Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Carol Spooner cover many of the issues regarding the recent Staff Local Station Board (LSB) election at KPFA. However, to really understand what the LSB did you must know some pertinent facts that Brian Edwards-Tiekert left out of his article on the LSB decision.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is Edwards-Tiekert’s point that the staff turnout was the second highest in Pacifica’s five stations. However, this statistic only has meaning if every voter received a ballot. If they chose not to vote that is their right. Ballot return numbers mean nothing if a significant number of voters didn’t receive a ballot, which is the case here.
Among those that didn’t get ballots were Miguel Molina and Solange Echevarria, both staff candidates. Because of numerous complaints of staff not getting ballots, the Local Election Committee (LEC) voted unanimously to ask that the staff election be redone with first class mail. Third class mail had been used in November to mail the ballots out despite the fact that the Pacifica National Board Election Committee had recommended first class mail. Kenny Mostern, the National Election Supervisor (NES), agreed to redo the staff election but never did redo it, despite the fact that it could have been done quickly and inexpensively. There were approximately 220 ballots to be mailed. Below are two e-mails regarding this issue. Brian refers to Brian Johns, the Local Election Supervisor. Nicole Milner is Chair of the LEC. Max and Mary are members of the LEC and LSB members.
At the election committee’s Nov. 30 meeting, we made a strong recommendation that the staff ballots go out again immediately, because so many ballots had still not been received by staff. Brian Johns, the LEC, was present at that meeting and agreed to speak with Kenny Mostern the NES to make the case. Kenny agreed within a day or so to send out new ballots immediately first class. We don’t know what happened in the interim. This has been a very difficult process all around, and we more than hope it will be vastly improved in the future. Our committee is doing all it can to analyze the various issues and we will make our own report.
Thanks for providing this information. As it stands, Kenny has agreed to redoing the staff election. It looks like we’ll have TruBallot reprint ballots on
Monday. You, Max, and others can help us distribute them. Then, we’ll have a recount (on a date yet to be scheduled). So —absent a few details—this
looks like a go.
It was a very complicated situation, where it is known that one staff seat on the board could be changed by the number of ballots not received by staff candidates. The NES left without redoing the botched Staff Election as agreed. So the LSB held up seating the new staff members until it was cleared up.
The election uses the Single Transferable Voting method to insure that one group with a majority doesn’t get all the seats, it is proportional representation. By the past elections and what is known of the KPFA staff, the Miguel Molina/Solange Echevarria group had enough support to get one of three seats if the election was done right. It wasn’t, since neither Miguel Molina or Solange Echevarria received a ballot and their votes would have changed the outcome. Some have raised the issue that Miguel Molina and Solange Echevarria didn’t try hard enough to get a ballot. I don’t think that we want subjective criteria for voting unless we want to go back to 1950 Mississippi and poll taxes and literacy tests. Here is what Solange said about that in her Formal Complaint:
On a personal note, I telephoned Brian Johns on several occasions in the weeks leading to the election and left message after message that I had not received a ballot and that there were serious issues regarding the election. I never got a call back until after the election.
It is not as simple as Brian Edwards-Tiekert would like you to believe. If Democracy was Derailed at KPFA it was with the staff election needing to be redone and not being redone as agreed. The staff election could be redone with first class mail in two weeks for a few hundred dollars. Why is Brian Edwards-Tiekert not concerned with this denial of democracy?
Richard Phelps is a KPFA Local Station Board listener representative.Ù