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An Appeal from Juan Gonzalez

Coordinator Pacifica Campaign

Dear Friends:

For more than half a century, even in wartime, listener-sponsored, community-based Pacifica Radio has always been a trailblazer: uncovering the truth, questioning conventional wisdom and promoting a real diversity of views. But not any more -- Pacifica executives, beholden to a new leadership of corporate raiders and Beltway politicians, are now wreaking havoc with the network. They've fired and banned scores of dedicated producers, replaced public affairs programs with hours of music, diluted the political content of news at four of the five stations, and moved Pacifica headquarters from Berkeley to Washington, D.C. They've even tried to alter Pacifica's bylaws to make it easier to sell five valuable FM frequencies estimated to be worth half a billion dollars -- and pocket some of the proceeds themselves.

After five of their colleagues were forced to resign in the past year, the clique that seized control of the Pacifica Board in 1999 engineered an "election" last month to add five new members. They hired the most expensive and influential Beltway consultants and lawyers, including President Clinton's impeachment trial lawyer, Greg Craig of Williams & Connolly, and the PR firm of Westhill Partners, which attempted to destroy tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (as depicted in the movie, The Insider). In 2000, they spent a staggering $500,000 of listener money on anti-union law firms and $440,000 more on security. One Board member estimates this year's legal bills topped $1 million. Can we allow this cabal to destroy the radio legacy established by several generations of feisty rebels and dissenters like Pacifica founder Lew Hill?

The answer is clear: No, we can't. During the stations' Fall Fund Drives, it's important to realize that every cent contributed goes directly to Pacifica's Washington headquarters. If you deny them the listener donations they have taken for granted for so long, you can stop them in their tracks. That's why we're asking you to join the boycott of fund drives at all five Pacifica stations: WBAI (New York), WPFW (Washington), KPFT (Houston), KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA (Berkeley).

At the same time, we must continue to support the real Pacifica -- the banished producers and programmers who are building a network-in-exile and providing the kind of news and analysis that you used to expect from Pacifica. While our foes harass and slander Amy Goodman and the "Democracy Now!" staff, the Pacifica Campaign has helped maintain and expand the award-winning program's outreach. We helped launch Free Speech Radio News' daily 30-minute report, prepared by striking Pacifica freelancers, that now airs on some 50 community stations nationwide. And we're actively supporting the web-based station, WBIX.org, which features "fired and banned" former producers from WBAI, WPFW and KPFK.

Actors like Danny Glover and Ben Affleck, writers like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Alice Walker and journalists like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Nat Hentoff are among the thousands of listeners who have joined the Pacifica reform movement. Labor unions, environmental defenders, disability rights groups and media activists worldwide are pitching in. Jack O'Dell, the former top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who chaired the Pacifica Board for 20 years until 1997, recently sent "warmest congratulations to all of you whose hard work, vision and organizing skills have, at long last, opened the way to the restoration of Pacifica as the flagship of informed, progressive, listener-supported radio in our country."

In this struggle, we've been cast as David confronting Goliath. As you know, David won -- and with your help, it will happen again. Please contribute what you can to the Pacifica Campaign, and boycott all Pacifica fund drives. Don't let the ravenous vultures devour free-speech radio. Together we can win!

In solidarity,

Juan Gonzalez