Some History of the Pacifica Crisis

by Phil Mann
August 8, 2001

A possible means to provide public accountability and prohibit private, ex parte agreements and actions can be found in an open meeting process very much similar to that required by the "Brown Act" (California Law).   I've included a site providing a summary of the act below.

On a personal and anecdotal note, as a municipal commission member I've been subject to the Brown Act since its inception and have found it a very workable compromise for all interests involved. I think it would work well for Local Area Board (LAB)/listener interests too.

Brown Act Summary

1000 People crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to protest New Management at WBAI who under the Pacifica Network have banned or fired dozens of WBAI Producers and staff. April 28, 2001 © Copyright, Diane Greene Lent, 2001

Jonathan J. Markowitz  feels that this is a very important issue that he believes is relative to the struggle in all five signal areas, regardless of whether a LAB has been elected or not. The question of LAB  member's accountability not to just station staff or management, but to the listeners is one that is at the heart of any 'remedy' to the conditions or structure that lead to the Pacifica catastrophe.

Further, the issue of empowering the LABs is one that must be  examined, in spite of the quagmire of the culture of what is perceived to be "Pacifica." Not only must Pacifica's station boards be elected by listeners and staff, elected local boards must share in the power to affect programming decisions and hiring/firing of management. Without such power, listener representatives on the station boards have virtually no way to enforce their 'constituent's' concerns, except through the political "long distance" of the Pacifica National Board itself.

For those that see Jeff Blankfort's exposé as a means with which to discredit elections as a way to select decent LAB members, it is only democratic process that has the potential to ameliorate such aberrations by disallowing such antithetical members from retaining their seats. However labor intensive, democratically  elected process to seat board members is the means, not the ends.

by  Jeffrey Blankfort
August 07, 2001

Unbeknownst to most KPFA listeners, including those who have fought to preserve the station and who regularly attend KPFA's LAB meetings, the LAB has had a private e-mail list the intent of which, presumably, was to discuss LAB business. Since LAB business was thought by a minority of LAB members to be something discussed in public and not out of sight or hearing of those with a legitimate interest and a long term commitment to the station, namely, the listeners, that minority on the LAB pushed to open the list, at least for purposes of information only, to the listeners. Since the LAB has no responsibility concerning the governance of the station, the usual legal arguments against opening the list do not apply, although certain members of the LAB seem to think they do. The LAB is and was intended to be a conduit from the community to the station and to the governing board. (Given the current situation, of course, the latter does not apply.)

Reflecting an attitude and acting in a manner not dissimilar from what we have seen in from both Pacifica and in the not too distant past from our local LAB, there have been certain elements on our new elected LAB who would prefer that the listeners be kept ignorant about certain LAB business as they have been about the existence of the list  itself. These same elements have apparently adopted a policy among themselves of ignoring requests by other members of the LAB that certain items of concern to KPFA and its listeners, e.g., the status and continuation of the Steering Committee, be placed on the LAB agenda. This internal conflict has not been made public until now.

The forwarded message from Mark Hernandez from KFCF in Fresno was occasioned by the public forwarding of discussion on this subject on the LAB list to several community activists by a LAB member and my response to that posting.

As many of you know, I have been an activist in this struggle since 1993 when I was banned, along with Sue Supriano, former PNB member Ron Wilkins from KPFA, and three other activists from speaking to the Pacifica Board.  It was the same meeting at which Maria Gilardin, to her everlasting honor, became the first person to be banned from setting foot in any Pacifica station. She, along with Joe Wanzala, have been two of the members on the LAB who have been fighting for the community's right to now and to have a greater input into the LAB's decision making processes and their efforts have been largely ignored. Joe, in particular, has argued this point to no avail. It certainly is an argument in which the listeners have a right to participate and that is the reason that this message is being sent.

I hope that Mark will explain his arbitrary action in response to this post and that you will get a chance to make your own thoughts known..

by Mark Hernandez]
August 06, 2001

As a consequence of the list security being violated, I will be shutting down the KPFA LAB list effective 11:59PM, August 6, 2001.

This list was donated under the condition that it be used solely by the LAB for the LAB to use; as it is now compromised and persons not on the LAB have been given access to it, that use has been violated and under the terms of the owner of the server, it must be closed.

This is not done without warning; several notices have been given previously that if this address was given out, the list would be shut down.

In the past week, several messages have been posted to this list by non-LAB members without the consent of the LAB itself; this is in violation of the original offer of the use of this list, and triggers the shutdown of the list.

Editor's note: Some may fault me for publishing internal memorandums such as these but what better way to prevent deceits from being perpetuated than this way.

The Pacifica stations are the only independent news organization, an organization which was formed by a man, Lewis Hill, who resisted a war which most everyone else considered a "good" war, a war which was not fought for liberation, but one which was fought for greed.

When one realizes that over time, every single ethnicity has been betrayed in the United States to one degree or another, one must realize that it is the slow progression of the effect that has cast a downward force in the wage structure of decent American workers, one must realize that a free press is mandatory to prevent the complete domination of all working people and indeed all people except the ultra rich.

You noticed that this began in 1993. Bill Clinton was in the White House then. Nothing was done to alleviate this situation until Juan Gonzalez asserted himself on January 31, 2001  voluntarily resigning in order to send a message. He initiated the Pacifica Campaign in order to draw subscriber money from the Pacifica National Board which instigated the whole situation initially simply because accurate information was being disseminated by broadcasters such as Amy Goodman, Bernard White, Sharan Harper,  Grandpa Al Lewis, Janice K. Bryant, Robert Knight, and several others at WBAI.

Elite organizations do not tolerate accurate information. One elite organization enabled Bill Clinton to be voted into power. He then appointed Mary Frances Berry, a woman who had heretofore been a powerful civil rights activist who deliberately changed ideology seeking to prevent the truth from being known by the listeners who paid to hear the truth, betraying them.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     Winter 2002     Copyright © 2002 by News Sourse, Inc.