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Open Book - April 13, 2012 at 3:00pm

Cover to Cover Open Book, for April 13, 2012 - 3:00pm

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Open Book

Part two of a two part interview with Hari Kunzru, author of the acclaimed new novel, "Gods without Men" (Part One was heard on April 12th; the complete interview can be found at Hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

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I have been on the Local

I have been on the Local Station Board of KPFA and intimately involved with KPFA for just two years. Although I have listened to the station for 30 years, when I ran for the board, I didn’t really know who the players were. I wasn’t really a part of the “wars” of the late 90’s except as a supporter of the station itself. I didn’t know Tracy Rosenberg and I didn’t carry any baggage other than a desire to make sure that the KPFA airwaves continue to be accessible to community activists and organizations. However, in my time on the board I have seen and can attest to the fact that Tracy Rosenberg has been a fearless and most dedicated advocate for our station. I personally believe that she, more than any other board member, has been responsible for the financial recovery that KPFA has made in the last two years. With a deep commitment to progressive media, a solid grasp of non-profit finances and a remarkable ability to articulate her concerns, she has earned the respect and, apparently the ire, of some members of the board.The reason she has become a target of the Concerned Listener/SaveKPFA faction is because she has been outspoken in her support of the Pacifica Foundation and has been willing to express opinions that placed her in the minority. She has donated thousands of hours to making sure that the practical realities of keeping KPFA viable were tended to. I view her as a remarkable and loyal steward of the station. It would be a huge mistake to recall her.The CL/SaveKPFA faction has not alleged any misconduct by Tracy. They are targeting her because of her beliefs about how the station should be run and its relationship to the network of Pacifica stations. It is alarming to watch as the well-funded CL/SaveKPFA faction mobilizes to put Tracy in the crosshairs for simply speaking her mind. Others of us on the board share her views, although we may lack her expertise and meticulous understanding of the institution. If they want to get Tracy, they should go after all of us because we share her beliefs and support her 100%.It seems that the CL/SaveKPFA faction has many thousands of dollars to spend on glossy postcards that are filled with reckless and devisive half-truths and some outright lies. Sadly, money, time and energy that could be going to building our station and its listenership is being spent on prolonging and mischaracterizing issues within the KPFA community. In fact, the recall itself requires the station to spend thousands more dollars I implore those colleagues on the board to stop this reckless campaign. This is a political vendetta and no good can come of it.To everyone else, please vote NO on the recall effort. Please send the CL/SaveKPFA faction a message that diversity of opinion should be honored and not attacked. Support Tracy and be sure to thank her for her careful examination of KPFA budgets, her attention to detail, her love of media and her courage in lending real leadership to KPFA’s LSB.SincerelyAndrea PrichettListener RepresentativeKPFA Local Station Board

Pacifica is an organization

Pacifica is an organization with the very best intentions that has continuously stumbled over its inability to reach concensus on the critical task of balancing a checkbook. Take a few zeros away from Tracy’s numbers above and you’ll see that this is no more complicated than basic household accounting. The key is to either bring in more than you spend. Or, if that can’t be achieved, spend less than you bring in. I know of what I speak, having been managing radio stations for 30 years. This does not require an MBA, since the math rarely gets beyond additon and subtraction. I absolutely agree with Pacifica’s 60-year policy against accepting corporate underwriting. It is the only way to keep their journalistic efforts free of corporate influence. However, I strongly disagree with the (continued) interpretation of this policy to also reject underwriting from legitimate non-profit charitable organizations whose values coincide with those of Pacifica. In Pacifica markets such as NYC, SF-Oakland, LA, Houston and NYC (did I miss anybody), such a simple adjustment would provide millions in additional income, allowing the organization to thrive and grow and serve the people of these communities without the needless stress the always find themselves in. Life doesn’t have to be this hard, folks.

Perhaps it would be helpful

Perhaps it would be helpful if soenome out there could suggest what value Pacifica Foundation actually provides. The Pacifica Foundation's National Office, which cut its staff to the bone years ago when KPFA delayed cuts, provides the central administrative services that allow the stations and network to operate. It coordinates and corrects the periodic FCC and CPB filings that allow Pacifica to keep its licenses and maintain grant funding (and which the individual stations occasionally muck up). It handles national budgeting, accounting, and all payroll (since the individual stations occasionally muck up). It provides the Human Resources function to insure compliance with fair employment practices (since the individual stations tend to muck up). It provides legal representation and negotiates contracts and settlement agreements (since the individual stations may muck up, and several Pacifica employees and former employees have sued). It maintains the Pacifica network's technical infrastructure, including websites, satellite links, online archives, etc.; and it services the Pacifica National Board, providing periodic reports and finalizing meeting arrangements. The Pacifica National Board, which is all-volunteer, hasn't provided much return on investment, since it is untrained, factionalized, and frequently derailed. The Board's main accomplishment has been deciding upon the Foundation's paid executive leadership, which is an essential function. The Boards also provide a safety-valve service as a non-broadcast forum for the airing of complaints that might otherwise spill onto the air more frequently.Outsiders can't get very far in attempting to understand Pacifica's internal squabbles, because the factions frequently lie to themselves and to the public and misapply slogans to rally support. Staff has little understanding of or concern for the problems facing management, management (which must constantly deal with the blowback and residue of staff-created problems) has a distorted view of staff's real value and accomplishments, and Pacifica's continuously manipulated governance doesn't really receive the information needed to govern.

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