Public Comment

Fair and Truthful and Unbiased? You Decide

By Richard Phelps
Thursday August 27, 2009 - 01:46:00 PM

Was Donald Goldmacher’s commentary on the KPFA election fair, truthful and unbiased? Or did he conveniently leave out many crucial facts? You decide. 

Donald Goldmacher starts off his commentary trying to establish himself as some sort of election crusader. Where was his comment in 2007 when his CL/KPFA Management Group allies ran all 22 candidate oral statements, carts, on the air one after the other, with Concerned Listener (CL) candidate Sherry Gendelman’s ‘Always First’? The quote below is from Casey Peters’ National Election Supervisor (NES) report for the 2007 election. Lemlem Rijio and Sasha Lilley are members of the CL/KPFA Management Group. 

“An unexpected problem arose at KPFA where candidate carts were bundled in large groups playing for several minutes at a time. This was done rather than the traditional broadcast of carts individually, dispersed among other sorts of programming. Some candidates contended that the bundles always started with management’s favored candidate and that listeners tuned out after the first couple of carts were aired. I spoke with KPFA’s Interim General Manager Lemlem Rijio and Interim Program Director Sasha Lilley, and both agreed to de-bundle the carts and to broadcast them individually as other stations do. However, in practice they refused to conform to a direct order from the National Election Supervisor. The bundling continued, putting some candidates at a distinct disadvantage. The one candidate whose cart aired first in the bundle garnered the most first place votes by far in the KPFA Listener Sponsor vote count.” 

Dan Siegel’s candidate statement was ordered changed by the National Election Supervisor to avoid defamation lawsuits. Dan Siegel’s statement accused Pacifica’s new leadership of “ethnic cleansing”. As far as I know no one has been murdered, which is what ethnic cleansing is about. Due to continued failures at some stations some employees of Pacifica and its stations were recently replaced. WBAI had lost hundreds of thousand of dollars a year for several years, when that happens management gets replaced regardless of race, gender etc. Some of those replaced were African-American. What Goldmacher, Siegel and their Concerned Listener (CL) allies conveniently forget to tell you is that the African-American General Managers (2), Chief Financial Officer and Program Director that were replaced were all replaced by African-American men or women! There has been no reduction in racial balance and there has been an increase in the gender parity. Why would Goldmacher and his CL allies leave out this important fact? 

With regard to candidate statements being removed, let’s look at Dan Siegel’s history. In 2007 Siegel was Interim Executive Director (IED) and Foundation Counsel for a Pacifica National Board (PNB) majority controlled by CL and their allies in collusion to maintain their power at the expense of democracy, financial responsibility, the bylaws and transparency. 

During the 2007 KPFA election Siegel, as IED, outside of his authority under the Bylaws, took down seven (7) candidate statements that were a political criticism of the CL/KPFA Management Group. Everything in the seven statements was true. Not one accusation has ever been factually refuted! In addition to taking the statements off the web site for several days, Siegel posted a letter condemning them without giving one example of something that was untrue or defamatory. Siegel attacked them since they gave facts contrary to the CL’s distorted reporting of KPFA and Local Station Board history. The CL/KPFA Management Group doesn’t want the listener/subscribers, voters, to know what they have really been doing. 

The current NES took Siegel’s candidate statement down and asked him to remove his untrue and defamatory accusation of “ethnic cleansing”. The NES is the sole person allowed to deal with election violations under Pacifica Bylaws. Siegel’s amended statement is posted with all the rest. When the CL and their allies lost the majority at the PNB meeting in January 2009, Siegel immediately resigned as Foundation Counsel and viciously attacked the new majority at that public meeting. Siegel then gets on the CL race card bandwagon and joins their slate and accuses CL’s opponents of “ethnic cleansing”. Are Siegel’s 2007 attack on others for political criticism of CL and their allies and his 2009 candidate statement wrongfully accusing CL opponents of “ethnic cleansing” conduct consistent with Pacifica values? 

In 2006 and 2007 the KPFA/CL Management Group refused to allow any election information, candidate carts, debates etc., to be on the air for three to four weeks after the ballots were mailed out. CL mailed its slate mailer to arrive with the ballots during the on air election blackout. The election on air blackout gave CL a major unfair advantage. Management said that it was because of the fund drive and yet other stations run candidate info during their fund drives. Where was Goldmacher’s comment on this manipulation? There are many more examples and not enough space to cover them. 

Conn Hallinan received 20-25 minutes of prime time name recognition exposure in June 2009 after the beginning of the election process. Conn is currently on the LSB and knew the election rules. The KPFA/CL Management Group had Sherry Gendelman on the air shortly before an election when she was a candidate. From working in radio I know the economic and name recognition value of prime time air. The minor penalty Conn will get doesn’t level the playing field for the 20-25 minutes of prime time exposure he received from his allies at the station.  

Goldmacher’s commentary is just another example of the CL’s attempt to manipulate the truth to manipulate the election. If you vote for Goldmacher or any CL candidates you will get more of this dishonesty on your Local Station Board. Please vote if you are a member, and vote for people with a track record of speaking the truth. Dishonesty is inconsistent with the Pacifica Mission. 


Richard Phelps, candidate for the Local Station Board, and former Chair of the Local Station Board.