Why We're Voting NO
by Bob English and Linda Hewitt
July 2, 2012
If you're a current KPFA member, you should have received a ballot in the mail asking you to vote Yes or No for the recall of Tracy Rosenberg, Local Station Board (LSB) listener representative, a delegate to the Pacifica National Board (PNB), and Treasurer on the PNB Finance Committee. This recall vote was requested by the so called "Save KPFA" (a blatant rip-off of the original name of community radio activists of the 1990s).
There has been an ongoing campaign by the Save KPFA/Concerned Listeners/KPFA Worker alliance which has been detrimental to the new membership democracy and financial viability of KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation. The political, personal and financial attacks have included relentless lawsuits, email blasts, harassment of managers and co-workers, obstruction of LSB and Program Council functions/powers; pollution of listener elections with money and party machine politics, and now a recall of the person who has worked harder and more effectively than anyone to restore financial sustainability to KPFA. These actions seem designed to weaken the station and Pacifica's network of 5 stations and over 150 affiliate stations, as well as undermine democratic process and participation by listeners and staff in station government, policy/decision making and oversight of programming.
We're asking members to vote and say No to their recall of Tracy Rosenberg.
Please join us in telling these folks that raising their game to a recall and publicly smearing a hard-working progressive leader in community media is not okay. Please say "No" to this recall.
If you believe that the constant partisan attacks, power plays and undermining of hard won democracy at KPFA are destructive to our station, our community and our culture on "the Left," vote No on this recall. If you want KPFA and Pacifica to stop wasting money and energy on conflicts so it can return to financial stability and rise to meet the immense challenges of our times, vote No on this recall.
If, after studying the issues, you still can't decide, do not abstain, vote No! Abstentions (not returning ballots) tend to support the premise of any proposal, in this case to recall Tracy, plus it makes it more likely that electoral quorum won't be met.
The charges against Tracy are false, misleading and inappropriate for a recall election.
A recall should address board member misconduct, Bylaw violations or actions detrimental to the best interests of Pacifica/KPFA, not organizational or management policy and decisions. Save KPFA is basically trying to draw a false narrative parallel with the old Pacifica hijacker regime and conduct a referendum on the current Pacifica Executive Director (ED) and PNB in the form of the recall, with Tracy as a strategic, convenient stand-in target. However, there were no violations or adverse activity by Tracy.
Here are the facts:
1. "Destruction of the Morning Show"
The issue was avoiding bankruptcy and complying with union seniority, not elimination of any one show.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that the staff layoffs were made for "economic necessity" and in accordance with the union contract. NLRB ruled on a CWA grievance that management has the right to consult with board members concerning layoffs. The ruling is that this is not "tortuous interference" with the union contract.
This was about cleaning up a financial mess created when the Concerned Listeners/KPFA Worker cabal was in charge of KPFA and overseeing the budgets. Note from the auditor's report of September 30, 2010
Tracy was not responsible for selecting or executing layoffs. As an elected LSB and PNB member and at the request of the ED, she and other KPFA representatives met with Pacifica and KPFA managers to discuss and remedy the financial crisis. A staff seniority list was subsequently used by management to determine position cuts and order of layoffs as required by the paid staff union contract. There was no "hit list." Save KPFA has not produced such a document to substantiate their charge (it simply doesn't exist).
These budget decisions were made and the layoffs were executed by management, not by Tracy who had no such authority. There were no violations or misconduct. Those who disagree with the decision to layoff and reassign Morning Show staff may seek to hold Pacifica management accountable, but that is not accomplished by recalling Tracy or any board member.
2. "Election Fraud"
There was no election fraud.
A year ago the National Board reaffirmed that the Bylaws prohibit political appointees and public office holders from serving on Pacifica boards and determined that Dan Siegel's acceptance of an appointment to the Mayor of Oakland's administration disqualified him from service on the KPFA LSB and the PNB. By introducing a resolution and voting with the PNB majority on this Bylaws application, which is entirely consistent with the original Bylaws provision intent and purpose, Tracy is obviously acting within her legitimate role and responsibility as a PNB director and is not guilty of any detrimental activity, misconduct or Bylaws violations.
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 apply only to holders of "public office" as that term is defined in California case law, and that Siegel is eligible to serve. This is a legitimate question, temporarily resolved by a court decision but still on appeal. Where was the fraud?
Article Four, Section 2.A
Article Five, Section 1.B
3). "Email Theft and Misrepresentation"
There was no "theft" or "misrepresentation."
The email in question, distributed by Tracy through her nonprofit organization, was requested by staff members to promote the new Morning Mix and raise funds for KPFA. The recall promoters haven't tried to raise funds for KPFA, only funds to restore one program (The Morning Show), and didn't turn over the donations to the station when they did not get their way. But the email supports KPFA membership and fundraising, not just the Morning Mix, which was being sabotaged by Save KPFA/KPFA Worker, encouraging listeners and community people to boycott and refuse interviews on the program.
Promoting programs benefits the station; Tracy should be thanked, not attacked.
Is the recall because KPFA is in trouble?
No. KPFA is moving out of a million and a half dollar loss toward solvency and a balanced budget. But there will likely be more layoffs as payroll reductions had been insufficient and deferred while revenue declined over the last 5 years.
So why a recall?
It's a malicious political power grab, the latest in the campaign to preserve the status quo, with the insider power clique controlling the station and programming. What is now the Save KPFA/KPFA Worker power alliance has never wanted to deal with input from community, unpaid staff and listeners who want KPFA to be governed and managed democratically and with more emphasis on fair community media practices. (For instance, they refuse to have listener members participate on a revived Program Council, eliminated the rights and benefits of the volunteer staff, who constitute about 3Ú4 of KPFA staff, by changing their union affiliation; insert their politics in news programs without alternative viewpoints.)
They have stated on their website that removing Tracy is a step toward their removing Arlene Engelhardt as Pacifica ED. Arlene and the PNB which backed her on the layoffs are only doing their "fiduciary duty" to safeguard the network from insolvency.
How is the recall move a power grab? Save KPFA now has a slim majority on the LSB and elected three of the four KPFA delegates to the PNB by the proportional representation voting method, while the minority members selected one delegate, Tracy. If she is recalled Save KPFA will select her replacement and control all KPFA delegates to the PNB, nullifying the Bylaws provision for proportional representation.
We hope that you will take the time to consider the facts and decide for yourself. We hope that you will vote No on the Recall of Tracy Rosenberg, and tell your friends why you are doing so!
BOB ENGLISH and LINDA HEWITT
For more information, check out
Stop the KPFA Recall website
Who is Tracy Rosenberg?
Deconstructing the Recall Petition Support KPFA.org
audio & video
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. Click here (Note: the first 5 minutes of the audio is filler music)
Video of Marin Forum: "Is the Recall Necessary?"