KPFA’s ‘Rescue Pacifica’ candidates stand with WBAI against takeover

by Rescue Pacifica

Statement by ‘Rescue Pacifica’ candidates for the KPFA Local Station Board in Support of WBAI

Rescue Pacifica vigorously condemns the shutdown of KPFA’s sister station WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 7, there was an attempt by Pacifica’s interim executive director (iED) to close the station and terminate all WBAI staff.

This surprise attack took place early in the morning in the middle of WBAI’s fall fund drive, as well as the voting period for the Local Station Board elections. It is completely at odds with what democratic, transparent and responsible governance should look like and contrary to Pacifica’s original grassroots mission.

Later that day a New York judge issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing iED John Vernile from dismissing the staff and interfering with the station’s operations, pending a hearing to be held on Oct. 18.

On October 10, the iED and six Pacifica National Board members went to court and won an order to partially “vacate” the TRO, giving control of the station’s airwaves and website back to them. The judge also ruled that they still did not have the authority to summarily fire WBAI’s staff pending the October 18th hearing.

For long-time KPFA supporters, the attack on WBAI should bring back unhappy memories of the 1999 takeover attempt at KPFA. The cast of characters is different this time, but the objective appears to be the same – to replace local community-based hosts with shows piped-in from elsewhere, and perhaps to eventually sell the station’s valuable broadcast frequency.

The attack on WBAI is the latest in a series of recent undemocratic actions to happen recently at the network. A group calling itself “Restructure Pacifica” has been circulating a petition to replace the present bylaws with a system that would eliminate listener-elected Local Station Boards. There is also an attempt underway to remove KPFA board member Tom Voorhees from the Pacifica National Board, despite Tom’s unequaled knowledge of radio.

There will be an emergency WBAI town hall meeting on Sunday, October 13, at the ATRIUM at 60 Wall Street, NYC, starting at 1 pm.

Rescue Pacifica‘s listener candidates are Tom Voorhees, Marilyn Langlois, Karina Stenquist, Christine Pepin, Mantra Plonsey, and Don Macleay. Our staff candidates are Ann Garrison and Steve Zeltzer. On October 9, we held a rally in support of WBAI outside KPFA.

Contacts: Marilyn Langlois, Rescue Pacifica, 510-710-4493, Tracy Rosenberg, former Treasurer of the Pacifica National Board, 510-684-6853.

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes Region. Please support her work on Patreon. She can be reached at ann@anngarrison.com. To learn more about Rescue Pacifica, go to https://rescuepacifica.net/.