The Pacifica National Board passed a resolution barring individuals who have clashed with the network’s leadership from election to the boards of its five stations, a move that critics decried as a political witch hunt.
The resolution, which passed Jan. 24 by a vote of 11–10, denies seats on Local Station Boards to three classes of people:
- “Individuals whose actions have been declared by a court of law to be breaches of fiduciary duty, or breaches of the duty of loyalty or the duty of care;”
- “Individuals who have been separated involuntarily from foundation employment for cause;” and
- “Individuals who have been banned from station premises due to threatening behavior or creating an unsafe environment for others.”
Anyone denied candidacy for board service can appeal to the PNB.
Such measures are common among other nonprofit boards, says Bill Crosier, vice chair of the PNB. “I can’t imagine any other nonprofit letting people in one of those categories be on their boards,” he says. “. . . It’s not about censorship. It’s about people who might not have Pacifica’s welfare in mind as a top interest.”
Critics alleged that the resolution’s supporters were trying to quash free speech. “This motion just reeks of an attempt to try to turn Pacifica into some kind of a cult,” said PNB member Lydia Brazon during a debate that preceded the vote.
SaveKPFA, a group made up of listeners to Pacifica’s station in Berkeley, Calif., called the measure “McCarthy-like” in a post on its blog, savekpfa.org. The group alleges that the resolution was drafted to target KPFA board members who encouraged listeners to pledge to the station but only on the condition that a cancelled morning news show returns to KPFA’s schedule.
The supervisor of recent board elections for Pacifica’s five stations recommended a revamp of a process that he described as “too costly, time consuming, factionalized and factionalizing.”