August 3, 1999

Andrea Buffa 415-546-6334 x309
Mobile: 415-309-6334
Aileen Alfandary 510-644-3971


Legislators Add Support for Hearing on KPFA Lockout

BERKELEY, CA - KPFA staffers showed up at their boarded up station yesterday afternoon only to be met with management's refusal to allow repair of the station's transmitter. Despite orders to staff to return to the station by 2 pm Monday, only ten people were allowed in the building because Pacifica has not yet repaired damage to the station that occurred during its watch of the premises.

Pacifica executive director Lynn Chadwick refused to allow KPFA's transmitter to be repaired, and staff questioned why they would be ordered back to work when Pacifica has not taken the necessary steps to allow the station to broadcast. Armed guards still surround the station's Berkeley hills transmitter. There will be a demonstration at noon, Tuesday August 3rd, at the transmitter, in support of KPFA staff regaining access to the airwaves.

“Pacifica is saying the station is in our control,” said Media Alliance executive director Andrea Buffa. “But Chadwick is still monitoring attendance, Pacifica's leadership is still unaccountable to our community, and they could sell the station or shut it down again at any time. We're tired of Pacifica saying one thing and doing another. We need to reform Pacifica from the inside out so this doesn't happen again.”

15,000 people from up and down the West Coast attended a mass march and rally on behalf of KPFA on Saturday, July 31. Speakers included City Council members from Berkeley and Oakland; Mayor Willie Brown and Supervisor Tom Ammiano from San Francisco; Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean; Dolores Huerta, United Farmworkers of America; Audie Bock, California State Assemblyperson, Green Party; June Jordan, poet; Peter Coyote, actor and author; and Tom Rankin, President, California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Dr. Loco and His Rocking Jalapeño Band, Michael Franti of Spearhead, Culture Clash, and others performed.

Shortly before Saturday's rally, KPFA supporters learned that Pacifica's high-priced public relations firm, Fineman and Associates, had quit. Also on Saturday, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Fred Keeley, D-Santa Cruz, was one of eight legislators adding their support for a special hearing by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to investigate the dispute between KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation. To date, 24 members of the California Legislature have requested a public hearing on the situation at KPFA radio.

Legislators are concerned that Pacifica has undertaken a number of actions that may violate its charter and its tax-exempt status. The Pacifica Board voted to disenfranchise its Local Advisory Boards, and allegations have been raised that funds may have been used for purposes inconsistent with its charter. The letter states, “Because Pacifica is incorporated in California and owns not only KPFA, but also KPFK in Los Angeles, we feel it is highly appropriate for the Legislature to take upon itself this oversight responsibility.” For additional information, contact: Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Fred Keeley, (831) 425-1503.

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