'It's time for all of us to truly save KPFA'
The recent cuts were necessary to restore KPFA to financial solvency for the first time in 2 years, and bring it back from the brink of collapse. (The cuts restored the 2003 (pre-Iraq War) staff level.) The controversial part, for Pacifica's new Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt, was deciding where to make the cuts. She settled on the only fair and equitable solution - to follow the union contract and base the layoffs on seniority.
The Pacifica Foundation Board passed the following motion on October 3, 2010: "The Pacifica Foundation Board fully supports the Pacifica Foundation Executive Director in the difficult task of balancing the KPFA budget; utilizing the staff cuts recommended by the Executive Director in accordance with principles she has enunciated, of respect for seniority, recognition of skill sets and maintaining the programming grid to the extent possible."
However, a story has been circulated repeatedly that a 'mis-directed email' disclosed a 'hit list' drawn up by three of the KPFA Pacifica National Board members to purge their political opponents. In the ensuing week the hosts of the Morning Show, Letters to Washington, and Against the Grain all whipped the KPFA community into frenzy to oppose this 'hit list'.
Of course, there was no 'mis-directed email' and there was no 'hit list'. Any claim that the layoff list is a hit list to selectively purge political opponents is easily dismissed by simply posting the union seniority list.
It is understandable but unfortunate that so many people believe this fabricated story, but it is more troubling that some are willing to keep the station at financial risk while fabricating stories to inflame and confuse the KPFA community.
We should thank the Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and Chief Financial Officer Lavarn Williams for tirelessly working to put KPFA and Pacifica back on a solid financial footing, and being so steadfast in face of malicious abuses that have been hurled at them.
We should do all we can to continue to financially support KPFA, for free speech can only be truly exercised by those who are fiscally independent.
Although there is an internal strife within the KPFA community, we need to bridge the divide and all work together to strengthen the station so that it can continue as a healthy, vibrant fertile ground for information and inquiry, and empower those who are in a position to provide all of us with the programming we so depend upon to be the informed citizens that are the hope of a decent society.
It is critical that we end the power of corporate money to control our lives, our environment, our elections, and it is corporate free media that is the pathway to all of these goals.