More endorsements for bylaws Draft B
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.
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 email@example.com 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
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)
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.
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:
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
POSITIVES OF THE "DRAFT B" BYLAWS:
Subject: RE: URGENT - email the iPNB TODAY to vote for bylaws DRAFT B
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.
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