Oct 28 1999

Prominent Progressives Suggest New Board Members for Pacifica Radio

A group of 11 well-respected figures from the public interest community—most with many years of connection to Pacifica Radio—have declared their readiness to join the Pacifica board as a group in an effort to establish a new beginning for the nonprofit radio network. The 11 individuals, a sort of “board-in-waiting,” are from the fields of journalism, education, law and public interest activism.

This approach to establishing fresh leadership and a fresh start for Pacifica is endorsed by over a dozen nationally known progressive figures in media, the arts and progressive advocacy, including talk radio host Jim Hightower, TV/film producer Michael Moore, poet Martin Espada and authors Alice Walker and Studs Terkel.

Other endorsers include FAIR founder Jeff Cohen, nonprofit media consultant Herb Chao Gunther, foundation president Hari Dillon, writer Barbara Ehrenreich, poet June Jordan, musician Tom Morello, professor Carlos Munoz Jr., journalist Jill Nelson, civil libertarian Ramona Ripston and historian Howard Zinn.

In the wake of the most serious crisis in Pacifica‘s 50-year history, FAIR initiated a process of consultation involving hundreds of people nationwide—including current and former Pacifica national board members, local station advisory board members, national and local staff members, and station listeners/supporters—that resulted in the 11-member transitional board slate.

The endorsers hope that the current Pacifica executive committee will step aside in favor of the new group—a leadership change in accordance with Pacifica‘s by-laws. Such a transition is in the interest of all, including the current leaders, who care deeply about this unique media institution.


To Establish a Transitional Leadership To Move Pacifica Beyond the Crisis

The following eleven individuals are well-respected figures in the progressive community with years of connection to Pacifica radio. Because of their deep commitment to Pacifica as a unique and independent force in American broadcasting, they have agreed to join the Pacifica national board and commit to many hours of work over the next six months to achieve reconciliation and a new beginning for the Pacifica network. These new board members, working as a transitional core of the Pacifica board, are committed to work to reduce tensions, examine the roots of the recent conflicts, and implement governance and by-laws changes to insure long-term stability, accountability and democratization that would prevent the recurrence of a similar crisis.

The eleven board nominees who’ve consented to take part in this transitional process are:

New York Area

MICHAEL RATNER, New York, NY: human rights lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, law school instructor, activist, writer

URVASHI VAID, , New York, NY: attorney, author, community organizer long-associated with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Washington D.C. Area

ACIE BYRD, Washington, D.C.: peace and justice activist associated with veterans and anti-nuclear issues, writer, analyst

DON ROJAS, Baltimore, MD: publisher of The Black World Today website, formerly NAACP communications director and editor of New York’s Amsterdam News

At Large

ROBERT McCHESNEY, Madison, WI: communications professor, media reform activist and expert on the history of U.S. broadcasting

Houston Area

FRANCES “SISSY” FARENTHOLD, Houston, TX: attorney, professor, peace and human rights activist

DAVID LOPEZ, Houston, TX: attorney, former member of Houston school board, former member of Pacifica national board and KPFT local board

Northern California

BARBARA LUBIN, Berkeley, CA: founder/director of Middle East Children’s Alliance, former president of Berkeley Board of Education, longtime associate of KPFA

TOMAS MORAN, Palo Alto, CA: quality improvement manager in health care and community activist who has assisted Pacifica and KPFA in various capacities

Southern California

CAROL SOBEL, Los Angeles, CA: civil liberties attorney, former associate director of Southern California ACLU

WENDY WENDLANDT, Los Angeles, CA: public interest activist on environmental, consumer and democracy issues (Organizations for identification only)

The implementation of this transition does not rest on assessing which “side” is more to blame for the recent crisis; it does rest on the assumption that those who head a governing board are ultimately responsible for any deep crisis that ruptures the organization. Accordingly, to facilitate this transitional process with a new Pacifica board leadership committed to reconciliation and renewal, we ask that the current executive committee step down, and the remaining board members nominate and elect the above individuals as board members. This process is in accordance with articles 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of Pacifica‘scurrent by-laws.

We, the undersigned, wholeheartedly support the Reconciliation Slate and this approach to getting beyond the crisis and to a new beginning for Pacifica.

Original Signers:

Jeff Cohen Herb Chao GuntherHari Dillon Barbara EhrenreichMartin Espada Jim HightowerJune Jordan Michael MooreTom Morello Carlos Munoz Jr.Jill Nelson Ramona RipstonStuds Terkel Alice WalkerHoward Zinn [partial list]