Kate Tanaka: Incumbent, KPFA Local station board member, community activist, Green Party stalwart. Endorsed by James Vann.
Briefly: My name is Kate Tanaka. I run for this position as a long time consumer of KPFA. I know how powerful it is and want to contribute to its continuation as a healthy ground for information and inquiry. I am well aware of the internal strife on the board. Still, I hope that there are elements within both sides of this divide with whom I can find common purpose. Further, I hope that the divisions that exist will have been diluted by the arrival of new and eager board members all anxious to find solutions that strengthen the station and empower those who are in a position to provide all of us with the programming we so depend upon to be the informed citizens that are the hope of a decent society.
More about Kate: I moved to the East Bay in 1998 and became involved in local political affairs. I was happily launched by my initial association with the Unitarian Fellowship Social Justice Committee where I met people who were well positioned to help me find roles for myself in the community (most notably Hal Carlstad and Cynthia Johnson).
Since I soon moved to Oakland my efforts shifted toward Oakland as well. I deepened my involvement with the Green Party. I was elected to the Green Party of Alameda County Council and served until June 2010.The specific efforts I have undertaken include a significant involvement in the long awaited Earth First! Trial a historic civil case wherein the FBI and local police were sued by grass roots organizing that spanned many years. I took a leadership role in 2006 in a massive signature gathering campaign to prevent the city of Oakland from selling off a 64 acre parcel of waterfront land to a contractor.I have also involved myself in other civil and human rights efforts and campaigns.
Underpinning everything I do is the vital education I am constantly receiving compliments of the Pacifica programming. To say that it has been life changing is an understatement. For years (since about 1980) I have had jobs that permit me to listen to lots and lots of radio and so it is that I listen to lots and lots of KPFA!
I have a good amount of energy and patience and I can think of nothing that I value more than KPFA. While my activist efforts have most often revolved around working to end the power of corporate money to control our lives, our environment, our elections it is corporate free media that is the pathway to all of these goals.
Please vote for me and my fellow candidates on the ‘United for Community Radio’ slate.
Questions and Answers
1. In what ways is KPFA moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
I consider it to have been a step in the right direction when the current acting general manager Andrew Phillips managed to forge a better working relationship with the paid staff. As a manager it is my opinion that he must work as an independent agent who is not perceived as being on one “side” or the other.
2. In what ways is KPFA moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?
As always, I believe that there is far too much time spent on conflict between the various factions at the station. I will continue to work for genuine respect among those who create the radio we all love. Old grudges must be forgotten and reality based differences addressed and compromises achieved.
3. What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
I hope that my experience to date on the board helps me be realistic about the problems.
I can honestly say that I do not see either of the factions at the station as blameless; I do not see either without merit. I want to find a third way for those who want to stop the conflict which wastes time and energy.
4. What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
I believe that many people have made good suggestions for an improved online presence for the station. I support those ideas. Mainly though I believe that the better the station is – the more relevant it is to more people the more that will be reflected in listener support. We must be pragmatic and realistic about the money that is spent. We cannot plan on spending money that we do not have as we do not want to become vulnerable to our own fiscal weakness.