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Update: national board, lawsuits etc 6-15-01

From: Carol Spooner
Date: Sat Jun 16, 2001 3:11 am
Subject: Anothe Extra -- Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board

June 15, 2001

Dear All -- Things are moving swiftly, so I wanted to let you know what I can of current developments. Some of you may be on Pacifica-related email lists and may have some information about this already (not all of it accurate). On June 2nd or 3rd st Pacifica sent a notice of a "special meeting" of the Board of Directors -- for the purpose of "nominating" directors -- to all lawyers and all the board members. Our ("listeners' suit") lawyers contacted Pacifica's lawyer, Daly Temchine, on June 8th to confirm that although they had used the word "nominate" they intended to "elect" more directors at this special meeting. Mr. Temchine confirmed that they did, indeed, intend to elect more directors. Our lawyers put Mr. Temchine on notice that if they would not agree voluntarily not to "elect" any new directors, then we would go back to court to ask the judge to order them not to do it. On Monday of this week (June 11th) Mr. Temchine replied that they wanted to explore settlement possibilities and that, as a "gesture of good faith" they would cancel the meeting scheduled for July 1st.

Our lawyers immediately convened a conference call with the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the other lawsuits (the LAB suit, and the lawyers for dissident board minority directors Robinson, Kriegel, Moran, Cagan and Bramson). The lawyers for "our side" all discussed these developments and agreed to set up a meeting with Mr. Temchine here in San Francisco for Monday, June 18th, where only lawyers will be present. The purpose of this meeting is for the lawyers to "feel each other out" -- to see if there is any possibility that the board majority is ready to settle things on grounds that would be acceptable to all of us in a "global settlement" of the various lawsuits. In the meanwhile, the attorneys for the various plaintiffs groups also tentatively scheduled a meeting for today for the "key plaintiffs" and lawyers on our side to meet and confer altogether before the lawyers' meeting on Monday. Unfortunately, some of the "key" plaintiffs in the other lawsuits were unable to attend or didn't get word of the proposed meeting in time to arrange their schedules to attend, so we did not have that meeting today.

We, the "key" plaintiffs in the lawsuits, will be meeting over the weekend to discuss matters. One thing I hope to accomplish is a good communications system -- among ourselves, among our lawyers, and with the communities in five cities who have worked so long and hard to remove the usurpers from the Pacifica Board and to restore Pacifica to its founding principles.

I do not expect that any actual settlement negotiations will take place for at least a week, if not longer. I am not certain that any settlement negotiations will take place at all -- since we are not yet sure whether the board majority is "serious" or whether they hope to "settle" by maintaining some control over Pacifica or some control over choosing people to replace them -- neither of which would be acceptable to me, so there would be no purpose in "negotiating" with them. So things are very uncertain at this time. And we continue to actively prepare our case to go to trial in January.

However, one thing I would very much appreciate from everyone who cares to write me would be your thoughts on bottom line settlement ideas. Many of you have corresponded with me over the past two years, and of course many readers of our bulletin have never written to me. (There are now over 6,000 people who receive these email bulletins.) But I want to know what you think.

You have all given me so much strength and purpose for so long. I don't know how I would personally have found the courage without you. I hope you will continue to do so. I also hope there will be some structure set up for input to all the plaintiffs in the three suits from the many listener/activists groups who have built the "FreePacifica" movement across the country. I do encourage all members of listener/activists groups to meet quickly and to prepare some "bullet points" of your settlement thoughts for us.

To the many people who have tirelessly dedicated much of your lives since the WBAI Christmas Coup of December 2000, since the KPFA lockout of July 1999, since the purges and "reprogramming" at WPFW, KPFT, KPFK & KPFA in the early to mid '90s -- to all of you, please know that you have my deepest gratitude and my unshakeable commitment. I will do everything in my power to remove the board of usurpers, and to insure that Pacifica is restructured to be democratically accountable to the listener-sponsors and the staffs (mainly volunteers) who have built it.

We may be close to "victory" now, but maybe not. I have always believed that removing this board is only a beginning, and that the work of restoration will be long and hard, too.

On a personal note: I have been humbled by the faith that so many people have put in this lawsuit -- so many people write and call me & send their hard-earned money to pay our legal expenses.

I remember, almost two years ago at the end of July 1999, when others close to the center of events were meeting to decide whether the KPFA staff would go back into the station when (former) Board Chair Mary Frances Berry said they could go back to work after the 23-day lockout. I was fervently hoping they would not go back, that they would hold out. So much pressure had been building up on the Board to resign then. I believed that, if the KPFA staff held out, that the Board would be forced to resign. I wept when I learned that they had decided to go back to work. I remember how bitter I felt when I learned in the middle of the night on Friday that they were going back -- so bitter that I did not even go to the 10,000-person march for "Free Speech Radio" in Berkeley on Sunday July 31st. I remember how closed out I felt, too, as a 40-year KPFA listener-sponsor. "No one asked me," I felt. We will never know whether the board would have resigned back then. But I do still acutely remember my feeling of powerlessness and being left out. Some of you will feel that now or soon -- justifiably so -- if there are negotiations to settle the lawsuits. Know that you are in my heart and mind, and though you cannot all be there, and maybe you will not all be completely satisfied with what I do, I will keep faith with you.

Blessings on all your good works,

Carol Spooner
Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board

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