The text of the transcript below is from the Pacifica Foundation Web site. It has been reformatted into a readable form by Mr. Gary Evans, and marked up into a single Web page by me.
MS. BERRY: We are going to start this meeting of the Pacifica governing board. We are a little bit late, but here we are. There are no new members to be seated. Could I get a motion for approval of the minutes of the last meeting?
MR. ACOSTA: I so move.
MS. BERRY: Is there a second?
MS. CISCO: Second.
MS. BERRY: All in favor indicate by saying aye. We have already set a schedule for the next meeting. Does everybody know what that is? That is the first weekend in October. Is that right? It is the second weekend of October. It is October 10th, that is the board meeting.
MS. CISCO: Where?
MS. BERRY: It's in Houston, Texas, October 10th.
MR. BRAMSON: As a reminder, I will be unable to attend.
MS. BERRY: Right. We want to congratulate you upon the birth of your daughter, before your daughter is born, and before she is even a daughter. Well, I guess she is a daughter. That is the next meeting. Now we have the report of the LAB chair, who is Charlotte Holloman, from the WPFW LAB. Could you please come forward?
MS. HOLLOMAN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's nice to see you, those of you that I know, and those of you that I don't, it is also nice to see you. This report is on behalf of the council of chairs. For those of you who don't know, that is the five chairs of the local advisory boards in each of our signal areas. The report represents the minutes of a meeting, which took place last week on Thursday, the l7th of June via conference call. Participating on that call was Sherri Gendleman from KPFA, David Allison from KPFK, Shirley Adams from KPFT, Karen Frillmann from WBAI, Charlotte Holloman from WPFW and Mary Frances Barry from Pacifica.
The agenda included the following: LAB reviews related to community needs assessment, station programming goals, policy decisions and service provided by the station, a process to calendar programming reviews, the current situation at KPFA, nominations to the governing board. Added to the agenda: a strategic plan for the coming millennium and the memo from African American programmers at KPFA to Mary Frances.
With regard to required LAB reports, Mary Frances mentioned that WBAI had not turned in reports on training and WBAI had not turned in reports on audience needs assessments. Mary Frances pointed out that the report done by Frank Millspaughs' committee outlines methods by which community needs assessments might be accomplished. A discussion ensued about the difficulty some LABs are experiencing in securing required information from station managers and program directors. Possible causes and solutions were discussed. David pointed out that clear programming goals may be lacking at the national level. Mary Frances invited LAB chairs to offer suggestions about what current and future programming goals should be. It was pointed out that questions to managers by LAB members with respect to policy decisions, programming and service are viewed and treated as interference by some station managers who become defensive and decline to share information. It was agreed that in some cases relationships between LAB members and station managers are not productive. Mary Frances promised to raise this problem with the appropriate governing committee with the goal of encouraging more supportive relationships. Mary Frances stated that program directors should be providing regular reports, including Arbitron data, to the LABs. It was suggested that program directors meet with LABs at least twice a year.
Mary Frances agreed to apprise the appropriate step and governing the committee in this directive. With respect to a process for calendaring programming reviews by the LABs, Karen pointed out that Pacifica decisions, read as Pacifica mandates, are a bigger problem at WBAI than relationships. For example, national programming mandates conflicting with local programming. Karen pointed out that calendaring might be viewed as a mandate. Charlotte suggested that calendaring programming reviews should come down from Pacifica management to general managers and program directors who are Pacifica staff.
It was agreed that organizational structure for communications and information flow throughout the network is problematic. Mary Frances promised to ask the governing board to send something to general managers and LABs designed to enhance communications and relationships. On the continuing problems at KPFA, there was lengthy discussion.
Sherry reported that there is havoc and chaos at the station. At the most recent LAB meeting, 80 people attended. She said the demonstrations have been ugly and painful. Major donors are upset. Sherry reported 6,200 people contributed $600,000 in KPFA's most successful fund drive ever. However, 90 percent of this money was donated under protest. Mary Frances states that Pacifica policy is that no conditional pledges will be accepted if they are given to affect management decisions.
The comment was made that CPB money is conditional. Mary Frances stated that development directors have been asked to determine which of these grants given under protest are in fact conditional and that money found to be conditional would be returned.
Mary Frances said that the governing board is upset about expenditures and safety issues at KPFA. She has been told that local police consider shots fired at Pacifica and KPFA to be attempted homicide and that security guards have had to be hired. Any Pacifica board liability for injury or worse is the central issue from the board's perspective.
Mary Frances reported Lynn Chadwick has moved over to be acting station manager at KPFA because no one else was available from the other stations. On the matter of KPFA's African American programmers, it was said that Sheryl Flowers left for another opportunity and one paid programmer also left.
There followed some discussion about KPFA programmers having on-air discussion of internal management issues by reporting it as news as a way of getting around the so-called gag rule. Mary Frances stated unequivocally that there would be no mediation with regard to Nicole Sawaya being rehired or Larry Bensky going back on the air.
There is a possibility that underlying policy issues may be mediated. The gag rule policy will be kept until it is discussed and changed by the governing board. David asked whether the gag rule policy was actually a written policy because Larry Bensky has claimed that it is not. Mary Frances said that it is her understanding from the lawyers that it is.
It was noted that while LABs have functions, they have no power and that station managers sometimes use an extension of the gag rule to keep from answering questions they don't want to answer, particularly as it relates to personnel and programming. Mary Frances offered that managers and program directors should be forthcoming in the interest of collegiality, especially as questions relate to why programs are taken off the air because this is within the purview of LAB responsibility. Personnel questions are more difficult because of privacy issues. Again, general discussion of personnel matters should take place in the interest of collegiality. It was noted that the Pacifica strategic plan is expiring.
Mary Frances said that the new plan will address how Pacifica structure can be improved and that all the various Pacifica constituencies will again be consulted for their input. With regard to nominees to the governing board, Mary Frances offered that many good names have been received by the governance committee and that the committe [sic] would recommend some and that others would be withheld, but not rejected.
She pointed out the need to do greater outreach to Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and white women. She said that of the 19 seats on the governing board, she believes there are seven vacancies. It was suggested that the council of chairs conference calls take place more often than the current three times a year in advance of governing board meetings.
The consensus was six times a year and Mary Frances said she would take this under advisement. Respectfully submitted by Charlotte Holloman, chair, WPFW LAB.
MS. BERRY: Charlotte, that was a wonderful presentation. Thank you for it. Let me just reiterate for the board, let me comment on some parts of it and see if any board members want to.
First of all, it is indeed true that we need these reports on audience needs assessment and for the stations that haven't submitted them, we would hope that they would do so since that is one of the principal functions of the local advisory boards. Also, the problems with the managers and program directors and the LABs have been surfacing ever since I have been on the board and I'm sure before. I will reiterate, and the board I know supports this, that the executive director must direct the managers, yet again, that we expect to have harmonious and supportive relationships between the station managers and the LABs and the program director should meet with the LABs and the general manager can be there when they meet, but the general manager goes to the meetings anyway, or they should. Information should be given that will help the LAB to exercise its mandate to conduct the kinds of needs assessments. So we are reiterating again, and I am sure I have the board's support. I don't see anybody objecting to that because that is policy, that the executive director is directed to make this clear to the station managers and part of their evaluation of them would include, of course, LABs involved in input into the evaluation process. It seems to me that that would be an effective way to handle that. We will have some discussion after this presentation and after this segment of the agenda about the nondisclosure rule and what is happening on that. So, I am reiterating that everything that you say, I would ask the board to urge people to do and I am doing.
We will go on from there.
I am also trying to figure out how to have six meetings with the council of chairs.
MS. HOLLOMAN: Perhaps the calls could be shorter if they were more frequent.
MS. BERRY: Yes, maybe we could have more of them and make them shorter. Yes, Rob?
MR. ROBINSON: I would just like to thank you for that, Dr. Berry, and thank you, Charlotte. I think that it's a wonderful report. But I think what you showed to everyone here so clearly is that our LABs are indeed diverse, business-like, competent, and very very positive in their orientation.
MS. HOLLOMAN: I would like to take one minute to recognize one of our chairs or acting chairs, Dave Adelson, who participated in this report.
MS. BERRY: All right. Are there any other questions or comments from board members? We will proceed and we will see what kind of feedback we get next time.
Thank you very much, Charlotte.
I want to also acknowledge the presence of Burt Lee who is out there somewhere and to thank him very much for the party he hosted last night in his palatial residence for the staff and the board. He is a long-time supporter of WPFW, among other things.
Thank you so much and we're just so pleased that you are here today and thank you for all you do. The next item on the agenda is the committee reports and the first one is executive committee. On behalf of the executive committee and on behalf of the board, I want to read a statement and see if I can get a motion on the statement that I am introducing to the board.
Now, the statement is in response to the current crisis. I have said to new board members, and I am not all that old as a board member myself, that Pacifica seems to me to be constantly in crisis in some part of the network. So, it's not that the current crisis is the only one that has ever existed or will continue to exist, but the current crisis.
The board of directors of the Pacifica Foundation abhors the climate of violence, hate, racism and misinformation that has evolved in the conflict surrounding KPFA. The Pacifica board respects the diversity of opinions and beliefs regarding the KPFA conflict.
However, we are obliged to protect the people, property, license and broadcast air associated with Pacifica foundation. KPFA is an integral part of the Pacifica network, which includes stations in four other major U.S. cities: KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, WBAI in New York and WPFW here in Washington. The network delivers ten hours of satellite programming daily to 65 affiliates nationwide.
KPFA is a 59,000-watt station, very large, located in Berkeley, which is expected to serve not just Berkeley, but the entire signal area from Mendecino to San Jose. The board invests management responsibility for the Pacifica network in the executive director. This includes, but is not limited to, operations, management and decision-making concerning personnel matters. The board this day affirms its support for the enforcement of the nondisclosure policy with respect to protection of broadcast air. We believe it is unprofessional and a disservice to the listeners for programmers to use the air as a soapbox during disputes over management issues. This policy has been in effect by the board at least since 1989. However, in order to provide a forum for the discussion of issues concerning Pacifica national management, programs and policies, the board is directing the immediate institution at each station of a monthly program directed at this end. There will be a monthly discussion. The public and staff will be able to participate, so we are directing that this happen immediately. Because the board is responsible for protecting the license, personnel and property of the Pacifica Foundation, we feel that we must provide security whenever those interests are threatened.
The firing of shots into Pacifica offices and at Pacifica buildings, the physical and verbal harassment of staff members and the uninvited incursions into staff offices have made security necessary at Pacifica Properties in Berkeley. Those who oppose the use of security forces have the power to remove it in their own hands. As soon as conditions no longer require its use, the security currently in place will be removed.
In other words, the key is in the hands of those who are engaged in certain activities there and we want to remove it; we don't like having to pay for it, we don't like having to have it, so as soon as matters recede and become peaceful enough that we can do so, we will do so.
We value and are committed to the needs of local communities and will continue to build collaborative relationships with local representatives, while assuring channels of communication. Representation from each signal area on the governing board and executive committee are important ways that we show our commitment.
We have somebody from every signal area on the governing board and on the executive committee. Furthermore, regular meetings by the LAB Chairs with the board chair -- you just saw a report from the chair of the WPFW board who talked about those regular meetings -- is a way that we show that commitment. Her participation here is a way in which we show that commitment. These are all important.
We also affirm in particular the provision of the LAB Procedures and Practices Policy -- that the LAB can be involved in the evaluation of the general manager -- remains in force and is policy in Pacifica and that people can count on that. We are also pleased that the Pacifica executive director has been dialoguing with staff at KPFA to begin conciliation with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
The board supports these conciliation efforts and we also support the idea of their extension and expansion as determined by the conciliator to include other parties of the issues with the agreement of the parties. So that you are clear about what I mean by that is, if these efforts go forward, and it is determined by the mediator after talking to the parties that other people ought to be put on either side, however many other people, that we, the board, would support that.
This may include members of the governing board, it may include LAB members, it may include people in the community. I don't know how many people it would include, but we are open to and supportive of the idea that other people can be included in the mediations. I wanted to make that statement and ask if someone on the board would introduce a motion that this statement be formally adopted as the policy of this foundation.
MR. FARRELL: I so move.
MS. BERRY: Could I get a second?
MS. CISCO: I second the motion.
MS. BERRY: Would there be any discussion that the board would like to engage in at this time concerning the statement that I have read and elaborated on? Let me say as a point of information on the statement that the unions -- at three of our stations we have unions -- have contracts, and the union contract has provisions in it that they expect us to abide by.
We will implement this policy of public and staff forums and want the union members to participate too, consistent with their contract. That is up to them to figure out how they do it. We are not trying to abrogate anybody's union contract. We don't want it to become a dispute about -- trying to overturn.
We know they have contracts, we abide by them and we want them included too, but consistent with how they view their own contractual obligations. Is there any further discussion of this matter? Yes, Pete?
MR. BRAMSON: I appreciate the statement. I think the tone is pretty good. Specifically, the first paragraph is very important because it addresses the issues about violence, hate and racism. I have a couple of questions, if I may, which are based on, well, will there be limits to the immediate institution at each station of a monthly program directed to these kinds of discussions about the nondisclosure?
MS. BERRY: There are no limits to what will be discussed so long as it is about Pacifica programs, policies, whatever. It is an opportunity for people, staff, community people, anybody to discuss issues. How it will be structured will depend on the staff and the people at each local station, because all of our local stations have different kinds of way to do stuff. But if there will be no limitations of what they will discuss. We specifically discuss Pacifica programs, policies, et cetera, which is what the issue is. Because if staff at a local station have a problem with their general manager, they can talk to the general manager, I assume, and the general manager has to go on the radio already to have a report to the listener, in which people get to call in and ask questions.
So, that has not been the bone of contention. The bone of contention has been about Pacifica programs, policies and the rest. We also are aware that most organizations do not have such policies. Most organizations do not permit staff to use the media operations, for example, newspapers, magazines, and the like, don't permit staff to use their news stories to criticize management. Be that as it may, this is Pacifica. Pacifica is different. So we are saying that not only the public but the staff, too, can be involved in making any kind of statement they want as long as they don't defame and degrade people and call them, you know, racists, bigots, names.
MR. BRAMSON: How would you describe the continuance to build collaborative relationships with local representatives? Could you give me an example?
MS. BERRY: You are the chair of the process review committee on this board.
MR. BRAMSON: I am.
MS. BERRY: I would hope that you would, in addition to what is in the LAB procedures and policies, and the things that I have outlined here, that you are already doing and the things that I already said when Charlotte was here making her chair statement about how the PDs should be with the LAB, how the manager should be with the LAB and these other reports that you do, perhaps you will suggest other ways the board can improve in their --
MR. BRAMSON: Good. I will do so within three days and I will bring it back to the board.
MS. BERRY: All right.
MR. BRAMSON: I have asked this before, I just want to make sure I am being clear. Is there a possibility of some time line regarding the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service?
MR. BERRY: [sic] There are no time lines. We have put an offer on the table to engage in conciliation. Both sides have discussed who the mediator would be. I understand now there is a desire on the part of at least one of the parties to the conflict to expand the number of people and who would be involved. I think that should be taken up immediately by the people who are involved in the narrow conciliation process and the mediator with an immediate determination of can we agree on who the folks would be in this expanded definition of each side?
MR. BRAMSON: Exactly. Great. That is what I wanted to hear. Are we willing to express interest in communicating our time line issues to the public?
MS. BERRY: I just said that. I want it to happen yesterday. I want it to happen today. I want them to start immediately defining who should be involved and they are to take up each side's presentation of who they want to be there and act on it.
MR. BRAMSON: Thank you.
MS. BERRY: Do you want to ask me a question?
DR. GIBBS: That is a question from a member of the audience.
MS. BERRY: We don't do that because we do not respond to questions. If you want to ask me a question, you can.
DR. GIBBS: Oh, I see.
MS. BERRY: I will answer. Otherwise the whole audience will be up here asking me questions.
DR. GIBBS: Our statement says that security depends upon the behavior of the people who are causing us to have guards. Is it possible to move the security guards in front of the Pacifica national office instead of KPFA?
MS. BERRY: The answer is no and the reason why, let me explain why: there were shots fired into the windows of the Pacifica national office. Also, there was a shot fired at the KPFA building.
The KPFA is a Pacifica property so we are responsible for all of those buildings. I know sometimes the stations think that they are independent and that they own Pacifica or something. But the board is responsible for all those properties that are owned by Pacifica.
Secondly, the incursions into people's offices took place within the KPFA part of the building and not in the national office part of the building. The entry of 300 people or some number, I don't know what number of folks in an unauthorized manner into the space owned by us at KPFA took place in the part of the building that is at KPFA. What I am really saying is that as soon as we can be assured that folks don't intend to come into the building when they are not supposed to, bring in 300 people, make it appear that they are trying to take over the building or some doggoned thing or if they are harassing and abusing staff members, then we'll take the entire security away, paying for security.
But we cannot draw a distinction between the buildings because we own them. We own the whole thing and we have staff in both of them. If something were to happen to them, especially since we know something has already happened, this board would be considered negligent and we would be liable for whatever happens. And I know that's hard to take, but it's true.
As an anti-authoritarian myself, and I have a demonstrated record of anti-authoritarianism, I don't like any kind of security and any kind of anything. But under these circumstances I think that it is necessary.
I hope that maybe as the mediation goes forward people can sort of give assurances to each other and then the board wants it removed as soon as possible. Is there anything else? Can I call for the question? All those in favor of the approval of this statement, indicate by saying aye.
I count one opposition. Have I counted correctly? Is there someone I did not count who is in opposition? Then the statement is approved.
Also, the board has agreed that board members may go out and discuss this statement. We have not been publicly discussing everywhere the issues around this because we have felt that since we have a policy of not discussing it, we would not be on the air discussing it ourselves on the air, but that wouldn't make any sense.
But now that we have a statement of where we stand and the board has agreed to it, there is no reason for board members not to be able to discuss it. There are some details that cannot be discussed. It also does not preclude board members from discussing the statement and the issues. Let me ask the board about this.
Do you think we should be able to discuss just this statement and the events on any of the news shows on our own air as a result of the change that we have made? Or do you think we should still withhold ourselves from discussing even the statement even on our own air, keeping in mind, let me just take a minute to say this, the reason why this is a news story is because the staff made it a news story.
I gave the example to some people of when I was a reporter in Vietnam, there was another reporter who used to go out to villages and talk to people and create stories, nice human-interest stories. Then this reporter would write about the nice human-interest story that he had just -- Then he would disseminate it and get plaudits for this great human-interest story he found in this village. Then all the other editors would beat up on the other reporters and say, why don't you go find a nice human interest story like that?
Other reporters would be tempted to go and do that. I call that the creation of stories, and then never telling the listener that you are part of the story, making them think it is just a story you found. The staff at KPFA, and I am not being critical of them because they, I am sure, well meaning people would have their own concerns within this culture -- disclosure policy, they know they violated it.
They said they know they violated it and helped make it into a news story something that was not a news story then it became a news story so it was on the news, but then we didn't comment on our air. What I am asking you now is, since it is a news story, they made it that, we have given them a way to talk about it in the block, should we report to the listeners and talk about this statement or should we be willing to talk about this statement on the air Friday?
MR. MILLSPAUGH: I think if we issue a statement it is a legitimate news story for any news service including our own. I would point to the kind of related sort of thing when a commercial broadcaster broadcasts something about an organization which may be their territory organization, they identify the -- but they do make that report and I think that as we are releasing an official statement we should release it universally, which universe includes KPFA.
MS. BERRY: Yes, Bob.
MR. FARRELL: I would expect that another group of people who are part of the Pacifica team be advised to treat this as any other breaking news story that they might deem to be of importance, and that is our news directors.
News directors at each of the stations have a responsibility to service their area and also as part of the management team, to ascertain importance of stories, to place the priorities, to structure interviews and comment, to establish balance as they perceive that, to seek access to spokespersons from several sides and put that in some coherent manner so given the time available to them, that they can put a cohesive kind of comprehensive view to our listeners and I would hope that our news managers would rise to the level of professionalism that is expected of them in this manner as they often do in other instances.
So I think it is appropriate for our management to be available as a news source and that our directors would be among the first to accept this --
MS. BERRY: Since we are releasing it as a news release it does become news?
MR. FARRELL: Yes.
MS. BERRY: However we got here, it has become news.
MR. FARRELL: The policy that we have approved in the statement, the one about the forum and the staff it's on, is a way for us not to have this happen in the future because in the future if people want to discuss something about the management they can do it in that padlock and we don't have to do it on programs and news and we won't have this problem, so we hope that this will be an exception and it won't ever happen again.
But in this instance, we will then be able to talk about this statement as a news story and hope that this will be the end of us having to do this.
MR. FARRELL: I thank the board chair for bringing it up. I think that would allow greater communication, greater dialogue, at least in the presence of the board and the members of the governing board to the public.
MS. BERRY: So we are free to discuss this statement and the statement will be issued as a press release. All right, the executive committee report. Why don't we just go on to the next committee report, the finance committee report.
MS. MAKELA: I will try to be succinct. There were two segments of the finance committee meeting, as often happens. We had an executive session first and then a public session.
During the executive session we discussed financial matters of proprietary nature relating to our CA budget, national office budget and KPFA budget. In the next segment of the finance meeting, as people are aware, we have begun over the last couple of years to look at proposed budgets for the next fiscal year.
In June, in preparation for final approval in October, we reviewed the station budgets as they were presented to us. I am delighted to report that in a couple of cases the stations are projecting surpluses due to successful fund drives and containment of expenses this year. They are planning to enter the next year with surpluses that can be used for staffing needs in some cases where they have been understaffed and are prioritizing necessary capital expenditures this year, for they have not been able to make because of limited budgets.
I want to particularly recognize KPFT. We met with Garland Ganter and it had been so long since KPFT had had a surplus that Garland couldn't use the word. And it was a lighthearted moment. But I want to recognize that as with WPFW, our two smallest stations have struggled out of nagging deficits and a situation where they have been underfunded and unable to do the programming and make the changes that they most wanted to do at those stations.
Both stations plan to end this fiscal year with surpluses and are projecting strong budgets for the next year. So, I wanted to particularly recognize the general managers of those two stations and the hard work of all of the staff and volunteers at those stations.
We had a meeting. We had a discussion with the general manager of KPFK about the on-going transmitter and tower issue there. We had approved a budget for the replacement of the tower and transmitter which was to take place this summer and into the fall and because of an increase in cost, we had a brief discussion about the situation and agreed that we needed a report on paper of the new cost and new plan and that we were committed to Pacifica's part of that cost.
We were hopeful that the NTIA grant that has been applied for will come through and we tabled final decision about augmenting the commitment of Pacifica until August, once the NTIA decision is made and we have a written report from the general manager there. The finance committee will reconvene by conference call and work out the finances for that. But we are absolutely committed to going ahead as soon as possible with the transmitter.
The National Office and Archives budget at this point have not been finalized and had projected deficits. The Comptroller and executive director need to finalize those budgets and rework them, including a plan and a proposal to the finance committee as to how we would cover the needed income for those budgets. We then met with the general manager at WBAI.
It was proposed to us that, well, the context of it is that the finance committee has had an on-going concern and had been working with the WBAI management over the year about the budget. There was a large deficit of $200,000 and some from last year that needed to be scheduled into the budget this year.
I am pleased to report that a good chunk of that deficit has been covered this year; however a remaining $78,000 is in the budget for this year. It is proposed to the committee that we roll that amount over to the next fiscal year because it would be totally difficult and/or impossible to pay that off this year by WBAI.
I think the committee expressed great concern about the budget there and the budget over the last few years, that we have been unable to stay within the budget, even with strong fund drives and an increase in income. However, the committee does recommend that we move the remaining deficit into the next fiscal year.
Our further concern is that we are also being told there may be an additional deficit in this fiscal year. We are very concerned about that so that WBAI is not strapped with this as it goes into the new fiscal year with much to do and can continue to build the station.
So, in addition to recommending the rollover, we have charged the controller with putting controls in place to minimize the deficit as much as possible as we finish this fiscal year and to work with the general manager to ensure that as far as possible, BAI remains within the budget to send to this committee and the controller will determine what exactly those controls and management will be.
We further instructed the general manager at BAI to submit the New Year's budget by Labor Day and the committee will convene by conference call to take a preliminary look at it and we will have a better idea of the deficit at that point. Just a note for people because there have been some questions as the board composition has changed, so will the budgeting of board costs, the full budget for board costs will now be seen in the national office budget in the future.
Allocations were made per station for signal area rests so that will be removed from the station budget. That's it.
MS. BERRY: Could I get a motion to accept the report of the finance committee?
MR. BRAMSON: I so move.
MR. FARRELL: I second.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. Is there any discussion of the report of the finance committee at this time? All right, I will call for the question. All in favor indicate by saying aye.
It is so ordered. Before I go to the 50th anniversary committee report, let me just point out that since this is Pacifica there is always need for clarification. When we earlier talked about being available for the news -- our statement -- and discussed whether we would be available, we did not need to imply that news directors should assume that it is news and put it on he air. What we were discussing was whether we are willing to say, if asked, that it was news and that it was okay for us to talk about it.
That was the point that we were making. The point is we decided that yes, we would talk about it if anyone asked us and that does not violate any policy or procedure and that we're doing it because of the way this has become news and the future has nothing to do with us changing any way we behave.
So that has nothing to do with telling news directors that it's hot news, that they should put us on the air. Now, the 50th anniversary committee report, Michael Palmer, please.
MR. PALMER: The 50th anniversary committee met yesterday afternoon. There are ongoing events through the remainder of the fiscal year that are going on at four to five units.
I'm being helped quite ably with the assistance of the national development director, Cheryl Garner-Shaw. I want to thank her for all of her help with that so far.
A few of the things that are going on now. KPFT last night had an event at one of the venues in Houston that drew about 880 people to it. So it was well attended and for Houston it will be a successful event and we are glad to see that and for participation of all of the community and all the work of our staff in helping to get that off the ground and completed.
KPFA, in May, they had a social -- that was similarly attended, 800 people or so, that was well covered and a very positive event for not only the L.A. community, but the greater community during that time of the crisis. They are also making efforts to have another event the latter part of this year at the museum on television, radio to celebrate their 40th anniversary and we support all of their good efforts in that direction.
They also have a particular -- WPFW is undertaking a feasibility study right now to determine their fundraising potential for major gifts and one of their initial priorities as I understand, is to be secure the location for their transmitter; that's one project.
Also, the feasibility study will give them their capability of undertaking a local capital campaign to obtain a more appropriate facility for WPFW and I have full confidence that the local community is capable and will succeed in this effort. I personally look forward to that success in reaching that realistic goal to be established by the feasibility study.
AT WBAI in early May they had a public event that was a celebration of Pacifica's 50 years, and as well, a celebration for the program director, Samurai Marksman, who had recently passed on. It was very well-attended and a very good, four-and-a-half hour event. I am quite pleased that that community came together like that.
KPFA'S 50TH anniversary committee has suspended activities in recognition of the conflict that is going on in their community. So there is nothing going on in that area at this time, although in the meeting there was a spokesperson for that committee in the audience who said that they are very ready, willing and able to pick up their activities again should there be resolution to the conflict.
I would like to say that at this point for me personally I would like to recognize the courage of, primarily the women in the national office that have been going to work around all of this. They are showing tremendous courage in the face of all of the racism, the -- language that is being directed at them.
Some of them are individuals, but by the people that are in opposition. I have been reenlightened about the magnitude, the depth and the vehemence of racism since I was a young boy from Korea and the latent ability of a large majority of our core audience to direct racism scares me to death at times. I want to recognize Vanessa, Cheryl Garner-Shaw, and Elan Fabri and all the women in the office for putting up with this level of hate from this progressive, Northern California community.
I can only hope that the Houston progressive community has a degree of civility. That is my report.
MS. BERRY: All right. Could I hear a motion to approve the report of the 50th anniversary committee?
MS. CISCO: So moved.
MR. FARRELL: Second.
MS. BERRY: All in favor indicate by saying aye.
It is so ordered. The program standards and practices committee, Frank is going to tell us about the lively meeting, the wonderful meeting.
Yes, the three-hour long meeting of the program committee was held yesterday and training session for the board. We had a special presenter, David Giovanoni, of Audience Research Analysis, who performed an audience research analysis for us, familiarized the board with some of the procedures and techniques for doing that. Two of us on the board were here four years ago and had received an initial instruction from David. So he had sort of a baseline of four years ago to compare performance of the stations. There is good news.
The good news is that the combined weekly cum of all of the stations has reached or surpassed 700,000 listeners, which is a 20 percent increase. Secondly, and more dramatically, the amount of listening has increased by 30 percent. It was also viewed that Pacifica listenership represents one-third of the entire so-called community radio listenership in which we are therefore a major presence.
There is also some, well, let's call it not-so-good news, which is that Pacifica listenership represents only two percent of the total public radio listenership, the whole public radio universe. We represent two percent of it. Furthermore, the Pacifica listeners listen twice as much to NPR programming as they do to Pacifica programming. Further, Pacifica listener loyalty comes in at about 17 percent which is half of that, half of the loyalty factor of the National Public Radio audience. 5 Finally, that any given Pacifica audience consists of one-third core listeners and two-thirds fringe listeners. David also imparted some basic conceptual information, such as the definition of public service consisting of the relationship between significant audiences and, I think, gave us a set of tools which we can all use to more intelligently approach our role as board members, which materials, by the way, will be distributed to all the board members subsequent to this meeting by mail. In addition to yesterday's session, I have some brief things to report. Our FCC attorney, at our request, has given us a letter which spells out the FCC issues pertaining to so-called control of air and to so-called non-commercial programming. I believe you have a copy of that letter and I would ask that that be submitted as part of the report of this committee.
You have previously heard of the progress in the LAB audience research progress report which we did receive from KPFA and WBAI, but have not received as yet from the other three stations. I would urge them to have them for us for the October meeting so that we can have a complete file and picture of the status of this effort at this point.
We also requested some follow-up answers and questions pertaining to producer training opportunities at each of the stations. I did get follow up response from WPFW and KPFT and again, I will ask that those stations which have not submitted theirs as yet do so prior to the October meeting.
I would also point out that in your board booklet at Page 21 there is a national program KU distribution schedule. I know that many people sometimes feel that we are only distributing a few hours a week of nationally produced programming. That is only just part of it.
We also distribute a large amount of programming, some 50 to 70 hours a week, I don't know, that reflect programs produced locally and that are distributed nationally, as well as a couple of independent productions which we distribute nationally to our 65 affiliates as well as to our five Pacifica stations.
Along with that, I would also point out that accompanying each of the station manager's reports in the board booklet, there is an annotated grid reflecting their program schedules. I think that will be of interest to all the board members, to look at for their similarities and differences, essentially in light of the conversations we had yesterday at the meeting.
That concludes my report. I think most of you were there yesterday, if you have anything you wish to add.
MS. BERRY: All right. Could I get a motion to accept the report of the program standards and practices committee?
MS. CISCO: I so move.
MS. BERRY: Do I hear a second?
MS. MAKELA: I second.
MS. BERRY: Is there discussion?
MR. BRAMSON: In regards to the documents going out to the governing board members, is that what I heard? Will they also go to the LABs?
MR. MILLSPAUGH: I see no reason why not. I think that would be good to do.
MR. BRAMSON: Thank you. That would be of assistance so that the local boards can then do some pretty good assessments. I just want to make mention that KPFA has been involved in a struggle, so therefore, I hope you will understand that they have been --
MR. MILLSPAUGH: I do understand, and I did point out that they in fact did submit.
MR. BRAMSON: But they were basically unable to do it, as I understand it.
MR. MILLSPAUGH: What?
MR. BRAMSON: In the manner in which they submitted it? I think, if memory serves me, the context was, we are in the middle of a fight here; we are not able to do this completely.
MR. MILLSPAUGH: No, I would say, we are in the middle of this dispute and things have been difficult for us to make progress, but here is the progress we have made so far. That is all I would ask any station for was what is the progress that you have made so far?
I did not expect a completed document but only a progress report, and that was submitted and I want to acknowledge that.
MR. BRAMSON: Are you expecting, and again, I just want to make sure I am clear, are you expecting something kind of completed by October?
MR. MILLSPAUGH: I'm expecting progress reports by October. I think this is an ongoing process and the root responsibility of all of the LABs. It is their function under law and it will be a continuing revolution.
MS. BERRY: I think Charlotte Holloman told us in reporting the council of chairs that -- has turned in its needs assessment. It was not -- didn't turn it in. She pointed out which stations had not.
MR. BRAMSON: If there is anything I can do to assist to get that going, I want to do that. I think it is very important to do that.
say that the presentation made to us in the morning was by an individual that made no recommendations at all as to what Pacifica or an individual station should do.
They were simply holding up a mirror that a impartial, third-party had done to show us what our audience is, looks like and it is very informative and is very informative in light of getting needs assessments from the LABs. It is very informative because the audience that perhaps we have perceptions about as well as others, is different in radical ways and I found it very informative, very useful, but I want to be clear that it is my understanding that no recommendations or suggestions were made through that.
So that there is no misunderstanding in our communities, I think, that we are listening to people for this reason. So, emphatically say, no recommendations were made, just a mirror was held out to see what this community looks like.
MS. BERRY: I think that actually once we get the needs assessment and your committee does its work in looking at these and matching them up, you might have some recommendations to us as a board about programming based on that which we could enact as policy if we choose to do so. But let's see what the stations -- I can see where a station manager would made use of the information with their program director and try to figure out what to do about their programs without anybody having to tell them to.
But if they don't do that, and if the LAB doesn't use the information in doing a community needs assessment, then it will be up to us to try to figure out what would I be doing. Yes, Pete?
MR. BRAMSON: I would like to make a suggestion that if I was handed this bit of information and I was on a LAB, I don't know that I would be able to understand it so well. I would like a recommendation made to each individual program director who goes to LAB when this gets -- is that possible?
MS. BERRY: Well, I think it is up To the station managers, the management, to decide that. I have already encouraged and said that PDs should go to the LAB meetings. Whether they come on that occasion, that would be up to the LAB and the station to work out, but if they need that as a resource, then certainly they ought to have them.
MR. BRAMSON: Thank you.
MS. BERRY: They may also want somebody to come and explain the numbers to them. I was at a LAB meeting, one of the ones I haven't been to in a long time, here at W, where we had a discussion of programs and ratings and all kinds of stuff with an expert --
MR. MILLSPAUGH: I would hope that the Program directors of each of the stations were sufficiently conversant with how to read numbers that they could help at least to get the LAB members to the primary levels of it. If that is not the case, I would suggest that -- needed training for the PDs.
MS. BERRY: All those in favor of accepting the report indicate by saying aye. Opposed? 11 It is so ordered. Now we have the report of the board of governors structure committee. David.
MR. ACOSTA: Thank you Madam chair. The Governance & Structure Committee met several times by teleconference over the last few months and also yesterday. We took up the issue of nomination of directors. At the February meeting in Berkeley when we enacted the bylaw change regarding nomination of next year's directors, we added a footnote to the bylaws that states “the committee is committed to maintaining a national governing board composed of a majority of persons of color, keeping in mind that this is a goal and not a quota.”
We have done that and we continue to do that. In addition, the footnote stated that “the committee recognizes that the local advisory boards will still have input to the governing board through the council of chairs and the right to nominate collectively or individually directors to the governing board through the board of governors instructor committee, the only limitation is that the nominee may not be a LAB member and a governing board member concurrently.”
At present we are considering nominees nominated by staff, present board members, individual LAB members and full LABs. So we are doing that. Furthermore, the footnote stated that the committee will ensure representation from the signal area of each Pacifica station. We have done that. Lastly, the executive committee must have representation from each signal area and we are completing that today. At this time, Madam chair, I would like to place into nomination for executive committee member from the KPFA signal area Jewelle Taylor Gibbs.
MS. BERRY: For the executive committee, could I get a second of the nomination?
MR. FARRELL: I second.
MS. BERRY: Is there any discussion of Jewelle and whether we will accept her generous offer to be willing to do this? All those in favor indicate by saying aye.
It is so ordered.
MR. ACOSTA: And one other item with regard to the directors is that we are keeping in mind the diversity of representation, specifically recruiting membership of Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities.
MS. BERRY: And white women. We have a shortage of white women on this board. I don't know how that happened since white women are the majority of the population. There must be something. I don't understand it.
MR. ACOSTA: We have seven positions available and hope to have a slate of nominees by the October meeting. The next item that we considered was the nomination of officers. At this time there are two vacancies for secretary and treasurer. The committee recommends Andrea Cisco from the WBAI signal area for a term of three years. At this time, Madam chair, I would place into nomination the name of Andrea Cisco for secretary.
MR. FARRELL: I second the motion.
MS. BERRY: All right. Is there any discussion of the name of Andrea who has graciously agreed to take on this burden, if we should agree to place it upon her? All in favor indicate by saying aye.
It is so ordered.
MR. ACOSTA: The next vacancy was the treasurer and to take advantage of institutional memory and to aid in the transition of this position, we recommend the following: As interim treasurer for one year only, June Makela from the WBAI signal area and who has been our treasurer for the last four years.
As treasurer for a three-year term immediately following that one year, Michael Palmer from the KPFT signal area. At this time I would like to place both of these nominees in nomination.
MS. BERRY: Could I get a second?
MR. FARRELL: I second the motion.
MS. BERRY: Is there any discussion? Yes, Pete?
MR. BRAMSON: I want to make sure that I am being clear as to why I will oppose. It is not about June, nor her qualifications, nor Michael and his qualifications. I think we are setting a precedent in our interpretation of our bylaws that I cannot support.
MS. BERRY: Ayre?
MR. KRIEGEL: I also am going to oppose that. But I would appreciate it if we could split up the candidates because I would rather vote yes where I can vote for yes and no where I can vote for no.
I agree with Pete that I am opposing June's re-nomination based on procedural reasons, as we discussed before. I would like to vote for Michael Palmer. Given that opportunity, I would. So if you could split those votes up, I would appreciate that.
MS. BERRY: Is there any further discussion of the motion on the floor?
MR. PALMER: I would say, it is not a precedent. The board has acted historically in accordance with the existing bylaws.
MS. BERRY: Are you perfectly comfortable with this process, being nominated in this way, Michael?
MR. PALMER: Correct.
MS. BERRY: Is there any further discussion? All those in favor of the motion indicate by saying aye.
I hear two in opposition. It will be recorded as a majority vote.
MR. KRIEGEL: Can you ask for abstentions, please?
MS. BERRY: Yes. Abstentions?
MR. BRAMSON: I think there were three nays, if I am correct.
MS. BERRY: Oh, did I miss -- wait a minute. Opposed? Three. Abstentions? In favor? Six. Even if you don't vote for yourself, it still passes. There are three opposed, one abstention, and six in favor if we don't count you. Is there anything else for your board of Governors?
MR. ACOSTA: Yes. The other issue that we considered was committees. We are presently formulating the purposes and the strategies and the goals of each committee. We should codify these by the October meeting.
We established two new committees that will be reporting to the governors committee, as subcommittees. One is the public relations subcommittee to formulate ways to improve and invent communications without and within the organization. We have determined that Robert Farrell from the KPFK signal area will be the chair.
We established a strategic plan subcommittee to review and evaluate and revise as needed the strategic plans and we have determined that Andrea Cisco from the WBAI area will be the chair of that committee. We are also considering the establishment of three new committees as either full committees or subcommittees of other committees.
The legal committee to aid in issues of legality surrounding the organization and the fund raising committee to formulate alternative methods of raising revenue and the technology committee to keep us abreast and take advantage of new technologies.
We also discussed the process review subcommittee. That particular committee will be reviewing and revising, if necessary, parts of the bylaws and the LABs policies and procedures to conform to the action of the board and to clarify any ambiguities.
We hope to have this also done by the October meeting. For all of these committees, we will be seeking input from all segments of the organization. The last thing we had on the list, I would like to introduce a resolution at this time for our outgoing board secretary, Roberta Brooks.
If I may read the resolution, Madam chair: “Whereas Roberta Brooks in serving Pacifica Foundation's national board, first for six years as a representative from KPFA and the last three years as an at-large member and secretary of the board, has been instrumental specifically in the formulation of the board's strategic plans and generally in the foundation's growth and stature in the public radio community, the board recognizes and thanks Roberta Brooks for her thousands of hours of hard work and her dedication and commitment to the highest ideals of the mission of the Foundation.”
I ask that this be approved by the full board. 20
MR. MILLSPAUGH: So moved.
MS. BERRY: Is there a second?
MR. PALMER: I second.
MS. BERRY: All right. It has been moved and seconded that we pass this resolution of appreciation to Roberta Brooks? Is there any discussion?
MR. ACOSTA: I would also like to express my gratitude to the national staff, and in particular, Vanessa Ransom, for all her help with this committee, especially in light of the climate that she and other members of the staff have had to work in. I appreciate all of the work from each of the members of the board governance and structure committee. I would ask them at this time if they had anything to add to it. I would welcome that.
MS. BERRY: Now, we first need to approve the motion of resolution to be sent to Roberta. All those in favor of it, indicate by saying aye.
Secondly, we want to thank Andrea Cisco for being willing to be chair of the strategic plan committee and thank Bob Farrell for his suggestions and for being willing to be chair of that Subcommittee. According to practice in Pacifica and bylaws, the way they are stated -- and keep in mind that bylaws are undergoing revision by Pete & Company. The board chair has historically appointed people to committees except for the executive committee and so on, or in this case their subcommittees.
So one might think that the chair of the committee might appoint people. First of all, does any board member have any objection to Bob being chairman of the subcommittee on public relations and Andrea being chair of the strategic plan committee? I just want to make sure everybody gets the right to express their opposition.
So they will be chairs of these committees, without objection. What board members would be willing to serve with them on either one of these committees? Who has an interest and is willing to serve on either one of these committees? Pete?
MR. BRAMSON: Yes.
MS. BERRY: Yes? Which?
MR. BRAMSON: Both.
MS. BERRY: How about you, Ken?
MR. FORD: I'll take public relations.
MS. BERRY: Public relations, okay. How about you, Aaron? Will you be on PR? Why don't we do the following? You think about it. Don't E-mail me because I might not get it.
Let's see what means we should use, by horseback or pony express, well, by some means of communication. Think about it over the next week and let me know by the end of two weeks from now if any of you want and have a desire to be on any of these committees.
DR. GIBBS: I will work with Andrea on the committee.
MS. BERRY: Okay.
DR. GIBBS: Jewelle Gibbs.
MS. BERRY: Jewelle Gibbs will be on with Andrea. So Andrea has Jewelle and Pete and Bob. Bob has Pete and Aaron.
MS. BERRY: We are happy to have board members work on any committee that they care to. Can we have a motion to accept the report of the board of governors committee, just accept it?
MR. FARRELL: I so move.
MR. KRIEGEL: I second.
MS. BERRY: Is there any further discussion? All in favor indicate by saying aye.
It is so ordered. Technical committee, do you have a report today?
MR. FORD: No. Our issues were referred to the finance committee because they have financial implications.
MS. BERRY: We are now, then, going to go to the public comment section unless board members have something else they would like to raise that I missed and didn't know it. Yes, Pete?
MR. BRAMSON: I have a couple of comments and I will make it quick. I wanted to go over a couple of issues and I wanted to put forward a resolution. I submitted to the full board a couple of documents representing Pacifica KPFA statements, also statements from the local area and each of the documents developed binding threads that simply stated to ask for the return of staff and independent mediation dispute --
To that end we have all received many letters and correspondence about how in effect -- and I will use this as an example of a letter that our major donors are upset by our behavior and that they are going to suspend their financial support of not only of KPFA and Pacifica entirely.
I realize that the climate is very difficult. I support the board's ability to move forward into various conversations and try to move things forward. At this time I would like to put forth a motion which is a vote of no confidence for the executive director and the chair of the board.
MS. BERRY: Is there a second of the motion introduced by Mr. Bramson? Hearing no second, the motion dies for want of a second. Now, we will go on to the public comment portion of the meeting.
Do I dare let you take a minute for a break or not? Okay, we will take a five-minute break. (Whereupon, at 11:28 a.m., the board recessed to reconvene at 11:40 a.m. the same day.)
MS. BERRY: We are going to start the public comment. The rules are that each speaker has -- we are starting at 20 minutes before the hour by my watch. I don't know if it is right or not. That means we will go for no more than an hour. It is suppose to go an hour; we are starting late.
Each person who is called upon will have two minutes to speak and then at the end of it we will see if any board members have any responses to what the public commentators raise. I will call out the name of the person. If the person is available, could someone keep time for me, please? Elan, are you keeping time?
When I call out your name, if you are here, come forward. I will call out your name more than once if you don't come forward immediately. The first person to come forward will be Errol Maitland.
MR. MAITLAND: I would like to say good morning to the board of Pacifica Radio and to the listeners, friends and supporters, and public board members who are here from the diverse stations and communities that Pacifica serves. It is a pleasure to be here on the 50th anniversary of Pacifica, an organization that was founded in contravention and contradiction to the most popular war ever fought in the history of mankind, the Second World War.
It is a tribute to Lew Hill that during that time during that climate he would stand up and question that war and for 50 years Pacifica as an organization has continued to question. As someone from the African American community, I am well aware that the gains that we have in society have come at great sacrifice. We did not enjoy the privilege of laws and rules and regulations; that we had to go out and create for ourselves a just society -- our own values.
Some of the steps that Pacifica and this board have taken today live on in that tradition. As an organization, we must be open, we must be willing to discuss amongst ourselves, and with our listeners. I pride myself first and foremost as a listener to WBAI in New York for well over 30 years. That it serves that community well and it serves it as a drum, a system that gives us advance warning of some of the impending doom.
I pride myself as a broadcaster and feel we often times challenge this system. We will continue to do that. As a member of the local advisory board, I hope we continue the process where it is open and where dialogue will continue and that you all will come to New York and mediate some of these disputes.
As a union ship [sic] steward, we need a contract and Pacifica should desist from breaking a union. Thank you.
MS. BERRY: Your time is up. Thank you. I now call Sorret Ambrose.
MR. AMBROSE: My name is Sorret Ambrose. I live here in Washington. I work with the Fifty Years is Enough network which monitors IMF and World Bank. I am a frequent listener to WPFW, a one-time subscriber to that station. I hope to be again.
Many of our colleagues are from the Bay area, so I have heard a lot about the situation at KPFA. Totally by coincidence, I was in Berkeley last Monday, the 21st. I was on the morning show with Phil McGarry, being interviewed. It was an 8:15 slot. When I got there, there was a demonstration outside the office. I was surprised by the press release that was available here.
The description of what was happening there doesn't match my experience of what was happening outside of that station. I would caution the board to be very suspicious of the information you are getting, if you are relying on the information that suggested there was an intimidating atmosphere there.
Lynn Chadwick was walking around taking down the signs that the protesters had. No one approached her. No one said anything to her until one of the members of Elders of Survival, a group I worked with for a long time, and who has been working -- Her comments were, “I hear you and I've heard that,” to everything that was said. She refused to respond to anything. So the depiction in the first release of a woman who wanted to dialogue with the protesters is inaccurate. The assertion that the demands of KPFA are unfair couldn't be further from the truth. There were just some posters outside the station. The staff was united behind the demands. The assertion in the press release that these people who are protesting are politically retired and, therefore, have a lot of time is scurrilous. It's very important and makes -- These are people who have many interests.
MS. BERRY: Your time is up.
VOICE: Let him speak, let him speak.
MS. BERRY: Others wish to speak. If there is time at the end, after everyone has spoken, we will let you speak again.
VOICE: Can't you give him a 30-second extension?
MS. BERRY: You are taking up the time by talking now. If there is time at the end, we will let you speak again. I am sure everybody will want to speak longer and then they will be mad because they don't have time. Cerene Roberts, please come forward. MS. ROBERTS: I am Cerene Roberts. I work at WBAI. I have been a listener, programmer, and member -- can anyone hear me?
MS. BERRY: Just get closer to the mike.
MS. ROBERTS: My name is Cerene Roberts. I work at WBAI. We have a union issue at WBAI where we have been working under an old contract, an expired contract. There have been tremendous sums of money spent to break the union. You mentioned the union and union busting, that it is something that is not happening at Pacifica. It is one of the things that has been happening at Pacifica for a number of years.
What has happened at Pacifica and the positions that the national board seems to have been taking for the past several years -- and I hope that this meeting marks a change from that -- is that there has been a whole lot of hypocrisy where what we say on the air and what we advocate and what we do behind closed doors, who work at Pacifica, who work at stations, who --, made the national office run are in direct opposition.
Hypocrisy is a really dangerous thing. If we expect people to believe, because I have talked to listeners and I had someone say to me last week, I can't believe any of the things I am hearing about Pacifica because you guys talk about other people doing this. We are doing it. We are doing it at home.
What happened at KPFA and, you know, you hear reports on having the police or having an attempted homicide investigation. On the other hand, you hear, No, it was just a shooting. No one was in the building. Some of these things should be documented.
Are we talking about the Justice Department having been brought in because certain people have connections? We need to address all of that. We need to address it because it is affecting our ability to raise revenue. It is affecting our credibility on a really, really, really significant level.
I would like to see the board address some of those issues. I have not heard anything here today that even addresses that. The fact that we are going to have a monthly meeting, supposedly, I want some more information about how this monthly meeting is going to be convened and are we actually going to deal with what the problem is?
MS. BERRY: Paul Schaffer, please. Mr. Schaffer.
MR. SCHAFFER: My name is Paul Schaffer. I think it is a mistake to view Pacifica's problems in terms of the struggles at KPFA and WBAI. I think those are signs of health. I think the real way to understand Pacifica's problems is to look at the stations that do not get -- particularly at KPFA.
I was going through the binder out there with the program grids and the stations and the question occurred to me, “How much of the programming of WPFW would be out of place in major NPR stations?” With the exception of the Teach-In on the Yugoslavia situation, how much of the programming of KPFK would be out of place in a major NPR station?
Back when I worked for Pacifica, it was considering itself listener-sponsored radio. That terminology evolved into community radio and public radio. The official word is called constituency. But more and more, I think the word market will turn up in places where constituency might. In the governance committee meeting yesterday there was someone talking about how Pacifica's fund raisings and marketing have to have a shared understanding of “what our market is.”
I think the line says, national Pacifica is evolving toward, I think it is destructive of what happened to Pacifica's values and I think, frankly, that you are turning Pacifica into a somewhat different flavor than we are.
MS. BERRY: Thank you, Mr. Schaffer. Would Medea Benjamin please come forward?
MS. SKEELS: My name is Vicki Skeels. I am from Sacramento, California.
MS. BERRY: What is your name, please? Would you spell it?
MS. SKEELS: Vicki S-k-e-e-l-s. I am one of the market, a constituent member from the sidelines, from the provinces of California. We have come a long way.
I am very concerned that we are not seeing what the essence is and all of us in Sacramento. There is a large -- there. We don't want to lose -- We depend on KPFA for information that we can't get anywhere else and we believe strongly that the principles that KPFA espouses on how to settle things diplomatically, how to use the democratic process, is essential.
Now we are not big donors, most of us, but we are donors. We urge the board and the management to consider the position and the different ways of resolving this. I would also say that I hope my impression is wrong, but I think we are doing that. Thank you very much.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much for your comments. LaVarn Williams, please come forward.
MS. WILLIAMS: Good morning, my name is LaVarn Williams. I am from the KPFA area. I live in Union City, California. I want to thank the people of Washington for allowing me to speak on your time because I realize that Listener Comment is one of the -- I was at the Berkeley meetings at that time when the listeners had to make their speeches to the board at that time and they raised a number of issues.
One issue was they wanted the board to rescind their vote to remove the LAB members from the national board. They wanted to extend the contract of Nicole Sawaya who was the general manager of KPFA at the time.
Sheryl Flowers spoke very eloquently and emotionally about the disrespect from the Pacifica national office and also Sheryl Flowers is a Black woman and she has since resigned from KPFA and -- also a black woman was at the door of KPFA the night the shots me were fired, so she was there and the shots also – the other thing is, the other opportunity for the listener to actually voice an opinion was through the fund drive.
The KPFA fund drive was very successful. It was 53 percent of the phone, 60 percent higher than the last year and 88 percent of the -- With this, the listener could see the station was going from listener sponsored to listener be damned. Thank you.
MS. BERRY: Thanks very much. Christina Perry. Christina Perry, please come forward. Christina Perry is not here. Mike Alcalay.
MR. ALCALAY: It is spelled A-l-c-a-l-a-y. I am a physician dealing with AIDS. I have a program for a number of years, a weekly program that went national. I got an award from NFCB, Golden Reel.
Actually, I produced the first all-Pacifica program -- in 1990. -- San Francisco. I had the enormous chance to work as co-host with Amy Goodman, spent a week, 18-hour days with her. So I am prepared for this weekend.
I was sick several years ago, picked up a bug from the open water supply, almost died, was on IV fluids, had visiting nurses. I was getting better with these new protease inhibitors.
A friend of mine who I worked hand-in-hand on these radio projects -- asked me to co-produce his live recordings. We did. My son, who is a photographer, went in. This picture is the one he took. Movia is the voice for the voiceless. Pacifica is the voice for the voiceless. That includes complete accountability. That includes openness, openness, openness.
I am the campaign coordinator for something called The Campaign for Commercial-Free K-2EV. They have elections and a folio. They have a folio. They have elections for their governing board every year, every year, every year. They are the biggest NPR/PBS media station that has elections for their governing board. They their governing board. They have a folio to do that with.
We have no folio at KPFA. We have not even started to think about that.
I call Kaleel Jacobs-Fantanzzi.
MR. JACOBS-FANTANZZI: Hello. My name is Kaleel Jacobs-Fantanzzi. I am a local advisory board member at KPFA. I would like to first say that I am not a part of the hate campaign or the violence campaign that the last person was talking about.
I am very concerned about several different things. First of all, I would like to suggest that there is a public speaking time at the beginning and at the end of this day. I think it is very important to hear from the public as much as possible.
I also think that Lynn Chadwick, the acting General Manager of KPFA has not come to the local advisory board meetings, has not made a response to points made on the radio, so I think that she is not really doing an effective job as general manager.
Also, I think there is a concern that as we are attempting to make the Local Advisory board more diverse, it is really hard to get more folks wanting to be part of the local advisory board after being disempowered by the national board.
So I think it is very important that we find ways to empower the community, to empower the local advisory boards and I also think that there is some issues I think we need to discuss in terms of Mary Frances Berry and her concerns and promises she made about the -- diverse program.
I would like to see Pacifica have more diverse diverse programming on a national level directed towards youth, directed towards people of color. I also have been part of the repression, of not being allowed inside KPFA several times. Right now there is an increase in the number of guards.
The police now accompany them and they have been told to not allow me in the building. This makes my job as a --
MR. BERRY: [sic] Thank you, Kaleel. Mr. Ambrose Lane.
MR. LANE: Thank you for having me. In your booklet on Page 84 it says that the Christian Right has pursued radio licenses forever, and that are made available. They now number one out of every ten U.S. radio stations. 18 There are nearly three religious radio stations -- One of the things that I know to be concerned about is that we haven't dealt with what our role should be. We should be the opposition to the right wing, fascist movement in this country and we have not done that. For five years we have been mired down in this. We have allowed our listeners to be taken over and we have not dealt with two things: Vision, what is the continuing vision of Pacifica? And secondly, what does that vision mean in terms of our seeking growth.
There is a lady in this city, a Black lady who has taken one radio station, and she now owns 26 radio stations from Washington to Atlanta because she was focused and she knew what she had to do. It's about time the Pacifica board learns what it has to do in terms of promoting the vision.
We are the only ones left out here and we get mired down in this kind of thing. Of course, you have to understand, Lynn, your predecessors, Pat Scott, played games with people. Her predecessor was a total incompetent, and therefore, Pacifica has to work on its competency, work on its vision and make sure that there is growth because this country is moving farther and farther to fascism and we are the only voice out there. If you can't focus on that, then you have no relevancy and we must take on the Right Wing. The only way we will do that is to deal with these problems and move forward as a corporation.
MS. BERRY: Thank you, Ambrose. David Adelson, please.
MS. BENJAMIN: Hi, I'm David Adelson. No, I'm Medea Benjamin and David has given me his place. I would say right on, Ambrose to what he just said. We have got to get ourselves out of this mud that we are in.
Unfortunately, I am leaving, after being here for three days, with still a heavy heart. I think the delegation from the Bay area came here to start opening a dialogue, and I think we started it. I think that we have the ability to address -- last night -- was a great beginning -- I don't feel that the statement that you gave out this morning went far enough.
I look forward to pushing further on that because we are talking to people back at the station and the crisis is greater than I think some of you on the board really understand. I think the responsibility of board members is to come out to the Bay area. Please, everyone, do come out there and get the dialogue moving. We need you out there. We are hearing things here we never heard before.
We never heard about the racist attacks and we are appalled by them. You have never heard about the kind of repression that people are feeling, opposing measures that you have taken. So, please, come out, every one of you. Please make this report. Please recognize the crisis we're in and take strong measures to --
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. The next person is Susan Stone.
MS. STONE: I am Susan Stone. I am the director of drama and literature on the staff of KPFA. I appreciate this opportunity to speak because I want to say that although I do not appreciate the depth and tone of the staff on the national office, especially women -- I come here -- because I deeply believe in the mission.
After Sacramento we have been working in a vacuum. We have been dying to deal. We have been dying to move this forward and we had nothing with which to work.
I, too, hope that we see in a very, very short time members of the board, and Mary Frances Berry as well, in the Bay area so that we can move forward.
I also resent the personal affronts that some of us have had. You cannot know the depth of what is happening in terms of racial injustice that is personalized towards us and we are here in spirit to advance the dialogue as well as to keep it from being personal on our end so we can deal with it together.
I acknowledge how personal it has been and I am very sorry about that. I also want to encourage the board to remember that the best of this culture comes from the local level, the input into national program directors, the development of the key and varied apprentice program, whereby talent must be developed for future news and programs from other areas of Pacifica's broadcast interests, and that we continue to improve upon our apprentice talent that represents diversity and youth, which is what you want, and it is right there at KPFA, especially at KPFA.
Also pay attention to the programs such as the African American programmers who came here and are represented by us who want to be heard and have not been heard and who also wish that you would pay attention to the local issues that KPFA -- by showing them a response to the letter and paying attention to all things on the local level which build the national level.
So, thank you for listening to us. Please come out. We are waiting for you. We will stay in touch to make sure that that does happen.
MS. BERRY: Thank you, Ms. Stone. The next person is Andrea Buffa, please. Would you come forward?
MS. BUFFA: Hi. I came here with the Bay area delegation. Before I got here what I knew was that KPFA lost one of the best station managers they have had in many years, that we have lost two veteran programmers, and that we have experienced a management style -- style --
I also knew that there had been a course taken so far that had been repressive, including gag rules, security guards and calls from the Department of Justice. But I came to tell the board that there was a major crisis happening.
When I got here what I found was that I was perceived as potentially violent, marginal, racist, despite the fact that I have never done such things, have never condoned such things, don't condone such things and when I heard about them, the racist -- I knew -- I think there is an information blockade going on here and I think what happened this weekend is that despite all that we look forward to giving each other information.
Our delegation came up with creative solutions and the board has been somewhat understanding of the situation in working with us, especially by suggesting a free speech block, as I have not seen any on the board of directors. I think we need to push a little bit further.
This morning I talked with people at the station. There are now four security guards instead of two. On Mary Burke's show this morning she wanted to have two people on to sing a duet. -- the second person was allowed in and they were not allowed to sing their duet and they were very upset. I beseech you to put the security guards in front of Pacifica and to move a little bit further than you have so far. We can get there. Please, please do more.
MS. BERRY: Thank you. It looks like Amy Goodman. I thought Amy left.
MS. HANRAHAN: I am not on the list, but I would be pleased to speak.
MS. BERRY: What is your name so that the recorder can get it?
MS. HANRAHAN: My name is Noel Hanrahan and I am a producer from Pacifica, KPFA. H-a-n-r-a-h-a-n.
MS. BERRY: Go right ahead.
MS. HANRAHAN: I just want to say that I find that your immediate strategy and your spin on all this are just amazingly masterful. I am sure that it will be documented over the next couple of years.
It is something that really allowed the Pacifica National board -- fly its way through when it clearly failed its job. I think your job is to listen to the station people, listen to the people out there in Pacifica and, and listen to the listeners. So far, since I have been at this meeting, I feel that you haven't.
You really haven't understood the depth of the crises -- Nicole Sawaya was the best manager we have ever had. I have worked there for 15 years. I was trained as an apprentice there and when I began producing prison radio programs I got the skills to go out and record Lamere Abu Jamal and to bring out all 72 essays that we heard of Lamere and bring them to the air and -- I can swear to you that Nicole Sawaya was the best thing that we had at that station.
The process of removing her was completely undemocratic. So the way you are spinning this, the things you are putting out, it's unbelievably masterful and it will not go unnoticed and true democracy means that you will have to listen to listeners.
That station will not be returned to normal. Producers like myself who desperately love Pacifica and who want to give my best to Pacifica and who want to produce more voices like Lamere Abu will -- Right now you are really losing it. You are really destroying the thing, one of the things I love most.
The air at Pacifica is just too, too valuable for you to go down this road and make this mistake. In five years you will see what you have done.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. Tina Bartolome, please come forward.
MS. BARTOLOME: Good morning. I'm Tina Bartolome and I came with the delegation from KPFA. I am a native of San Francisco and I'm 23 years old and a college student.
I subscribe to KPFA.
Basically, I came here with this delegation as a representative of my community in hopes to work something out so KPFA can continue its mission of providing a local voice. Basically, I am really disappointed, as someone who intends to dedicate her life to political activism, to be in the ironic position of like protesting against people who are involved in the civil rights movement.
I feel like there are people here and I have a lot of respect for their experience in the movement, yet we are here protesting against those very people. I find that very ironic.
I'm leaving here knowing I never want to be in your position, basically. I never want to have such a disconnection from our listenership and from the folks who are here today. Basically, what KPFA means to me as a young person in the Bay area is, I am a cultural organizer as well and I do a lot of thinking about how we are going to use culture as a weapon in the movement against fascism and the things that this gentleman was talking about.
It is really serious in California. There is going to be a youth crime bill proposed next year that is very fascist. We need radio. We need radio as a tool to fight these things.
Young people don't always have access to E-mail and things like that. There's other stations like KMEL that really manipulate hip-hop. I think we can use KPFA to use culture as a way to hammer at the things and create a vision of what we want to build. That's why I am really passionate about this.
So, I support what the delegation is here to do. I just hope you listen to that.
MS. BERRY: Jorge Garcia, please.
MR. AMBROSE: Mr. Garcia has donated his two minutes to me so I can conclude my statement.
MS. BERRY: You may be able to have two minutes anyway. I said I would recognize you again for a repeat, but you can go ahead if you want to.
MR. AMBROSE: Okay. Picking up where I left off, I mentioned that Ms. Chadwick's lack of response to the protest was very frustrating. I think it is that kind of lack of response to the subjects and issues that are being brought up that has led to a lot of frustration --
I have seen the same lack of response in the board here today. These things are not being discussed. You are talking about peripheral issues. I think we have some very unfortunate comments which I had not heard about, racism and misogynistic. But unfortunately -- I am not defending racism or misogyny, of course. I am saying that frustration builds up when there is no response at all.
MS. BERRY: Let us be in order. The gentleman is finished, I assume.
MR. AMBROSE: I made an unfortunate comment and I can't get out of it.
MS. BERRY: Jorge Garcia. You may still make your statement, Mr. Garcia. Then we have one after you, so there is time for you and time for the board to discuss what has been said.
MR. GARCIA: My name is Jorge Garcia. I am a schoolteacher. I also came with the delegation. I don't feel that the statements, the sexist and racist behavior is in any way justified, regardless of frustrations, so I disagree with that statement.
I also find it ironic, like Tina said before, that we are standing before a group with an amazing amount of experience in the struggle and this is who we are challenging. This is who we are trying to reason with.
I don't understand why we are fighting this ourselves. I think we all see the need. I also wanted to say that hip-hop and youth culture is a very important tool in drawing youth to the movement and drawing youth to the progressive ideas.
As a Latino, I would like to see the civic and national league come up with a more creative program and consult us as to how --
MS. BERRY: Okay. Cheryl Garner-Shaw, please come forward.
MS. GARNER-SHAW: As Vanessa said -- if you would not take my picture, I would appreciate it. I appreciate the delegation here. I appreciate the public here. I appreciate the board here. This is a challenge for you.
You say you don't know nearly enough. KPFA is recording this. Now you know. Current was here. Now you know. Carnival is a -- I was there on Monday, same as you. So what you just said is real indicative of the people that work in fronting me. That is the same thing as when I stepped into my office, House Negro, was yelled from the same person, a KPFA staff member this morning was --, that same individual.
So, I want you all to know, this has been a long week. It has been a long three months. I think it's peaking, but I hope it goes away. Unfortunately, I think everyone needs to understand your responsibility of who you are representing.
It is your responsibility to know. Don't excuse yourselves because if you are going to take a position, if you are going to support what is going on, you need to know who you are representing and whom you're backing, so, now you know.
We do a hell of a job to support this institution, and I have never, ever, called anybody a name, said anything derogatory to anyone. But when I hear my name on the air saying people are coming down because I am getting ready to fight somebody, a group of older white men outside waiting for me, that's -- not only is the board responsible, the community, and the people who come out here to say, “I am representing KPFA” and the community, of which I have been a member for over 20 years, is responsible.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. David Adelson was on the list and let someone else have his time. I will let you have a minute, so long as you don't discuss anything that you know you are not supposed to discuss. Then the board needs to discuss what you have said.
MR. ADELSON: I understand. I would just like to say something quickly. Pacifica was founded to investigate and explore the causes of poverty and other things. Some of these racist remarks and some of the violence should have been the subject -- of the condemnations on both sides aren't going to be sufficient. So I think we should address it all. I want to thank the board for providing a channel to actually get this dealt with.
MS. BERRY: Thank you, thank you.
MR. ADELSON: I just want to ask -
MS. BERRY: No. Thank you very much. Jay, was your name on the list?
MR. IMANI: I asked someone to put it on.
MS. BERRY: It was a failure of your secretary? Well, this is the last, but I am indulging you because you said you thought it was on the list. Assuming you are not lying, I accept your representations in good faith. Tell the people your name.
MR. IMANI: My name is J. Imani. I am a member of the local advisory Board. Racism is everywhere. For the last ten years I have been struggling against it, all forms of personal oppression.
On my right arm I wear a tattoo of Africa with a cross, spear, and shield, representing my commitment to the liberation of African people. The moment I found out about these allegations I also started researching. I found out about who made such allegations. This person will be dealt with directly upon our return. I have already started the process. If I could find out the other folks who have made some of these other remarks, they also would be dealt with.
I in no way support or condone that type of behavior against any people, particularly my sisters engaged in the struggle. I don't go for it -- at the same time, there are other issues that I must address as well. Those are the issues of democracy, accountability and participation.
I feel like, let me explain: I joined the Local Advisory board feeling that if I understand the inner struggle -- institutions we can not build, must become -- National radio network I am apart of that. After joining up, my ability to be able to affect what happened here was drastically changed from my perspective. My attempts to find out and figure what was happening were stifled.
So now we are trying to figure out how to do that. So, to me the main issue here is how to get the station -- You all can do what you all please. We can't do nothing about it but just dislike it and talk trash about behind your back or to your face. That is actually not good enough.
I want to begin to affect change.
I want to structure a way to figure how we can make sure and show accountable to us. We want to do what's right; I know that, but -- makes that very difficult sometimes. We know that accountability is the only way to keep people actually accountable. We need to push buttons and twist arms. Help us do that.
You know you ain't going to do wrong when someone is holding your hand.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. I will see if other board members have something they want to say, but I would make some comments in response to what has been said. I think Ambrose Lane said what I hoped when I first came on the board, although I wouldn't have used “fascism” as an expression since I am a public figure and I would have had to explain what I meant and I try to avoid that. I would have said some other word that would be nicer.
But when I came on the Pacifica board I thought we would be discussing issues like programming and vision and making the progressive voice have a longer reach and being a newspaper for the progressive movement, as it were. I thought we would be discussing not keeping the progressive radio as marginal, less than two percent of the two percent that listen to public radio.
So that we don't think we are the center of the universe. We are not. We are not even on most people's screens. So I had hoped to be something to make that voice louder and be discussing that.
Since I have been on this board I have had only the opportunity of two minutes to discuss that since I have been on the board. In fact, no one from the community around the radio who wants to discuss issues ever discusses that with me. I have had one person who is interested only in trying to get people elected as opposed to not elected. I have some other people interested in other stuff.
But the people who are involved most of the time don't want to discuss the vision. When I mention the strategic plan, people who are protesting tell me they never read it. When I asked some questions about it, they say, “Forget it.” When I ask them what their vision is, they say democracy and -- participate and I say, “For what purpose? What is your goal? How are you going to make the progressive voice have a broader reach?” So maybe I am just at odds with your organization.
I always assumed in the old days when Askia was covering me when I was in various protests that Pacifica had this interest in the broader reach of a voice and that was what it was all about. I am discovering that most people are ground down in what I call minutiae and worried only about contemplating their own internal navels at whatever station they happened to be at as opposed to thinking about the broader vision.
To answer you more specifically, when I became board chair I went around to each LAB to meet with the people there. At the KPFA LAB there were no people of color who were members.
This is my first term as board chair, so that was very recent. I am happy to see that as a result of this crisis and conflict there are now three, I am told, members of the LAB who are people of color. Two of them have only been members for four months, I am told, or five, and they are the ones that they sent here, which is very interesting indeed.
When you talk about how to manipulate the message and how to manipulate the public relations, to take the two people of color who have only been there for four or five months, to put a face on your LAB by sending them to meetings is a very, very, very imaginative and creative way to deal with it. But I want diversity, however I get it. So I'm willing to take it, even if that makes it.
Secondly, whether they sent you or you came, my point is that you are the ones. I accept you. I accept you in good faith. I'm only pointing out for the audience that may not know that KPFA had no people of color as LAB members when I came on this board and I am happy that they have some now and I want the other LABs to do as well and I hope they get more.
The second thing is that I have long argued and preached, I have even had discussions with Jay about it, the need to have more youth involved. That doesn't mean that I am an ageist and I hate old people. I am old myself. But I have wanted youth involved because I know that when the grim reaper comes along and it's just people like me when we go, you need to have some people there. I also want the progressive message to reach broader and wider for the future.
That's what that is about. So I have tried to talk to program directors and station managers and executive directors about hip-hop and all the various music forms and how I listen to the stuff and some of it is very progressive. I don't understand why it is not on.
So, I will commit to you young people that I will talk to the executive director, I will talk in terms of the organization utilizing your talents to try to bring you together with the folks who are implementing it to try to use your talents to try to get some of that on the radio. Okay?
I commit that to you because I think it's important.
The other thing that I will say is that on the question of this board, I have discovered in Pacifica something else I didn't know existed. Incredible arrogance on the part of the various constituencies within Pacifica.
Everybody assumes that they have a monopoly on virtue and everybody assumes that they're in the right and morally correct and that everybody else is evil, out to undermine them or have some kind of nefarious purpose in mind in whatever they do.
When I say to people, why would the members of this board serving without pay, all of whom have something else to do, respected people who have public reputations which you can look up, why would they be spending their time sitting down engaged in some nefarious plot to destroy Pacifica.
The asking of the question tells you how idiotic it is to even propose such a thing. You may disagree with people. You may not like what they say. But to assume that you are the only person who has morality and virtue and that all others are evil, is wrong.
The other thing I'll say to you is, there is a deep-seated strain of racism in the left. There always has been. History will document this. It is a problem that surfaces from time to time and it is something that the left has had to struggle with very hard. Why is that the case?
Because the left is part of society and there is a deep strain of racism in the society and sexism and homophobia and all of those other evils.
Why wouldn't it be in the left? If it is in the left, the left has to struggle with it, acknowledge it, that it's there and whenever it surfaces, cut it off at the head. When the left fails to do that, then the left deserves no respect from people who call themselves progressives.
Movements must take responsibility for the people who are in the movement with them. It is not enough to say, I'm in a movement. I have been in a lot of them and I take no responsibility for all other people and whatever they might say, oh they're just doing that, let's just focus on the issue.
That is B.S.
If you are in the movement you are responsible for your colleagues in the movement and your cohorts and policing them and that is what you are responsible for and we have heard some of the things that have happened here. But nobody has a monopoly on virtue.
So, this board, let's talk about responsibility, what this board is responsible for. We have heard over and over again that this board ought to go out to Berkeley.
First of all, Pacifica has five stations. Pacifica has national programming. Every station in Pacifica thinks it is the center of the universe. Every station in Pacifica has problems, some of them may be political problems with constituencies, others may be money problems and others may be other kinds of problems. I heard somebody say that the executive director who was acting as interim manager at KPFA hadn't done this, that or the other, whatever. The executive director has to manage the Pacifica network. We are doing the best we can with what we have.
The network is not rich. The financial reports are available to people who want to see them. I get E-mails from people that think that there are billions of dollars somewhere floating around and that the board members are getting them and going off on trips to this place and that place, which is just absolutely ludicrous. Think about the limitations of what we have to do. Have some empathy for each other.
Now, on the matter of what we have done here and whether we have gone far enough, I know that in the progressive movement no matter what you do you never go far enough. I understand that. So, I expect to be criticized. We came to this meeting. We have had discussions, and we will have others. We have made a terrific advance, forward movement on what was happening before we got to this meeting.
We have agreed that if the mediator which is already -- the staff picked somebody as this mediator -- say that there ought to be more people, expanded constituencies on each side, board members, people from the locals, wherever, we're willing to entertain that. The board is open to that.
But this entire board is not going to troop out to Berkeley and camp out there to sit down and have daily sessions all day long -- I'm not, maybe the rest of you are -- with the community, without any kind of mediation or anything, with talk, talk, talk back in forth to each other. We are interested in resolving the issue and we are interesting in doing it in a forum where we are engaged and we are willing to be engaged and to consider whatever needs to be considered. We have said that.
We came to this meeting. People didn't like the nondisclosure rule, one of the places where they talk about Pacifica. We said, yes, you can do that. They want us to say that there will be no security at the station. It would be ludicrous, outrageous, and I don't know what other word I could use.
MR. FARRELL: Irresponsible.
MS. BERRY: Irresponsible, thank you, Bob, for this board, to know what has happened out there and to have no security or not enough security. If something happened, people would be saying, Well, why didn't they do something? They knew that there was a problem; these people are crazy.
Some of the same people now who are complaining would be criticizing us and saying, doggone it, you know they knew. And here they are. And we would be held responsible.
Now, on conditional pledges, this has come up at various times. We appreciate the people who gave money or made pledges to KPFA, as we appreciate all the donors at all the stations and all the programs of Pacifica. We want more of that, as much as we can get. The point is that the staff was not authorized to go on the air and tell people to give pledges conditionally and to send postcards with marked off, I am only giving this money if you rehire this one and do that, to my office.
It boggles the mind that they would send it to my office in the first place. I don't want Pacifica on a daily -- What was I suppose to do with these post cards? What did I do with them? I packed them up and sent them back to Pacifica.
We cannot accept conditional pledges because if a person gives us money and says, you can only spend this if you hire John Doe and we don't hire John Doe, the person can sue us and get their money back. We cannot accept conditional pledges. That means that we don't know how much money -- of course we accept grants conditionally. A grant that says, this grant is to be used for a certain program and we apply for it and accept the condition, that is different. But to say that managers must be hired or programs must be kept on the air, we can't do that.
So we don't know how much money we raised at KPFA until that is worked out. The final thing I will say is that no one in Pacifica has the right to be on a program forever. No one has the right to have a program on a station for their entire lives.
Programs have to be evaluated. They have to be reviewed, and they haven't been as much as I think they ought to be. So we can determine how they fit in with the strategy with the Progressive message with the reach of it, the changes that are taking place and are there other voices that should be heard and so no one should assume because I am on he air this is my program forever and nobody else can ever have this time slot.
That is the last thing I have to say. Does any board member wish to say anything about anything, including anything hat was said?
VOICE: I would like to agree with Ambrose. I came on Pacifica because I believe it is the voice of the disenfranchised. I would like everybody here to know that I came in this morning for this meeting.
I couldn't be here the two days before, unfortunately, but I want everyone to know that you didn't hear a lot of controversy today, but there is a lot of controversy that takes place when you are not here.
The board is not monolithic. I want everyone to know that there are people who stand on both sides. We are engaged ourselves in trying to figure out the right ways to go. We might be doing things correctly and we might be doing things incorrectly. But I would not want anyone for a moment to think that the board is a rubber stamp.
I want everyone to know that many of the decisions that are made are made on different levels and some of us have a part in those decisions and some of us don't have a part in those decisions. All of us at some time or another hear about the results of those decisions, sometimes we hear about them and sometimes before you hear about them. However, the board itself is democratic and I think you can depend upon that issue of democracy for us to continue working hard to come to resolutions that hopefully will be correct resolutions. But sometimes they will be wrong resolutions. That's just how it is with people.
MS. BERRY: Any other comments?
DR. GIBBS: Mary, I would like to make a few points.
VOICE: Can you come to the mike?
DR. GIBBS: Actually I have a pretty loud voice. It is tired, but can everybody hear me?
First of all, I want to acknowledge the fact that the board has worked very hard over the last three days. We have been meeting from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night and then talking to each other afterwards.
We have not had much sleep. We are all tired. We have worked very hard to discuss these issues.
I also want to acknowledge the people who came from the Bay area to meet with us last night and to acknowledge those who came today to express themselves. But I want to say I think we are all here -- and I am really underlining all, every single person in the room -- because we are interested in Pacifica, because we care about Pacifica and because we care about what Pacifica has historically represented and we hope will continue to represent.
But there are two visions of Pacifica. And this is something, actually, that we are still struggling with on the board. I want to say that honestly, we are still struggling. The vision of Pacifica -- and I want to make an analogy which actually we talked about earlier between -- one vision says that there is the national board and then there are the local stations and that vision is a vision that would be like the federal government and the states. The federal government makes certain over-arching policy, but the states have certain rights and certain autonomy But there has been an agreement worked out over 200 years and it keeps changing, doesn't it, between the states and the federal government. Those of you who follow the news closely know that the Supreme Court just gave some more rights back to the states this week.
The other vision of Pacifica was perhaps more of the original vision which is the local autonomy, and that each station made its own policies and each station was pretty much a rule unto itself. But when the strategic plan was made several years ago, before I ever joined the board and was just a listener like all of you were at some time, this vision shifted.
I think that we are all at some level having trouble with the new vision. That is why we asked some of the people who came the other night, some of you guys know from Berkeley, have you read the strategic plan.
Now, at that time the staff was involved, local stations were involved. I think it is important to give me the time to mention how this developed. This was developed, as I understand it, in a very collaborative, collegial relationship. All the stations had delegates. It was not imposed by the national board. This vision, and please read it when you go back to Berkeley or wherever, really changed the nature of the relationship of the local boards to the national.
I think the thing we are all struggling with is how to go about implementing -- it's really sort of a new structure -- where it is true that more functions were allocated to the board, not for a power grab as people seem to say and think, but for streamlining management. Anybody who has ever worked in a big corporation knows that if you buy things in bulk it's just cheaper.
So that is just one example. So you streamline how you buy things. It is cheaper to have sort of certain kinds of administrative services in one place. So the idea of this change was to shift things to the national board, not for power grabbing, but for efficiency. Okay?
Now that's one point. The other thing is that in this vision, it means we are trying to develop more national programming. There again, we have not developed all that we would like to develop, and that is coming. So basically, I want to say to all of you that just as you are struggling with the local issues, about how much autonomy you have, the board is still struggling with trying to figure out the relationship between this new sort of more federal vision as opposed to another vision.
But I think the strategic plan does make some changes which are difficult. I work at the University of California Berkeley, and you all know we are always in turmoil, too. I could just tell you, as I said to my Dean after I had been there two years and had seen several different demonstrations, change is always difficult. People are familiar with and comfortable with what they always know and the programs they always liked.
It is always difficult to initiate change because you lose your favorite program. Even you know when the cartoons are changing in the San Francisco Chronicle and you should see the letters. This is not even serious. But people are committed to cartoons and they get like, I'm going to cancel my subscription because Peanuts was cancelled, for god's sake.
So any change is difficult and what we need to do as adults is work together to accept the changes that will move the network forward.
That was my first point. My second point, and I admit that was a long first point, but my second point is really to talk about what Ambrose said about the vision. I think it is so important what you said. We ought to be responding to the Right Wing Movement which is taking over this country. We ought to be responding to the retreat from affirmative action. Not just one program that comes from New York. We ought to be responding in every single local station. The increasing power of the police state.
The Supreme Court has given the police power. They can stop any of us at any time, open our cars, and search us without cause, as I understand it. I am not a lawyer, but that's what I understand. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Corporate welfare which rips all of us off because it takes our taxes, you know, all of these issues are issues that Pacifica has cared about.
While we are spending our time here arguing about whether there is a guard or not a guard, what are we doing about these programs? What are we doing to communicate to our audience the importance of voting the right people in so that we can do something about these things and everything. We should be working together to define and develop our vision.
I think Ambrose said it perfectly. We should be working together to have our listeners buy into our vision. That's very important. We should be working together to implement the vision on a local and national level.
My third and final point is resolving the conflict, which is why everybody is here. I do think that we would appreciate more acknowledgement from this audience of how far the board has moved, just in the last three days, to meet some of the concerns.
We have been staying up night and day. It would be nice to have some appreciation from all of you. The idea of an hour when you could discuss local issues --
MS. BERRY: Don't beg, Jewelle.
DR. GIBBS: I'm not begging. I'm not begging. I am a minister's daughter, I'm preaching. I'm just saying we would like to have some acknowledgement that we are trying to meet you halfway. The process is beginning. We are trying to open the dialogue. We are trying to have honest dialog and I think we have to continue to establish trust with each other and continue to really believe that we are all here for the same purpose of advancing the Pacifica network and advancing the Pacifica vision. Let's work together. Let's stop fighting and that's all I'm going to say.
MS. BERRY: Thank you very much. The public comment period is up, but go right ahead, Ron.
MR. ROBINSON: Thanks very much. I would just like the audience to know that one of the most important reasons for us to be here is to listen to you. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity as a member of the board to listen to you. On the WPFW station where I came from, my mentor and guru is Ambrose. Let me tell you something that I heard Ambrose saying which I am not sure everybody heard the way I did. I think one of the things we have to realize in the progressive movement -- realizing the progressive movement, -- not just the local community, but a community of progressives and I think that is what Pacifica believes at root that it is trying to do.
The thing that I think Ambrose is saying to us is that is all very well, but the reality is that even with progressives there are things that separate us. There are differences between us. That doesn't make any difference except that we have to listen and speak to each other.
If we don't listen and speak to each other, the people that are not part of the progressive community will create a community for us and we will wake up in a can. I really think that that is what we have to start doing as progressives.
Frequently, in any kind of community there is a tendency for people -- we are all human, whether we are progressive or reactionary of whatever -- but we tend to listen to people that we like and we tend to only talk to people that we know; maybe it's because of where we live or the things that separate us, which church we go to.
I think one of the things that we have to begin doing is, we have to worry about the people that we don't know, talking to them and listening to them, and the 6 that we don't like who live in that community, talking to them and listening to them as well.
I think one of the realities about Pacifica as an organization is that we have been in conflict for a long time. We are very complex. We have a national staff and a national office. We have five stations. We have station managers, station staff, volunteer programmers, volunteer producers. We have -- we have LABs, we have a national governing board. We have officers and committee members, so we are a very complex community, and I think one of the problems is hat historically it has been easy for all of us to talk to only the people that we like and to listen to only the people that we like and to talk to the people that we know and not talk and not listen to the people we don't know and that I think the point that Ambrose was making is that for many years, at least five, that has been one of the things that has hampered this board in its relationships.
We become in many ways a dysfunctional family. It doesn't mean we are not doing wonderful things. It doesn't mean we're not carrying the torch. There are -- for some very dysfunctional relationships and I think what many of us feel today is we're saying we have to start talking and listening.
I personally, based on my experience in local government, I don't think that the public is ever -- particularly the public in a progressive community -- is ever going to be without conflict. There is never going to be peace on the left. I think we are unrealistic if we expect it. We maybe should be real worried if we find it.
I don't think that we are going to expect on a board like this that anybody is going to walk up to us and tell us what a wonderful job we are doing individually and collectively. That just doesn't happen any place. People tell you what is wrong. They don't tell you what they like. Maybe that's good, maybe that's diagnostics.
But I think the thing that I heard Ambrose saying and I think most members of the board would agree with at this point is that what we have to do, and we began this retreat, the meeting on Friday in which we had somebody talking to us about the issues of organizational development and how we can manage conflict. The importance being for us is not that we erase any conflict within the organization as that we have institutions to manage the conflict in the future and that we start spending more time with people we don't know, maybe the people that we don't like, and entering into a dialogue and keeping that dialogue in place.
If we can do those things, I think we will be healthy. We need your help and we are going to make mistakes. We don't always take our responsibilities by ignorance. We don't always take our responsibilities sometimes by neglect. And we will make mistakes.
A young man made a statement here today that he didn't mean to say. He felt badly about it. That's the way it is. If you've got enough guts to stand up and say something, nine times out of ten everything that comes out of your mouth may not be what you intended, but at least you got up and talked.
MS. BERRY: All right. Does any other member of the board feel that they need to say something or want to say something? All right, with that, that is the end of the meeting. I will entertain a motion to adjourn.
MR. FARRELL: I so move.
DR. GIBBS: I second.
MS. BERRY: It is non-debatable. Thank you very much. I want to thank the board members. I want to thank the audience. Especially I want to thank the staff for this meeting and for this last few days. Now let us go forward.
(Whereupon, at 12:51 p.m., the meeting was concluded.)
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