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Analysis of the illegitimate "hybrid model" for elections

From: paul_surovell
Date: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:33 am
Subject: Re: hybrid model explanation


The 1/25/02 proposal submitted by Donna is not the proposal that the iPNB referred to the LABs for discussion. It has been changed significantly. It is also not completed, as Donna says herself.

Donna's Houston proposal did not include geographic constituencies. This proposal does.

This proposal is very different structurally from the proposal referred to the LABs by the iPNB.

It is also very ambiguous, especially regarding how many seats would constitute the at-large component and how many would constitute the constituency component.

It is rather astonishing -- perhaps insulting is a better word -- that after seven months of hard work by hundreds of people in all of the Bylaws subcommittees, after seven months of hard work by the iPNB, that the bylaws process has been reduced to consideration of a proposal that has never been seen by the iPNB, has never been seen by a Bylaws subcommittee, is not yet completed, has already been changed, and is extremely ambiguous and unclear.

I think the integrity of the bylaws process and the integrity of the iPNB itself demands that a MORATORIUM be called on the LABs's consideration of this proposal until after the iPNB has had a chance to see what is being proposed and to find out who is making the changes.

Paul Surovell


mark hernandez wrote:

I'm going bug-crazy at work, but took a few minutes to post this to the KPFA Station Board members.

This is just a cursory analysis, based on what few and minimalist 'facts' have been made available on this 'hybrid' model.

I don't trust "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" type of proposals, which is precisely what this is, missing any specific details and playing to an emotional level.

Permission is given to post this out if anyone wishes to.

Mark Hernandez               markh@repairnet.com
KFCF Volunteer | FFCF Member/Director | KPFA Volunteer/LAB Member

To the KPFA Station Board:

Still at work, don't have all correct addresses, please forward as needed.

Problems, problems, problems.

> Under this proposal:
> 1. The KPFA model - at-large elections via mail ballots for
> Listener-Sponsor Member and Staff Member seats, using proportional
> representation and diversity goals so that the results include at least
> 50% women and at least 50% people of color - is to be followed by all 5
> stations as the foundation of their systems for electing Local Station
> Boards.

Which, in turn, would theoretically produce the same percentages nationally.

This, so far, is no problem.

> 2. In addition, each outgoing LAB has the option to add other elected
> seats on the new Local Station Board to guarantee inclusion of
> Listener-Sponsor Members (according to the KPFA definition) from up to
> 13 disenfranchised communities and up to 4 geographic regions within the
> signal area. Candidates for such seats would be nominated by signatures
> of 50 Listener-Sponsor Members who self-identify with the relevant
> community or geographic region (but would not have to register with the
> station as such). These nominees then appear on the general ballot
> (grouped according to their community or region in a separate section
> from the at-large candidates). Listener-Sponsor Members would have the
> opportunity to vote in every category of communities and regions, as
> well as in the at-large category. Candidates who are part of a
> disenfranchised community may choose to run either for their community's
> designated seats or as at-large candidates. "Up to 13 disenfranchised communities". Is this 'first come, first served', or is there some form of arbitration board which will decide who is and is not 'franchised'?

In the examples given, there are problems...for instance, "Latino".

Is that "Mexican" Latino, which thus lumps together the ethnic Native culture, along with the mixed "Mexican" culture, as well as the Spanish-descended culture?

And what about those Guatemalans? Or those Cubans? Or those Andes Indians?

And who decides who will be representing "Latino" in this?

Fill in your favorite ethnic/religious/cultural/gender group and see the same problems within.

Each has an identity that is generically alike, but each also has _specific_ identity matters which are unique to that bloc and that bloc alone.

How will creating what is essentially 'identity politics' work to franchise people?

> 3. Whether or not the above is adopted, each outgoing LAB could
> determine the size of the new Local Station Board, choosing a range of
> between 16 and 36. (The iPNB's straw poll supported granting LABs the
> choice of between 16 and 24 members.) I believe that the larger number
> should be available to those LABs who want to allow more leeway to
> maximize the diversity of Listener-Sponsors on the new Local Board.
> Experience of people serving on large non-profit boards (up to 50) shows
> that meetings of such boards -- if well-run under a clear set of
> guidelines -- can be both efficient and democratic, while providing many
> more committed people to do the important work of numerous committees. I
> would request that when each LAB votes on this, if a ceiling of 36
> fails, the LAB also vote on ceilings of 32 and 28.

This, by itself, is not a bad idea; in conjunction with the above, however, it is.

If you're going to 'guarantee' up to 13 seats, that's actually more than half the iPNB's straw poll for a maximum of 24 seats per board.

The fact that 'up to 13 seats' are available _will_ translate into "13 seats are available"...I have yet to see anyone deny the opportunity to utilize the totality of resources when offered within Pacifica; in fact, it's more common to add _more_ than the stated 'maximum' out of some near-visceral fear that we would be accused of 'excluding' some person or group.

I'm just playing with the math in my head, and I can see how this 'arrangement' can easily insure that half the board _will_ be white; interestingly, it could be white men or women, unmixed, by playing the numbers within the voting and using the hybrid model 'set asides' as presented in the proposal.

> Please be aware that if any LAB expresses straw-poll support for this
> by-laws proposal, it is NOT necessarily agreeing to adopt either of
> these add-on provisions at its own station. Rather, it is merely
> supporting by-laws that authorize any LAB the OPTION to do so if it so
> chooses.

This makes no sense, considering that a national organization as Pacifica needs to have a national equity in how one becomes eligible to either vote or run.

"Special rules" in each area may not necessarily reflect any 'bias' for or against a community; rather, it can all too easily open the door for some faction to enable "special rules" to eliminate any other faction.

If Utrice Leid, for example, manages to get a majority of support on the WBAI Board, then the WBAI Board can start imposing "special rules" to eliminate anyone who might threaten the power base that she would then have.

And until that power base can be removed, those "special rules" would stay in place.

> I think it's important that any LAB have the opportunity to try this
> approach at this time, knowing that we can all evaluate it and compare
> it to the KPFA model at the Pacifica by-laws convention (which the iPNB
> has recommended occur some time after the first round of elections). At
> that convention, a permanent Local Board election system can be
> recommended for a vote by the Listener-Sponsor Members.

I do not think that a "convention" is a good idea until each Station Board has gone through at least one )full< cycle of election; where every seat has stood for election at least _twice_. The initial election upon approval of the By-Laws, and (assuming staggered two-year terms, with half serving only one year) the second election of those who may be running again after a two year term of office; we would, at the conclusion of our pending election, be at that same point right now, for instance.

This would allow everyone to see how it all works, give time for it all to run through the cycle at least twice for all to experience, and give a vastly more informed insight into what, if any, changes need to be made.

Change for change's sake is not necessarily a good thing; change out of genuine necessity, with an informed and experienced perspective, would be a better method to follow...and be less likely to be politically motivated by a non-Pacifica agenda.

Mark Hernandez               markh@repairnet.com
KFCF Volunteer | FFCF Member/Director | KPFA Volunteer/LAB Member


From: Susan Lee
Date: Wed Nov 27, 2002 6:24 am
Subject: [WBAIBylaws] Re: hybrid model explanation


I would like to support what Paul has said. It is so frustrating to have abided by the rules that you all set up and that you are now ignoring. This model was never discussed in a public forum and yet you have elevated it to serious consideration. Further, Donna is changing the model at every turn, just as the Unity Caucus model was changed to meet the requirements of the day.

I had the feeling from the board meeting that many of you hadn't read this thing.

You did not vote to send the clarified model to the LAB's. You voted to send the model that you voted to send which is not this one. The clarifed model is significantlly different from the one you voted on.

Therefore, I ask you to withdraw this clarified model from consideration. What is now being submitted to the LAB's was not voted upon. Thus the LAB's will be considering something that was not voted upon.

Susan Lee

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