Letter From The Gray Panthers


Gray Panthers of San Francisco      2940 16th Street, Room 200-4, San Francisco CA 94103   415-552-8800       graypanther-sf@sonic.net


KPFA Radio      1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way    Berkeley, CA 94704

Dear Quincy McCoy,

As long time supporters of KPFA, members of the San Francisco Gray  Panthers are writing to tell you of our disappointment in recent management decisions at KPFA.

Because our members have supported KPFA monetarily over the years, we are only too well aware of the financial struggles the station is facing.

That said, we are also long-time supporters of Flashpoints, and deplore the $25,000 cut proposed in the new budget.  Flashpoints is a public affairs show with reporters on the ground conducting live interviews, for which it has won multiple awards.  How can KPFA cut  Flashpoints and propose in the same budget *adding* an additional wire service at a cost comparable to the Flashpoints cuts.  It is deeply problematic that KPFA proposes using money taken from quality on-the-ground live investigative reporting such as Flashpoints,  and using it for an additional news wire that will result in more news reporting read verbatim from the service.

In addition, given the financial status of KPFA, we are  concerned that the budget is also proposing an additional $40,000 for an automatic back-up answering service to collect pledges during KPFA and KPFK fund drives.  We have learned that the company is headed by a Tea party member. Each call to donate to KPFA or KPFK routes 90 cents a minute to this company or $3-5 per call.

This corporate call center is owned by Bruce Hough, an Oregon Republican who runs Impact Marketing, a Tea Party advertising and fundraising business. His partner is rabid Tea Party Congressman Sal Esquivel, who traveled to Arizona to stand with Michelle Malkin, the Minutemen and others in support of Arizona’s anti-immigrant  SB 1070.  Hough and Esquivel also funded vicious attack ads against local Democratic candidate and military veteran Jeff Scroggin. The ads were so disgusting that two out of three local Republican County Commissioners refused to endorse the Tea Party candidate associated with Hough’s Impact Marketing.   Hough and Esquivel were also labeled “Rogues of the Week” by the Willamette Weekly for an unethical scam to charge gullible voters to email Congress. Hough and Esquivel also  house conservative political action committees at Impact Marketing giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to local and national Tea Party candidates.  This flies in the face of what we have come to love and support about the Pacifica mission.

Lastly, Gray Panthers is concerned that the recent hiring process for the new Program Director was flawed.  We understand that rules of Pacifica hiring policies were violated as follows:

Section 1:  Specifying the number of Local Station Board members that must be on the search sub-committee.

Section 3: Specifying placement of advertisements for positions and distribution of applications for positions.

Section 5: Specifying notice of meetings and their open meeting previsions.

Section 8: Specifying voting procedures in the committee.

Section 10: Specifying disclosure of the selection process, once completed.

Section 12: Specifying the Local Station Board’s oversight of the committee’s process.

As long-time listeners and supporters of KPFA, we feel that precious resources should be spent on furthering KPFA’s mission of community radio, and that decisions over critical personnel matters should be made in accordance with Pacifica policies. Please respond to us addressing our concerns.

San Francisco  Gray Panthers Board

Patricia Jackson, Convener

cc via email: KPFA Local Station Board, Pacifica National Board



Gray Panthers Letter of Support for The Morning Mix


imagesGray Panthers of San Francisco

2940 16th Street, Room 200-4

San Francisco CA 94103

415-552-8800, graypanther-sf@sonic.net



1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way

Berkeley, California 94704


Dear Richard Pirodsky, Interim General Manager,

As a long-time supporters of KPFA, even prior to the 1999 attempted take over of our station, we strongly object to changing the Morning Mix programming. If this is listeners’ sponsored radio then we your listeners and supporters must be taken into account on such a major change of community focus.

The Morning Mix is the most diverse group programmers on KPFA. It specifically keeps us informed on local issues and ways to organize with labor, the African American community, the Richmond community’s fight against Chevron, and Poor News Network campaigns. Though the stories covered by Project Censored are not always local, they are not heard on corporate media. It is better to have the variety that comes with a show like the Morning Mix than to turn over these 5 hours a week to single program, Up Front. Uprising from LA could be combined and/or alternated withUp Front at the 7:00AM time slot.

In this era of complete corporate control of the media, we can protect the few remaining independent media sources. Changing of the Morning Mix affects our access to local media control and a progressive media forum.

The community wants the Morning Mix returned to its original time slot!


The Gray Panthers of San Francisco Board of Directors

Patricia Jackson, Convener

Michael Lyon, Treasurer

Denise D’Anne, Secretary







A Call for Solidarity at KPFA

Living Graveyard, Oakland, CA.  Anti-War Protest

Living Graveyard, Oakland, CA. Anti-War Protest

The Gray Panthers recently celebrated May Day with a musical account of the history of the struggle for the eight hour day, the people who were at the core of that struggle, the demonstration on May first, the Haymarket massacre a few days later and the repression that followed.

One thing that was so impressive about the organizing for the eight hour day, as portrayed by the Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Heritage Chorus, was the breadth of the community effort. This struggle crossed racial lines. It was supported by native-born and immigrants from many countries. Organizers from primarily male unions honored and respected female workers who were seamstresses and maids.  This kind of comradeship across social boundaries has been all too uncommon in many of our struggles, union and otherwise.

A friend . . . told me that I would get more respect for my work if I were paid for it.

One of the gaps in our comradeship has been between paid and unpaid workers. I am remembering a friend who had a responsible position for an internationally respected peace group who told me that I would get more respect for my work if I were paid for it. That was a reflection of her experience at the organization she volunteered her time with.

Now to the point I am leading up to, a look at the current controversy at KPFA. I think the basis for this controversy is a tug of war between paid program staff and unpaid program staff. Some in the KPFA community seem to think that paid staff do a more “professional” job than do volunteers. Some think that the volunteers, particularly those putting on the Morning Mix, have a closer connection with activists in the community.

KPFA's creepy surveillance camera pointing downwards toward a recent KPFA demonstration in support of the Morning Mix.

KPFA’s creepy surveillance camera pointing downwards toward a recent KPFA demonstration in support of the Morning Mix.

Part of the controversy is based on the fact that paid staff are union members. I seem to recall that efforts by unpaid programmers to get union representation have been met with resistance from paid staff and their union. I am not quite sure of the reason for this resistance. If this is an accurate memory I will observe parenthetically that unions are not always on the right side of the struggle — recalling the unholy alliance between the AFL-CIO and the promotion of dictatorship in Latin America.

I would like to see an increase of comradeship between paid programmers and volunteers at KPFA. I want the programming of the Morning Mix that lets me know what is happening in our own local communities. That is what community radio is all about. As an activist, I have a much better chance of getting my work before KPFA’s listeners when at least some of the programmers are activists in our local community.

Remembering the words of one of my friends in the struggle: “The trouble with the left is they organize their firing squads in a circle.” Come on folks, let’s all get along together.

Carolyn Scarr
Local Bay Area Activist, major organizer of the Living Graveyard.

Living Graveyard

Oakland Federal Building
1301 Clay Street

Covered with sheets to represent the dead of the war of occupation on Iraq, people lie down on the city sidewalk in front of the Federal Building, This is legal, non-violent witness.  People stop, look and think.

Participants lie at least three feet apart and do not block entry to the building.The names of some of the Californians who have died in Iraq and the names of some of the Iraqi dead will be read.  A gong is sounded after each name.   People will hand out flyers, as we do each week at the Tuesday noon vigil.