Layoffs imminent at KPFA: vote YES on KPFA recall to stop the next purge

This is a message from Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who hosts UpFront on KPFA.

Hi everyone,

If you’re a KPFA member, you should have just received what may be the most important KPFA ballot you ever get. It asks whether or not to recall Pacifica Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg. At stake is whether KPFA survives as we know it. That’s why I’m urging you to vote “yes” on the recall. | SEE RECALL ENDORSERS

Some background: Rosenberg was the chief architect of a political purge that killed KPFA’s biggest fundraiser—The Morning Show. That purge was a watershed: it was the first time the factionalism of KPFA’s board (where I served as a worker-elected representative) penetrated the station’s day-to-day operations (where I worked as a program host). Rosenberg and Pacifica used a real financial crisis as a pretext to fire  their political enemies, throw us off the air, and replace us with their own supporters.

That move cost KPFA tens of thousands of listeners, and hundreds of thousands of pledge dollars. It also violated the station’s union contract – which is why Pacifica had to reverse most of the layoffs (including my own) it made in that purge.

Inside KPFA, we’ve been slowly re-building. Thanks to heroic fundraising efforts, excruciatingly long fund drives, and a windfall estate gift, we’ve managed to keep the station solvent — KPFA’s April financial statements show us almost exactly on-budget (within 0.75% of budget goals), which means we’re on track to finish the year with an operating surplus of over $150,000.

We’re moving forward: in late May, KPFA launched UpFront — a program I co-host at 7:AM. We launched on three days’ notice, with no publicity, in the final week of a fund drive. But in that first week, we still became the station’s top fundraiser, clocking $40,000 raised in the seven days we were on the air. If we can keep it up, KPFA can start shortening its fund drives and try to win back some of the listeners who’ve left.

Unfortunately, we’re poised to lose it all.

Yesterday, Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt sent a letter to KPFA’s union (and copied to Tracy Rosenberg), giving formal notice that there will be a new round of layoffs in 30 days. As long as Engelhardt is in charge of Pacifica, and taking her cues from Rosenberg, any such cuts will come in the form of another political purge. I doubt KPFA’s ability to recover from this one.

But if Tracy Rosenberg is recalled, it will send a strong message about what KPFA’s listeners will and will not stand for – it may back Pacifica off from making these unnecessary cuts, or at least from making them into a political purge. Most importantly, recalling and replacing Tracy Rosenberg should tip the balance on the Pacifica National Board, and lead to the swift departure of Pacifica’s Executive Director, Arlene Engelhardt–the most aggressively anti-union manager I’ve seen in my nine years at KPFA.

They are killing our network. The Rosenberg/Engelhardt regime has racked up massive bills from $400- to $500-per-hour law firms that Pacifica’s used to fight its unions, its dissident board members, and the organizers of this recall election. Meanwhile, Pacifica’s been routinely shorting paychecks for union members at KPFA, and fallen so far behind on payments to Free Speech Radio News that the program may cease broadcasting within a month. (And yet, somehow, Pacifica’s board majority has found tens of thousands of dollars with which to fly 22 board members from across the country to a four-day meeting in a Hotel in Berkeley next month.)

The best defense Rosenberg’s supporters have mustered is a tepid appeal to “stop the infighting”. But Rosenberg is actually one of the worst purveyors of infighting — she just happens to be doing it from a position of power, from which infighting comes in the form of politically-targeted layoffs and program changes.

Help get out the vote. KPFA elections have low turnout, and tend to be decided by relatively small margins—which is why your actions are so important.  Please:

  • Pass this email on to people you know who might be KPFA members.
  • Go to the website to learn more about the recall campaign.
  • Most importantly, return your ballot now so you don’t forget.

In solidarity,
Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Co-Host, “UpFront”, KPFA 94.1 FM
Former staff representative (2004-2010), KPFA Local Station Board

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This entry was posted in elections and governance, endorsers, KPFA, KPFA recall, KPFA recall vote, Pacifica, Programming, recall election, recall Tracy Rosenberg, Tracy Rosenberg, union-busting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Layoffs imminent at KPFA: vote YES on KPFA recall to stop the next purge

  1. David Lynch says:


    Today I finally received my recall ballot, and my wife Heather received hers as well. For the record we’re both voting YES to support the recall based on all of the information we have.

    We have listened to all recent LSB and PNB meetings, and we’ve witnessed the self-centered and self-serving way that Tracy twists the facts. In one LSB meeting, I remember Tracy using every parliamentary tactic to try to tie the meeting (and poor Margy) into knots, including challenging the chair. I also recall Richard Phelps using this same tactic, which I think is reprehensible. These are the shallow, vindictive moves of smug, selfish people, who condescendingly parrot legal mumbo jumbo and act like no one else “gets it.”

    Of KPFA LSB members, I think that Jack Kurzweil stands out with clearest, honest assessments, and I always look forward to hearing his emotional and obviously correct point of view. I am always relieved because Jack seems to be able to cut right through the bullshit to tell the truth instead of trying to be polite in the face of what seems to be evil, for lack of a better word.

    I listened to the broadcast moderated by Matt Ward on Friday and I was annoyed at the heavy-handed, scope limiting he applied to Margy (telling here to stay on track when she was explaining the impending layoffs, and referring to her as hyperbolic when she was simply reciting the facts). As one caller noted, Matt had no trouble allowing Richard Phelps to complete his sentences.

    I want you to know that in the mail drop that contained our recall ballots there was also a VOTE NO flyer from Tracy’s organization. They were timed perfectly and arrived simultaneously. Moreover, this mailing proves that Tracy’s organization once again got access to the current KPFA mailing list, because my wife (who received a VOTE NO flyer) had not become a KPFA member until I asked here to, specifically so she could participate in the recall vote.

    Please see if you can corroborate this with other listeners. If I’m right about this, it means that Tracy has learned absolutely no lesson from the original prohibited use of the mailing list.

    Pulling for all of you and particular the KPFA Newsroom. I hope you succeed and am with you.

    Best regards,
    David Lynch

  2. Leah Mazel says:

    I am totally in support of this effort. I hope that my opinion will be counted. I am out of town for another three weeks and will not have my mail if I need to respond “on paper.” Thank you for all you do!

  3. I totally agree. Ms. Mangleheart, are completely misguided. My listener-ship has plummeted. I am on the verge of canceling my years long EFT support. Bring back the morning show (likely impossible) and I will be the first to contribute. And please, keep Andrew Phillips off the air. His grating voice is a hazard to my well being as I scramble to hit the mute button on my radio, or change stations when I hear his awful speaking. Pacifica has been a disaster. We can only imagine how much better the station would be had Pacifica spent the tens of thousands of dollars on programming and not lawyers…..