wbai.net Pacifica/WBAI history   events   links   archive   bylaws etc
PNB   LSB   elections   lawsuits   contact info   opinion   search

Democracy Now! goes to court on Weds.

From: "Carol Spooner"
Date: Tue Aug 21, 2001 2:53 am
Subject: UPDATE - Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board

August 20, 2001


Dear All,
As you all know, for many months now Amy Goodman and the staff of "Democracy Now!" have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and threats, including a recent physical assault, by WBAI interim station manager Utrice Leid, and other WBAI staff members, as well as Pacifica's National Program Director Steve Yasko, and the Executive Director Bessie Wash. The object of this campaign has clearly been either to drive Amy into quitting or into a position where she could be fired for insubordination.

This campaign against Amy has been conducted with the full knowledge of the Pacifica board of directors, who despite repeated requests from Amy Goodman, her lawyers, and from the five "dissident directors", have taken no action and have permitted the harassment to continue.

As a result of these conditions, the Democracy Now! staff no longer felt safe at the WBAI studios and, last week, began producing the program from a remote location and sending it to Pacifica by highspeed ISDN telephone lines. It should be noted that other Pacifica programs, including the popular Gary Null show, are remotely produced and delivered to WBAI and Pacifica over ISDN lines. However, Pacifica has refused to broadcast the remote Democracy Now! program or to provide it to the 50 or so Pacifica Affiliate stations who purchase the program from Pacifica, and has been broadcasting re-runs from the Democracy Now! archives. KPFA and a few Pacifica Affiliate stations have independently obtained the ISDN feed and have broadcast the current Democracy Now! "in exile" programs.

It should be noted that AFTRA, the union for Pacifica's national program staff, after tense negotiations last week and over the weekend, has ordered Amy and her staff back to work at the WBAI studios. Fearing for their safety, the Democracy Now! staff has refused to go.

We hope those of you with union connections will express your dismay and displeasure in writing to AFTRA for failing in their duty to fairly represent of Amy Goodman and the Democracy Now! staff.

Because of our concern over the irreparable harm to the Pacifica Foundation should Democracy Now! be lost to the network, the plaintiffs in the pending lawsuits in California Superior Court last June negotiated a "stipulated court order" requiring Pacifica to give 30 days notice pior to taking any action regarding Democracy Now!. We believe the defendants have violated that stipulation, and our lawyers will go to Court on Wednesday this week seeking an emergency order enforcing the stipulation and requiring Pacifica and all its stations to broacast Democracy Now! as produced from its remote location.

While Pacifica may be free under their union contracts to harass and intimidate staff members and force them to work in an unsafe and hostile work environment (which we do not believe), we believe Pacifica is not free to do so under their separate stipulation with us, which is not based upon the union contract, but upon our interest in preserving the financial health and the good will and reputation of the Pacifica Foundation until trial, when we hope to remove the board majority for breach of trust and gross abuse of their authority and discretion or fraud or dishonest acts. I'll let you know how the judge rules!

Thanks for your continued financial support, we couldn't do this without you!

Carol Spooner
Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board
(sponsoring the "listeners' lawsuit") http://home.pon.net/wildrose/remove.htm

top of page | lawsuit updates | where to send support | home