I was happy to see a record number of people turn out for last Wednesday’s KOTO board meeting. Based on the sign-up sheet that was passed around the room, I’m guessing there were around fifty-sixty hard-core KOTO fans. The majority of those who spoke made it clear they were upset about the way the board and new ED have treated Janice. The excuse given by the board that there is too much risk in doing events was refuted by several long-time KOTO organizers and volunteers. Aura Jones provided numbers that further put into question the board’s assertions.
The issue of whether or not board members violated KOTO bylaws by holding secret meetings and not properly noticing other meetings was not resolved, as the board said they needed to research their records. Getting to the truth here would make a good investigative story for the local media. The meetings in question are: March 13, June 5, August 6, December 11, and January 6.
Jerry Green spoke about how the original shapers of KOTO strove to make democracy an important part of KOTO operations and culture. Following him, a woman commented that we elect board members and that constitutes democracy, and now we should stand back and let the board do its job. I want to disabuse her and anyone else who believes such tripe. Democracy is a participatory form of government. Electing representatives is where democracy begins. It is up to us, the people, to make sure elected ones represent the people and not special interests. Democracy requires constant vigilance. It is our duty to speak up when problems arise.
KOTO has been struggling for some time. We seem to be an organization trying to find our balance and place in a rapidly changing world. We do not want to live in the past, but that’s all we know so we cling to it. In the meantime, we tread water, waiting for some big swell to carry us to our proper place.
There is a current pulling KOTO toward a more corporate philosophy. This means we have to make the bottom line KOTO’s highest value. It means the news will be filtered and replaced with public relations narrative, and the real news suppressed. It means people will be expendable and treated without respect, as Janice was. It means we will sacrifice our authenticity. It means we will be robbed of our voice, our spirit and soul. The corporate direction will kill us. We don’t need no corporatization.
Right now we need a slate of good, solid candidate for the upcoming election of five board members. We need both young ones to share their energy, perspective and vision, and older ones to share their experience and wisdom. We need candidates whose only agenda will be to help KOTO fulfill its potential as the voice of the community.
Thank you, Janice, for all the dedication, hard work and love you have given to KOTO and the community. You brought us fun and laughter, much needed funding, and many fond memories. KOTO will not be the same without you.
– Eileen McGinley