Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eight in the middle...

As Summer Reese continues her occupancy of Pacifica's headquarters in Berkeley, eight employees of that office report to work as usual. Whether their sympathy lies with Summer Reese or the people who put Margy Wilkinson on stage is immaterial, they have duties to perform. The Majority (i.e. Wilkinson faction) has apparently been harassing and in other ways interfering with the work of these non-union Pacifica employees, so Attorney James De Maegt, a Reese supporter, wrote a cease and desist letter on their behalf, urging that "Repeated demands to perform actions which employees have stated appear to them to be contradictory to the law and inappropriate must cease until the matters in question are heard by a higher authority."

The letter (found here in its entirety*) was sent to the PNB and responded to by attorney José Luis Fuentes, a PNB Director whose activities lately have been the subject of unanswered questions. You may recall allegations that he recently attempted to have Pacifica payroll processing data diverted to the office of his employer, the law firm of Siegel and Yee. Mr. Fuente responded to Mr. De Maeght's letter with a threat:
* Thanks to an anonymous poster.


  1. 1) Chris, at the top you say, Margie "issues a warning", which is presumably a proxy-warning as the email given is from Jose Fuentes, an ally.

    2) Chris, why do you say "[t]he letter was addressed to attorney José Luis Fuentes"?

    3) From what's said here it's not clear whether Jim DeMaegt's communication was sent either in solidarity with the eight employees or as instructed by them. It's also not clear that Mr Fuentes wrote on behalf of the National Board (his email is silent on its status), but he is right to ask Mr DeMaegt which is the case.

    4) And thanks again for your sterling work in maintaining a chronicle, for your views, & giving us all a chance to think through what all this means.

    1. Thank you, Jara for bringing that mistake in the heading to my attention (I corrected it). Fuentes may have been reacting on his own initiative—we don't really know.. As far as I can determine, De Maegt's letter (e-mail) was sent to the Pacifica National Board (not Fuentes), but the response came from Fuentes, ergo, we can assume that he is responding for the PNB.

      Whether the eight employees asked that the letter be sent, or simply gave it their nod ia not something I can verify. I agree that Fuentes's is right to question whether DeMaegt writes as the legal representative for these employees.

      Sorry about my mixup, I have my hands full with this blog and my older, jazz-oriented-blog. Also trying to squeeze another book out of my octogenarian memory bank! Thanks for the kind words and please never hesitate to correct my mistakes. —Chris

    2. Thanks for the clarifications, Chris. There's certainly no laxness (intended pun!) here on your part.

      By the way, what's your book project on, is it jazz?

    3. in Halldór? He was a good friend of my paternal (Icelandic) family. I haven't met many people here who know of him, and none who have read his books.

      My book is an autobiography, of sorts—bits an pieces that made up my life, so I guess it's also a jazz book, tangentially.

    4. I've had a soft spot for Iceland, for hosting then helping the Fiend of the Manhattan Chess Club, for the stark landscape, & not least for the 2010 'erups', as I couldn't fly to the Canaries & so had to find a holiday by train, going to Slovenia, discovering the gems of Ljublijana, Bled, & Piran on the Adriatic. I've also been struck by recognising that a society of a technically high standard can be created by a group of perhaps 300 000 or so people: it doesn't need millions & millions of people to find enough that can be trained to the highest proficiency. To the contrary, it also shows how much human talent is never brought to fruition - and that's where a properly applied idea like Pacifica can play a philanthropic role, no matter how small.

      And best wishes & perseverance with the book! (Sumud in Arabic: .)

    5. Thank you, Jara, you have given me a new word to like.

    6. (I had sent this as the first part of my Iceland comment, but it didn't come out, so here it is again.)

      Exactly. I had come across the Finnish historical novel trilogy, Under the North Star, by Väinö Linna, & that led me to a predecessor, HL's Independent People. Then, serendipitously, & to my great pleasure, in a secondhand bookshop I found both The Atom Station and Under the Glacier. All somewhat more satisfying that finding things on the net!

      (Chris, although Independent People could never be thought to parallel 'the American Dream', in terms of its celebration of steadfastness & self-reliance did it enjoy some literary success in the US & Canada?)

    7. Sorry for the delay in getting this post up—my mistake, it somehow slipped by. I just came across it, so here it is.

      I don't know how well Haldór Laxness' "Independent People" did in the U.S., but it is probably his widest known work. We Icelanders are, indeed, independent people, but not to our detriment—at least I don't think so. Being half Danish, I was caught in the middle when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, but I was spared having to take part in the celebration on that day, June 17, 1944, as I was on a freighter in the middle of the Atlantic. Our convoy was attacked by U-Boats, so Independence was not on our minds!

      BTW, I don't think Iceland should have taken that step at a time when Denmark was still occupied by the Nazis..

  2. This piece would have been a great deal more amusing if you had included the letter from Jim DeMaegt, to which Mr. Fuentes was responding. It would have reminded those of you who know Mr. DeMaegt of old, of his endearingly bombastic presentation of, and loose grip on, the facts. This is my first (virtual) encounter with the guy, and he is of the sort where limiting engagement is the best and only wise response.

    1. I wish I had that letter. I don't know Mr. DeMaegt, but I'll be frank at admit that I have come across many of his posts on this list—ones not associated with the current command combat—and found them to be of no interest.

      Guess you can't really judge a person by his/her posts :)

  3. Here you go, fresh off the Pacifica Radio Supporters FaceBook page, where he published it:

    From: Jim DeMaegt []
    Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 7:43 PM
    Subject: To: Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors

    James P. DeMaegt
    500 500 W. Queen Street, Suite 2
    Inglewood, California, 90301

    (310) 673-4302

    April 10, 2014

    To: Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors (,
    Members: Rodrigo Argueta, Carolyn Birden, Lydia Brazon, Jim Brown, Adriana Casenave, Janet Coleman, Benito Diaz, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Jose Luis Fuentes, Heather Gray, Kim Kaufman, Luzette King, Janet Kobren, Hank Lamb, Janis Lane-Ewart, Tony Norman, Laurence Reyes, George Reiter, Cerene Roberts, Manijeh Saba, Richard Uzzell, Margy Wilkinson and Bernard Duncan and Raul Salvador.

    Regarding the Employees:
    Jonathan Alexander, Jon Almeleh, Joyce Black, Maria Gaite, Otis Maclay, Tamika Miller, LaSchele Mosley, Weiling Thai

    The above-named employees of Pacifica Foundation Radio are caught in the middle of a dispute between members of the Board of Directors of Pacifica Foundation Radio which is currently being litigated in Alameda Superior Court in Case # HG14720131. A hearing on a preliminary injunction against 12 members of the Board of Directors has been set for May 6, 2014.

    Until this hearing proceeds, the legality of several recent actions by the Board of Directors is in question and many documents required to assess the veracity of statements by some members of the Board are missing and unavailable.

    In this situation, a hostile workplace environment has been created in which members of the Board of Directors and senior employees, who may or may not have been hired legally, repeatedly berate, bully and threaten subordinate employees to take potentially illegal and irreversible actions in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

    Under Pacifica Foundation organizational rules the employees cited above are not directly supervised by the Board of Directors. The current legal dispute between members of the Board of Directors has brought great confusion to the employees regarding the present chain of command and the authenticity and powers and responsibilities of each of the alleged supervisors in Pacifica Foundation and many employees do not know for certain who their direct supervisors currently are and what their powers and responsibilities are. Since the case is now in court the employees do not expect to have that clarified until the injunction request is heard on May 6th.

    All members of the Pacifica Foundation Radio Board of Directors and the two employees named above whose status is legally disputed by 41% of the board, must be instructed to cease and desist threatening the above-mentioned employees starting now and until the May 6th date for a hearing on a preliminary injunction.

    The employees of Pacifica must be allowed to perform their jobs in their customary fashion without undue interference from the above-mentioned parties. Repeated demands to perform actions which the employees have stated appear to them to be contradictory to the law and inappropriate must cease until the matters in question are heard by a higher authority.

    The employees wish to serve the best interests of Pacifica Foundation Radio going forward and hope the Board of Directors will resolve their conflicts in a court of law as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to a prompt response on this issue.

    James P. DeMaegt

    cc: Der Manouel Insurance, Holman Human Resources

  4. Employees are there, because they back Reese. I wouldn't break into a padlocked building except on my own free will. If this was a real world corporation, these employees would be fired after Reese gets removed. Fuentes and Co, should not bother with this guy, just ask the employees to do something, and when they refuse, fire them for insubordination. Then get them removed from premises and bring in new hires. If Reese gets in the way of removal, have her arrested., and press criminal charges against her. Reese is hell bent on destroying the Pacifica and Pacifica programming as the Left knows it, and the Left is twiddling its thumbs.

    1. Why do I feel that your arguments have drifted into a sea of subjectivity?

    2. Let me guess: BB's arguments "have drifted into a sea of subjectivity" because he is very lucidly as well as urgently making a case different from your own? The amused, detached "view from on high" above the Pacifica Follies/death throes doesn't do you a lot of credit, I'm sorry to say. I don't know who any of you are, being a Left Coastie, only involved in all this for a few years-- but the one of you posting here regularly to whom I'd care to talk is BB.

    3. Sorry, wrong guess. I agree with much of what BB posts here, I even share some of his criticism of Summer Reese, but I no longer sense the objectivity his posts used to reflect. His disagreeing with some of my views is as it should be if we are to carry on a useful exchange. This is one reason why I started this blog.

      As for the streak of cynicism and humor you detect, this is to be expected given the farcical turns this power play takes. I vividly recall a far more mature Pacifica back in the days when I was actively involved. The boardroom has morphed into a sandbox as the level of program quality and contend went down and listeners fled. It's sad.

  5. Chris, obviously I have my own biases driven by the kind of programming I would like to hear on Pacifica, but argue me on my facts. Point out, where my information is wrong, or my analysis is wrong or my conclusions are wrong. This latest post is driven by frustration caused by Fuentes responding inadequately. Reese is very aggressively trying to get him off the board. She is behaving like a piranha in all of this and the erstwhile Pacifica National Board is acting like the cow caught in the Piranha pool, time and time again. If the un-unionized and likely underpaid employees of Pacifica are in with Reese in this occupation, and the Majority Faction does not like this, it should be moving to negotiate with them, try to get them under its control, fire them, if necessary, instead, Fuentes is getting into the flame wars with the lawyer taking up their cause and/or interfering with them. A short line asking if he is representing these individuals in his official capacity as a lawyer would have been adequate and professional (isn't he a partner in a law firm, after all?), followed by whatever countermeasures.

    Anonymous, you can talk to me here or click BB and follow to my two slowly atrophying blogs, and there is an option in Google to e-mail me directly. I welcome any and all correspondence.

    1. The latest wrinkle in the saga is that the amended complaint filed April 15 includes the JDM letter, and something from the technical staff indicating their "confusion" about who's in charge. And the fury with which the (current) Reese-supporting minority is going after the (current) majority has also increased. My take is that they have been working toward weakening the individual stations, solidifying the grip of the National Office, for so long that they're in a battle unto death. Their purported concern over the various challenges at the stations is belied by their insistence on replicating the plan that did in WBAI, at every other station. This process is well underway, with KPFA putting up the strongest and most effective resistance to date. If it weren't for STV, the Reese/Rosenberg/(Spooner) faction in Berkeley would have NO KPFA Directors on the PNB. Their strongest support has always come from NY and LA, where their machinations are not as visible.