Thursday, December 31, 2015

Exiles News Release:Questionable Candidates

December 30, 2015
For Immediate Release
Rules Are For Suckers
Berkeley- Two national board directors nominated from Pacifica's 200 programming affiliate stations have become the latest victims in the Siegel/Brazon faction's machinations to keep a majority on the board in 2016 at all costs. Last week saw the nomination and appointment of a representative from Uhuru Radio, an Internet-only station operated under a Florida for-profit limited liability company called Burning Spear Productions. Uhuru Radio neither broadcasts nor distributes any Pacifica produced programming on their daily schedule. Last night, the board majority, over strenuous objections, appointed another uncontested nominee, this one from a station without any affiliate written agreement in place. In other words, nominated by a station that isn't an affiliate at all.

Pacifica's bylaws have this to say about the process:

Any Foundation "affiliate station" (as defined below) or any association of affiliate stations may nominate one or more candidates for the two Affiliate Director positions on the Board.
For purposes of this Section, an "affiliate station" shall be defined as any non-profit non-commercial broadcaster that broadcasts programming provided or distributed by the Foundation  pursuant to a written agreement with the Foundation, including, for example, community radio stations, internet broadcasters or digital broadcasters, as such technology may be developed.

As the first order of business, and given 30 days advance notice, at a Board meeting in December each year, the Directors present and voting (excluding any then current Affiliate or At-Large Directors from the vote) shall establish a protocol for balloting  using the Single Transferable Voting method.and shall elect two (2) Affiliate Representative Directors from the nominees submitted by affiliate stations.

To enumerate the long series of bylaws flouting by the board majority: one of their appointees was not nominated by a nonprofit, one was nominated by a station that does not broadcast or distribute Pacifica-produced content, neither has a written agreement in place, one hasn't for several years, 30 days advance notice was not provided, no ballots were used, single transferable voting was not used and two were not elected at the same time.

Affiliate directors are on Pacifica's board to address the network's Audioport program distribution system and relationships between Pacifica and affiliate stations that pay an annual fee and sign an annual contract as customers to access the system. That constituency can't be adequately represented if its only national board reps aren't part of the dues-paying customer base of the program. The affiliate program earns $250K- $300K in annual revenues to Pacifica's national office and in combination with SCA sideband rental fees pays the salaries of Pacifica's ED, CFO, and national accounting and tech staff.

A sample of the shrieking hollering meeting can be heard here (with all due apologies for the shrieking). The board majority doesn't even pretend nominee station (WMXP) is a current affiliate, settling for a weak "they were one before" and voting as a block to mow down any and all objections. Texas director George Reiter can be heard clearly stating the voice vote is out of order and several members point out that WMXP isn't even listed on Pacifica's on-line roster of affiliated stations, which can be found here. 

The nominee for whom all the shrieking ensued, Efia Nwangaza, has a checkered history, both with Pacifica and in other ventures. As the board secretary, Nwangaza often hired outside contractors to prepare the minutes at Pacifica's expense, occupying the position on a mostly ceremonial basis. After leaving Pacifica's board in 2012, low-power station WMXP never signed another affiliate contract with Pacifica. The station itself was off the air in May of 2011, not returning to terrestrial broadcast again until May of 2012. The affiliated nonprofit, the Malcom X Center (Nwangaza is the president) was sold by Greenville County in a tax sale for unpaid back taxes in December of 2012 and had to be redeemed. Nwangaza is also an attorney and wassuspended from the practice of law for 9 months by the South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel for misconduct in 2011.  The hearing in the Supreme Court of South Carolina cited four previous incidences of attorney discipline; private reprimands in 1993 and 1996, a public reprimand in 2005, and a previous finding of misconduct in 2007.

Nwangaza isn't the only Siegel/Brazonite vying for control of troubled Pacifica while having difficulty managing their own affairs. Board chair and current volunteer executive director Lydia Brazon, who describes herself as the Vice-President of Real Estate Directions Inc. presides over a real estate company suspended by the California Secretary of State. The Peace Center, the LA office building Brazon manages for real estate investor Aris Anagnos, is owned by the Aris and Carolyn Anagnos Peace Center Foundation which is alsosuspended by the California Secretary of State. The Peace Center's last publicly filed 990 tax form can be found here.

Technically until a California corporation corrects suspended status, it is prohibited from transacting business, filing a lawsuit, answering a lawsuit filed against it, closing an escrow, initiating litigation, or protecting and preserving its name.

The disarray in the outside dealings of many Pacifica board members and executive staffers is worrying given Pacifica's precarious condition and the complex and highly regulated business structure. Pacifica's history of compliance and administrative competence has never been particularly high throughout its long history, and has taken a free fall in the past two years.

One of the persistent complaints about Pacifica throughout the years has been that stations have distributed unauthorized copies of unowned material as premium gifts to donors. Some suspect alternative health host Gary Null's pending litigation threats may be about piracy. (One way such an activity would work is that 50 DVDs of a copyrighted work would be sold as fund drive premiums. Instead of purchasing 50 wholesale DVD's from the licensed owner or distributor, only one would be purchased and then unofficially duplicated 49 times and sent to donors. After soliciting fifty donations of $100 each totaling $5,000, Pacifica stations would not purchase fifty $10 wholesale DVD's from the licensed distributor, but would only purchase one, send $10 of the $5,000 received, and keep the remaining $4,990 less the price of a package of DVD-R's).

There's no doubt unauthorized distributions have occurred in the past. In one large-scale example, both Pacifica California stations KPFK and KPFA sold hundreds if not thousands of bootleg DVDs of filmmaker Adam Curtis's series of BBC documentaries: The Power of NightmaresThe Century of the Self and The Trapbetween 2008 and 2010. The popular documentaries, which are not available in the United States, were purchased from a dodgy DVD duplicator who promised "hand-pressed factory originals". The vendor admits the product is a download on their website. Lengthy public domain discussions of the copyright infringement issue have existed since at least 2005 on sites as obscure as Wikpedia, where Wikipedia's Nick Cooper removed links on ethical grounds. A cease and desist letter was finally received from the copyright holder demanding the purchase and re-sale of the bootleg DVDs stop.  

Pacifica's board elections continue until January 4th at WBAI, KPFK and KPFT. Members at those stations who haven't voted are encouraged to look for online voting instructions they may have received on October 22nd, or fill out an immediate request for them at Voters in NY, Houston and LA can also go to the station offices on January 4th to secure replacement ballots. 

Pacifica in Exile's candidate recommendations can be found here. 

Quorum *may* still be short by 90 votes at KPFK and 140 at WBAI, but there is no way to tell for sure. The reason quorum status is fuzzy is because elections vendor Simply Voting took a 3 week vacation from December 18th to January 4th and has not reported on the number of paper ballots received in the mail since December 15th. In the previously completed KPFA election, 40% of listener voters and 30% of staff voters chose to submit paper ballots by mail. 

Whatever the actual gap may be, it could probably be easily made up by the aggressive playing of voter information PSA's through the duration of the election period.  Pacifica listeners say this is not happening. One KPFK listener monitored and observed that only Spanish language voter information carts were being played on LA station KPFK, with no English-language ones being played at all. Given KPFK's 50+ years as an English-primary station, it seems safe to say at least 50% of their members are probably not fully fluent in Spanish. Spanish language announcements are perceived by many at KPFK to skew towards support of the slate affiliated with board chair/ED Lydia Brazon, who is running for re-election this year for the fourth time. 

If you value being kept up to speed on Pacifica Radio news via this newsletter, you can make a little contribution to keep Pacifica in Exile publishing during this season of giving. Donations are secure, but not tax-deductible. You may make a donation anonymously and/or in memory or honor of a Pacifica-related person of your choice and they will be notified (if we can track them down).



  1. I guess the longer this criminal gang gets away with something, the more they will do. What ever became of the California AG investigation?


    1. I think the CA AG is still digging.

      Did you hear Kathy's crying caller? I will post it when I wake up.

    2. No, I didn't listen. Did the caller lose her magic crystals?


    3. No, he lost his radio station.. Kathy's confused, dumb reaction is enough to make one cry.

    4. I had to go to the archives to check it out. Let's get this straight. This guy calls Davis, one of the people most responsible for destroying WBAI, to cry how "They destroyed our station, Kathy... I'm so upset... They ruined it... They ruined it..!" while Davis babbles incoherent nonsense and acts totally flippant towards him. For some reason I'm laughing at this dope, like she ended up doing.

      Also, let's not forget the previous caller who called in, not even knowing what show he was listening to or who she was. My guess it was a prank.

      Anyway. It's good to know where Davis' priorities lay, as Gaia is more important than WBAI, as she said. Thanks for the clarification of your dedication. I'll be keeping this show so that one day I can hopefully make it come back to haunt you.

      She really is so sick in the head.


    5. I think she might ave a problem levitating.

  2. Amazing. There is no longer even a pretense of following their own rules. What is the point
    of all this? Going to the wall to elect someone who is clearly not qualified just to keep a
    majority? Is this guy even going to bother showing up to the meetings or will he be a member in name only like the WBAI delegates who go 10-12 months between meetings. No there is much more going on here than just internal politics. We are now firmly in conspiracy territory. Even you Chris Albertson can't be so blasé about this. Please connect the dots or at least identify who the incompetents are. It was only a few weeks ago they were arguing about sending notice to the affiliates.
    BTW It also says something about the affiliates. They either don't know or don't care about their representation. They could pull their directors at any time.

  3. What happened at the PNB reminded me of the last LSB meeting which started an hour late because the JUC folks couldn't seem to find the meeting room which was just around the corner from the main door. I didn't realize it at the time but they didn't want to vote on six bylaws amendments. Four of them passed anyway without WBAI weighing in. I also appreciated the battle of the dueling agendas. The chair presented one agenda. The Indy folks presented another agenda. I could almost hear the bell to start the fight. This is the level they're operating at.
    The LSB has been meeting in Harlem which seems like a good idea if you want to engage the community but only one person was there who may have been from the area and yet people were wondering why aren't there more people and more younger people in particular present.

  4. For a second, I thought is was "A RELATED LETTER FROM BILL COSBY". Oy Vey.