November 18, 2001
Pacifica Campaign Release
Amidst Protest, Pacifica National Board Members Agree to
New Accord May Open Way for Democratization of Network
Ratification Vote Slated for Later this Week
WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 18) -- The Pacifica National Board
agreed today to voluntarily dissolve, reconstitute itself as an
interim board with new members, and then to implement a
democratization process for the five-station network.
Dissidents and majority factions on Pacifica's embattled 15-
member board agreed to each appoint five of their members to a new
interim board. In addition, five entirely new members would be
appointed by the chairs of Pacifica's five Local Advisory Boards.
While the formula would effectively place majority control of the
board in the hands of the Pacifica reform movement (four out of the
five LABs are dominated by reformers), all decisions of the interim
board must be agreed upon by two-thirds vote or 10 out of the 15
The interim board would be tasked with organizing listener
elections at each of the five LABs. These elections would be modeled
after KPFA's elected LAB, which just last week sent out 30,000
ballots to qualified voters. Each elected LAB would appoint one
member to a new permanent Pacifica national board, which would then
operate like a majority-rules nonprofit board.
The new interim board could be constituted as early as Tuesday or
Wednesday of this week, Pacifica board member Tomas Moran told a
packed conference room at the Doubletree Hotel in northern Virginia.
Moran also said that board was committed to returning Democracy
Now! to the air at all five Pacifica stations. KPFA in Berkeley has
been airing and distributing the program since Amy Goodman and the
Democracy Now! team were forced out of WBAI as part of a purge of
some 26 staffers at the New York station.
The new accord is subject to review by attorney's for majority
and minority factions on the board. It also needs to be ratified by
the five board members who could not attend this weekend's meeting
(Marion Barry, Dick Gregory, Valrie Chambers, Rabbi Aaron Kriegel,
and Krishna Roy).
If approved, the new deal will not necessarily end the litigation
by LAB members and listeners that is now before Alameda Superior
Court. In settlement negotiations just two weeks ago, an agreement
had been reached that would essentially transfer a majority of the
board over to the control of reformers. But it appears that today's
announcement supercedes that settlement.
The new accord was made after a dramatic weekend board meeting
where more than a hundred listener-activists converged on the
Doubletree Hotel just outside of Washington, DC. Activists demanded
- among other things -- the resignation of the board majority, the
democratization of the network's governance, and the return of fired
and banned programmers at New York station WBAI 99.5 FM.
The most conservative forces at this weekend's meeting were the
station General Managers, the National Program Director, and the
Pacifica Network News (PNN) staff. They have been the most militant
advocates of carrying the battle forward. Board member John Murdock
also seemed eager for confrontation.
But the fact remains that the network is functionally insolvent
and incapable of sustaining any more damage. New reports this
weekend say network execs have spent $3 million -- or 30 percent of
the organization's annual budget - on the battle. PR firm Westhill
Partners is reported to have charged $230,000 alone.
Pacifica Board member Tomas Moran said the new interim board
would immediately focus on number of "hot issues." He listed the
1) Democracy Now!, saying it will to return as soon as
possible to all Pacifica stations.
2) The Pacifica Network
News (PNN) stringers strike
3) Audit of the finances of
4) Appointing a new executive
5) Appointing a comptroller to deal with
6) Review of National Program Director
7) Severance package of outgoing Executive
Director Bessie Wash
8) Formation of a Board committee to
review the situation at WBAI
9) Formation of an oversight
committee of the Board to evaluate and work with General
10) Deal with the lawsuits against the
11) Dropping of all outstanding charges against
members of the Pacifica community
12) No new major
Moran also said there will be no executive committee under the
plan. A Chair and Treasurer will exist in name only. Instead, the
entire board has committed to working together, through conference
calls, to resolve the outstanding issues affecting the network.
Wbix.org will replay their coverage of events this week. Errol
Maitland twice asked Board Chairman Bob Farrell for permission to
webcast the proceedings, and was denied. Nevertheless, wbix.org, in
conjunction with the DC Independent Media Center, managed to
transmit the events with commentary, via cell phone. In addition,
the webstream carried live reports from major protests at the School
of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia and at the IMF/World Bank
protests in Ottawa. Hear their coverage at http://www.wbix.org/
Tuesday Nov. 20 - 11 am - 6 pm
Wednesday Nov. 21
- 11 am - 6 pm - 9 pm onward
Friday Nov, 24 - 9 pm onward