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More endorsements for bylaws Draft B
6-25-03


The following "call to action" resulted in hundreds of individual emails to the interim Pacifica national board in support of draft B. More endorsements have been added since the original posting including that of Juan Gonzalez formerly of the Pacifica Campaign.
(his email is below)

---------------------------------

Below is an alert regarding an emergency push to get bylaws passed before Pacifica sinks in non-action and gets thrown back to the courts. Apologies for email clutter if you've already received this alert.

Across the country, many of us have rallied to promote Draft B in opposition to an ever-changing Draft A that once had four versions out. Now, a week before the iPNB's scheduled final vote, a so-called "compromise proposal," Draft C, materializes to offer vague language that raises questions of interpretation and lacks legal review.

Draft B reflects the consolidation of committee-work and straw polls by listeners from each signal area over the past year. Draft A is a recent development conjured by self-promoters seeking turf through a bureaucratic superstructure in the name of "diversity." Draft C borrows significant portions from Draft A.

Draft B is legally sound. Draft A risks litigation and undermines democratic choice in election of Local Station Boards. Draft C introduces new problems of its own.

--Robert Johnson

URGENT - CALL TO ACTION Issue Date 6-25-2003

The INTERIM Pacifica National board was supposed to approve new bylaws and hold elections for local station boards by last December, and hold elections for a new Pacifica national board by last March. Failure to do so endangers the legal settlement agreement, and the democratic reform for Pacifica we all fought long and hard for.

Please email the interim board at ipnb@pacifica.org TODAY to urge them not to delay the vote any longer & to approve "Draft B" of the bylaws before the end of June.

You can read the bylaws draft proposals posted at www.wbai.net

Signed (Local Advisory Board (LAB) and other affiliations for identification purposes only)

- Larry Bensky, KPFA & Pacifica National Correspondent
- Mary Berg, KPFA LAB Member, Member KPFA Diversity, Elections,& Bylaws Committees
- Carolyn Birden, WBAI Listener - Activist
- Gail Blaisie, KPFA LAB Member & Secretary
- Max J. Blanchet, Former KPFA LAB Member, Member KPFA Diversity,
  Elections, & Bylaws Committees
- Stephen M. Brown, Member WBAI Design Committee
- Heidi Chesney, Member KPFA Diversity & Elections Committees, KRCB
  Community Radio Programmer
- Steve Conley, Member KPFA Diversity & Elections Committees, Program Council,
  CdP, Former KPFK Staff, GM Search Committee
- Jim Curtis, KPFA listener activist
- Susan da Silva, KPFA LAB Chair
- Farah Davari, KPFK LAB Member
- Evan Davis, Pacifica Internet Member
- Staci Davis, KPFT LAB Member
- Andrea Duflon, KPFA LAB Member
- Anita Dutt, Former WBAI LAB Vice - Chairperson
- Ted Friedman, KPFA LAB Member, Member KPFA Diversity Committee
- Sherry Gendleman, KPFA LAB Member, Former KPFA LAB Chair
- Maria Gilardin, KPFA LAB Member, TUC Radio
- Juan Gonzalez, Former Chair of the Pacifica Campaign
- Terry Goodman, Former KPFK Staff, Former KPFT Operations Mgr
- Curt Gray, KPFA LAB Member
- Leigh Hauter, WPFW LAB Member
- Patty Heffley, WBAI Member, Founder WBAI CdP
- Edward S. Herman, Pacifica Community Member Emeritus
- Mark Hernandez, KPFA LAB Member
- Hep Ingham, KPFT LAB Member
- Robert Johnson, Member WBAI Bylaws Revisions Subcommittee
- Liam Kirsher, Member KPFA Diversity & Elections Committees
- Lee Loe, KPFT Member and Volunteer
- Barbara Lubin, KPFA, Co-Founder Friends of Free Speech Radio
- Miguel Maldonado, WBAI LAB Chair
- Roger Manning, WBAI.NET Editor
- Sally Marr, KPFK LAB Member
- MaryAnn Martinez, KPFT LAB Member
- Bob Mc Cafferty, Independent Activist, and Member of WBAI
- Liz McLellan - WBAI and KPFA Member
- Donna and Craig McWaters, Members KPFT Bylaws Committee
- Loraine Mirza, KPFK LAB Member
- Eve Moser, WBAI Member and lover of democracy
- Andrew Norris, WBAI LAB Member & Secretary
- Marty Oaklander, KPFK LAB Member
- Conrad OHO, KPFA Bylaws Committee
- Phil Osegueda, KPFA LAB Member & Development Director
- Robbie Osman, KPFA, Co - Founder, Friends of Free Speech Radio
- Ed Pearl, KPFK Member
- Michael Pimental, Former KPFT iLAB Member (elected!)
- Rick Potthoff, KPFT LAB Member
- Berthold Reimers, WBAI Member
- Larry Romsted, WBAI Member
- Fadi Saba, KPFA LAB Member
- John Sheridan, KPFA Elections Committee, CdP Berkeley
- Debbie Speer, KFCF/Fresno Free College Foundation Board Member
- Carol Spooner, KPFA LAB Member & iPNB Member
- Steven Starr, Former KPFK Interim General Manager
- Veronica Toole, KPFK LAB Member
- Frank Wagner, WPFW LAB Member
- Don White, KPFK LAB Member
- Rych Withers, KFCF/Fresno Free College Foundation President
- Stan Woods, KPFA LAB Member

The position paper below states some of the reasons to support "Draft B" as opposed to a proposed "added seats model" recently proposed by the Pacifica "Diversity Language Committee"

POSITION PAPER IN SUPPORT OF PACIFICA BYLAWS DRAFT B (6/07/03)
by James Ross, WBAI listener, Terry Goodman, KPFK listener, and Other Concerned Listeners

ENOUGH ALREADY!

Draft B makes a strong commitment to diversity at Pacifica. It establishes "Committees of Inclusion" to monitor and report on diversity throughout the network. It establishes election procedures for our local station boards that are legal, practical, fair and democratic. And it is the set of proposed bylaws that reflects the many months of work by bylaws sub-committees in all five station areas and consultation with the Local Station Advisory Boards and the listening community, as mandated by the legal Settlement Agreement.

The last minute proposal of the Diversity Language Committee (DLC) to add unelected members to the boards undercuts the democratic accountability the bylaws committees worked to achieve, assumes that a person's race or ethnicity is the sole qualification necessary for service on a station board, and presumes that a person of a certain race or ethnicity actually represents the views of that race or ethnicity as a whole.

Pacifica's commitment to diversity is expressed in our programming. We believe Pacifica's listeners, who support that programming, will elect diverse boards given diverse candidates pools to choose from.

After Local Station Board (LSB) and Pacifica National Board (PNB) elections, when the governance of Pacifica is more clearly representative of the membership, specific policies and programs may be established as needed to handle any issues found to be inadequately addressed in the bylaws.

After LSB and PNB elections, when the governance of Pacifica is more clearly representative of the membership, any additional bylaws amendments being proposed can be given due consideration by an elected governing body.

DIVERSITY DETAILS

Draft B states that "The Foundation is committed to diversity and inclusion of people of all nations, races, ethnicities, creeds, colors, classes, genders, sexual orientations, ages and people with disabilities in its programming, staff, management, committees and governance" and establishes National and Local "Committees of Inclusion" (COIs) to monitor diversity within the Foundation.

LEGAL PROBLEMS OF ADDED SEATS MODEL PROPOSED BY THE BOARD DIVERSITY LANGUAGE COMMITTEE

Proposed post-election adjustments for diversity are in violation of California and federal law, in that they treat election candidates differently based solely on race, gender, ethnicity, or other characteristics. Such adjustments are only legal when narrowly tailored to remedy a history of egregious inequity, which Pacifica does not have. Relevant law includes the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, California Unruh Civil Rights Act, Federal Civil Rights Act Title VI, and multiple decisions of the United States Supreme Court regarding issues of equal protection and affirmative action.

Many of us disagree with the conservative courts' interpretations of the Equal Protection Clause limiting the use of "quotas" and "set asides" to achieve equity in access to education and employment, but that law is now long-established. Possible consequences of enshrining illegal diversity adjustments in the bylaws or allowing Committees of Inclusion to add members to the LSBs and/or PNB on the basis of race include:

  1. Expensive, lengthy and onerous litigation
  2. Uncertainty in Pacifica governance during litigation
  3. Loss of funding from Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other federal and state funding sources
  4. Giving the conservative/reactionary courts the opportunity to establish more "bad law" in precedential rulings that could extend restrictions on affirmative action into new areas of non-profit law.
The Interim Pacifica National Board has a duty to steer the Foundation away from such problems.

It has received the advice of civil rights attorneys from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) to avoid establishing diversity requirements in the bylaws, yet the Diversity Language Committee has persisted in this approach. Even an attorney friendly to this approach concluded after reviewing their proposal that "it is assumed that whatever diversity plan Pacifica adopts will be challenged in court."

Current proposals for post-election adjustments attempt to skirt illegality by allowing diversity goals based on demographic data from ill-defined sources to be applied by Committees of Inclusion with little accountability. This approach does not resolve the fundamental legal problem of seating members on our boards on the basis of race/ethnicity. If the diversity goals established by Committees of Inclusion are not met, these proposals require additional candidates to be seated on the LSBs on the basis of their race or gender, which is prohibited under current law.

OTHER PROBLEMS OF DIVERSITY LANGUAGE COMMITTEE ADDED SEATS MODELS

  1. Changing the results of an election is anti-democratic. The point of elections is for the voters to choose who they want to represent them. Seating candidates who have failed to achieve the required number of votes negates the voters' ability to choose, and risks the seating of candidates who have been rejected by the voters based on their views, not on their race or ethnicity.
  2. The decision of the voters should be final, not adjusted by any established power bloc (which the COIs would likely become).
  3. Candidates seated though an added seats mechanism are not accountable to any constituency. Their votes on the LSBs dilute the votes of the elected board members.
  4. The terms designed to qualify historically or societally underrepresented groups for added seats are vague and subject to conflicting interpretation.
  5. The idea that the local board must have someone from every demographic group falsely assumes that the LSB will ignore the concerns of groups not represented, and also that a person of a certain demographic group represents the views of that demographic group as a whole.
  6. Excessive discretion in the selection of demographic data sources, the setting of diversity goals, and the addition of seats is proposed for Committees of inclusion, whose decisions on these matters are not subject to any check, review, or approval.

POSITIVES OF THE "DRAFT B" BYLAWS:

  1. Truly democratic elections using proportional representation with single transferable votes (STV) will allow all constituencies to choose freely who they want to represent them.
  2. Proportional representation prevents a majority (51%) of the voters from controlling 100% of the seats --- Instead, one-fifth of the voters elect about one-fifth of the seats, one-third of the voters elect about one-third of the seats, one-tenth of the voters elect about one-tenth of the seats, etc., so that our boards will be truly representative of the voters' choices.
  3. Under STV, no votes are wasted. Surplus votes from elected candidates and from eliminated candidates are proportionately transferred to the second choices of their voters. This is not a "winner-take-all" voting system and no candidate becomes a "spoiler" by splitting the votes of a candidate with a similar constituency.
  4. Votes cast on the basis of race/ethnicity count the same as votes cast on the basis of political or other views. Candidates are not limited in the development of their constituencies and coalitions are encouraged.
  5. The Committees of Inclusion as proposed in Draft B will monitor station programming and staffing for diversity, and will to work to improve the diversity of election candidates. Station management and LSB committees will be expected to address the concerns of the COIs and must report progress to the PNB quarterly.
  6. Under Draft B, the COIs are special purpose advisory committees, not a new "executive branch" with broad power and authority. Under Draft B, the COIs are NOT empowered to add members to an LSB who were not elected by the voters.
  7. Finally, and most importantly, Local Station Boards will be truly accountable to the Pacifica membership, and the vote of the membership regarding its representatives will be final.

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Subject: RE: URGENT - email the iPNB TODAY to vote for bylaws DRAFT B
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 10:01:54 -0400
From: Gonzalez, Juan
To: Patty [Heffley - CdPNY]

Patty:

Please add my name to those who are calling for the Pacifica Board to follow through asap on approving bylaws and having elections, and supporting Draft B of the proposed bylaws.

Juan Gonzalez
Former chair of the Pacifica Campaign



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