Controversial KPFK Talk Show Host Lila Garrett praised and claimed major KPFK progress by the slate mailer Local Station Board faction. Faction opponents disagree and dispute the propriety of her using air time to promote faction candidates.
On her Monday morning program, Connect the Dots, June 9, 2008, controversial KPFK talk show host Lila Garrett stated:
"A word about KPFK. You know, we had an election last year, which was very successful.
"Some of us formed a group called [the] committee to strengthen KPFK. We got a group of candidates together who won overwhelmingly, improving on our local board, our Pacifica National Board, getting us a really good executive director of Pacifica, and setting us on a search for the best possible general manager of KPFK.
"We have taken giant steps forward this year. KPFK is more professional, more focused, more determined to get the truth out to you our listeners than ever.
The attached audio file includes the excerpt.
Other people would say the opposite. They would say that KPFK has not gone forward this year, but rather backwards, less focused on community problems, and more determined than ever to keep its listeners in the dark about what is going on at the station.
The new station board, worried about criticism of itself and of its pro Democratic party electoral politics, provoked major controversy by turning off the station's web listener forums. "Grace Aaron Committee to Strengthen KPFK Run Station Board Shuts Down Web User Forums."
Station listeners separated by distance in Southern California now have no way of discussing among themselves the station and its policies, unless they can find and get to various committee meetings, often at hard to find places with little parking. Cutting off the listener forums was a big step backwards for the KPFK listener community.
Despite widespread calls from the listener community to turn the forums back on, they remain off.
Workers attacked KPFK for not covering the local area Hollywood labor disputes involving WGA, AFTRA, and SAG and not giving workers an independent voice that local media denied them. "KPFK Continues to Ignore AFTRA and SAG Labor Disputes"
Garrett said, "Some of us formed a group . . . and [our] candidates . . .won overwhelmingly." The candidates won because the group got money somewhere to pay for mailing slick slate mailers to everyone eligible to vote in the election. The mailer included a platform full of platitudes that no one would dispute.
Many in the KPFK community regard slate mailer political tactics as antithetical to the mission of KPFK.
None of the independent candidates could afford the expenses of a mass membership mailing. As a result, the people who elected the board knew nothing of the underlying personality and policy disputes and goals, including promoting Democratic party electoral politics, behind the group. Without financing, the other candidates had no way to address comparably the KPFK voting community.
Controversial KPFK talk show host Ian Masters was a member of the slate mailer group.
Who financed the slate mailer and now controls the KPFK board through the faction remains unknown. Listeners ask how can we trust a group beholden to unknown sources of money. KPFK is not supposed to be for sale, but the slate mailer committee appears to have done exactly that.
Rumors continue that the group's goals may include cutting Spanish programming.
Pacifica has rules about equal time for parties to campaign for seats on the station advisory board. Garrett violated those rules by promoting and pitching slate candidates to the KPFK audience in a way that no board opponent ever could. Critics have no way of addressing the audience and KPFK election voters as Garrett did in her program.
Listeners had to wonder if Garrett included the four day transmitter outage earlier this year in her characterization of the station as more "professional."
The slow response to the recent fund raiser likewise does not evidence progress by KPFK.