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iPNB Chair's notes from bylaws mediation in Chicago
8-18-03


New note sent 8-23-03:

Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:02:36 -0400
From: Leslie Cagan [iPNB chair]

Please feel free to share this with others and post on other lists.
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A few days ago someone emailed me a copy of a message that Leslie Radford had written earlier in the week. I'm not sure how widespread her message has traveled, but I feel the need to respond to it. To be honest, I would rather not do this because I do not want to deflect energies that should be going into finding compromise language for the new bylaws. But by not responding I'm concerned that some false notions will be given credence.

Leslie starts her memo by saying she did not attend the discussions in Chicago. This is true, but she still went on to make statements about what happened and the meaning of it.

She states that everyone in Chicago came to the conclusion that a diversity plan with remedy was the best solution for Pacifica. As I recall it, there was discussion of the issue of post election remedy during the Chicago talks. And there was disagreement on this issue. On one point there was agreement. That is, if there is going to be any remedy it should not include replacement of anyone elected but rather it should be based on adding more people to the local board. But there was not agreement on whether or not to include any specific reference to remedy in bylaws language. This is a matter that is still being discussed because there was disagreement. One of the major issues about remedy, as I see it, has to do with different understandings of and thoughts about the potential risks the Foundation might be at should post election remedies be included.

Leslie goes on to say, "The group that met in Chicago is vested with the authority to act on Pacifica's behalf, and their collective decision is to proceed with remedy. I hope we all consider that decision with the respect it deserves."

I want to be as clear as I can be: Leslie Radford's statement is completely incorrect.

The group that gathered in Chicago was not/is not vested with any authority to act on anything. I made it very clear in pre-Chicago memos and at the session itself that this was a discussion to explore possibilities for new language for the bylaws on the issue of diversity. The only way bylaws will be passed is when at least 3 of the 5 labs and at least 2/3 of the IPNB agree on the issue of number and manner of election of the local station boards and the national board. (I say this is the only remaining issue because I personally believe the judge's ruling on the June 26th IPNB vote means the rest of the new bylaws have been passed....but I have asked the judge for a written clarification of his ruling.)

The group in Chicago set up a committee (Lydia Brazon, Ray LaForest, Joe Wanzala and me) to continue to discuss the items there was disagreement on and several issues that we didn't get to that weekend. This committee has been working all week and is about to issue a report. While there are some areas of agreement, the truth is that there are several very important issues where there is still not agreement.

I need to repeat one point I've already made: the people who gathered in Chicago had no authority vested in them. I have no idea how anyone might have come up with such a notion, but it is wrong.

Finally, speaking personally, I do not know how this process is going to proceed from here. What I do know is that serious compromise is needed and that everyone needs to be considering what they can live with in the bylaws, not merely what their ideal language is. I also feel very strongly that this process must move along at a much faster pace: the Foundation needs to have new bylaws, we need to move into the elections of the local station boards and the creation of the new national board. It is time to end this interim period in the life of Pacifica.

Leslie Cagan ---


The below notes by Pacifica iPNB chair Cagan on the bylaws mediation session in Chicago are said to of been prematurely released and are reportedly to be revised. They are also heavily contested. One response is posted below

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Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003
From: Leslie Cagan [iPNB chair]

Let me start by thanking all of you who participated in our discussions this weekend in Chicago. I believe we did some good work, but as well as know, our task was far from completed. If all of us act on the commitments I heard expressed this weekend...commitments to moving this process along quickly in order to adopt new bylaws... then the time and energy we've already put in will have been well spent. Please, let's stay focused on the task at hand and do what it takes to get this completed. At the end of the discussion on Sunday there was agreement on the following:

a) A committee of 3 people was set up to take up the next step in the work we started in Chicago: Joe Wanzala, Lydia Brazon and Ray LaForest.

b) This committee will develop a proposal on the items we did not yet reach agreement on, and will circulate that back to all of us. This is supposed to happen within the next 2 to 3 days.

c) Leslie Cagan is writing up what we agreed on and what needs further resolution....see below.

d) Leslie Cagan is also going to contact Tom Sainz (sorry if I got the spelling wrong) from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) to ask him to take our proposals and translate them into bylaws language for the appropriate sections of the bylaws. If he cannot or will not do this, Leslie will ask Lani Gunier, if she cannot/will not then Ted Shaw will be asked.

Again, all of this is on a FAST track. I hope the 3 person committee will have a conference call with within the next day or two! (If the committee would like me to participate in this call I will do so.) Our goal is to get new proposed language very quickly so all five LABs and the IPNB can vote on that langauge. If 2/3 of the IPNB and at least 3 out of 5 LABs agree on new language then we will have passed bylaws and can immediately move into the elections.

Please let me know immediately if you think the summation below is incorrect in any way, or missing anything.

Again, thank you all for your efforts and hard work. Now let's work together to take the next steps to complete this process.

Leslie Cagan
--------------------------------------

Summation of Items Discussed in Chicago August 16-17
Items with *** all require further discussion. The 3 person committee has been charged with developing proposals on these items, based on an understanding of the range of perspectives and concerns raised during the Chicago discussions.

There are different interpretations of a number of legal issues. We agreed that whatever comes out of this process must be reviewed by a lawyer and furthermore that we will ask a lawyer to translate what we came up with into bylaws language. Here's what came out of our discussions:

1) Complete agreement on the need to have diverse local station boards and national board, and complete agreement that this is best reached by having a diverse pool of candidates. Outreach to diverse communities, including programming that speaks to those communities, is a key element of this process.

2) Agreement that the Committees of Inclusion should be created and will be mandated to determine diversity goals based on demographic information, as well as other sources of information about the station's listening area.

3) Agreement that if the pool of candidates does not reach the diversity goals (as defined by the COI) there can be a two week extension of the nominating period, and if at that point the diversity goals have still not been reached there can be a second two week extension. After that, there will be no more extensions and the election process will proceed.

*** 4) Agreement that our diversity GOALS should be at least 50% people of color and at least 50% women. There was not agreement on what happens if these goals are not met in the election. Is not meeting the goals a trigger for a post election remedy? And if so, how would such a remedy be carried out? And if not meeting the goals is a trigger, then are we in reality setting up a requirement (as opposed to a goal) and what are the legal ramifications of that?

*** 5) A question was also raised about the composition of the 50% people of color. How do we safeguard against this grouping being made up solely of people from one specific constituency...what can be done to ensure diversity within the people of color grouping? (This items was raised but not discussed during our deliberations.)

6) Agreement that if a post election remedy is needed, that it should NOT include a process of replacing anyone who was elected by someone else but rather it should be based on adding additional people to the local board in order to achieve the diversity being sought.

*** 7) Another proposal was discussed for how to fill in the diversity sought. Instead of adding people as a post election remedy, the local boards would be put together in the following manner: 5 seats elected by station staff, 15 seats elected by the listener sponsors, these 20 people then elect 5 more people for a total of 20 members of the local board. These 5 would be members of the constituiencies identified by the COI for inclusion in the diversity goals.

8) Agreement to have language in the bylaws which expresses three points: the Foundation's commitment to diversity, the Foundation's commitment to having a remedy for past discriminatory practices, and an articulation of the CPB's incentives related to diversity.

*** 9) There was not time for discussion about process of achieving diversity goals on the national board.

Participants in Chicago discussions
Teresa Allen
George Barnstone
Deb Shafto
Diallo Katambo
MaryAnn Martinez
David Fertig
Lydia Brazon
Norma Vega
Farah Davari
Carol Spooner
Pete Bramson
Susan DaSilva
Miguel Molina
Joseph Wanzala
Leslie Cagan
Ray LaForest
Janice K. Bryant
Miguel Maldonado
Vincente "Panama" Alba
Rob Robinson
Marion Barry
Dick Gregory
Fahima Seck
Acie Byrd
Jim Brown


Response from WBAI LAB chair

Dear All,

I have not heard any private and public response from Leslie clearing up some misunderstanding.

This is no reflection on Leslie, but I think people need to have this point of view so they can have other point of views and disagreement.

As Leslie said it is unfortunate that people posted her memo in public which is push us to this situation.

Miguel

________

From: Miguel Maldonado
To: Leslie Cagan
Subject: Followup to Chicago discussion
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 12:03:01 -0400

Dear Leslie:

Dear Leslie:

While the memo and summary from Leslie Cagan was evidently released without permission before mediation participants had a chance to read, respond, and edit it, it is now public and what follows is a response to points that I do not agree and which I feel it is important to correct. Some of the content reflects the proposals of one side only, and much does not reflect the extent of our agreement or disagreement. My suggestions for a corrected version, which I hope you will issue immediately, are interspersed in your text below:

Summation of Items Discussed in Chicago August 16-17 Items with *** all require further discussion. The 3 person committee has been charged with developing proposals on these items, based on an understanding of the range of perspectives and concerns raised during the Chicago discussions. There are different interpretations of a number of legal issues. We agreed that whatever comes out of this process must be reviewed by a lawyer and furthermore that we will ask a lawyer to translate what we came up with into bylaws language. Here's what came out of our discussions:
1) Complete agreement on the need to have diverse local station boards and national board, and complete agreement that this is best reached by having a diverse pool of candidates. Outreach to diverse communities, including programming that speaks to those communities, is a key element of this process.
2) Agreement that the Committees of Inclusion should be created and will be mandated to determine diversity goals based on demographic information, as well as other sources of information about the station's listening area.


COMMENTS: There was no agreement here. There was an understanding that this position would be discussed by the three presenters of the three major positions in our facilitated meeting to see if they could arrive at language we can live with.
Some of us strongly oppose demographic determination of diversity. In fact, for the past two years a number of us have asked for specifics on how demographic and ethnic distinctions might be derived, and no one (from Unity Caucus or elsewhere) has come forth with an answer. The intent of this understanding was to figure out if and how to create a COI. The support for using demographics as the basis for reaching diversity was weak.
Frankly, Leslie, you took a lot of so-called straw polls in Chicago and have now apparently employed them to produce a very inappropriate memorandum that inaccurately claims agreement on key issues.


3) Agreement that if the pool of candidates does not reach the diversity goals (as defined by the COI) there can be a two week extension of the nominating period, and if at that point the diversity goals have still not been reached there can be a second two week extension. After that, there will be no more extensions and the election process will proceed.


COMMENTS: I did not agree to extend the nomination period for an extra two weeks. I suggested instead that, two weeks before the nomination period closed, we examine the candidate pool and, if it did not seem sufficiently diverse, that we make an extra effort to bring more candidates on board before the deadline. At most I suggested that at that time the outreach period be extended by only one week.


*** 4) Agreement that our diversity GOALS should be at least 50% people of color and at least 50% women. There was not agreement on what happens if these goals are not met in the election. Is not meeting the goals a trigger for a post election remedy? And if so, how would such a remedy be carried out? And if not meeting the goals is a trigger, then are we in reality setting up a requirement (as opposed to a goal); and what are the legal ramifications of that?


COMMENTS: This is the most accurate part of your memo. It states clearly that we have no idea, no understanding or agreement on how to achieve and/or artificially fix diversity. Lydia said she had some ideas but I reiterate: After two years of asking for a proposal I have never received any document that even alludes to the actual mechanics of defining or achieving diversity through so-called remedies. So, I have no faith in Lydia's ability to pull a proposal out of a hat now. It should be clear from our failure to agree on these points that without defining diversity, and without knowing which groups are underrepresented, much less whose demographics we are talking about, that this issue will have to wait until after the first election. If we then do not have even simple diversity, we might have the legal right to set firm goals to remedy the problem. As of now, however, we have no data that would define a problem: it is all speculation.


*** 5) A question was also raised about the composition of the 50% people of color. How do we safeguard against this grouping being made up solely of people from one specific constituency...what can be done to ensure diversity within the people of color grouping? (This items was raised but not discussed during our deliberations).


COMMENTS: This is very important to me and has been one of the fundamental objections by WBAI listener-activists to a self-selected COI. This sticking point was not addressed properly in Chicago. I do not see how we can discuss real diversity without addressing this question.


6) Agreement that if a post election remedy is needed, that it should NOT include a process of replacing anyone who was elected by someone else but rather it should be based on adding additional people to the local board in order to achieve the diversity being sought.


COMMENTS: I did not agree on adding seats and/or how to add seats. We basically said that in the worst scenario we would prefer to add seats to improve diversity instead of removing/denying the seat to a democratically elected (white) candidate.


*** 7) Another proposal was discussed for how to fill in the diversity sought. Instead of adding people as a post election remedy, the local boards would be put together in the following manner: 5 seats elected by station staff, 15 seats elected by the listener sponsors, these 20 people then elect 5 more people for a total of 20 members of the local board. These 5 would be members of the constituencies identified by the COI for inclusion in the diversity goals.


COMMENTS: This is one proposal, but until the constituencies are identified, and the means of electing the COI are agreed to, this proposal is impossible to implement. Furthermore, the proposal Joe put forward said nothing about constituencies.


8) Agreement to have language in the bylaws which expresses three points: the Foundation's commitment to diversity, the Foundation's commitment to having a remedy for past discriminatory practices, and an articulation of the CPB's incentives related to diversity.


COMMENTS: There are many more legal and financial ramifications than just CPB money, there are other state and federal grant monies involved, as well as potential lawsuits from members. I suggest that instead of speculating about how the CPB would view 50% requirements and mechanisms to insure meeting those requirements, that we ask the CPB directly for a written opinion. Dan Coughlin surely works with the CPB regularly and would know whom to contact there for an opinion. These three items that Norma put on the board were never agreed upon. We were concerned that stating in our bylaws that "there was past discrimination within Pacifica ( that we want to remedy)" we would open the door to many lawsuits.


*** 9) There was not time for discussion about process of achieving diversity goals on the national board.


COMMENTS: The fact that we did not address the diversity of the National Board negates the entire idea of and our concern about CPB funding which only takes into consideration the National Board's composition because CPB minority ownership status is determined based on composition of the board of directors (PNB) not the local boards.


CONCLUSION: I urge you to correct the misrepresentations in your original memo, and give the Pacifica community a more accurate picture of what came out of the meetings in Chicago. I also urge you to consider Farah Davariís letter that I support. An examination of the discrepancies between what we agreed to and what your memo says forces me to conclude that we are far from reaching any conclusion in the near future. The entire bylaws discussion and debate has been a nightmare and leads me to believe that this effort is not going to result in any resolution.

Sincerely,

Miguel Maldonado [WBAI LAB chair]



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