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

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 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.


Democracy Now! on KPFA — UCR wanted Dem Now! aired at 7 a.m., when most people listen


By:  Mara Rivera DN
Save KPFA is apparently claiming that United for Community Radio (UCR) wanted to eliminate the show — this is UNTRUE. United for Community Radio has always wanted Democracy Now! to air at 7 a.m. on KPFA.


At the time in 2011 (and as it is now) KPFA airs Democracy Now two times each morning, at 6 a.m. and again at 9 a.m.  UCR wanted Democracy Now to be on the airwaves one time in the morning, at 7 a.m.  As Richard Phelps says, you put your most listened to program at the most listened to time. Therefore, UCR wanted Democracy Now to have one slot in the program line-up, at 7 a.m.  This would open the 9 a.m. slot for additional local programming.


The Save KPFA forces wanted to keep drive time for the paid staff, apparently so that paid staff can claim that their programs are the biggest fundraisers for the station. More information can be found here, in an article written at the time these events were happening.


The article, written in 2011 by Marc Sapir states:

[T]he governments of Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and massive non-violent uprisings are occurring throughout North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, all this widely covered daily on KPFA which recently became the only national network carrying Al Jazeera-English. In addition, the staff of the program Voices of Middle East and North Africa put together extended shows that aired in prime time with fantastic commentary from experts and activists rarely heard anywhere in U.S. media. At the same time Amy Goodman’s Senior Producer, SA Kouddous, an Egyptian-American, traveled to Egypt where he was on the scene daily reporting from Tahrir square as well. Through the good sense of Pacifica ED, Arlene Engelhardt, Goodman’s show, Democracy Now (KPFA’s most listened to program) is now running in the 7 a.m. drive time slot, complemented by a diverse and local Morning Mix show at 8-9 a.m. which has also brought to KPFA airwaves many new voices and perspectives.

A Partial Financial Landscape of KPFA

Compiled by Janet Kobren, including notes by Kobren interspersed 
This article is supplemental to Does the $400K Bequest Belong to KPFA


FY2015 KPFA budget (Approved LSB: 10/18/14; Approved NFC: 10/23/14)



Kobren notes the following:

The KPFA GM is responsible for preparing and managing the KPFA budget while the KPFA LSB is responsible for approving the KPFA budget. What would also be useful would be to have the listener membership numbers over this same time period.

No Coal in Oakland Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson

“Speaking to the Crowd” ~No Coal in Oakland Rally~ Photo by Brooke Anderson

Below are KPFA LSB approved budget figures from FY2013 – FY2016:

Budgeted Fund Drive Days (Assumptions)
FY2013 = 89 days

FY2014 = 79 days
FY2015 = 89 days (actual was 65 days because 24 days — April 15 and April 27-May 19 fund drive days were cancelled)
FY2016 = 71 days

Projected (Budgeted) Listener Support Money
FY2013 = $2,680,476

FY2014 = $2,705,000 (up 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $2,741,378 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $2,655,003 (down 3%+ from FY2015 budget)

Actual Listener Support reported in the following year’s budget (varies depending on what report one looks at)
FY2012 = $2,539,180 (as reported in FY2015 budget as audited amount)
FY2013 = $2,552,174 (as reported in FY2016 budget; note: up 1%+ from FY2012 budget)
FY2014 = $2,529,196 (as reported in FY2016 budget; down 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $2,607,297 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)

Total Budgeted Revenue
FY2013 = $3,652,756

FY2014 = $3,461,764 (down 5%+ from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up .5%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,337,510 (down 4%+ from FY2015 budget)

Actual Total Revenue (varies depending on what report one looks at)
FY2013 = $3,652,756
FY2014 = $3,461,764 (down 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,337,510 (down 1%- from FY2015 budget)

Total Budgeted Operating Expenses
FY2013 = $3,060,229 (Note: FY2013 Audit indicated $2,811,334, which is $3,295,986 minus $484,652 for Central Services)

FY2014 = $2,929,063 (down 4%+ from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up 19%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $2,862,049 (down 17%+ from FY2015 budget)

Total Budgeted Expenses
FY2013 = $3,582,922 (Note: FY2013 Audit lists $3,295,986)

FY2014 = $3,457,903 (down 4%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,409,836 (down 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,333,505 (down 2%+ from FY2015 budget)

Net Income
FY2013 = $69,834 (based on 8/3/12 email attachment from KPFA LSB Treasurer Whipperman)

FY2014 = $3,861
FY2015 = $76,872
FY2016 = $4,005

Surplus (Deficit)
FY2013 = $69,834 (based on 8/3/12 email attachment from KPFA LSB Treasurer Whipperman)

FY2014 = $ 3,861
FY2015 = $50,496
FY2016 = $ 4,005

Some additional notes by Kobren:income

Net Income and Surplus (Deficit), otherwise know as Reserves, budget numbers have fluctuated, with FY2016 being the worst yet regarding having reserves.

Also note that the KPFA LSB is the only LSB that has no Finance Committee which means that the KPFA Business Manager (with input by the KPFA GM) with input from the KPFA LSB Treasurer (who gets perfunctory input from the LSB) has total control of the budget items that are provided to the LSB which is empowered by the bylaws to approve the budget. The other four stations have Finance Committees that allow input from committee members (LSB members, staff and the public) into the budget process and the final draft budget that is presented to the LSB for approval.

But also when it comes to KPFA, the LSB is only provided the version to be approved either in the middle of the night the night before the LSB meeting or at the LSB meeting itself, and never with formulas, providing little if no time for LSB members to independently and responsibly review what they are expected to vote on. What happens in the end is that the LSB gets snowed under with multiple types of related documents distributed during the meeting by the Business Manager who proceeds to explain them, with little if no opportunity for LSB members to thoroughly review and critique the documents.



FY2015 KPFA budget with Financial Crisis Management provisos and as amended (Approved PNB:1/8/15)


FY2015 KPFA – Financial Crisis Management provisos (Approved NFC: 1/5/15; Approved PNB: 1/8/15)

For the next six months, KPFA Management shall require approval from either Pacifica’s CFO or interim Executive Director prior to making any disbursement or incurring any expense greater than $1,000 for other than for rent, utilities, payroll, and other regular, recurring expenses.

The PNB directs the interim Executive Director to direct Management at KPFA to prepare within 30 days a plan for reducing expenses by at at least $250,000 per year in order to bring KPFA’s operating deficit under control.” (Passed without objection)

FY2015 KPFA budget amendment (Approved PNB: 1/8/15)

Before any union and line staff reduction in force occurs, a formula for concurrent management cuts must be approved by the PNB



Dated: January 29, 2015


“The PNB Resolution:

The PNB has requested that the KPFA management create a plan to make $250 thousand dollars in cuts, which would include a formula for reduction in management salaries”. . .

“The management team has met with the union and proposed a cut to our benefits package, with a change in co-pay from $10 to $20. That would be a yearly savings of $42 thousand dollars a year. Since this would alter the contract, the union must have a secret ballot vote on the proposal.”



Save East 12th St Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Save East 12th St Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Kobren notes the following:

There apparently had been leaks from within KPFA and/or the national office regarding the two large bequests totaling $958,000 that had been in the pipeline, one since to 2012 and the other since 2014.

Once both bequests were probated, the checks were deposited in KPFA’s bank account in March 2015.



Kobren notes the following:

In KPFA GM McCoy’s April and May 2015 General Manager’s Report (also sent to the PNB for the June in-person meeting) he spelled out plans for spending the two bequests, as follows:

Of the total $958,000 (see chart below for reference),

$149,720 had already been spent on KPFA (96,400+38,070+9,000+6,250) — see column 1,

and an additional $9,000 was “committed” to be spent on KPFA — see column 2,

which comes to a total of $158,720 allocated.

Then there is a total of $233,396 that went towards KPFA’s Central Services ($198,979 to PNO/$34,417 to PRA) — see column 1,

which comes to a total of $392,116 allocated.

And then you have $118,976 that “KPFA” loaned to WBAI and KPFT (100,000+18,976) — see column 1 and column 2,

which comes to a total of $511,092 allocated.

Which leaves a balance of $446,908 from the total $958,000.

This was back in June.

But $350,000 had also been “reserved” for KPFA salaries — see column 1. Is that still in reserve or has that been spent?

If spent, that would leave a balance of $96,908 of the total $958,000.

There might have been more expenditures on that balance since June as well.

Note that part of the two bequests was being applied as “reserves” (at least to paid staff salaries thus the decision to forego the 2015 Spring fund drive), however it is not clear if the two-month salary reserves have already been exhausted, i.e., are there still any reserves? But since KPFA left itself dependent on the two bequests, it is not known what the financial situation within KPFA currently is or will be once the October 29, 2015 motion passed by the PNB is executed.



Quincy Chart


Union Activists Endorse United for Community Radio

The folks at SaveKPFA seem to say that anyone who opposes their ideas are union busters. Although it’s a knee-jerk response on their part, it’s a serious charge.

Read this for a comprehensive explanation of the union dynamics at KPFA, Historical Analysis: KPFA’s Working Majority Gets Screwed by CWA Job Trust.

Brief Summary:  Both paid and unpaid staff were represented by United Electrical Workers (UE). UEDue to machinations, the paid staff formed a union that excluded the unpaid staff. Now, KPFA has staff that are paid to be at the station, and are represented by a union, and are allowed to participate on the Local Station Board. That is too much control in the hands of too few.

Read recent strong criticism of Save KPFA for union busting at KPFK, our sister station in Los Angeles.

Union Supporters of UCR.  Here’s some of the union stalwarts who have endorsed United for Community Radio:

Jack Heyman, Executive board member International Longshore and Warehouse union Local 10 (retired) and chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee

Mary Prophet, Member – KPFA Community Advisory Board; Steering Committee – US Labor Against the War; Delegate – Alameda County Central Labor Council; Past Chair – California Teacher’s Association Peace & Justice Caucus

Marsha Feinland, former Berkeley Rent Board member, California Teachers’ Association honored union activist

Wendel HarperMichael-David Sasson, Former President, Coalition of University Employees (CUE), Local #3, (now part of IBT #2010)

Ramses Teon Nichols, Vice President of Organizing, SEIU Local 1021, Local Station Board member from the United For Community Radio slate in 2012.

Francis Grinnon,  Communication Workers of America, Local 9415, former Vice-President, Retired Members Council

Laurence Shoup, author, Wall Street’s Think Tank, Rulers and Rebels, and other books, former member, Alameda Central Labor Council

Richard Stone,  Delegate, S.F. Labor Council;  member, Save Mid-town (San Francisco)

Dave Welsh, San Francisco Labor Council delegate; retired letter carrier, longtime executive vice president fo Golden Gate Branch 214 of the Letter Carriers Union;  helped protect union jobs from the privatization effort which was the context of the successful struggle to stop the sale of the Berkeley Post Office.  

Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio, former KPFA programmer and union steward

A quick list of our endorsers tells the larger story.  These people are often active in union issues.  They, and the United for Community Radio candidates, know how important vibrant unions are to the crucial progressive issues we work on.

More on NPR Programming — Don’t Let This Happen to Pacifica!


By UCR Candidate Sharon Adams

Chrissie Hynde

Chrissie Hynde

NPR Music did an interview with Chrissie Hynde about her new book. The interviewer asked Hynde to read from her book, and she replied:

“Can I just not repeat stories that I’ve already said in the book? Can we talk about things outside of that? Is that possible?”

But, the NPR host couldn’t get out of his ordinary NPR mindset — he had prepped by reading her book, and most authors will just tell stories from their books. So, apparently thinking “must talk about stories in her book, even though she just said she doesn’t want to talk about stories in the book” he tries again, and Hynde slaps him down, like the real artist and rebel that she is.

“No! I’m not going to tell you stories that are in the book!”

The NPR host really can’t understand Hynde’s zeitgeist, which steps outside ordinary bourgeois boundaries. There is something so insipid about the NPR zeitgeist, something so timid. When Hynde states: “I don’t care what a lot of people want. I’d rather say, ‘just don’t buy the book’… I’m just telling my story” — he is speechless, and the interview immediately cuts away.

We need boldness and courage to face the challenges ahead of all of us — not just radio listeners, but the whole world. We need less certainty about the correctness of our views, and more willingness to listen.

And within Pacifica and KPFA — we need radio that is willing to allow the people to speak. We need radio that trusts the intelligence of its audience to listen and make their own decisions about what is true. As was so eloquently discussed on a recent KPFA Project Censored show, there has been a winnowing of what is considered legitimate discussion, a subtle self-censorship that is occurring in film, books and general dialogue. Censorship does not just happen by government intervention, it happens when NPR can’t allow Hynde to be who she really is; or when NPR can’t understand the facts about Syria.

Protect Free Speech Radio — Vote for UCR in the upcoming election!

photo credit: The Pretenders Day on the Park via photopin (license)

UCR Candidates In The News



Jeremy Miller spoke against  Urban Shield at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and is also one of the hosts of Heterotopia music program on Mutiny Radio, located at 87.9 FM in San Francisco.


Sharon Adams at Berkeley City Council

Sharon Adams at Berkeley City Council


Sharon Adams spoke against Urban Shield at the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, and spoke at the Berkeley City Council in support of Berkeley’s status as a Sanctuary City, and in opposition to proposed federal legislation attacking Sanctuary Cities across the United States.




Tom Vohrees is active in a community radio start up coalition, Radio for People (R4P). Tom has been seen putting up radio transmitters for low-power radio stations all over the West, from Moscow Idaho, to helping get KFFR on air in Colorado.

Don Macleay

Don Macleay


Don Macleay is writing a memoir of his work in Nicauagua during the 80s, which is taking some time away from writing on his blog.   He continues his work with as a Green Party activist, and  his decades-long commitment to supporting and volunteering in the local community.  He recently volunteered at the East Bay Innovation Academy on the Thurgood Marshall campus in Oakland, giving a class in  bike maintenance.


Mario Fernandez is active in many campaigns, currently phone banking with the San Mateo Labor Council, and active in the Bernie Sanders campaign. He is also involved in Occupy Oakland and BlackLivesMatters movements.


Virginia Browning is currently serving on the KPFA Local Station Board and on several national committees of the Pacifica Foundation. To learn more about Virginia’s life-long love of radio, click here.


Janet Kobren, one of the founding members of the Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance, plugged the importance of KPFA, her UCR LSB candidacy (and the UCR 9) when she introduced one of the videos during the 9-hour 9-11 Truth Film Festival held on September 10 at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.  Janet Kobren is currently serving on the KPFA Local Station Board, and also on the Pacifica National Board, representing UCR interests as an officer on the Pacifica Foundation.



Scott Olsen continues his work with Iraq Veterans Against the WarIraq Veterans Against the War, and tweets about militarization of the police and in support of strong communities.


T.M Scruggs is an anthromusicologist and musician.  His primary research focus is on the use of music to construct social identity in the Americas, with a geographical specialty in Latin America and the Caribbean.   He collaborated with Project Censored to share some of the best-known labor and revolutionary ballads on May Day 2015.


Marilla Arguelles recently attended a Single-Payer Health Care conference.