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Reaction to the 11-5-02 WBAI Local Advisory Board straw poll favoring the constiuency model

From: NJTOXICS@a...
Date: Fri Nov 8, 2002 10:48 am
Subject: Re: [WBAIBylaws] Three of 417 votes against UC model were from LAB

Thank you, Paul, for your words of encouragement and support.

The experience of last year, participating with many others who believe strongly in WBAI and its mission who organized and worked together as one unified and passionate voice, shows me that without doubt those of us connected to WBAI can overcome the barriers of racism, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc. for a single, overwhelmingly important purpose. I believe that all of us now participating in the debate over what kind of LAB elections best serve the Pacifica Mission are deeply committed to creating a place where diverse voices are heard loudly and clearly, all striving toward a common goal. It is disturbing to me that to date, I have seen the process of determining the best way to achieve this goal become one that is divisive and one that is causing those with a commitment to one or the other model to dig in their heels without acknowledging that those with a commitment to the other model are in fact trying their best to promote the Pacifica mission. I certainly hope that this process will strengthen the WBAI Community and show us that despite our differences of opinion, we still recognize the importance of what we have ALL already done and what we will CONTINUE to do to make WBAI most responsive to the communities it represents.

It disturbed me to see divisions being both acknowledged and deepened as the discussion progressed this past Tuesday night. Certainly, we must acknowledge the divisions that exist. However, it is my belief that the WBAI community is capable of overcoming those divisions, without giving in to them. This goal is more important to me than which of the two models the LAB ultimately adopts, though at present, I believe the KPFK/A model gives us the best chance.


Madelyn Hoffman
LAB member
(speaking for myself)


From: BKSFeder@a...
Date: Fri Nov 8, 2002 10:19 am

Obviously this LAB does not represent the great majority of the listeners, staff, etc. of WBAI. They are, in fact, as Stephen points out, very much like the congress of the United States which so clearly does represent the majority of the American people.

This LAB is self-selecting and represents narrow, foolish, intellectually limited cronyism in the highest degree.

The proof of their inherent bigotry, pettiness and insensitivity (if not already apparent in many of the words and deeds of its members--including the two station reps.) is evident in their support of the constituency model. Thi model is almost universally seen on a local and national level for the DIVIDE-and conquer power-grab that it is.

I have seen this kind of thing happen a dozen times over the decades at WBAI.. A few people, almost inevitably the most narrow, willful and power-hungry seem to latch on to an apparently "people's" program of some sort and when it fractures and divides everyone, these power-hungry types step in and take over.

There is precious little difference in tactics between the Constituency model protagonists and the methods of the Wash/Leid clique. Power is power and Paul's petition obviously comes much closer to sharing this power than the Constituency model ever could.

Wake up everybody and meet the 8 members of the LAB that voted for the Constituency model-- the narrow, the prejudiced, the power-hungry.

Mike Feder [ WBAI staff ]


From: Stephen M Brown
Date: Fri Nov 8, 2002 3:51 am
votes -- 8 for UC model, 417 against, 1 Abstention


I have just sat through the chilling experience of watching the WBAI LAB vote in favor of making the Constituency Model part of the new Pacifica bylaws.

The WBAI Bylaws Committee, which had been mandated to evaluate and propose our area's preferences for the national bylaws, and which numbered at certain times from 75 to 100 listeners and staff members, clearly indicated during the past 6 months (the last time being a straw poll sent to the iPNB) that it REJECTED the Constituency Model.

In addition, the messages on the various lists -- of which the LAB was aware -- ran heavily against the Constituency Model as well.

And at the LAB meeting at which the Constituency Model was adopted, a petition was presented to the LAB, by Manijeh Saba and Paul Surovell -- a petition which had been signed by 400 WBAI listeners and staff members -- that once more asked (begged) the LAB to consider that there was virtually no support for the CM among either WBAI listeners or staff members, except for the few makers-and-shakers (Fred Nguyen, Mimi Rosenberg, et al.) who had hatched the idea of the Constituency Model in the first place.

But the LAB didn't care. It had made up its mind (I use the word loosely) some time ago. The fix was in. Although the Constituency Model claims to assure diversity, its implementation would provide the opposite -- by splitting the listernship into 18 arbitrary "factions," promoting the worse kind of identity politics, and ensuring a self-perpetuating station board of power-brokers who would in practice never be subject to recall and could count on guaranteed "safe" seats forever.

Clearly most LAB members (we all know who they are, folks), whether out of laziness or ignorance or both, never bothered to analyze the Constituency Model, nor read the hair-raising analyses made of its consequences by so many others.

The LAB simply bought the blarney -- listened only to the voices of its few self-interested cronies, and chose deliberately to ignore the voices of an overwhelmingly large number of listeners and staff (a historically large number -- since when was the last time 400 WBAI listeners and staff could ever agree on any concept, let alone sign their names to a petition in support of it, as they did in their forthright rejection of the Constituency Model?)

In its high-handed disregard of the iPNB's mandate and the principles of democratic inclusion, the WBAI LAB has embraced the recent example of the U.S. Congress. During the "debate" on war with Iraq, the mail of Senators and Representatives was running as high as 100 to 1 against. But they didn't care -- "didn't give a shit" was the expression I believe one staffer used to respond to a caller who asked about constituent sentiment. According to one news story, some Congressional staffers had been instructed to simply stop counting the mail.

That the WBAI LAB should take as its model of behavior the current Congress of the United States is perhaps the very best reason for an election that will put these deaf-and-dumb (both senses of the word) board members out to pasture, and replace them with members whose sources of guidance will not be limited solely to the sound of their own voices.

Stephen M Brown


Impeach the LAB?
Thu Nov 7 23:03:12 2002

No, better yet, vote them out of office. It's time for elections, folks, and time to get the holdovers (mimi and Errol, for starters) off the voting rolls.

Actually, don't be too hard on them: if they understood what they were doing, they wouldn't have voted for the confusion model. Ignorance abounds. We need to be sure the LAB understands what that model means and does, and why the KPFA model is better for Pacifica and BAI. They really do not understand the implications - and we all know who isn't going to spell it out for them.

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