Petition for Pacifica elections now
To the Interim Pacifica National Board (iPNB),
Your work is done. It is time for elections! There has already been far too much delay.
Your refusal at your September 2nd meeting to set a timeline for elections is a continuing outrage against the listeners and is a violation of both the Settlement Agreement Section 3.c. and the newly adopted bylaws Article 4, Section 7. It is time for you to let go of your positions of power and allow elected directors to take the reins of the Pacifica Foundation.
The new bylaws give listener-sponsor and staff members of the Pacifica Foundation the right to democratically elect the local station board. Accordingly, we as members are demanding the following:
1) That the iPNB IMMEDIATELY adopt a reasonable timeline for elections.
2) That said timeline not extend the terms of the current iPNB directors beyond the court-mandated January 30, 2004, expiration date.
3) That all attempts at amending the bylaws be immediately stopped until elected boards can consider amendments as required by the new bylaws.
4) That the iPNB carry out its duty under Section 3.c. of the Settlement Agreement to oversee the elections in a fair and impartial manner and to avoid any and all interference with the elections process.
5) That the iPNB fully support, for example with funding and air time, the Executive Director, the National Elections Supervisor, and all Local Election Supervisors in their efforts to ensure fair, open, and democratic elections.
I am a member of Pacifica because I have donated at least $25 or volunteered at least three hours during the past year, or I am on the staff.
To sign the petition, go here: http://www.pacificalabs.org/iPNB/
Because this is a petition of Pacifica MEMBERS, please sign only if you are a member of one of the five Pacifica stations (KPFA, WBAI, KPFK, WPFW, or KPFT).
Under the proposed timeline, non-members have until October 10th to send checks or money orders to your local station. Internet listeners must choose one station with which to affiliate. Signing up and voting may be the most important steps you can take to preserve the freedom of the media in this country. See http://www.wbai.net/contact/contact.html for the mailing address of your station.
WHY IS THIS PETITION NECESSARY?
On September 2, the interim Pacifica National Board (iPNB) sank to a new low in its checkered career. After an extremely difficult and exhausting process of bylaws revision ended in the passage of a highly democratic set of bylaws, the board, by a 6-5 vote, refused to set a timeline for elections, as it is required to do under the new bylaws. The result is yet another delay for the thousands of staff members and listener-sponsors, who, with a $25 minimum donation or three hours volunteer time, now have the right to elect the boards that run Pacifica.
This is the same national board that reluctantly passed the same bylaws just over two months ago! There followed a bruising struggle to win approval by the required three out of five local boards. When KPFK in Los Angeles finally came through with the third ratification, in a hotly contested, 12-11 vote, the stage was finally set for elections, and a democratic Pacifica--or so it seemed. Instead, a narrow majority on the iPNB not only refused to create an electoral timeline, but argued that the bylaws hadn't really passed at all!
Their current call for delay revolves around a perverse misinterpretation of a judge's ruling. On July 8th, Judge Sabraw ruled that the bylaws had passed the iPNB, and ordered the local boards to all vote on the bylaws by July 23rd. They did, but only two of them passed the bylaws at that time. KPFK reversed its earlier negative vote and approved the bylaws on August 23rd. Now, the anti-elections crowd is claiming that the revote was illegal because it wasn't held by July 23rd. But the judge's ruling only set a deadline for a mandatory vote, not for passage. The purpose of the ruling was to speed up the process of passing bylaws and holding elections. Now, it is being misapplied by a majority of the national board to serve exactly the opposite purpose--slowing down elections, or stopping them altogether!
Instead, the current iPNB majority wants to proceed with a facilitated discussion process that was created in July, as a fallback, after the initial failure of the local boards to pass the bylaws. Since the bylaws have now passed, this facilitated discussion serves no further purpose except obfuscation and delay.
Delay tactics are nothing new at Pacifica, where people entrenched in power have been stalling passage of bylaws for months on end. The iPNB was supposed to have approved bylaws in 2002. Elections were to be held by the end of the year. The iPNB was supposed to have been replaced by an elected board in March of this year. But month after month passed by without the board passing bylaws. Many on both national and local boards simply haven't wanted to have to face elections to keep their jobs--probably for good reason! It's time such anti-democratic usurpers be driven out of power for good.
Carol Spooner, Secretary of the iPNB and principal hero of the fight to save Pacifica, has vowed to go to court and ask the judge to affirm that the bylaws have indeed passed and are in effect. (It was her motion to set a timeline that was voted down.) In the meantime, we need to crank up the pressure...here's where you can contact the iPNB members.
Two national board members, Rob Robinson and George Barnstone, are now obstructing elections under the new bylaws, even though they actually cast votes for PASSING the bylaws only a little over two months ago! If we can put enough pressure on these two I suspect they will see the writing on the wall and realize that the Pacifica community wants democracy NOW. The other four no votes are Marion Barry, James Ferguson, Ray LaForest, and Jabari Zakiya. Sing to them loud and clear:
Your old road is rapidly agin'. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand, For the times they are a-changin'!
History: The Pacifica Foundation is the only major progressive radio network in the United States. For years, its five stations, KPFA in Berkeley, WBAI in New York, KPFK in Los Angeles, WPFW in Washington D.C., and KPFT in Houston, were threatened by a clique of corporate mainstreamers who tried to dumb down the programming, strip it of political content, and make the network non-threatening to the government and the corporate world. Dissident board members and activists among listeners, staff, and the progressive community filed lawsuits to bring Pacifica back to its radical, free-speech roots. In December 2001, we reached a historic settlement agreement, providing for an interim national board to take the helm for what was supposed to be a fifteen-month transition period. Drafting new bylaws and holding elections under them was the most important responsibility of the iPNB under the settlement.
To sign the petition, go here: http://www.pacificalabs.org/iPNB/
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