September 7, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

KPBS Twist Slowly in the Wind

Public radio and television in San Diego is a huge failure financially, in public relations, in programming and community service-wise. This is not a value or ethnic judgment, or the views of some cranky columnist. It is the truth, and the truth comes from San Diego's own KPBS-TV and FM station's year-end financials-the bottom line.

Despite San Diego being bombarded with one sickening appeal for donations after another, and despite San Diego being the most educated large city in the world, KPBS spent almost a million dollars more last year than they rounded up from the federal and state governments, from its parent, San Diego State, and from thousands of people who donated dollars upon dollars of their hard-earned income.

If KPBS were a private company, it would be in bankruptcy. If KPBS were a private company, it's board of directors or owners would fire the management, not the 14 hard-working people it fired in an attempt to balance expenditures with revenue. If KPBS were privately owned, it would have studied the market and produced programming to fit the market.

KPBS ignored its market and imported British programs, hired staff with British accents and gave more information on British soccer than it did on San Diego and its residents.

KPBS General Manager Doug Myrland has not been fired for the station's shortcomings. Instead, he announced that KPBS FM will now carry classical music from 7:30 P.M. until 4:00 A.M. Once again, if KPBS were a private station, Myrland would have been fired for non-performance.

Now that Myrland's British experiment has failed, one wonders how much longer San Diego has to put up with programming few in the market want. How many of San Diego's Black population (5%) will listen to classical music on a station they partly own? How many of San Diego's quarter-million plus Asian population will listen to classical music on a station they partly own?

How many of San Diego's 800,000 Hispanics will listen to classical music on a station they partly own?

A tiny handful of San Diego's diverse population will ever listen to Myrland's classical music, period.

The problem with Myrland's management is that he refuses to program toward the owners of the station, the San Diego public. If, one theorizes, half the San Diego population is of one ethnic group or another, doesn't it stand to reason that eclectic programming might succeed in getting community support?

Nonetheless, he still has a job, a job he would have been fired from if KPBS were a private station. The ultimate headman of KPBS is Dr. Stephen Weber, President of San Diego State. The ultimate decision as to how KPBS operates is his, also. Perhaps, President Weber should take a more careful look at the situation.

If he thought a phony Monty Montezuma was embarrassing, he should count the listeners to KPBS-FM and realize what an embarrassment five listeners are to San Diego State University, a university with 5,000 Hispanic students and a radio station that just lost 900-big ones, $900,000.

Raoul Lowery Contreras


I happened to pick up a copy of La Prensa at a coffee shop in Hillcrest. I must relay my outrage at a very offensive comment in one of your editorials. In the piece, "KPBS Public Radio/Television Ignores San Diego Minorities," (published August 31, 2001) this phrase appeared: "white, La Jolla-type listeners and viewers." First of all, I am Caucasian and a KPBS listener but am a far cry from being a "La Jolla type". But what if I was successful enough to reside in beautiful La Jolla? What would be my wrongdoing? Should I be ashamed of my skin color, of my origin, of my success and hard work and that I enjoy good radio broadcasting which I can relate to? I am disappointed by the unprofessional journalism you displayed by allowing such a stereotypical racial generalization to be made in your publication. I am dismayed at how our society finds it acceptable and often times humorous to make derogatory and racist remarks against white people. This behavior proliferates ignorance for all races. The more I encounter remarks such as these, the less sympathetic I am to the plights of other ethnic groups-and I am not alone in this conviction. Can you imagine picking up a general circulation newspaper and reading "Mexican, San Ysidro types"? Wouldn't you be outraged?

Furthermore, you wrote, "Perhaps they felt that the support of the richest segments of San Diego County would be sufficient to support them." To this ridiculous statement I ask in return, why don't luxury car companies advertise during Saturday morning cartoons? The answer is simple: kids can't afford them. It would be pertinent to mention that we live in a capitalist country and the goal is to make money in order to stay in business. Also, there are numerous programs and publications slanted for a Hispanic audience-why should KPBS be forced through unfounded accusations to change their programming to meet the needs of Hispanics and others groups specifically to alienate listeners and viewers of European descent? Why should white San Diego residents be made to feel guilty for wanting programming of interest to them? La Prensa is a "general circulation" newspaper but while I was reading it I felt that its contents did not cover stories relating to white culture except to bash it-I guess you shouldn't feel so bad about the "mariachis and Ballet Folklorico" coverage. If KPBS does change its line-up to focus on Latino or Hispanic or other ethnic groups, what will be left for me to listen to, or does that not matter because I happen to have white skin? I should want to be involved in the Hispanic community because it surrounds me, but it shouldn't be the other way around, right?

I would also like to clarify another point for you; there is no majority race in California. So, I guess that makes us ALL minorities. I am a writer, myself, and while I strongly oppose mass immigration and any special treatment for illegals, I would never stoop to your level of name calling and making racist generalizations. When it comes to issues such as these your opinion is not enough to make your point—you must rely on facts, and you don't have them. I also find it interesting that while you chose La Jolla as the area of town to epitomize us stodgy, white listeners and viewers, it is excluded from your distribution area.

Amy Covington

Never Forget!!

Times change... Memories remain! Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the "100 Women of the Century." Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known, how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam. The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot.

The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1978, the former commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison-the "Hanoi Hilton." Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell,
cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJs, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment" he'd received.

He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and dragged away. During the subsequent beating, He fell forward upon the camp commandant's feet, which sent that officer berserk. In '78, the AF Col. still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying days) from the Vietnamese Col.'s frenzied application of a wood-en baton.

From 1983-85, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4Es). He spent 6 years in the "Hilton"- the first three of which he was "missing in action". His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned/fed/clothed routine in preparation for a peace delegation" visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his SSN on it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and "Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?"

Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge ... and handed him the little pile of papers. Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Col. Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know about her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a black box" in Hanoi.

My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.)

We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as humane and lenient." Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a large amount of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane till my arms dipped. I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me

This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of "100 Years of Great Women." Lest we forget... "100 years of great women" should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots. There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them.

Letter signed by:

Charles (Skip) Klingman Asst. Professor of Music
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford,

Forwarded by:
Robert P. Graner
El Cajon

Any Recommendations?

Can you recommend a community education program in North County that offers beginning conversational Spanish lessons for adults.

I just moved here from the Midwest and I think I should learn Spanish.

Can you help me find classes?

Joel Abramson

Tribute Appreciated

A special thank you to Yvette tenBerge for reporting the terrific tribute to my father Ramiro Medina (published August 24, 2001).

Her words reflected the sentimentality and deep heart felt emotion that filtered the court room of Judge Wayne L. Peterson this past friday August 17, 2001.

I was personally moved by her court room presence, her focus, her intensity and professionalism.

The article was mirrored with accuracy and completeness and will be archived in our family records with great pride and ownership.

It is trully appreciated by the Medina family that Ms. tenBerge was able to capture the sentimentality and compassion that trademarks my father.

The day August 17, 2001 will long be remembered for the great tribute to my father, and it is especially assuring to know that memory will always be supported by the words so eloquently measured by Ms. tenBerge.

Raul E. Medina
Chula Vista

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