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WASHINGTON, DC-On July 10, activists across the country held protests against Pacifica board chair Ken Ford and his employer, based here, the National Association of Home Builders. The protests came as an attempt to pressure Ford to resign from Pacifica’s board. Donna Reichle of the NAHB tells GlobeSt.com in an interview that the protestors’ cause is completely unrelated to the NAHB.

Ford is a manager at NAHB and as Reichle points out, serves as chair of Pacifica’s board on his own time. When asked if she had anything to say to those who had protested the NAHB on the day of action, Reichle comments, “I would say that this is a free speech issue. It is his right outside the NAHB to do and say as he sees fit as long as it has no negative impact on the NAHB. This issue has absolutely nothing to do with the NAHB.”

Reichle reemphasizes, “The NAHB perspective on this matter is that it has nothing to do with the NAHB whatsoever. Serving on Pacifica’s board is something he does in his own time.”

The protests stem from criticism against Ford for having reportedly supported a lockout at Pacifica’s Berkley, CA radio station, KFPA, back in 1999. Criticism also surrounds layoffs dubbed as “the Christmas Coup firings,” the takeover at a New York station, WBAI last December and what the activists term “the continuing assaults on the network’s flagship daily news program “Democracy Now!” Ford has also allegedly threatened to send listener letters to the FBI.

The protestors recently used a website to launch an E-mail campaign to the NAHB demanding Ford’s resignation from Pacifica. The activists accuse the NAHB of going to the website’s Internet service provider and having the letter visually removed from the site. They charge the NAHB with involving itself in the issue with what they charge as a “flagrant first-amendment violation.”

“The threat to the Pacifica Radio Network will be lifted only when the current board of directors is reconstituted by removing board members like Ford,” says Pacifica campaign organizer Ursula Ruedenberg. She points to a letter Edward Herman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania recently wrote to Ford: “When presented with a petition signed by hundreds of KPFA [Pacifica Radio] listeners [Ford] tore it up and threw it on the floor without reading it…”

Campaign members term their effort as an “exploding national movement to protect the country’s oldest listener-sponsored, non-corporate radio network.” They claim “a corporate board clique is trying to eviscerate the network’s radical heritage. These campaigns have forced the resignations of board president David Acosta, treasurer Michael Palmer, and board member Karolyn Van Putten. Two of these board members were on the record supporting the sale of one of the Pacifica stations.”

They also argue the NAHB is a target for protest because it “spends millions on campaign contributions and lobbying to influence public policy for the benefit of homebuilders, and lobbies against any regulation that would protect the environment or the interests of the public if that regulation conflicts with the profits of real estate developers.”

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