Fw: Open Letter

George Snedeker snedeker at concentric.net
Fri May 11 18:47:14 MDT 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: Carol Spooner (by way of Phil Gasper) <wildrose at pon.net>
To: <rpa-list at southwestern.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 2:24 PM
Subject: RPA: Open Letter

> An Open letter to the KPFA Community
> [While addressed to the KPFA Community, I think this letter is pertinent
> all five Pacifica stations.  I hope other station listeners will set up
> trust funds, or that a national fund will be established.  Let me know if
> you do, and I'll pass the word on.  --Carol Spooner]
> We are friends and supporters of KPFA who will not be pledging during the
> station's upcoming fund drive.  We want you to know why.
> We have reluctantly concluded that a boycott is necessary if the
> dictatorial management of Pacifica is to be kept from destroying the
> network.  The Pacifica Foundation collects and controls all subscriber
> donations to KPFA and keeps a percentage of our contributions to the
> station to fund its operations and activities.  We can no longer support
> those activities.
> Over the past two years we have been involved in a struggle over the
> direction of Pacifica and the fate of KPFA.  Pacifica's present board of
> directors and its executive director are trying to change the essence of
> our network.  They have demanded diluted news and public affairs programs,
> they have instituted autocratic administrative control, and absolute
> control.   They have censored the news and other programs and announced
> their intention to use commercial radio market values as Pacifica's
> of success. They have pushed these goals with apparent disdain for the for
> the principles that have guided the network throughout its long and proud
> history and for the people who support Pacifica.
> There is nothing ambiguous about the intentions of the current board
> majority. They tried to take over KPFA once. They abandoned  that effort
> the face of extraordinary community resistance.  However, since the summer
> of 1999 they have succeeded in removing progressive leadership from
> National News; they organized a coup at WBAI in New York; and Democracy
> is under fierce attack.  If we allow this group to succeed in subduing the
> rest of the network they will resume their attempted takeover of KPFA.
> they will be stronger and better prepared the second time.
> WBAI, KPFA's sister station in New York, is fighting for its life.  To
> the station and the network that station's defenders have called for a
> funding boycott.  KPFA's democratically elected Local Advisory Board has
> also endorsed a listener boycott of KPFA's fundraisers until the offending
> board members are removed or resign.   We too believe that we have to deny
> the present Pacifica leadership the resources that keep them in power.
> The listening community has given dramatic support to our struggle. We
> raised and spent thousands of dollars to file and prosecute lawsuits aimed
> at rolling back the current board's illegal acts.  In response, the
> board majority has spent even more listener-contributed dollars on high
> priced lawyers to oppose and stall those lawsuits.  Some of the money you
> have donated to the struggle to retake Pacifica bought newspaper and
> magazine ads to inform a larger audience about what the current board has
> done.  Again, the board's response has been to spend even more of the
> listeners' money for spin doctors who tell the press that the opposition
> Pacifica's takeover is violent, racist and marginal. This Board used your
> dollars to board up KPFA and hire armed guards to keep us out.  They used
> our money to install a security system at WBAI intended to keep listeners
> and even the WBAI Local Advisory Board out of the station.  They have
> our money to legally harass activists who have set up web sites which
> criticize the board's misconduct.  We strategize over potato chips at late
> night meetings in our homes and offices; they fly themselves and their
> to first class hotels at our expense to plan their next assault.  Most
> importantly, they fire or drive out Pacifica's best programmers,
> and administrators and use our money to hire obedient replacements.  We
> resilient and resourceful but we can not win a struggle by financing both
> sides.
> The genius of establishing the world's first listener-sponsored radio
> station and later a listener-sponsored radio network was that it created a
> media outlet that was accountable to listeners.  That accountability is
> nothing but a fiction if we will not, even in such a dire circumstance,
> exercise our power to refuse to fund what we oppose.
> We do not criticize KPFA for holding a fundraising drive.  The paid staff
> contractually obliged to organize and participate in fundraising.  And we
> not condemn those who ask for money in KPFA's fundraisers.  Honest people
> can differ over strategies.  But we will no longer contribute to our own
> downfall.  And we think that it is time for others to join us.
> Please consider making your usual KPFA contribution to the Station Support
> Fund instead.  All of the money collected by this fund will be available
> support KPFA and its operations. None of it will support the present
> attacks on our station and on the principles that have guided Pacifica
> throughout its history.
> Contributions can be sent to :
> The Station Support Fund,
> c/o The Agape Foundation
> 1095 Market Street Suite 304
> San Francisco California 94103
> Sincerely,
> Dan Coughlin: Former Director of Pacifica National News
> Sherry Gendelman: Chair, KPFA Local Advisory Board, Plaintiff in LAB
> Juan Gonzalez: Former Co-Host of Democracy Now!
> Barbara Lubin:  Executive Director of Middle East Children's Alliance,
> Co-Founder Friends of Free Speech Radio
> Robbie Osman: Host of Across the Great Divide, Co-Founder Friends of Free
> Speech Radio
> Carol Spooner: Founder Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board, Plaintiff
> Listener's Lawsuit
> Bernard White: Former Program Director of WBAI

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