PACIFICA PROTEST - JUNE 15, 2005
After years of secrecy, obfuscation, obstruction, inaction and mismanagement it was decided that Dan Coughlin should be on record as having at least one direct action specifically called during his reign to protest what many see as his and others' creation of a creeping and growing corporate culture manifesting and re-entrenching itself in Pacifica once again.
June 15th at end of day was also supposed to be the deadline for Dan Coughlin's response to Pacifica Directors' repeated requests for their rightful access to documents next Monday. And Dan did not disappoint in sending out a multi-page letter worked up by a no doubt extremely costly attorney to further delay this basic right to view financial documents of the network.
This protest should have been held long ago but many of us wanted to give Dan ample chance to make good on the hopes of a new beginning, after the tremendous, historic and heroic grassroots movement waged by listeners and some staff of the five stations. That Dan has disappointed this hope and abused his authority through insubordination, shady payouts, lax oversight, questionable, growing expenditures and his endless contempt for the spirit and the word of the new bylaws and the fledgling democratic structure of the network gives this protest both a bitter and a hopeful aspect.
Bitter that one of our own should be so apparently incompetent, unconcerned and unresponsive to the needs of this most important community supported radio network for so long - and hopeful that by standing up for accountability, transparency and the open spirit of Pacifica we will begin to send a message that the next ED MUST be someone who will not tolerate and indeed will work tirelessly to root out and end secrecy, mismanagement, abuse, waste, profligacy, petty turf battles, violence, sexism and racism from any quarter across this network, which is after all only a network of intelligent and motivated - but fallible and sometimes selfish people.
Below is the skeletal press release I sent out on short notice to Bay Area media outlets in the hope of some coverage of our direct action. We had reporters from at least 4 newspapers and radio come to the protest and talk extensively to those of us who were there which I would estimate at about 20 all told. I forgot to send the pr to KPFA I realize, in hindsight perhaps because I have half lost faith in their faith in the concerns of some of their most ardent listeners, whom some at KPFA have publicly insulted as meddlers, provocateurs, outsiders and superannuated, contemptible rabble.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: John Sheridan
June 15, 2005
Picket at Pacifica Radio, 1925 MLK Jr. Way,
Berkeley, from 3:30-6pm
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Please attend a picket at 1925 MLK Jr. Way
today 6/15 from 3:30-6pm to
protest the lack of transparency at Pacifica radio, the denial of Directors'
rights to view documents, unaccountable and rising spending and a culture of
increasing corporate secrecy at the nation's first listener-sponsored radio
Protestors will gather to express their anger
and dismay at Pacifica
Executive Director Dan Coughlin's refusal to allow viewing of Pacifica
records in violation of the Foundation's bylaws, and unaccountable
'borrowing' of funds to the national office, secret bonuses to key employees
and a lack of transparency which is against the spirit of the movement by
listeners and staff to free the network from corporate and anti-community
actions. Over 10,000 listeners took to the streets in 1999 to help save the
network from takeover, but even with new bylaws and elected boards, the
existing structure of the national office of the network is moving back into
an unaccountable pattern which we are protesting.
-- John Sheridan