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Grassroots Community Radio Coalition

The following is Jim Lafferty's open letter in response to Ian Masters

[Mr. Lafferty's endorsements are not identical to GCRC's endorsements. -Ed.]

August 30, 2016

Dear KPFK listeners and voters:

For the past 25+ years I have hosted The Lawyers Guild Show on KPFK. A few years back I was the interim General Manager of the station for about one year. I have served on the Local Station Board (the "LSB") for 6-years. We are now all being asked to elect a new LSB. I am not running for re-election to the LSB.

I had more or less vowed to stay out of this election cycle at KPFK. But now that I have seen an unkind and untruthful missive from Ian Masters with his recommendations for who to vote for in this LSB election, I am moved to offer my own thoughts, in response.

First, although I often do not agree politically with Ian, I think Ian is a very fine host of a very fine show on KPFK. In fact, I have thought this for many years. Therefore, I am always amazed and saddened when Ian decides to issue one of his screeds attacking various people at KPFK, and going on about how badly he thinks the station is doing. This is because for the life of me I can't understand where Ian Masters in coming from when he writes such things. But whenever he does send out his comments, he is invariably wrong, often cruel and dismissive of some of the station's hardest working staff, and often writing what he must know to be untrue.

For example, Ian says our national Executive Director, Lydia Brazon, is "self-appointed". Ian, why do you say such a thing? You know that's not true! She was elected by the national board of the entire Pacifica network. He suggests listenership is down, it is not. He claims Ms. Brazon has played the "race card." No, she most certainly has not. Nor has anyone on the Grass Roots Slate of candidates, the slate Ian opposes, played the "race card", as he claims. It's just that we live in a City that has more Latino residents than Anglo residents. So to have the relative tiny fraction of KPFK's programming hours given over to Spanish language programming is not playing the "race card", it is simply behaving in the way a truly "community based" public radio station should behave.

And Ian essentially engages in "red baiting" when he claims that the slate of candidates he opposes think of themselves as, "the vanguard of a revolution", and calls them "parasites cloaked in revolutionary righteousness." What a scurrilous and sweeping judgement on his part. Why I doubt that he even knows the candidates on the Grass Roots slate. And, speaking of playing the race card, Ian refers to the candidates on that same slate as "ranters and racists." Ian, I know each and every one of the candidates on the Grass Roots Slate, and there is not a racist among them! Nor are they in any sense "parasites." Rather, they are among the hardest working, most devoted supporters of KPFK. They have worked tirelessly, often for many, many years, to improve the fortunes of the station.

And Ian is simply wrong about the current health of the station,as it is in far better shape than it's been in many a year. Our new General Manager, Leslie Radford has greatly reduced the station's debt; a debt that the prior administration, much beloved by many on the slate Ian is urging you to vote for, left her.

Ian complains that the slate he opposes is filled with people with "phony ideology". I guess Ian considers anyone with an ideology to the left of his own as somehow processed of "phony ideology." But I think what makes KPFK great and unique is the fact that the political ideology expressed on KPFK runs the gamut from Ian's more centrist politics to my more radical politics. And, hey, I thought that was what KPFK was supposed to do. Present alternative political voices. Not simply mirror what we hear on CNN, or read in the Los Angeles Times.

Lastly, let me say that there are truly fine people running on the slate Ian supports. Ian, I do not have an unkind word to say about any of them. After all, they are willing to give up their time and energy, without any compensation, to work for a station they love. But, Ian, the same is true for those on the Grass Roots slate that I am supporting. Frankly, the only, but highly significant difference between the two slates is that the one I support has far more experienced hands on it and people who, much more than the slate Ian supports, are possessed of deeper and far more progressive roots in the diverse communities that make up our great City. And it is precisely this diverse demographic that we are pledged to give voice to at KPFK, lest we be untrue to Pacifica's original mission.

In Solidarity,
Jim Lafferty, Host, The Lawyers Guild Show,

P.S. So, friends, I urge you to vote for the following candidates in the following order: Lawrence Reyes; Brenda Medina; Sabina Virgo; Hsing I Bird; Rick Macias; Jessica Spencer; Michael Corral; Rose Mary Elizondo; Alise Sochaczewski; Mariella Saba; Kahllid Al-Alim; Schyna Pour; Jack Neff; Reza Pour; and Paul Song.