Posted by: Doug Henwood | July 13, 2009

WBAI election: signatures needed

[An email sent to Jews for Racial and Economic Justice by Esther Kaplan and Marilyn Neimark. I don’t know these candidates personally, but I do know Esther & Marilyn, and if the candidates are ok by them then they’re ok by me. If you’re in NYC and can stop by Tuesday afternoon, please do.]

Dear JFREJers,

We’re writing to enlist your support for some important changes that are in the works at WBAI, where JFREJ’s radio program, Beyond the Pale, has been broadcasting weekly for over 13 years.

WBAI is currently engaged in elections for the Local Station Board (LSB) and we at Beyond the Pale are asking for your help in nominating a list of independent candidates. The LSB makes recommendations to the Pacifica Executive Director for the hiring and firing of each station’s General Manager; approves the station’s annual budget; and ensures that the programming at each station conforms to the mission of Pacifica. In addition, each LSB gets to elect 4 directors to the national board, which is responsible for the governance of the network.

Why is this election so critical? For years, WBAI’s LSB has been paralyzed by factional conflicts. In the meantime, day-to-day operations at the station have suffered from management neglect so grave — including nonpayment of rent on the building and the transmitter — that the future of the station was put in jeopardy. At last, the Pacifica national board has stepped in, removed both the General Manager and the Program Director, and with the help of an interim General Manager and other staff from Pacifica are putting the station back on track. We now need a functioning, conscientious LSB to ensure that these promising developments come to fruition and take a progressive direction — and that’s where JFREJ members come in.

We are very pleased that at least a few staffers and community members who are independent of any factions or slates have decided to run, and so we very much urge you to take some time out of your day to sign their petitions. To be on the ballot, a candidate must submit a petition signed by at least 15 WBAI dues-paying members by midnight on July 14. If you’re not yet a WBAI member, it’s not too late to join! (See below.) We will have nominating petitions available at Esther Kaplan’s office (at The Nation Institute, 116 East 16th Street, 8th floor) this Tuesday, July 14. Please come by between 6 and 8 p.m. to enjoy some refreshments and add your signature.

The candidates are:

Member candidates (only dues-paying members may sign)*:

David Barreda is a photographer, videographer, and multimedia producer who has worked for the Miami Herald, the Rocky Mountain News, and the San Jose Mercury News, among other publications. His independent projects have treated such topics as immigrant agricultural workers and Andean religion. Born in Peru and raised on a farm in Vermont, he has a long-standing commitment to environmentalism and sustainable agriculture.

Chude Mondlane is a singer and community activist who is on the staff of Communications Workers of America Local 1180, one of New York City’s most progressive labor unions, where among other duties she writes for the union newspaper. The daughter of Eduardo Mondlane, a leader of Mozambique’s independence movement, and a long-time touring musician, she recently initiated a cultural exchange program between high school students from New York City and Mozambique.

Staff candidates (only paid or unpaid WBAI staff may sign):

K.E. Feldman is the newest contributor to WBAI’s program Beyond the Pale. She is also a producer for WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and has worked in independent documentary film. She was previously the host and producer of YouthCast, an alt.npr podcast from the Public Radio Exchange.

If you would like to sign a petition but can’t come by on Tuesday, please email Esther at estherkaplan@gmail.com and arrange an alternative time to stop by.

Yours,

Esther Kaplan and Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark

*To be a member, you must have contributed at least $25 to WBAI between July 16, 2008 and July 15, 2009. If you haven’t done so yet, just go to http://www.wbai.org before midnight July 15 and make a donation via PayPal.

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