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.


Virginia Browning’s Life-Long Love of Radio — Part I

By: Virginia Browning

Note: fellow candidate Sharon Adams has asked candidates to write something short to give voters a better idea who we are. I think this is a great idea, but must say “I would have made it shorter, but I didn’t have time.” She brilliantly turned my less-whittled draft into this article. I’ll try to improve this when I have time, but here are some elements from my life and experience, mostly concentrating on political parts (some but not all of these, and versus for example my struggling against my “by ear” tendency to learn music theory – over and over and over….”)at 22 or 23 or 24

As a teenager, I participated in anti-war marches and groups and actively campaigned for Democratic Party politicians.  Later I attended caucus meetings to elect delegates the year Fred Harris ran for president.  It was fairly easy to support someone to the left of the lesser evil in those days, because the Republicans were sure to win the state of Utah anyway.  Why not vote your conscience?  In environmental groups such as The Utah Wilderness Association I worked hard against the building of several massive power plants, and against destruction of much public land in Utah, often successfully. When community radio KRCL, a welcome burst of beauty blooming in Salt Lake City was launched, I got the required license, learned to use the board, mics, and other equipment, and did field and studio recordings, news editing, interviewing, and other broadcasting. I produced a weekly environmental show for a time with interviews and segments from hearings I had recorded.

I joined a few activists and became Volunteer Coordinator in The MX Information Center in opposing the basing of nuclear MX missiles in Utah and Nevada.  This became a very successful organization.  I met with Downwinders in that group, former conservative Utahns, many of them, who, having been basically bombed and maimed, or as survivors of family members murdered by the U.S. government in the above-ground and underground but leaking nuclear explosions drifting across the state (and country and world), were not quite as willing to allow these nuclear missiles into their midst as the government had counted on their being.  I realized that the mountains around Salt Lake City had retained some of the highest levels of pollution from these tests.  Members of my own family became ill or died, possibly from exposure they received as children to these high levels of radiation.  But the line “we are all downwinders” in this corporate plutocracy organized for profit at the expense of health, is a line I find to be important and true.

7I met Utah Phillips when I was 15 and immediately fell madly in love with him.  He taught me something of the value of a trusted adult not taking advantage of such a crush, but was always so wonderful with young people in my presence.  All his life he was very important to me.

After Fred Harris lost, I quit working for the Democrats but worked for Barry Commoner and whoever came after that, always exercising my right to vote (why not? don’t NOT vote – vote for SOMEONE.  In this I disagreed with dear eloquent enchanting Utah Phillips…)

I joined Marxist study groups; I saw up close the discipline of members of leftist parties who joined trade unions in order to have conversations and move things to the left. Unfortunately, too often the Democratic Party ended up moving each of these to the right instead. And some of those dedicated members were treated badly when they failed to go along with every single precept or notion. I saw dedicated activists treated very hurtfully, some who had traveled across the country, changed their lives to create change. I saw that actual democracy is not easy, and that the temptation to grab power is ever-present in all organizations. Difficult as it is though, it is important to persist and try to achieve understanding.

When I moved to Berkeley/Oakland/Berkeley, I became aware of KPFA. I had adored working at radio (and listening to it), and considered applying for a job as there were some openings listed shortly after I moved. But I needed the security of a steady paycheck, and I thought – how can a community station guarantee living wages and benefits for so many paid radio people? KPFA always seemed to be struggling. I had not had the most stable upbringing and needed a sense of stability. Furthermore, I had seen how much good came from volunteer reporters and broadcasters at the radio station in Salt Lake City. The picture of becoming a paid employee requiring a steady paycheck and benefits year after year didn’t fit with my notion of a community radio station free to report on even unpopular subjects. Who would pay if the subject was not quite sexy yet? I had seen how many years it took, for example, for the MX Information Center to grow from a group of 6 or 8 to a mailing list of several thousand. And then it had only one paid employee, and I knew that sustaining more than that would have been very hard.

In Oakland and Berkeley, I have worked on various projects, including as past co-chair and member of STANDStanding Together for Accountable Neighborhood Development — an alliance of community groups, residents and merchants that formed in response to the surge of high-density condo development proposals for Temescal, Rockridge, and other North Oakland neighborhoods.

A student welds a bike path sculpture in a STAND affiliated project.

A student welds a bike path sculpture in a STAND affiliated project.

While STAND supports new development and recognizes the benefits of sustainable, equitable, and responsible growth, its mission is to provide a voice for the thousands of citizens alarmed by the number, size, density, and impacts of these projects and to hold the City of Oakland accountable in identifying the full range of project impacts.   With that group I worked painstakingly reviewing zoning proposed for the city and helping to develop a set of recommendations.

A KPFA-related note here: as with the local Berkeley groups currently working on concerns similar to STAND’s, (and as with honest reports about Africa or Syria for that matter not framed by corporate newswires), the KPFA news reported little to nothing about the many community meetings STAND and other groups held, despite their almost always being of great interest to community members. They were usually well-attended, but through no help from the KPFA news department, access to which remains opaque to most listeners still.  UCR, United for Community Radio, is working to improve this type of coverage.

There was a wonderful flowering of hope at the beginning of the Ron Dellums mayorship in Oakland during which hundreds of dedicated citizens participated in task forces on housing, transportation, economics, etc. etc. Creative solutions were developed and presented, and some even used. I was on several of those task forces.

Virginia Browning

Virginia Browning

In recent years most of my activism has centered around KPFA radio. In the 90s many listeners became alarmed at what seemed to be a winnowing out of radical voices, and a kind of “progressive” but not too progressive aura. There has continuously been tension between those who literally have no wide-signal megaphone such as KPFA available anywhere else, including many homeless and poor folks, and those who want to sort of titrate in a few radical views at a time but basically appeal to comfortable ex-leftists who now support the rather significant paid staff financially. You can read more about the so-called “Healthy Stations Project” which I and many others credit with having helped to kill much of the radical nature in stations across the country.

I’ll try to write more about this period when I have more time.

In October 2011, my heart was lifted by the activism of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland. I joined with others in general assemblies and events, and haven’t given up on the idea that an even better version of this can re-emerge. Some of the conversations encouraged in the “G.A.’s” (general assemblies) were very wonderful, very touching. Activists I met then have continued to open public conversations and to work for a better world, including in Oakland’s versions of “Black Lives Matter”.

Before my own candidacy for the KPFA board, I worked hard for fair elections at KPFA (there actually have not been any fair enough yet) and to help set up forums for listeners to know who they would be voting for in the KPFA elections.

While of course I strongly urge you to vote for UCR (United for Community Radio) members only, I feel now that no election alone will likely protect Pacifica. The current situation is so life-threatening to the whole topple-ready network that some from historically opposed factions at KPFA, while retaining importantly different visions, have joined a project to keep parts of the network from being swallowed by the six owners of 90% of U.S. media. I and some from diverse factions network-wide have begun to explore new bylaws and new culture.

There’s more to say, and no time now to say it. But for now I’ll say this: Beware of this platitude that does NOT apply: “the museum of ancient hurts,” which I have heard used by our opposition in this election. It is a distraction from learning from history. * As Utah Phillips said – history is still here, it didn’t go anywhere. People often need to process betrayals and damage before moving on. We must start with being honest about who we are historically and what we have stood for, and try to show respect for each other’s history and values, express clear agreements and disagreements which can only become clear when we are open about how we do disagree. Then we may begin to learn how to work together in ways necessary to Pacifica’s survival.

*The very name of our opposition in this election is a name I and many others of us used together in the 90s. Now this narrow group has grabbed a good name and confuses listeners into thinking the banner they post on their website is their banner and stands for their values. In fact, many in the original group who carried that banner have and had values diametrically opposite theirs. When someone recommends against learning history, raise a little red flag or two…and do your best to learn some. It may be important.

Thanks for reading this. I know it’s hard to know who to vote for. All you can do is do your best. Pacifica is still a treasure.

Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams


Attorney; immediate past vice-president of the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter; instrumental in protecting undocumented persons from Berkeley civil ICR detentions.

My name is Sharon Adams. I became involved in KPFA when the Morning Mix was abruptly taken off the air, without warning during a pledge drive, and without waiting to see the financial results of the pledge drive. The Morning Mix was produced locally with a variety of hosts addressing issues of regional and national concern.

The controlling majority on the KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) supported replacing the Morning Mix with a pre-recorded production from LA, arguing the recorded production would generate more revenue. Subsequent pledge drive results have shown the LA-produced show did not increase revenue to KPFA. The station remains in difficult financial straits. But, cancelling the Morning Mix did effectively remove local voices from one of the prime drive-time listening hours.

This caused me to look more deeply into the internal issues at KPFA. I learned that KPFA and its parent, Pacifica Foundation, have amazingly bad basic accounting methods that appear to be standard operating procedure. A required audit from 2013 was only recently finalized, while the 2014 audit remains unfinished.

Things must change if KPFA is to remain a beacon of hope, and a place for alternative voices to be heard.

I was on the Board of Directors for the National Lawyers Guild-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLG), from 2007 until 2014, serving as Vice-President in 2014. During that time, the economy suffered a major recession due to global capitalist economic policies. The NLG is a non-profit, membership organization, similar to Pacifica/KPFA. While on the NLG Board, we kept the NLG financially solvent through difficult times by responding appropriately and in a timely manner to the financial challenges. I will bring this type of oversight to the KPFA LSB.

Arguments have been made that KPFA must become more like NPR to remain viable, and that KPFA should receive corporate underwriting.  I do not accept this model. Lewis Hill, founder of Pacifica, understood the value of the unfiltered voices of the people.  Overcoming the doubters, Hill placed his faith in the power of the people, and created Pacifica. I intend to do all I can to uphold this vision.

After the death of Kayla Moore, Berkeley Cop Watch stands watch at a police forum.

After the death of Kayla Moore,
Berkeley Cop Watch stands watch at a police forum.

I’m a founding member of the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley. We worked with Berkeley City Council to pass first-in-the-nation legislation protecting undocumented persons from civil ICE detention in Berkeley jails.  KPFA covered this story.  As a founding member of the NLG-Committee Against Torture, we worked against the US torture program, including its links to UC Berkeley Law School. KPFA covered this issue when others, including NPR, ignored it. In fact, NPR refused to use the word “torture” for years.

KPFA must continue, but not as a clone of NPR.  KPFA can be preserved with policies and programming decisions that promote a diversity of the voices addressing a variety of issues; by having paid staff support the diversity of voices; by increasing membership; and by promoting KPFA at events throughout the Bay Area.

Please vote for me and the entire United for Community Radio slate!


Official Q. & A.


1.  In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
The new www.kpfa.org website is a wonderful step forward, providing a more interactive and accessible format.  And, the KPFA legacy continues; there are still great programs on the air, and there are still great people dedicated to making KPFA the best it can be.  I will continue this tradition and continue to ensure that programming decisions represent the voices of all parts of the community.  KPFA has in the past, and still does, report on issues that are not reported elsewhere.  As a listener, I have learned so much about the world from hearing the different perspectives on KPFA.  As an activist, I appreciate the importance of KPFA’s willingness to report on stories not routinely covered by mainstream media. 

The U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay. Current and former detainees have reported abuse and torture in this prison.

The U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay. Current and former detainees have reported abuse and torture in this prison.

I’m a founding member of the National Lawyers Guild’s Committee Against Torture, and we have worked against the US torture policy. KPFA covered this issue when others, including NPR, ignored it.  In fact, NPR refused to use the word “torture” for years.


2.  In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?

The station has much room for improvement, including having a better grasp on the true financial status of KPFA and the Pacifica Foundation.  I will work to get accurate and detailed accounting of the pledge drive revenues, and will carefully review all financial information.  Removal of the Morning Mix from the 8 am drive-time hour was a big move in the negative direction, in my opinion.  The Morning Mix featured a diversity of hosts discussing a wide variety of issues, and was replaced with a show recorded and produced in LA.  I will work to bring more community input into the programing decisions.  In addition, as an attorney and activist, I recognize and appreciate how important it is for KPFA reporters to respond to events happening locally, and to have reporters, whether paid or unpaid, willing to report on local events. I will work to improve the apprenticeship program, which encourages more people to become reporters.
3.  What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
I was on the Board of Directors for the National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Bay Area Chapter from 2007 until 2014, serving as Vice-President in 2014.  During that time, the economy suffered a major recession due to global capitalist economic policies.  The NLG is a non-profit, membership organization, like KPFA.  While on the NLG Board, we kept the NLG financially solvent through difficult times by responding appropriately and in a timely manner to the financial challenges.  I will bring this type of oversight to the KPFA LSB.  In addition, I have worked as general counsel for several corporations, and understand corporate law and how it applies to entities like the Pacifica Foundation and KPFA.  There are many complex issues facing both entities, and I will bring my legal knowledge and expertise to the KPFA Local Station Board. Bookkeeping 2

4.  What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?

Accurate and up-to-date accounting and business records are a crucial step toward improving the financial situation at Pacifica Foundation and at KPFA.  It is impossible to analyze the financial situation because the numbers are often inaccurate, causing a lack of clarity about where the money is going.  After obtaining accurate and timely accounting records, it will be possible to determine an accurate estimated annual income for KPFA.  Once there is an accurate estimated annual income, it will be possible to rationally discuss how to keep within the annual budget.
I have done this while on the Board of the National Lawyers Guild, and will do this again if needed at KPFA.  In addition, to generate more revenue, KPFA could begin holding events in places other than Berkeley, (like the South Bay, like Richmond, etc.) to increase the KPFA name recognition and generate revenue from the events.

Towards Improving Local Community News and Public Affairs

(Submitted by listener-representative Andrea Prichett to the KPFA Local Station Board, 4-11-15   Developed by Carole Wolfey.  The board has agreed to take up this proposal at their next  meeting, Saturday, May 9, 11 am – 4 pm.   See below for a link to the audio of the board discussion thus far.)

The LSB asks that KPFA General Manager and staff work with community members to develop a coordinated station-wide plan for providing local news and public affairs programming in alignment with KPFAs mission to cover local events and topics with a depth, insight and broad signal range that no other station can do.

This plan may include exploration of possibilities to increase access to information from the community such as:

1.  Organize an electronic bulletin board to share and utilize news and public affairs information resources from the KPFA community, local organizations and the public.Community bulletin board



2.  Establish a list of people involved with social justice, political, economic and environmental issues from our local geographical areas who we can invite to contribute to local news and public affairs programs as citizen journalists.


3.   Expand recruitment and training of program interns for news and public affairs. Articulate requirements for becoming an intern and make these requirement broadly known and available on our website to attract people who are skilled and/or interested in contributing to programming.


4.   Develop and communicate a system for programmers to be able to receive and use recorded segments from community members for news and public affairs programs.


5.  Utilize Twitter, Facebook and live stream channels to get up to the minute information for news and public affairs programs.

Coordinate a station-wide system for providing local news
and public affairs programming

6.  Create daily programs or parts of programs that focus primarily on local community news and public affairs at predictable and regular times during the work week.phone to the microphone


7.  Develop a protocol that clarifies when/how to cover breaking news in our signal range and to pre-empt programming in significant and emergency situations.


8.  Expand use of video channel and live streaming channel to cover local news and public affairs and cultural events.


Communicate regularly with listeners and viewers
about local news and public affairs.

9.  Develop outreach materials to let people know about station coverage of local news and public affairs programs and feature it on the website, the video channel, Twitter and Facebook. Include information about all the station resources including KPFA, KPFB, KPFA video channel, KPFA Facebook, KPFA Twitter, KPFA on You Tube and kpfa.org with program archives.hand offering mic


10.  Post written local news and public affairs stories on the KPFA website so that they can be accessed through computer searches.


11.  Increase (through training and recruitment of volunteers) our capacity to provide responses to emails and calls that are received at the station.


Here’s the audio of the Local Station Board’s initial discussion of this proposal as well as a discussion of policies and procedures for pre-emptions and special programming at KPFA.


Bringing Peace to KPFA

Aki GraphicBy Akio Tanaka
[KPFA LSB Member 2006-2012]

Article as flyer:  Peace to KPFA

Underlying problems

Whenever there is a conflict, there is always an escalation in rhetoric, like when there was the divisive and inflammatory charge a few years ago that the Pacifica National Office engaged in union busting. We should avoid getting caught up in the rhetoric and address the real problems and concerns.

One underlying problem is financial. The trauma of the layoffs in 2010 was the consequence of the station increasing the payroll by 140% between 2000 and 2009. Even with the cuts made in 2010, income has not kept up with the expenses.

One area of friction is programming. It stands to reason that a trade union looking after the financial security of its members will prefer programming which appeals to a more affluent audience. But the mission of Pacifica is to be the commons of the airwaves, to represent a broader and more diverse community, to include marginalized and under-represented voices. Read More

[Lew Hill, the founder of Pacifica, was a conscientious objector. One such program was the Morning Mix, which was a show begun in 2010 and produced by members of local activist community; however, in 2014 it was inexplicably replaced by a show produced in LA.]

Another area of friction is the working relationship between paid and unpaid staff. Originally, both were represented by one “industrial” union. In 1996, it was replaced by a “craft” union which only represented the paid staff. This created a class system resulting in an uneasy working relationship between the paid and the unpaid staff.

Possible Solutions

So what to do with these conflicting needs and interests? How does a union look after the financial security of its members in a non-profit organization that relies on donations by listeners, does not make profits and must live within a balanced budget?

The management and the union should work out a staffing level that is sustainable over the economic ups and downs, and avoid the temptation to add more paid staff during the economic boom times as happened in 2001-2006. Achieving a sustainable paid staffing level is a challenge, but it would help address the main source of tension. It could curtail the seemingly endless appeal for funds. It could put a stop to the unseemly practice of measuring the value of a program by the amount of money it brings in – a sad and ironic state of affairs.

The primary task of the station should be to fulfill the mission of Pacifica. We should bring back the locally produced show, the Morning Mix, during the morning “drive time.”

It is important to note that KPFA has always relied on a large number of volunteers who produce the majority of programming. At KPFA there simply is not enough money to pay all those who contribute to the station. Progressive organizations like KPFA should have one all inclusive union for everyone who works at the station. While the notion of workers’ rights resonates to all within the progressive community, it must be remembered that it is about respecting and honoring ALL workers.

Instead of taking sides, we as listeners should encourage the paid and unpaid staff to work together and help each other to produce the best in progressive radio. It is time for the staff, paid and unpaid, and for the listeners to embrace the democratic victory that was won in the legal and street battles of 1999-2001. It is time to stop dividing the station.

13 Years of KPFA Finances

1. Listener Support:  There has been a claim that cancellation of the Morning Show in fall of 2010 resulted in sharp decline in Listener Support.
The audited financials show that steep decline in Listener Support occurred between 2006 and 2010, before the change. (Adjusted for inflation, since 2010, Listener Support is back to the 2000 level, irrespective of the morning programming line-up.)

2. Salary and Benefits: Some have charged that Pacifica usurped local control and engaged in
union busting.
The audited financials show that between 2002 and 2006, under local control, the station added way too many people (the payroll more than doubled), and between 2006 and 2010, under local control, the station did not address the steep decline in Listener Support. By the fall of 2010, the station was in danger of insolvency, which is the only reason that the Pacifica National Office stepped in, to bring expenses in line with income. (Adjusted for inflation, even with the cuts that were made in 2010, Salaries and Benefits are still above the 2000 level.)

3. Central Services: There has been a claim that there was massive overspending at the Pacifica National Office. Central Services pay for network administrative services like FCC licenses, audit, insurance, legal, Pacifica archives, and national programming like Democracy Now! (Adjusted for inflation, since 2010, Central Services has been below the 2000 level.)


Richmond Progressive Alliance Supports Morning Mix

Richmond progressive Alliance


The Richmond Progressive Alliance has voted to express its support for keeping the Morning Mix in the Drive Time at 8 am on KPFA.  Their decision was announced by Marilyn Langlois at a meeting of KPFA’s local station board on June 14, 2014.

In part, Marilyn said,

We find this is a really excellent program that projects a lot of voices from the community on topics of general issues both in Richmond and throughout the bay area.    We’ve had great feedback from our local residents as well as activists all over the bay area.  In particular, Andres Soto’s show which . . . covers not only Richmond issues (which, let’s face it, Richmond is currently on the cutting edge of progressive initiatives in the bay area and many people are interested in that) but he also covers issues of housing, violence prevention, environmental justice, Native American rights, racial issues, immigrant rights — and international issues too with really interesting guests from Haiti, El Salvador, Cuba and many places . . We think people in our listening area need to hear these voices from our community.

Here is their letter

Re:  Request to re-instate The Morning Mix weekdays from 8:00 – 9:00 am

Dear Mr. Pirodsky,

The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization founded in 2003 in Richmond, California, aimed at eliminating the excessive influence of corporations in local politics and strengthening the ability of local residents to ensure that city policies meet their needs, especially the needs of the most vulnerable.   Our organization clearly has much in common with the values of KPFA and Pacifica.

We appreciated the introduction of the weekday 8:00-9:00 program, The Morning Mix, a few years ago, as it has provided the listening audience in Richmond and the greater Bay Area with a variety of excellent programs on topics of interest that are rarely, if ever, heard elsewhere.  Andres Soto’s program, for example, has included many segments on progressive initiatives in Richmond that communities throughout the region can relate to, on housing, violence prevention, environmental justice, local arts scene and more.

The RPA learned, to our dismay, that you had made the decision last month to cancel The Morning Mix and re-schedule some of its programs to shorter time slots in the mid-afternoon.  We believe it is extremely valuable for the morning drive time audience to be able to hear the diversity of programming that The Morning Mix offered, and hence we urge you to reverse your decision and re-instate The Morning Mix to weekdays at 8:00–9:00 am.

Marilyn Langlois
Mike Parker
Co-coordinators, Richmond Progressive Alliance
1021 Macdonald Ave.
Richmond, CA  94801