California Must Resist #notaxationwithoutrepresentation


[Drawing above–Read more:

As of this morning and my first check into Twitter, Trump had done so much damage on so many fronts, it took my breath away, so here pre-coffee, I sit down to write.

I have been thinking of a modest proposal to shut this whole thing down. I love that you’re calling your senators and representatives in Congress. My Rep Barbara Lee is hard at work and my new Senator is tweeting about fighting back. But their modest or, robust a la Barbara Lee, efforts are meager compared to how fast and furious the damage is coming.

Let’s recap briefly: the new FCC chair will probably roll back Net Neutrality which could mean, for instance, that I’d have to pay to post this blog on the internet so that it could continue to blast as far as you all can forward it.

GAG Rule on Family Planning-He already prevented any organization that even mentions (not provides) abortions from receiving federal funding, that includes those who test for HIV or combating the Zika virus and, of course, birth control. He did this worldwide so not only will women die all over the planet but many will be denied care here also. This a broader directive than any former reactionary administration of either party has ever attempted.

The first directive that Trump signed may end the mandate that keeps Obamacare afloat and cause a cascading collapse of it and all the other healthcare initiatives it supports which are too many to go into here. But you can find them on Facebook.

220px-the_writings_of_charles_dickens_v4_p12_engraving_cleanedThe new regime working with the Paul Ryan Congress may seriously try to transform Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (if you don’t care about poor people, then do you want your grandma’s nursing home option removed?) into programs similar to those Dickens referred to in your favorite Christmas story, “Are there no poorhouses, are there no prisons.” BTW, private prisons are still big money makers and will be expanded. 0b770554576ec15fcef4402967ba948e

Also on his first day, he declared war on protestors, particularly Black protestors, and anyone associated with Black Lives Matter or #BLM–and for krissakes learn how to tweet, blog and get on instagram, snapchat, whatever is out there, facebook is just us talking to ourselves. No laws need to be changed to declare open season on Black and Brown men and women in a police state where the police have always been granted and now, encouraged to assume judge and jury status.

They are already working on increasing voter suppression so unless we do something now, that wistful worry about four year term could easily become a very long and destructive eight.

Trump is proposing further destabilizing the Middle East by uprooting any peace talks in Israel/Palestine with a simple yet effective provocation-move the US embassy to Jerusalem

He’s provoking war with China, and pledging to reduce all regulations–all regulations– by 75% whether that is regulating the banks which crashed the economy in 2008 or quietly ending the investigation into the Flint poisoned water crisis, still ongoing.

Oh yeah, he is writing directives to reinstate the Keystone Pipeline AND the Dakota Access Pipeline in which he has investments plus upping the production of coal, oh enough, you say, but it’s never enough for these plunderers….

Ok, but we live in California. We are currently considered the 6th largest economy in the world with Texas following us as the 10th largest economy-hmm, not a useful stat since it is run by folks who would reinstitute slavery the moment Jeff Sessions gave them the go-ahead.,    

But if you take the great Northeast, from Boston through Washington, you’d reside in an area that is the world’s 4th largest economy. See

If any of the those corridor states joined us, say New York, our state leaders might get the chutzpah given the devastation to our economy and climate that we are facing, to deny or at least delay forwarding its residents’ tax payments to this corrupt puppet government. Can it be done, lets’ try it, the worst that could happen would be a federal suit that could delay implementation of the regime’s plans.

Yeah, I love that legal scholars are going after Trump’s many violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause and others are investigating his ties to Russia, possibly involving treason but without Trump, there would still be the Ryan Congress. Yes, please challenge some of those members in the coming midterms so we could get a couple more votes, but NOW is the time for us to protect our folks and use the economic power of our state, a state which did not vote for Trump.

Anything that California does that restricts the flow of dollars and acquiescence to its new rules-they will probably go after our waivers which, put simply, allow us to pass stronger environmental regulations in our state like on auto emissions-has the potential to throw a monkey wrench into the regime’s ability to govern the other states with an orange fist.

So call your Assembly person, your State Senator (yeah, we have them, do you know who yours is? ). Then Call Betty Yee’s office, our state Controller , she’s great by the way, very progressive. Then also call State Treasurer John Chiang’s office, and ask them how we can resist #taxationwithoutrepresentation. Given the rules of the Electoral College, our votes were virtually ignored.

And since you will no longer bump into Jerry Brown running the Lake or working out at the gym in City Center-he moved last year-you can contact his office,

20170121_122129-1He has been talking about leading the fight against Trump’s depredations, so let’s challenge him to do it. Part of the overall strategy is to declare our entire state a sanctuary  ( ) but the implementation has to have some teeth, some financial back-up against the punishments to meted out by the Trumpster’s cabinet.

Yes, that’s it, the New Tea Party of the Left, and unapologetically so. No time to waste, every single day we wait we lose another day of health, another right, another economic protection, and another species on the planet. Is this a radical proposal? I sure as hell hope so! You got another one? Put it out there. If you don’t want to start your own blog, be a guest on mine, love to have you.

Thanks for all you do already, now let’s do some more,  2016-11-14-11-37-46

Your friend in Oakland,

Pamela Drake




Media Advisory: Oakland Community Issues Call for a Sanctuary State


Press Advisory

Oakland Community Makes Push for Sanctuary State

Oakland, CA: The Oakland City Council will consider a resolution expressing its recommitment as a sanctuary city at its meeting on Tuesday, November 29th. In the face of deportations, harassment, and growing threats of violence, the immigrant, Muslim, Latino and other targeted communities, including all People of Color, LGBTQ, women and people with disabilities are experiencing levels of stress and fear not seen since the 1930’s. We the undersigned believe the first, best response would be to create a statewide sanctuary.

We must believe President-Elect Trump when he says he will immediately take action against the Dreamers-members of the DACA Executive Order- their parents and any undocumented persons plus consider ethnically based registries, etc., at the same time, cities like Oakland can ill afford the loss of any federal funds or other sanctions.

Because of California’s large population and strong economy, a statewide declaration of sanctuary would have a much better likelihood of preventing the threatened cuts and protecting Oaklanders and all California residents. We are asking that the Oakland City Council commit to requesting that its representatives work toward such a declaration.

Oscar Chacon, Executive Director, Alainza de las Americas noted, “Thousands, even millions of people in California are threatened with deportation, registry, harassment and violent acts because of the words and deeds of the president-elect. California must take steps to protect them immediately.”

A partial list of organizations and individual sponsors can be found here who have called a rally and candlelight vigil at 5 pm tomorrow evening prior to the City Council meeting to demand action from Oakland and Sacramento. Speakers will represent a broad swath of our communities.

Contact: Pamela Drake-510-593-3721 or or or check in with Jose Dorado, 510-326-4810 at the rally.


Don’t Whine, Organize!

Now that BART management has succeeded in pushing negotiations into another strike and Bay Area Liberals are falling all over themselves bashing union workers and finding fault with everything union leaders say and do, I thought I’d offer a little more personal background on what it’s like to work for BART-why I wanted that job and why I got out.

The Promise of BART
At the time that BART first opened, it was known around Bay Area transportation circles, as one of the better places to work. And remember, AC Transit was not so bad in those days before public transportation budgets were repeatedly slashed. In order to find some experienced transportation workers, a deal was designed that offered bus drivers a way to move laterally without losing their seniority rights. It was known as the 13C clause. Union drivers were willing to train on the new system with all its quirks, tweaks, and serious problems that were yet to be worked out.

Because the system was so different from all others, there were weeks of classroom training and weeks of training on the line, including working in the middle of the night where operators got the chance to crank over rail switches in case of computer malfunction.

Initially, operators were called attendants because theoretically, the system was to be completely automated. But, the name was altered as soon as it became apparent that train operators would need to be able to make decisions and run in what is called “manual mode” pretty regularly in addition to moving cars in the train yards.

Fun in the Rain and Other Quirks
One of the things that happened almost every time it rained, became kind of a game for operators and made a job that could be excruciatingly boring more exciting if nerve wracking. When the tracks were slick, the trains often slid part of the way through the stations before coming to a stop. On the train console there was a big red emergency button that an operator could push to stop the train. An operator had to gauge exactly when to hit that button in order to keep all the cars within the station. Of course, the doors wouldn’t open automatically if riders were going to be thrust out into thin air. That meant the operator had to go back into the cars and, using a key, open every door that was within the platform. It put us behind schedule, was a big hassle and was not a popular event with the riders. So the operators learned how to stop the train manually until the system was finally adapted to the conditions of the track.

There were lots of other quirks that caused the system to be run in manual mode. The electrical switch boxes, called MUX boxes, would get hot in the summer, especially in the neighborhoods past the hills and would just quit working. The operator would have to move the train in manual mode while the muskboxes were packed with ice!

The problem with manual mode is that the trains are designed to work with a certain number of minutes of “headway”-the spacing between trains. When the train is not in automatic mode, the system cannot tell where other trains are and so the operator has to try to keep the spacing just right so the trains do not get too close to each other. This could be problematic when visual conditions are not perfect. Anything on the tracks that does not show “occupancy” on the computer may be hit and this happened once or twice when I worked there.

The 20 Minute Lunch Break and Work Rules Run Amok
Despite what the odious Zakhary Mallett says, when the train operator is not on the train, he or she is either waiting for a train turnaround on the mainline, waiting for a train to leave the yard, or moving cars about in the yard. When an operator is in the yard, he or she must become inured to the danger involved in hopping over the third rail through which run a thousand volts of electricity that if touched…well… you try not to think about that.

In terms of those pesky work rules that management keeps shooting its mouth off about, some of them are designed for safety and some just so the operator can function as a somewhat normal human being during her shift. For instance, when I first started, operators were given a twenty minute lunch break (they now get a whopping thirty minutes). At the end of your run, you might be waiting at the end of the line with your supervisor for your next train. You get a chance to use the bathroom and maybe chat for a minute or two till your next train comes in when you switch places with the other driver. Sometimes the trains are late or some type of problem develops on the line. Then your supervisor advises you that you just had your lunch period, but, of course, since you didn’t know it (nor did he) you hadn’t even opened your lunch bag. Off you went, no eating allowed on the train, and now you’re hungry but you don’t know when you’ll get a full fifteen or twenty minutes to eat. Of course, you carry a small piece of luggage with you wherever you go since you might start out in hot Concord and wind up cranking switches over in foggy Daly City. Don’t forget your parka!

After the frustrating experience of going without meals, I managed to write some language into our contract that required our supervisors to notify us before our lunch period was called or be required to pay us twenty minutes of overtime because we had not received a lunch break. I don’t know if that is one of the “antiquated” rules they want to change; but it is still no small thing to an operator to have to go without a lunch break in an eight hour (or more) day.

Fighting for the 8 Hour Day Again
Here’s something else that most non-transportation folks don’t know. Some drivers switched to BART just because of the eight hour day. Many transportation jobs involve split shifts. You go to work during the morning rush, are off for a number of hours and then back to work for the rest of your shift. You, typically, do not get paid for the total hours but for the hours your are on. These kinds of shifts can wreak havoc with living a normal life. In fact, being a transportation worker ofttimes means giving up on a normal life.

For instance, my first shift as a new operator with no seniority ran from 8PM to 4AM with Tuesday and Wednesday off. I envisioned the world as streaming in one direction while I trudged off in the other, alone. It’s difficult to have relationships with anyone who does not work in your field and for your agency (which might be why I ended up married to another driver.)

So, I opted for the Extraboard. Those of us on the Extraboard, gave up our miserable assignments in order to fill the ever changing shifts of others who were on vacation, sick, or disabled (a Kaiser therapist, my therapist, by the way, once noted to me that more people were coming in from BART than any other company enrolled with them. She was trying to encourage me to leave the job.) Normally, the practice was to give us a twelve hour turnaround so that we could commute (train yards are a distance from housing and some workers live in cities far from the yards they regularly check into), and even eat, sleep, and bathe. But every so often the management would get its collective panties in a twist and start ordering eight hour turnarounds. Any 4th grader can figure out how miserable and even unsafe that was for drivers.

Still BART operators and other workers felt themselves lucky to have a straight eight hour shift, albeit with mandatory overtime when there was a problem with the trains. Of course, it wasn’t luck, it was the work of union negotiations and it gave the workers the hope of leading a normal life.
The eight hour day is now up for discussion, or should be, according to management negotiators.

In fact, BART workers do feel lucky to make a real living wage with good benefits. These are precisely what this management, and I’m afraid, this board would like to take away. But there’s more at stake than some takeaways to so-called “well paid workers” which is a whole other discussion. A $70,000 income no longer even qualifies you for a mortgage or much else in this part of the world.

Ask yourselves why a young woman (as I was at the time) with college credits just shy of a degree, would want a blue collar job like that, wearing a uniform and working almost exclusively with men who really didn’t want me there. The answer is that, in those days, blue collar jobs were men’s jobs, men’s union jobs, and I was tired of the pink collar world where you were stuck in an office (horrors) and spent much of your small wages on stockings and other clothing you otherwise had no use for. I wanted to make some money so I could save for better opportunities and I wanted good benefits. I had also been a Yellow cab driver in San Francisco so I didn’t mind hard work, dirty work, unusual work. I wasn’t crazy about the harassment-something office workers also experience-but I was willing to put up with it for the other protections and benefits, at least for a time.

Be the First in Your Family
And this is the really important point in this story. The men and women I worked with came from working class backgrounds; and as many of you Bay Area liberals have so bitterly pointed out-most of them did not have any college credits, and never even thought they could buy a house, much less a new one in the burbs.

But many of them, probably most of them, succeeded in buying homes in what were then the less expensive outlying towns of Union City, Newark and Fremont. They bought new homes in new developments. They sent their kids to college, the first ones in their families to go, and some have now retired in a way that allows them to maintain a reasonable lifestyle and to continue to support the communities and businesses where they live.

Don’t be a Crab
The Bay Area has always been a difficult place to raise a family and to have the confidence that you can continue to take care of your family in good times much less bad, but those public service jobs-transportation, teaching, healthcare, and municipal service-all these union jobs have empowered many women and people of color to raise their families, to start businesses, and to hope for a better life for their kids. We can’t allow ourselves to be divided, to scrabble like crabs in the proverbial barrel trying to get out while pushing others back in.

To paraphrase Joe Hill, don’t whine, organize. We can revive the promise of a golden California if we believe in each other and begin to work together. We did it before, we can do it again.

Whose Strike, My Strike

I’ve been told by progressive friends and pols that it’s not really union busting if the union is left intact. But now we know according to Darwin BondGraham of the East Bay Express, BART’s Lead Negotiator Has a History of Illegal Behavior, that the board that we voted for did knowingly hire a negotiator who makes it his job to, “make permanent the pay and benefits rollbacks that workers have endured in recent years,” according to BondGraham’s research.

How many times have I read this past week- “I’ve always been a union supporter but”-BART train operators make a lot of money or…they should have to pay some of their retirement costs or… health care has gone up or, the best and most astounding-unions have too much power nowadays!

Yeah, unions aren’t perfect. I was a train operator back in BART’s early years, and I can tell you that the unions weren’t any more welcoming than management was to adding women to that workforce. I took that job precisely because it was a traditionally-male job with good pay and benefits that the pink collar world did not offer. Before that I was a cabdriver in San Francisco. It was union but very loosely organized and without the kind of security that BART offered.

Transportation is a strange type of work. Your hours are so outside those of 9 to 5 folks that you soon lose connection with that workaday world and most of the people in it. Eventually, that and the stress of being one of the first women in that job category plus the lack of job satisfaction led me away from it.

Since then I have been a teacher in many public and one private school. There are lots of poor excuses for why teachers make less than other professions, professions where you get on-the-job training, not on-your-own-time, on-your-on-dime-training, but that’s another discussion for another time-as a friend of mine used to say. I was also a city council aide when it had no job protections-I mean none, but it is now a part of IFPTE, Local 21. My experience as a city council aide was one of the reasons that the union was organized by other aides.

So back to BART, or back to unions and the point of supporting one of the only remaining institutions standing between us and the New Feudalism, the new indentured servitude, the sharecropping that we now call work, the unpaid internships, the low paid fellowships, the temping, and, not to be left out, the sort of pay we get when we work for non-profits with their tiny margins and gaping needs for unpaid extra hours. Here’s to contracting and free-lancing, the New American Nightmare of Lifelong Austerity, the Permanent Recession OR here’s to organizing and fighting together for real benefits. Here’s to a dignified retirement.

Yeah, maybe you’re not in a union since most of the above luckless “careers” don’t have them. But the union movement fights to get them for you, and they continue to fight to stanch the loss of workers’ rights, all workers. They are all that stands between us and the triumph of oligarchy.

Some unions may have become big and unwieldy but, public sector unions especially, are now made up primarily of women, immigrants, and people of color who know the struggles of folks who never had much power or wealth. Hey, maybe that’s one reason they get less respect than they used to-they no longer look like the average 1 percenter.

Back to union-busting, the real growth industry. Is it union busting to ask people to pay a little more of their family’s healthcare costs or their retirement benefits? It can’t be union busting then to offer a wage increase in return for an increase in the cost of pensions and doctor’s visits. Nah, don’t call it union busting then-just call it union neutering.

Why would you offer something with one hand while trying to take away a bit with the other, maybe you’ll get a little raise but in the process you’re giving up some security in the future. Why do you think they do it? Is it some kind of shell game? Yes, it is. It’s a game that says, you once had the benefits of a dignified retirement but we’re betting we can chip away at that by offering a few pennies to spend right now since you were so accommodating when times were hard. Why, you even worked harder for less pay.

Okay, so maybe BART needs that money, that surplus I’ve read about, to buy more cars and upgrade the system so many of us depend upon. Then I want the BART board to come out and tell us that, explain to us exactly what the options are, hold public meetings and let the taxpayers, the riders, the workers among us who believe in solidarity for our own sakes, what is at stake.

Don’t hire creepy law-breaking negotiators whose job it is to obfuscate, delay and frustrate the union folk, our neighbors. People don’t strike because they enjoy losing days at work.

I’m calling on Robert Raburn and Rebecca Saltzman, folks I’ve put my trust in, to come to us and lay BART’s cards on the table. I’m certainly going to remember Zachary Mallett, should he ever come before me for an endorsement, for denouncing the ATU and the SEIU workers who gave back in hard times. And I thank James Fang for walking the picket line and realizing that it was a mistake to leave the board out of negotiations. We elected a progressive board and we expect them to act like one. Trust us, your constituents, to see the wisdom in your decisions by letting us see you make them.

KPFA’s Interim Managers Take the Station for a Joy Ride–How will it Affect You?

It’s hard to write much less think about all the problems which beset us these days. After all, it is the anniversary of the BP oil disaster and we are only now getting reports about the true devastation while President Obama’s government is busy giving out new permits to drill in deep water. Our entire social safety net from laws against child labor to the provision of social security and Medicare is under attack.

In Michigan, whole towns are being taken over and given to corporate ownership. Our own Robert Bobb has become one of the overlords and is busy shutting down democracy as I write. I’m really not too surprised at that. I always thought he had a strong authoritarian streak and was a very top-down manager who didn’t necessarily know what was going on beneath him-that’s why I never joined the Robert-Bobb-for-mayor movement.

Given all this, I have always turned to KPFA for real news local, national, and international. Of late, it’s been more difficult. The majority of us listen to radio in the morning or evening drive-times. For many years KPFA hosted the excellent “Morning Show” which encompassed local news stories, national and international interviews, and cultural events. One of the former hosts, Aimee Allison, has gone on to provide local news and culture in the “Oakland Seen”.

Everyone who relied on KPFA for information and as an organizing tool were saddened and shocked when the tradition that was the Morning Show was so abruptly removed (many listeners organized to raise additional funds to bring it back-see for more info on that). The anchors were then laid off (a month later though not allowed on air during that time), but Brian Edwards Tiekert has been brought back based on the CWA contract.

In a few days Pacifica will enter arbitration over its treatment of Aimee Allison. Here is a letter from some of the KPFA staff who are concerned about the cost and effects of Pacifica refusing to return Ms. Allison to her position in favor of expensive arbitration at listener expense.

Dear KPFA Colleagues,

We’re writing to let you know about some very serious choices facing KPFA in the next week.

On April 28th, Morning Show co-host Aimee Allison’s grievance over her termination is scheduled to go to arbitration. Pacifica management has hired the $400/hour law firm Folger Levin to represent it. Pacifica will be charged $500/hour by the arbitrator just to hear the case. But the bills will be sent to KPFA.

We know that Pacifica already spent more that $32,000 of KPFA’s money on Folger Levin before it conceded Brian Edwards-Tiekert’s grievance and returned him to work. As nearly every union member at KPFA is part-time, this is more than most of us earn in a year.

Now, Pacifica is poised to do it again.

This is a lose-lose proposition. If our union wins at arbitration, Pacifica still will have wasted the equivalent of someone’s annual salary defending an action it never should have taken in the first place. If Pacifica wins, KPFA is stuck without its biggest fundraiser—and, soon enough, it will be laying off more of the staff who keep the station running.

Here’s the calculus: The Morning Show accounted for one out of every four dollars that came in to KPFA during pledge drives. In our most recent fund drive, every hour of KPFA’s schedule changed by Pacifica – 6 AM, 7 AM, and 8 AM – raised considerably less than before. In addition, fundraising dropped significantly during the 9 AM broadcast of Democracy Now! The drop in 9 AM fundraising was a predictable consequence of moving the first airing of Democracy Now! up to 7 AM, where it essentially depletes some of the 9 AM audience. In total, morning pledges dropped nearly $140,000 from the 2010 Winter fund drive.

If we extend that gap over a year’s worth of fundraising, translate it into cuts, and work up working from the bottom of KPFA’s seniority list, here’s what we could get: John Hamilton and Brian Edwards-Tiekert would be out (again). So would Laura Prives. Flashpoints would lose Eric Klein and Miguel Molina. Letters and Politics would come to an end:Mitch Jeserich would be out. (Since Mitch is currently KPFA’s biggest fundraiser, that could trigger still more cuts.) There’d be no-one updating KPFA’s website–Miguel Guerrero would be gone. So would Chris Stehlik – which means there would be no-one to actually bill KPFA’s subscribers for the pledges they make . . . If management decided keeping a website and a membership database were indispensable, Chris and Miguel might keep their jobs – but KPFA would lose its state capitol reporter, Christopher Martinez, and the only paid staffer left running its Apprenticeship program, Mickey Mayzes.

There’s no way to continue down that path, and preserve KPFA as we know it.

But there is an alternative: Pacifica management could work with KPFA’s staff and listeners, instead of against us. When John Hamilton got a layoff notice, five union members and one manager willingly sacrificed some of their own pay to keep him funded – that’s problem-solving. When Pacifica announced it was cutting The Morning Show purely for financial reasons, SaveKPFA raised over $63,000 in pledges from people willing to give extra to KPFA to bring The Morning Show back. That money’s still on the table.

Pacifica management could concede Aimee’s case right now, and welcome her back to the air. The SaveKPFA pledges would pay her salary, and benefits, and then some. Pacifica would save the listener money that’s about to go to overpaid lawyers. And it could put The Morning Show back to work raising money for the rest of KPFA.

Between now and April 28th, we have to convince the powers that be that management should be working with KPFA’s staff and listeners to bring Aimee back, not fighting to keep her away. Please, talk to whomever you can in KPFA and Pacifica management, and ask them to work this out instead of fighting it out.

In solidarity,

Aileen Alfandary, News Dept. Co-Director

Phil Osegueda, Subscriptions Director

Chris Stehlik, Database Manager

Okay, that was bad enough. When I personally asked Ms. Englehardt, the Pacifica overlord, I mean, Executive Director, how much more of KPFA’s money would be spent on lawyers this year, she told me $5,000 to $10,000 and no more. That would be bad enough, given the station’s financial condition and the low pay of its programming staff, but now it looks to be much more.

Last night the station’s Interim General Manager and Interim Program Director, note the interim, sent out a letter announcing a complete overhaul of programming without any kind of input from anyone-at least that we know of-not the Community Advisory Board, not the Program Council, which doesn’t even exist yet, nor station department heads, nor any listener or staff input.

These changes will turn listener habits on their heads and completely eliminate local news programming from the morning drive-time while abolishing the traditional 9 AM slot for Democracy Now. If you missed it at 7 AM, you missed it.

They have determined that young adults will tune into Hard Knock Radio, cultural and political programming for the Hip Hop generation, at 9 AM and folks used to getting a full hour of Dennis Bernstein at 5 PM will want to hear national and international news, similar to that covered by Democracy Now, at 8 AM just following DN.

Here is there announcement. Note these changes will occur immediately following the next fund drive. By the way, just for fun, the Pacifica bureaucracy will be collecting an extra tithe on this fund drive just for them, subtracted from the funds donated for the station.

FROM: Carrie Core iPD, Andrew Leslie Phillips iGM.


As you all know KPFA has been struggling to maintain itself over these
past years and months.

Since 2005, KPFA suffered a 27% drop in annual income, including a 30%
decline of more than $1.2 million in annual listener support.  There
has been a corresponding drop in membership. In the meantime the
overall economy is depressed and raising money is difficult.

The old model is not working. Programming is not the only reason but
is likely part of it. On going internal disputes have also drained our


We all know that a controversial program change was made by Pacifica’s Executive
Director Arlene Engelhardt when the KPFA Morning Show was removed from
the air. There were staff layoffs. Some paid staff agreed to resign
their positions and were offered compensation packages. And some staff
agreed to reductions in hours. Restoring the old Morning Show is not
the answer. We need to step into the future, not back to the past.

With this in mind and in an effort to get KPFA on a new track, it is necessary
to make program changes. It is one of a number of strategies new
management is working on with staff, to move the station and the
network forward.

We note that under the Union Contract; Section 2 – Management Rights –
management rights include: “…the right to hire, classify, assign,
promote…” and “…to locate or relocate work assignments.”

Immediately following the May fund raiser and membership drive we will be

instituting the following program changes:

1) The Morning Mix and the 9am rebroadcast of Democracy Now will be
replaced by Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio – Flashpoints at 8am and
Hard Knock at 9am. Both programs are lead by amongst our most experienced
broadcasters and award winning producer/hosts. As well as reaching out to our
current audience they will embrace a new, vibrant, multi-cultural audience.
We have plans to take our new morning line-up on the road reaching deeply
into our community.

We want to thank and praise those who pitched in on the Morning Mix
over these past months. Most were unpaid staff and they did a good job
under difficult circumstances.

2) Against the Grain and Living Room will be moved to 11am following
Letters and Politics.

3) The morning music line-up will move to noon and be given an
additional 30 minutes. This means our afternoon line-up will move
forward one half hour commencing on the half hour at 1:30pm – 4pm.

There will be no changes in this line-up other than the time.
4) Free Speech Radio News will run at 4pm followed by an updated
thirty minute newscast from Al Jazeera.

5) A proposed new program slated for 5-6pm called Talk Back will
run five days a week and will invite our audience to “talk back” to
the host. There will be five different hosts for Talk Back. Hosts are
currently under consideration.

As you probably know, we want to reinstate the program council and we

are moving forward in that regard. The program council will be invited
to review and evaluate these changes.
Finally, you will note that nobody has lost their program. Nobody has
lost their job. We believe these changes will strengthen and diversify our

The above mentioned program changes will be shared with the
KPFA Community Advisory Board and LSB over the weekend. They will
be announced to our audience during the Morning Mix this Monday.

It’s probable that the evening drive-time will turn into the Afternoon Mix, with no cohesive programming. As one of the union staff put it-have they checked the Arbitron numbers, looked at the online listening statistics or pledge drive behavior-given that they turned down additional funding to bring back the Morning Show-that would also be a no.

Most importantly, have they attempted to gather listener input? As one wag said, “of course not, then they’d be managing the station instead of just taking it for a joy-ride!”

This is how interim managers operate at KPFA. They see the station as a giant jar full of pieces which they can upend and shake without causing any disturbance. They do not see the station and its evolution as anything they need to respect and the listeners are just those folks who pay their legal bills.

I don’t know how listeners will take this wholesale shift but I would like to hear from you, unlike the managers hand-picked by Pacifica, I still think this is our station. Go to and let us know what you want to do about Pacifica’s takeover of programming, spending, staffing and our complete loss of local control. Do it now!