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The Truth: Will Pacifica ever be free?

by Tejano Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

The new Pacifica National Board promotes the policies of the Pacifica Hijackers and initiates the next round of the Pacifica struggle.

Pacifica Vice Chair Joe Wanzala from KPFA in Berkeley and Wendy Schroell from KPFT in Houston are fronting for Pacifica's new omnipotent Board Chair and interim Executive Director Grace Aaron, elected by the KPFK Board to the PNB, the one who has shown little interest in relinquishing either of her positions, no matter how unqualified she is, no matter what conflicts of interest are endemic in both managing and governing.

Schroell and Wanzala just recycled the infamous 5 Year Strategic Plan, the same plan that brought on the Pacifica purges, the thwarted attempt at nationalization, the sell-out to the Democratic administration, that directly brought on the struggle to save Pacifica on the late 90s. Wanzala followed it up with an email rehabilitating Pat Scott. No, I'm not kidding. They're below.

No one has named the obvious: as the stations have sucked up to the Democrats, membership and donations have plunged. As Aaron, Wanzala, and the rest have accumulated power, manipulated the Bylaws to give local and national board seats to their allies and keep them from their opponents, gifted Aaron with unilateral authority to give their cronies positions they forced truthtellers to vacate, pushed forward with plans to supplant community voices with national programming, mumbled under their breath about corporate underwriting, PACIFICA IS TAKING A NOSEDIVE BY ANY MEASURE.

The purge has begun, this time at the top. The CFO who has been warning the Board of the financial implosion for five years, that the average listener is nearing 60, that Pacifica is increasingly relying on fewer but bigger donations, was summarily fired in the first 24 hours of Grace and crew's reign, in a late night closed session. The corporate counsel, who insisted on taking lawsuits to court and winning them, quit when Aaron, Wanzala, and their cronies took control and he saw the writing on the wall: out-of-court-settlements at exorbitant cost were the new rule. Unable to force out the management of New York's WBAI because of local support, they contemplate shutting down WBAI's community broadcasting and replacing it with some "best of" selection from the remaining stations.

Have you gotten your invitation for the 0 a plate KPFA fundraiser? If you're a couple, you get a bargain: just 0. If you didn't just hang on: no doubt, tickets for a similar exclusive event will soon go on sale at KPFK.

Wanzala, Aaron, and the rest of them now threaten the elections of board members that were the rallying cry of the Pacifica Struggle. They rejected the work of the elections committee to find a company to manage the contentious elections and decided that a small, unauthorized group of them would rewrite the proposal and send it out again. They demanded Aaron, without the advice of an impartial company, have the right to appoint the National Election Supervisor. The problem is, the elections are scheduled to begin no later than June 15, the Bylaws require the NES have 3 months lead time, and there's no NES in sight. They've missed the deadline, and the entire election process begins with the first grounds for a lawsuit to invalidate however you might vote.

And still, in some quarters, Pacifica listeners think the radical Pacificans are the problem and the mainstream proponents are the salvation, as if the answer to Pacifica's problems is head-to-head competition with NPR and Air America. Even as the current Pacifica leadership consolidates power and steps firmly to the center, and Pacifica sinks into the abyss, they march right along with the leadership off the cliff, putting their faith in the conventional wisdom that safety for Pacifica is in the middle, no matter what the facts say.

Here are those emails:

Joseph Wanzala wrote:

> Re-sending Wendy's post re the last major Strategic Plan undertaken by Pacifica. Definitely worth reading.


> ---------- Forwarded message ----------

> From: Wendy Schroell>

> Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:06 AM

> Subject: Last Strategic Plan created by Pacifica

> To: PNB>, PACIFICA Operations Collective>



> As we embrace the challenges of Pacifica's present and its future, it's worth looking at the 5 year plan created in the mid 90's - we haven't done one since. Many will remember that the implementation of this plan resulted in quite an uproar, but when you read it, it's everything we're always talking about and /must/ talk about.


> I apologize for the "return receipt" request, but feel strongly that this discussion is of the utmost importance. If everyone would read this plan again [attached] and be thinking about what we need to do to tweak it into the realities of our passionate membership and the realities of the coming decade, perhaps implementation will have a chance of working this time out. Thank you for your time and all you do for Pacifica and your local station.


> wendy


> PS: Please note that the 50th Anniversary is incorporated into the plan - fundraising for program endowment and of course visibility. We don't have much time before our 60th is upon us.


Joseph Wanzala wrote:

> Some more Pacifica history that is worth thinking about as we move forward with Stratgic Planning and so forth.


> Joe W.




> What was the San Luis Obispo Declaration?


> [ From: ]

> The San Luis Obispo Declaration

> Originally published in Jannuary 1984

> Dear All,

> The first time Pat Scott appeared on the scene in Berkeley was as one of the people who drafted the famous San Luis Obispo statement. Although staff agreed with many of the demands expressed in the statement there was general uprising within KPFA - in which I took part- to counter the secretive and high handed manner in which the statement was produced and presented to the press without any consultation with staff.

> In the aftermath of the statement then GM David Salniker and I visited Pat Scott and Gus Newport in his office. Gus was then major of Berkeley and Pat was his aide. We requested of them to discuss their concerns with staff.

> In a memo of January 24, 1984 they promised to do that: "We have since met with representatives from KPFA and have agreed to directly communicate with the station."

> David Salniker maintained contact with Pat and soon thereafter she was seated on the KPFA advisory board. The rest is history.

> Here is the text of the San Luis Obispo statement which is quite extraordinary in the light of recent developments:

> ---------



> JANUARY 7 & 8, 1984


> The Pacifica Network is in serious trouble. In a time of world- wide crisis, instead of responding with depth and passion, Pacifica is purging itself of its most radical elements. Careerism is replacing commitment. Power in Pacifica has become concentrated in the hands of a few. This power block, unaccountable to anyone, is brining Cold War ideology to the airwaves. This is being accompanied by a politically selective process of firings and hirings. A process which has been obscured by a smoke-screen of personal attack.

> This situation could only come into being because of basic weaknesses in Pacifica's present structure and the lack of a sense of vision and purpose.



> Station boards should be democratically constituted and representatives of the constituencies the stations seek to serve. They should be completely independent of the station manager and accountable directly to those constituencies.

> 2. STATIONS WORKERS (paid and unpaid).

> Station administrations should be based on a collective decision-making process. Staff (paid and unpaid) should be represented on the station board.

> Recruitment and training should reflect the ethnic and cultural make-up of the constituencies the station seeks to serve. This training should be invested in people with a genuine commitment to the principles of Pacifica Foundation.


> Stations must implement the 1981 program director's resolution which specified that programming should be planned and evaluated on the basis of Pacifica's purposes as enunciated in the Articles of Incorporation.

> Pacifica's air must expand to completely reflect the diverse nature of progressive political movements and thought throughout the world and across the entire spectrum.

> Pacifica must commit itself to reaching a major portion of the United States population with programming based on Pacifica's principles.

> Final programming decisions and judgements must be made by the listeners and the communities Pacifica seeks to serve.

> San Luis Obispo meeting, Jan. 7 & 8, 1984

> Nancy Clark

> Ken Cloke

> Osama Doumani

> Peter Franck

> Steve Goldfield

> Richard Hanson

> Judy Hirsch

> Jane Hunter

> Gus Newport

> Mary Beth Roehm

> Herb Schulsinger

> Patricia Scott

> Fernando Velazquez



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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Hooray Hooray pathetica Thursday, Mar. 26, 2009 at 8:31 AM
Oscar Pacifica and KPFK a Lost Cause? Thursday, Mar. 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM
and what about KPFK being almost-mortgaged away ? angelina Tuesday, Apr. 07, 2009 at 3:32 PM

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