Monday, July 21, 2014

Notes: UPSO Membership Meeting, 7-15-14

ATTENDANCE:  In attendance:  Al Glenn, Marissa Ortega-Welch, Adrienne Lauby,  Ann Garrison, Tim Lynch, Clay Leander, Joy Moore.  (Though not all at once; Joy wasn't free to come till near the end of the meeting.)  Also later, Carol Wolfley, from the Community Advisory Board, which is asking the UPSO to co-sponsor an outreach event in September.  Carol did not vote on either of the two resolutions passed.

At the opening of the meeting, only four UPSO members were present, so we began by asking ourselves whether or not the UPSO was still a viable organization.   Ann asked how many people had taken the time to vote in the last UPSO Council election, in which Adrienne, Ann, Tim,  Shahram Aghamir and David Gans were elected.   (David Gans resigned some months ago, saying he was not temperamentally suited to serve and family urgencies have kept Shahram from participating as much as he would like.)  Adrienne thought that approximately 100 unpaid staff members, slightly less than half, had voted last time.

Adrienne said that the new KPFA GM, Quincy McCoy, had apologized for being unable to attend, but said that Tuesday was his wife's birthday and he was taking her out to dinner.   Quincy McCoy's new e-address is

By the time the meeting ended, most of those in attendance agreed that it had involved a very interesting exchange of information, even though only 7 attended. Ann particularly thanked Al Glenn for attending and sharing his many years of KPFA experience, which included serving on the last Program Council.  Glenn has been an UPSO member since 2000 as one of the rotating hosts of Showcase from 12 midnight to 2 am on Wednesday nights.

UPSO ELECTION:  On the subject of elections, it was noted that we are now out of compliance with our own by-laws because we haven't managed to hold another election in the prescribed time..  Adrienne acknowledged that management of the UPSO Council's business had all fallen on her shoulders and said that it had finally become more than she could do to get the election organized without more help. 

Ann and Tim acknowledged that most of the management of the UPSO Council - scheduling and announcing meetings, organizing responses to workplace complaints submitted to the Council, creation of the UPSO blog, etc. - had fallen to Adrienne and thanked her for keeping us going.

Adrienne asked each UPSO Councilor to find one volunteer willing to serve on the UPSO elections committee, so we can get that done.  There was also a suggestion that we amend the by-laws, so that UPSO Councilors serve more than one year, so we don't have to keep holding the elections.  It is possible that the UPSO election and LSB election will be somehow combined and/or conducted online.

RESOLUTION TO RESTORE THE MORNING MIX TO ITS 8 AM HOUR:  Those present passed a resolution to restore the Morning Mix to its 8:00 am hour. The vote was 3 to 1, with Ann, Adrienne and Clay voting in favor, Tim voting against, and Al and Marissa abstaining.  Joy Moore arrived later, after the vote on restoring The Morning Mix to the am.  Tim asked first that Adrienne recuse herself as a Morning Mix host, but Adrienne pointed out that she had not been a regular Mix host for at least a year.  Tim also asked that the low attendance at the meeting and two abstentions be noted as they have been.

Tim argued that it was divisive for UPSO to take a position on this change and that the organization should not play a role in programming decisions.    Ann, Clay and Adrienne argued that it was a significant loss of unpaid staff input to prime time and the communities we work with are affected by that loss.  Also that our resolution of last January laid out a process for program changes that was not followed in this case.  It was a short discussion because most of us knew what we thought and weren’t likely to change our minds.

The Unpaid Staff Organization opposes the elimination of the "Morning Mix."  This was a program segment that brought a significant contribution to local community programming and information vitally needed in the morning prime time slot.

It has also received broad support in the communities that KPFA/Pacific serves.

This precipitous action also violated the transparent and democratic process that the UPSO called for in December of 2013 with the KPFA management.  We now call for the present new manager to rescind the action to terminate the "Morning Mix" and develop a collaborative relationship with the Unpaid Staff Organization.  
Yes: 3
Abstain: 2

DISCUSSION OF AUTOMATION OF THE PHONE ROOM:  We had a fascinating discussion of the phone room automation, with most objecting heartily to the plan, much as those who have responded when we threw the issue out on the list.   We did not pass a resolution, but agreed that we would raise the issue on the list, as we did, then print up and package the responses to deliver to the new General Manager, Quincy McCoy.

DECISION TO CO-SPONSOR AN OUTREACH MEETING WITH THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD (CAB) IN SEPTEMBER: We agreed to co-sponsor an outreach meeting with the Community Advisory Board in September.  Part of the idea is to create an event in which producers can speak directly with members of the community.  The Apprentices are also co-sponsoring.

Tim asked why the invitation to co-sponsor had not been issued to the entire staff. Ann said that there is no entire staff organization that an invitation could be issued to, only UPSO and the CWA. Carol Wolfley from the Community Advisory Board said that she would like to contact paid staff but found them somewhat intimidating because of her interaction with them at LSB meetings.  Tim encouraged Carol to contact any members of the paid staff to ask them to co-sponsor and participate as well. 

FASCINATING  CONVERSATION ABOUT KPFA HISTORY:  This more free form conversation at the end began when Al Glenn, who hadn't said much, was about to leave and Ann asked him to stay a bit longer and tell us about his history with KPFA.  He has quite a lot of history, having been a rotating host on Showcase since 2000. 

Al said, among other things, that radio is a very intimate medium, and the personal touch created in the phone room during fund drives is very important. He also said that he felt the Program Council had served a vital advisory role when he was on it.  Advisory, not decisive, but important.  Clay Leander said that if a decision like replacing the Morning Mix with syndicated programming from LA had come before the Program Council when he himself served on it, they would have discussed it for weeks before making a recommendation and would have spoken to many staff and listeners. 

We also talked about possibly having some kind of event where staff could talk about the communities they live in because we are all part of various circles of concern in the Bay Area and that is part of what we all bring to KPFA, whether we are music, arts or public affairs programmers.  Clay Leander shared that he lives in Martinez, which is home to two of the oil refineries in the East Bay Oil Refinery Corridor: Tesoro and Royal Dutch Shell.  Tesoro is refining Bakken shale oil coming into Kinder Morgan's Richmond rail yard from North Dakota.  Royal Dutch Shell is refining tar sands oil also coming into Richmond by rail, from Canada. 

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