ATTORNEY GENERAL GRANTS LISTENERS STANDING TO SUE PACIFICA

Santa Rosa, California — Power to the people became a legal reality today as California Attorney General Bill Lockyer granted twelve long-time listeners of Pacifica radio stations– KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, WPFW in Washington, D.C., and WBAI in New York — the right to proceed with their lawsuit against the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors.

Santa Rosa, California — Power to the people became a legal reality today as California Attorney General Bill Lockyer granted twelve long-time listeners of Pacifica radio stations– KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, WPFW in Washington, D.C., and WBAI in New York — the right to proceed with their lawsuit against the Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors.

Lockyer’s decision allows the listeners “Relator” standing to sue the Pacifica board in the public interest on behalf of the attorney general for breach of charitable trust, removal of directors and violations of the California Corporations Code. It gives a green light for their lawsuit on behalf of more than three thousand listener-sponsors who have called for court removal of the Pacifica board.

The controversy began in the mid-1990s, when Pacifica moved away from its historic cutting-edge news reporting, fired volunteers, issued gag orders, and mainstreamed programming. Public outrage was aroused in Northern California in July of 1999 when Pacifica enforced a twenty-three day staff lockout at Berkeley station KPFA. According to a leaked internal memo, the lockout was an attempt to “shut down and reprogram” the station. Pacifica maintains it can gain more listeners and raise more money by converting to popular music programming.

“That’s not why we fought for [Houston station] KPFT after the Ku Klux Klan bombed it off the air twice in the ’70s,” said listener Rick Pothoff. “Our suit not only seeks to remove the Pacifica board but also to change the bylaws to grant listener-sponsors legal voting rights and define a fair and democratic procedure for nominating and electing board members,” said listener Carol Spooner. “This will prevent the gross abuse of authority exhibited time and again by the current self-selecting Pacifica Board.” The listener lawsuit has been stalled in the attorney general’s office since November of last year while, among other things, Lockyer dealt with the scandal surrounding California Insurance Commissioner Quackenbush. The listeners now plan to file their suit in the Alameda County Superior Court as quickly as possible.

“It’s been a long wait and we have a long way to go to trial, but we are relieved and grateful the attorney general granted us standing to sue,” Spooner continued. She speculated that a June report by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee of the California Legislature which supported the listener claims might have prodded the attorney general to act on the suit.

Daniel Robert Bartley a Novato, California attorney specializing in “whistle blower” suits and public interest law represents the twelve. The relators are Barbara MacQuiddy, Amburn R. Hague, and Carol Spooner of Northern California for KPFA listener-sponsors; John Biello, Carolyn Birden and Patricia Heffley, all of New York, for WBAI listener-sponsors; Arturo Griffiths and Leigh Hauter for WPFW Washington, D.C. area listener-sponsors; Rick Pothoff and Kurt Guerdrum of Texas for KPFT listener-sponsors; and Ron Swart and Charles Scurich of Southern California for KPFK listener-sponsors.

The sponsoring organization, the Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board, has received declarations and support from Pacifica listeners in twenty-six states, as well as Germany, England, France, Italy, Finland, Ecuador, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

Author: Peter Phillips Ph.D.

News Service: Press Release From Committee to Remove the Pacifica Board

URL: http://theexperiment.com/articles.php3?news_id=370

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.