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Carol Spooner (of the listener's lawsuit) commenting on the KPFA Local Advisory Board 8-9-01

At 09:16 AM 8/9/2001 -0700, Carol Spooner wrote: These are random personal thoughts on the first elected KPFA LAB's first 8 months:

I think it is important to note that the LAB has been working dilligently to learn from the KPFA listener community. There have been since June, and still continuing, Community Needs Assessment Meetings throughout the signal area -- attended by more than 500 people so far. The results of these discussions will be tabulated and a report with recommendations to the station will be made public. In addition, we sent a mailing to all 24,000 KPFA subscribers notifying them of these meetings and including a questionnaire, with over 1,500 responses. In addition, after much back-and-forth with the KPFA Program Council, we are inaugurating a KPFA LAB radio show this Friday (in the "Flashpoints" time slot at 5 p.m.). The show will rotate around the schedule so that it can be heard by different listening audiences at different times. In the first half hour LAB members will be discussing what the LAB is doing. The second half hour will be listener call-ins suggestions, questions and answers.

We are working to develop a recommended Press Pass policy for KPFA, to get two KPFA listeners on the KPFA Program Council, to uncover and get better financial reporting on the station and to make that public, to get better access for groups to produce "carts" announcing important community/political events and rallies. We have debated and recommended support for the fundraising boycott (10 yes/6 no/2 abstentions). We have met several times with the Program Council to discuss PNN and support for Free Speech Radio News.

Problems I see which need to be or are in the process of being remedied are, in no particular order:
Our minutes, or lack there of, have been a disgrace. The fact that our LAB secretary was ill is no excuse. We should have acted swiftly to deal with the problem and did not until the July meeting when we elected a new secretary. The minutes of the July meeting were approved at last night's LAB meeting and will be posted to the LAB web page immediately. www.kpfalab.org.

Our method of making sure that items raised by ALL LAB members get on the agenda in a timely fashion -- and our always over-crowded agenda that makes our discussions at meetings hurried and tense and frustrating. Improving our meeting "protocol" to make sure community members present have ample time to be heard -- that was a problem for awhile. However, thanks to Alice Chan's leadership and graceful moderation of public comments at the BEGINNING (as opposed to the end) of meetings, as well as taking more time for public comments on issues under discussion by the LAB during the meetings, we are seeing real improvements there. However, despite extending the meetings from 2 to 2-1/2 hours, we still have overcrowded agendas.

Lack of attendance by several LAB members -- we need to enforce our "3 unexcused absences in a row and you're out" rule.

Polarization and lack of civility and respect for differences of opinion on the LAB. As in all diverse bodies, there are numerous legitimate concerns and varying priorities. I believe our LAB has done a very poor job of listening with open minds and open hearts to the concerns of some of our deepest thinkers on the LAB. This has been personally heartbreaking to me. So much so that I have almost resigned twice in despair. However, I believe in understanding the causes of conflict through dialogue, and I will continue to press for inclusion and respect and discussion of issues that are important to anyone on the LAB, and I believe our internal LAB email dialogue can help to facilitate that process -- as well as respect for and inclusion of the community members who come to our meetings, and to the community members who don't come to our meetings.

I will also continue to push for as much transparency and community input as is practically possible. I encourage listeners to use the LAB webpage bulletin board. I will read all those messages and respond to themes and questions as time permits & I will encourage the rest of the LAB to do the same. (Note: the LAB email addresses on the LAB web page are non-functional due to technical difficulties, so please write to me at my regular email address: wildrose@p...) However, the LAB is not an email discussion group. Many of us have very little time for reading email, myself included, so the bulletin board is a way for us to stay informed. It has been underutilized and I will try to change that. Many of our listeners do not have email -- as was forcefully pointed out to me last night. We need to use the air (and will with our new LAB program), we need to revive the Folio (one of my fondest hopes when we win the battle against Pacifica). We need to do more, more, more, and we are limited human beings with jobs, lives, crises, and other political work to do.

Your help with LAB work is invited and needed. Many listeners worked hundreds of hours on the Community Needs Assessment Committee meetings and mailings. The LAB elections committee is now asking for help in recruiting candidates and working to hold a successful second LAB election. (Contact John Sheridan at johnsher@L... -- our community liason on the LAB elections committee to volunteer and get involved.)

Run for a seat on the LAB yourself and help us do a better job next year!

--Carol Spooner

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