August 1st – Update: At a hearing this morning an Alameda County Superior Court Judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the counting of the KPFA recall election ballots until a full hearing on September 10th. The court ordered the ballots sequestered until then.
July 31st — Breaking News: Court Hearing Tomorrow – Temporary Restraining Order Sought to Halt Recall Election Due to Exclusion of Eligible Voters
We will update this page tomorrow after the court rules on the request for a Temporary Restraining Order
We have just learned the shocking news that the KPFA recall election that has been under way for months may be invalid because ballots were not distributed to all those eligible to vote and some were distributed to people not eligible to vote. This violates the clear requirements of the Pacifica bylaws and the California Corporations Code. On these grounds a court has now been asked to stop the election. A statement from Tracy Rosenberg is posted here.
We don’t know the details of how this mistake occurred or who is responsible. We do know that the result is a tragic waste of resources and energy – for KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation; for Tracy Rosenberg, the target of the recall campaign; and for all of the many listener members who have worked both for and against the recall. It’s further evidence – as if any more were needed! – that the furious partisanship that motivated the recall campaign only adds to the grave threats already threatening the future of KPFA and Pacifica.
Distressing as this development is, the problem raised in court by recall target Tracy Rosenberg appears all too real. Pacifica mailed ballots for the recall election on June 28, 2012, using a “record date” (eligibility date) of November 1, 2011 – that is, ballots were sent to everyone who was a qualified listener-subscriber on that date, and not to others who subscribed after that date. In other words, the eligibility date used was almost eight months – 240 days – before the ballots were mailed.
Both our bylaws and the law, however, require an eligibility date much closer to the voting. The California Corporations Code (which governs Pacifica elections because the Pacifica Foundation is registered as a non-profit corporation in California) says the cutoff date for eligibility in an election can’t be more than 60 before ballots are distributed. Pacifica’s own bylaws specify that the interval should be only 45 days. (For the exact language of the California Corporations Code and the Pacifica Bylaws, see below).
What’s at issue is not just compliance with the bylaws and the law – this is a matter of fundamental fairness and democratic rights. The reason the corporations code and the bylaws require record dates close to elections (except for a short interval to allow for preparation of mailing lists, etc.) is to ensure that decisions about an organization are made by its current members. People who let their membership lapse properly give up the right to vote in elections. On the other hand, people who joined more recently have every right to vote.
In light of this news, we again urge the recall proponents to withdraw their petition, lest we face a rerun that can only prolong the destructive infighting and drain more money, time, and energy – resources that would be much better spent helping KPFA and Pacifica return to financial stability, improve their programming, reach out to new listeners, and take better advantage of today’s technology.
Whatever happens now with the recall, we wish to thank the hundreds of people who have steadfastly opposed this unwarranted attack on Tracy Rosenberg, one of our national media justice leaders. They stood up against the infighting at KPFA that undermines the station in this time of endless war, cultural and racist attacks, and the defrauding of our communities. They endorsed the NO on the Recall campaign, produced and handed out leaflets, talked with KPFA listeners at events, sent messages of support, wrote to news outlets, joined social media discussions, provided web and graphic design, donated generously to help us print and mail our postcard, and held many personal conversations. Our committee’s effort has been magnified a thousand fold by their work, and we are grateful and encouraged because they understood the nature of this recall and the urgency to defeat it.
~Peter Franck, Adrienne Lauby, Henry Norr, Mara Rivera, Sally Sommer & Carol Spooner – The No on the KPFA Recall Committee
The Rules in Question
Pacifica Bylaws: Article Three, Members of the Foundation, Section 10: Record Date The record date for purposes of determining the Members entitled to receive notice of any meeting, entitled to vote by written ballot or entitled to exercise any other lawful membership action, shall be forty-five (45) days before the date of the special meeting, 45 to 60 days before the day on which the first written ballot is distributed or made available to the Members (based on the reasonable discretion of the National Election Supervisor), or 45 days before the taking of any other action, as applicable. http://www.pacifica.org/kewg.org/bylaws/art3sec10.html
California Corporations Code Section 5611, part c (c) The bylaws may provide or, in the absence of such provision, the board may fix, in advance, a date as the record date for the purpose of determining the members entitled to cast written ballots (Section 7513). Such record date shall not be more than 60 days before the day on which the first written ballot is mailed or solicited. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=corp&group=05001-06000&file=5610-5617
Ballots are due at the post office on August 3. Ballot Instructions Here.
If you are a KPFA member and have not received your ballot — call or email the recall election supervisor RIGHT AWAY: Matt Ward, firstname.lastname@example.org (323)375-4126. Be prepared to document your qualifying membership donation.
Are you fed up with the constant internal fighting at KPFA? Do you believe these public conflicts are destructive to our station, our community, and our culture on “the Left”? Do you want KPFA to stop wasting money and energy on these fights so it can return to financial stability and rise to meet the immense challenges of our times?
Vote NO on the Recall
of Tracy Rosenberg
- The chief charge against Tracy is that she supported staff cuts at KPFA. The truth of the matter is that if KPFA had lost another $500k last year (as they did in the previous two years) then KPFA and Pacifica would be in bankruptcy today, and most of KPFA’s staff would have lost their jobs.
- Pacifica’s Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt stepped up in the Fall of 2010 to do the thankless job that had to be done and that no one else had been willing to do — cut payroll to stop a four-year-long money hemorrhage.
- Tracy Rosenberg (along with the majority of the Pacifica National Board) courageously supported her, knowing that she would be targeted with abuse for her responsible stance.
- Both Tracy and Arlene deserve a resounding “Thank You!” for truly saving our station.
- Even if you think Tracy was wrong, the recall of an elected representative is anti-democratic, it destroys the proportional representation of KPFA listeners on the Pacifica National Board, and is no way for the KPFA community to deal with differing positions on crucial issues.
- KPFA listeners expect a culture of collaboration and respect where constructive work can be done, even when times are hard and tough decisions must be made.
- We expect KPFA staff and elected board members to agree to disagree and to work things out civilly — without resorting to character assassination, defamation, and vitriol.
- Send a strong message to the people behind this recall effort -
Say: “Enough! Stop it!”
On the Recall of Tracy Rosenberg
On-Air Live Debate, Friday, June 29th, at 1 PM, between Tracy Rosenberg and recall proponent Margy Wilkinson. If you missed it, you can listen in KPFA Archives by clicking here.