photographing what's left


may 9, 1999

provo park, berkeley

           (click on fotos)
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jennifer stone
Image of c s song
c s soong
Image of tuutahphillips.jpg
u utah phillips
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keepers of time
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june jordan
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dennis bernstein
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wavy gravy
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darien de lu  ellen dillinger
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holly near
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fund raising
foto dick wood

    Sacramento listeners and subscribers are dismayed at the corporatization of the Pacifica network and we condemn the midnight firing of  Nicole Sawaya.  Lynn Chadwick is acting like the worst corporate CEO, firing employees under the flimsy and disingenuous cover of terminating a contract.  Not only should Chadwick be removed,  but the choice of her successor should be put to a vote that includes representatives from the local station communities.  This is not  specifically prohibited by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,  and the CPB rules must no longer be used as an excuse to restructure Pacifica into a centralized satrapy.  Pat Scott was as bad as Chadwick, and the policies begun under Scott must be changed.  

    To those of us listening and too far away to be directly involved in the monthly meetings and intrigue at KPFA and Pacifica, we thought that Pacifica and KPFA had finally come to their senses when Nicole Sawaya was hired.  She was at ease on the air, communicating genuine enthusiasm for the challenge of managing an unwieldy organization like KPFA,  and answered listener questions with a straight forwardness that had completely disappeared.  The contrast with Lynn Chadwick's prissy non-answers to listener comments on her two appearances since March 31st, could not be more revealing.  Chadwick has been defensive and has acted like Bill Clinton or Kenneth Starr at a press conference. She wraps herself  in the rules and procedures,  does not explain what she is doing, and then patronizes us with her condescending statements that she has the best interests of the organization at heart.  

    Meanwhile, the Pacifica board remains in guilty silence, obviously endorsing the evisceration of this progressive organization, while upholding their credentials as civil rights defenders, members of the progressive community, and anti-corporate fighters.  But like Margaret Thatcher, they throw their hands up and bleat There Is No Alternative (TINA).  And the KPFA staff, programmers, subscribers and listeners, are turned out like the Liverpool dockworkers to subsist on the meager offerings of  commercializing NPR stations.  

    More is at stake in the recent firings than simply personnel  matters.  Our radio station is being taken away from us.  The board is not exercising any creative thinking about sustaining a genuine connection between the local stations, the listeners and subscribers, and the national directorate.  Being an alternative radio network means also sustaining an organizational structure that enables the alternatives to flourish, and that requires struggling against narrow-minded bureaucratic rules promoted by CPB.  It means finding the language in the CPB rules that will accomodate this alternative structure,  one that does not remove control from local communities at the same time that it allows Pacifica to build on its strengths to create a powerful national presence.

    End the Pacifica "occupation" of KPFA studios, return Nicole Sawaya to her position as general manager,  revoke the firing of  Larry Bensky, and revamp the undemocratic and unrepresentative structure at  Pacifica.