Friday, March 28, 2014

PNB Meeting 3-27-14: Points of Disorder...

There really isn't anything I can add. Yesterday's phone meeting of the Pacifica National Board said it all... Please listen and comment... perhaps some of us missed a point.


Over on Nalini's Pacifica Radiowaves list, there have been demands for the posting of missing minutes that were cut from the tail end of the previously posted, chaotic PNB phone meeting of March 27. Thanks to Bill Crosier of KPFT, we now have the following addendum.  Here is his accompanying text:

It starts with Adriana asking the chair for the floor, and Adriana talking.  Manijeh's discussion starts about 2 minutes into the recording, following Adriana, Kim, Benito, Cerene, Janet C, and Margy, and then finally Manijeh.  Kim, in particular, complained about the officers bringing the agenda to the PNB without motions that she had asked to be put on it.  Richard also tried valiantly to introduce a motion Thursday night about the vote to fire the ED, but the chair would not allow it to be put on the agenda and the majority backed up the chair.

In what I've uploaded, Kim pointed out that "we're still on the   stream".  Manijeh's speech (with some interruptions by Adriana and Cerene) starts about 2 minutes into the recording I'm providing.


  1. Thanks so much for posting this: there's nothing like transparency to judge the worth of an organisation.

    Obviously the first mistake made was not having Ifé chair the meeting.

    Second mistake was making Mr Norman chair the meeting, who seemed to have been a public official when he was elected to the Board (such officials can't become Board members). But maybe Board meetings are time-delimited so it suited some it the ensuing dispute ate up valuable Board minutes.

    Third mistake was the chair of the Board, Ms Wilkinson, not making sure all Board members had the agenda before the meeting started.

    . . . and I've only listened for three minutes.

    I guess when peeps hit the downside of their 50s some of them feel they can make a community contribution by trying to get elected to august bodies like the Pacifica National Board, prefigurements of the sort of society that the peeps can create when the shackles of capital no longer weigh us all down. Thing is, is this the sort of society that has a hope of garnering majority support in the present society? Is this the best that can be done by the self-organisation of the oppressed & exploited?

    I'll try my best not to comment again until I've heard all 91 mins of this audio clip.

    And yes, it's a slow day where I happen to be in Yurup (how a Brit cartoonist, the Guardian's Steve Bell, had Dubya spell the continent across the pond).

  2. As you said, Chris, "[t]here really isn't anything I can add".

    I won't give a spoiler, but I wonder if a bookmaker would give odds on whether Pacifica folds before this Pacifica National Board is able to work its way through the agenda they agreed on that historic day, Thursday, 27 March?

    Can't wait to watch the next livestream. Chris, I trust you'll announce the link in good time. We can all comment here during the broadcast, & say whether it goes best with tortilla chips, honky chips, or Oreos - or the same in reverse.

    (Correction: I live in Yurp, where the Yurpeans live.)

    1. Whatever goes with the egg that should (but probably isn't) on their faces. :)

  3. I heard the whole thing. There is a bitter fight with the pro-Reese faction that can be called the BAI faction. Carolyn Birden and Janet Coleman act like totalitarians, pick either Nazis or Stalinists in their respective council sessions. I can only speculate as to how and why, but this was a high-stakes conflict over who will be the chair and who will have the power to sign the checks. Noteworthy is the fact that Margie has the majority of the delegates, with the exception of the radicalized BAI crowd, I am not sure of it is the JUC and NUL coalition or if it something else, but the same conflict that had Bernard White kicked off the BAI board had someone named Minister of Information suspended from the board in California. Margie may have the board's majority and acted with greedy haste to can Reese, but the other, the pro-Reese side appears to ignore simple majorities or playing by the rules, they apparently prefer endless litigation using listener funds, and appear to have had Cerene whatever at a strategic bridgehead as a vote counter or vote secretary and could have prolonged the stalemate to keep Reese in the chair with their spoiler tactics.

    I am inclined to support Margie, because I like the West Coast programming better than the current fare produced at BAI. At this point, if you want to see Michael G and Reimers out of BAI, it will me Margie, and Reese, as your best and only hope. Again, nobody seems to be talking about FSRN financing itself into a comeback, and that might be what the real fight is all about.

  4. The March 27th episode of Pacifica Parliamentary Follies was a special meeting called by the unelected PNB Chair for the purpose of approving meeting minutes and authorizing a change to Pacifica bank account signatories. As a special meeting, only items within the scope of the call of the meeting could properly be placed upon the agenda, but the time for the public session had expired when an agenda was finally approved. The banking item was moved to closed session, which might have been proper under the circumstances, not because of any merit to the arguments publicly presented for this move, but rather because certain Board Members could not reasonably be trusted to avoid bringing up confidential CFO and ED personnel issues during that motion's debate. Although an agenda with the single item of minutes approval was adopted before the public session adjourned, that approval fell to the floor because the meeting was not by motion adjourned to a time certain. Technically, under the rules of procedure, unless a standing or special rule has been adopted specifying otherwise, the Board's next attempt to meet will be a new meeting rather than one which continues where the previous meeting left off. My guess is that the chair will assume otherwise in hopes that this decision will not be challenged. A public teleconference special meeting of the Pacifica National Board has been scheduled for Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm Eastern Time, presumably for the approval of minutes. A closed session has been scheduled to follow. The public portion of the meeting will be streamed at Don't miss the next exciting episode of this increasingly popular new reality series!

    1. Thank you, Terry—as always, you are the sober manual in this pile of comic books. The Pacifica Parliamentary Follies — what a perfect title for this sorry show!

    2. A slight correction: I reviewed the D.C. meeting audio and discovered that Margy was elected, but still illegally. More precisely, Margy was declared the winner of a tie which was not resolved in the manner required by Pacifica's bylaws. The declaration of results was challenged by an appeal, and the PNB voted to uphold the declaration. This creates a condition known in parliamentary law as a "continuing breach" which may be raised as a point of order once at each subsequent meeting until the breach is repaired. Margy Wilkinson is claiming authority as acting Executive Director of Pacifica on the basis of a California Corporations Code statute that gives the chair of a corporation's board the position of Chief Executive Officer when that post is vacant. Some or all of her opponents would claim that an illegal election for board chair can't possibly be adequate authority for application of this statute, and some or all of her opponents claim that the ED position is not vacant since the dismissal of Summer Reese was a violation of the terms of her employment agreement. Some of Reese's opponents answer that her contract is void because the Foundation's signators exceeded their authority and changed the terms of the original offer without the Board's approval. The Board's minority has been demanding assurance from legal counsel that the majority's recent actions were legal. It's looking suspiciously like Pacifica's regular counsel won't provide the answers that the majority wants, so the illegally elected Chair may be shopping for a substitute (other than from the firm of Siegel and Yee, presumably) that will.

  5. If one assumes that the Wilkinson Pacifica Board has voted to strip Reese of signatory authority and to transfer that authority solely to itself the next questions will be…

    Will Reese confront the relevant financial institutions with a claim that the Wilkinson Board does not in fact have signatory authority, their claim to such authority notwithstanding, and if so what will the relevant financial institutions then do? Accept the Board’s authority? Reject the Board’s authority? Seek legal counsel and/or a court ruling?

    Will the Wilkinson Board seek a court ruling as to their authority to fire Reese and thus to formally resolve the question as to who has legal authority? (They have yet to do so, of course.)

    Doubtless Reese will seek to add this to the list of items presented to the California Attorney General’s Office. Will that Office seek to appoint a conservator until the matter is investigated and resolved?

    Absent such action by the Attorney General’s Office will Reese seek court intervention to appoint a conservator to oversee (and/or investigate) Pacifica’s joint and several finances?

    What impact may all of this ongoing financial and managerial stress have on the FCC and/or other regulatory authorities or bodies?

    Stay tuned…

    ~ ‘indigo’

  6. Thanks, Terry, for the link for the next Pacifica National Board (PNB) meeting. There's also a link at the website (Calendar tab) in case yours is faulty:

    That site has PNB minutes (not given are date of either composition or approval), amongst others, from the date when Ms Reese was said to be on a three-year contract signed 31 January.

    One such set is of the PNB annual meeting, four days face-to-face (wow; to be that fly again), in DC, 7-10 Feb. The minutes are more enticing than informative, but worth reproducing, not least given the Reeseists' claim that legal advice was not taken concerning the attempt to sack Ms Reese. Here they are in full:

    "[dates & place,] the Pacifica Foundation Radio’s National Board met in Executive Session to consider personnel matters, priviledged advice from counsel, and information relating to engagement of services whose premature disclosure may compromise the legitimate business interest of the foundation."

    The next two sets of minutes are of the Thursday meetings, 13 & 20 March.

    13 March, when Ms Reese was sacked; again in full, & again not that informative:

    "The Pacifica National Board met in closed session to discuss personnel matters related to individual employees of the foundation. We thank Summer Reese for her service to date and will not continue her employment effective March 14, 2014"

    20 March:

    "The Pacifica National Board met in closed session to consider personnel matters concerning individual employees. It authorized PNB chair Margy Wilkinson to offer the position of Interim Executive Director to a specific individual."

    All sets of minutes are signed by Cerene Roberts, Board Secretary.

    Question: is it the Foundation's normal practice to publish PNB minutes before they have been approved by the subsequent PNB meeting, & also to publish them without saying they are only drafts, & so subject to alteration by a subsequent PNB meeting? Seems strange to me.

    I still think Ifé should be not just on the Board but chairing it.

    1. Ifé would open up her WBAI tote bag and pour out a whole lot of hip hop. This might compel the board members to dance. It's not easy to dance and scream at the same time.

    2. Jara,
      What you found are just the report outs from PNB closed sessions, not the minutes, which are sealed after approval. The public report outs are approved in closed session and not posted until approved. Minutes of recent open meetings are awaiting approval in open session and will be posted after approval. Open and Closed Pacifica meetings appear in different colors on the large Pacifica meeting calendar.

  7. This is off topic, but in case it's of interest to anyone, a friend of mine, Wang Jie, will have the premiere of her 2nd Symphony, performed by the DSO, streamed live tonight at 8:00 ET.

    The link to the live stream is

    ~ 'indigopirate'

  8. Which faction is opposed to the quacks and conspiracy nuts? This is the one I favor.

    1. Certain members of each faction are opposed to quacks and certain members of each faction are opposed to conspiracy nuts; but some of the opponents of conspiracy nuts would like to see an honest investigation of the 9/11 attacks, and some of the opponents of quacks wouldn't place Gary Null into that category. Though the divisions you've identified could be mapped out more accurately than the perjorative terms you've selected allow, and though those divisions are real enough within Pacifica however you care to phrase it, Pacifica's governance factions don't normally identify themselves or their alliances based upon these divisions. The "grassroots" versus "mainstreaming" division and the "professional" versus "community" divisions are closer to the reality, but even with those labels there is some crossover. At this moment, support or opposition to Summer Reese defines the factions, but I think that it would be largely accurate to say that the current Summer Reese faction is the same faction that supported Grace Aaron when she was in the Pacifica Executive Director slot.

  9. Terry,

    Who was Grace Aaron and what was her faction?
    What did she accomplish or fail to accomplish and what became of her?
    Which is the professionalism and mainstreaming faction at BAI?

    The problem with an honest investigation of the 9/11 events as they are done in Pacifica is two-fold - it consists of conspiracists trying to validate their forensic theories of how the towers did or did not fall, and the Pacifica broadcasting not hosting the opposing point of view or maintain objective neutrality or journalistic balance. In the end, Pacifica's coverage of 9/11 fails to examine and present the most basic history, analysis, or any criticism of the American response or the events and changes that followed these attacks. If they really wanted to do a public service broadcast, they would have did a show to read the entire 9/11 Commission report to the reader section by section and then have a panel of experts discuss it on the air. Same show could have also read an analyzed the Pentagon and the Valachi Papers, but that would seem too academic for the Pacifica crowd. The bottom line is that on Pacifica, the real investigative journalism as well as the analysis and critique of the current events is disregarded in favor of less critical conspiracy theories, just as real research is largely ignored in favor of the alternative medicine. Has anyone ever made this criticism of Pacifica before?

  10. Okay, Brooser Bear, I think I see where you're coming from.

    Rather than attempt an answer to your new questions or drift off-topic with a crtique of Pacifica programming or of your suggestions for better handling of subjects that Pacifica has admittedly not well-handled, allow me to attempt to provide a better answer to your original question.

    I will suggest that you and I both likely fall into the Pro-Mission faction, which is not well-represented by either current faction, but would be better served by the Pro-Reese faction, because it is more open to diverse perspectives.

    Members of the anti-Reese faction, in my view, typically believe that Pacifica's purpose is to be a voice for the voiceless, to serve under-represented communities, and to provide a progressive perspective as an alternative to the mainstream corporate media. This group is antagonistic to philosophies that stray too far from Pacifica's current left-progressive political philosophy, but is tolerant of identity politics and cultural nationalism.

    Members of the Pro-Reese faction, in my view, want Pacifica less defined by a narrow political consensus, want honest political debate with a range of perspectives, but less politics and more philosophy, drama, literature, and arts. This faction welcomes iconoclasts and libertarians, but is not tolerant of identity politics and cultural nationalism. Though not strict in its interpretation of Pacifica's Mission Statement, neither is it as exclusive as the majority faction.

    So, the anti-Reese faction is likely to include most revolutionaries, most Stalinists, most Black Nationalists, and most speakers of Spanish.

    The pro-Reese faction is likely to include most scientists, engineers, libertarians, philosophers, health food junkies, and conspiracy nuts.

    The two sides are antagonistic for both political and personal reasons. The anti-Reese faction was obstructionist for most of the past decade, but has recently obtained a firmer majority than ever before. The pro-Reese faction has become obstructionist in response, but is less skilled at the tactic and so more offensively obvious in its utilization.

    1. No, you've got it wrong, Terry. Reese's supporters are conspiracy mongers and Null supporters. Reese used to work for Null, and she's put him on at 4 of 5 stations, as well as pushed 9/11 type programming and pseudo-right-wing junk about monetarism.

      She or her appointees/supporters cancelled most remaining arts and drama at KPFA and put on stupid new age junk in its place. She killed FSRN and replaced it with crappy FSN.

      The anti-Reese people want clear-eyed political reporting from the grassroots and from the centers of power, from a wide range of political perspectives, as well as music, arts, lit, drama. They heartily support FSRN and other thoughtful programs.

    2. Now who's the conspiracy monger?

  11. Terry, thank you for the complex and a nuanced answer.
    What doesn't make sense to me though, if why would the Justice and Unity contingent from BAI be so pro-Reese, and why would Reese sabotage Andrew Phillips' short tenure at BAI, if he was pushing the California-produced public service programming?

    1. Justice and Unity is not pro-Reese. The WBAI Directors supporting Reese are not JUC. As to Andrew Phillips, my understanding is that he quit because Reese interfered with his fund-drive programming decisions, not his regular programming decisions.

  12. That is my understanding, too, Terry. Loyalties are fleeting when you have almost as many agendas as there are people involved. A practice of management cronyism breeds this sort of flip-flop.

    I don't think Summer Reese objected to Andrew's program changes, per se, but she panicked when the fund drive was running far short of expected income. I can understand that, as I'm sure Andrew did, but Summer should have consulted with him to find a solution rather than impulsively countermanding him. That undermined his authority and gave him a valid, compelling reason to resign. I would have done the same.