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Finish the bylaws revision process, Elections Now

Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 11:03:20 -0700
From: Dave Fertig [iPNB, DLC]
Subject: Pacific[a] Supporters Deserve Elections Now

(Feel free to forward)

Many of us hope to have a set of Pacifica bylaws approved by the end of June, 2003.

That could put us in sync with the election dates stated in the currently proposed bylaws: Open nominations July 25, close nominations September 25, Ballots issued October 15, with an initial closure date of November 15, or later if extended by two-week intervals as necessary to achieve more diverse candidate pools.

What's the "hurry"? After 18 months of interim and unaccountable boards, many urgent issues still face Pacifica: policy issues relating to personnel, programming, limitations upon on-air speech, funding, etc., etc., current and potential litigation, and other ongoing organizational policy and strategy decisions.

We supporters of Pacifica deserve to have these issues addressed by accountable and properly elected board members.

With elected board members we can have accountability, which leads to trust, to community, communication and hopefully understanding. At least more of it.

Without elections, we have no accountability, little trust, fractured community, miscommunication and little understanding. And worse.

Many of the one-hundred-plus people that comprise our current unelected boards, local and national, are working very hard to advance what they variously feel to be necessary for the foundation. But these people, including myself of course, are all unelected, are mostly unaccountable and are usually overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done. This is compounded by the uncertainty of our future, the financial burdens, the political conflict and the burdening baggage many carry from many years of internecine struggle.

That's why the boards are currently unable to get very much done, leaving our overworked staff to manage nearly everything while we argue amongst ourselves (a scene some are gleefully enjoying.)

The currently proposed bylaws drafts are the result of more than 15 months' work by hundreds of people in open meetings - indeed, many years of work by many people throughout the network. The proposed bylaws drafts arise from the combined efforts of many different folks from different places, temporally, culturally and philosophically. Many compromises were made, many safeguards written, many procedures revised, many unities found -and many divisions exacerbated.

Some would have us wait until July or August, or later, to vote on bylaws, pushing elections back and again extending the interim boards' terms.

Some object to holding a teleconference vote, as agreed openly and without substantial objection by the iPNB in LA in March, 2003.

Some would prefer us to fold and go back to court (Judge Sabraw is expecting to hear we have finished by June 30, what will we say, how will he respond...?)

Some would have us fail in general and see the network taken over by others.

Some would accept any bylaws asap, and some would have the proposed bylaws written very differently. I imagine all would, actually.

But at some point, we have to pass bylaws and get to the next step: Elections. The question is why delay? Further delay only brings more fractiousness and less communication, more frustration and less trust, more burn-out and less progress, more problems and fewer solutions.

Who's afraid of elections? Who is eager for them? I spell relief:
E-L-E-C-T-I-O-N-S N-O-W.

-Dave Fertig


response: From: sheilahamanaka Date: Tue Jun 10, 2003 7:02 pm Subject: Pacific Supporters Deserve Inclusivity and Democratic Process Now Please read this carefully. It raises important questions. ---------- From: Leslie Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 14:43:09 -0700 To: Dave Fertig Subject: Pacific Supporters Deserve Inclusivity and Democratic Process Now Dave-- Your argument here is for accountability. But to do so, you have to assert that you chose not to be accountable. The price we'll pay for elections later is transparency and openness now. The settlement agreement charges this iPNB to accountability and urges that "there will be public comment at the meetings of the Interim Board (including the possibility for call-ins)." There is no good reason to abandon that directive at this critical juncture. You need not be elected to be accountable: you can take that upon yourself. Start by passing the Bylaws in public forum. The timetable: Thursday, June 5: Coincidentally, I suppose, the Chair receives notice from the Treasurer that the audit will not be ready for the announced June meeting on the same day that the DLC concludes its work (a meeting which you left early, Dave). Friday, June 6: The DLC's written report appears, in plenty of time for the announced June 20 meeting. Saturday June 7: Leslie Cagan releases the Treasurer's report and announces a telephone conference with the expressed intent of delaying the public meeting. Monday, June 9: Without proper notice, the iPNB votes to delay the public meeting until August. On that same day, you take it upon yourself (there is no mention of a telephone conference in the draft minutes) to announce that the Bylaws vote would be by telephone. The iPNB met without proper notice and voted to delay the regular meeting, just two days after the DLC's report. Were some on the iPNB hoping that the DLC wouldn't have a report for the June meeting, and when they managed to do so, the iPNB pulled out a ready-made excuse for holding the meeting without the listeners' participation? The announced meeting at the end of June would have been fine, the DLC report was ready, but the iPNB chose to save itself public accountability. The iPNB could just as easily have decided to post the audit, which listeners can do little about, and discuss that by teleconference. Instead you are asking the listeners to turn the Bylaws process over to the iPNB. For months, I and many others have urged our LAB to go forward with KPFA-style elections but have met with no support from you or the iPNB. Why the rush to elections now? I fear that now, by teleconference and without listener dialogue, is politically expedient, and an open forum in New York City isn't. Prove me wrong: vote for the Bylaws in the historic manner they deserve, in front of the listeners, some who've struggled for years to see that day. On the other hand, I've been relatively quiet while waiting for financial accountability, but well over a year has passed and we have no public disclosure. Carol brought Kimerling, Margulies & Wisdom, LTD to Pacifica through an anonymous grant in January 2002 for the February 2002 preliminary report. The iPNB retained them in April to do a complete audit. Was their retention a condition of that grant, or were bids from other firms solicited? What has Pacifica paid Kimerling, Margulies & Wisdom to date? Why the repeated, unfulfilled promises of disclosure promising posted budgets and actuals long before now? Why has it taken Pacifica longer to get an audit than it did for the U.S. Congress to get a report on Enron? What new assurances do you have that a report will really be ready by August 1? Answers to those questions would go far to demonstrating your accountability. The iPNB waits with inexplicable patience for an accounting firm, at a significant cost in dollars and credibility, but you want to rush to conclude the Bylaws. Are you hoping for LSB candidates to announce their willingness to assume financial responsibility for the Foundation without such a report? Or is the auditor's report going to be that devastating to the iPNB, that you must have the election process up and running before you reveal it? You can prove me wrong on all of this, simply by holding the Bylaws vote and the auditor's report in public fora, with listener participation. The iPNB has determined that the finances of the Foundation, for which we are waiting as long as the Bylaws, must be discussed in public. Are the Bylaws worth less? --Leslie Radford KPFK Local Advisory Board

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