Aren’t You Dying To Vote on Another Set of Bad Replacement Bylaws?
Berkeley – With so much of importance going on in the world right now, about the last thing in the world we want to do is trouble you with Pacifica’s internal shenanigans. And we understand that you reallydon’t want to focus on this right now. And you shouldn’t have to. Pacifica and its board members should be lasar-focused on providing you the alternative information you want to help make sense of the world. Sadly, some of them aren’t. They are focused on themselves and their power dynamics.
But here’s the good news. You don’t have to focus on it. This is literally an email requesting you to do absolutely nothing. All you have to do is not sign a new bylaws petition asking you to force yet another bylaws election. Corrections made after the last disaster that was rejected overwhelmingly have raised the threshold for a bylaws petition from 1% to 5% of the members. You can literally save Pacifica $100,000 dollars and save yourself from poring over 58 pages of new bylaws. Yes, hard as it may be to believe, these new proposed bylaws are even longer than the existing ones.
We understand that some of you will want to do your homework. So as we did last time, we will send you a point by point analysis of the changes that are proposed when we’ve had a chance to fully review it. (The new bylaws proposal doesn’t tell you what was crossed out or added, so it is a ponderous process of comparing the text paragraph by paragraph for dozens of pages). But we didn’t want to wait to tell you about it. Honestly, it’s fine with us if you never bother to read it all. Because even if these were the best bylaws in the world – and they are not – you still should not sign this petition.
Before briefly discussing the merits, there is a question of process. Why on earth shouldn’t any bylaws proposal wait until the next election in the summer of 2021 when it can be sent out at no additional cost in a regularly scheduled election? Who has an extra $100,000 (for the 2nd time in a year) to pay election staff, election contractors, lawyers, not to mention all those requests for donations you will get from proponents and opponents? Who wants to get for and oppose emails daily – again – especially right in the middle of one of the most consequential political elections of our lifetimes? Who wants the energy of Pacifica’s staff going to touting bylaws proposals when earthshatteringly important things are happening every day, much of it misreported by the mainstream media?
You were told the last time we engaged in this merry-go-round that Pacifica would collapse if you didn’t immediately install a bunch of handpicked people. You didn’t fall for it. Yes, there are financial stresses. Always have been at Pacifica. Back in 1994 when the whole foundation had less than 8 million dollars in income and lost $339,000 and in 2018 when the whole foundation had 11.6 million dollars in income and lost $7,800. Bylaws don’t make money. And in this case, they cost money.
So what’s on the table this time? More handpicked directors. This time, they are:
* Sharon Kyle, the owner of the LA Progressive, an online news site in LA which has had its own financial struggles,
* Jan Goodman, a current director, also from LA, who has already served six consecutive years on the Pacifica National Board and would have to step down at the end of the year, but is proposing via these new bylaws to serve for another 3 years for a total of 9 consecutive years.
* Lyden Foley, a current director, from Texas.
* Akio Tanaka, a KPFA LSB rep.
All 4 would serve from January 2021 to December 2023 as the preselected officers of the Pacifica National Board.
They would be joined by one representative from each station (none of whom can be officers) and 2 staff reps (one paid and one unpaid) who would be elected in nationwide staff elections, with paid staff voting for paid and unpaid staff voting for unpaid. This cuts staff representation on the national board by 60%, and gives 10x more representation to 100 paid staffers than to the 1,000+ unpaid staffers who produce the majority of the on-air programs. To this group can be added three random at-large directors with no criteria required other than a majority vote by the ad-hoc board.
It gets worse. After this ad-hoc board does its thing for three years with no input from the listener-sponsors, you will get to vote. You will get to vote in NINE different elections, selecting a person to be the national board chair, a person to be the national board vice chair, a person to be the national board secretary, a person to be the national board treasurer, a person to be the local board chair, a person to be the local board vice-chair, a person to be the local board secretary, a person to be the local board Outreach Coordinator, and a person to be the local board Membership and Fundraising Coordinator. You don’t need to pay any attention to the rest of the local station board since it will be selected for you. Meanwhile in parallel elections, the paid staff will pick a person to be the national paid staff representative and a local paid staff representative, and the unpaid staff will pick a person to be the national unpaid staff representative and the local unpaid staff representative. In short: 13 elections and all by strict majority rule since there is only one seat in play for each.
We’ll stop here, although there are still dozens of changes. Next email for that. But we will note that many things that are objectively problematic in the existing bylaws are left intact and what mostly changes is the allowance for diverse points of view. There isn’t any allowance for diverse points of view. If you can’t command majority support, there will be no space for you in Pacifica governance. It’s a travesty for a network that literally defines itself as a home for minority points of view.
So put this bylaws petition where it belongs …. in the trash folder.
For more details, see the latest Save KPFA/UIR newly invented name at newdaypacifica.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 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.