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.

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.)

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

Still no ballot? Here’s how to make sure your vote counts

We’ve been getting calls and emails from KPFA subscribers who still have not received ballots. What should you do?  REQUEST ONE IMMEDIATELY from Pacifica’s election supervisor at kpfarecall@gmail.com or (323) 375-4126. And please also let SaveKPFA know, by email or phone.

If you were a KPFA member at any time between November 2010 and November 2011, you should have received a ballot . Ballots must be received by AUGUST 3 at this address: KPFA Recall Election, P.O. Box 11708, Berkeley, CA 94712. If you haven’t yet, vote YES now and mail ASAP.

Here are some voting tips. First, you must FILL IN THE ENTIRE YES SQUARE on the ballot for your vote to be counted. Also, please RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO WRITE ANYTHING on the ballot other than your vote. If you made a mistake marking your ballot, contact the recall supervisor and request a replacement ballot right away (and we’d appreciate it if you’d copy SaveKPFA).

IMPORTANT: Keep your PIN ballot stub as proof that you voted. All ballots in KPFA elections have PIN barcodes on them, so that no subscriber may vote more than once. If there are issues with the fairness of the vote process, we’ll be asking you to help us prove that, and your PIN stub may help. The PIN numbers also mean when you request a duplicate ballot, your first ballot will be discarded and only your second one will count.

If you have voted, please take a moment to let us know you have done so. Use SaveKPFA‘s convenient online survey, or simply contact us by email or phone. You’ll be helping us document the vote in case there are challenges to the process. Ballots must be received by August 3. | MORE ON BALLOTS HERE

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

Make sure your vote is counted!

HELP US MONITOR THIS ELECTION! Please let SaveKPFA know when you get your ballot and have voted by contacting us at votesavekpfa@gmail.com or (510) 969-9373. Or, if you prefer, you can answer this convenient online survey. You’ll be helping us document the vote in case there are challenges to the process.

IF YOU DIDN’T GET A BALLOT, or if it is lost or damaged, contact election supervisor Matt Ward at kpfarecall@gmail.com or (323) 375-4126. We’d appreciate it if you’d copy SaveKPFA at votesavekpfa@gmail.com or (510) 969-9373.

Ballots were mailed June 28 to KPFA listener-members in the Tracy Rosenberg recall election. We urge you to join these endorsers in voting YES on the recall. Here are some KEY VOTING POINTS:

1. Fill in the WHOLE “YES” square on the ballot in black or dark blue ink. That is, don’t just make a check mark or “x”, but fill it all in completely.

2. Resist the temptation to write anything else on the ballot or mark it in any way other than the vote box. If you made a mistake marking your ballot, contact the recall supervisor and request a replacement ballot right away (and we’d appreciate it if you’d copy SaveKPFA).

3. IMPORTANT: Keep your PIN ballot stub as proof that you voted. All ballots in KPFA elections have PIN barcodes on them, so that no subscriber may vote more than once. If there are issues with the fairness of the vote process, we’ll be asking you to help us prove that, and your PIN stub may help. The PIN numbers also mean when you request a duplicate ballot, your first ballot will be discarded and only your second one will count.

4. Mail your ballot so it is received by August 3 (preferably in the provided return envelope) to: KPFA 2012 Recall Election, PO Box 11708, Berkeley CA 94712-2708

5. DO NOT drop off your ballot at the station. Ballots are only accepted by post and must be RECEIVED BY AUGUST 3.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WITNESS THE BALLOT COUNT, come to the public ballot pickup at the Berkeley Post Office on August 4, 10 am. Votes will be counted at the Pacifica National Office, 1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way in Berkeley at noon the same day.

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 www.savekpfa.org 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