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Last ditch efforts
Published on February 2, 2004 By Phil Osborn In Politics
Update November 23th, 2004:

Well, my 1-minute statement finally went up this week, after many snafus, including repeated appointments with Fernando in which he didn't show, The station is going to play it an additional 8 times to try to make up for the several weeks in which either it was not played at all, except someone's translation of a previous statement into Spanish - played during English programming, and then a week or so during which an uninteligable version was played. So, finally that's taken care of. There is hope.... As so few ballots have some in yet that a lot of people could still decide to vote and completely change the outcome.

The showings at the various venues for publicizing the candidates and exposing them to public questioning, etc., have demonstrated yet again that most of the listeners simply don't put a very high priority on this whole election process or the LSB. Typically the LSB candidates have outnumbered the listeners at these forums by a factor of five to one.

Unfortunately, this may translate into a failed election. Keep in mind, folks, that we're talking about airwaves worth millions of dollars. If last year's vote percentage holds, it translates into over a thousand dollars worth of input per vote. If you subscribed and paid $25, or $50 or $200 or whatever, consider that you bought well over a thousand dollars worth of control for that subscription, and NOW is the time to exercise that option.

Whoever ends up on the LSB this year, I think it's going to be an action-oriented Board this time. People are REALLY tired of endless haggling and watching all the opportunities pass by. This year we ROLL!

Update November 10th, 2004:

Trials and travails - I found out on Sunday, while listening to Asunta (Spotlight Africa) - that my 1-minute LSB candidate spot had been substituted with something in Spanish. Only my name was recognizable. Then I discovered that it had been playing that way for the preceding week, during English language programming. Nobody bothered to tell anyone. Maybe I'll get enough Hispanic votes to make it worthwhile... Anyway, I contacted Mary Rosendale, the National Pacifica Rep who is charge of keeping the election honest, and she and Eva Georgia came up with the idea of "doubling up" on my playlist for the remaining period.

Only problem - the original recording had been lost. So, I was told to stick by the phone Monday evening from 9PM to 10PM, during which time the engineer would be contacting me. At 10:05, I called the station, but the engineer was not there. I was told that the message would be passed to him, so I stayed up until midnight and then couldn't sleep until maybe 1AM. I got up around 6AM to call the station, as the engineer is there from midnight to 8, allegedly, but nobody was answering the phones.

So, I tried the switchboard, to reach the Program Director who had also called me to tell me the time slot, but the "7" which is supposed to get you a list of employees, but instead still gets the polite "that is an invalid extension," as it has from the beginning of recorded history. Maintaining tradition - TRADITION!!! (imagine the strains of "Fiddler on the Roof") - the extension for "engineering" gets you "finance," and if you got the bright idea of dialing "finance" to get engineering, there is no such extension. So, I left a message with the news dept.

Later that day, I got a flurry of related messages on my phone at work, timed to coincide with my lunch hour, of course, but that was lucky, ultimately, as the lobby phone is specifically set up to force you to shout in order to be heard at all, so that management can listen in on all employee calls from the main office. The break-room phone is ok, however (I think), and it was there that I finally took the call from the Engineer, who had been called finally by Eva herself. So, I got to record my one-minute statement again, I hope. I still haven't heard it. I think that I will finally get to do so tonight at 10:15PM.

On Monday evening, I also got a garbled email from Mary laying out the rules of the upcoming candidate forums. She neglected to mention the 2 minute candidate statement, which did not set well with me. See www.KPFKchat.org for my comments on the format for the candidate's forum.

So, my reaction to the forums so far? Vanilla pablum. How many listener callers did Aura have to cut off because they couldn't state a coherent question? Virtually the only candidates who stood out were the ones I find least desirable, such as Rafael Renteria, who, based on what I have seen of him, is one of the chief obstacles to the LSB getting anything useful done - which he charged of other LSB members! Yet he is by far the most eloquent and vocally gifted of any of the candidates so far. One is reminded of Yeats' poem: "The best lack conviction, Given some time to think, And the worst are full of passion, Without mercy.

Bella Desoto would have been perhaps the very last of my picks for a sane, productive, LSB member, based on my witnessing her behavior at a meeting of the Interim Programming Council, in which she used up huge amounts of everyone's time, ignoring the time limits set for everyone, rudely interrupting other listener sponsors and finally forcing us to listen to a document - which I have reproduced in its entirety here and at KPFKchat.org - which said absolutely nothing, just mindless platitudes.

Yet, since then, I have repeatedly witnessed her speaking coherently, reasonably and passionately at various candidate forums, including her appearance on air, and she seems actually sane, which is truly puzzling, given her prior performance and publication. I have not a clue as to how someone can behave so completely at odds with oneself...

Laurence Reyes is yet a third example of this paradoxical behavior. Laurence is always the guy who starts cleaning up after a meeting, stacking the chairs, organizing everything. He is always personally courteous and comes accross as a decent, intelligent guy. Yet on several occasions he has also behaved very strangely, as when he tried to say at one of the candidate forums that one of the other candidates - Casey McFall - was actuall a member of a secret slate of whites attempting to retain power. This is truly bizarre, especially given Casey's background and work.

So, I am at a loss here, trying to decide who to support and vote for... In fact, if there was one other person who I would have said a definite "NO!" to, it would have been Leslie Radford, who I believe spearheaded the "Coalition for Justice" misadventure that has been the major force blocking useful work at both LSB and IPC, as far as I can tell. Yet, in recent forums, Leslie has shown like a nova star, easilly the most interesting, passionate, articulate candidate of all, excepting perhaps Rafael. Her ideas are generally good and her understanding of what it takes to get anything done is excellent. Or so it appears...

Such a puzzle. End November 10th update... Update November 4th, 2004:

Now that this latest fiasco is behind us, perhaps it's time to focus on the really important elections to come:

Namely: the Local Station Board (LSD) er... (LSB)

This past Saturday, I bussed it* over to the Irvine library for a maxed out crowd of Listener Sponsors - fully FOUR TIMES AS MANY as Mary Rosendale said attended the previous LSB candidate's forum.

*(My bike had developed an intermitent electrical problem that manifested itself by running like a top on the way TO anywhere at all, and then absolutely refusing to start for the trip back, so I have gotten in a whole lot of unscheduled exercise this past week, but I REALLY didn't feel up to a ten mile push.)

All eight of the hardy listener sponsors attending got to grill the dozen or so of us candidates over our intended agendas, who we were going to screw over, what corporations were secretly backing us, who we should ADD to our enemies list, why everything was going wrong - which some standing LSB members heartilly denied for some reason, how dark our skin was (remind me to bring the light meter next time) and any number of other prime time issues that I have somehow forgotten in the vast stretch of time since.

Mary Deary, a sitting LSB member, bless her heart, drove all the way from Long Beach, even though she's not even in the running this time. I can't believe that she did so just to put ME on the hot seat, regardless of the evidence. I forget exactly what her original question was now, so I'll try and deduce it from my answer...

~"Well, I'll give you an example recently, in which Ian Masters had on an alleged expert on the self-styled "Patriots." I had personally been trying to get Ian to cover the interesting fact that on about 90% of the substantive current issues, these "Patriots" are precisely in line with the "Progressive" Left. I, BTW, am neither a "Patriot" nor a "Progressive," but in line with the Pacifica Mission, I thought it would be interesting as a kind of test case to see what could happen if the two groups had to confront each other and dialogue."

~"Unfortunately, Ian's take on this was to bring in this guy for whom the "Patriot" were synonymous with Militia, neo-Nazis, Skinheads, etc. (who actually constitute a small minority in the "Patriot" movement, much like the Trotskyites among Progressives), and all he did was paint them as the Devil, which I'm sure changed a lot of listeners minds and contributed to a lasting understanding between their respective cultures. I would not have had a problem with this guy being on the air, if only Ian had bothered to also bring in one of the acknowledged leaders in the Patriot movement to challenge, explain, justify or rebut."

Mary Deary's question was in response to my opening statement in which I said something to the effect that while we were really good at pointing out problems, we did not take the necessary steps to move toward solutions, such as bringing in people with whom we had profound disagreements to discuss exactly what the actual issues are, in theory and in practice. I think that she asked me for an example of programmers excluding opposition from any dialogue.

Mary followed this up by asking if this meant that I would favor bringing on someone like Pat Buchanan. I replied that if memory served me, Ian Masters had had Buchanan on twice recently, and I thought it was a good idea, as Buchanan is opposed to a lot of the same neo-con/Bush stuff as Progressives (and we anarchists, as well) are.

(There are also areas of major disagreement, of course, but if I'm talking to a Republican, it doesn't work all that well to quote from David Corn of "The Nation," much as I like him. On the other hand, if I can bring in Pat Buchanan to support my position, THEN I might actually get heard.)

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Leslie Radford taking a lot of the same positions that I had been pushing last year, especially as regards direct listener involvement. Harrison Weil also had some good things to say that again echoed my previous campaign. Other candidates also supported much more direct integration of the station's news and archive base with the Web, which was central to my position last year as well.

There was some disagreement over how well things have been going for both the LSB and the Interim Programming Council (IPC). I presented my own impressions to the effect that from what I had personally witnessed, the IPC was hamstrung by a faction determined to prevent them from doing anything, by introducing ridiculous motions that could not possibly pass muster, just to use up all available time and make the IPC look silly. And, ditto, to some degree at least for the LSB. Harrison disagreed with me, taking the position that everything was looking up.

I then mentioned that Lee Siu Hin had been calling for listeners to contact the Station to ask why the IPC did not have its full quota of members, as mandated, why there had been no attempt to elect the remainder of the quoto..

I was informed that (1) now the IPC does have its full quota of members, and, (2) that Lee Siu Hin has resigned his position on the IPC. This does not bode well. He was one of the real voices of sanity on the IPC. I note that three months later I have still not heard from the IPC regarding my volunteering for three of its committees, even though we were told repeatedly that they were desperate for volunteers...

Beyond the issue of just how well the incumbants had been doing, virtually the only negative notes at the meeting, in fact, came from Laurence Reyes, who first attacked Israel Feuer, claiming that essentially he had done virtually nothing, abstaining on most votes, and the went after Casey McFall, intimating that she was representing a hidden slate of whites trying to keep control, at which point Mary Rosendale intervened and told Laurence to shelve that angle.

I was surprised by all this, to tell the truth, although I have witnessed Laurence try little power plays in the past. I've always gotten along with him just great on a personal level, and I think he has real skills that could be a huge asset to whatever organization he was involved with and a genuine dedication to his beliefs and personal sincerity that comes accross whenever we talk. He always volunteers to do the clean-up after meetings, or anything else that needs to be done.

There was more to talk about, but that's what I recall as immediately relevant.

One more item of interest: Leslie Radford made a statement to the effect that Pacifica is engaged in a one-of-a-kind experiment in a democratic corporation - hope I got that right - and it was really important to realize that we were setting an example. (I pointed out that in fact Mondragon preceded us - to which Leslie assented.)

Leslie also pointed out, which was echoed by other standing LSB members, that Pacifica, if we went by the market value of its assets, is a significant corporate entity. Yet, if we go by the attendance figures at these candidate forums (a total of ten listener sponsors at the two so far) little attention is being paid to its governance.

There is an inherent problem with democracies. Decisions must be made, often on hard, complex, technical issues, yet most of the people voting are not qualified in any significant respect to make those decisions. It has been widely noted in the past couple of days that the Republicans focused on moral issues, while the Democrats focused on pragmatic practical ones. Never mind that the moral positions promoted by the Bush camp were in many cases profoundly evil or absurd. At least he was taking a moral stand - or that was the carefully engineered public perception, and that got him re-elected.

The Democrats expected people to make carefully weighed and informed choices over a huge range of issues. OOPS!!! People feel qualified in general to vote their morals, but NOT to evaluate complex arguments about which they only have second or third-hand knowledge.

A classic case of this problem is nuclear power. When nuclear power was being lauded as the great hope of the future back in the '50's, there was one slight problem. They couldn't get insurance.

Not getting insurance meant that they couldn't build a power plant. Period. The insurance companies - who make their profits from being experts at assessing risks - said that they simply did not have enough information to accurately assess the risks of nuclear power, but it was clear that it could include potentially astronomical downsides.

Enter Congress, Who passed a law capping damages from a nuclear power incident at $500 million dollars (or was it $800 million? ... Either way...). This allowed the plants to be built. It also meant that any potential damages over $500 million could be arbitrarilly assessed for the purposes of decision making by nuclear power plant management at ..... you guessed it! $500 million dollars. Because, that's all they would be liable for, regardless of actual losses.

Now the costs of protecting against particular risks tend to go up with the expected cost of the payoff. This is not always the case, but there is that tendancy. So, if you can invest $50,000 for a return of $51,000 in risk reduction (estimated cost X likelihood of occurance), or $500,000 for a return of $1,000,000, obviously you would choose the $500,000, at a two-to-one payoff.

But with the cap set at $500 million, a risk of $10 billion is artificially reduced now to $500 million. Right? So this plugs in - all things being equal - to produce the result that you should ignore risks of $10 billion, while focusing on risks of $500 million or less, where the payoffs are better, actuarilly speaking.

And this is exactly the kind of calculation that the bean-counters who run these numbers come up with. And this is why nuclear power is a looming disaster. It's precisely why there was virtually no planning for a serious terrorist attack prior to 9/11, and, I'm guessing little real improvement since then. The risk estimates are directly reflected in insurance premiums, and if the insurance company is not telling you to do something, then YOU DON'T DO IT! WHY? BECAUSE YOU WILL LOSE YOUR JOB! Who are YOU to be second-guessing the experts? And where is the payoff for the nuclear plant?

So, our democratically elected Congress voted-in a predictable disaster, choosing to short-circuit the natural market mechanism that keeps us safe by accurately assessing risks and charging accordingly - the insurance industry. Hey, there was big money involved! What do you expect?

So, what can we do now, in the face of the disaster of Tuesday? The typical voter clearly is not willing to bet their judgement on the issues against the perceived experts. They can't even tell who the real experts are for the most part. You have college professors on both sides of every issue, fer Christ's sake. So they vote on the moral positions. To get their vote, you're going to have to make the moral arguments to convince them that YOU have the moral high ground. That will take some work. That will take a lot more than cheerleading for OUR SIDE!!! Or, booing the Devil. Unfortunately that seems to be our major area of expertise.

I suggested last year that we needed to start thinking of the broadcast capabilities of KPFK/Pacifica as only one piece of a much larger strategy to fulfill the Pacifica Mission, a strategy of getting the information out there in the channels where the world is watching - especially on the Web.

If we are to go after the moral high ground, which is what it will take to defeat Bush and his ilk (and Kerry should be seen as being in that same slot - only slightly better in comparison - oh, he'll run the war more effectively! ???) then we have to take a wider and longer focus. A symptom of that would be making sure that the information we put out on the air is useful, accurate and available! It shouldn't take a huge effort to find a contact phone number that was mentioned once in passing on some public affairs program.

Beyond that, we need to start thinking seriuously about how to organize all that information so that it can be critiqued, compared, referenced and used to build intellectually sound knowledge bases that anyone can refer to. We should be approaching local - and international - universitys with offers to create internships in which their students and faculty cooperate with the station to take all those disparate facts and integrate them into a new encyclopeadia - like those old French radicals dreamed of - that will undercut ignorance and lies at every level.

Which brings up a final question... Given that the Mondragon Cooperative is essentially accomplishing all the major goals of the Progressive movement - and making $500 million profit last year to boot, WHY has there been ZERO attention paid to it? They obviously have answers that work. Let's try to get some investigation and coverage.

Update October 23, 2004

88 word statement for 1-minute air-blip. Well, it was down to two choices and both my own inclination and that of my writers group was strongly toward the second. Here's the first:

The Pacifica Mission is not a political agenda.

Giving a voice to the voiceless, focusing the spotlight of publicity, the laser of reason on mistakes or lies dividing us, slashing the bonds to set truthe free, letting new music soar, defying the corporate culture of mass-produced death.

Let's bring that home. Let's make KPFK a mighty engine, a fighting caravan of humanity and life on planet earth. Let's invite all comers, of whatever persuasion, so long as we share the god of truth.

My goal? The Mission.

My feeling: OK, but boring... So, here's the second, in case you miss it on the air:

88 words to spell out who I am,

And tell just what I can and will or won’t,

Or why you should or shouldn’t choose,

Nor what there is thereby to gain or lose?

Have we traversed too far this path,

Voice and life reduced to epitaph,

Passion, thought, alike entombed?

For equality’s sake are we doomed?

To try, like butterflies inside a cardboard box,

To beat our passage free - shred our wings to fly,

Lest someone, someday think we didn’t care.

Let’s dare. eighty seven... Phil

End October 23rd update.....

Update October 12th-13th, 2004

Oh joy! Just found a whole packed legal-sized file envelope full of folios and other KPFK material from the early '80's. THEN! I found my whole collection of submissions and correspondence, including with Mike Hodel, regarding my suggestions in 1984 for recreating the station and preventing another disaster, such as had just happened with the Claire Spark coup.

Each suggestion took 1-2 pages. For your amusement and historical interest, I will list the titles now, and eventually perhaps OCR the printed pages. These were delivered to the KPFK Local Station Board then, in '84, and are now finally starting to see implementation:

Suggestion #1: "Upend the hierarchy represented by the station board and replace it with listener-elected board members."

Suggestion #2: "Elect these board members by constituencies, not geography." (After which I detail a system of proportional voting remarkably similar to what we are now using...)

Suggestion #3: "Pay the board members at least some minimal amount to attend meetings - and deduct that amount from this yearly stipend when they miss one." (Note that I was NOT running for the board at that time... I DO think that while pure volunteerism has its virtues, it also selects for people who can afford it and excludes people of lower income, for example.)

Suggestion #4: "Look toward providing listener SERVICES instead of pushing messianic causes."

Suggestion #5: "Provide structured formats for bringing together representatives of conflicting groups to discuss their real differences on specific, defined issues on a continueing, recorded, systematic, and "tracked" basis.

Suggestion #6: "Use folio questionaire in a computer compatible format to get detailed and personally relevant information about the listeners." (For the purpose of organizing and networking - I also had in mind something like "Meet-Up".)

Suggestion #7: "Use the computer to file and access this database to continuously assess relevance of programming, programming integration, and other station services." (I go on to suggest using the database to find areas in which there exist major conflicts in position between different groups of listener sponsors, with the aim of using this information to further the Pacifica Mission.)

Suggestion #8: "Also use this same database and access capability to establish community oriented and project oriented networking and support groups among the listeners, for the listeners, and by the listeners." (The major example I use here is the ability to instantly organize to deal with the kind of City ordinance pushed by special interests which gets moved through Councils late at night very quickly, so that the victims never find out in time to do anything.)

Suggestion #9: "Use this network, in turn, to access listener resources of information, contacts, equipment, and time for use by the station."

Suggestion #10: " Explore ways of utilizing the new media - particularly the consumer oriented, general purpose networks such as The Source, Compuserve, etc., to create entirely new categories of interactive programming." (Here I describe the way that Larry Bensky (and many NPR shows) today runs his Sunday Salon, with real-time input via the net from listeners around the world. It was fully doable in 1984.)

OOPS - more later - just ran out of time!!! OUT OF HERE!!!

End October 12th-13th entry...

Update: October 7th

Ah! At last, my questionaire has been corrected. Mary informs me that the station now has a full-time webmaster. This is ruining my foul mood, damn it!

Update: October 6th

Got an email from Mary Rosendale, the National Pacifica rep who is running the elections. Contacting her is a problem, as they won't give her a phone at the station. They only have so many extensions and she's one too many, I guess. She did finally get back to me about the ~88-word statement and now I'm told there's really no hurry, as the carts will only start playing on the 25th. But what about the questionaire? It's still screwed up and I'll bet that's how it will end up running in the printed and mailed candidate voting flyer.

Here it is - the most recent version of the 88 words. I can read it comfortably, with appropriate pauses, in 36 seconds (try it yourself!), and I think I got about 180 words in last year without a problem. At 88 words, you are kind of restricted to banalities:

Hi, I’m Phil Osborn and I’m running for the Local Station Board. (does not count toward 88 words)

My goal is one thing: the Pacifica Mission.

The Pacifica Mission is not about pushing political agendas. It is about giving the voiceless a voice, making us aware of conflicts and allowing us to examine their roots, providing opportunities for music and culture typically excluded from broadcast media.

I want to move LSB and station toward full accountability and transparency, to better facilitate the Mission. We need real concrete structures spelling out practical goals and paths to achieve them, and programming addressing its critics and debating them.


So, is this likely to motivate anyone to do anything? I figure that my time would be much more valuably spent doing any number of other things, than in making a special 90 mile round trip to the station just to make a 36-second recording. That time spent here on this blog putting in more research and more links to help people actually find valuable information, for example....

End 10/06/04 update...

Update: October 5th

Well, my photo is finally actually up there with my statement, but the questionaire is still not corrected and I'm nowhere closer to getting my 88-word statement done. If I don't do it at all, which I may very well, then I wonder if that means that I will be excluded or put dead last in line at the candidate forums??? Wouldn't surprise me.

End 10/05 update.

So, business as usual. I didn't intend to run this time, as I figured that the liklihood of an independent making it in a much smaller field than last year's would also be much less. However, then Nalini Lasiewicz of kpfkchat.org noted that only a few candidates had qualified, so I decided to try again. Not much has changed with regard to my reasons as such. My statement and questionaire are substantially the same as for 2003.

Now, however, there is much more evidence to support my position regarding the LSB. After 9 months of the new board and new Interim Programming Council, where are we?

The LSB has been virtually hamstrung by people using Robert's Rules of Order to stall or block any real action. The same is true, and perhaps more so, for the Interim Programming Council.

At the recent IPC meeting in Fullerton, I witnessed several hours of zero progress, as Coalition for Justice members introduced motion after motion which were either blatantly racist or simply absurd. One motion called for ALL programming time to be allocated on a strict racial/ethnic quota basis. A fellow traveler introduced a "compromise" which called for only 50% of programming to be allocated that way... Another motion required any author interviewed on any KPFK program to sign away permission to have their entire work read aloud for free at the station's discretion. Of course, if you want to support the mission, then that means bringing in the very people, including authors, with whom you disagree. How many of them would sign such a statement? So, then you're restricted to only those authors and works with whom you already agree, right?

The good guys on both LSB and IPC have been grimly holding on, staying way, way past the scheduled end of meetings just to ensure that the Coalition people don't wait them out and then shove through their agenda. That's why neither of them has much in the way of accomplishments to talk about after nine months. Hey, it's a clever set of tactics, right out of Sun Tsu. If you clog up the time frame with ridiculous motions, and simply keep stretching it, then you will either wear your opponents down and sneak in the motions you really planned for right from the start, or simply prevent the IPC or LSB from doing anything at all. And, the Coalition folks are not evil. They're a minority and they're playing the cards they have - very well.

The problem is that this is stalling any progress.

Meanwhile, the station is placing ridiculous restrictions on the campaign itself and silly demands on the candidates, while at the same time, simple matters such as getting a candidate's statement or questionaire, much less their photo, are apparently beyond the station personnel's capacity. As of October 4, '04, my candidate statement still includes a final note to the effect that I could not find the list of LSB committees anywhere, and thus could not pick among them....

"8.On which Local Station Board committees* are you interested in actively serving? If you are a current Local Station Board member, on which committees do you currently serve? ???

I looked for fifteen minutes on the KPFK site and couldn't find a listing of committees - or a pointer to minutes for the current LSB meetings, either."

The fact is that someone had deleted the list of committees from the station site, from malice or ignorance, so no one could find it at that time, according to Terry Goodman. Since then, it has been reinstated, hopefully with permissions set so that this time any random individual won't be able to remove or alter it. Meanwhile, even though I have sent my updated questionaire more than once to the election supervisor, starting weeks ago, it still hasn't been updated.

So it goes. I suspect that the station management does not really WANT a strong LSB or IPC. In fact, I suspect that rather strongly. Most recently, we LSB candidates were given a very short notice to prepare our 100 word on air statements. However, the station has set rules that these statements have to be done at the station, not phoned in. This is supposedly to ensure fairness.... In theory, recording live means that everyone will have the same quality of recording. Right. How fair is that for those candidates who live 50 or more miles from the station? I recorded mine - with the same kind of short notice - last year in five minutes of phone time, from Santa Ana, and it sounded great.

For the edification of the reader, click here to see the letter we received. Note that at "Free Speech Radio," the LSB candidate's statements must first pass censorship by the National Pacifica Rep, and then your recorded minute must be exactly the same as the statement you sent to Mary. Additionally, you are required to use a particular greeting, and a music background not of your choice (from which culture??? BTW), and even if you can get a lot more than 100 words into a minute, which I believe I was able to do in 2003 very easilly, you're not allowed to. And, if you're one of the unfortunates whose schedule forces you to be last in line, then that position in line also applies to all further venues, such as candidate forums - "as an incentive."

Can you say "Power Trip?"

However, I'm not blaming Mary especially for all this nonsense. She's contending with a station that doesn't seem to be taking the elections very seriously to begin with. After all, what's the LSB going to do? The only real leverage the LSB has, so far as I know, is to threaten to fire the General Manager. That's not a good power balance at all, at all. The General Manager can pretty well figure that he or she can do whatever they want up to the point that it is so outrageous that the LSB will finally fire them. So, if they disagree with the LSB on a broad range of issues, then they simply stall or use their faction on the LSB to make sure that nothing gets done.

So, how to fix it, since that's what I'm up to here? For starters, the LSB has to take some real action to exert it's own power. A contractual agreement with the Station Manager might be a good start. Instead of the all or nothing position of holding the sole ability to fire the Station Manager - which I'm NOT in favor of, BTW, as I've been very impressed with Eva's abilities to date, and I would hate to lose her, we need some other options.

In the contract, then, we would spell out what the goals of management are for the station. Then, we would break down the compensation to reflect reaching or exceeding those goals. Bonuses for getting a job done, penalties for failing. That's just good management. It doesn't restrict the General Manager's need to prioritize and make the choices a manager has to make. It just puts them on notice that long before anyone starts considering drastic measures like firing them, there are things that they should be aiming for and rewards and penalties for doing the job as seen by the people who are representing the listeners - the LSB.

And it's spelled out in public. No secret agreements. And, no micro-management, either - as though the LSB volunteers had that kind of time... We need a strong, resourceful, courageous Station Manger - like we have. We also need to put some teeth into listerner-sponsor oversight, so that we don't get off track again from the Mission, and that's what the LSB and the IPC are supposed to be about.

Once the LSB has actually acquired that measure of real power - which it can, I believe, then we can start focusing on analyzing just what the concrete and abstract goals for the station should be, under the guidance of the Mission. The LSB needs to start passing some substantive agendas simply aimed at putting us on track with the Pacifica Mission,* but that will only happen if we can get enough people in the seats to vote them through.

*I find a lot of Terry Goodman's ideas very attractive in that light. Please check out his candidate statement and questionaire.

Enough for now. Live free. End - October 4, 2004.

Letter sent to candidates regarding their one-minute on-air statement:

September 27th, 2004

Dear Candidates,

(click here to return to text.)

Congratulations on your confirmed candidacy for the KPFK Local Station Board. The next step in the process will be the recording of one-minute promos which will be posted to the KPFK web site as audio files and played on air the week beginning October 25th.

As you all know, KPFK is gearing up for its Fall Fund Drive which will be from October 12th through October 24th. Studio space and station resources are at a premium in the next few weeks. We have a window of opportunity in which to get the promos recorded without compromising the Fund Drive. Your consideration is requested in reading the following policies and guidelines carefully. If everyone cooperates by following the policies to the letter we can accomplish the recording of the promos expeditiously and smoothly.

Each candidate should prepare a statement of a maximum of 88 words. To insure consistency and to make sure the promos are recognized as electoral statements by the listeners your statement must begin with the words;
“Hi, I’m (insert name) and I’m running for the Local Station Board.

This statement must be e-mailed or received by me at least 24 hours prior to your recording appointment. The statements will be checked for word count. You should bring a copy of your statement with you to the studio. The recording engineer will have a copy of your pre-approved statement. If there is any discrepancy between the two statements you will be asked to either read the pre-approved copy or re-schedule to a later date.

Each candidate will read his or her own statement. There will be no guest endorsers or speakers. The candidates own voice will be the only voice which will be heard on the final recorded statement.

Each candidate statement will have the same musical background.

Each candidate will have the option of recording their own Spanish-language version of their statement. If you do not speak Spanish or if you prefer not to record your own Spanish language promo it will be translated and recorded for you. Please indicate at the time you reserve your recording slot whether you will be recording your own Spanish language promo or would prefer to have the station arrange for it. The station will choose the translator and speaker.

Because of the pressure of time there will not be an opportunity to hear the finished statement after you have recorded it. If you make a mistake or flub a word you may be asked to re-do that particular section of your promo and it will be dubbed-in later.

The following dates and times are currently available for recording:

Saturday October 2nd 6-9 PM

Sunday October 3rd 6- 9 PM

Monday October 4th 11 AM to 1 PM

Tuesday October 5th 11 AM to 1 PM

Wednesday October 6th 7 PM to 10 PM

Again, your cooperation in rearranging your schedule so that you can be available for one of these dates is greatly appreciated so that the station can prepare for the Fund Drive. Appointments will be scheduled 10 minutes apart beginning on each hour.

Please contact me as soon as your 88 word statement is ready with your first and second choice of times and dates.

As an incentive to get your information in early the on-air promos will be played in the order in which they are recorded. That is, promos recorded first will go on the air first and get first choice of drive time. This same order will be used to seat candidates in the on-air forums.

SAVE THE DATE: On-air forums will be held October 25th through October 29th at 7 PM in the evening. Off-air forums will be announced shortly.

Any questions, please contact me at (818) 985-2711 Ext. 362 or e-mail to elections@kpfk.org.

Those of you who do not have a digital photo to go up on the web site next to your statement please contact me and we will see what we can do.

Please do not call and ask if exceptions can be made to any of these policies in your case. Exceptions slow the process and put added burden on the station and the staff.

Sincerely,

Mary Rosendale

Local Election Supervisor

My Questionaire from 2003

Here's my 2003 LSB candidate questionaire that wasn't posted at the KPFK.org until a few days before the deadline for ballot submission for the elections in 2003, in spite of many emails to Casey, the webmaster and Eva.... If you think it's worth while, you might pass it on to other sites that voters might see it... Thanx

1. Why do you want to be on the Local Station Board?

I want to ensure that Pacifica lives by the Mission. In the past, this has not always been the case, as factions warred for the limited pie of airtime. I have no interest in controlling programmers. I do want accountability and transparency to the listerers, and I want to work to find ways to actually bring various factions and ideologies into dialogue on air and on the web.

In addition, I have some considerable experience in electronic information systems. I believe that KPFK must orient itself to take better advantage of the onrushing broadband revolution, or risk being lost in the noise, as a million radio stations effectively become available to everyone.

2. How do you envision the station board working with Pacifica, the station, and the community?

By monitoring how well we are serving the Mission, and by formulating proposals by which we can further enhance and extend our capabilities to do so.

3. How could the station better serve its listeners?

By providing more in the way of individual capabilities for involvement, access and interaction. Resources as well as organizing facilities should be made universally accessible to the listeners, so that we can organize and educate in depth and detail. We are playing catchup now in terms of the integration of web capabilities, for example.

4. Describe some actions you would take to increase the influence of the station in under-represented communities (linguistic, ethnic, cultural etc) and to increase the diversity of the listening audience?

Instead of cutting up the limited pie of airtime into mutually exclusive blocks of linguistic division, which ends up limiting the scope of information with each further division, we should be looking at how to get the information into formats that people of different linguistic backgrounds can access.

Finding people who will volunteer to do translations on the web, which can also go on tape, of course, for example, of all the major programming. I would eliminate any large blocks of non-English broadcast - except in special circumstances or important, unique occasions, and instead provide frequent announcements of how non-English listeners can find more comprehensive translations on the web. Web simulcasting with real-time translation could also be used in very critical reports.

5. What are your feelings concerning Pacifica accepting corporate donations outside of traditional employee matching fundsEprograms?

The corporation is the child of the state, and exists by putting us all at risk via its state-fiat limited liability, which ends up being paid for by involuntary victims with little recourse when the risks don't work out. Corporations are criminal by nature, altho not every person in a corporation is necessary bad, as businesses are forced by our legal system into this evil mode. I would have to think long and hard before accepting any direct corporate donations.

6. Please state briefly the skills and experiences you would bring to the Pacifica network as a member of the Local Station Board.

Three decades of information technology immersion academically, personally and as a full-time job. 26 years of listening to KPFK. Over 3 decades of political activism with several major successes. Organizational work in creating and organizing many conferences.

7. The following background information may be provided, but is optional:

a. Educational Background:

National Merit Scholar, Local National Mathematics Award, B.S., Major in Physics, Postgrad work in psychology, philosophy, economics, Montessori.

b. Occupation, Organizational Affiliations, Areas of Community Service

Professional revolutionary.v Currently surviving by doing web design and computer publishing in-house for a security systems (burglar alarms, etc.) manufacturer.

Long-term (from '60's) member of International Society for Individual Liberty . Donated computers through ISIL for use by pro-democracy activists in Russia around 1992.

Set up training and provided computers to low-income families around Los Angeles thru the mid-1990's. Instigated the Watts Computer Gang Project in 1978 proving the capability of low-income and minority kids to use technology readily and easily.

Worked with FACTS (Families to Amend California's 3 Strikes) extensively in late '90's - 2002.

Convinced Elliot Mintz to make "Call to the American Embassy" in '78, which got AP Spot News Award for California for Elliot and Roy.

Explained to Sandinistas how to defuse and derail Reagan's war-train in 1980. (Plan worked.)

c. Areas of Interest/Expertise.

Information technology, science and technology, science fiction, philosophy, nutrition and medicine, anarchism, motorcycle maintenance (and Zen).

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