Confidential #1 – 1/17/05

Bulletin #1
Monday, January 17, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.

Dear comrades:
This is the first of my e-mail bulletins called “Confidential.” I will be sending these bulletins out on a regular basis. Although the topics will vary, this one is all about KPFA and Pacifica. I finished my term as chair of the KPFA Local Station Board, but my current term as a board member continues for another two years. I sincerely hope I can be somewhat helpful in a VERY troubling situation.

1. Results of recent Local Station Board elections.
2. Robert Knight attacked at WBAI, Pacifica’s station in New York.
3. Bonnie Faulkner’s JFK assassination special under attack.
4. Fishy hiring process for new Arts and “Public Affairs” Director.
5. Conflict hotline at KPFA?
6. “Follow the money.”
1. Results of recent Local Station Board (LSB) elections.

Although there were clear violations of election rules by some “entrenched” staff, such as campaigning on the air, more of the pro-democracy slate won (please check out than the “status quo” slate.  However, neither pro-democracy staff members were elected, Miguel Molina and Solange Echeverria, both Flashpoints programmers, in what was clearly a flawed staff election. (There are separate elections for staff and listener representatives.) So many staff hadn’t received ballots just days before the deadline for voting, that the election supervisor agreed, in writing, to re-do the staff election. However, the revote was mysteriously canceled. Solange, who never got a ballot, then filed an official complaint. She never got any response to her complaint.

However, Pacifica’s Executive Director Dan Coughlin certified the challenged election, even while the Ohio presidential vote was being questioned, and a revote was in progress in the Ukranian presidential election.

The new officers elected at the January LSB meeting are all from the “status quo” slate. Marnie Tattersall, who is the chief financial officer of both KGO and KSFO (the right-wing Rush Limbaugh talk radio station), is the new KPFA Treasurer.

2.  Robert Knight attacked at WBAI, Pacifica’s station in New York.

Robert Knight, a WBAI programmer who also airs a 5-minute segment during every Flashpoints program, had his desk, notes and computer rifled and tampered with at WBAI. According to Knight, “Ayo Harrington, a local producer and management partisan, inexplicably pored through, inspected and thoroughly rearranged my desk, file cabinet, recordings and confidential reporter’s notes, as well as tampered with my production computer. Objects and materials are missing or misplaced… Ms. Harrington conducted her ‘fishing expedition’ despite the explicit instructions of one or more department heads that she cease and desist her unprecedented intrusion.”

Knight goes on. “During this exchange, the office was entered by local engineer Tony Ryan, who proceeded to say ‘Stop acting like a bitch, you bitch, or I’ll kick your ass… Come on, step outside and I’ll kick your ass… Do you know how many people I’ve kicked ass before this?'”

As of this date, station manager Don Rojas has taken no known disciplinary action against either Harrington or Ryan for what Knight calls a “black bag job.” This violation could compromise the safety of the people whose phone numbers and information were looked at. Stay tuned for further developments.

3.  Bonnie Faulkner’s JFK assassination special under attack.

Bonnie Faulkner’s November 22 special on KPFA concerning the JFK assassination was attacked in a written statement by Program Council staff members Aileen Alfandary and Kris Welch. Bonnie, Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone’s response, “A Purge in Preparation,” calls Alfandary and Welch’s statement a “political hatchet job that dare not declare its purpose… We are witnessing here an attempt to purge radical programming on KPFA… The slander and the methods on display with respect to the Guns and Butter Special ‘Who Killed Kennedy and Why?’ have been deployed against programs such as Flashpoints, Voices from the Middle East and North Africa and their producers. In fact, what is unfolding is an attack upon free speech radio itself.”

4. Fishy hiring process for new Arts and “Public Affairs” Director.

Although a new job position for an Arts and “Public Affairs” Director was publicly posted, 15 scheduled interviews were canceled and Amelia Gonzalez was hired as a “lateral move” within the station. Gonzalez has so little public affairs experience that Kris Welch will be assisting her with the public affairs part of the job. Many people say merging arts and public affairs cannot work, and that public affairs programming will suffer as a result. One of the very qualified applicants who wasn’t even granted an interview was “banned and fired” Maria Gilardin. Allegedly a hiring committee was set up, which included an LSB representative. However, the LSB
was never told about the committee, nor that a representative had been chosen, nor do we know at this point who “our” representative was.

5. Conflict hotline at KPFA?

Although it was not approved at the Program Council, there is now a weekly program (Mondays at 1:00 PM) called Conflict Hotline, produced by staff of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. At one of their trainings a participant said she was there to learn how to love Dick Cheney, and later one of the trainers said he worked for two years on how to love Adolph Hitler. Consider calling in to the show, and talking about how to end capitalism.

6. “Follow the money.”

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) is still unable to get its Executive Director Dan Coughlin to turn over network financials showing line-by-line expenses. The more resistant he is, even after the PNB has gotten legal opinions by Pacifica attorneys that they are entitled to this information under the California Corporations Code, the more suspicious it is. Most people believe that it was Nicole Sawaya’s persistent requests for financials that got her fired. How long have they been hiding how much?