Tracy Rosenberg responds
The following is in response to efforts to recall Tracy Rosenberg from the KPFA Station Board and the National Pacifica Board of Directors. Questions were answered first by Tracy herself and secondly by listener-activist, Mara Rivera. (For more on this issue, visit: Stop the KPFA Recall.org and Support KPFA.org. Also, you can listen to an archived audio of the On-Air Live Debate, broadcast Friday, June 29th, at 1 PM, between Tracy Rosenberg and recall proponent Margy Wilkinson. To hear it click here.)
1) Did Tracy Rosenberg draw up a "hit list" targeting KPFA's old Morning Show?
Tracy Rosenberg: The only list I am aware of is the union seniority list, which was not "drawn up" by me, but exists independently of me. The most dozen recent hires would have been the dozen employees on the lower half of the list (that is what seniority means). They are the ones who might have been affected by layoffs as Pacifica struggled to address KPFA's two years of $500,000+ operating deficits for the fiscal years ending 9/30/2009 and 9/30/2010 and return KPFA to solvency. KPFA's financial position as of September 30, 2011 is at least $550,000 improved from the financial position of September 30, 2010.
Mara Rivera: Although the layoffs in the Summer of 2010 were difficult, there was never anything improper about the decisions by Pacifica's Executive Director, Arlene Englehardt. Brian Edwards-Tiekert claims that he and Aimee Allison, the other host of the Morning Show were treated unjustly. Brian has always had the option to "bump" another employee - and finally did so when it became clear union arbitration would not uphold his stated goal to return to an AM host slot.
Pacifica did give Edwards-Tiekert back pay to avoid another round of costly litigation but no guilt was admitted or should be assumed. His colleague Aimee Allison pursued an arbitration hearing and lost, receiving neither restoration to a position at KPFA nor back pay.
2) Did Tracy Rosenberg try to overturn election results?
Rosenberg: The motion referred to was not written by me. It was authored by then-Houston PNB director Richard Uzzell. 2010 PNB chair George Reiter asked me to introduce the motion under the Coordinating Committee report section of the meeting, so I did. His reasoning was the motion was time-sensitive and as an earlier Coordinating committee motion had expired, this motion needed to be dealt with by the board in a timely manner. As with any motion presented to the full board, the motion was subject to a vote by the Pacifica National Board. It passed easily and represents the will of the duly-elected directors at that time.
Mara Rivera: After the 1999 attempt to take over Pacifica by Washington based political figures the new by-laws were written to prohibit political appointees and public office holders from serving on the Pacifica Local and National Boards. (Article Four, Section 2.A, and Article Five, Section 1.B). Dan Siegel implied in nationwide media that he was an important appointee in Mayor Quan's office. It was reasonable to assume that his long collaboration with Mayor Quan and frequent meetings with her could present a conflict-of-interest as a Pacifica National Board member.
* A year ago the National Board determined that under the Bylaws Dan Siegel's acceptance of appointments to the Mayor of Oakland's administration disqualified him from service on the KPFA LSB and the National Board
* The question of Siegel's eligibility was sent to the Pacifica National Board for a determination by the PNB Coordinating Committee, which sets the agenda for the board meetings to insure that time-sensitive matters are considered by the board. As a board officer (Treasurer) Tracy served on the Coordinating Committee and presented the issue on behalf of the committee. This is normal operating procedure for the board.
* Siegel and several KPFA LSB members took the matter to court. In December the court ruled that Pacifica's Bylaws should be narrowly construed to only apply to holders of "public office" as that term is defined in California case law, and that Siegel is eligible to serve.
It is strange that Save KPFA is so concerned about costly lawsuits, when they have filed so many bogus ones themselves. Currently, four complaints to the National Labor Relations Board that originated from the Save KPFA faction have all been dismissed.
3) Did Tracy Rosenberg steal an email list?
Rosenberg: The email was designed and authored by KPFA staff, provided information about upcoming and archived shows on KPFA and directed people to the KPFA website to make donations, which about 20 people did. All I did was loan a Salsa account on request. Had I not done so, the staff involved would probably have accessed mail chimp or another similar free service.
Rivera: . All the other stations and Pacifica National itself went through their own layoffs mandated by Pacifica.
The Concerned Listener/KPFAworker/SaveKPFA faction has been manipulating listeners with disinformation to get them to support its self-serving aims, to the detriment of the station and entire network. They have chosen Tracy Rosenberg as their target, in a situation where they are losing throughout the rest of the network. She, as a member of the National Finance Committee, has an understanding of the true financial picture and the manipulations which they were/are involved in, which almost brought the network down.
This baseless recall action is estimated to cost KPFA Big Bucks!
Tracy Rosenberg is a knowledgeable media professional and a Pacifica financial expert whom we've been lucky to involve in the governance of KPFA and Pacifica.
For history on the email accusations, you can read this older article from May, 2011
Tracy Rosenberg responds to email accusations
May 1, 2011
To make a long story short (or maybe just shorter), the email list in question was sent to me twice. The first time was in January at with regard to lawsuit # RG10549212 in Alameda County Superior Court. I was actually sent two lists, one with about 5,000 emails, the other with about 1,000. They came without my knowledge, accompanied by a request to send unsolicited communications to these lists via electronic messaging or the Pacifica Foundation would face a petition for $33,000 in attorney's fees.
The request was to send an email to 6,000 email addresses relating to a 5 month old staff election, one in which none of these listeners participated in and one which most of them probably knew or cared nothing about. I really couldn't imagine a stupider way to annoy and mystify our subscribers, but of course, KPFA and Pacifica often fail to operate in their own self-interest.
Mass emailing is most easily done with software resources, and like most not for profits (except KPFA apparently), the one I work for and direct has an account. Unlike KPFA, we send out regular newsletters to a large mailing list that includes about 10,000 subscribers and a press list of about 800. From time to time, my nonprofit helps out those with less resources by sharing the software for a press release or communique for a worthwhile cause. In the past, we've done so for the Committee to Free the Sf8, the anti-smart meter folks in the beginning of their movement, the Free Palestine Movement during the last sail to Gaza, Common Frequency, and the Committee to End FBI Repression. I consider that a part of being a community organization that is allied with and supportive of social justice movements in this country. We share resources and help each other. Pacifica was assisted with an Al Jazeera announcement at the end of last year on a similar basis. Obviously, these communiques are not Media Alliance-branded - they belong to our friends and allies and we are simply aiding with distribution.
While happy to do so for causes that are compelling and move forward mobilizations for justice and democracy, it was a bit less compelling to provide assistance for the distribution of largely-unwanted material that served no purpose but internal KPFA turf wars. Being a national board member, I felt uneasy with failing to comply with a direct request, so I consulted an attorney privately as to whether or not it was within my duties as a board member to fulfill this request. I was told (twice) that I was under no obligation to do so and therefore declined to fulfill the request. I did not find it to be in the best interests of KPFA or Pacifica and while I could not stop them from complying with the demand to avoid financial stress, there was no need to be the agent of distribution.
So that was the end of that for a while and of course, the lists I had been unwillingly sent were used for nothing at all.
At the beginning of March, I was contacted by some KPFA staff working on the Morning Mix program who thought it would be a good idea to help along the fund drive process by doing some outreach. As a long-time proponent of outreach and having been long gob-smacked at KPFA's utter failure to engage in any meaningful promotion or communication to its listeners and members about the radio, I was pleased as punch that *someone* was showing a little initiative. They had an email template and text prepared, text that covered a week of upcoming shows, links to an archive from a particularly wonderful show Nora Barrows Friedman had hosted and a request for website donations to KPFA. All constructive, positive and in line with healthy promotional efforts. It seemed way too functional to be a KPFA-originated effort. They just needed a distribution engine, asked me for a partner send, and I said sure. Send me your list of recipients. On receipt, the number of emails looked familiar and lo and behold, it was the same list I had already been sent - with a different file name.
Using the standard that KPFA's lists should be used to promote KPFA programming and solicit donations to KPFA, not to circulate internal politics, this request seemed quite in line with the standards applied consistently to any other partner email distribution done in the past. So I was happy to fulfill this request. I just asked them to maintain their own unsubscribe list to lower the admin demand on me and they set up a gmail account for that purpose. I can only assume that they believed KPFA's email personnel either would not or could not assist them to distribute program announcements.
The good news is that the mails had a bumper response rate of 20%+ opens, got about 20 online donations, lots of click throughs to the archives and an extremely low unsubscribe rate - 3% of recipients asked to be removed, 97% did not. If you know anything about email marketing, that's an extremely positive response rate. Way higher than average.
Which is an excellent argument for the case I have long made which is that promotion of programming and regular communication with members is essential for every community media organization, and KPFA's inability and unwillingness to do this basic thing has cost us dearly in declining audiences (as we have seen from 2007-2010), Pushing internal politics instead of radio is a losing strategy if what we care about is the institution surviving and thriving and I appreciate the Morning Mix staff for being clear on that and having the energy and freshness to take action. I wish more of the station was so enterprising. Maybe in time they will be. Certainly the two weeks of promotions proved that it's a good thing to do.
So a few final thoughts:
The election-related lawsuit is the reason for the "release" of email lists. In addition to being released to Salsalabs, the request when completed, also resulted in the upload of mailing lists to the "Mailchimp" email service. If KPFA is concerned about keeping lists internal to their own servers, then such requests should not be made to support power struggles around elections.
It is really not possible to steal something that is emailed to you by its owner. It is only possible to misuse it against the better interests of those who sent it to you. By choosing not to distribute internal politics and choosing to distribute material that *encouraged* people to listen to the radio station and to donate to it, the unsolicited lists were used to benefit KPFA, not to harm it.
Since I presume the election-related emails will eventually be sent by some other distribution module, (as they were on April 27th) KPFA members are encouraged to ignore the communique.
Finally, I really could care less about Save KPFA and their "censures". In my opinion, they have conclusively demonstrated in their Concerned Listeners guise profound financial irresponsibility towards KPFA and a willingness to damage an institution that I care deeply about if they cannot control it absolutely. In my opinion, they are inimical to everything community radio is supposed to be about
Long live community media.
ED, Media Alliance
Listener Rep, KPFA LSB and Director, Pacifica Foundation
for more information and updates please visit Support KPFA at www.supportkpfa.org
Stop the KPFA Recall.org