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.

Why I’m Supporting SaveKPFA in KPFA’s Board Election

Brian Edwards-Tiekert speaking with listeners

By Brian Edwards-Tiekert

This month, KPFA is going through what will probably prove to be one of the most important elections of its 10-year experiment with democracy. I’m supporting the candidates listed at www.savekpfa.org, along with many other endorsers, because what’s at stake is the survival of KPFA as we know it.

Right now, KPFA is slowly recovering from a near-mortal blow. When Pacifica purged The Morning Show two years ago, it removed KPFA’s biggest fundraiser from the air. To compensate, the station had to increase the amount of days it spends in fund drives by 30%–a sure recipe for dropping listenership and diminishing pledge totals.

Then, Pacifica racked up hundreds of thousands in legal fees—some from the country’s most notoriously anti-union law firm, Jackson Lewis—and stuck KPFA with most of the bills.

Thanks to heroic fundraising efforts by KPFA’s staff, the generosity of KPFA listeners who kept donating, some of them under protest, and to a fortuitous bequest gift, we’ve made it this far—barely.

And, against the odds, we’ve started to re-build.

Thanks to our union, several of us won reinstatement after Pacifica’s purge. With support from local management, we launched UpFront—KPFA’s new 7:AM program. Since day one, we’ve been the station’s top fundraiser—and thanks to the boost in morning fundraising, KPFA’s fund drives are now raising more money per day, and ending sooner. Meanwhile:

  • ·A SaveKPFA campaign forced Pacifica to ditch Jackson Lewis—which should prevent further inflated legal bills.
  • ·Another SaveKPFA campaign fended off a move by Pacifica management to impose another disastrous round of cuts on KPFA.
  • ·Now, the Pacifica National Board has apparently seen the light—they decided to let go of the two executives who carried out the Morning Show purge in the first place.

KPFA is still extremely fragile, but we are headed in the right direction. And that is largely thanks to the fact that we’ve had SaveKPFA boardmembers supporting us every step of the way.

The dividing line on KPFA’s board is this: austerity vs. growth.

On the growth side: SaveKPFA thinks the way to build KPFA is by building great programs that attract large audiences so there are more people to give come pledge drive. We already know what success looks like: KPFA’s two newest daily programs, Letters and Politics and UpFront, are also its two largest fundraisers, bringing in far more than they cost to produce. Together, those two hours account for over a third of KPFA’s fundraising. Building on those successes with more cutting-edge programming is the key to strengthening KPFA.

As for austerity: this year, its champions are calling themselves “United for Community Radio.” Of course, they never use the word “austerity” – but rest assured, when you hear them call for “financial responsibility” and “supporting unpaid staff”, it translates to firing KPFA’s unionized programmers and parceling out the airtime to their allies. Some of them are philosophically opposed to paying people to produce daily shows–they’d rather KPFA sound like a volunteer-run local-access cable station. Others have axes to grind with specific programmers on KPFA’s payroll, and use the station’s finances as a pretext – which is how The Morning Show got targeted, despite the fact that it was the station’s biggest fundraiser.

Their incumbents have had two years to prove exactly what they stand for. When our union protested impending cuts, they came to counter-protest. When Pacifica fired the entire staff of The Morning Show, they supported it (at least one of them, it turned out, had been pushing behind closed doors to have Pacifica cut us).  When Pacifica hired the nation’s most notorious union-busting law firm to fight us, they publicly defended it. When KPFA’s local management proposed a balanced, no-cuts budget, they boycotted a meeting to block its passage – even though KPFA was running a surplus.

Does that mean everyone running on their ticket supports more of the same? Not necessarily. There are a lot of new faces in the election this year, and they don’t all necessarily understand what they’ve signed up for. But the first thing they’ll do once they’re on KPFA’s Local Board is vote to send their slate-mates to the Pacifica National Board, where the real power lies. And those slate-mates will make their worst decisions behind closed doors in Executive Session meetings, where there’s very little accountability.

Again, the record speaks for itself: For four years, the “United for Community Radio” (UCR, ICR) precursor slates have been in a majority coalition on the Pacifica National Board. They, and the executives they’ve installed, have left Pacifica a hollowed-out wreck: with millions in unpaid bills, corporate law firms baying at the door, a finance office now incapable of handling even simple payroll transactions, workers’ own contributions to their retirement accounts undeposited (for several months now), donor checks meant for KPFA intercepted and kept away from the station for months.

Now is the chance to turn things around: Next year’s boards will choose a new manager and program director for KPFA, as well as a new Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for Pacifica. It’s a chance to put the entire Pacifica network on the right track – if SaveKPFA scores a solid win.

KPFA elections have low turnout, and tend to be decided by relatively small margins, which means every vote counts a lot. Please spread the word to KPFA members to vote for the candidates listed at savekpfa.org. And if you’re a voter yourself, return your ballot now so you don’t forget.

For the first election ever, Pacifica is not allowing any in-person ballot drop-offs—you have to mail your ballot.  That ballot has to arrive at the ballot-counting location in New York by December 11. It will be competing with holiday mail traffic to get there, so send it now.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert is co-host of KPFA’s UpFront, which airs weekday mornings at 7:AM. He’s served two terms as a worker-elected representative on the KPFA Local Station Board. [This essay originally appeared in Fog City Journal.]

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.)

Rosenberg blocks recall vote count

kpfa with bannerAn Alameda County judge has granted Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg‘s request to block any counting of the thousands of ballots in the recall election against her cast by KPFA members this summer.

The election was triggered after more than 800 KPFA listeners who signed petitions seeking Rosenberg’s removal from the Pacifica National Board over her role in killing the Morning Show, misappropriating members’ email addresses, and other abuses. At the time, the Morning Show was the most listened-to program produced at KPFA, and the station’s biggest fundraiser.

Rosenberg delays vote, then sues over delay
Shortly before the ballot count was to take place, Rosenberg filed suit against Pacifica, whose national office she effectively ran by proxy during the tenure of the soon-to-depart executive director Arlene Engelhardt. Rosenberg’s suit said there was an illegal delay between the cutoff date for voting eligibility and the date ballots actually hit the mail.

Witnesses watch as supervisor sequesters KPFA ballots.

Pacifica’s filings did not dispute the fact that its conduct of the recall election against her had broken the law — instead, it argued that Rosenberg used her position on the Pacifica National Board to contribute to the delay of sending out recall ballots, and that she knew about the deadlines being used for the election, but waited until the last possible moment to file suit over them.

Pacifica offered to correct its violation by sending out additional ballots to people who would have been eligible to vote if not for the early cutoff — but Rosenberg’s attorney rejected that proposal. That’s not the conduct of someone who wants to fix an election — it’s the conduct of someone who fears she’s lost the vote, and wants to keep it from being counted.

What next?

The judge’s decision does not bar Pacifica from sending out new recall ballots, as long as it uses a new eligibility date. Rosenberg’s own court filings suggested Pacifica could save money by mailing out new ballots in the same package as the general election mailing set to go out in early November. Now that the path is actually cleared to do so, look for Rosenberg to reverse course and try to block or delay the recall, again.

Meanwhile, Rosenberg is currently using her position as Pacifica’s treasurer to try to impose harsh austerity on KPFA. She scuttled a no-cuts budget drafted by KPFA’s local management, and approved by KPFA’s elected Local Station Board (this was after she and her allies walked out of the local board meeting scheduled to discuss the budget.) Despite the fact that KPFA’s currently running a surplus, Rosenberg led the charge to impose line-by-line cuts, including staff cuts, on KPFA. Her legal challenges may have bought her enough time to see that process through to whatever end she has in mind. Rosenberg and her allies have renamed their “Independents for Community Radio” slate as “United for Community Radio” for the 2012 KPFA elections.

The big picture: democracy when?

Rosenberg’s success at delaying her own recall election calls into question the very foundations of Pacifica’s democratic reforms. The recall provisions currently in Pacifica’s bylaws were created as a check on unaccountable boards run amok — like the board that, in 1999, locked out KPFA’s staff and boarded up its studios.

Many KPFA listeners felt similarly betrayed when Rosenberg attacked KPFA’s union, orchestrated the purge of its biggest fundraiser, and hand-picked her own political allies to fill the Morning Show‘s timeslot. But even after KPFA’s listeners gathered more than double the number of signatures needed to trigger a recall, Rosenberg, and Pacifica, have delayed the election for close to a year. Stay tuned for the next step, which we hope to announce soon.

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.

Endorsements for the YES campaign continue to roll in

Here’s a sampling of the latest YES endorsements (all titles/organizations for ID only): CHRIS KAVANAGH, former elected Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner (2002-2008), former Green Party of Alameda County Central/County Council member * EMILY ALMA, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Butte Environmental Council, Occupy Chico, Chico Palestine Action Group * SCOTT CAMIL, activist * HELENE KNOX, poet, KPFA listener/volunteer * EDDY PAY, KPFA music programmer * SASHA FUTRAN, member, KPFA local station board * FRANCESCA ROSA, member, SEIU 1021, delegate. SF Labor Council * BILL HARVEY, former president, Alameda County Labor Council, AFL-CIO* GENE COYLE, economist & listener * LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, former co-host of Probabilities, a KPFA show * MARY TILSON, host, America’s Back 40 * LAYNA BERMAN, unpaid programmer, Your Own Health & Fitness * LISA KERMISH, Vice President, UPTE-CWA Local 9119 * CARLOS ECHEVARRIA, listener, Inglewood CA * JAN ETRE, KPFA Crafts Fair coordinator * CELIA REYES, listener, Oakland * JACK SAWYER, President, Parker Street Foundation * SHARON MALDONADO, listener * RAMSEY KANAAN, KPFA unpaid staff, founder AK Press & PM Press * GUADALUPE LEDESMA, listener 30+ yrs * LESLIE TOWNSEND, college professor * ROBERT LONGER, EVP, CWA Local 9421. | See COMPLETE ENDORSERS’ LIST HERE and ADD YOUR NAME

KPFA’s local board chair urges YES vote

Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949

Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949

“Let me paint a picture of where KPFA is now — because it should concern all of us — no matter which side we’re on,” writes Margy Wilkinson, chair of KPFA’s local board in an open letter to listeners. Wilkinson cites evidence of the dramatic loss of listenership following Pacifica management’s purging of the station’s most listened-to program, the Morning Show, produced by a crew of young, diverse journalists. What follows is a tale of stunningly undemocratic dirty-tricks, financial mismanagement and anti-union maneuvers that have caused KPFA listeners to demand an immediate change in Pacifica’s management — starting with the recall of Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg. | READ WILKINSON’S  ENTIRE LETTER

Noted Tracy Rosenberg endorsers withdraw support, YES on KPFA recall endorsers list growing

David Barsamian, host of Alternative Radio, who was initially listed as an endorser of the “no” recall campaign, now says that it was a “total error on his part.” He told KPFA staff that he retracted his endorsement once he found out more about the issues.

KPFA staffer Davey D of Hard Knock Radio, in response to a listener query, has also said he did not take a position against the recall.  Nevertheless, his name still appears on the anti-recall site as a staff endorser.

Meanwhile, the YES campaign is adding endorsers daily, including (titles & organizations for ID only): Paul George, Peninsula Peace & Justice Center; Gloria Frym, writer; Jane Heaven, KPFA producer/host, Vic Bedoian, Pacifica Evening News reporter; Eric Klein, former Flashpoints tech producer; Andrea Turner, Pacifica board member; Richard Walker, radical geographer; Charlotte Sáenz, community artist & educator; Kathleen Weaver, poet, translator; Steve Early, labor journalist; Summer Brenner, author of Richmond Tales; David Martinez, filmmaker; Iain Boal, social historian of the commons; Cal Winslow, labor historian, author, Rebel Rank and File; Cathy Campbell, President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers, and many others. | ADD YOUR ENDORSEMENT HERE | SEE THE ENTIRE YES ON RECALL ENDORSERS’ LIST