Election Schedule Redux

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Berkeley-Despite our best intentions in sending you the election schedule, things shifted, and so we have to once again send out a schedule.

See below for the current schedule.

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December 26 – Membership data for ballot printing to the printer/mail house by midnight Dec 26, 2018

January 7 – Election period start  – Ballots sent to eligible members. A paper (physical) ballot will be sent to eligible listeners for whom no email address is available on their membership record. An electronic ballot will be sent via email to eligible listeners for whom an email is available.

February 11 – Election period end. (If quorum is not reached by this date, the NES will extend the election per Pacifica Foundation Bylaws. All other dates below will be adjusted accordingly.)

February 12 – Ballot count starts.

February 25 – Election results announced***

In other election-related news, Pacifica In Exile will send out a formal list of endorsements in the last week of January for your consideration, along with our reasons for endorsing or not endorsing the candidates we select. But since election-related outreach will get to you long before the first week of January, we thought we’d take a minute to make some general statements about each of the signal areas and their LSB elections.We will try to capture some general Pacifica news in the upcoming months as well, so we can be a bit of a more regular correspondent. The long struggle to free the Foundation from the Wilkinson/Brazon years after the coup and then the Empire State Building crisis took their toll, and a little break was in order. But we know it is difficult to follow events without these bulletins, and we take the responsibility seriously, so we will try to get back to at monthly dispatches. 

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Election Summary (Going East Coast to West Coast)

WBAI-FM New York – At WBAI-FM, the elections usually pit the Justice and Unity Caucus against a slate of independent candidates and 2018 is no different. Names and faces change, but the record of the Justice and Unity Caucus in backing up the corruption and power-grabbing of the post-coup period is well-established, and we are not inclined to support any candidate running under that banner. In recent times, the rallying cry for the Justice and Unity Group has been to hand over the radio station to Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the public access video station run by former Pacifica ED Dan Coughlin. Coughlin has recently appealed a case based on banning programmers from his facility to the Supreme Court where Halleck vs MNN in the hands of the conservative Supreme Court is sending a cold chill up the spines of the entire independent media community. Amicis have been filed by the like of the Cato Institute, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet Association and NCTA because of the far-reaching implications. (NCTA for example, wants to use the case to outlaw governmental, educational and public access channels altogether, including MNN).

Pacifica in Exile readers will remember 2015 when the three independent WBAI national board members were excluded from the national board for an entire year at the behest of Justice and Unity member Cerene Roberts. The good news for WBAI voters is that there are at least a dozen Independent candidates running for WBAI’s LSB in the upcoming election  so listener members will have a broad assortment to choose from. 

WPFW-FM Washington – At WPFW, democratic governance still has a thin foundation, and 2018 does not seem terribly different than the norm. There are about as many available seats as there are candidates, making the choice merely one of ranking. Pacifica In Exile will recommend the candidates we think will do the best job, but it is likely they will acquire a seat no matter what we or anyone else advise. We encourage WPFW listener members to give some thought to how to invigorate their election process so that voters can consider a range of points of view and be more able to manifest the direction they’d like to see in the names they put on their ballots. 

KPFT-FM Texas – At KPFT, we have a small station with some big fights. If you happened to listen to random meetings of the KPFT local station board in the last few years (and we know you probably didn’t), you’d almost always find an agenda marked with some sort of banning, suspension, removal, or discipline of one or another member of the board. Like every single time.

This is, obviously, not the most productive use of board time. Much of this has been driven by Adriana Casenave, a regular cast member in the Pacifica in Exile bulletins of 2014 to 2016 period and a PNB representative for KPFT from 2014 to 2018. While Casenave is terming out, we don’t have much faith that her fellow friends will act much differently than she did, and therefore we advise you to look to the “Candidate Slate” group for your choices in 2018. 

KPFK-FM Los Angeles – KPFK’s local station board has been dominated the past two years by their Candidate Slate group which formed in 2015 from the members of the former Committee to Save KPFK to save the station from the horrors of the Leslie Radford years. The group was overwhelmingly supported by KPFK’s listeners in both the 2015 and 2016 elections, in some of the most lopsided election results ever seen in a Pacifica local board election.

In 2017, the victories in LA helped the whole network when the KPFK local station board galvanized their community to raise a million dollar “listener loan” fund to help Pacifica in the scary days after the Empire State building judgment and played a leading role in cobbling together the larger loan that allowed Pacifica to pay off the predatory real estate magnate and avoid a descent into bankruptcy. For that, they deserve your renewed support. The opposing slate which usually calls itself something like the Grassroots Community Radio Coalition is closely affiliated with Brazon and Radford who were firmly rejected by the vast majority of the station;s listeners. 

This brings us to the complicated one, our home station KPFA-FM Bay Area. Bear with us. It is a bit of a long story. KPFA is the land of the changing names for candidate groups. And not always changed with the best of intentions. KPFA Forward became Concerned Listeners became Save KPFA. People’s Radio became Independents for Community Radio became United for Community Radio.And you’d think that sentence would continue like this ….. and United for Community Radio became United for Independent Radio because it makes sense, right?

But nope. United for Independent Radio is actually what used to call itself Save KPFA, which picked up a few side-switchers and then swiped their opponent’s names to create maximal confusion for you, the voter. So the way the sentence actually finishes is United for Community Radio became Rescue Pacifica. 

Oy. In a nutshell, here is what it is. The folks who did all the rip KPFA away from Pacifica stuff with the secret KPFA Foundation and then the secret Big Tent Radio are UIR. The folks who were pushing for Pacifica to jump into voluntary bankrutpcy and throw itself on the mercy of the federal judiciary are UIR. Bill Campisi, who filed a lawsuit that has now cost upward of $50K to prevent someone from being seated on the board is UIR.

These are not the values, the platform, the ideas that United for Community Radio stood for, in all of its previous iterations. You can take the name, but if you don’t take the platform of Pacifica unity, independent news and not regurgitated wire copy, bargaining rights for paid *and* unpaid staff, airtime for community groups including some AM time, community input via a program council, and financial transparency, then it doesn’t much matter what you call yourselves.That platform resides with Rescue Pacifica, and we encourage you to choose among those candidates for your top choices.

It’s a serious time. While KPFA’s LSB likes to talk about how much better they are doing than the other stations, they have missed 8 of the last 9 fund drive goals and payroll has once again soared over two million dollars a year, the same conditions that lead to disastrous deficits in the 2009-2010 period.KPFA is heading in that direction with a downward trend in the audited financial results from a unit operating loss of $-33,750 in 2012 all the way down to a $-315,661 loss in 2016, the last audited year to date. In 2016, that was the second biggest unit operating loss of the network’s five radio stations.We think the Rescue Pacifica candidates, who have not been in the majority in the past few years, should get a chance to turn that downward spiral around. 

***If you value being kept up to speed on Pacifica Radio news via this newsletter, you can make a little contribution to keep Pacifica in Exile publishing. Donations are secure, but not tax-deductible. (Scroll down to the donation icon).

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.

To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website at www.pacificainexile.org

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Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-sponsored radio.

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