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Save KPFA declares victory in KPFA-FM board elections

Save KPFAIn what is hopefully the last subscriber/staff board election that Pacifica radio ever has, the Save KPFA slate says it has won the majority of delegate seats on Pacifica station KPFA-FM’s Local Station Board.

“I believe that the results here indicate that the listener-members do not want an explicitly sectarian station,” declared Save KPFA’s Mal Burnstein, who won the most votes of any candidate in the race. “They want a station that presents varying points of view, civil discourse, controversy and comment; a station where ideas and facts not readily available elsewhere can get a hearing; a place where the arts, literature, music and theater are valued.”

KPFA-FM is a listener supported radio station in Berkeley, CA. All five of the  Pacifica Foundation’s stations in California, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC are running these elections. Here is a non-certified account of the Berkeley results, the winners in numerical order. Save KPFA candidates have asterisks to the left.

*Mal Burnstein

Tracy Rosenberg

*Jack Kurzweil

*Margy Wilkinson

Hyun-Mi Kim

Cynthia Johnson

*Matthew Hallinan

*Tanya Russell

*David Saldana

*Suzi Goldmacher 1st runner up

Kate Tanaka 2nd runner up

*Terry Doran 3rd runner up

Non-certified Staff election results:

Sharam Aghamir

*David Gans

*Lewis Sawyer

Congratulations to Save KPFA, which was easily the best slate running (my assessment of the other slate here). But if the official results resemble previous elections, the real winner in this race was nobody. The great majority of Pacifica listener subscribers never vote in these races. They never wanted them in the first place. These elected boards have cost the organization millions of dollars and brought nothing in return.

And in what is the height of absurdity, there’s still another election to count: the “recall” vote on one staff delegate. Pacifica’s by-laws say that a mere two percent of staff can petition for a recall (eight volunteers at KPFA signed the  petition, it seems). So at the considerable expense of cash strapped Pacifica, the election crew has to follow through on this debacle. And for what? To potentially recall him just before his term expires.

Enough. Hopefully a critical mass of the latest crop of Pacifica governance members realize that this elected board system has got to go.

Eleven years ago 10,000 people marched on the streets on behalf of KPFA, which had been shut down by a clique of panic stricken incompetents. The demonstrators wanted three things: the station re-opened, the license not sold, and board members and staff who thought and acted otherwise removed.

These elections have gone way beyond those basic demands. They serve not Pacifica radio, but small factions who know that they’ll never have anything to do with Pacifica governance without them. It’s time for this debacle to end.


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2 Responses to Save KPFA declares victory in KPFA-FM board elections

  1. suzanne adler October 27, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    it is interesting you say that board elections are meaningless since so few people vote and yet you say the best slate won. it they are meaningless why do you presume the vote then represents the people’s will ? And i am not sure how you can say they are any less partisan than the other slate. they both seem to be partisan, as do you. doesn’t seem like you are really much interested in trying to help reduce this endless hostility that is the real cost to the survival of KPFA. if you want to help KPFA then use your power to help both sides stop this endless distortions and hostility.

  2. Abby Smith October 27, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    I am based in NYC and whereas up until 9 years ago, I used to have WBAI on almost 24/7, after a year of Bernard’s rule I listen vary selectively and infrequently. I have not found Tony Bates’ vision for WBAI an improvement, although I WILL say the mood at the station is less…..of a bunker mentality. Less free-floating hostility. I guess THAT is saved for the LSB meetings. And here is my dilemma. I think I actually agree with you, Matt, about the Actual Affects of these elections….I think they have resulted in an attention, financial and energy DRAIN. It makes me wonder “who is the REAL engine behind these election obsessions?” And YET…to Do AWAY with elections makes me nervous too. The Old Pacificas of the 80’s, when the LABS were all appointed, had no community accountability. They were run, in part, like Stalinist politburos, and while I have respected and worked with my share of stalinists over my life time….I came to decide that De Facto Democratic Centralism is NOT the best way to run these stations…..so…..What to do? I dunno…..My typical stance all these years has been….”NOT THIS AND NOT THAT!” Bernard White had a protective posse at the station at all times, he ran the place like it was his personal patronage booty and anybody who questioned was considered an “enemy”. The “independistas” Also consider you an “enemy” if you question them…..even when you show them that They are behaving similarly to those whom they criticize the Most. And finally, the non-stop pledging for money that has BECOME 99.5 WBAI, and is exhausting EVERYBODY, and turning off what ever remaining listeners we have LEFT…is too crazy and dysfunctional….so much so….that someone like ME (a red-diaper baby) tends to ask “What government paid stooges are behind all this?”

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