My name is Pete Bramson. That's spelled B-R-A-M-S-O-N. I have been a member of the Pacifica National Board since March of last year. My day job is as a systems support manager for a computerized ticketing agency, and I live in Oakland.
I take no pleasure in being here today but I cannot remain silent while Pacifica's National Board holds serious discussions in secret about selling KPFA.
KPFA is a national treasure. My commitment is to the KPFA staff and listening community. I hope that by making this public we can help convince the rest of the Board not to go through with this tragic plan.
Pacifica Board Chair Mary Frances Berry has repeatedly said during these past several weeks that she has no intention of selling KPFA. That's not true.
During a telephone conference call yesterday, Pacifica Board Vice Chair David Acosta put forward the following proposal. I want to emphasize there was no vote. But the executive committee of the board was to continue discussing this issue today. I do not serve on that committee.
There are several parts to this plan, which is somewhat complicated and was floated in an incomplete fashion yesterday. So I'll give you the highlights.
Acosta proposed taking out a five million dollar loan against the value of the KPFA license. That could happen quickly. He proposed selling the KPFA frequency, which has an estimated value of 65 to 75 million dollars. That would take longer to accomplish. With a small portion of the proceeds of the sale of KPFA, Acosta proposed that Pacifica set up another Northern California station perhaps in Palo Alto which Mary Berry said might be a friend lier city than Berkeley. A possible Palo Alto station would have only a fraction of the potential audience that KPFA currently can reach.
As part of the discussions of selling KPFA, questions were raised about the financial costs of the current dispute - the armed guards and the new public relations firm. While Mary Frances Berry did not provide specific figures on the cost, she did say there may only be enough money left to continue paying the staff for two or three weeks. Mary Frances Berry also said that the new P.R. Firm, Fineman Associates, may quit.
There was no hint that Mary Frances Berry has any intention of trying to reopen KPFA, put the staff back to work and resume broadcasting the wonderful local programs, which have been produced here for 50 years.
We do need our radio station back. I call publicly on my fellow board members to do the right thing and give KPFA back to its community.
Finally, yesterday, Mary Frances Berry called me a fascist thug for disagreeing with her. And she called on me and two other dissenting board members to resign. I have no intention of resigning from the board. I will continue to fight as a member of the Pacifica National Board to save KPFA.
Pacifica Governing Board