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stern admonitions that programmers who neglect their volunteer hours would be losing their shows. Then the meeting became a surreal ritual of self-congratulation, sort of a bizarre New Age corporate pep-rally. Virtually every volawarded a certificate, recognizing his or her “Outstanding Achievement” for excellent programming, for volunteering, for something or other. This was followed by a series of “recognitions,” during which almost everybody in the room \(or at least from somebody else for all the great work she or he had done for KOOP. Near the very end of this not-quite-spontaneous outpouring of mutual cheerleading, first Joe Perez \(who represents on the community board a construction workers organization called “Stop Hernandez, rose and thanked Eduardo Vera for “opening the door” of the station to Austin’s Chicano community. Vera cheerfully accepted, saying his interest would continue to be in “more participation” and “more democracy” at KOOP. As the meeting closed, Ricardo Guerrero, who had stood silently throughout the meeting wearing a “KPFA Free Speech” sign \(modrule would remain in effect. Teresa Taylor answered yes. Later, I asked Paul Hernandez about his praise for Vera and about his sense of the station in the wake of all the controversy. He reiterated that Vera deserved praise for his work in welcoming Latinos into the station. He said there was certainly some racism personal and institutional at KOOP, citing for example some Anglo programmers’ objections to Hernandez’ broadcasting in Spanish, adding that the presence of Latinos in governing positions is the only long-term solution. But Hernandez, who says his primary interest at the station is getting broadcasting resources for the Latino community in Austin, was reluctant take sides in the ongoing flame-wars. “It should never have descended into name-calling, in which the opponents become the devil reincarnated,” Hernandez said. “There’s been demagoguery on all sides.” He acknowledged that Eduardo Vera is “not an easy person to work with,” and laughed, “neither am I.” Nor did he wish to criticize Jim Ellinger, whom he said he respects, along with his family. “There are no saints here,” Hernandez concluded. “But there’s a fine line between discontent and sabotage. Some of these people want the station to fail. The people who are opposing station management may believe the station is being taken away from them. Then they need to organize to get it back.” Asked if he thought that organizing for a broader democratic change, without generating even more hostility and acrimony, remains possible, Hernandez couldn’t say. Speaking from Colorado, David Barsamian commented that based on his understanding of what has happened at KOOP, local activists need to begin asking themselves, “Why is there so much disharmony in Austin?” The station’s dominating faction appears to be, he said, composed of rigid sectarians, “who believe with a religious fervor in what they’re doing, so that justifies their exclusionary behavior.” “So much of community radio is based on trust,” Barsamian went on, “and in the prevailing atmosphere, it’s not clear how that trust can be recovered. How and why did the situation get to that point? Perhaps after years of being politically ineffective, they’ve given up on the real enemy, and turned on the people standing next to them.” Put a Nobel Prizewinner on your bookshelf and the Observer in your mailbox! Subscribe now and receive Development as Freedom, the new book by Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics. In his book, Sen argues that freedom is the ultimate goal of economic life and the most efficient means of realizing the general welfare. It is a democratic good, to be enjoyed by the world’s entire population. Amartya Sen has “restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of economic problems.” Nobel Prize Committee Sign me Up! This is a new subscription renewal gift Name Address City/State/Zip Gift for: Name Address City/State/Zip Check enclosed: $ Charge my credit card: Visa Mastercard AmEx Credit Card # Exp Date Signature Offer courtesy of Bernard and Audre Rapoport EVEL AS EE: A. MA RT yA 5 EN Th e T e xa s Ob serv er 307 W. 7th St . Au sti n , TX 78701 \(51277-0746 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 10, 1999