The following E-mails and audio clips are about the late breaking news from the Pacifica National Board meeting held in Houston, Texas over the weekend of March 3rd and 4th, 2001. Updates as events warrant.
This first E-mail talks about the events of March 3rd, 2001.
Subject: [NewPacifica] KPFA News Reports on Houston Board Mtg.
Sat, 3 Mar 2001 20:00:05 -0800
Following is a summary of KPFA news reporter Matt Martin's account
of what transpired at the Pacifica board meeting in Houston on Saturday, March 3, 2001, from an interview of Martin on this evening's KPFA news broadcast:
Instead of the scheduled committee meetings, the board met in executive session all morning, until 1 p.m. It then held an *unscheduled* public comment period for one hour, which was completely packed despite the fact that hotel security kept many people out of the room, including several Local Advisory Board members. (Unfortunately, Martin did not provide any details on what was said during the comment period.)
Following the public comment period, two committee meetings took place, which were open to the public. During the governance committee meeting, committee chair John Murdock said that his proposed bylaws revisions would NOT be voted on during the board meeting. Instead, as a result of the heavy input of comments he received in response to his proposals, the board will undertake a complete review of the *existing* bylaws. The board now plans to hold public meetings in all five signal areas to gather input as to what changes should be made to the bylaws.
Lastly, during the finance committee's meeting, Pacifica exec. director Bessie Wash gave a figure of “$14,000” as the amount of money that has been expended for “security measures” at WBAI since the so-called Christmas Coup of Dec. 24, 2000.
This next E-mail talks more about the events of March 4th, 2001.
Subject: Re: [NewPacifica] Any news?
Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 13:43:26 -0800
From: Debbie Speer
The insta-review based on reports on KPFA by Tracey Rosbenberg and on Larry Bensky's show (I'll forget something - LOTS probably - but for starters:
The financial records HAVE ALREADY been removed from LA to DC. There's no controller to replace Sandra Rosas, so who knows what's happened to them. An accountant hired to do the statements (?) said there has been no input of records since October, and it will take weeks or months to get the records caught up. Not good news at all, but probably not unexpected, either.
Applications/resumes were sent by 7 people representing listening areas for board positions. Ken Ford claims not to have received ANY of them, and had the audacity to suggest they were ALL lost in the mail.
Board is playing nicey-nice apparently on the advice of attorneys. Sherry Gendelman said it was “hilarious.”
People prevented from attending open meetings, etc., as usual.
No action on by-laws
“No intention at this moment to sell any stations.” Make of that what you will. They said this last year, too.
Rob Robinson re-elected to his board seat, which is expiring. Four dissenting votes: van Putten, Ford, and two others whose names I didn't get (one is the new director from Houston area).
I'm sure more will be added to this. Hope this helps.
There have been some radio programs on the Houston meeting of the Pacifica National Board on both WBAI and sister station KPFA.
Here's a link to a phone interview Mary Berg of KPFA did with Tracy Rosenberg, who's the Administrative Director of Media Alliance about the Houston meeting.
Here's a link to an interview Larry Benksy did of KPFA reporter Matt Martin.
A report on Houston from WBAI's Beyond the Pale
Janice K. Bryant, one of the banned Unpaid Staff producers of the WBAI program Wake Up Call made a presentation of the “Joint Statement of the United Movement for a Free Pacifica” at the March 4th, public session of the Pacifica National Board meeting. Below is a transcript of what she said and what happened.
My name is Janice K. Bryant. I'm a banned producer from WBAI (applause and cheers) I was the line producer of Wake Up Call, the morning show, for 6 years. The unpaid volunteer.
I'd like to make an aside. As far as the grievance procedures that Ms. Wash spoke to, I know for a fact - this is not hearsay - I have two grievances, alone. Sharan Harper's grievance has gone...she is the fired producer of Wake Up Call...her grievance has gone to the NLRB. And what they're...in February, as an unfair labor practice. It was filed there by the union.
I have a statement here that I'm going to read, three minutes long. It was put together by scores of people from accross the country, from all five signal areas.
Fifty-two years ago, Lew Hill launched the Pacifica Network with a vision. A vision of radio being used to foster peace, justice, community and understanding among diverse peoples. 1949 was an ominous moment in our history. Then as now, sinister forces were on the rise in America. The Bomb had just been invented. McCarthyism was gaining strength. A global empire was being constructed by violence and deceit. Nonetheless, fearless, thought- provoking exploration of the issues and ideas of the day was Pacifica's guiding mission.
Today, we believe that mission is as relevant as ever. However, to our deep dismay, that vision has been repeatedly betrayed in the past ten years. Pacifica's National Board, and the bureaucracy it spawned, has violated the trust of hundreds of thousands of loyal listener-sponsors accross the country.
We denounce and condemn the following:
- The firing and banning of hundreds of producers and volunteers.
- The reduction of ethnic and cultural diversity of local programs.
- The use of the gag rule to silence dissent.
- The illegitimate nature of this Board: the presence of Board members whose terms have expired (applause) and the illegal by- laws changes of '97 that allowed the number of at-large directors to greatly increase.
- The complete and illegal exclusion of the local advisory boards from the role they are supposed to play (applause) in Pacifica's democratic governance.
- Proposed new by-laws that would enable five Board members to authorize the sale of a station.
- The sloppy management of finances and the lack of access to Pacifica's financial records for the past six years.
- The use of hostile, union-busting tactics at a network that has always prided itself on its support of workers and their struggles.
- The extension of the role of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the finances and internal affairs of Pacifica.
- The depoliticization of program content which abets the rightward drift in US culture.
- The recent hiring, for an unspecified sum of money, of a PR firm that is being used to slander and defame Pacifica's critics.
- The closure of KPFA for twenty-three days and for its armed occupation during July-August 1999.
- The Christmas Coup of WBAI that has led to the gutting of the most successful, in terms of audience size, donations and journalism awards, of Pacifica's five stations.
- The extreme and unrelenting harassment and abuse of Amy Goodman and the attempt to impose editorial control over her award-winning news program.
- The use of the race card...that's right, I said...the race card to divide and pit people against each other.
Several hundred people from around the country who love this network have rallied to its defense in Houston this weekend. With the exception of a half-dozen dissident Board members who continue to defend Pacifica's democratic tradition, we found the Board's behavior yesterday to be condescending and disingenuous. Just now we've listened to you *seem* to regard our deep concerns about has happened at WBAI in the past two weeks but we're not really sure that you are listening to us. And it seems that the Board's ruling majority is truly unable, or unwilling, to understand the concerns of its growing legions of critics.
Our differences are irreconcilable. Irreconcilable. I'll say it again, our differences are irreconcilable. The only thing we will negotiate with you are the terms of your departure. (applause)
In the coming months we will be conducting an escalating campaign of community organizing as well as massive, non-violent direct action against the illegally seated Pacifica Board members. We see around us a growing pro-democracy movement, both in this country and around the world. (applause).
Pacifica is not a jukebox. It should be, and will be, at the forefront of this movement, just as it has been at the forefront of every major social justice movement in the past 50 years.
This can only begin to happen with your departure. We demand that you step down and that the Pacifica Board be reconstituted along democratic lines.
(ALL) Resign Now!
(at this point the audience turns its back on the board at chants “resign now!” then the chant morphs to “democracy now!” then breaks into song “nananana nanana hey hey e-yyy goodbye, nananana nananana hey hey eyy, resign”
(The singing crowd was escorted out of the meeting room by security guards)
The following is a press release from the National Organizing Committee formed on March 4th, 2001.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 5, 2001
--Bryan Wiliams (firstname.lastname@example.org
), co-facilitator of 3/4/01 N.O.C. meeting; Concerned Friends of WBAI, NY (http://www.wbaiaction.org
--Sonia Rosen (email@example.com
) secretary of 3/4/01 N.O.C. meeting; Concerned Friends of WBAI, NY (http://www.wbaiaction.org
Following the conclusion of the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors meeting in Houston, Texas, on Sunday, March 4, 2001, approximately eighty of the activists who had protested the meeting convened as a National Organizing Committee. This committee was comprised of representatives from all five Pacifica signal areas and included Pacifica listeners, producers, and Local Advisory Board members. The meeting was convened with the express purpose of drafting and adopting motions and resolutions that would unite our myriad independent, local groups across the country and lay the groundwork for a strong national movement to build a new Pacifica. The National Organizing Committee adopted five motions and resolutions. The first two of those five were adopted as follows:
MOTION: FORM A NATIONAL PACIFICA LISTENERS' STEERING COMMITTEE
This motion was adopted unanimously.
In order to fulfill the original mission of the Pacifica Foundation, this National Organizing Committee, founded at the Pacifica National Board Meeting in Houston on March 4, 2001, hereby calls upon each Pacifica listener group in each locality across the country to participate in a discussion to found a democratic, representative, accountable National Steering Committee.
We also call for each listener group to elect two (2) representatives to participate in a National Steering Committee Discussion Group, and we authorize the Free Pacifica Interim Organizational Committee to handle the details of contacting the various listener groups to form such an elected discussion group.
We call for the elected representatives involved in the National Steering Committee Discussion Group that represents the five (5) signal areas to continue a discussion of the remaining organizational issues that were not addressed at this March 4, 2001, meeting.
Finally, we call for the elected representatives of this body to work to create a fair, adaptable, representative structure that would accommodate the growing levels of organization of Pacifica listener groups and Pacifica affiliate groups.
This schematic is intended to explain the relationship between the groups referenced in the preceding motion:
National Organizing Committee of March 4, 2001
Free Pacifica Interim Organizing Committee
[to organize the formation of a]
National Steering Committee Discussion Group
[to create a]
National Steering Committee
RESOLVED: EXPAND THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
This resolution was adopted unanimously.
We, the National Organizing Committee, formed on March 4, 2001, at the Houston meeting of the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors, resolve the following:
(1) We identify the need for the organized gathering of evidence in each of the five signal areas, to be used by lawyers in any lawsuits against the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors. This evidence should be archived nationally, in a publicly accessible database.
(2) We urge that all plaintiffs and lawyers in all lawsuits against the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors consult with each other and with the larger movement before any actions are taken.
(3) We encourage everyone to send information regarding the Pacifica struggle to Lee Loe, of the Houston Committee for People's Radio, for inclusion in the “Pacifica Notebook” newspaper, and to help her distribute it nationally in both Spanish and English.
(4) We request a Week of National Action to protest the current Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors in all five Pacifica signal areas. A possible date for this action may be during the first week of May, 2001.
(5) We urge the Pacifica Community to convene and hold a nationally organized action wherever and whenever the next Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors meeting is held. If the meeting is conducted as a conference call, we will attempt to compel the Board to make the call open to community observance and/or participation.
(6) We recommend that members of this committee work in collaboration with the Pacifica Campaign to develop advertisements and to boycott the individual Pacifica station fundraising drives.
(7) We urge activists in each signal area to “adopt” Board members acting against the founding principles of the Pacifica Foundation and to pursue a campaign against such individuals to pressure them to resign from the Board.
The National Organizing Committee endorses only those actions that are constitutionally protected and non-violent.
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