Bylaws Amendment Would Eliminate Local Station Boards, Ease Sale of Pacifica Assets, Disenfranchise Voters
by Grassroots Community Radio Coalition, http://www.gcrc-socal.org
Under a court order issued in Berkeley after a stealth lawsuit brought by several members of the Pacifica National Board minority and supporters, the Pacifica Foundation is being required to hold a vote, outside normal Bylaws procedures, on a complete revision of the Bylaws which would eliminate elected Local Station Boards entirely, double the monetary requirement to become a member, and increase the number of hours as a volunteer fivefold. It would also designate 6 individuals as the National Board until a single individual from each signal area could be elected to join them. After that, 3 people, each one from a different signal area, would have the power to name the additional 6 members in rotation. This eliminates diversity and proportional representation, which has always been a key aspect of electoral democracy at Pacifica.
Even worse than the disenfranchisement (the measure also eliminates staff positions entirely), the new Bylaws lower the quorum needed in a vote to sell off any Pacifica properties. And that’s the key, beyond the scapegoating of democratic elected governance for all the ills of Pacifica, which have primarily been due to mismanagement, poor programming that has lost touch with its audience and the new media environment, and gatekeepers who have silenced the radical voices and cutting edge commentary and cultural expressions that were the hallmark of Pacifica in its heyday.
The easier-to-reach quorum to sell off key aspects of Pacifica is central because the same people behind the total bylaws change also pushed the recent shut-down of WBAI, Pacifica’s NYC station. WBAI is broadcast on 99.5 FM, in the center of the commercial radio dial, which is an incredibly valuable frequency, unlike most educational and listener sponsored which are down on the far left of the radio dial. But the possibility that Pacifica would sell off or swap WBAI is unlikely to stop there. KPFA is at 94.1, also on the commercial dial. KPFK, which is going down the same path as WBAI, with almost half the year spent in on-air fund drives, has the strongest signal west of the Mississippi, is licensed to broadcast in Santa Barbara and San Diego as well as LA/OC and is coveted by KPCC, the NPR and Minnesota Public Radio powerhouse.
Pacifica may be able to show cause on Dec. 20 why the court order should not be enforced, but odds are against it, in which case the Bylaw change will move forward. If the PNB or 3 of the 5 LSBs reject it, the members will vote on it. If you are not currently a member, please donate at least $25 immediately to KPFK, and plan to vote the measure down if a listener election on the Bylaw change is called (a very expensive process that Pacifica can ill afford). You can see the Bylaws “amendment”, with links to all the changes it would make to membership and voting rights at http://www.pacifica.org.