The real purpose: to buy time to make a getaway and leave the
KPFA community holding the bag. To silence the protesters and split the
democracy forces. Meanwhile, nothing has really changed. Berry used the
captive airwaves to make a pitch for the press. Her (and Fineman's)
attempt was significant in these respects:
1 Bernstein was again denied access to the Pacifica airwaves. (cut off)
2. Berry refused to promise that Pacifica would publish the costs of the crisis thus far in security-guard employments, public relations employments, consultant employments. In short, the books will not be open. The full costs of this disaster will not be made available to the negotiators or to the community at large.
3. Berry indicated that Chadwick will remain as Pacifica's Executive Director, meaning that she will do the hiring of the station manager and that Sawaya is out so long as Chadiwick has any say in the matter.
Fineman's fine hand can be seen in this morning's attempt to spin the controversy in favor of the Pacifica Board.
In short, she's offered a crock of in place of negotiations where the Pacifica Board would lose outright.
She likewise threatened to fire all paid staff who do not accept the offer to return Friday. The staff is being offered only the airways to air their grievances. There is no fundamental change in the situation except that offer to let the staff talk about the issues.
Pacifica can't afford to hold out much longer, but the staff can afford to hold out for a much better response that has been forthcoming thus far. FCC regs are being violated right and left as the transmitter power fluctuates and legal ID's are incorrect or missing. The lawsuit against their usurpation and malfeasance is progressing, with more on the horizon. Should the court agree with the plaintiffs, Berry and her cronies could become individually liable for the enormous bills they have run up as part of their coup attempt.
And, they have a well-deserved credility gap. Not only has Berry lied repeatedly on the record, but most people just done buy that the actions they have taken are for the purpose of adding diversity to Pacifica Radio. The programmers and community members from KPFA's communities of color have spoken out in opposition to her. They have called the Chair of the US Civil Rights Commission a liar.
Here's the facts:
In spite of record fundraising at KPFA and all other Pacifica stations, there is "only enough money to pay the staff "for two more weeks" according to Board Member Pete Bramson - having spent all the listeners' money, now Pacifica wants the KPFA staff to "run it."
Where has the money gone? To pay armed goon squads, union-busting law firms and Fineman and Associates, $250/hr spin control consultants.
Why did they hire these guys? To keep their plans to steal Pacifica's assets under wraps. And they haven't given up. In six months, they say in their proposal, the community can buy KPFA for an exorbitant amount, or it will be sold to a commercial operator for 65 million dollars. Why should KPFA's *real* owners have to ransom our station?
This is a victory? We don't think so.
The local, national and international press have all carried quotes by Pacifica Chair Berry and Pacifica CEO Chadwick saying there was no plan to sell KPFA. But National Board member Pete Bramson blew the whistle: the Board planned on voting to sell KPFA. Caught red-handed, they came up with this "generous offer"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 29, 1999
Lavarn Williams (510) 387-2117
Mark Mericle (415) 457-9176
Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi (510) 682-6868
Aileen Alfandary (510) 644-3971
Andrea Buffa (415) 546-6334 x309/ mobile: (415) 309-6334
KPFA STEERING COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO PACIFICA ULTIMATUM PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY FRIDAY, JULY 30 9 AM
The Pacifica Foundation has made an end run around the mediation process and has gone straight to the press with an ultimatum to the KPFA community, the eleven-member KPFA steering committee said. The committee, comprised of union and non-union staff, community members and local management, emphasized that KPFA staff will not be rushed back into the station, especially when the sale of the station is still on the table.
The steering committee remains committed to resolving this crisis and returning to the station. However, one and a half hours into mediation today, Pacifica had yet to offer its proposal to the mediator or to the KPFA steering committee. In fact, Pacifica¹s negotiating team seemed surprised by the offer that Dr. Mary Frances Berry put out to the media.
³They are disrespecting the mediation process, disrespecting the mediator, and even disrespecting their own mediating team,² said KPFA Local Advisory Board member and steering committee representative Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi.
The Steering Committee¹s initial reaction to the Pacifica ultimatum is that there are three major concerns:
€ Sale of station. The sale of the station is still on the table; we cannot allow Pacifica to sell 50 years of free speech radio to the highest bidder. We demand that Dr. Berry and the Pacifica board members sign a binding legal document stating that KPFA and KPFB have not and will not be sold.
€ Accountability. The same people who led us into this crisis are still in power and are still unaccountable to the local community.
€ Prevention. Unless we take this time to responsibly address
the underlying issues, we have no assurance that the
same thing won't happen again.
When Pacifica makes its proposal to the KPFA steering committee in mediation--which it has yet to do -- the steering committee will discuss it with our constituencies. The committee represents thousands of people in the KPFA community, and, unlike Pacifica, is accountable to its constituents.
The committee would like to thank the incredible community of listeners in the Bay Area and the supporters of free speech radio throughout the country who have tirelessly organized to defend this priceless public resource. It is only because of their support and vigilance that Pacifica was stopped yesterday from selling KPFA immediately and that the negotiating process might finally become a serious one.
The Steering Committee will hold a press conference on Friday at 9 a.m.
in front of KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley. Bay Area station
supporters continue to mobilize for the Saturday July 31, 11 a.m. mass
march and rally at U.C. Berkeley's Sproul Plaza.