Teach-In on Free Speech
Panel Discussion on KPFA - 5/9/99 - Berkeley, CA
---Transcript ---

Sandy Close:  [in progress]...wanted to learn more about what that situation was from the panel today.  All I know is that Nicole Sawaya, who came to be the station manager rougly a year and a half ago, brought a new exuberance and a new unanimity, a sense of consensus, to the station that for thirty-odd years I hadn't felt as clearly as I had since Nicole came.  It was like she really wanted to bring in a multiplicity of voices and make the station synonymous wtih searching.  And that really appealed to me, and I felt very bereft when I was informed that she had been fired, terminated.  So I was asked to come and just moderate, but really I came secretly to learn.  And if I can be helpful in facilitating I will, but I felt -- since there's so few of us -- the best thing would be to make opening sort of statements by each panelist, and then ask them to ask questions of each other, ask you to ask questions of them, and I'll try to keep it moving.  But it's really a conversation among us all about a station we all is vital to keeping the public forum inclusionary.  So I think that Peter Franck, you're going to lead off.

Peter Franck:  The first I hear of leading off...but OK.

SC: You're first on the list.

PF:  Oh, all right.  Sorry.  I didn't know.

[pause while settling at mike]

PF:  OK.  Thanks, Sandy.  First I want to make a little allegory, make a pitch in terms of the last panel, because I'm also with Alan Korn and active on the Lawyers Guild Committee on Democratic Communications in the micro radio fight.  Lawyers Guild is an organization of people who want to help legally keep the movement in the streets, or keep the movement on the air -- and not just lawyers -- so, if any of you want to get involved, we could certainly use some help.  And if you'd like to join our committee or come to one of our meetings, check our website or talk to me afterwards.

Just by way of brief introduction, I come out of the early New Left at Berkeley, you know -- late '50s, early '60s -- very early on saw that if we're going to change society we have to do something about the media environment, 'cause every demonstration we ever went or organized, when you read about in the newspaper it's a totally different thing.  That's just the simplest side of the problem -- and the culture of violence, invidualism, and so on, militates against any progressive social change.  In 1973 Bill Sokol [sp?], late of the morning show on Sundays, recruited me to the KPFA board, and in 1980-84 I was president of the Pacifica Foundation. I've put most of my efforts in terms of media stuff in recent in the micro radio thing, 'cause I do believe that the spirit of Lew Hill, who was the founder of Pacifica, lives on in the micro radio movement.  I hope it lives on at Pacifica, but that's more controversial.

At the demonstration -- Let me talk a little more, Sandy, than just the statement, 'cause I was told to make a short little speech, and I will.

SC:  Yeah.

PF:  But not too long.  At the demonstration in front of KPFA a few weeks ago quite a number of people who recognized me and knew I'd been involved in Pacifica in the past came up to me, and virtually every person made the same opening statement: "What's going on?"  People are really puzzled. And I think that's a problem.  I think there hasn't been the clear articulation of what's going on.

I want to talk about the history of current crisis just very briefly and then tell you what I think is going on.  Pacifica executive leadership a few months ago asked the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a ruling on whether or not local board members could also serve on the Pacifica National Board -- that's what we used to call it -- now it's called the Governing Board. They were given an interpretation of the law that said they could not.  It's an entirely bogus interpretation.  There is nothing in the Public Broadcasting Act that says that.  In fact, the Public Broadcasting Act was modeled on the structure of Pacifica -- which was the largest public broadcasting entity -- had of local boards and a national board, to which you could only be elected if the local board sent you there.  The managers -- there was controversy within Pacifica -- the managers and CPB threatened to withhold payment of $1.4 million.  The managers were asked to draw up a plan of what they would do if that money was not forthcoming.

Now in Pacifica there's a multiplier effect on loss of revenue, because about half of their costs are fixed.  They have to pay the electric bill.  They have to pay the rent -- I guess KPFA now has a mortgage.  All those costs are fixed, and that's about half their budget.  So a twenty-five percent loss of revenue means a fifty percent loss..cut in payroll, because the payroll is the only fungible thing they've got, the only place to cut.  So the other managers came up with a plan of how they would cut the staff.  Nicole Sawaya came up with a plan of how...that she would take the money out of the 17% that now goes to Pacifica.  That, according to Roberta Brooks, is the reason that she was fired.

So, back up a minute to what's happening.  My view of what's happening is there's sort of a flying wedge from Washington coming in and taking advantage of a structural weakness that's always existed in Pacifica.  This really bogus opinion comes from Robert Conrad (sic), the head the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who came there from a position of being Deputy
Director of the Voice of America.  There's always been a strong nexus in CPB and NPR -- the new head president of NPR also comes out of this sort of national security propaganda state. I think the thing that has to be remembered is that Pacifica is a profoundly subversive, very dangerous organization, especially, you know...It's called Pacifica because it was founded around the principles of peace, not because its ocean is the Pacific. It's no accident that one of the first targets of bombing in Belgrade was the television station.  Media and information are very important, are very powerful and very subversive, especially when you're trying to create a consensus, and you have a major national network that can reach twenty-five percent of the U.S. population, roughly, saying the emperor Clinton's got no clothes. So, it's a dangerous institution, and there is a strong impetus from Washington to mute it.  There's been the Healthy Station Project.  That's too long to go into, but there's been a strong push to quote "professionalize" public broadcasting and sort of bring it under the tent of the establishment.  Now we have a Washington insider, Mary Frances Berry, as Chair of the Board. We have this thing with CPB going on.

The structural weakness...you know, we could..one could talk for hours about this.  The other thing that's going on is this: There are a number of stakeholders in Pacifica, a number of people who've got a legitimate -- and groups -- who have a legitimate stake in the question of what Pacifica does, the direction it takes.  There's a staff -- paid staff and unpaid staff.  There's management.  There's listeners.  There are subscribers.  There's those social movements that Pacifica should be serving to inform the constituency of.  Throughout Pacifica's history only the first two of those stakeholders have had any structural say: staff, by virtue of being there, and management, by virtue of being there.  There's never been an institutional connection for the listeners, for the subscribers to have a voice, for the movements that Pacifica should serve to have a voice.  And that's a structural weakness. That's why this flying wedge, in my view, has been effective.

What's happened in recent years is a shift in power from the staff to the management, the other groups still being disenfranchised. In earlier years almost all the real power was in the hands of the staff.  That's more or less the way Lew Hill designed it, with some input from community, that was removed in about 1961.  Exclusive input from the staff -- and some of my friends here won't like me saying this -- exclusive input from the staff is not totally a good thing.  There is...During the time I was involved I could see a tacit agreement among staff members: "I don't question your program; you don't question mine."  So an ossification set in, and programming that started out relevant....I did a commentary in the mid-'60s, and I stopped it, 'cause I thought I ran out of things to say. Programmers tend to hang onto their programs, and there was no quality control, there was no injection of new and fresh ideas.

There's a story -- some people say is apocryphal, some people say it actually happened -- that a programmer at KPFK actually left his time to somebody else in his will.  [laughter]  Now, whether it really happened or not, there absolutely was that attitude.  And there needed to be a check on only the staff having decisions on what was said on the air, because it did tend to ossify things.

In the Reagan era there was a dereg..there was a change in the FCC laws which allowed noncommercial stations to rent out two frequencies, nonbroadcast frequencies, carrier frequencies, on what's called their side bands, to commercial outfits that transmitted data and so on.  There's a lot of money involved in this.  Pacifica...Because this is an administrative thing, and it was new money, Paficia became the organization which administered that for all five stations, and which handled the money.  That's when the change in power from the stations to Pacifica central management took place.  Because suddenly there was a lot of money in their coffers not dependent on the station managers writing a check, which always gave the station managers more power over the central Pacifica.  So you have this financial change, and you have the lack of input from public constituencies that have a stake, combined with a strong pressure from Washington and CPB to move to the center, to be more conventional, causing the whole long drift that's been going on at Pacifica over the years, and being the immediate proximate cause of Nicole Sawaya's firing, because she was trying to stand up to this.  Obviously there is a short-term answer in terms of the KPFA situation, but we're gonna have the situation again, and we're gonna have a continuation of the drift of the Pacifica stations to the center, if the structural problem of not empowering the other stakeholders in Pacifica isn't addressed.  Thanks.

SC:  [garbled]...three questions for each speaker right after, just to bring the audience in all the way through.  Yes.

Female Voice:  Yes.  I just heard...I'd just like to know why is it..what the differences are, because it is the term media, between let's say KQED, where I can vote.  That's the first thing that came up when all this happened..I mean, I've been a listener-supporter for twenty years.  And it's "Wait a minute.  I have no voice"...you know, twenty years later it dawned on me I have no voice.  But at KQED eventually we got told we couldn't vote.  And I still don't know exactly...I know Lew Hill maybe didn't [sound faded].  But under the rules of the FCC, what could we do about that?

PF:  OK.  First of all, the FCC is not involved in this.  The regulations that are involved are the Nonprofit Code of the State of California, which regulates nonprofits.  There are two forms of nonprofit organizations.  One is the kind that has a self-perpetuating board -- the board elects its own sucessor membership, which is the way Pacifica was essentially organized.  There was at the very...And the other form is a membership organization where the members elect the board, which is the way KQED is organized.  And Henry Kroll [sp?] and others who have tried to influence the direction of programming at KQED, that that's no panacea either, especially when central management can sort of manipulate the elections. Now, in the very early days of Pacifica there was something called the Executive Membership, which elected the board. And the Executive Membership was essentially the larger staff and some people from the community.  The board in 1961 changed that rule so that it elected itself.  The FCC was involved in this way: It did actually rule that that was an illegal change in ownership -- there was such a ruling from the FCC -- but nobody ever did anything to take advantage of that or to enforce it.

Female Voice:  What year was that?

PF:  1961.  So the bottom line is that accountability has never been built into the structure of Pacifica.  Hill was afraid of takeovers -- you know, this...It wasn't Maoism then, but this Maoist faction or that faction might take over.  But what I think we've had now is takeover from Washington and takeover from the inside, and I think that structural flaw needs to be addressed.

SC:  Two more questions.  Or...How can it be addressed?

PF:  Well, I think the structure has to be reformed.  I think that -- unlike KQED, if we had elections of subscribers..from subscribers to the local boards, and election by the local boards to the national board.  And I believe there ought to be some seats on the national board.  I think there should be a peace seat.  I think there should be a labor seat.  I think there should be a civil rights seat.  I don't know if Don and Chris are still here.  There probably should be an anarchist seat, just to keep everybody honest.  I think we need both those constituencies to be empowered within the structure of Pacifica and the listener-subscribers to be empowered.

SC:  OK.  Yes.

Male Voice:  What about the corporate money?  I don't understand why KPFA accepts corporate money.  I recently understand that Hill also accepted corporate money. [faded]

PF:  Well, there's two issues about corporate money.  Pacifica is justly proud of never taking corporate underwriting...will not take money from the Ford Motor..or from ADM to do the news, like PBS does.  It does now..I think they fudged that a little bit -- they now take money from some foundations for particular programs.  I and others always felt that we should never let the money dictate the programming.  Lew Hill got...KPFA went on the air as a vision -- I think it was 1947 -- ran out of money, had to go off the air for a while, got a grant from the Ford Foundation, and went back on the air.  So, foundation money to build the infrastructure has been important at certain times.  There is a huge difference between getting...The bottom line is programming.  I didn't go into Lew Hill's vision -- there isn't time.  But basically he realized from his experience as a journalist in Washington at the beginning of the Cold War, you can't talk about peace if you're beholden to advertisers, sponsors, so you must have listener-sponsors.  They should be the only sponsors.  To get money from a corporation to build a transmitter or something, once you've built it you're not beholden.  If you get money from a corporation to do the news, then you worry about losing it if you say something critical about them.

SC:  One more question.  Yes.

Female Voice:  I'm not sure, I'm did....[too soft] just got a little bit of information, and it has to do..something with..and I can't remember his name, who is a formal Pacifica board member, who is an official at The Tides Foundation, who has had some connections with the Pew Foundation...

SC:  Archibald...

[talking over]

PF:  No, Salniker.  She's asking about Salniker.

Female Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...is there a tie-in to what's going on..

PF:  Yeah, well, David Salniker was manager of KPFA in the '80s, became the Executive Director of -- and he and I were at one point friends and office mates -- he actually ran KPFA from a desk I sold him.  Then he became Executive Director of Pacifica.  Then he moved on to become director of The Tides Center, which is Tides' umbrella over a lot of other nonprofits.  During his tenure there was a strong attempt to get money from the Pew Foundation and some other, at best very centrist, foundations.  That's the connection. There was a very good article in The Bay Guardian about two years ago -- you can probably find it in their archives online or someplace -- making all these connections between Pew and a whole bunch of foundations and how they've influenced the nonprofit world, and I do believe they have influenced Pacifica as part of that.

SC:  OK, yes, OK.

Male Voice:  Since David Salniker went to The Tides, in 1995, according to the Pew Charitable Trust's website, The Tides has received $34,900,000 from Pew and has a long response to a number of Pew projects.

Male Voice:  Other point of information.  IGC, which is the progressive computer service that a lot of people have --Labor Net and Eco Net....

PF:  Peacenet...

Male Voice:  ...is a project of The Tides Center.  I believe that David is on the IGC board, and Marci Lockwood, who was the last general manager of KPFA, is, as far as I know, the executive director of the manager of IGC.  So there's a lot of musical chairs that go on..[garbled]...

SC:  OK.  Thank you very much.  Let's have our [applause]...That was so illuminating for me.  I'm just amazed at how little I knew of that history -- knowing Elsa Knight Thompson, and may her spirit live on.  Our next speaker is Maria...

Crowd Voices: Ma-Ray-Ah...

SC:  ...I'm sorry, yeah.  Maria.  I'm sorry, that's how little I know.  Maria, I'm so sorry.  Can you take it up here?

Maria Gilardin:  Yes.

SC:  OK.

MG:  Hi, everybody, thanks for coming.  I know almost everybody in the room -- which is, you know, sad and great at the same -- because you're all really important.  For the two people who don't know me, I'm Maria Gilardin.  I'm the former development director at KPFA, until 1988.  I was...I'm now a member of Take Back KPFA.  I'm also an independent producer -- one of three independent producers, along with David Barsamian and Wings, who are working as individuals putting out programming, and what I do is called TUC Radio.  My home now is KLW, and I have tapes here of my programs.  There are a couple of quirks to my biography that are illuminating to this whole affair.  I was fired from my job as development director by Pat Scott in 1988. I felt then it was just, you know, a misconception about where it was all gonna go.  At that time they were beginning to look for Pew and Ford and MacArthur funding, and I was..I felt I ought to protect the single most important inheritance from the Lew Hill generation, to say we are founding this station on listener-sponsorship, and felt that any such moves would seriously undermine it.  In 1993 I was banned from all Pacifica stations. It happened at a board meeting in Los Angeles, where I was attempting to speak, and I was prevented from speaking and shouted out in sudden passion to the audience, "Close the doors.  They haven't let me speak yet."  Nobody did close the doors, but that..those words were construed as intimidating the board and threatening violence.  I am now one of fifteen people banned from Pacifica, which is a curious thing -- we had a reunion and...[laughter]..in East Los Angeles, and I was very very touched to see...I was one of the few white folks in that whole group of banned people.  There are about three hundred additional crew members who have been removed from the air in various stations across Pacifica, all of them so-called volunteers, all of them unpaid staff.

SC:  When you say banned, do you really mean...

MG:  Really...

SC:  ...if I invited you onto the Eccentric show...

MG:  I wouldn't be able to come.  Yes.  I wouldn't be able to come.  I have entered the station to visit board meetings, because they're public meetings.  But...And my programming, by the way, is allowed on the air.  I just may not physically bring it to the station.  I had this arrangement with Chuy Varella for a while, where we were meeting in Grand Auto...[laughter]...in the air cleaner aisle...[laughter]...and I handed him my programs.  When when the purge happened in '96 I called Chuy and said, "I'm withdrawing my programs from use at KPFA", because I felt I was like a scab filling in for all the good people who were removed, and I haven't rescinded that yet.  So I'm on KALW.

What...We've passed the anecdotal part of my banning.  What I was bringing up at the meeting was the books of Pacifica. I had gotten hold of their annual reports and studied them closely with a bookkeeper friend of mine, and found strange things in them -- not really crimes, because the books are too opaque to actually pin anybody -- but management costs were being hidden in a change of bookkeeping.  I realized that central offices were absorbing more and more funding -- for what?  You know, Pacifica used to be one and a half staff people.  Now all of a sudden the budget was rising and approaching that of KPFA.  For what?  Because the central services consist of the Archives.  The programming that is delivered to us -- Democracy Now and the news -- isn't really produced at central.  It's produced at WBAI and WPFW respectively.  So what for?  I was raising those questions. Also, I realized that the line item for consultants was going through the roof -- you know, from twenty, thirty to a hundred thousand.  Also the cost of fundraising, all of a sudden, which was only just my half-time position at one point -- the cost of fundraising now, all of a sudden, approached unnamed line items of $140,000, that I was later told was probably spent on a party for rich people.  You know, with all the mailing involved in it.  So I was raising these questions.  What happened to the books?  Also, I had just been elected by staff to the Local Advisory Board, one of the few elected positions.  And, of course, I was unable to take that seat, because I wasn't supposed to enter the building.

What..I'm partly referring to this because what happened over...what happened at Pacifica over time, which seemed to me from my perspective just, you know, an idiosyncracy maybe, because I was the misfit.  I was..I wasn't taking orders.  It was a personal thing.  In retrospect I realize that what happened to me and then to others is part of a very systematic effort. And if there's ever a book written about how to take over a nonprofit, people would be able to learn from Pacifica.  And I urge all of you to pick up this chronology.  It's really extraordinary -- and all the documents that are behind these dates are available on the websites that are mentioned here. The turning away from listener-sponsorship to Pew..to Pew, Ford and MacArthur is interesting.  The union-busting at Pacifica began in 1995, and, as you know, they hired this notorious union-busting firm that works for Union Carbide and Coca-Cola, and these were the people who then...by your money...paid by your money...Set onto the staffs, onto the three unionized stations, and were actually sort of semi-successful in a couple of stations.  What worried me, as former development director, a lot was that all of a sudden the Finance Committee meetings were held in secret, in clear violation of the CPB rules.  But the CPB at that time didn't mind.  The CPB has a very interesting attitude towards what should and shouldn't happen at Pacifica.  When listeners complain they usually shine you on.

So, there are many more..You can read up on...What it all ends up being, in my opinion, is after centralization, union-busting, the elimination of unpaid staff, volunteer programmers -- what this ends up, which is, you know, the blank page ahead of us -- is the change in programming.  And that's not just, you know, a thought.  This is, I believe Pete can confirm that, that programming is the topic for the upcoming Board meeting in Washington, D.C.  So that's the ultimate goal of restructuring the whole..the whole of Pacifica, is the attack on programming.

People say, "Why?  Why did this happen?"  And you could say, "Well, we all know it from the nonprofit world."  There are sort of raiders of nonprofits that look like -- in the corporate world -- that look at healthy nonprofits and say, "Hmm, if we were to make ourselves the managers of this nonprofit, we would be able to pay ourselves nice salaries and, you know, sort of fleece..fleece the funds."  That's not an unlikely scenario, because the people who are now in national Pacifica offices get two or three times the salaries of people at KPFA level, which is something when I was there that was totally totally...We felt that the manager should get a little bit more money, because she or he had just more pain to endure -- but that, you know, the difference between the janitor and the manager shouldn't be that large.  But the discrepancy of salaries...Lynn Chadwick is getting $80,000, which is like three times the average pay at KPFA, or a little bit less than three times.  That's unaccepable. And that's your money, paying for that.  So, that's one sort of benevolent explanation.

The idea that this might be a COINTELPRO operation is really not that far-fetched.  I mean, Pacifica is..is a gem..is probably one of the most valuable progressive institutions. And why should Pacifica be exempt if they did this to the RCP and the Black Panthers and the Livermore action and...you know, name the list.  We know -- or as far as...We have all these examples.  Why should this be exempt?  But, I don't want to spin that one out.

What I wanted to add as my last words, a possible scenario

[end of tape 1, side 1 -- short recording gap]

MG:  ...the main agenda.  And within this agenda nobody may remain exempt, especially not..sort of the commons, like you named it -- the nonprofit sector, that's the priority set. We are independent from corporations.  We are only dependent on our listener base, our grassroots base, our activist base. We are not allowing ourselves to be bought.  This is...This is the last area, really, of the commons -- whatever it is, radio or another nonprofit institution.  And in this very...We don't want to think of totalitarianism here, at least in general...Maybe you do.  The totalitarian concept of imposing corporate rule on all of us.  We cannot let this live.  This may not exist.  Whatever...You know, whether these people who are changing it now have absorbed this mentality and have voted, as we know they have...like Lynn Chadwick, Pat Scott...have voted to impose the market rule on public radio stations by saying it's the Arbitrons that will determine if you get money or not.  Whether they did it, you know, because they themselves are already brain-washed, or whether this is a systematic effort, I can't answer.  But within the corporate-dominated world this is not allowed to live, and within this corporate-dominated world we have to do everything, everything in our power, to save it, to preserve it for us.  Thank you.


SC:  There must be many more than three questions.  But three, so we can give all the speakers equal time.  Three questions?  Yes.

Male Voice:  I'm [garbled]...at KPFA, and I'm new to this area, and I would like a little history on this.

MG:  There are five Pacifica stations.  Three of them are unionized.  The United Electrical Workers were the common union for all three.  KPFA chose to change union affiliation and sign up with the Communications Workers of America.  The UE contract was actually a very interesting one.  It allowed strike.  The new CWA contract doesn't allow it.  And it had..
you know, it's so rare in the world of unions...It had actually a little contingency into governance.  You know, unions usually stay out of that.  They just want, you know, salaries and benefits.  One of the interesting things was that management had to take cuts before layoffs of staff.  And now that we know how cushy the management jobs are being paid, there's a lot of margin to cut there before any staff gets laid off.  But that, unfortunately, at KPFA no longer exists -- that particular clause -- because of the change of affiliation.But at WBAI the staff has done something really interesting.Pacifica tried to throw out unpaid staff from the union -- not accept their membership in the union.  WBAI brought it up with the NLRB, and the NLRB in its first ruling said, "Yes, because these people do real work.  They don't get paid, but they do real work.  They're essential to the operation of the station.We protect them."  Which was a nationally amazing, interesting. It has all kinds of consequences for other organizations.  It should have been celebrated as a victory.  Pat Scott -- how do you call it?  Appealed it.  Appealed it.  And Mary Frances Berry, who was asked to please withdraw the appeal, said, "Oh, we spent the money already.  We're gonna go ahead."  So it is an appeal not yet decided.

SC:  Second question?  Yes.

Male Voice:  Has there been any progress in trying to talk to the other stations and get some support from the other stations [garbled -- faint]....

MG:  Maybe.  The sad part is..I have close friends in Los Angeles that KPFK is essentially a dead station from...as far as they're concerned.  An example of the deadness is the station manager was able to pull programming from the air, as you may know, that dealt with Pacifica -- Larry Bensky -- and Mark Schubb, former FAIR staff person, pulls the program produced by FAIR,  because it has information about Pacifica in it.  So, Houston has eliminated everybody from the community.  WPFW I don't know much about.  The only station that might connect up with this is WBAI, and they've made a statement of solidarity with the staff at KPFA.

PF:  A very strong..very strong statement...[garbled -- faint]...of solidarity...

MG:  Yeah.

PF:  ...so [garbled - talking over]

MG:  So, you want to talk about that some more?

Pete Bramson:  ...would you say that both KPFK and WBAI have taken a very strong stand against what's going on.

MG:  Yeah.  I don't want to take the wind out of your presentation, so...

SC:  ...third question from the floor.  Pardon me?

Male Voice:  I wanted to say something to this gentleman over here, who brought up about the unpaid staff and labor relations.  Pat Scott was still Executive Director at the time of this union-busting, as they were renegotiating the contract.  The most important thing -- sixteen -- in all the contract was the removal of the unpaid staff from the contract language.  I'm not sure what happened in Los Angeles.  I think that she succeeded you..OK, that you were not there.

SC:  OK.  Thank you.

Male Voice:  ...and at BAI and here they were, so you've succeeded here.  BAI stood their ground.  They recognized how important it is to have the unpaid staff as part of the bargaining unit.

SC:  Thank you.  Our next speaker is Pete Bramson.

Pete Bramson:  OK.  We'll be with you in just one minute.

[garbled -- many voices]

SC:  Let me take a minute while he's finishing a call to just mention to you one thing.  Today we are reading about the bombing of a Chinese embassy.  If you are interested in knowing how the Chinese media, that now have four daily newspapers in San Francisco and easily by next year will be the most influential editorial writers in The City, given district elections and swing voters, who are Chinese-reading in five of those districts -- then you can access a new website -- www.ncm, New California Media, online-dot-com. And it was the energy behind this multiethnic media collaboration that prompted Nicole Sawaya to invite me to start a new program, with Dennis Bernstein and Flashpoints, called The Eccentrics, to bring the multiethnic media voices onto KPFA and make the sort of general conversation on KPFA bring in Chinese language, Vietnamese language, Spanish language media creators -- and often the scholars representing and working with these communities -- who came from these communities -- that's partly why I'm very dedicated to what Nicole was doing and what Dennis has done for years -- sort
of probing, opening up, bringing more voices into the pubic forum.  NCM-online-dot-com translates news from multiethnic media sources, digests and analyzes it for people to have access -- and I hope you'll click on it.

Male Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...couldn't hear...

SC:  I'm the editor of Pacifica News Service.  But...I wanted to get Mr. Bramson, so we could...The only reason I...

Male Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...couldn't hear...

SC:  OK.  The reason I wanted to bring people in at the end of each speaker is just to make it more interactive and not...Sometimes you can feel like you're just in a dead zone.

Male Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...conference or....

SC:  Yes.

Male Voice:  ...[garbled -- faint]...

SC:  Yes.  I just didn't want to steal the focus away from this very important -- and for me -- highly educational session, and I have to say it was hard to break away.  We're doing an expo on May 27th at Pier 35 that will showcase the multilingual ethnic media from all over California.  It's the first time this -- over a hundred ethnic media organizations from the throughout the state will have a chance to present themselves, along with advertising agencies, particularly ethnic ad agencies -- They want to make a kind of powerful statement that "Look, we're not trying to say we're the only ones.  We're trying to say 'We want to be partners with the rest of the media.'"  And I've really come to see this as the alternative media of the late '90s.  These ethnic media organizations are doing what we in the '60s -- and I feel very much still do -- connect the disaffected.  In their case, they're connecting the disconnected.  And they're doing it in ways you might not agree with politically always, but man, you gotta know what that guy sitting next to you on the bus who's reading the Chinese language paper -- What is he seeing the world as?  What is he learning about?  And so all of these ethnic media, who get less than one percent of the advertising dollar in America, but reach now -- really are the bridge to the new ethnic communities of this state.  They're coming together.  You're invited.  It's free. It's nine-to-five at Pier 35, May 27th, and that evening we're celebrating the second annual New California Media Awards for the best in ethnic print journalism, translated -- all nominations were accepted, whatever language, translated into English and judged, and that's a very minor thirty dollars a ticket, and twenty dollars for people twenty-one or under.  That's enough.  I didn't want to do that, because this is so important to get this situation out for our..such a valuable station...that KPFA has always given us, a window to that micro..an access to that microphone.  That's what it's always been for me.  Mr. Bramson.  Sorry.

Pete Bramson:  That's all right.  I apologize for the delay. I had to take a call.  My name is Pete Bramson.  I'm on the Pacifica Governing Board.  I've been on the Pacifica Governing Board for about two years, and previous to that I was on the local board for maybe two and a half years.  I wanted to thank Neil for the invitation at the last local board meeting, and I wanted to thank everybody here for attending.  I want to thank my panel.  [apparently an aside]  My name is Pete.  I don't think we've met.

Male Voice:  No.  I'm Sandy.

PB:  Sandy.  I wanted to go over a couple things.  And then we'll move on with the rest of the panel, and I'll answer some questions, etc.  First of all, I'm speaking here as a member of the community as well a Board member.  I do not speak for policy, but I have my own feelings, that I'll represent my own concerns, and certainly I'll voice them when it comes to the questions.  If all of your questions are not answered within the time constraints, I'll certainly stay later and communicate as I can.  And I've invited Neil to construct another panel, if this finds to be fruitful. Part of what my concern is is that there has been a lack of communication to the community from the Pacifica Governing Board, and I feel this venue is certainly great.  I've been speaking to others within the community -- staff, Governing Board, etc.  And certainly needs to be movement on this, and I'm committed to doing that.

I want to start with something that is gonna come up over and over again -- and I can't offer -- and plead to the community to support KPFA as much as you can.  You may not like Pacifica. You may not like me.  You may not like what Pacifica stands for.  But KPFA needs your support.  There's gonna be a marathon, I think, coming up.  KPFA needs to stay alive.  If you don't...Again, if you don't agree with Pacifica, please support the station.  The staff is struggling.  There are a lot of issues at hand.  And I just want to make that plea.

There have been a couple of topics coming up today, one of which is an articulation.....I have feelings as though the issues have not been directly addressed to the community. Lauren Ayers has written..Lauren Ayers is sitting to my right -- who is a member of the local board, and also Take Back KPFA.  Several members of the community have asked several questions of the entire board, and I do not feel as though they have been answered directly.  I think Pacifica Board has an opportunity here to make some definitive statements, to move the process forward, to -- in the terms of the Pacifica Board -- to maintain The Mission, and to move the Strategic Plan forward.  I have concerns about the manner in which it is currently being moved forward, and I have voiced those concerns to my peers on the Governing Board.  I am personally involved in process within the Governing Board..And Peter Franck had mentioned a comment about...several comments.  Power shift.  Process issues. Constituent empowerment.  I feel, as a member of the Governing Board, that there needs to be heightened awareness at the..within the Pacifica family of two specific points: trust and accountability.  I feel as though this has not been effectively articulated in the Pacifica Board to the community, which I serve, and which is represented here and on the radio waves.

There are several on the Board who are as concerned as I am. I am hoping to increase the several to a majority of individuals who, again, are as concerned as I am.  I guess I'm ready for questions.

SC:  Yes.

Male Voice:  Would you support a reform of the governance structure of the foundation that incuded local governing boards?  In other words, a division of labor between the foundation board and local boards that govern the stations, local governing boards elected at least in part by the subscribers and by the staff, and elected also to the national board, so that both bodies would be elected. Woud you...You know, I'm not being specific on how that would be -- very open-ended -- but those elements in there.

PB:  Currently -- and I'll look at Lauren when I make the comment -- Lauren has been very vociferous in her comments about elections.  I do not support them.  I do not support them for a couple of reasons, but I think specifically is..does it..Do you have to become a subscriber or a member to be a voter?  And then if Curt gives a hundred dollars, does that give him a hundred votes?  I know -- I'm just putting it out there.  If I can, as a member of the governing board -- And my background, once again, was I was nominated from the local board.  I sat on both the local board and the governing board.  I had voting..I had, until February 28th or whatever..voting rights on the local board and the governing board.  Due to the bylaw issues, which Peter mentioned, I no longer have voting power on the local board -- but I go to every meeting -- and if I have something to say I say it.  If there can be a proposal put forth that is democratic and fair when it comes to voting individuals in so we can go back to the seats...I'll use Peter's comment -- If there's various seats, inclusive of anarchism -- That seems OK.I just want to make sure it's fair -- and I know at this point it's not -- So, the answer is I don't support it. But I haven't seen any cohesive plan or strategy on it. There was a second question in there, I think, which is the manner in which the local board interacts with the governing board.  Can that become more effective?  You betcha, absolutely.  And previous to Nicole's nonrenewal there was going to be a meeting at the local board to kind of discuss what those options were.  Did I answer your question?

Male Voice:  No.

PB:  Ask it again clearly, and I'll go for it.

SC:  Well, maybe, let's get two others...

PB:  OK.  Lauren.

Lauren Ayers:  Right before the governance changes were voted for by you and the rest of the board unanimously...

PB:  Right.

LA:  ...you heard from our Local Advisory Board, which of course is strictly advisory...

PB:  Correct.

LA:  ...that we would like you to vote against it...

PB:  Correct.

LA:  ...or vote to table it...

PB:  Yep.

LA:  ...and you did not, and that phony letter came through from the CPB about that.  If you didn't vote, then the money would actually not be sent -- the last, the second half of the money...

PB:  Correct.

LA:  ...Anyway, and so that was your reason for voting for the governance change.  Have you any regrets about that vote?  Do you feel that perhaps you were [garbled]?

PB:  The answer is I do have regrets about the vote.  My..The answer is: Was I fooled?  Yeah, sometimes I'm a schmuck, sometimes not.  But I think...

LA:  But do you think it's appropriate to admit that? I mean just to...

PB:  Yeah.  I just did.

[Lauren and a male voice -- garbled]

PB:  But I'll tell you my logic -- the reason I feel bad about it is I think I would have made a statement, in that -- if I didn't vote in support of it and there was a majority to go through, it would not have been a unanimous vote.  That's why I feel bad.  I think that could have been a more effective statement.

SC:  The gentleman in the back had his hand up first.  I'm sorry.

Male Voice:  My question to Pete is this.  You say you support KPFA, you support Nicole, you support the philosophy, the original philosophy [garbled -- faint]...How would...would you...With this attitude, how would you stay on the national board?  That is, the national board now is self-elected, I think.  I mean, I don't know the logistics of the way it works, but why should they allow you to stay on the national board, since the local boards at the local stations can't influence [garbled -- faint]...How can people with your point of view -- specifically you and possibly others -- continue to be on that national board, since you...I mean, can you be voted out?  Can you...How do you stay in it?  What's the mechanism?

PB:  There's a zillion questions.  Yes, I can be voted out by a majority of the membership of the governing board.  OK?  And today's action could incur the wrath of the Governing Board.  We all know that -- I wouldn't be here if I didn't understand it.  The other issue is how do I stay on there?  I think maybe that was the...

Male Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...

PB:  My term is two to three years.

Male Voice:  Who determines what your term is?

PB:  It's stated in the bylaws I think.

Male Voice:  Who decides whether to put you back on the board?  Answer that question.

PB:  The governing board would.  And I guess I can spin that there's a structure within the board governance committee that says the local board -- and this is a loose articulation of the most recent bylaw issue.  The local board still nominates two people from the local area -- nominates to the governing board.  The governing can pooh-pooh them, but in most instances -- and I will ask this to be consistently enforced -- that if the local boards nominate a person they are accepted.  The local board wouldn't put someone up unless they didn't feel as though that person could properly reflect the community in the signal area.  I'm very positive to that.  But there's nothing that says I can't be voted out. Maybe your question is can the community say I'm a shlub, get me out.

Male Voice:  My question is, didn't the judgment appear to be....

SC:  I'm sorry.  We have to move on.

PB:  That's OK.

Male Voice:  ...on the board.  Is there any future for a progressive voice on the governing board?

PB:  I will do my best to ensure it.

SC:  Let's move on to the next and last speaker.

PB:  Thank you.

SC:  Did you have a very quick question?  I'm sorry.

Male Voice:  I just wanted a clarification...

SC:  The gentleman in the back.  The gentleman with you.

Male Voice:  I think..I'm Henry Cole.  I've been on the KQEDboard for ten years, and I know the structure of public broadcasting, and I've had lunch with Mr. Coonrod, as you mentioned earlier.  And I think that the analysis is...I'm very concerned.  I was elected by the members of KQED over a multi-year period on the very issues of trust and accountability, and I've been involved intimately with this since 1974.  And..So I think it's very perceptive of you, Mr. Bramson, to be concerned about those issues.  I fail to understand how this board, as you said, voted for unanimously for this governance change when it would have been clear, with the bruhaha building up, that the members of..the supporters, rather, the subscribers represented by these people today, were up in arms.  I mean, why, if you're interested in trust, why would the board violate that trust knowingly that..and vote against the wishes of its subscribers?  And what kind of dialogue took place at that board that led to a unanimous vote?  I fail to understand.  Did the board really thumb its nose at public and its subscribers?  What's going on there?  I was not a supporter of Maria and Jeffery with the Take Back of KPFA, and just three weeks ago I was on the side of an open-minded platform needed to be developed. I don't see this board making any kind of a positive direction.  I fail to see any confidence and trust that anybody can have in this board.  Please tell us why we should have confidence in you.

SC:  Thanks, Mr...

PB:  I'm not here to do a sell job, OK?  I'm not here to do that.  But I will take questions on the side. The specific question was why did I support that?  And the question was it hit Pacifica in the pocketbook. That's why I felt as though that was the right decision to make at the time.  Had there been another option, which is a separate conversation -- maybe there was not a full exploration of those options -- it would've gone differently.

SC:  OK.  We need...

PB:  Thank you.

SC:  Thank you.

[end of tape 1 -- unknown gap in recording]

Dennis Bernstein:  Well, I want to say greetings from the first listener-supported, free speech, noncommercial, noncorporate radio station in the country, founded by people who went to jail for resisting war.  I want to let you know that this is not simply something happening within this community.  I was in Manhattan last week to receive an award, and I said the same thing that I just said to you, and before I could get through the war..resisting war there was a standing ovation.  People know what's going on, and they know it's a struggle. They're beginning to learn what the struggle is about. I can also tell you that Lynn Chadwick for some reason was allowed to appear on stage at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Pacifica in New York.  She's the Executive Director, if you don't know that.  And when she got on stage she was booed off stage.  So, understand that people have a sense of what's going on here.  I was just in a dialogue with several other staff members with Mary Frances Berry.  It was billed as a dialogue between Mary Frances Berry, Lynn Chadwick and the staff.  I assure you that Mary Frances Berry did the talking and Lynn Chadwick said not a word.  I guess, since they were both in Washington and we were on telephones at KPFA, that maybe she was there writing notes.  Hard to say who was in that other room.

Now, there's a lot to say about governance changes, about hiring a union-busting organization, about a lot of structural things that are important.  I want to tell you, I am absolutely inspired today in large part because I'm watching the students on the campus of UC Berkeley take a very courageous stand and put all the nuances of individual feelings aside and really put the heart and the mind together to take a stand for what they believe in, a courageous stand.  And I want to suggest -- and I say this to my own colleagues on the staff, unpaid staff, on the board, in the community -- that it is about power to the people.  It is...We are, we are the KPFA..the free speech community..in our soil, fighting for our soil, for the control of a free, open flow of information.  That's about the people. That's about you and I and all the vested parts of the community, to think about what you are willing to do in your heart to stand, to make sure that this network doesn't get stolen away and mimic all the other sort of top-down decision-making organizations.  I said to Mary Frances Berry, "Any good journalist knows that you don't know what's going on.  If you ain't there, you don't know what's happening."  She's three thousand miles away.  Lynn Chadwick goes three thousand miles away to talk to us here?  I find that troubling. I find it troubling when I go next door to get some information from the national crew and they open it up like a frightened person and the door is open six inches, and somebody talks through you, a scared, frightened person, who doesn't even know who you are! And they are the national communications director. There's something deeply wrong.  But it's up to the people.  I'm for governance.  I'm for legal.  I'm for all that other stuff.  I'm for making sure that we own things legally.  But if the people are there -- and let me tell you -- dozens of organizations are with us, thousands of people.  I think we're now up to six thousand emails, letters that went to Chadwick and Berry.  We've got the unpaid, the paid staff -- Now, the staff made a mistake when they excluded the unpaid staff.  Now, many of you who followed that battle know that I was the only person that fought that.  I fought it in the station.  They wanted to make that decision in silence.  I forced into the public.  I said that anybody who makes that decision is gonna have to make it before the people.  But I can tell you...you know, we're all on a learning curve.  And people change.  And that's all we are until we're dead is change.  So I can tell you there's a growing awarenenss, because some of us have been more out-front than others in speaking up, in telling the truth.  And I don't put my...I'm sort of in the middle. I have learned from Maria.  I have learned from a number of people about what's going on.  Some of us are so busy in the day to day flurry of the next war and the next police shooting that it's hard..it's hard to see what's happening around us.

But, you know, they say..one of the things they say about free speech in terms of trying to define its limits is that  you can't shout fire in a crowded theater.  On the other hand, if you know that there's a fire and you keep your mouth shut, you must accept responsibility for your own silence.  I say there's a fire at Pacifica, and I say that it's important for us to get involved. And I just want to say a few personal things here. Am I going on too long here?  OK.  I've got...Sandy Close, I must say, is my hero, my mentor, my...So, I'm a little nervous.  When she says two minutes I gonna try and keep to it.

At the personal level, in 1967 I was studying police science at a technical college, because I wanted to join the CIA and turn the clock back on the Communists. And I met a friend...I admit, I fell in love.  And she said to me, "You know, I think that this domino...I think you're an idiot.  I think you should listen to this free speech radio station."  That was WBAI at the time.  I started listening.  I started hearing people who I wanted to be -- intelligence officers, soldiers, CIA agents -- telling me that my government was lying to me, explaining to me, unraveling it.  Years later I remember lying on the floor at my mother's house and listening to the broadcast that was right against the wall at Attica prison, and we could hear our BAI broadcaster breaking down as the helicopters went in and the shooting started, and we heard that, and we heard what was going on.  And still later I was priviliged, while teaching in the South Bronx, a media collective for teen parents and high school dropouts, and one of my students came in and said last night they heard the shooting through the ceiling.  A 67-year-old grandmother was assassinated because she was...at close range by fifteen cops, shot to death because she was late on her rent.  And there I was with those children, telling that story.  And what do we do about it?  What could we do?  Do they die with it?  Is is another assassination of a member of their community, against their soul, a disempowerment?  Or what could we do?  Well, we investigated, we made a video, we brought the story to WBAI.  Several of those kids became journalists.  In the moment they triggered the investigation into the police that led to an indictment.  The open flow, the unfettered flow of free speech, open information.  Later on I was allowed with Perry Thomas to start a show called Beyond Bars, a prison abolition show, in which every week I snuck a tape recorder into Ryker's Island, and let people listen to those who were being imprisoned for many..many times speaking truth to power.  So I stand for that kind of open flow free speech network.  And if it's in your heart to stand with us, get as close as you can and please do.  Thank you.

SC:  For people on the outside, not intimately involved in this struggle, the big question is, what is to be done?  And I wish we could spend the last few minutes of the panel -- ten minutes -- asking, perhaps, members of the panel questions.  And I don't mean to give Dennis short shrift, not to have his own questions.  So I'll take questions to him first.  But it does seem to me...I listen to all this, and I wonder why don't we just declare independence? I mean, why doesn't KPFA frankly decleare independence and go to its own roots?  And make itself an independent radio station again?  Why do you have to deal with this?  I will say one thing about foundations, Peter, and as you know I've had to fund raise for thirty-two years, and have really learned a lot and come to care a lot about many of the people I've dealt with.  But more and more I'm finding community activists at the grassroots level will tell you, when you ask them what they're doing, "Oh, I'm working on this initiative."  "Oh, where did that come from?"  "Oh, that's the initiative of this foundation."  Hey!  That's not the way it's supposed to be.  That was what got us fucked up in the '60s. We..You know, we were told we could save the world for democracy -- by the government.  We were told we could eradicate poverty -- by the government.  It was top-down, and it was fucked.  And if we've learned anything, it's that, you know, with people now, not by, for and through them.  And so when I listen to this as an outsider, truly, to the internal dynamics governing KPFA, but I do listen to it as somebody who..when Angela Davis' codefendant, Rachel McGee [sp?], had no voice, literally no voice, when he was on trial for his life.  KPFA opened the door to me.  They didn't know me from Adam.  And gave me the chance to air a half-hour program.  Nobody else did that.  And that's why I'm loyal to you.  But I wonder, if...Why should I continue doing a half-hour program on this station if they ban voices?  I didn't know that.  And I listen to the speakers, and I'm asking myself do I want to even continue giving half an hour -- which is hard -- to get good speakers and try to be provocative and give people access to voices they wouldn't otherwise hear -- Do I need it?  I mean, do I need the time?  Yes, I respect the audience, but not if it's for an organization that acts fascist. So that's a quandary for me.  And I'm going away from this really seriously wondering...If it hadn't been for Dennis saying, "No, we've got to keep control of the microphone", you know I would've said "Goodbye and good luck."  I'll go to KLW or somewhere else, or the micro station, which appeals to me.  So questions.  That's all I'm going to say as a moderator. This man had his hand up first, and then you and you.

Male Voice:  [unintelligble -- faint]...can we make KPFA...

DB:  Excuse me.  I didn't hear you.

Male Voice:  Can we make KPFA [garbled -- faint]...

DB:  Well, you know...As I said, having been somebody who is on the learning curve and coming lately, one of the things that I've investigated is that nobody's really investigated the various aspects of legal control.  In other words, what exactly are our rights as a listener-sponsoring community?What are our rights in relation to a station that has a charter both from the state and the federal government?  I think we have to know extensively more, a good deal more, about how to go about making the case.  But I think that a number of things are possible.  A number of things are possible.  I do not think it makes sense, though, to walk away, go on strike, let them hire a new crew, give them the frequency, give them the microphones, by saying, "OK, we're not gonna fund raise any more, and we're not gonna pay the rent, and we're gonna stand out front, in front the building..."  Believe me, once you shut off the transmitter, it's just another building.  So I think we have...now are engaged in a process of educating ourselves and the public and wanting to be inclusive.  I think this is a very interesting question here.  What we've seen, in terms of Pacifica versus KPFA and the local stations, is top-down, is a decision to be exclusive as opposed to inclusive, is a decision when threatened to align with a state organization, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, rather than fight it out on our own, rather than not align with a state group.  OK, well now at the local level, as a community, it's time for the staff -- unpaid, paid -- the large donors, the listener-sponsors, the activist groups that depend on us all the time -- it's time to survey, to come together -- and there are a number of ad hoc groups that now have formed in which we trying to be more and more inclusive.  We want to evaluate the legal possibilities.  It's three-pronged.  It's the legal front.  It's about the community or the power to the people.  And it's the funding base.  We need to understand how to make that fight best on all levels.  Secession?  That's certainly a possibility.

SC:  The person who raised their hand.  Yes.  Right at the beginning.

Female Voice:  Having listened to a lot of disinformation, my feeling is that -- for one thing, I have never -- I'm holding a grudge [garbled -- faint]...as long ago as '95, when that occurred -- when about twenty or thirty programmers just vanished.  They had just done the fundraising and snatched our people that we had pledged for right out from under our noses.  I don't forgive that.  I don't know if that's one of the three hundred volunteers -- the people Maria referred to.  But, at any rate, though, that's sitting there giving me real problems.  But I have a very positive...I've been listening to the problems as being quite repetitiously presented, I have to say..presented on KPFA.  You know, it's only us listeners, probably, that have the view of the station -- a kind of overview of the station -- because the staff is busy putting out the programs.  They can't be sitting there listening as much as some of us do.  So, listening to the management questions that have been raised here today, I don't have the solution, but I think that some way of getting the listeners' input into your decision-making is crucial, and to let the listeners know that that's happening, so they're not sitting at their radio feeling excluded.

SC:  So you're suggesting a survey -- which could be done, and it would cost, but it would be a survey that -- if it was really credible -- of KPFA listeners -- would be part of -- the very necessary material needed to go forward.

DB:  Now.  Let me just say that there's a lot of places to get substantive material that talks about the stuff that Maria and Take Back KPFA has laid out.  I mean, this stuff is on the web.  If you're not on the web, you can drop an email to savepacifica@hotmail.com.  That'll get you to all the connected websites.  There...Take Back KPF...I mean, it's all over the place in terms of the actual material, the survey, what's happening.  Now, there have been a number of organizational groups, and they're getting larger, not smaller.  There are a number of groups forming around...Our demands -- if you follow the meltdown -- our demands were: Bring back Nicole.  Independent mediation.  To open up the books and evaluate where money's being spent, how it's being spent, who's structurally in control.  These are our demands.  These are what we're asking to do.  In the process of doing that, we need to, as I said before, inform ourselves about our own alternatives.  So, there's the website that goes to about seven other websites that's got substantial material, questions, Q&As..you know, really more than you could ever want in terms of understanding where you stand.

SC:  [garbled -- faint]...another question.

Male Voice:  I just wanted to ask [garbled]..I worry..circling the wagons..this attitude I get from Pacifica that a war of attrition is going on.  The micro broadcasters didn't come to us lawyers and say, "Figure out how we can go on the air."  They went on the air, and then we figured out why it was consitutional, and more have got on the air, and that's what forced the FCC to deal with it.

SC:  That's a good model.  Yes.

[TRANSCRIPTIONIST NOTE:  The sound quality for the next speaker from the attendees is very poor.  At best what is heard are phrases and occasional words.  Full sentences are nearly impossible to discern.  The phrases included below I believe convey the intent of the speaker. -- JS]

Male Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...involved for certain periods over a period of time with KPFA, and at the opening you [garbled]...about two or three years ago at the Senior Center in Berkeley [garbled]...quite a number of people still their asses covered [garbled]...and I mean, I've been involved in this stuff [garbled]...first broadcast, and it was February of 1993 {garbled]...KPFA...[garbled -- laughter]...involved all the federal stuff, FCC and such.  And I got to thinking and wondering if these people are here today...[garbled]...the process...wondering if we'd be where we are today if some people though about...if that meeting had said...community involvement...respossession act.  I mean, people are gonna walk out of this meeting, down two or three blocks, and take back the station en masse...direct action...A survey?  I mean, that's not hardly radical, in my opinion....At times radical action is needed...unless you plan to go to the wall with it...

[many voices for a few seconds]

DB:  OK, yeah.  The survey is Sandy's idea...[laughter]...You know, it's an idea.  But I'm sort of more with you, Steven.  I...Mary Frances Berry, in that meeting that we had...She said, "What's this problem with the call? I don't understand.  Is this a personality thing?  Why is everybody so upset?  Maybe somebody can explain it." And I said, "Well, you took a woman -- a Lebanese American single parent mom, a courageous woman, who united a staff and a community, who stood up for reporters when we were thrown out of that Chevron, who came to see how dangerous it was to start our generators that needed to be replenished, who understood what we needed to do investigative reporting, who invited New California Media on, because she saw the reasons to have more multiple different voices -- and she helped us expand our work so that we could cover a war that was unfolding.  And she was fired two weeks before our fiftieth anniversary in the middle of the war.  And Mary Frances Berry is saying, "I don't really understand what's going on here."  She then went onto our airwaves unconfronted and took questions with the same tone.  One of the things she said -- and I really want to remind you again -- is that the books are open.  Anybody who wants to come down....remember her saying that, Pete?  The books are wide open. Come down to the national office and check 'em out.  The national office is right next door to KPFA.  I am hoping that ten, twenty, a hundred, five hundred come down to the office and check out the books, the little books, the heart books, the soul books.  Come in -- by the hundreds.  Maybe you're gonna have to stay a long time, to check out the books.  But we need to.  Nicole told us, she alerted us -- a courageous act of this manager -- to tell the staff what her bosses were doing.  That's what got her fired.  You know, there's a saying that says "Truth has few friends, and those few are suicides." I hope Nicole is not a suicide of her own truth.

SC:  There's a...Neil, I think you told me it was an hour and a half, and we've come to the end of the hour and a half.  In general, the issue before all of us is: How do we go from being on the defensive to the offensive? And that seems to be...You wanted to say...Why don't you have the last word and then let people talk -- if there's a break before the next panel -- and then talk to people individually.

Maria Gilardin:  This is sort of coincidental.  I don't really...We can set our own agenda here.  In terms of what can be done, there is...I hope you all get this flyer.  There is a new coalition that was initiated actually by two of the board members, current Local Advisory Board members.  It is the Coalition for a democratic Pacifica, and the democratic is spelled with a lower case, so we don't mix it up with the Democratic Party, which is really important in this.  There are events on there, contacts on there.  There are continuing meetings every Monday night.  And this coalition is mainly getting together to support staff.  So, I'm going to pass these out to those of you who haven't gotten one, because they're really a great resource also in terms of other websites.

One more thing I want to say...I list like four things that could be done as....Not in a long time have I so enjoyed listening to KPFA these days.  The spirit of resistance and spontaneity and pride and really sort of human type response to this is just wonderful, and I want to thank you, Dennis, and others who you can pass this on to.  It's a delight to listen to KPFA again.

Having said that, I was a little bit saddened that the station decided to go ahead with the marathon.  I know there was opposition to that within the station.  And I understand the fear of those who wanted to go ahead with it.  So, at this point we are supporting the marathon.  What I fear...and a fear I would like to make known to you and everybody else...I think...I know
this has been discussed as one option.  I think the way to go about this marathon would be not to actually ask people to send the money, but to really pledge...pledge a total real commitment for a future pledge contingent on Nicole's return, Larry Bensky's return, and be..[applause]...I think you, Curt, if you were to say that, I think you could truly have the most successful
marathon of all times.  Because it would bind your demands to the listeners' wishes.  You can take..you know, you know you can take people's credit card numbers already and say, "We're not going to bill you until that day." And I know there are many many many people who would help, who would be outside the station, who would cook for you and child care for you and help you out through a maybe sparse period, until they are reinstated.  So..

Female Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...escrow fund...[garbled -- faint]...

MG:  Right.  That's..you know, the other four things that have been bandied around a lot.  I'm really glad that Dennis is inviting you to look at the books, because what you will see is what they have always shown us.  You know, we need to see the cancelled checks. Short of that, we don't really know what's happening. If there is a line item of $120,000 or $250,000 for
consultants, that in itself is bad enough.  What do we need these NPR consultants for?  It's totally a waste of money.  But we do really need to see the checks, the cancelled checks.  So, if you do that, ask for the cancelled checks.  And that's very very essential, to get ahold of the internal....

[end of tape 2 side 1]

MG:  ...being done right now by -- can I say his name?  No.  By a very well respected local lawyer, who is looking at four or five different options, how to move on the Pacifica National Board.  And one of the options that sort of seems intuitively right is to say Pacifica violated its own bylaws by changing its bylaws in such a dramatic way, excluding now forever local representation.  And if that window opens up and they have to rescind that vote, then we need to come in with alternatives, including possibly an elected board.  You all know about this beautiful letter that Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman wrote.  Yes?  What, no?

Male Voice:  Copies in back.

MG:  OK.  Copies in back.  A really groundbreaking event, that these...the holy trinity of the left, has actually made a statement in favor of democracy at Pacifica and expressed a concern about the direction in which Pacifica is going.  That has been tremendously important all across the country, that this happened.

There's another idea connected to this, to create a commission of inquiry that has these people seated at it.  So if Pacifica is resistant to our efforts to democratize it, to bringing Nicole and Larry back, then we probably need to move forward on that, to create this commission of inquiry with really important people on it, and investigate Pacifica, including looking at the books.  So that is another possibility. Yeah.  Did I forget anything?

SC:  No, that's very....I think we have to end for the next panel, right Neil?

[TRANSCRIPTIONIST NOTE:  Poor sound quality for the next speaker.  Again excerpted phrases appear -- JS.]

Female Voice:  [garbled -- faint]...I think a lot of people...What do I do?  If I want to go look at the books, what do I ask for? What do I look for?  Can I...[garbled -- other voices talking over]...

SC:  Yes, Peter.

PF:  You know what's really effective is an audit, and what you really need to do is find a volunteer CPA, somebody who knows how to analyze books and what to look for, and send him as your representative.  I mean, it's [garbled]...send in hundreds, but if you really want to find out what's going on in terms the books, you need somebody who knows how to analyze books and how you go from this ledger to that ledger and trace the money.  And if Mary Frances made that offer, I think it's extremely important that it be taken up by somebody that can do it in a reasonable amount of time, and whose report will be credible.

DB:  Well, I just want to amend that.  I agree that you should have really an expert in there, sophisticated, who can look at the books.  But, you know, in the new activist media, you know, video activists, they've got one person videoing the action and then one person videoing the person whose videoing the action.  I think you need to keep a very close eye.  You need to go with numbers. Have your expert in front, but make sure that everybody knows that everbody's watching.  A lot of people with your expert.  And maybe there should be two, so he can't be offered a job or a national show.


MG:  What do you go to be shown?  What they have to show you are the 990 tax forms that they have to file as a nonprofit.  And they are interesting, because they list the five top salaries, so you can see what they're getting. And then what they will show you probably are like eighteen pages of the annual financial statement audited by always the same company that has audited them.  And they're interesting because they have columns where KPFA and KPFK are listed next to each other.  So you can sort of see...Look at the legal expenses, you know, staff, so on, consultant expenses, management expenses, and the unit, the national unit, how much the national unit is drawing now from the overall.  But that's not OK, you know, we need to see the cancelled checks.  That's....

Male Voice:  There are several more events coming up, and there's going to be a weekend meeting that Maria just mentioned, so we can get more dialogue going there.  Also for the next hour we're going to be...many of us will be in the courtyard.  There'll be a lunch there.  And tomorrow afternoon there is a rally in support of KPFA at Martin Luther King Park at four

DB:  Right here in downtown Berkeley -- right around the corner from the Berkeley Barb...

SC:  I have a question.  Is there any reason why we can't now define and draw together a group of people, to find..with your help, to find a volunteer CPA and start acting on this as quickly as possible. [garbled -- faint -- background noise]...I feel like these other listeners here, that we feel left out of the picture, and much as was mentioned, you keep saying the same things over and over, but we really want to take some kind of action quickly, and so, since you're already here, and before we move on to something new, could we make a motion to come together and start organizing groups of people to find some CPAs -- and video people I can help provide myself -- to record them, to get [garbled]...in the next two weeks or so.  Would that be legitimate [garbled]...?

[many voices]

SC:  Yeah.  I mean do that now.

PF:  There's a sign-up sheet in the back for the Coalition for a democratic Pacifica.  If people would sign that -- and if you have contact with a CPA or something like that -- or are interested, make a little notation along the side, because...

DB:  I make a motion.  Start an Open the Books committee.  I motion that whoever here who wants to join an Open the Books committee sign up, get together and find an expert.  You know, let's...as many...let's ask...I for you to begin...

SC:  [garbled -- many voices]...you know, there's so many things to take care of and so many topics to talk about, but if people aren't focused on the specific aspects...then we need to do it.  Then all we need to do is write it down on the list, our names and phone numbers, on the back of the phone number list,...[other voices]...and that would be our focus...

DB:  Great idea.

PF:  There's actually an extra form to make a special list for that.  If you take one of the forms

[many voices]

Female Voice: ...put an accountant "A" after their names.  And then we'll have the list.  We'll know who is interested in being on that committee to find an accountant and go in.  And that's what...I mean, we've already got it done.

[many voices]

DB:  ....because of the time limit that we invite people to join us at our table in the courtyard who will be interested in pursuing the Open the Books committee....

Submitted by
John Sommers
Inglewood, CA
Former KPFK Listener-Sponsor
Conscientious Objector to Paying for Hypocrisy and Oppression

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