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Universal elections policy is best for Pacifica

From: Harrison
Date: Fri Nov 15, 2002 9:04 am
Subject: election methods [was: Gunther's initial comment]

I agree with Carl, and I want to restate my concern that if proportional representation is not mandated, LABs and station boards will eventually adopt a winner-take all method in order to maximize their influence on the national board. This will significantly threaten the mission by excluding minority viewpoints.

-----Original Message-----
From: Carl Gunther To: PacificaNationalBylaws@yahoogroups.com, PacificaNationalBylaws@yahoogroups.com
Cc: KPFK LAB; KPFK Bylaws Committee
Date: Friday, November 15, 2002 1:00 AM
Subject: [Bylaws] Preliminary Comment on New Bylaws Draft

I have only had time to review this draft in a cursory manner, but one feature immediately came to light that appears to be problematic:

"The draft potentially leaves the creation of methods for electing local boards up to each (present, unelected) local station board, individually."

Actually, the document is a bit vague on this, but in section five there are several references to local boards designing their own election methods, as if this were presumed. For example:

"Each Local Station Board, in designing an electoral mechanism..."

Consistent with this is the fact that some of the critical aspects of an electoral mechanism, including the method of casting and tallying votes, are not defined in the draft. This leaves open the possibility that individual LABs could choose any method from winners (highest vote getters) -take-all to proportional representation.

At the end of Article 4 there is a recommendation that the iPNB "may(my emphasis) want to consider requiring the LSBs to promulgate their (my emphasis again) elections procedures to include: authorized voting methods..."

I recognize that in a draft some things may be deliberately left open, but to me it seems that the clear statement of election rules in the bylaws (rather than leaving this up to the individual LABs) is an absolute requirement, not an optional item that is subject to discussion by the iPNB.

First of all, leaving the crafting of election laws up to the respective LABs is contrary to the legal settlement under which these bylaws are being drafted. The settlement specifically states that the iPNB (not the LABs) must:

"Develop a comprehensive plan for, and oversee, elections of members of the LABs, pursuant to new bylaws"

Note that the agreement states that "a comprehensive plan" must be developed. In no way does "let the LABs figure it out" qualify as a comprehensive plan.

Therefore, a failure by the iPNB to spell out election methods would represent an abdication of the iPNB's responsibilities under the legal settlement.

Beyond that legal requirement, there are other, even more important, reasons that LAB election methods should be specifically laid out in the bylaws.

If the electoral method is left up to the LABs individually, then the means by which the electoral method is determined will be up for grabs and will lead to all sorts of contention, both within the present LABs and between the LABs and their respective communities.

Ultimately, the respective majorities of the current, mostly unelected, boards would probably determine the electoral method under this arrangement, and would probably draft electoral rules that favored their own interests.

That may appeal to some of the present LAB majorities, but if it does, it will be for all of the wrong reasons.

That is why a complete electoral process, covering both national and local board elections, must be worked out by the iPNB under the well- defined approval rules contained in the legal settlement, while the attention of the entire community is focused upon the bylaws process.



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