A Response to KPFAworker.org

by Akio Tanaka
November 29, 2010

TThere is currently an ongoing crisis at KPFA. The KPFA union on their website, KPFAworker.org, portrays the crisis as one of union busting political purges by top heavy bureaucratic Pacifica, however, the real problem is the KPFA finances over the past ten years.

[KPFAworker says] PUT RADIO FIRST. Pacifica's budgets should cut bureaucratic overhead, not programs KPFA's listeners count on.

[A Response] Pacifica Central Services pays for Democracy Now! and other national programming. KPFA pays Pacifica Central Services a fixed percentage of the KPFA Listener Support. Two years ago Pacifica laid off most of its staff when the Listener Support across the network started to decline. (See attached Graph).

[KPFAworker says] LOCAL CONTROL. Stop sidelining KPFA's elected Local Station Board and local management in the budget drafting process.

[A Response] KPFA is not a stand-alone nonprofit and its Local Station Board is a standing committee of the Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica Foundation is the nonprofit entity which holds the licenses of all five stations including KPFA and is responsible for all the stations to be in compliance with nonprofit law which requires the nonprofit organization to be in control of its assets. The "Sustainable Budget" that was passed by the KPFA Local Station Board in October 2010 was like a Band-Aid for a bullet wound. The Pacifica National Board did not approve KPFA's "Sustainable Budget" because the only sustainable budget is one where the expenses are in line with real income. (See attached Graph).

[KPFAworker says] NO POLITICAL PURGES. Three Pacifica board members drew up a name-by-name list of workers to fire that targeted those who didn't endorse their election slate - they have no business interfering in KPFA's union contract.

[A Response] A story has been circulated repeatedly that a 'mis-directed email' disclosed a 'hit list' drawn up by three of the KPFA Pacifica National Board members to purge their political opponents.

There was NO 'mis-directed email' and there was NO 'hit list'.

It is understandable but unfortunate that so many people believe this fabricated story, but it is more troubling that some are willing to put the station at further financial risk by spreading disinformation to inflame and divide the KPFA community.

Layoffs are always difficult. The only fair and equitable way to carry out the layoffs was to follow the union contract and base it on seniority within skill sets. In the end two workers were laid off.

[KPFAworker says] PRESERVE LOCAL PROGRAMMING. Stop all attempts to replace community-driven programs with syndicated content.

[A Response] The current syndicated program is only an interim measure. The Pacifica Executive Director has said that the Morning Show will be returned as a locally produced show.

How You Can Help

You can help KPFA get through these hard times by doubling your contribution this year, and asking everyone you know to do the same.

You can help by not getting caught up in the disinformation campaign that claims that the layoffs are union busting political purges.

Pacifica's Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt is responsible for the whole Network and this includes wresting KPFA from its previous uncontrolled spending and bad management.

We should thank the Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and the Chief Financial Officer LaVarn Williams for tirelessly working to put KPFA and Pacifica back on a solid financial footing, and being so steadfast in face of unsubstantiated and baseless charges.

We need to bridge the divide and all work together to not only strengthen the station so that it can continue as a healthy, vibrant fertile ground for information, inquiry, and engagement but also empower those who are in a position to provide the over 100 affiliated community stations across the country with the progressive programming that we so depend upon to be the informed citizens that are the hope of a decent society -- programs such as Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, Letters To Washington, Flashpoints, Uprising, and many others that are produced at the various Pacifica stations.

[We should all hear out both sides of this controversy. To hear another side, visit www.supportkpfa.org.]

AKIO TANAKA is a member of KPFA's Local Station Board (LSB)

Click here to view 10 Years of KPFA Finances – from audited financial statements in TABLE FORMAT

and, presented as a GRAPH, the same data:
10 Years of KPFA Finances GRAPH

for more information and updates please visit Support KPFA at www.supportkpfa.org


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