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Pacifica's Labor Teach In: Law & Disorder (WBAI) - April 6, 2011 at 11:00am

KPFA Special Broadcast, for April 6, 2011 - 11:00am

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Pacifica's Labor Teach In Special

Pacifica Radio presents a national Teach In on Labor brought to you by programmers from the five Pacifica stations.

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Hi Matthew,The best estimate

Hi Matthew,The best estimate I can come up with of the costs to prveent the sale of KPFA (per the Michael Palmer misdirected email to Media Alliance's then-ED Andrea Buffa that kicked off all the fuss in 1999 when Dennis Bernstein read it out loud on KPFA's airwaves and then was dragged off the air by private security guards) is around 4 million. If you include the many lawsuits, the many benefit events, fundraising in support of Carol Spooner's lawsuit, the Friends of Free Speech Radio effort, the security bills for Pacifica, those expensive board meetings at luxury hotels attended by hundreds of activists, and so on. The four-year effort between 1999 and 2003 to democratize the internal structure of Pacifica to prveent the loss of assets was really expensive.But there is no doubt that having gotten through it once, no one ever wanted to go through a struggle like that again. So safeguards were put into place that allowed the members to interfere to prveent the sale of assets they had paid for and helped to build without their permission. And a decision was made that it was worth spending 2-2.5% of annual income to keep those safeguards in place. One can argue (and I have) that it makes sense to look at on-line voting options to minimize the $100,000 or so in costs for printing and postage for 80,000 ballots and I hope that will come to pass. It should. Despite the digital divide, it shouldn't be controversial that lots of Pacifica members are savvy enough to review materials online and would like to save the trees and a few bucks as well.Relatively few would prefer to cede their right to prveent the sale of a station for a paltry savings of $25,000 a year. I agree with Mr. Johnson that that is a tea party-style argument about dismantling safety nets because its too expensive .Pacifica is and has been besieged for far too long with a culture where people with long-standing ties to the organization resist change by filing lawsuits. Programming changes result in lawsuits. Personnel changes result in lawsuits. Everything is resolved with a metaphorical legal gun. I know why. It is the result of a media system that provides no access and shuts down progressive and marginalized perspectives, leaving Pacifica in a scarcity dynamic where people feel that if they don't work for, have a space on or have *control of* this outlet, there is no where else for them to go. Which is largely true and very sad. But it is not an excuse for the inability of the old guard to let the network change. At KPFA, listener sponsorship declined by 30% between 2007 and 2009. With the old Morning Show on the air. There was a huge problem and expenses had to be cut. If that can't happen without a blizzard of 15 complaints, grievances and lawsuits, then something is very wrong.Democratic governance doesn't mean that math fails to apply, nor does it mean that an executive director chosen by a democratically-elected national board of directors cannot make tough decisions when they have to be made. It means that KPFA, WBAI, KPFT, KPFK, and WPFW cannot be sold behind the back of the communities that they serve (as many stations are as Jennifer Waits is brilliantly documenting) and that she is charged with prveenting that at all costs and facing an economy that has looted the money from the people to the banks and imperial wars and occupations.That ain't easy. And it isn't always going to make you popular. And there are costs. But it would be nice if the costs weren't aggravated by people who feel the only response to a layoff or a programming change is to file a lawsuit. All that does is make a mockery of the millions already spent to save the network. Undermining the organization from within to try to maintain a failing status quo is a fools pursuit.I'm about to spend 5 hours in a KPFA local station board meeting. And there is nothing on the agenda but dueling motions of censure. It's a total waste of time and does nothing to build for the future. I want to talk about promotion, I want to talk about a program council reviewing a raft of exciting new proposals for special programs, I want to talk about town hall meetings, I want to talk about next year's budget. But we won't. The old guard has other plans for the day. And its frustrating. Spin is no substitute for planning. And lawsuits are no substitute for a balanced budget. And a closed door is no substitute for engaged, open, community-based programming development initiatives. Yours,Tracy RosenbergKPFA LSB Listener RepresentativePacifica Foundation Board of Directors

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