition falsely accusing the new board majority of “dismantling” the network. “The new Pacifica board majority is working overtime to undo the deep financial damage that Reese and her followers have caused to Pacifica,” said Sasha Futran, a SaveKPFA activist and former KPFA LSB member. “We hope to find a way for us to all work together in rebuilding Pacifica and ensuring a long future for KPFA,” she added.

KPFA election results: a landslide for SaveKPFA

KPFA on the air

Art by Bob Baldock for the film "KPFA on the Air"

The results in KPFA’s 2012 Local Station Board election are in and certified. SaveKPFA candidates took 6 of the 9 listener-elected seats, plus the top alternate position. KPFA’s elections use a proportional representation system, so taking two-thirds of the open seats means SaveKPFA won roughly two-thirds of the vote — a strong mandate from KPFA’s listeners, who had by far the highest turnout rate in the 5-station Pacifica network.

The winning candidates from SaveKPFA are Dan Siegel, Craig Alderson, Mark Hernandez, Jose Luis Fuentes, Carole Travis and Burton White. The first alternative is SaveKPFA‘s Barbara Whipperman.

“This vote was a referendum on Pacifica’s direction,” said Alderson. “KPFA’s listeners spoke loud and clear for local control, high-quality programming, and against Pacifica’s attacks on KPFA’s union.”

The election was the first held at KPFA since Pacifica’s former Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt ran out KPFA’s local management, purged the station’s popular Morning Show, replaced it with an all-volunteer lineup, and then put notorious union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis on retainer to deal with the backlash. In 2012, the Pacifica National Board decided to let Engelhardt’s employment contract expire.

Three listeners from the competing United for Community Radio slate were also elected: Andrea Pritchett, Ramses Teon Nichols and Laurence Shoup.

“Although we have differences of vision, everyone in this campaign ran because they care about KPFA,” said SaveKPFA member Margy Wilkinson, who is currently serving as chair of the Local Station Board. “KPFA’s listeners have made clear which vision they prefer; now it’s up to all of us to find common ground to move forward.”

In the staff portion of the Local Station Board election, former Morning Show co-host (and current UpFront co-host) Brian Edwards-Tiekert took first place, followed by Joy Moore and Frank Sterling.

Thanks, voters, for delivering the strongest mandate possible for local autonomy, respect for listeners and staff, and transparency and accountability! We congratulate those who won, as well as those who ran — including SaveKPFA candidates Paula Erkkila, Kate Gowen and Barbara Whipperman — all of whom dedicated significant time and energy to the process.

What’s next? Elections at other Pacifica stations are still underway — their outcomes will determine whether or not SaveKPFA can join a majority coalition on the Pacifica National Board (PNB), whose members are elected by each of its stations’ local boards. The composition of the incoming PNB will be determined over the next two weeks.

The stakes are high: the departure of Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and Chief Financial Officer LaVarn Williams leaves the network’s top two management positions open, to be filled by the incoming board. We’ll keep you posted once we know what that board looks like.

Another legal victory for SaveKPFA

An appeals court has dismissed an attempt by one-time Local Station Board (LSB) partisan and erstwhile Pacifica attorney Richard Phelps to remove SaveKPFA representative Dan Siegel from the boards of both KPFA and Pacifica. After the court initially barred Pacifica from removing Siegel, Phelps convinced Pacifica’s board to let him pursue an appeal on Pacifica’s behalf. The suit is now dismissed for good.

Phelps has been the attorney behind a series of harassing lawsuits against SaveKPFA members. In 2010, he brought a libel suit against Siegel so frivolous that the judge ordered him to pay Siegel $10,000 in attorneys’ fees. Phelps filed an appeal: it failed to reverse the lower court’s decision, but succeeded in doubling the amount of attorneys’ fees Phelps had to pay Siegel.

Currently, Phelps is pressing a suit against four SaveKPFA-affiliated LSB members — the Morning Show 4 — for alleged “disloyalty” to Pacifica stemming from their efforts to raise pledges to support a return of the Morning Show to KPFA’s airwaves. SaveKPFA‘s campaign raised a little over $60,000 in pledges (not actual money). Phelps’ suit demands $800,000 in damages.

It’s not too late! You can still vote in the KPFA election…

This year, KPFA ballots have to make their way to a central counting facility in New York by December 11. If you haven’t yet mailed your ballot, your only option at this point is overnight it to the collection facility so it arrives 12/11. [UPDATE: results are due this week, and we’ll post ’em as soon as we get them!]

Here are the 9 SaveKPFA candidates: Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Carole Travis, Craig Alderson, Paula Erkkila, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Barbara Whipperman, Burton White and Dan Siegel. Please vote for all 9 , ranking them from 1 to 9, or if you’d rather not rank them, give a “1.”

SaveKPFA‘s endorsers include KPFA stalwarts like Mitch Jeserich, Aileen Alfandary, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Sasha Lilley, and John Hamilton; as well as incredible community leaders like Rashidah Grinage, Sal Roselli, Raj Patel, Carlos Munoz, Jr., and Al Young. See the full list of endorsers here.

sasha_lilley_and_noam_chomsky

KPFA's Sasha Lilley with Noam Chomsky

Need a little inspiration? Sasha Lilly, co-host of KPFA’s Against the Grain, and co-author of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, endorses SaveKPFA. “While Pacifica’s governance system is clearly broken,” Lilley says, “it’s still important that people vote in this election — and vote SaveKPFA. If you think that Pacifica should not call the shots at KPFA, and if you support the work of skilled reporters and broadcasters — paid and unpaid — then please vote for all the candidates on the SaveKPFA slate.”

SaveKPFA‘s candidates are campaigning to support KPFA’s workers, deliver strong programming, grow KPFA, and defend the local control and network accountability we need to make those things happen. | READ What We Stand For

Incumbents from the opposing slate have made very clear where they stand: they backed Pacifica’s top-down purge of KPFA’s Morning Show, counter-demonstrated at union pickets, made excuses for Pacifica’s decision to hire Jackson Lewis (which the AFL-CIO calls “the nation’s #1 union-busting law firm”) and as recently as this summer, they pushed for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary layoffs at KPFA — even as the station was running a surplus. For more on the stakes, read this detailed endorsement essay by Brian Edwards-Tiekert.

Elections at KPFA are generally low-turnout affairs that are decided by relatively small margins. Every vote makes a big difference, so tell any KPFA members you know to look for their ballots and vote for the 9 SaveKPFA candidates. You can also forward this election flyer (PDF) and/or election postcard (JPG) to friends, and urge them to vote. Or ask friends to visit www.SaveKPFA.org or call us at (510) 969-9373 to learn more.

KPFA’s future is on the line: VOTE!

savekpfa election postcard smallBallots in the 2012 election for listener representatives to KPFA’s Local Station Board are on their way. Pacifica has reported to SaveKPFA they were mailed from New York November 6, and listeners can expect to see them landing in their mailboxes very soon. [If you don’t get a ballot by Nov 13, request a duplicate from Pacifica’s Election Services company at 1-866-720-4357. Ballots are due back Dec 11.]

This is your chance to support smart and responsible leadership on KPFA’s local board. Endorsers of SaveKPFA‘s candidates include Mitch Jeserich, KPFA’s Letters & Politics; Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing, Kris Welch, Living Room; Brian Edwards-Tiekert, KPFA’s Upfront; Rashidah Grinage, founder of PUEBLO; Dr. Raye Richardson, founder, Oakland’s Marcus Books; Sasha Lilley, KPFA’s Against the Grain; Donald Goldmacher, co-director, Heist; Larry Bensky, former Pacifica national correspondent; Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr., Ethnic Studies, UCB; Ying Lee, Asian Americans for Peace & Justice; Philip Maldari, Sunday Show; Al Young, former Calif. State Poet Laureate, and many more. | SEE COMPLETE ENDORSERS’ LIST

SaveKPFA‘s candidates are Craig Alderson, Paula Errkila, Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Dan Siegel, Carole Travis, Barbara Whipperman and Burton White. Between them, they have a wealth of background in radio, nonprofit administration, fundraising, labor, grassroots organizing and movement building. They come from the Bay Area and beyond, all enthusiastic KPFA listeners who want to make a positive difference.

PLEASE NOTE: vote for all 9 SaveKPFA candidates, ranking them from 1 to 9 in the order you prefer — or if you’d rather not decide on a ranking, give all 9 candidates a ranking of “1.”

HERE’S ARE OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP: First, circulate this election flyer (PDF) and/or postcard (JPG) to friends, and urge them to vote for all 9 SaveKPFA candidates. Or ask friends to visit www.SaveKPFA.org or call (510) 969-9373 to learn more. Second, we understand the ballots were sent by Pacifica in plain white envelopes with few distinguishing markings, so please watch for yours, and let us know when you receive it.

Marked ballots must be received at the New York collection address by December 11 to be counted. Given Post Office cuts, storm-related problems and the holiday mail, please return the ballot ASAP to make sure your vote counts!

SaveKPFA‘s election platform, What We Stand For, includes: • Restore local control at KPFA • Ensure high quality, progressive programming • Respect KPFA’s listeners • Support KPFA’s staff • Require transparency and accountability from Pacifica.

QUESTIONS? Email us at votesavekpfa@gmail.com or call 510-969-9373.

Why this vote matters

Dan Siegel“The result of these elections could determine whether Pacifica survives or continues its slide into bankruptcy,” writes Pacifica National Board member and SaveKPFA activist Dan Siegel in Counterpunch.

“Pacifica has always been fractious, back to when KPFA was founded as its first station in 1949,” he continues, going on to describe the network’s current leadership as “inept and politically sectarian.” That leadership, he writes, “has brought the Foundation to its knees. It has spent down all its reserves, incurring cumulative deficits of $5.7 million in the last four fiscal years, according to its 2012 audit report.” | READ Siegel’s article and this overview of Pacifica’s audit

Endorsements pour in for SaveKPFA’s candidates

A few of SaveKPFA's endorsers The endorsers’ list for the 9 SaveKPFA activists running for KPFA’s local board this November is getting longer daily.

SaveKPFAs endorsers include Larry Bensky, Pacifica’s National Affairs Correspondent for two decades; Raj Patel, the author of The Value of Nothing, and Stuffed and Starved; Sasha Lilley, host of KPFA’s Against the Grain; Al Young, writer, teacher and California Poet Laureate emeritus; Mitch Jeserich, host of Pacifica’s Letters & Politics; Max Anderson, Berkeley City Councilmember; Lynne Hollander Savio, chair, Mario Savio Memorial Lecture & Young Activist Award; Shelley Kessler, Secretary-Treasurer, San Mateo Labor Council, and hundreds of others. (IDs for identification only)

SaveKPFA‘s candidates have pledged to restore local control; strengthen Pacifica’s accountability, financial stability, and transparency; advocate for continuing quality programming; and make the boards smaller, less expensive, and (hopefully) less fractious. | READ the platform & candidates’ statements.

Between them, the candidates have a wealth of background in radio, nonprofit administration, fundraising, labor, and grassroots social and economic justice movements. They come from around the Bay Area and beyond, all enthusiastic KPFA listeners who want to make a positive difference.

Check out SaveKPFA‘s endorsers and add your name too. Then watch for your mail ballot, scheduled to mail November 6.

(Photo: a few of SaveKPFA’s endorsers, top to bottom: Al Young, Bonnie Simmons, John Hamilton, Raj Patel, Shelley Kessler, Larry Bensky and Lewis Sawyer.)

For real change, vote for all 9 SaveKPFA candidates in KPFA’s local board election

KPFA on the air

Art by Bob Baldock for the film "KPFA on the Air"

[UPDATE: Ballots in the KPFA election mailed Nov 6 from New York. If you don’t get yours by Nov 13, email election@kpfa.org and request a duplicate ballot. Votes are due Dec 11.] Check out the 9 wonderful activists running as SaveKPFA candidates in this fall’s KPFA Local Station Board Election: Craig Alderson, Paula Errkila, Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, Kate Gowen, Mark Hernandez, Dan Siegel, Carole Travis, Barbara Whipperman and Burton White.

Between them, they have a wealth of background in radio, nonprofit administration, fundraising, labor, grassroots organizing, and social and economic justice movements. They come from around the Bay Area and beyond, all enthusiastic listeners of KPFA who want to make a positive difference in its future.

Read SaveKPFA‘s election platform, What We Stand For, which includes: • Restore local control at KPFA • Ensure high quality, progressive programming • Respect KPFA’s listeners • Support KPFA’s staff • Require transparency and accountability from Pacifica.

Please distribute widely — let your friends and neighbors know that this vote will be crucial for KPFA’s future. Let’s elect all 9 SaveKPFA candidates and get KPFA and the Pacifica network back on track!

We welcome endorsements from all members of the KPFA community – listeners, staff, writers, artists, community and labor activists, etc.  Click here to add your name.