Radio station reform group expands protests against KDNA in Granger | Local

GRANGER — A citizens’ group demanding change at a public radio station in the Lower Yakima Valley has expanded its protests to include the town of Granger and its police department.

The back and forth between protesters and the non-profit radio station has heated up in recent months.

The station’s lawyer sent a letter to the group’s leader last month saying his radio show would be axed and he would not be allowed into the station due to ‘abusive behaviour’ and disruption Staff. Protesters say several volunteers have had their broadcasts cut and they want the station’s management fired.

KDNA is a Spanish-language public radio station, broadcast on 91.9 FM, established over 40 years ago to serve agricultural workers and Latinos in the Yakima Valley.

It is housed in the Northwest Communities Education Center, which was acquired in 2011 by Sea Mar, a nonprofit organization targeting health services, education, and housing in the Seattle area.

Complaints

Hector Franco, president and director of the organization Campaign Reform L&I, is among the leaders of the protest group, La Comité Libre Radio KDNA, or the Committee to Free Radio KDNA.

The group is upset that two volunteers, Andrew Gonzalez and Crispin Jaimes, were asked to stop their radio broadcasts after Francisco Ríos, the station’s news director, was named Radio KDNA’s “group leader” of the year last.

Last month, Franco was told in a letter from Sea Mar attorney Michael Leong that his radio show promoting L&I campaign reform would be pulled from KDNA and he would no longer be allowed on the property of the Sea Mar Community Health Center at 121 Sunnyside Ave.

The February 25 letter to Franco states that “your abusive behavior has continually escalated with disruptions…and with profanity directed at staff”, and therefore “you will no longer be permitted to participate in KDNA radio programs”.

Franco argued that KDNA and Rios administrators have aligned themselves with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) to deny workers’ rights.

Joining protesters opposed to KDNA’s administration is Saida Rodriguez, an employee listed on the station’s website as “programming/automation and volunteer coordinator.”

The Comité group has held several protests/press conferences and is calling for a strike among unionized station employees, demanding “that the current administration of Gilbert Alaniz, Francisco Rios, Elizabeth Torres and Carolina Montes, be terminated immediately.”

At a March 3 rally outside the station, posted on the Campaign Reform L&I Facebook page, Granger police told Committee members that while they were allowed to protest outside, they could not enter the property or use the electricity from the radio station.

Response

The group’s demands for changes in the administration of KDNA, conveyed via a slew of social media posts and several protests outside the station, have yet to be formally presented to officials of the media entity. public.

“They need to put their concerns and requests in writing, so that those concerns can be addressed by Sea Mar administration,” said Torres, KDNA’s director of operations.

Torres and other radio station officials say they have received nothing in writing from the Free Radio KDNA Committee.

She and KDNA administrator Alaniz said they were advised by their lawyer, Leong, not to discuss the matter publicly or respond to The Committee’s allegations.

Police, city involvement

As protests resumed at the station this week, the Committee wrote a letter March 8 to Granger Mayor Jose Trevino and the city council.

This letter refers to the March 3 rally and alleges that Granger police denied the group of protesters access “to our public community center for the simple act of protesting. This is a violation of our right (to) our freedom of assembly!

They also requested more information from the police department regarding a drive-by shooting at the home of KDNA employee Rodriguez on February 13, saying the shooting “could have been another tactic to intimidate and stop the protests.” .

Police Sergeant Granger. David Marks told the Herald-Republic on Wednesday that the February 13 incident remains an active investigation, so he could not comment on specifics of what happened, but said it was not related to protests in the radio station.

“I don’t believe (the shooting) is related to what’s going on at the radio station – there’s no evidence to link those two together,” Marks said.

The KDNA Radio Free Committee issued a press release on March 9 asking for a response from the Granger City Council on its questions regarding the police department, denouncing “the total blackout, as if it had never happened, of the drive-by shooting at the home of a KDNA employee who filed a grievance with the Teamsters 760 union regarding retaliation and hostile working conditions.

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