2015 United for Community Radio Candidates

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For more pictures and a statement about KPFA from each of these incredible people, click on the names.


Scott Olsen

Scott Olsen

Scott Olsen – Board member, Iraq Veterans Against the War, survivor of police raid on Occupy. Has worked in communications for over ten years– addressing both organizational and technical challenges.  Licensed amateur radio operator.


Janet Kobren

Janet Kobren

Janet Kobren – current LSB member, Pacifica National Board Director, PNB Secretary (Pacifica Foundation officer), 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla survivor



Jeremy Miller

Jeremy Miller

Jeremy Miller – Idriss Stelley Foundation program director, San Francisco No-Taser Task Force member, host of Heterotopia on Mutiny Radio, independent journalist with S.F. Bayview newspaper


Marilla Argüelles

Marilla Argüelles

Marilla Argüelles – former President of home care workers’ chapter, SEIU, Local 616, editor: “Extracts from Pelican Bay,” former KPFA Labor Collective member



G. Mario Fernandez

G. Mario Fernandez

(G.) Mario Fernandez – recent SF State political psychology graduate, former Napa Community College Student Body President, former Occupy Oakland volunteer


Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams – attorney; former V.P. of the National Lawyers Guild, S.F. Bay Area Chapter; instrumental in getting Berkeley to not hold people in city jails for civil ICE detentions.


DonMacleayMarch2015Don Macleay – 5 years working for the Sandinistas, 19-year school volunteer, Green Party activist, former union organizer and shop steward Oakland


Virginia Browning

Virginia Browning

Virginia Browning – current LSB member, health care researcher, down winder, and longtime KPFA activist




T.M. Scruggs

T.M. Scruggs

T. M. Scruggs – Executive Producer at TheRealNews.com; ethnomusicologist; Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa; volunteer for community radio stations in U.S., Nicaragua and Venezuela.





Anthony FestAnthony Fest (Staff) Producer/ host, KPFA “Weekend News.” Producer of “Project Censored Show,” “Afternoons w/Andres Soto,” & “Poor News Network.”  (Note: only staff members can vote for staff candidates.)

United For Community Radio also supports:

Richard Hart

Richard Hart

Richard Hart – former natural foods store owner, Berkeley progressive activist, longtime WBAI member


Tom Voorhees

Tom Voorhees

Tom Voorhees — 2014 Volunteer of the Year from the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) membership, National/International engineer for community stations, early KPFA engineering unpaid staff


Sabrina Jacobs

Sabrina Jacobs

Sabrina Jacobs (Staff) – Producer and host, “The Rude Awakening.” (Note: only staff members can vote for staff candidates.)

Pacifica National Board Already Decided — Bequest Should Have Been Sent to Pacifica!

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By:  UCR Candidate Sharon Adams

Our opponents have been claiming that United For Community Radio “cost KPFA $400,000“, implying that KPFA was actually entitled to a $400,000 bequest.  Of course, that is the exact issue — KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest — the Pacifica Foundation was entitled to this bequest.  Our opponents inappropriately decided, WITHOUT CONSULTING PACIFICA, that this bequest was intended solely for KPFA.  The reason we know that KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest is because the Pacifica National Board (PNB) has determined that the bequest was actually supposed to go to Pacifica.

The PNB’s decision is supported by the evidence.  First and foremost, both the bequest and the check were specifically made out to “Pacifica Foundation Radio”.  There was no mention of KPFA in the bequest documents.

Pacifica LogoAnd, even assuming there was ambiguity in the identification of Pacifica Foundation Radio, the proper response would have been to contact the PNB to mutually discuss and decide how to deal with the bequest.  It was our opponents failure to ask Pacifica that is at the heart of this matter.   To the extent that our opponents felt there *was* ambiguity, they should have checked with the Pacifica National Board.

Interim Executive Director (and SaveKPFA candidate) Margy Wilkinson later apologized for this failure to disclose — after the fact and when the bequest funds were already comfortably residing in the KPFA bank account.  It really would not have been that difficult to send this information to Pacifica prior to depositing the check in the KPFA bank account.


~Screen shot of kpfa.org website

As the image above shows, it is quite easy to make a bequest that is for KPFA, and the KPFA website provides clear instructions on how to do this.  Of course, Pacifica must be mentioned in the bequest instructions because Pacifica is the parent organization of KPFA.  Significantly, the KPFA website makes clear that the phrase “for the benefit of KPFA” or “fbo KPFA” must be added.  This is not difficult to do, and is standard operating procedure for attorneys working in estate planning who are trained to make clear and unambiguous bequests.

Now that our opponents have been exposed, they start the mudslinging, with personal attacks on UCR candidate Janet Kobren who found the documents showing that the bequest was intended for the Pacifica Foundation.  However, Janet Kobren was simply doing her duty as a board member and secretary of the PNB.  This is in stark contrast to other KPFA members on the PNB, Brian Edwards-Tieckert and Margy Wilkinson.  They have shown that they are willing to “Save” KPFA — at the expense of the entire Pacifica network.

United for Community Radio is not into assigning blame.  UCR wants to ensure that the entire Pacifica network remains strong, including KPFA and its sister stations.  UCR’s opponents must stop cannibalizing Pacifica to allegedly “Save” KPFA.

Vote for the entire UCR slate in the KPFA Local Station Board election.



For another perspective on the bequest, read Frank Sterling’s article here about how We Are All One!
Frank Sterling is KPFA’s Technical Director of First Voice Media program.


Joe Hill’s Last Will, 100 Years Later

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Joe Hill 3by Bob English

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me …

Swedish-American labor organizer, poet and songwriter Joe Hill was executed 100 years ago on Nov 19, 1915. Born Joel Emmanuel Hagglund, Oct 7, 1879, he emigrated to the US in 1902. Working on the West Coast as a migrant laborer in 1910, he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the “Wobblies,” a radical union of immigrants (subjected to the anti-immigrant hysteria of that period), founded on the principle of One Big Industrial Union for all workers. 

Traveling widely and organizing workers under the IWW, Joe Hill was wildly popular and visible as a speaker, writer of satirical poems, political and union songs (based on tunes of the times), which he performed at IWW strikes and rallies.

Would you have freedom from Wage slavery
Would you from mis’ry and hunger be free…

Come, all ye workers, from every land,
Come, join in the grand industrial band;
Then we our share of this earth shall demand…

(Rousing Chorus)

There is pow’r, there is pow’r in a band of workingmen,
When they stand, hand in hand,
That’s a pow’r, that’s a pow’r
That must rule in every land—
One Industrial Union Grand!

“There is Power in a Union” 1913 by Joe Hill

IWW tattoo

IWW tattoo

This year Joe Hill’s life, last hours and legacy to the labor movement and folk music are honored and narrated in a performance and album of his songs, Joe Hill’s Last Will by singer/songwriter John McCutcheon.   The stage play, written by Si Kahn, was first performed in Sebastopol, California 2011.

“Hill channeled his experiences into songs, the first written for the American working class. Those songs helped galvanize the union movement, specifically the IWW, whose activism triggered violent opposition from the wealthy class we now refer to as the ‘1 percent’” (from the show announcement).

As such, he was targeted by the 1% capitalists, particularly the “copper bosses” of Silver King mine, Park City Utah where he was arrested for murder in 1914, framed and convicted. The unjust trial and capital punishment sentence were challenged by a prominent clemency campaign and generated international media attention, union and public protest. In the stage narration of his last hours in jail before his execution at dawn, Hill thought few would remember his life and work.

(Written in his cell, on the eve of his execution)

My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kind don’t need to fuss and moan —
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.”

My body? Ah, if I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow.

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will.
Good luck to all of you.

“Joe Hill’s Last Will” (lyrics by Joe Hill, music by John McCutcheon)

IWW sticker, 1910s, courtesy Wikipedia

IWW sticker, 1910s, courtesy Wikipedia

100 years later Joe Hill is one of, if not the most renowned, beloved and inspiring labor leaders of the 20th century. In this century, he stands Presente! with farm workers and the lowest paid, marginalized, unorganized workers; rank and file members fighting for democratic unions, today’s still militant IWW and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

In October 1960 in Sydney, Australia, the great Paul Robeson performed a powerful rendition of “Joe Hill” to construction workers at the site of the future Sydney Opera House.


Says I, “But Joe, you’re 100 [ten] years dead,”
“I never died,” says he.

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Says Joe, “What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize.

Where working people [men] are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine,
In every mine and mill –
Where working people [men] defend their rights

It’s there you’ll find Joe Hill.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, “But Joe, you’re 100 [ten] years dead”,
“I never died,” says he.

“Joe Hill” 1930 by Alfred Hayes [updated for centenary]

Through his progressive songwriting a century ago, Joe Hill articulated and transmitted still current issues of immigrant and workers rights, economic and class inequality, feminism, religion and war. “Casey Jones–The Union Scab,” “The Preacher and the Slave,” “The Tramp,” “The Rebel Girl” and “There is Power in a Union” are folk and union standards.

Critically, Joe Hill inspired the great Woody Guthrie, a primary influence for modern singer/songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Phil Ochs, Billy Bragg, ani difranco – and Utah Phillips, who (before McCutcheon) had reintroduced Hill and his music. Their recordings, progressive commentary and connection to Joe Hill are featured in music programs on community radio KPFA 94.1 FM, especially Robbie Osman’s “Across the Great Divide,” now hosted by Kevin Vance Sunday mornings.

Further, the IWW/Joe Hill industrial union model, objectives and vision are central to understanding current issues, dynamics and effectiveness of labor organizing, after a long period of steadily declining, sporadically resurgent union membership and power. As we learn from John McCutcheon’s performance, Joe Hill and IWW regarded exclusive craft/trade unions as self-serving job trusts, often acting as “scab” unions. They would have a similar assessment of the larger, growing but often management friendly, hierarchical, bureaucratic, staff-run business unions  representing service workers and public employees, notably Service Workers International (SEIU).

Currently, there are struggles throughout the labor movement (e.g. National Union of Healthcare Workers defection from SEIU/United Healthcare Workers) for more democratic, “member driven,” inclusive unions, fighting for the interests and benefits of all workers, ready to take on (not accommodate, deal or collaborate with) management, the corporate-governmental complex, political machines and power structures.

These differences and conflicts between industrial and craft or business unions, their effects in terms of representing, including or excluding workers, are analyzed in an upcoming, related article, reviewing recent history and politics of Pacifica-KPFA community radio unions, a complex, controversial and well-documented subject.


Bob English, from a working class, union family; retired civil service worker, labor democracy activist formerly with SEIU L790 and Public Employees for a Democratic Union; community radio activist formerly with listener groups Coalition for a democratic Pacifica and Peoples Radio.


Thanks to Eszter Freeman, Attila Nagy (Sonoma Peace Press), Adrienne Lauby (UCR website), Isis Feral and Stan Woods for review/suggestions, editing, images, production; my son Austin and wife Linda Hewitt for review, encouragement and support completing the work;  John McCutcheon, and Dr. Barbara Hodges for inviting us to his inspiring performance of “Joe Hill’s Last Will” at the Palms Playhouse in Winters, California, June 5, 2015.


Joe Hill Poster
IWW Tattoo by vonlampard license
IWW sticker 191os



Kobren’s 30-Second Answers

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By Janet Kobren, UCR candidate

Janet Kobren at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

Janet Kobren at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

To help all the candidates to prepare for the 1-hour on-air candidate forums that took place November 10 through November 13 the Local Election Supervisor (LES) sent all the candidates 12 “in house” questions beforehand. The questions were formulated and approved by her, the National Election Supervisor (NES) and “the elections committee that consists of an equal number of supporters, volunteers from all points of view.” The LES said that 3 of the questions would be chosen at random for first three questions, then others will be chosen if need be. After that, questions would be taken from audience and listeners.

As one of the candidates, the on-air-candidate forum I participated in was on Thursday, November 12, at 7:00pm, and 5 of the 12 questions were asked. Candidates had 30 seconds to answer.

Below are: my opening statement, all 12 questions, with my answers to the 5 that were asked during the on-air forum and what would have been my answers to the other 7 (note that the question numbers are based on the list of questions that had been supplied by the LES beforehand) and my closing statement. Note that I have not included my answers to the called-in questions from the listeners.

Kobren’s 2-Minute Opening Statement

My name is Janet Kobren. I am currently a member of the KPFA Local Station Board, a director on the Pacifica National Board (PNB) and PNB Secretary.

Running on the UCR slate (see UnitedforCommunityRadio.org), I stand for local, grassroots, community, and activist radio, accountable management, responsible governance and transparency.

The PNB is the board of directors of the Pacifica Foundation, a 501c3.

Contrary to what many people believe, Local Station Boards are not autonomous, but are “standing committees” of and subordinate to the PNB, their parent nonprofit.

So regardless of which station a director is from … there are four from each station …, by law, a PNB director’s duty of loyalty is to the Pacifica Foundation, not their station.

In my role as a director and with my quality assurance management background I was unhappy to recently discover that in March, a $400,000 bequest check made out to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO, had been deposited in KPFA’s bank account.

Determination of what should have been done with the money was not for KPFA to make, including applying it to cancel the Spring fund drive. KPFA needs to find other ways to sustain itself.

And this, with the ongoing brouhaha about the precarious shape Pacifica is in and at a time when the 2014 audit had been put on hold because Pacifica owed money for the 2013 audit.

Had the bequest money gone into Pacifica’s bank account where it belonged, that bill would have been paid right away and the 2014 audit process moved ahead, instead of 4 months later, further compromising KPFA’s receiving CPB grants and pushing us towards bankruptcy.

Accountability and transparency are key for both KPFA and Pacifica.



  1.  What do you believe qualifies you to be a Board Member at KPFA?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

I have been a KPFA listener member for over 25 years. I learned how to work the Pacifica governance system while serving on the LSB since 2012 and being elected last year and this year to be a director on the national board. I also serve on several PNB committees, and as PNB Secretary, I am an officer of the Foundation.

I am an independent thinker, I vote my conscience, I have organizing and management experience, initiative and persistence, and perhaps most importantly, I show up!!!

  1. If elected to the Local Station Board, how would you raise money for the Station and Board?

This question was asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer was:

KPFA is the only remaining voice that is independent of the corporate culture. I am totally against introducing underwriting (a form of advertising), corporate or not, a slippery slope indeed.

Per the bylaws, one of the responsibilities of the LSBs is, “To assist in station fundraising activities.”

To counter a declining listenership, KPFA should provide refreshing new programming and use multi-media, like live-streaming, to attract a younger audience and thus increase its revenue.

  1. What do you think is the reason for KPFA losing listeners and income and how do you propose to resolve these problems?

This question was asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer was:

Due to the disastrous financial situation and privatization brought on by the 1%, people have less disposable income these days.

And many people, young and old, are turning more and more to social and interactive media and the internet.

KPFA needs to integrate multi-media into its terrestrial presence, create refreshing new programming, and strengthen KPFA’s grassroots outreach and visibility in order to attract new (and younger) listener members and increase its revenue.

  1. How can KPFA do a better job at reaching out to new, younger listeners and promoting and marketing KPFA to new audiences?unnamed

This question was asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer was:

Many young people are turning more and more to social and interactive media on their smartphones and the internet.

KPFA could draw in younger listeners by creating refreshing new programming and also by strengthening its grassroots outreach and visibility at community events and local actions, and even use KPFA’s livestreaming channel at these events, like for the local MacDonald’s actions earlier this week, and advertising the channel on-air and via Twitter.

  1. If elected, what do you feel would be the highest priority for the Board?

This question was asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer was:

Actually I have two “highest priorities.” KPFA becoming financially accountable and responsible by living within its means, while at the same time halting the decline in listenership and rebuilding the membership base.

And when it comes to what account a check payable to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO, received in a station’s PO box (in recent times KPFA’s) should be deposited into, the Pacifica Foundation should make that determination, not any of the other stations.

  1. Do you think that to attract new listeners KPFA should be extending more into the online world, or do you think it should be engaging more in grassroots with communities?

This question was asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer was:

KPFA needs you the listeners to become more actively involved in station affairs. Please become listener participants. By this I mean learning what goes into running the station and not sit back and expect others, I mean board members and management, to do what you want them to.

Attend LSB meetings, listen to the audio archives of LSB and PNB meetings on kpftx.org, attend and/or join the CAB, and vote, or form a radio collective to develop new programming like I did when I formed the Strike Debt Radio Collective.

  1. How do you see the Board engaging with programming?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

With regards to LSBs and programming, the bylaws task LSBs with working with station management to ensure that programming fulfills Foundation purposes, diversity policies in a discrimination-free workplace, and that there are fair, collaborative decision-making procedures for programming and program evaluation.

I recommend forming an LSB Programming Oversight Committee or Program Council to carry out these obligations.

  1. How do you see the Board engaging with Pacifica Foundation?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

There are a number of opportunities available for LSB members to engage with the Pacifica Foundation aside from electing four of its members to the PNB every year.

There are numerous PNB committees LSB members can join and become active in, not just by attending the meetings but presenting proposals for and advocating for bylaws amendments, programming and election policy, enforcement of diversity, and development ideas.

Sadly, I have not seen many KPFA LSB members step up to the plate.

  1. How do you see the Pacifica network’s role in society?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

The Pacifica national network owns and operates 5 sister stations located in major cities around the country: Berkeley, New York, LA, Houston, and Washington DC. There are also over 150 Pacifica affiliate stations that air many of our programs.

Pacifica’s national reach and stature attracts activists, academics and experts from all over the country and the world to be on its airwaves, voices that are not heard on mainstream media or even other so-called progressive outlets.

  1. As a Board member, what do you think the role of the General Manager is, or should be at KPFA?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

The role of the General Manager is spelled out in their job description, the bylaws, and FCC regulations. The GM is a non-voting member of their respective LSB which is tasked with evaluating their GM.

The GM has to focus internally on staff and station operations, and hold regular staff meetings. But the GM also needs to be accessible and responsive to the station’s listener members, both in-person and with monthly on-air reports that include listener Q&A.

  1. Only about 10% of the membership votes in the election, what would you do as a Board member to engage more listeners in the elections process?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

Only listeners who are members can vote. Many do not know that this privilege comes with their membership. During an election, like right now, the board basically has a conflict of interest when it comes to engaging listeners in the LSB election. That responsibility belongs to the elections supervisors alone.

However, going forward, a member’s right to vote should be explicitly included in the on-air fund drive pitches as an encouragement to join and this should be pitched at KPFA events as well.

  1. A small percentage of KPFA’s staff, the paid staff, is represented by a labor union-CWA- while the Unpaid Staff Organization, is represented by a Council, but remain apart from the decision making at KPFA.

Community bulletin boardWhat do you think should be the role of the Unpaid Staff Organization within the station and on the Local Station Board?

This question was not asked on November 12. Kobren’s answer would have been:

Unpaid staff are responsible for 75% of KPFA’s programming and thus should play a major role within the station.

KPFA management has recognized the Unpaid Staff Organization (UPSO), and unpaid staff already can run and have seats on the LSB, however up until the late 1990’s all KPFA staff, paid and unpaid, had union representation. If unpaid staff organize into a Wobblies local, it should be recognized by management as a bargaining unit.


Kobren’s 1-Minute Closing Statement:

I’m Janet Kobren. A vote for me is a vote for local, grassroots, community and activist radio and a vote against plans to privatize KPFA.

Being an eclectic activist I work to have KPFA’s airwaves serve student debt resistance, housing justice, climate justice, anti-militarization, immigrants rights and Palestine solidarity. I formed the Strike Debt Radio Collective heard on KPFA.

KPFA needs to attract new listeners by producing more great programs audiences want to hear.

Go to UnitedForCommunityRadio.org to learn more about our team of 9 outstanding UCR candidates.

Don’t let KPFA fall into the hands of a few insiders. Vote for me, Janet Kobren to rescue KPFA and save Pacifica for all of us.


–November 15, 2015

On-Air Candidate Forums

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From Flickr, license below.

One-Hour Live
Listener Candidate Forums

KPFA Performance Studio
19 Candidates, 4 Forums

(Click on the dates, to listen)

Sharon Adams
Brian Oakchunas
Scott Olsen
(only 30 min. is currently archived.)
Don Macleay
Barbara Whipperman
T.M. Scruggs
Margy Wilkinson
Marilla Arguelles


Yuri Gottesman
Janet Kobren
William Campisi
Mario Fernandez 
Jeremy Miller


Tom Voorhees
David Lynch
Virginia Browning
Sasha Futran



Nelsy Batista, Local Election Supervisor
Substitute Moderator, Leon from Youth Radio/Bay Area MC

 Three or four of the questions asked came from the studio audience.  The names of those asking the question were pulled from a hat.


These candidates were scheduled but did not appear:
Richard Hart
Leland Thompson


Graphic: license

Beholden to Nobody but the Listeners

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By: Susan da Silva

To me the most important plank of the United for Community Radio (UCR) platform is the one that will preserve Pacifica as an independent entity where free speech is valued.  I’m referring to this part of the platform: Refuse corporate underwriting or advertising.  

These are desperate times at Pacifica.  Many people say: “There simply is not enough money, so why not take advertisements?”   The answer is that taking corporate money will change Pacifica and KPFA in ways that are unacceptable. 

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life - photo credit below

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life – photo credit below

At this point, at most Pacifica stations, there is no outside entity beyond the FCC who has any say about what is on the air.  Sometimes what goes out is not polished, sometimes it’s not politically correct, sometimes it causes us to protest. All that is good in my opinion.  That’s what makes us trustworthy.  We are accountable to each other and to the listeners, no one else.  Each person who speaks, speaks for themselves. With corporate underwriting would come outright censorship and self-censorship.  We might as well be NPR! Those who say that they never feel pressured by their advertisers, are not being totally honest, in my opinion.  They don’t even realize that they are self-censoring.

In this world ruled by corporations, Pacifica is a unique network, a place where no outside corporation can tell us what to say or feel or think.

Bring The People In - photo credit below

Connect with the People – photo credit below

So how do we get the money we need?  We do it with programming that connects to many parts of the community, programming listeners really want.  We do it by bringing new voices to the air.  We do it by reminding the listeners that we don’t take corporate money, and that we listen to them and allow them to vote for board members. We do it by being fiscally responsible enough to not leave millions of CPB dollars on the table.  (Pacifica has not received CPB money for several years because of their inability to complete an audit.)

Somewhere along the line Pacifica stopped taking budgets and audits seriously.  That nonchalance has brought us to the brink of losing our network.  I believe that hard fiscal decisions need to be made immediately.  I believe that once we get our financial house in order, we can go forth with the support of the listeners and that we will not need corporate funds to do so.

If you don’t want corporate underwriting and advertising on your Pacifica station, please vote for the UCR candidates.

“Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life.” – photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

“Connect with the People.” photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

Does the $400K Bequest Belong to KPFA?

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By Janet Kobren, United for Community Radio candidate in the KPFA LSB election

In mid-October 2015 after numerous inquiries from KPFA members regarding the two large bequests made to KPFA amounting to a total of $958,000, I decided to perform a director’s inspection at KPFA to look into the bequest documents.LastWill

Note that the bequests had been reported at the April 2015 KPFA Local Station Board meeting. SaveKPFA’s LSB member Margy Wilkinson was serving as PNB chair and interim Executive Director at the time. KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy’s April and May 2015 General Manager’s Report reflected these bequests (see “A Partial Financial Landscape of KPFA”.)

As a result of my director’s inspection I learned, among other things, that:

1)   The will of the Hall Trust listed $400,000 to be distributed to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO*,

2)   The estate’s check was made out for this amount to pay to the order of PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO and was deposited in KPFA’s bank account (albeit one of Pacifica Foundation’s DBA’s** is KPFA), and

3)   There was no reference to KPFA in the will or on the check.

I also learned that the check for the other bequest was specifically written to KPFA for $558,000 and correctly deposited in KPFA’s bank account.

This discrepancy caused me to explore the Hall Trust further, discovering some gaps in information with regards to how the Hall Trust bequest had been handled internally. The bequest that had been spelled out in the bequest document and the check to go to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO, rather than going to or through a Pacifica Foundation bank account, was deposited directly into KPFA’s bank account.

I meticulously chronicled this matter with substantial source documentation that included references to and actions by individual employees and which also revealed other individuals and organizations named in the bequest documents, all of which would have precluded this matter from being addressed in an open session. I had suspected there was more to be learned regarding this matter, but absent any other documentation provided even after requesting additional information that would have filled in some of the gaps, I was motivated by my fiduciary duties as a Pacifica National Board Director to bring the matter to the PNB as soon as possible. There was some back and forth within the PNB by email but no additional documentation was provided. So I presented the chronology/analysis that I had prepared to the PNB prior to its October 29, 2015 PNB closed session meeting and made the following motion during the meeting:

That by the end of day November 4, 2015 the KPFA GM and the interim Controller:


  1. Produce an accounting with documentation to the PNB of how the Hall Trust bequest has been allocated and spent to date, including what KPFA transferred to Pacifica units – KPFT, KPFK, PRA, WBAI and election deposit shortages and the remaining balance, if any; and
  2. If a remaining balance exists, transfer it to the PNO unit or other Pacifica units as appropriate; and
  3. Based on the accounting, revise the plan to repay KPFA; and
  4. Based on the accounting, revise the KPFA and PNO budgets accordingly.

This is how the vote went:

Voting YES: Teresa Allen (KPFT), Rodrigo Argueta (KPFK), Lydia Brazon (KPFK), Jim Brown (WPFW), Stephen Brown (WBAI), Adriana Casenave (KPFT), Janet Coleman (WBAI), Benito Diaz (WPFW), Janet Kobren (KPFA), Janis Lane-Ewart (KFAI Affiliate), Lawrence Reyes (KPFK)

Voting NO: Brian Edwards-Tiekert (KPFA), George Reiter (KPFT), Cerene Roberts (WBAI), Pete Tucker (WPFW), Margy Wilkinson (KPFA)


PRESENT NOT VOTING: Robert Mark (KPFT), Tony Norman (WPFW)

The tally came to: 11-YES, 5-NO, 0 ABSTENSIONS, 2-PRESENT NOT VOTING

The motion passed handily and was included in the report-out of the executive session.

The main argument against my motion, chiefly by those directors who have a vested interest in KPFA, included a claim that since the snail mail address of an individual whose name was similar to but not the same as the name spelled out in the Hall Trust documents, someone who had donated a total of $1,745 between 1990 and 2014 (which by the way was way less than 1% of $400K) was in the North Bay and within the KPFA “signal area”, it was the “intent” of the donor to bequeath the $400K to KPFA, and not the Pacifica Foundation, even though the will and the check had spelled out PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO on both, with no reference to KPFA.

Janet Kobren at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

Janet Kobren (with green hand) at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

To me this was an attempt by some within Pacifica to interpret the intent of the donor, and there is no way, short of a seance, to determine the donor’s intent beyond that specified in her will.

Many questions remain, among which are the following: Was SaveKPFA’s influence through the then PNB chair/iED Margy Wilkinson used to make the interest of the Pacifica Foundation network to solely benefit SaveKPFA? 

To what extent does a financially weakened Pacifica Foundation, possibly intentionally starved to facilitate its bankruptcy, benefit a private entity, the now not-so-secret KPFA Foundation?

And, how far will Brian Edwards-Tiekert, the SaveKPFA, KPFA LSB member, PNB Director and chair of the PNB National Finance Committee (aka the PNB treasurer) go through motion after motion to attempt to get proposals passed to “capture” KPFA’s license for the benefit of an undemocratic, private entity?

KPFA has transferred approximately $310,000 of the two bequests to various Pacifica units to compensate for network-wide shortages at WBAI, KPFT, KPFK, WPFW, PRA, and PNO (see the KPFA General Manager’s April and May 2015 Report here),


* Between February 26, 2013 and January 20, 2015, the “Pacifica Foundation” name had been captured by an entity in New York during which Pacifica used the name “Pacifica Foundation Radio” until recapturing the “Pacifica Foundation” name back on April 9, 2015.

** DBA = Doing Business As.  A DBA is also sometimes referred to as a fictitious business name. In the case of the Pacifica Foundation, it is the Pacifica Foundation, not the fictitious name, that is the entity conducting any business in the name of a DBA.




November 3, 2015