999 Arguments

Do you support democratic media? Do you appreciate free speech? Do you oppose selling our precious stations? Do you want a say in Pacifica’s future?  Then you must vote NO on these dangerous and anti-democratic replacement bylaws.

The proponents of this Bylaws Revision are using fear tactics about finances to muzzle the voices that Pacifica has lifted for over 7 decades. Their “solution” is to sell assets, eliminate our rich mosaic of diverse people and viewpoints, and promote gentrification of our airwaves.

Don’t allow the substitute Bylaws to:

  • Abolish the democratically elected National Board and install an elite ruling group of six.

The six people selected by the Pacifica Restructuring Project (two of whom have already withdrawn their names) would become a permanent majority without telling you a word about what they would do on the board. The replacement bylaws allow these hand-picked directors to further change the bylaws as they see fit in unknown ways in a quickie vote with no local review.

  • Make it easy to sell our stations, Archives and buildings.

Future proposals to eliminate the member-elected board minority entirely, do away with term limits, extend terms, or sell off your station, would only take a majority of just 5% of the members, with no neutral election supervisor, no fair campaign rules and no minimum voting period. The option of paper ballots isn’t required.  A station could be sold with as few as 1,251 votes, all from outside the affected station’s signal area!

  • Eliminate elected local station boards

This ends local oversight of the manager, program director and budget. Local boards with people who live and work in the signal area the station serves are gone. This would be a fatal blow to community engagement and local programming. The backers of this amendment removed all local programming from the airwaves of WBAI last fall, and piped in canned programming.

  • Fire more listeners by making membership more expensive

The revised bylaws would double the cost of becoming a listener sponsor, and increase by 5X the number of volunteer hours to become a member. This discriminates against those unable to pay, and strikes at the heart of the volunteers who have built and sustain Pacifica. Provision of case-by-case waivers for supporters who can’t pay or volunteer, like shut-ins or prisoners, is dropped.

  • Waste listener dollars to elect a powerless, pseudo-democratic board minority

Each station could elect only one director. This eliminates diversity on the board. If your single elected director resigns or is removed, the hand-picked directors get to select a new one for you for the next few years. Proponents want to throw away the money we just spent on local board elections, which would disenfranchise the members who voted for these boards.

  • Prohibit national board members you elect from serving as chair or treasurer

Some directors are more equal than others. The one you can vote for would be a toothless tiger.

  • End worker representation on the board

This is anti-progressive and anti-labor. Staff members gained seats on the board due to the labor struggles of the late ’90s against the last hand-picked board. Workers must have a say in how their workplaces are run. The people behind this measure just tried to fire all the staff at WBAI and bust their union.

  • Block Pacifica’s 200+ affiliates from any board seats

Two seats currently reserved for representatives of the affiliates are removed. The affiliates, including low-power, college and community stations, are left with no voice at all.

  • Gut conflict of interest provisions

In Oct. 2019,  WBAI was illegally shut down and all its community programs were eliminated and replaced with sanitized, canned, centralized shows. These unlawful actions were backed by Bill Crosier, Carol Spooner, Mansoor Sabbagh, Donald Goldmacher and others behind this bylaws revision. At the time, directors representing WBAI were prevented from voting after the fact on the unauthorized actions. They were accused of having a “personal interest” in the outcome of the vote. NY Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane called the conflict of interest accusation “trumped-up and unjust” and cited the definition of a conflict of interest in the existing bylaws. The replacement bylaws institutionalize the unjust definition of a conflict of interest used to prevent the WBAI directors from input on the shutdown of their station. If these bylaws replace the old ones, any director, including the only one representing your station, can be prevented from voting at any time by the hand-picked board. In short, you’ve got no representation when it counts.

Whose interests would be served by these changes? Not yours.

You’ll hear arguments these replacement bylaws and new board are “streamlined.” But streamlined to what end? We’ve all seen “streamlining” used to destroy necessary checks and balances and gut worker and consumer protections and human rights. It’s the wrong answer.

Especially in this era of renewed activism, when people are demanding universal health care, when DACA youth declare they are unafraid, when people proclaim that Black Lives Matter, when young people strike over a climate emergency, Pacifica’s future, and our country’s future, is in that movement for greater democracy.

Reject fear. Reject hopelessness. There are other options than disenfranchising workers and listeners. More democracy will rebuild our impact and finances. We can’t give up on what is most precious about Pacifica, which chronicles the multitude of struggles and creative cultural expressions taking place in our large, diverse communities that don’t always agree about everything. That would destroy our community radio network.

PacificaFightBack recognizes that Pacifica needs to improve its programming, management and governance, understanding that strengthening democratic governance is related to strengthening our effectiveness and support base. We are calling for a bylaws convention, as provided for within its current rules and regulations. Once this sham revision is defeated, we can hold a bylaws convention with full member participation and planning to consider needed improvements in our governance, fundraising, financial controls and operations.

Please Vote NO on the replacement bylaws. 

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