Between the Minutes

Scenes & sketches from the KPFA board meeting of June 14, 2008

by Daniel Borgström

There are subtle ironies that make these monthly events entertaining, in retrospect at least. Such as:

The board has a designated "parliamentarian" nowadays--Mark Hernandez, an ex-board member. But in reality, it's Brian Edwards-Tiekert who performs that function. Whenever there's any question on parliamentary procedure, Brian speaks up and advises the chair on what Roberts Rules of Order require, while Mark sits there thumbing through a copy of the same book of rules, seemingly unable to find what he's looking for.

So what's Mark doing up there on the board anyway? He should sit with the rest of us, in the listener section.

But the real irony of the afternoon came out during a report from a recent PNB (Pacifica National Board) meeting. WBAI, the Pacifica sister station in New York, had reportedly asked for a loan of $20,000 to send their delegates to the July PNB meeting. This proposed loan was indignantly and adamantly opposed by several KPFA board members on the grounds that WBAI had grossly mismanaged itself, consequently gone deeply into debt and therefore lacked the money.

"I don't want to send KPFA listeners' money to a station that's been so irresponsible!" they declared, one after another.

It's absolutely true that WBAI is in horrible shape due to years of mismanagement--nothing new about that. But what amazed me was that these zealous watchdogs were all members of the CL (Concerned Listeners) faction--the very ones who had consistently, year after year, played co-dependent to WBAI, making it possible for the people operating that station to run it into the ground.

I could scarcely believe my ears. Clearly, the CL faction had seen the light and gotten religion, at long last! Overnight, they'd suddenly become born-again converts to the narrow path of righteousness and responsibility! Or did I miss something?

Yes, I had indeed missed something: It turns out that when all the votes of the NY station's election of last fall were finally counted--thanks to a court order--the former ruling faction of that station had lost their majority on their Local Station Board. The mismanagers were out, and new people were in. The ousted faction had been staunch allies of CL & Co. So this meant that the new WBAI board would presumably be sending delegates to the national board who won't be supporting Pacifica's management clique.