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Winning? WINNING?? But... What about us Masochists??
Published on January 27, 2004 By Phil Osborn In Politics
I posted this to Nalini's KPFKChat.org last night. (Minor editing here for clarification.)

"When confronted with a choice between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before." Mae West.

Phil Osborn
Divisiveness uber alles - as usual
Mon Jan 26 2004 10:36:41 pm

So, now I've been to three LSB events as a candidate (for the KPFK Local Station Board). At Long Beach, the 13 or so candidates waited for two hours to speak for two minutes to two people - but we did have some great conversations afterwards.

Then there was the one last week in South Central, where we actually did have a decent sized audience, altho not big enough to actually elect anyone themselves. But, it was fun and again the conversation afterward was - shorter by far - but still interesting. I got cornered by a couple of the Aztlan (sp?) candidates, who insisted that the Treaty of Guadalupe (sp?) and other various State edicts justified giving all Hispanics (and I rolled the dice before I used that word, as opposed to Mexican, Latino, etc., etc. - just to be fair...) special privileges over all other ethinicities; so, that means more Spanish-only programming if they get elected. Hey, let's just pick sides and have a brawl, folks... Whoever kicks ass gets the station. OK?

I mentioned that I was an anarchist, which should have shut them up re state edicts, which mean about as much to me as what the Pope says... but, I suppose that persistence has it's value, too.

Then there was the one yesterday in Riverside, which was nearly a repeat of Long Beach, in the sparseness of audience, but we did get several rounds of speaking our piece and some interesting positions got clarified, or muddled. And the organizers provided a very tasty lunch, surprise, surprise. Many thanks for that!

The topics discussed by the various candidates were rather widely oriented, but there were various themes that got repeated many times: Spanish language programming, affirmative action, Ian Masters (whooo boy, talk about polarizing issues - One side: Ian is the DEVIL; The other side: Ian is Christ!) (Personally, I'm an athiest, but I did find myself more on the Messianic side, for a change.)

I REALLY like Ian' programming, even though I don't get along very well with Ian personally. He get's SO MANY dynamite people on as guests. Over the past 15 years or so, I've really learned quite a lot from his program - when he isn't on a rag about the despicable republicans (yech!) vs. the pure hosts of divinity democrats (blech!) - which is whenever an election is in the offing.

Then there was our resident hard-core Marxist candiate - or so I presume from his uniform and remarks, Lawrence Reyes, complete with black beret, telling me about the wonders of the people's state of Cuba... Sometimes I worry...

After the Church kicked us out - and it had nothing to do with me, I swear, we adjourned to a coffee shop across the way. Then one of the slates - don't recall if tweedle-dee or dum - caucused for a few hours until we all got kicked out of there as well, allegedly because they were closing, but I'm sure that some of our conspiracy experts can come up with "other" explanations that are much more interesting.

In fact, it occurs to me that a new profession might be lurking here. I mean, like, people PAY some idiot to tell them what to do based on the stars, right? So, why not make your life MUCH more interesting? PAY a conspiracy nut to tell you what your motivation is today. Like, you could be part of a plot to take over a radio station - and RULE THE WORLD!!! YES! WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU'RE UP TO....

I heard from one of the caucus participants - independents were barred, but we had more fun by ourselves anyway (SO THERE!) - afterwards that Doug Barnett got purged do to his past sin of not supporting Spanish-only programming, even though he did a Red Guard confessional earlier at the official speachifying, in which he declaimed the sad error of his ways. (Slight exaggeration there, to make this a more interesting read - but substantially correct.) Doug probably has class-ancestry problems or something anyway. I mean, you can just LOOK AT HIM and you know right away that he's ..... horrors ..... WHITE!!! (The shame of it all...)

So, Margot, and Israel, and - for a while, Lupe - and a charming and very intelligent - and very BLACK, just so you'll know that WE were not into racial politics - hey! we didn't even buy her coffee (actually, I think she's going to vote for me anyway - a penny saved, etc.) - listener sponsor all sat at the coffee shop, ostensibly awaiting the disposition of the important people - that is to say, not us, certainly.

But, we got bored, just sitting, and so we held our own informal non-caucus, with discussions of the Pacifica philosophy and purpose and past history and future prospects, and how to get there from here, and what the new technology will mean, and what actual power the Station Board will have (Hey! WE have OVERSIGHT!), and we all took notes and phone numbers... and I bought a copy of Steve Dallas's "Dallas in Wonderland" from Israel, which made my night.

So, our little nonsensical - non-political, and therefore silly and useless - non-caucus went on quite peacefully and yet with so much fun that I was really sorry to have to leave...

So, who do I support?

Israel Feuer - the Mission, the Mission, the Mission - and he KNOWS what he's saying.


And, I followed that up with the following tonight:

Phil Osborn Picking Your Evil Tue Jan 27 2004 6:40:18 pm

Hey, Nalini, you're RUINING my rep. (Nalini says she's going to vote for me, but I know it's just a ploy to get her hands on my bod.) I told Casey to begin with that I was out for the crazies' vote. I figure that if I just got them, it was a shoe-in at KPFK.

On the other hand, maybe not, given what I saw in Riverside. Maybe I better forget the crazy ticket. Competition is too, too hot. (But I was getting into it - drat!)

So, on the saner side - and I mean that in a good way, I'm going to put Raul Castillo near the top of my picks. He's the youngest candidate (20) and inexperienced, but he does have the drive and intelligence and - I think - basic good will and honesty to make a good Board member - or revolt against a bad board, if that happens.

I've had several talks with him, and, while I'm sure that he and I have disagreements, he does listen, and that's important. I'm coming at this as a frustrated listener sponsor, not to push my own political agenda, and I expect to hear from a lot of people who feel pretty much like I have for a couple of decades now.

Anyway, regarding Riverside, so much for transparency and the Mission. Let's all huddle and plot. Oh, struggling to recall, because I try not to think in racial categories, but I don't recall ANY black candidates in Riverside, and I don't recall seeing any over at the closed caucus, although I didn't look very carefully, as we were having too much fun at our table - and we WERE racially mixed.

I was afraid that coming down to the wire this was going to revolve around race, especially a takeover bid from the Hispanic side. Ironically, I have no gripe with Hispanics as such, and I wouldn't be opposed to occasional Spanish language or, preferably, bilingual programming on special issues, like Chiapas.

And certainly, we need a major coverage of social, economic political issues that impact Hispanics. They are the majority population in a lot of areas, and the major media is largely ignoring them. But Spanish-language-only is exclusionary and inherently pits Hispanic against everyone else for precious air time, while English is inclusionary, as most Hispanics AND every other minority speak it.

If I were inclined to drive wedges between Hispanic and everyone else, then I would support Spanish-only programming. Of course, some people make a career out of racial/cultural hostility.

So many Hispanics are bilingual that getting translations out to those who are still English deficient is a priority that we ought to be able to meet. Web storage is cheap, and I suggested in Riverside that we ought to make our programming available as well to other not-for-profit outlets.

For under $100 anyone can set up a perfectly legal* low-power FM neighborhood station and feed it directly from their computer and the net, or from tape or live input, and we could encourage that, maybe even solicit donations to buy the equipment in bulk and distribute it to people who will commit to putting KPFK/Pacifica programming out in areas the station doesn't reach, like Uganda or New Hampshire, or anywhere. These people could also put out translated versions in their locality, and, if they're doing the translations themselves, feed that back to the station website for archiving and redistribution.

*Or non-legal, in fact, as the FCC is reportedly severely undermanned and there are all sorts of people pumping serious wattage on their pirate stations. As long as you don't step on some one else's signal and people don't complain, you can probably exceed the 100mW by a factor of 10, or maybe 100, and nobody will likely notice, and then people can listen to you from a mile or two away, I'm guessing. And if they do catch you, unless you get really outrageous, you will probably get a form letter from the FCC requesting that IF you're in violation, then please cease and desist. Not that I would ever advocate breaking the law. Next you'll think I'm an anarchist or something.

We ought to be archiving just about everything - at least the informative programming. Figure a maximum of a Gigabyte per hour, using the new compression standard from Apple. So that's 168 Gigs per week, which means a big RAID array of hard drives with CD backup. Net of about $1 per hour, $168 per week, about $10,000 per year. And the access to the programming staff should pay for that easily. Instead of searching thru stacks of tape, etc., each programmer can create his or her own index to the archive reflecting the needs of that program, and pull up stuff instantly.

For professional access by other for-profit use by media or researchers, etc., the station can charge a reasonable access fee, with listeners worldwide getting a certain number of hours per week for free, and more for a fee reflecting bandwidth costs for the station. This seems fair to me, and it fits the mission. It brings IN people, instead of excluding them.

Suggestions, people???

Update: 01/31/04

Oh NOOOO!!! Now I am ruined. My campaign strategy in tatters, my following (?) tearing up their black business cards - and yes, I now realize that I should have used non-black ink, but I had trouble finding a color that wasn't PC objectionable, I mean WHITE!???, or RED (as an anarchist??) - anyway, the worst has now happened - an endorsement by Ian Masters. Yes, folks, it's over. Here I did my best to grab the constituency that could put me over the top, in spite of intense competition, and it appeared that I might still have a chance, but what crazy would vote for someone who Ian likes? And I completely ignored the sane factions, on the assumption that they wouldn't vote anyway, either of them.

Oh well, the court cases are still in the offing, when either we don't have enough total votes to meet the court's mandate, or else, the Treaty of Hildalgo Guadalupe slate grabs the station and runs Spanish only - at which point the National Board steps in AND the court, AND all the people who think, rightly or wrongly, that the Spanish-only programmers now on air must have misused their air time to promote a block Hispanic vote, AND the people who never saw their questionaire appear on the station site (MINE is STILL not there) and lose decide to sue, along with their supporters... So, I wasn't looking forward to those fifty mile drives anyway.

Or not.

Have a good day, folks.. I'm off to Santa Monica!
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