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WBAI LAB proposals and accusations

Below is a set of diversity bylaws proposals along with highly debatable statements from the WBAI LAB/"Unity Caucus". Responses are posted below the LAB posting.

Roger M,


From: jaydub16@aol.com
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 03:58:38 EDT
Subject: [WBAIcoord] WBAI LAB Resolution to iPNB re: Inclusion of appropriate Diversity Lang.

Date : 4/18/03
From: WBAI Local Advisory Board
To: Members of iPNB

Dear iPNB Members:

After a review of the work of the Bylaws Diversity Language Committee, the WBAI LAB voted overwhelmingly at its April 15th meeting for three related motions. In the first two, the LAB expressed support for:

(1)the efforts of the Committee and the body of work produced by it members in the two final reports that were generated (a Majority Report and a Minority Report).

(2) the contentions of the Committee's Chairperson, Ray Laforest, that Carol Spooner
(a) distorted the findings of the Committee by excluding important issues and recommendations in her re-drafting of one committee report as well as in her liquidation of the other committee report and (b) overstepped her authority and mandate by circulating her "confidential" re- draft of the committee's findings to selected committee members, while excluding others; including the committee chair. [Ms. Spooner apparently sought to insure that the very relevant, thoughtfully developed recommendations of those supporting the Minority Report would have no chance for consideration by the iPNB. The WBAI LAB found it ironic and troubling that Spooner failed to act appropriately in what was was a golden opportunity to operate in the spirit underlying proportional voting and minority representation. This was a chance to actually apply the principles in a real Pacifica context without a rule book. Yet another case of why stronger protections are preferable to simply reliance on good intentions.]

The third motion, a request to the iPNB, is presented below:
(3) Be it resolved that: The WBAI LAB calls on the Pacifica iPNB to consider and incorporate into the revised Bylaws of the Pacifica Foundation elements proposed within both the so-called "Majority" and "Minority" reports of the recently concluded Bylaws Diversity Language Committee.

Specifically, we request that the iPNB vote to support the the Majority Report with the following amendments:


1. The implementation statement of the diversity provisions should be "incorporated by reference" in a supplementary "Affirmative Action Plan" attached to the Bylaws.

If implementation is not incorporated by reference, it fails to have the stability and stature of a bylaw. Implementation is the heart of affirmative action. Without incorporation in the bylaw, the National Board can change the implementation policy by simple majority vote.

2. If after the election is held, diversity goals are not achieved, the highest vote getters who are members of population groups deemed by the local Committee of Inclusion to be underrepresented on the newly elected LSB will be seated. The Local Station Boards can seat up to eight such persons. Each person seated in this manner must receive at least one-third of the vote total of the lowest LSB member elected during the initial phase of the election.

The purpose of this remedy is to help achieve the goal of a minimum of 50% people of color and women, while also achieving a meaningful diversity of underrepresented and disenfranchised communities. A maximum of five additional seats per election year mathematically cannot guarantee reaching those goals in the event of a failure. If, for example, there were 20 European Americans (out of 24 seated), addition of 5 "diverse seats" will only render a relative proportion of 20:9.

To fulfill the goal of broad diversity beyond simply race and gender (i.e., sexual orientation and disability) -- which was agreed by the entire consensus to be an important goal -- the language must be specific that extra seats should go to those from any communities deemed by the Committee of Inclusion to be underrepresented.agreed-AB

Our remedy does not limit the LSB members added by the Committees of Inclusion to 1 year terms, as is our understanding of the proposal in the Majority Report. Limiting these seats to one year unfairly penalizes those added LSB members from underrepresented and/or disenfranchised groups, whose lower number of votes may be the result of the smaller percentage of their constituencies amongst Pacifica membership and a lack of support from the dominant cultural group of voters. An untenable situation arises if a non-diverse LSB is left with no remedy during the third year of the cycle, (when according to the current by-laws draft there are no LSB elections), were the added LSB members to be required to leave their LSB after their one-year term expired.

3. The Pacifica National Board shall be composed of at least 50% women and at least 50% people of color and include representation of other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups that fulfills goals set by the National Committee of Inclusion. In the event the PNB fails to achieve this diversity, each LSB will elect one additional PNB member, on recommendation of the COI as to needed additional representation to fulfill diversity goals.

4. In order to increase the awareness of each local station community about the importance of diversity within Pacifica, each COI shall coordinate with station management and staff and the LSB Outreach Committee the offering of ongoing diversity trainings, which shall include anti-racism trainings, open to management, paid and unpaid staff, LSB members, PNB members, and listeners, with a particular outreach to LSB candidates.

5. Each local Committee of Inclusion will consist of 15 members of the Foundation who have affirmed their support for the Foundation's mission, four of whom should be members of the LSB. The goal shall be that the membership of each local committee shall consist of at least 50% women and at least 50% people of color as well as diverse representation from other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in the signal area.

The only change from what we understand to be the Majority Report is adding the phrase in the first sentence "of the Foundation who have affirmed their support for the Foundation's mission". This is necessary to emphasize again that support of the Mission is the key factor in all work to achieve diversity.

6. Because of the short lead time for outreach to build the voting rolls for the first election, and the importance of allowing maximal time for outreach, particularly to disenfranchised and underrepresented communities, we strongly urge the iPNB to add one extra sentence to the end of Article 3 (Members of the Foundation), Section 10 (Record Date) of the draft by-laws, as follows:

The record date for purposes of determining the Members entitled to receive notice of any meeting, entitled to vote by written ballot or entitled to exercise any other lawful membership action, shall be forty-five (45) days before the date of the special meeting, 45 days before the day on which the first written ballot is distributed, or made available, to the Members or 45 days before the taking of any other action, as applicable. However, for the 2003 elections for Local Station Boards, the record date for the same purposes shall be thirty (30) days before the day on which the first written ballot is distributed, or made, available to the Members.


"Full minority participation in the ownership and management of broadcast facilities results in a more diverse selection of programming. In addition, an increase in ownership by minorities will inevitably enhance the diversity of control of a limited resource, the spectrum. And, of course, we have long been committed to the concept of diversity of control because diversification ... is a public good in a free society, and is additionally desirable where a government licensing system limits access by the public to the use of radio and television facilities."

(Federal Communications Commission, Statement of Policy on Minority Ownership of Broadcasting Facilities, 68 FCC 2d 979, 981 [1978])

The Pacifica Foundation is a media organization. Its function and purpose is such that diversity in all forms aids in the actualization of the radio network's mission and goals, which include engaging its audience with programming that promotes peace and social justice and the fight against oppression in all forms. Promoting and securing diversity in Pacifica's governance structures will help ensure diversity in its programming and thus in its audience and as such in the realization of the Foundation's mission.

One function of a media outlet is to work constantly to enlarge its audience. The Pacifica Radio Network must do this both to carry out its mission and because it depends on listener contributions for the majority of its funding, and so audience growth is essential for its financial health. In each of the network's five signal areas, the majority of the population consists of people of color, women, and members of other underrepresented and disenfranchised communities that are core parts of Pacifica's constituency and mission. The network needs to consistently reach out to such groups and provide programming that draws them in as listener-supporters.

In order to further that end, the governance of Pacifica, which formulates policies and practices to further our core functions, must embody both the principle of and the actuality of diversity in each signal area. The governance structure must therefore mirror the concerns of the demographic makeup of Pacifica's existing and potential audience. Those elected to the Foundation's governing board and its local station boards need to be as diverse as the population in the signal areas that they both serve and depend on for support.

Without such an outcome, the network will be hindered in its effort to both maintain and expand its listenership among people of color and other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups who in fact collectively make up the majority in each signal area. Giving voice to the problems and issues that confront such communities is crucial to the purposes of Pacifica. It is equally crucial to building the audience that is necessary for the network to grow and secure the financial resources necessary to perform its mission.

Ensuring such diversity is thus a compelling goal that mandates the Foundation to consider the race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and/or disability of candidates as an essential factor in Pacifica's election process. This affirmative approach treats all participants as individuals while also seeking to achieve a critical mass of candidates (and ultimately elected Delegates and Directors) from groups that have been and continue to be discriminated against and disenfranchised. Such a diverse body of candidates helps ensure that both the election itself and theLocal Station Boards and Pacifica National Board that result from it embody a wide range of opinion, robust exchange of ideas and participation in the network that are the hallmark of Pacifica's mission.

The specific methods to achieve this diversity within elections for the Local Station Boards (LSBs) and the Pacifica National Board shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Each local station Committee of Inclusion (COI) shall gather and analyze all available demographic data on the makeup of the signal area as defined by FCC signal area maps. Such data shall not be limited to that provided by the federal census, but should also include studies by reputable academic and community organizations that seek to correct for census undercounts or non-surveying of particular groups.

2. Based on this analysis, each COI shall set two sets of goals:

a. Percentage goals for inclusion in the pool of nominees for the LSB. These shall cover groups that are disenfranchised and/or underrepresented based on their race, nationality, language, gender, sexual orientation and disability. Goals shall be set not only for broad categories of disenfranchised or underrepresented people (e.g., people of color), but also for subgroups identified by the COI as important for helping the Foundation fulfill its mission. The goals shall include at least one nominee for each designated group or subgroup even if demographically that group or subgroup falls below the percentage threshold represented by one seat (e.g., even if, say, indigneous people constitute less than 1/24th of the signal area population).

b. Goals for the major language groups of underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in the signal areas into which translations of election materials and broadcasts shall be provided.

3. Each COI shall coordinate with, and monitor efforts by, the station's management, paid and unpaid staff, station Outreach Coordinator (where provided for), LSB Outreach Committee, and LSB Election Committee to develop an election outreach plan which includes the following:

a. Prioritization of outreach and distribution of both general station and election literature to neighborhoods, communities and organizations of identified underrepresented and disenfranchised groups, and designating the majority of any funds available for outreach to be targeted to those population groups.

b. Broadcasting, as early as feasible before or during the nomination period, special segments and programs prepared by and for populations designated by the COI concerning issues of concern to those populations, broadcast in languages that meet the language goals of the COI.

c. Distribution of nomination/election literature and the production of broadcast carts encouraging election participation and seeking outreach volunteers from targeted population groups, all prepared according to the language goals of the COI.

4. Each COI shall create, maintain and publicly post a chart at the local station and on the station's Website showing: a) the population groups to which targeted outreach has been done; b) the percentage goals (and translated numbers of LSB seats) set by the COI for each designated underrepresented and disenfranchised population group; and c) the number of LSB nominees to date from each such group and how far short, if any, that number is from the goal.

5. On the 30th day of the nomination period, each COI shall issue a written and oral report to the LSB and the public (available at the station and on the station's Website) detailing its work to date, the then-current nominee totals broken down according to the COI's goals, and any recommendations for action to correct any deficiencies in outreach and candidate recruitment activities.

6. The Committee of Inclusion of the Pacifica National Board shall compile the goals set by each local COI and shall use that compilation to determine national goals for inclusion of underrepresented and disenfranchised groups on the Pacifica National Board, based on both the combined population data and the Foundation's mission.


Responses 4-20-03

The efforts of Carol Spooner, along with the Committee to Remove the [former] National Board, were mainly responsible for getting Pacifica "back" from the hijackers in recent years. We would not have Pacifica now if it wasn't for their work. They created the Listeners Lawsuit which paved the way for the settlement mandated listener elected local station boards.

The key members of the NYC "Unity Caucus" and LAB have been against such elections all along. They have joined forces with the remaining hijacker members of the interim Pacifica national board to continue to come up with 11th hour tactics that derail new bylaws ratification.

So far this tiny minority within the Pacifica community (the other 4 LABs do not attack or attempt to demonize Spooner) have cost Pacifica 6 months delay in the bylaws revision/elections process and many thousands of dollars spent on added meetings.

Roger M, NYC


From: Carol Spooner
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 11:51:11 -0000
Subject: [NewPacifica] Re: FW: WBAI LAB Resolutions on Diversity Bylaws

The proposal from the WBAI LAB is an illegal piece of crap -- intended to put unaccountable people in charge of packing the LSBs with hand-picked cronies. This whole thing has gone way too far, and is based on a slander of the Pacifica listenerers -- who are committed to fighting racism, injustice, poverty and war -- and who will elect diverse boards to help us do it.

Enough of this. Everyone who is committed to the future accountablity of Pacifica to a democratic membership base -- one that can protect Pacifica from future hijackings & the hijacking that is going on at this moment -- needs to stand up NOW and put a stop to this.

The LA, Berkeley & Houston LABs, in particular ... it is time to tell these cynical manipulators that we have had enough. We will not approve these WBAI bylaws if they come out of committee, we demand democratic elections -- with proportional representation voting to accomplish diversity.

We must speak with one voice on this and demand that our LABs stand up and fight the New York Unity Caucus and their few cohorts from LA - - who are all a scandal and a shameful disgrace to Pacifica and to the principles of honest dealings that we must stand for if we are ethical people. If we let them continue to intimidate and silence the good people who love Pacifica, then we will have fought for nothing and we will not have been worthy of the trust we undertook when we fought to take Pacifica back from the hijackers.


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