In the recently completed station elections, Justice & Unity won 62% of the listener vote, which resulted in a 50-50 tie on the Board between J&U and the Indy-ACE people.
Some folks are so accustomed to calling the shots that a tied board and the possibility of having to spend a minute in the minority have caused them significant distress. They’re acting as if they’ve lost their minds.
Last Thursday evening, the 2016 Pacifica National Board held its first meeting - or tried to. It was disrupted by WBAI local board members pretending they’d been elected to the national board, and by WBAI’s 2015 national board members. After much shouting, name-calling, cussing, playing music to drown out the voices of others, etc., the PNB meeting was adjourned.
That teleconference took place via a toll-free service for which we listeners pay.
And listeners pay in other ways.
- We pay for board elections. Our elections are costly, and while no one has ever been completely happy with the process, absent fraud folks should live with the results and work to improve the next cycle.
- The bylaws are flawed, but when the language is clear, folks should read, not spin. There is an underutilized mechanism for amending them, BUT THERE IS A PROCESS.
- When the work of a governing board is prevented, the function of the entire institution is impaired. Our station and network face numerous, significant challenges. We don’t need more internal blockage.
See Read More below for:
- Pacifica Governance Structure
- Term Inheritance
- The Bogus Delegates’ Meeting
Thanks to your support, we did it!!
But the machinations of the Indy/ACE crew are not over.
Justice and Unity listener candidates won 5 of 9 listener seats with your Lynne Stewart receiving 482 of Justice & Unity (J&U)’s 548 first-place (write-in) votes vs. Indy/ACE highest vote-getter’s 189 of their 329 first place votes. J&U got a total of 62% of the first-ranked votes, a clear rejection of 7 years of Indy/ACE’s disastrous control of the Local Board that produced the crisis in which the station finds itself.
Joining Lynne on the Local Station Board (LSB) are new listener members King Downing, Pauline Park, and Ralph Poynter. Re-elected was Plainfield NJ’s listener (and current LSB Chair) John Brinkley. In the staff elections, J&U ally Bob Lederer also won re-election (1 of the 3 staff seats at stake). So overall, the election resulted in an even split of open seats: 6 & 6.
The combination of continuing & new LSB members means a 12-12 tie between J&U and the Indy/ACE group for 2016.
To watch interviews by Bernard White with Justice & Unity candidates and board members, click HERE
A LETTER FROM BERNARD WHITE, former WBAI Program Director, and LYNNE STEWART, People's Attorney
Dear WBAI family member,
We know you care deeply about WBAI being an unmuzzled voice of the truth-tellers and challengers to the unjust status quo – especially when the dangerous shouts of the backwards and often racist right are dominating radio and television airways. We also know you’re deeply concerned that WBAI may not make it through its current period of financial decline, with constant on-air appeals and increasing reliance on commercial, consumable products.
The current local board majority (“Indy Caucus” / “ACE”) has been in power for the past 7 years. They supervised this downward slide. They have dragged their feet on setting up a search committee for a permanent Program Director, delayed in evaluating management, and held only one of the dozen mandated town hall meetings that should have occurred in recent years.
The Justice & Unity Campaign, by contrast, has been working hard not just to keep the station alive, but to put it back on a strong, anti-racist, community-involved course:
· When the station was forced to leave its pricey Wall Street studios, Justice & Unity made the connection at City College that allowed WBAI to broadcast for over two years at 1/4 of the cost.
· When WBAI faced possible eviction from our Empire State Building transmitter room, J&U successfully pushed to create a special fund and a phone bank to encourage lapsed donors to contribute.
· Last year we worked with others to forge an in-depth plan to make the station sustainable.
· Our persistent advocacy for bringing local voices into the morning and afternoon lineup after the 2013 layoffs was finally heeded during the short-lived tenure of interim program director Mario Murillo.
Now we’re on the eve of a crucial WBAI election, where control of the local board – and indeed of all of the Pacifica Network – is at stake. Those who have failed to sustain the station, worked to narrow the range of voices heard (while praising stations with “homogenous” racial composition), and used racial stereotypes to denounce leaders of color whom they found insufficiently compliant are trying to consolidate their dominance. They are floating new lies and seeking to blame others for their failures. We need to reveal the truth to all the members, and we need you to help us do this.
Justice & Unity has assembled a stellar slate of 7 candidates, headed by one of the two of us, Lynne Stewart (see list below) for the Local Station Board, rich in political experience and practical skills in running non-profit organizations. We are committed to working toward implementation of our proposed sustainability plan, appointment of a knowledgeable, progressive Program Director, a full evaluation of the station manager, and real and constant contact with the station’s members.
While Indy Caucus loudly and falsely claims that Justice & Unity favors the sale or swap of WBAI’s signal, it conveniently avoids mentioning that one of its most vocal members, Steve Brown – who sits on the WBAI Local Board and the Pacifica National Board – publicly called in 2012 for the sale of ALL 5 PACIFICA STATIONS “while they still have value.”
Indy Caucus has also been silent about the public call by their endorser and former KPFA PNB member Carol Spooner for a WBAI signal swap to raise funds primarily for a non-broadcast operation to be called Pacifica.
Both letters are below. Note especially the last 8 paragraphs of Brown’s email (marked in red), where he writes glowingly of the alleged benefits of selling WBAI and the other 4 Pacifica stations. For example, writing about his idea to eliminate the land-based radio broadcasts and convert Pacifica into an Internet-only network, he writes, "Pacifica cannot lose, but only gain from such a transformation."
Excerpt from Brown's email:
For although Pacifica’s financials show that the patient is still breathing, its pulse is fading and its will to live declining. Pacifica’s five station licenses used to be valued at anywhere from $300-$600 million, but that was before the internet, when radio was, if not still king, at least part of the royal media household. Yet although Pacifica’s licenses may have declined in value, they may be still worth as much as $150-$250 million. So if Pacifica is unable to rouse itself from the gridlock of its own creation, perhaps the best contribution that it can make towards fulfilling its founding “mission” would be[now I am going to commit heresy] to sell all five of its licenses while they still have value.