Are the Local Advisory Boards being "Packed" ?
[ KPFK iPNB rep. David Fertig response below ]
[these top two emails added to this page a week after original postings]
From: Gail Blasie
Hi Roger. Could you perhaps add the following info to the post on the wbai.net page? It adds some additional clarifying info. I am not sure if the boards are being packed or not, but this info is relevant.
Concerns have been raised about whether or not there was sufficient notice of the KPFK LAB adding new people. I have been told it was announced by the chair, Lydia Brazon, twice on the air. It was possibly announced by the GM on other report's to the listeners as well. The announcement and application for LAB membership was prominently featured at the top of the KPFK web page.
Those selected by the KPFK LAB, they came from a variety of sectors of the Freepacifica movement, including one to two from the Pacifica Accountability Committee (PAC), one who had been elected to the GM search committee by the free pacifica neighborhood network (FPNN) and another very active member of that body, one of the Pacifica Campaign organizers from L.A., one member who'd been active in the KLG's original formation, etc. Additionally included were two young women of color who are active in a variety of social justice and youth causes. are poorly informed. The names of some of the new members are Sally Marr, Tom Camarella, Sara Zwirn, Farah Davari, Veronica and Leslie.
I have no information on the folks added to the DC LAB.
Peace, gail blasie
From: Carl Gunther
Well, there are all kinds of interpretations possible, given that we can't see inside anyone's head. For example, the fact that the LAB has brought so many well-known and respected listener activists on could have caused some to fear that the LAB was attempting to co-opt the core of the listeners' movement, making itself the new center of listener activity. That has, in fact, happened to a certain degree, in my opinion, but then again the listeners' movement was faltering to a certain extent here in L.A., and so one could just as easily say that the LAB was taking over where the movement left off.
The challenge for the LAB now is to create its own listener-based structures that involve listeners in some of the same ways as the listeners' organizations have (that is, on an ongoing basis - open structures that have regular meetings and an internal life and decision making process), but which also have a more direct connection to the governance of the station. LAB chair Lydia Brazon has proposed one such structure: a set of program evaluation and review collectives, each of which is centered around specific areas of programming (Latino issues, Peace issues, civil rights, news coverage, and so on). These groups would then provide their input to a (to be defined) Program Council.
The important thing for me is that the explanation provided by the LAB itself for appointing new members makes sense, and the LAB itself (both old and new members) includes a number of people who have made substantial contributions to the recovery of Pacifica and also to the formation of the listeners' movement in this area. That's why I'm inclined to think that there is nothing sinister about this latest round of appointments.
If you want to know specifically who is on the new LAB, that information can now be found at:
That is probably not quite up to date because I believe at the last LAB meeting Ebon Ray of station staff was a newly seated member, and she is not listed on that page. There may be others as well, but most of the LAB is listed on that page.
By the way, at the last meeting it was stated that LAB members who were from the station were non- voting members, including the General Manager, and when a vote was taken they were indeed not allowed to cast ballots.
To give some brief background on the new LAB members who I happen to know myself:
Tom Camarella is a long time Pacifica listeners' movement activist, as well as an activist with the a number of other community organizations (particularly in the area of environmental justice) in which I have also been involved. Practically every time I went to the station in the days before the legal settlement, I saw Tom out there yelling into a bullhorn. Tom also was a member of the FPNN process committee that worked on a mission statement and structure for the organization.
Farah Davari is the former head of the Pacifica Campaign's L.A. office.
Sally Marr (along with her partner Peter) organized our recent immensely successful and positive Unity Fest party for KPFK. She and Peter were also among the founders of (and are the current facilitators and Coordinating Committee reps for) the West Hollywood Peace and Diversity chapter of the Free Pacifica Neighborhood Network (FPNN). She and Peter are also political artists known for having developed the peace flag.
Marty Oaklander is the founder of the West Los Angeles chapter of the Free Pacifica Neighborhood Network, a member of the Coordinating Committee of FPNN (on the administration subcommittee), and has organized and facilitated more FPNN and other meetings than I can even begin to remember. She also has hosted listener gatherings in her home, maintains e-mail lists of listener-activists, and that's probably just the tip of the iceberg.
Leslie Radford was one of three FPNN members elected to represent listeners on our General Manager Search Committee - a post in which she performed countless hours of work reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates and holding public meetings. She was also instrumental in drafting a mission and structure statement (still to be adopted) for the FPNN.
Those are the new people with whom I have had the most personal contact. I personally feel very comfortable knowing that they have been seated on the LAB.
From: Gregory Wonderwheel
Jonathan's post raises important procedural questions. It has been reported that at least three stations, KPFK, WBAI, and WPFW, have been adding LAB members in the last few weeks.
The questions are how and why? Since the intent of the settlement agreement is to move toward elected LABs it would violate that intent to be packing the LABs at this time by appointment with people who are opposed to elections or pre-disposed to one election plan or another. Since how people are to get selected to the LABs is the major governance policy question of the day, this should be am important item on the agenda for the iPNB at its next meeting.
In addition to being on the agenda, each LAB chair should specifically explain both how and why any new members have been added. If there was not some form of democratic entry to the LAB such as election by staff or listener groups, rather than self-appointment by the LAB, then those recent members should be removed by the iPNB.
Adding new members by appointment seems very suspect. I hope the iPNB will scratch under the surface of the explanations it receives and hold the line against what appears to be LAB packing before a crucial vote is to occur.
----- Original Message -----
There is no intention to add any LAB members at WBAI, until after the elections we are supposed to be planning.
From: Michael Pimental
Thank You Gregory for bringing this topic up and I agree with you to a point, my compromise locally is to follow the direction of Dan Coughlin to put staff on the board, and locally that would be valuable since there is virtually no staff on the board.
The KPFT LAB has divined that it also has the right to appoint new members and voted on a processto do it, a process that had already been started with carts being played on air before the board was ever consulted. ALL this inspite of the fact that the document(Pacifica Policies Governing Local Advisory boards) which they base this so-called authority on stipulates a markedly different process.At the last meeting the LAB voted to take the final part of the selection process into executive session but didn't schedule that session, this is also strange since an individual listener (sponsor? non-baord member) was deliberately included in the initial evaluation process of applications while other individuals who had participated in committee work, I am told, were excluded from the evaluation process if it is true as I have heard suggested that the applicants expected confidentiality then the inclusion of anyone but board members in the evaluation process is already a violation of that confidence it's all very strange.
When I recently requested documents from and information about the process from the former chair of the nominations committee(which was voted to be merged with the new elections committee at the last meeting) I was and continue to be denied access to this infrmation inspite of the fact that as a member of the board I have what I would consider a right to access to these documents since the board is going through this process and I will be asked to make a determination. The excuse was that I didn't(couldn't actually) attend the committee meetings so I would just have to wait, for what I am not sure.
Still I expect that since the LAB has gone through a process there are many who are waiting for us to get our act together and stick some people on the board I think that we should admit that we have made mistakes, apologize to those who filed applications and follow Dan C's direction to begin putting staff onto the board and since there are supposedly staff among those applications to be voted on there is still hope for a good outcome.
I believe that any non-staff appointment at this late date could be a board packing manuver since it can't even happen until the September LAB meeting at which point any non-staff appointments will be seen as an effort to rig the bylaws vote. I am not speculating on the motivation behind the process that has gotten us here, I think there were good people with good intentions that simply have taken some wrong turns..
I am opposed to the appointment of any non-staff individual to the 4 seats that are now "open" to be filled by the board. I would prefer to conduct elections for staff seats and am opposed to this appointment system, but integrating staff is in line with the direction that we recently got from Dan. I would like to see some explicit direction from Dan on this issue cuz we are up against the wire and I would hate to see this beautiful process be fouled up any more than it already has to be. I am concerned that such flaws in process could raise legal challenges to the approval of the by-laws.
From: Carol Spooner Date: Mon Aug 19, 2002 1:56 pm Subject: Re: LAB packing Tx style ?
I believe these are the current policies governing LABs ... they have never been rescinded by the national board ... Although the KPFA LAB has been elected since the fall of 2000 and the PNB gave de facto recognition to the elected KPFA LAB in the legal settlement agreement as the "starting point" for new bylaws to provide for elected LABS.
PACIFICA FOUNDATION POLICIES GOVERNING LOCAL STATION ADVISORY BOARDS
Approved by Board of Directors 3/1/98
LAB PURPOSE/FUNCTION FEDERAL LAW- CPB The Local Advisory Board shall carry out such functions as are assigned to it by the Pacifica Foundation Governing Board and shall otherwise comply with the requirement of Section 396(k) of the Communications Act.
Minimum compliance with the Act mandates that the Governing Board must:
Responsibilities of the LAB are:
The LAB shall have duties, responsibilities and powers as derived from the Pacifica by-laws, policies or other statements of the Governing Board. No actions may be taken by the LAB that would pre-empt, in whole or in part, the authority or responsibility of the Governing Board.
REMOVAL of a LAB member shall be either by the Executive Committee of the LAB of by a 2/3 majority vote of LAB members present and voting at a regular or special meeting of the LAB. Written notices shall be given at least 15 days before the meeting to all LAB members specifying the proposed removal and stating, in general terms, the grounds for dismissal. If the LAB fails to remove a non complying member, the Chair of Pacifica's Governing Board may exercise the removal. A LAB member mat be removed for the following reasons:
1. if not a subscriber to the station;
GENERAL MANAGER The General Manager serves as an ex officio non-voting member of the LAB. With the LAB Chair the General Manager coordinates and supports the work of the LAB.
ELECTION Each new member shall be elected by a majority vote of the attending members of the LAB for a term of three years. No member shall serve for more than two successive terms.
OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES There shall be at least a Chair, a Vice Chair, and a Secretary. The standing committees of the LAB are the following: Community Needs Assessment, Development and Membership/Nominating. In addition, LABS may create other committees which are consistent with their function. Chairs are appointed by the LAB Chair with the approval of the LAB. Each LAB Chair will serve on the Council of Chairs which will be convened at least three times a year by the Pacifica Governing Board Chair prior to regular Governing Board meetings.
NOMINATING PROCESS The Membership/Nominating Committee recommends candidates for membership on the LAB as needed. It nominates officers as well. Candidates will be selected from the station signal area. The Membership/Nominating Committee will assure that the composition of the LAB nominees reasonably reflects the diverse needs and interests of the local communities served.
Guidelines for LAB Recruitment
In addition to the primary skills needed to participate in the community needs assessment, including strong community ties, experience with survey skills and community organizing, the following should be kept in mind:
For development: experience with non-profit finance, public relations or communication, private philanthropy, or an individual who is a foundation funder, planned giving attorney/specialist etc.
For the membership/nominating committee: community activists, experience with media and/or organizational development.
Other skills: expertise in public policy and the current state of public broadcasting. The LAB will regularly establish its criteria for membership. Financial, development, legal, and management experience, as well as ethnic, economic and geographical criteria will be considered during recruitment. 50% of the membership must be people of color, including but not limited to, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native American Indians and Latinos.
The committee will:
NOMINATION TO THE GOVERNING BOARD
In order for nominees to be reviewed before the Governing Board meeting where the nominee is to be voted on, resumes or biographical sketches will be sent to the Secretary of the Governing Board at least two months before the Governing Board meeting. A biography and a statement of how the person was selected, the vote and the duly noticed meeting where the nominee was selected will be mandated. These nominees will be evaluated by the Secretary and the Chair of the Governing Board in order to ascertain they meet the eligibility criteria.
EX OFFICIO MEMBERS
OPEN MEETINGS The LAB shall hold open meetings. Reasonable notice to the public shall be given either on the air, on bulletin boards or in station publications. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the LAB.
The Station Manager must be informed at least 10 days prior to a meeting in order to notify the public. Meetings will be scheduled at a consistent time i.e. every third Monday of every month.
Guidelines for open meetings
LAB meetings should last no longer than two hours unless a majority of the LAB votes to extend any meeting for a limited amount of time. An agenda allocating a reasonable amount of time to complete each item should be prepared by the Chair. Public comment is a regular part of each meeting and should be scheduled last. At least thirty minutes will be allotted for the public comment portion of the meeting. The thirty minutes will be equally divided among those who sign up to speak. No person will have more than 5 minutes to speak, unless the majority of the board votes for an extension of time for the speaker.
COUNCIL OF CHAIRS REPRESENTATION
From: Carolyn Birden
Rafael, you suggestion makes sense to me. I hope someone is
contacting the judge, however, to object to the packing: does anyone
know what is being done about that?
At 4:20 PM -0400 8/19/02, Renteria22@a... wrote:
In fairness to the KPFK LAB the new appointees to that body will not be carried over, it is said, past the elections - they will have to run if they wish to retain their seats.
But that doesn't address the more important question that lies ahead, the vote for the bylaws, and whether or not the diorection that vote will take is now a forgone conclusion at the stations that have added LAB members by appointment recently.
It is already offense enough, in my view, that the bylaws committees and listeners as a whole have no real voice in bylaws revision. But to empower hand picked individuals - many of whom, I imagine, have no depth of knowledge vis a vis the bylaws - to suddenly and at the last minute have a vote on these matters seems improper.
If this is allowed to stand, then it would also seem to me appropriate to empower the bylaws committees to vote. They at least are known to have done the work and to have given serious considreation to the matters before us - the legal technicalities that will be thrown up in objection to this proposal notwithstanding. The law seldom, if ever, should be taken as a guide to what is right and just, much less as a guide to what is possible.
From: Carolyn Birden
This explanation rings a bit hollow, but perhaps there is something that new LAB members can do that ad hoc volunteers could not. What kind of "work" is needed that could not have been done by volunteers pitching in until December?
If they were not elected by the listeners, they were "hand picked" to be elected by the LAB: well known doesn't seem to be the point here, process does. So I am curious to know what kind of "work" needed to be done that could only be done by LAB members.
At 2:00 PM -0700 8/19/02, David R. Fertig wrote:
My understanding, and the publicly and oft-stated basis for adding LAB members at KPFK, was based upon the following: No new members had been brought on KPFK LAB in about a year, and with attrition the LAB was in danger of falling below the minimum twelve in number; and the work being generated by the network, by KPFK and by the PNB was rapidly expanding. We needed more productive members.
The addition of members (all well-known activists and free-Pacifica supporters, elected by the LAB, not "hand-picked" by anyone) was publicly announced, openly discussed, and acted upon in well-attended meetings. These new LAB members are disqualified from being "grandfathered in" if such a provision is incorporated into the election scheme, and there was no litmus test for the new members.
Could there have been more public notice or better process? Quite possibly. But there was more than ever before, and I was there: there was no malicious motive, merely a desire to get work done.
Why, when somebody in Pacifica acts, it is usually assessed in light of the worst of motives? Past conduct by the usurpers may have warranted that, indeed. But where does it stop? Should I attribute a sinister basis for keeping Wendell Johns on the "CC" list of this thread, and the use of Janice K. Bryant's Essence email address (after she asked that it no longer be used)? Of course not.
Sound journalistic standards suggest that one refrain from drawing conclusions at least until sufficient objectively verifiable data is gathered. Such standards are laudable, and we'd do well to employ them at all levels. Meanwhile, it is much easier to call out problems than to solve them, because solving them requires working.
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