New Solutions from Pacifica’s New National Board
VICTORY & HOPE
Thanks to all the Pacifica members who voted with us in Pacifica’s 2023 Local Board Elections. Thanks to you we and our allies won a majority of LSB seats at three stations, plus additional seats at other stations, which gets us much closer to bringing about real change! Your support is essential for moving forward. People across the network are now grappling with Pacifica’s dauntingly high debt, defaulted loans, and loss of basic operational resources.
To meet this escalating challenge, in January 2024, Pacifica’s Local Station boards elected 20 new Pacifica National Board (PNB) Directors. Two Affiliate Directors were also elected to represent the over 200 affiliate stations that utilize Pacifica programming and share their programming with both Pacifica and other affiliate stations. The introductory speeches of the new Directors indicated that they have a wide range of experience with activism, nonprofit management, and broadcasting, and that the majority of Directors seek to provide Pacifica management the necessary support to address the current financial crisis by making all stations financially self-sustaining with program changes based on listener support in alignment with Pacifica’s mission.
This can include the need to:
- Address the full reality of Pacifica’s severe cash insolvency with effective utilization of current limited resources.
- Promote fair, representational governance with bylaws that protect the assets of stations that are paying their bills and help all stations to be self-sustaining.
- Strengthen collaboration with Pacifica’s over 200 affiliate stations across the country.
- Embrace new media platforms reaching out to youth and diverse, multiracial communities.
- Conduct productive, respectful meetings across Pacifica that focus on responsible governance.
CHANGES TO FIGHT FOR
At the January 25, 2024 seating of new Directors on the Pacifica National Board, Pacifica Executive Director Stephanie Wells stressed the importance of improving programming as a key to financial sustainability.
Susan Young, the newly elected Chair of the Pacifica National Board, will bring her valuable nonprofit experience to the PNB. As a former Texas ACLU board member, she helped lead efforts to turn that organization around from barely making payroll to having a staff of 60. In her PNB candidate speech she shared her deep concerns about the state of the world: “… the carnage in Gaza, the fact that the US is funding the endless aggression of a war criminal, the assault on women’s and LGBTQ rights, the immigration/criminal justice industrial complex that powers the New Jim Crow, the assault on voting rights and the rise of blatant fascism in the US with Texas as one of its testing grounds.”
Susan and other Pacifica National Board Members from Texas understand, in a concrete way, the threat of right-wing violence and the apologists who promote it. KPFT was bombed twice by the KKK and it is the only Pacifica station in a red state. KPFT has demonstrated how to put a station in deficit back into the black amidst strong opposition.
Many Pacifica new board members have set goals to bring Pacifica’s finances back into the black. Their plan is to empower Pacifica’s skilled ED and staff to help make all Pacifica stations financially self-sustaining in alignment with the Pacifica mission.
We know that there will be difficult decisions in the coming months. Your caring and support are the key to our future success. We appreciate the thousands of votes that have laid the foundation for viable solutions for the network.
Please tell your friends, family and colleagues about your favorite programs on the station that you love, so that we can continue to expand our membership and future voting base. Please be sure to keep your membership current, as another Delegates/LSB member election is this year.
We are planning to send out a survey (simple and quick to fill out) so that you can let us know what your favorite shows are (and were), what kinds of programs/topics you would like to hear, and what programs you can do without. So please start thinking about this and watch for an email announcing the survey.
THANKS again from New Day Pacifica to you and the many members and allies across the country helping to insure Pacifica’s survival and self-sustainability for each of the five stations at this crucial time!
Give Us Your Thoughts and Suggestions on Improving Pacifica and Your Station
To do so, please go to this brief survey on how to improve Pacifica & your station. Thanks!
Thanks for supporting New Day Pacifica as we work to make sure Pacifica gets through its governance and financial crisis. Your donation to New Day Pacifica will support our efforts to see that our stations and our mission not just survive but grow and have more significance!
Note: Presentations by panelists in the June 24, 2023 special online forum on Revitalizing Pacifica Radio are here and here. Related articles are here and here.
Click for more updates (legal and more) that you may not have heard about.
Fact vs. Fiction
Nov. 29, 2022 update:
Pacifica’s general legal counsel, Arthur Schwartz, has continued making false and inaccurate statements, and these have not been limited to what he’s told Pacifica Board members, staff, and listeners. Earlier this month, as part of the lawsuit he filed against New Day Pacifica (NDP), he submitted papers to the Court which included many such false and inaccurate statements, some old and some new.
New Day Pacifica filed a response brief with the court addressing these misstatements of fact. It’s in an easy-to-read Fact vs Fiction format. You can read it (and save to your computer if you wish) from the file on our web site at NDP Reply Brief filed with court.pdf — Skip to page 3 of the brief – page number at the bottom of the page (page 8 of that file) for Part II, for the Fact vs Fiction section.
Fortunately, you don’t have to believe what either we or Mr. Schwartz say about what the New Day Bylaws will or won’t do. You can read and download the New Day Bylaws text here. The Provisos in the last few pages deal with the transition from the current governance system to the new one – something that Mr. Schwartz continues to misrepresent. And if the court rules in New Day’s favor, that transition to a brighter future for Pacifica will begin soon.
We realize many Pacifica members have been deeply concerned by things told to them by those in control of Pacifica, in their attempts to delay or prevent governance reform, but we do believe the arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice, even if that happens much slower than we’d like.
Anti-Democratic Actions by those in control of Pacifica
New Day reprinted an article explaining recent anti-democratic actions by the powers that be in Pacifica, and originally published by DOWN WITH TYRANNY. These actions have included:
- not recognizing the majority vote of the members to update the Bylaws
- disqualifying winning KPFK Delegate/LSB candidates in the 2021 elections
- and now, threatening to cancel the Bylaw mandated 2022 Delegate/LSB elections, illegally extending the terms of Delegates whose terms have expired or worse yet, replacing the currently elected Delegates who were elected, but whose terms have expired, with those candidates who lost and were rejected by the membership.
Click to send a letter (that you can edit), to the Pacifica National Board (PNB) and the Pacifica Executive Director, in protest of the above plans and about your feelings concerning the PNB’s betrayal of democracy and failure to fulfill the Pacifica mission.
See the recent article in Down With Tyranny, signed by a number of Pacifica members: “Pacifica Radio Is In A War Over Democracy… Its Members Are Fighting For Her Survival“
- Financial mismanagement for the last 10–20 years,
- Deliberate or incompetent destruction of the excellence in broadcasting that is Pacifica’s heritage,
- Driving the Foundation to the brink of bankruptcy, and
- Stealing the Pacifica national election as well as the local election at KPFK.
The Pacifica Majority Seeks Democracy and the Survival of Our Network (click to read and sign the Pacifica majority letter)
Watch the Pacifica Majority Zoom presentation about seeking democracy and Pacifica’s survival. Tentative plans are for there to be follow-up presentations in related topics every two weeks, so check back here for details.
Read New Day’s 10-Point Plan to Save Pacifica, and why it’s so critically needed.
Read the Jan. 2022 letter from Fred Blair, KPFK LSB member and 2021 Treasurer, stating how “dire” the financial situation has become.
Since then, Pacifica’s finances have become even worse. Readers should know that most of KPFK’s biggest fundraisers have left or been driven away in the last few months. This also demonstrates how Pacifica’s leadership has failed.
Read the first amended cross-complaint filed by New Day Pacifica (NDP) in court in response to Pacifica’s lawsuit against NDP, to find out why what Pacifica’s opposition to implementing the NDP Bylaws (which got a 55% YES vote by Pacifica members) is so strange. Go to the yellow highlighted parts in the document to see the key parts and skip over all the legalese.
Read more about Pacifica overriding the democratic vote of its members and another article about how Pacifica claimed a dubious victory.
Big Changes Needed – So Pacifica Can Survive for Future Generations
New Day Pacifica is a group of Pacifica listeners and staff who want to save Pacifica and keep it from crashing out of existence in the next year. We include current and former Board members, staff and lots of long-term listeners concerned about the existential crisis at Pacifica.
The need for Pacifica is as great as ever, but the current reality of Pacifica is a mix of good and very troubling bad.
Overall Pacifica’s governance and resulting finances are poor and getting worse. We need new bylaws and a new Board structure to be able to address these issues.
UPDATE – July 13, 2021 – 56% Vote Yes to Save Pacifica in Democratic Vote for Change, but Pacifica wrongly declares bylaws lost
Thanks to the 6820 members (both listeners and staff) who voted Yes to save Pacifica.
Pacifica management and board majority, however, declared that the New Day bylaws referendum lost, contending that a staff veto trumps the will of the Pacifica Majority. New Day is contesting that decision and will use all available political and legal means to get the Vote Yes-NDP bylaws changes recognized and implemented.
We won this referendum by a solid and democratic majority of listeners and staff—despite Pacifica management’s announcement to the contrary.
Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica will work through the various legal and political channels available to us with your support to appeal and reverse this wrong-headed decision which allows those individuals responsible for Pacifica’s financial and organizational crisis to stay in charge at Pacifica. Pacifica needs to immediately recognize the membership’s decision to approve and implement the New Day Pacifica bylaws proposals so we can save Pacifica and all five radio stations, archives and affiliates.
NDP Bylaws Referendum Results
Pacifica is using a “staff veto” theory to justify declaring that Vote Yes lost. Pacifica posits that since the New Day proposals affect the staff, if the staff reject the proposals the vote of the overall membership is irrelevant and the proposals fail. The irony of Pacifica’s management professing concern for the opinion of Pacifica’s staff while overseeing the gutting of Pacifica staff’s benefits should not be lost on anyone. (Pacifica recently eliminated employer-paid family health insurance at KPFK and is planning to gut existing severance language protections to facilitate laying off long-term staff at KPFK.)
Question: so how will New Day appeal/overturn the bylaws decision? Answer: New Day yesterday requested arbitration as per our December 4 agreement with Pacifica to use arbitration to resolve election issues to “avoid litigation and expense to the Pacifica Foundation.” Even given this agreement, Pacifica has already hired another expensive law firm to prepare for a court fight, clearly hoping to bankrupt New Day Pacifica due to court costs.
Please donate $5 to $500 (or more) for legal costs to ensure the membership’s Vote Yes decision to save Pacifica is respected. We have $10,000 remaining in donations from you, but estimate we need to raise another $40,000 to win in court. Thanks to the more than 800 members who have donated so far to support New Day Pacifica’s efforts to save Pacifica.
Read more about how the faction controlling Pacifica is ignoring the members’ vote to approve the New Day Bylaws, and how New Day Pacifica plans to fight for members’ rights.
Please check back here regularly for updates.
Here are some of the disasters resulting from the chronic dysfunction of Pacifica’s National Board.
- Pacifica has failed every audit since 2015.
- Pacifica was just kicked out of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Before that, Pacifica’s Board had forfeited nearly $7 million dollars in CPB grants since 2013.
- Pacifica has no money to pay a $3.2 million loan payment due September 2022; we could lose Pacifica’s last three buildings as a result.
- Pacifica has no financial reserves and is close to financial collapse.
We are proposing New Day Pacifica bylaws to ensure accountability by Pacifica’s leadership to the listeners and members so that Pacifica’s mission is always front and center. The New Day bylaws ensure a national rather than parochial perspective, encouraging solidarity between the five stations, affiliates, and archives, so we can learn from each other and move forward together.
We are proud to announce that Sharon Kyle, co-editor of social justice magazine LA Progressive will serve as Transition Chair (if Pacifica members vote in favor of the New Day Bylaws), along with Jan Goodman of KPFK as Vice-Chair, Lynden Foley of KPFT as Treasurer, and Akio Tanaka of KPFA as Secretary.
Some highlights of the New Day bylaws:
- The size of the New Day National Board is significantly smaller (15 rather than 22), allowing the Board to function in a well-organized and more democratic manner.
- For the first time ever, Pacifica listeners and staff will elect the most important policy-makers in Pacifica, the National Officers and National Board. This will ensure accountability to the membership.
- The Local Station Boards will refocus on fundraising, community outreach and local oversight of the station, not unproductive management duties.
- Most of the current bylaws are unchanged, such as $25/year dues, 3 hours volunteer time in lieu of dues, 10% quorum in a membership election, Pacifica’s diversity commitment. Pacifica staff and affiliates will continue to be represented on the Board.
New Day Pacifica National Officers and Board will hit the ground running.
Top priorities of a New Day Board (if Pacifica members vote in favor of the New Day bylaws): avoiding the financial disaster that would come with a missed loan payment, strengthening programming nationally and a vigorous fundraising and membership program.
See the updated and expanded list of Frequently Asked Questions
Please join us in working for a New Day for Pacifica.
Sharon, Jan, Lynden, and Akio
(left to right): Sharon Kyle, Jan Goodman, Lynden Foley, and Akio Tanaka