Happy 65th birthday KPFA!

Cake for KPFA's 65th from Berkeley's Sweet Adeline Bakeshop

Cake for KPFA’s 65th from Berkeley’s Sweet Adeline Bakeshop

KPFA celebrated 65 years of amazing radio on April 15 and we all said HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the station we love.

There were special guests all day, and listeners make contributions in honor of KPFA’s past as well as its future health and longevity. You can still do so online at kpfa.org.

In case you missed the special programming here’s a taste: Brian Edwards-Tiekert interviewed Matthew Lasar and Adam David Miller on UpFront about the founding on KPFA.

KPFAbirthday2Mitch Jeserich interviewed KPFA founder Richard Moore and new Pacifica interim executive director Bernard Duncan on Letters & Politics. He was later joined by long-time KPFA programmers Kris Welch and Lewis Sawyer.

On Against the Grain, Sasha Lilly delved into the station’s anarcho-syndicalist origins. | MORE PHOTOS: the studio is dressed up, another cake is delivered, a sign marking the day, balloons outside on the street

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.]

This weekend: Come to PNB meeting to demand no more cuts!

It’s been three years since the Pacifica National Board met in Berkeley — and the first time the board has had to face our community since Pacifica killed the Morning Show, claiming financial necessity. The board is coming here this weekend.

At this moment, Pacifica is trying to impose $300,000 in new cuts on KPFA. KPFA’s manager estimates this would entail cutting 7 to 8 positions. He hasn’t specified which, but it would be enough to eliminate Letters & Politics, Against The Grain, UpFront and Hard Knock Radio — nearly every daily program produced at our radio station.

These cuts are completely unnecessary. KPFA’s financial statements show that, as of June, KPFA’s bottom line is slightly better than budget, and the station is on track to run a six-figure surplus by September 30, the end of the fiscal year. (See this Pacifica audit story for a fuller picture of the network’s finances.)

The 22 members of the Pacifica National Board need to hear from KPFA listeners, when they meet July 20-23 at Berkeley’s Durant Hotel, 2600 Durant Avenue (@Bowditch in Berkeley | MAP). Pacifica hasn’t posted an agenda yet, and sadly, it looks like the board may spend most of its time in “executive session,” behind closed doors. Some of these board members refused to even read KPFA listener emails earlier this year.

SO PLEASE JOIN US AT THE BOARD MEETING SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 7/21 — that’s when we expect the board to have open sessions and take public comment. Come then and you’ll meet up with KPFA staffers like Letters and Politics host Mitch Jeserich, Against the Grain co-host Sasha Lilley, KPFA News anchor John Hamilton, and many other SaveKPFA supporters who will be at the meeting.

There is also an OPEN RECEPTION for the board at the station Friday night, 7/20 from 7-10pm. (Address: KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley) Please attend if you can – you’ll be able to talk directly with PNB members there!

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.

We endorse YES on the KPFA recall!

Thanks to a grassroots campaign to return local control to KPFA, Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg is facing a recall endorsed by a long list of community activists,  listeners and staff. Ballots must be RECEIVED by AUG. 3 at: KPFA Recall Election, P.O. Box 11708, Berkeley, CA 94712 | Ballot info | BREAKING NEWS: Goodbye Arlene Engelhardt? Great news from the Pacifica National Board meeting in Berkeley | KPFA’s budget surplus and Pacifica’s audit: learn more

We urge you to VOTE YES on the recall!
(this is a partial list, see full list here)

ACT UP EAST BAY
AILEEN ALFANDARY, co-director, KPFA News
EMILY ALMA, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Butte Environmental Council, Occupy Chico, Chico Palestine Action Group
DR. NANCY ARVOLD, psychologist, social activist, feminist
L. AYRES-FREDERICK, Artistic Director, Phoenix Arts Association Theatre
TINA BACHEMIN, KPFA reporter
DAVID BACON, labor correspondent, former KPFA Morning Show; TNG/ CWA Local 39521
BOB BALDOCK, KPFA Public Events Producer
VIC BEDOIANPacifica Evening News Central Valley reporter, Fresno
JIM BENNETT, Former Interim General Manager, KPFA, Former Pacifica National Board Member, Former Operations Director, KPFA
LARRY BENSKY, Pacifica National Affairs correspondent (1987-2007)
LAYNA BERMAN, unpaid weekly programmer
IAN BOAL, social historian of the commons
SUMMER BRENNER, author, Richmond Tales, and community activist
MALCOLM BURNSTEIN, KPFA board member and retired civil rights lawyer
SCOTT CAMIL, Activist
CATHY CAMPBELL, president, Berkeley Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1078
CLAIRE CUMMINGS, former Food and Farming editor, KPFA
LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, former co-host of KPFA’s Probabilities
JIM DAVIS, filmmaker, Meeting Room
JANE DICKSON, artist
PAMELA DRAKE, Oakland activist, KPFA Local Station Board member
ELLEN DUBROWIN, listener, former programmer & off-air staff (unpaid)
STEVE EARLY, labor journalist (CounterPunch), TNG/ CWA Local 39521
BRIAN EDWARDS-TIEKERT, KPFA News
BARBARA EPSTEIN, professor, History of Consciousness, UCSC
JAN ETRE, Crafts Fair Coordinator
DANA FRANK, Professor, History, UC Santa Cruz, AFT 1299
JULIANA FREDMAN, public interest attorney and activist
JON FROMER, singer/songwriter, NABET/CWA Local 51 shop steward
GLORIA FRYM, writer
SASHA FUTRAN, member, KPFA local station board
DAVID GANS, music programmer, KPFA board member
SHERRY GENDELMAN, attorney, former chair, KPFA board; former chair, Pacifica National Board
PAUL GEORGE, director, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
SUZANNE GORDON, journalist and author, NWU/UAW
ANDREJ GRUBACIC, anarchist historian, author of Wobblies and Zapatistas
MIGUEL GUERRERO, KPFA web producer, producer of Rock en Rebelion
CONN HALLINAN, foreign policy analyst, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Study, columnist, LSB member
MATTHEW HALLINAN, listener rep, KPFA Local Station Board
JOHN HAMILTON, KPFA News anchor
WILLIAM HARVEY, Retired Sec/Treas CWA Local 9415, Retired President Alameda County Labor Council AFL-CIO
JANE HEAVEN, KPFA producer/host, field recording engineer
JANE HIRSHFIELD, poet, author, listener-member
JOHN IVERSON, health activist
SHEILA JORDAN, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
RAMSEY KANAAN, KPFA unpaid staff, founder AK Press and PM Press, co-founder San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair
CHRIS KAVANAGH, former elected Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner (2002-2008), former Green Party of Alameda County Central/County Council member
LARRY KELP, KPFA producer and host, Sing Out!
LISA KERMISH, Vice President, UPTE-CWA Local 9119
SHELLEY KESSLER, Secretary-Treasurer, San Mateo Labor Council
ROSE KETABCHI, KPFA News
ERIC KLEIN, former FSRN tech producer; former KPFA News producer; former tech producer, Flashpoints
HELENE KNOX, poet, editor, KPFA listener & volunteer
JACK KURZWEIL, listener rep, KPFA board
JAMES LAFFERTY, host, The Lawyers Guild Show (KPFK); Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
JOHN LAVINE, activist, former Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner
YING LEE, Asian-Americans for Peace and Justice
SASHA LILLEY, KPFA’s Against the Grain; Shop Steward, CWA Local 9415
LAURA LIVOTI, founder, Justice in Nigeria Now!
ROBERT LONGER, Exec VP, CWA Local 9421
TIM LYNCH, KPFA producer and host, unpaid staff
PHILIP MALDARI, KPFA’s Sunday Show; Shop Steward, CWA Local 9415
JOANNA MANQUEROSMusic of the World, unpaid staff
DAVID MARTINEZ, radical filmmaker
DIANA MARTINEZLetters & Politics, unpaid staff
EMILY MCMILIN, Former KPFA Station Engineer
PETER OLNEY, listener and ILWU organizing director
ZEESE  PAPANIKOLAS, listener, Oakland CA
EDDY PAY, KPFA music programmer
SCOTT PHAMFree Speech Radio News, Technical Producer
SALLY PHILLIPS, KPFA Producer, Host, Engineer
MAX PRINGLEKPFA News Reporter
LAURA PRIVES, former executive producer of the KPFA Morning Show; producer, Letters & Politics, KPFA board member, Pacifica National Board member
GLENN REEDERKPFA News anchor, unpaid staff
BLANCHE RICHARDSON, owner, Marcus Books
DERK RICHARDSON, host of KPFA’s The Hear and Now
FRANCESCA ROSA, member SEIU 1021, delegate, SF Labor Council
SUSAN SACHEN, Campaign Director, California Labor Federation
CHARLOTTE SAENZ, community artist and educator
LYNNE HOLLANDER SAVIO, Mario Savio Memorial Lecture & Young Activist Award
LEWIS SAWYER, producer, Early Morning Music, former KPFA Receptionist
DAN  SIEGEL, civil rights and labor attorney, former Pacifica General Counsel
BONNIE SIMMONS, host, KPFA’s Bonnie Simmons Show; former LSB, Pacifica National Board member
SARA STEFFENS, Newspaper Guild/CWA District 9
SUSAN STONE, Former Director, KPFA’s Drama and Literature Department
VANESSA TAIT, KPFA News; co-founder, FSRN; author Poor Workers’ Unions; TNG/ CWA Local 39521
MARY TILSON, Host, America’s Back 40 (with Bette Beasley)
ANDREA TURNER, cultural and community activist, LSB member
SALLY VENABLE, president, CWA Local 9415
RICHARD  WALKER, professor, radical geographer & author of The Country in the City
KATHLEEN WEAVER, Author of Peruvian Rebel, listener/member
KRIS WELCH, KPFA’s Living Room
JOHN WHITING, KPFA Production Director and Program Producer (1960-1965); London Correspondent, Pacifica Radio (1966-1972)
BARBARA WHIPPERMAN, treasurer, KPFA local station board
MARGY WILKINSON, chair, KPFA Local Station Board
CAL WINSLOW, labor historian, co-author of Rebel Rank and File
RYCHARD WITHERS, Executive Director, Fresno Free College Foundation, General Manager, KFCF (Fresno)
EDDIE YUEN, KPFA’s Against the Grain
(Please note: all titles & organizations for ID only)

SEE the full endorsers’ list here, as well as additional lists of SaveKPFA’s endorsers supporters.

Why Recall Rosenberg?
Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg has been the principal defender of the current management at Pacifica, the corporation that owns KPFA. With Rosenberg’s support, and at her behest, Pacifica has:

Let’s get KPFA back in the hands of local listeners and staff — VOTE YES on the KPFA recall! Questions? Email us. Fill out this form to add your endorsement.

Pacifica hires nation’s #1 union-busting law firm, Jackson Lewis

News broke this week that the Pacifica National Board majority voted to hire a notorious anti-union legal firm, Jackson Lewis, which the AFL-CIO has named “America’s number one union-buster.” Pacifica is the corporation that owns KPFA.

The nonprofit American Rights at Work notes that “under its polished veneer lies a for-profit union-buster…one of the oldest and largest” such firms in the nation. Jackson Lewis brags about helping employers maintain a “union free environment,” as well as mastering “concerns” with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including targeting workers who take medical leave. That’s according to sources cited by KPFAWorker.org, which published the story after union-represented workers at KPFA began receiving letters from the firm.

SaveKPFA has heard from many KPFA listeners who are extremely troubled that their donations will go to pay more anti-union lawyers. Bay Area attorney Sheila Sexton told us that “Jackson Lewis really is evil — there is no hyperbole here. I am a union lawyer and Jackson Lewis are true union busters. There are decent management firms out there who respect collective bargaining — Jackson Lewis is not one of them.” | READ MORE research into Jackson Lewis (PDF) by SFSU Professor John Logan

What the *&#@?* is going on with Pacifica?

“The move brings back memories of the struggle against Pacifica management over a decade ago,” writes KPFAWorker.org, “in which Pacifica hired anti-union consultants, installed armed guards, and eventually locked out its staff and shut down the station.” The hiring of Jackson Lewis comes on top of the more than $100,000 that Pacifica has charged to KPFA for other anti-union legal consultants.

Listener CJ Fandel wrote of the news: “This is beyond the pale! What in the world is going on with the Board of Directors!?” We’re trying to find out: SaveKPFA has sent this letter to each Pacifica national board member asking them if they support spending listener donations on Jackson Lewis. We’ll let you know the results.

What can you do? As an individual, sign this petition sponsored by KPFA’s union workers, demanding that Pacifica drop Jackson Lewis immediately. If you are a union member, KPFA’s union asks that you also work with your local or labor council to pass a resolution against the Jackson Lewis hire.

And please inform friends and family who are in the listening areas of the other Pacifica stations — KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, DC. Ask them to renew their membership or become members of their local station. Members giving at least $25/year have voting rights. Governing board elections will occur at all five Pacifica stations this fall, creating an opportunity for positive change.

KPFA donors file complaint against Pacifica with Attorney General over recall vote

Charging that the Pacifica Foundation has failed to follow its own rules in holding a listener-prompted recall election, a group of KPFA listeners has filed a formal complaint with the state Attorney General‘s office, which oversees California nonprofits.

“It’s ironic and disturbing to see these tactics from a network founded to uphold progressive values of free speech and participatory democracy,” said Ying Lee, a longtime Berkeley activist and KPFA supporter. “Whatever their views on station politics, listeners should be outraged by Pacifica’s flagrant violation of its own bylaws.”

In September, hundreds of KPFA members signed petitions calling for the recall of Tracy Rosenberg, who serves as treasurer of the Pacifica National Board. Among other things, Rosenberg was the architect of Pacifica’s destruction of what was the station’s top fundraiser — the KPFA Morning Show.  She also pushed through measures that denied KPFA’s elected representatives their seats on the Pacifica National Board until they were overturned by court injunction. Read KPFA Local Station Board chair Margy Wilkinson‘s YES on KPFA recall, as delivered to the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition.

KPFA management certified the signatures as valid on November 1, triggering a December 31 deadline — under Pacifica’s own rules — to mail recall ballots to all KPFA listener-members. But no ballots were ever sent.

That may change soon:  SaveKPFA filed its complaint with the Attorney General on Tuesday, February 28. By Wednesday, Pacifica National Board chair Summer Reese indicated she was prepared to hire someone to run the election, and that ballots would be mailed soon — but she did not specify when.

KPFA on the brink: pledge drive falls $125,000 short

Recall endoser Larry Bensky with KPFA's Antonio Ortiz & John Hamilton

Recall endoser Larry Bensky with KPFA's Antonio Ortiz & John Hamilton

The station ended its Winter Fund Drive one week ago, $125,000 short of its pledge goal. This is sad news for everyone who cares about KPFA, and it underscores the importance of change at Pacifica.

Pacifica’s re-programming of 6-10 AM is behind the shortfall. Those time slots used to raise 40% of KPFA’s total pledges. Since the destruction of the Morning Show, that’s dropped by more than half. For a time, station management was able to offset the plunge by lengthening fund drives, but they’ve run into diminishing returns from that strategy. (This year’s Winter Fund Drive ran 24 days, a whopping 50% increase from the length of the last Winter Fund Drive before the Morning Show was axed).

By any measure, the morning lineup that Pacifica imposed on KPFA has been a catastrophic failure. But instead of fixing it, Rosenberg, and the Pacifica managers she backs, are still defending it. They rejected over $63,000 that SaveKPFA raised to pay for the reinstatement of the Morning Show. They spent more money on lawyers to fight Morning Show co-host Aimee Allison‘s reinstatement than it would have cost to keep her on payroll for a year. And they’ll keep doing it until KPFA’s voting members call them to account.

600+ KPFA listeners tell Pacifica: quit stalling on recall vote

As of early December, over 600 listeners have signed a petition demanding that the Pacifica National Board immediately delegate responsibility for running the pending recall election on KPFA board member and Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg to a neutral third party and have the election conducted promptly. On November 1, KPFA management certified that listener-members had submitted more than enough valid signatures for the vote to proceed.

Many who signed the petition added comments. “Pacifica, stop stalling,” wrote  Amy Smith, “KPFA’s listeners want a fair vote!”  The election “must be in the hands of a neutral third party,” wrote Mary B. Skinner, because “current management has clearly shown it is incapable of such trust.”  In addition, fourteen members of KPFA’s Local Station Board have signed a letter urging impartial oversight of the vote. | READ PETITION COMMENTS | READ BOARDMEMBERS’ LETTER

Under Pacifica’s own policy, ballots must go out within 60 days of the certification, and are due back within 35 days after mailing. This puts the balloting period in December and January. So far, there’s been no word from Pacifica on what it will do. SaveKPFA supporters suspect that Pacifica may time the ballots for the holiday season, when they expect attention to be lowest. In fact, the Pacifica National Board decided to move its discussion of the recall into closed session — a clear violation of the open meeting rules in Pacifica’s bylaws.

Rosenberg allies try to squelch elections
Faced with SaveKPFA‘s successful recall petition, some members of Pacifica National Board seem to be thinking that listener participation isn’t such a great thing after all. By-laws amendments drafted by Rosenberg’s allies that are due to be voted on in December would raise the number of signatures needed for a recall from 2% to 10% of the membership, dramatically restrict the time in which signatures can be gathered, and force members filing a petition to bear all costs of the vote.

Donate, endorse to help SaveKPFA get the word out
Given these obviously undemocratic maneuvers, SaveKPFA is concerned that Pacifica may attempt to delay the recall vote indefinitely. If so, we’ll have to go to court to get Pacifica to allow KPFA’s listeners to have their say. To cover potential legal fees — and campaign costs once Pacifica does get a ballot out — we’ve set up an online account for SaveKPFA where you can give a donation of any size. “SaveKPFA is an all-volunteer organization,” said treasurer John Van Eyck. “We appreciate any support you can give for legal costs or election mailings, and we also strongly encourage you to donate to KPFA as well.”

If you’d like to be listed on SaveKPFA materials as endorsing the recall, please email us with your name and how you’d like to identified.

More mismanagement at Pacifica
Continuing developments confirm that the Pacifica National regime for which Rosenberg serves as treasurer is disastrous. As reported earlier this month, KPFA’s union has discovered Pacifica diverted workers’ retirement plan contributions for months. As KPFAWorker reports, while Pacifica claims it has restored the money it took out of workers’ accounts, it “still has not notified affected employees, apologized to them, nor made them whole by paying them interest.”

We now have some indication of where the money’s been going. Starting in July, Pacifica covered the payroll and benefits for WBAI in New York — over $130,000 per month. Publicly, Pacifica had been bragging that WBAI was experiencing a “turnaround” under the management that the network’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, installed without the approval of WBAI’s staff or local board.

Management at WPFW in Washington, DC is also on the ropes. Washington’s City Paper reports that more than 80 staff members there have signed a letter of no confidence in their manager, accusing him of lengthening fund drives, imposing steep austerity measures that affect union workers but not managers, and holding such disregard for input from his own staff that he hasn’t called a meeting in 8 months.

Art by Bob Baldock for the film KPFA on the Air

KPFA’s awesome Occupy coverage
As the Occupy movement has erupted, KPFA’s coverage has been stellar, with breaking news updates from protests, live broadcasts, and interviews that bring in-depth analysis to the movement.

Here are just a few recent highlights: Mitch Jeserich‘s anchoring of a live broadcast of former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich addressing a crowd of 10,000 on Sproul Plaza; comprehensive coverage of protests from the Pacifica Evening News; KPFA news anchor John Hamilton‘s report for Democracy Now on the police violence at Occupy Cal; and a fascinating interview on Letters and Politics about the most historic occupation in U.S. politics — the Bonus Army encampment in Washington during the Great Depression.

A big thank you to behind-the-scenes technical staff, like Antonio Ortiz, Frank Sterling, and Dev Ross, who’ve gone above and beyond to get live broadcasts on the air. Thanks to everyone at KPFA — from board ops and engineers, to reporters and music programmers — who’ve participated in this important coverage.

KPFA board member makes news
SaveKPFA
activist Dan Siegel, who serves on both the KPFA and Pacifica boards, made national headlines when he very publicly resigned as an unpaid advisor to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan because of her decision to forcibly remove the encampment in downtown Oakland. He was interviewed on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.  (Believe it or not, Pacifica is still spending listeners’ money fighting in court to kick Siegel off the national board.) 

Local board discusses programming, budget
KPFA’s Local Station Board met November 19, and among other things, had a lively discussion about KPFA’s programming.  “We need to talk to a wider audience,” said SaveKPFA-affiliated board member and journalism professor Conn Hallinan. KPFA needs to reach people “who don’t have the same politics as we have,” he said, adding, “for that, we need to be good.” Programming discussed in part 3 of the meeting. | LISTEN to 3 minute clip, or the entire meeting: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

Support the KPFA Crafts Fair
KPFA’s biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up: the annual KPFA Crafts Fair on December 10 and 11. It’s an amazing event full of artwork, music, and an opportunity to do your holiday shopping in a way that supports local artisans. All proceeds stay with KPFA — Pacifica doesn’t take a cut of event revenue. Check out the Craft Fair’s webpage, or like its Facebook page. See you there!

KPFA workers uncover retirement shortfalls, endorse Occupy Oakland strike

KPFA's Sasha Lilley (left) & Mitch Jeserich (right) broadcasting from Occupy Oakland

Union workers at KPFA say that Pacifica has been shorting their retirement accounts, in violation of federal law. KPFAWorker.org reports that when employees got their quarterly statements from account provider ING, “they noticed that Pacifica had taken money out of their paychecks but had not put the money into their pensions during half of the weeks recorded.”

After two KPFA union members investigated and obtained documents about Pacifica’s payments (as is their right under the federal law), they received “terse” emails from both interim KPFA general manager Andrew Phillips and Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt threatening legal action if they shared the information.

Union rep Christina Huggins of CWA Local 9415 stepped in. After receiving no response to her queries from either Engelhardt or Pacifica’s CFO Lavarn Williams, Huggins wrote this letter to the Pacifica National Board, to whom both Engelhardt and Williams report. “This is a form of wage theft, and it is a very serious matter,” Huggins wrote.  “The scope of this problem is large: We have seen this pattern for every employee whose records we have been able to check,” she wrote, adding that similar problems were identified as far back as a year and a half. “I’m writing to you as fiduciaries of the Pacifica Foundation,” Huggins continued, “because what we are dealing with is looking less like an error and more like a pattern: Missing payments, lack of transparency, hostility to employees who ask financial questions, unwillingness to release basic financial documents. These are classic warning signs of financial mismanagement and/or internal fraud.”

Engelhardt eventually responded, admitting the payments were overdue but saying they had finally been made. “They’ve not paid for lost interest, nor have they notified all the affected workers,” one KPFA worker told us.

Financial transparency lacking at Pacifica
In the wake of the retirement fund blowup, SaveKPFA reps have been pressing Pacifica management for financial transparency. Pacifica National Board members Dan Siegel, Andrea Turner and Laura Prives (who serve on the KPFA local board as well), have exercised their right to have their agents (KPFA treasurer Barbara Whipperman, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, a former KPFA treasurer) inspect Pacifica’s books.

So far, they report that Pacifica management has been less than forthcoming — insisting all document requests be submitted in writing, unilaterally canceling scheduled inspections, and paying an attorney to write them a threatening letter.

Pacifica to put KPFA’s money in B of A?
While the Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired record numbers of people to move their money out of corporate mega-banks, Pacifica management is trying to move its stations’ money in.

Pacifica’s chief financial officer LaVarn Williams is pressuring KPFA and the other stations Pacifica owns, to move their business to Bank of America. (KPFA’s business manager has solicited a proposal from a local bank that would cost $20,000 per year less in fees).

Meanwhile, KPFA’s union staff passed a resolution in support of Occupy Oakland‘s Nov. 2 general strike, and the station’s journalists joined the movement on the streets to do extensive live coverage of the actions.