Public Comment

Pacifica’s Financial Crisis: Part II

By Richard Phelps
Thursday June 11, 2009 - 07:05:00 PM

Brian Edwards-Tiekert starts his reply to my original commentary (May 14) by calling me “delusional,” after saying he is not prone to hyperbole, which he then uses throughout his reply. 

My commentary was not a “rambling attack” as he calls it, but a fact based political criticism. Something Brian and his folks can’t handle. 

On several occasions over the years I have challenged Brian and any of his allies to publicly debate these issues and many other Pacifica/KPFA issues and they have never been willing to step up before the listeners when they can be exposed. It is so ironic that they claim to be the standard bearers for our “Free Speech” station and continually refuse to expose their real views and practices to our listeners! 

The main point of my criticism was that the Concerned Listener faction, previously KPFAForward, which Brian admits he endorsed and he meets with regularly, elected William Walker, Sarv Randhawa, Rosalinda Palacios, Mary Berg, Sherry Gendelman, Bonnie Simmons and Andrea Turner to the Pacifica National Board (PNB) and that all of these folks colluded with the previous majority at WBAI and the majority at WPFW to block any financial responsibility at WBAI for the previous several years. During those years WBAI was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year which required loans from KPFA and put Pacifica near bankruptcy. The quid pro quo was that the colluder-controlled PNB would not interfere with the tyrannical practices that the majorities at KPFA and WPFW were practicing at their stations, in violation of the bylaws and progressive principles of transparency, due process and fair elections. In his reply Brian does not deny this fact. 

I also made the point that the members of this collusion, which included the Concerned Listener/KPFAForward elected PNB members, fought against transparency to hide from the listener/subscribers what they were doing. In his reply Brian did not deny this fact. 

I also pointed out that the colluders voted down a motion that was passed by the PNB Election Committee 10-2 that would have required election information and candidate statements and debates on the air during elections. This seems like a simple idea for an educated electorate. They voted it down since the Concerned Listener/KPFA management faction didn’t want the voters to hear about the issues. And as part of their strategy the Concerned Listener slate sent a slate mailer to the voters timed to arrive just after the ballots arrived while there was no election candidate information or debates on the air for weeks. In his reply Brian did not deny this fact. 

How do I know these things to be true? I wrote the Election Committee motion that the Concerned Listeners rallied their colluder allies to defeat, in order to keep the electorate ignorant, and I was part of the team along with La Varn Williams who fought for transparency during those years. I wrote an 11-page legal/historical analysis of that struggle and will gladly e-mail it to anyone who would like a copy. Contact me at 

Why didn’t Brian deny any of the basic facts asserted in my original article and instead tried to get people to look at other issues? The answer is simple. The collusion was real and it continues today, except that they now don’t have a majority on the PNB and thus there will be election information on the air for the upcoming election and steps are being taken to stop the red ink at WBAI. 


Richard Phelps is a former chair of the KPFA Local Station Board and a former member of the PNB Election and Governance Committees.