Notes from KPFA's board meeting of January 13, 2007

KPFA's Local Station Board (LSB) met at Freight & Salvage on January 13th. Twenty-three board members were present. The meeting went quite smoothly, without undue amounts of parliamentarianism, and things got done. Briefly, here's some of it:

Representatives selected for the Pacifica National Board

Four LSB members were chosen to represent KPFA on the Pacifica National Board (PNB). The new national board reps are:

LaVarn Williams (Listener Rep)
Sarv Randhawa (Listener Rep)
Chandra Hauptman (Listener Rep)
Mary Berg (Staff Rep)

Vote on Bylaws Amendment

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) is currently required to meet four times a year. It was proposed that the number of meetings be reduced to three.

People on both sides of the issue presented a pretty convincing case. Those in favor of the change cited the expense. A meeting held in NYC, for example, had cost $60,000. Also, having to fly around the country four times a year is extremely time consuming.

Those opposed to the change said that members of the national board need to meet face to face and get to know each other in order to do business most effectively. Frequent public meetings are also important so that the listeners of each signal area can attend. This is part of having an open and democratic Pacifica. Despite costs, these meetings are necessary, and it was suggested that costs could be lowered though better planning.

The latter opinion carried the day and the proposed change was voted down. (Of course the other Pacifica station boards will also vote on this issue. Three of the five station boards must pass the amendment for it to take effect.)

A Confidential Matter?

Interim General Manager Lemlem Rijio attended this meeting, and several of the LSB members asked her pointed questions on various matters including transparency.

Richard Phelps asked about the recent hiring of the new Program Director. "Where was the job opening posted?" Richard asked.

"That's a confidential matter," Lemlem replied.

"I'm not asking for confidential information," Richard said. "I'm asking how and where it was posted or publicly advertised. Surely that can't be confidential."

Lemlem then said that she'd looked at several resumes, done some interviews. Her explanation sounded rather vague, and it appears that the opening wasn't posted.

KPFA/Pacifica Bylaws require that all positions and job openings be publicly posted, widely advertised. The purpose of this requirement is to get qualified applicants who are not just station insiders. For years now, there have been accusations that KPFA is run by a clique of insiders who are primarily interested in maintaining the status quo. Meanwhile, KPFA's listenership has declined. The station has been without a Program Director for eight years and appears to have suffered from the resulting stagnation.

The LSB has a Personnel Committee which was supposed to be looking for applicants. However, that committee apparently hasn't met for some time. In fact, two of its officers, the chair and secretary, are no longer on the LSB.

The newly appointed interim Program Director is Sasha Lilley. While she is widely admired for the excellent informative interviews presented on her own show Against the Grain, she is also considered by many to be one of the most insidery of the insiders. She has made disparaging comments about listener input, and she was one of the recipients of Brian's famous email calling for a brainstorming session on things like "dismantling the LSB" and ways to "make our enemies own the problems that are to come".

Sasha Lilley may prove to be a good Program Director, but it is worth asking about the other issues.

Another LSB member, Sasha Futran, spoke to the importance of posting all openings, even the entry level volunteer ones. It's important, she said, because the ones who get in as volunteers are the ones who are likely to be around when permanent positions open up. Those openings have to be available for everyone, not just people with inside connections.

TWO REPORTS on the LSB elections of last November

Tracy Rosenberg was the Local Election Supervisor here at KPFA, and Les Radke was the Pacifica National Election Supervisor. Both turned in detailed written reports. Lengthy, but well worth reading. Hopefully they'll soon be posted at

They recommend changing the timeline of the election. The last three LSB elections have been in the fall--at a time which competes with fund drives as well as a variety of national, state or local elections.

During Listener Comments

Steve Zeltzer announced that the KPFA Labor Collective has submitted a new one-hour labor pilot show called "Workweek" to the KPFA interim Program Director, the interim General Manager and the Program Council.

Next Public Meeting of the LSB

Saturday, February 24th, 2007
11:00 am
at Freight & Salvage
1111 Addison St. (near San Pablo & University)
Berkeley, CA

From the notebook of
Daniel Borgström
January 2007