It seems that Susan Zakin was trying to present what she thought was a balanced view of the problems at Pacifica, evidenced by her interviews with both someone who did not think the situation at Pacifica gave cause for concern and someone who thought the situation was more dire ("Free Amy!" February 22).
In this case, the evidence clearly points to the situation being dire indeed. I have consulted the Savepacifica Web site at www.savepacifica.net/ (click on "history" for an overview) and highly recommend that concerned readers check out both this site and www.pacificacampaign.org/ as well as the Pacific Network News strike site, www.savepacifica.net/strike/. (Many reporters of PNN are on strike due to conditions of censorship.)
This does not seem to be a situation of a few "zealots" fighting for their tenured positions as $40,00-a-year radicals, as Cooper was quoted as saying. There has been a systematic attempt to alter the programming of Pacifica, censor reporters, and fire without notice those who don't bow to the board's censorship.
As to Goodman, she has been censored. Recently she refused to plug for the latest beg session and instead of bringing her live, they used a clip from last year that had been edited so as not to give away its age to the listeners. She has been hauled down to Washington twice and told to water down her program, that listeners want to hear softer stories in the morning. She has been asked to contribute to PNN, which in effect would be breaking the reporters' strike. She has also been fired from the WBAI program Wake Up Call along with the last remaining original co-host (all others had already been given the ax).
As if the current round of firings and censorship are not enough, the current board of Pacifica will vote on new bylaws on March 3 in Houston. These proposed bylaw amendments were written by John Murdock, from the union-bashing law firm Epstein, Becker and Green.
There are other centralizing, corporatizing measures as well, as may be seen in reading the proposed bylaws at www.savepacifica.net/bylaws_revise.html (a PDF version is also available at www.radio4all.org/freepacifica/murdock/murdock-bylaws.pdf).
If these bylaws, or anything like them, are passed, Pacifica radio as a free-speech, community-based institution will be definitively destroyed!
This situation is very serious. Amy Goodman's show is the last remnant of the free speech and honest reporting that was once characteristic of Pacifica reporting. Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! represent the last of their kind--a show that gives news that the corporate- and government-sponsored media will never report. It also gives an angle on popular stories that would otherwise go unreported. That people want this kind of news and not softer stories is evidenced by the show's incredible popularity and the support that listeners of the five Pacifica stations have shown.
There are currently attempts by several groups to take back Pacifica and return it to it's original purpose as a free-speech, listener-sponsored, community-based institution. There are currently three lawsuits pending. Amy Goodman's position is unstable, the whole institution is in turmoil, and every individual who cares about free speech, workers' rights and censorship has a duty to act now in the most effective way possible. All three lawsuits need money, the striking PNN workers need funds to keep up their Free Speech Radio (info on www.savepacifica.net/strike/), and letters can be written to the board members of Pacifica as well as California lawmakers to urge them not to accept the proposed bylaw changes. Juan Gonzales and the Savepacifica group have been urging folks not to contribute to their local Pacifica stations and instead to fund the resistance aiming to restore Pacifica's original mission. Hats off to Tony Ford at KXCI for holding out for some assurance that Goodman will remain as host of Democracy Now! and remain uncensored.
I urge Susan Zakin and all those concerned about these issues to visit the Web sites I've listed, inform themselves and act.
As an "off-road yahoo" I take offense at Tim Vanderpool's assertion that we don't belong on public lands ("Indecent Proposal," February 15). I sit with Sue Chilton on the Arizona Game and Fish sportsman/landowners relations committee as the state's OHV representative. She is very much aware of the real challenges facing today's public-land managers.
As we saw in Montana this past summer, the idea of leaving a place alone as being the most honorable form of management breeds horrific results. I would have rather harvested that million acres of timber instead of having to pay millions to put the fires out. It's high time that these enviro-snobs be seen for their true colors. They don't want to get rid of "off-road yahoos" because they damage the environment, they simply want to get rid of us so they can have peace and quiet, even if it is in remote areas that they never visit.
Since the Sierra Club now agrees that we should thin forests 20-30 percent, isn't it time we allow for the fact that riding by the same trees has little environmental impact? Just because you don't like motorized recreation doesn't mean you get to control all of our public lands. Or have we forgotten that public lands belong to all of the public?
President, Prescott Open Trails Assn.