Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reimers' Black and Tan Fantasy....



HOW GREEN IS HIS TALLEY?
Remember the PNB Finance Committee meeting of November 4th? They sought to decipher the WBAI books, so the author—station GM Berthold Reimers—was there to let it all hang out. Well, sort of... but, to no one's surprise, he came ill prepared to bare anything. He mumbled and stumbled, arousing nothing more than curiosity, so—it's wishes unfulfilled—the Committee requested an encore two weeks hence.

Yesterday, a month before Christmas Eve, Saint Reimers de Port Au Prince, stood before them again. The Fall fundraiser was now over and—it having been aptly named—WBAI Treasurer, R. Paul Martin, was armed with a new set of front office tallies and a few questions.

The next WBAI fundraiser is already around the corner and the visionary Mr. Reimers is importing two West Coast pitchers to do what his own crew apparently can't. He seems blissfully unaware of the fact that the West Coast is having its own pecuniary problems, as KPFK Treasurer José Luis Fuentes indicated to the Audit Committee earlier

Once again, we thank 'indigopirate' for putting Morpheus on hold as he listened and listened and listened into the night before plucking these audio clips.

But wait.... there's more!


They re-convened Monday, Nov. 28th. Here's a brief follow-up sound clip from 'indigopirate'. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trailer trash radio in New York City...

In case you are not among the handful who take in this steady diet of morning racism, here's a distillation of the 6 to 7 am portion of lifetime amateur Michael Haskins' November 23rd slop. This audio concentrate may well be the most embarrassing radio show in the New York City area. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

And down came the spider... (Pacifica Radio in Exile newsletter)



I post this newsletter regularly FYI. Other than formatting and image, the content is unaltered. —CA

System Breakdown 

Berkeley-The Pacifica Foundation, 19 months into a coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction, is starting to project its internal demolition onto on-air operations. In the past two weeks, LA station KPFK's website has collapsed at least three times, once for 4 entire days and the station fell off terrestrial broadcast, the website at www.pacifica.org went dark, the website at www.kpfa.org went dark, WBAI-FM aired the Progressive Radio Network's internet stream having misplaced its own programs, and the LA archives failed, storing only 15 of the last 132 hours of programming since 6:00am on Monday November 16th.

The network's financial audit for the year ending 9-30-2014 remains un-started, 14 months after the end of the fiscal year and 5 months after audited financial statements were due to the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the CA Attorney General. As of November 18th, the network's national finance committee was told the following schedules had still not been provided by 4 of the 6 units in order to start the overdue audit:

WBAI: a) Prepaid Expenses; b) Premiums Inventory; c) Accrued Expenses; d) Accrued Rent; e) Tower Rent Expense; and f) Office Rent.

KPFA:   a) Advances to Employees; b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Accrued Expenses Payables; and d) Accrued Vacation.

WPFW: a) Advances to Employees; b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Accrued Expenses Payables; and d) Accrued Vacation.

KPFK:  a) Account reconciliations for Main Checking Account, Restricted Cash, KPFK Video Project, Programming and Saving Accounts b) Prepaid Expenses; c) Advances to Employees; and d) Accrued Expenses.

After the Pacifica National Board voted on October 29th in executive session that a $400,000 bequest to the Pacifica Foundation had been diverted to KPFA's bank account, the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction (Save KPFFA) took to the Internet, newspapers and social media. They went so far as to accuse national board member Janet Kobren of "costing KPFA $400,000" in a widely circulated anonymous hit piece. The piece characterized Kobren's request for documents that supported the claim the gift was a restricted donation as "dirty politics". Local station board member and KPFA staffer Frank Sterling strongly objected to the vicious hit piece here. ED Margy Wilkinson can be heard defending her actions (including a verbal slip-up) here

Pacifica in Exile has made available a limited number of the 60+ pages of documentation available to board members. They demonstrate the will language and the check document mandate an unrestricted bequest to the Pacifica Foundation, and that KPFA's general manager signed estate documents instead of Pacifica's chief financial officer.

Another email exchange can be found here.  In it, dated March 23rd, the CFO, 19 days after his initial attempt to find out the amount of the bequest, is still trying to find out the amount of the check, and is told by KPFA's business manager she had booked it as an accounts receivable to KPFA on February 12th. This is 6 weeks prior to the deposit of the check, 26 days prior to the issuance of the check which is dated March 10th, and 2 weeks prior to the sign off on the distribution by KPFA's general manager as an officer of Pacifica Foundation. It also makes clear the vast amount of time available to instruct the estate attorney in how to write out the payee name for a restricted donation to KPFA as "Pacifica Foundation for the benefit of KPFA" or "Pacifica Foundation doing business as KPFA". The estate attorney made the  payment payable to the entity described in the will language exactly and precisely (Pacifica Foundation Radio) and KPFA staff added a "DBA KPFA" in pen to the name of the payee on the check to enable deposit.

At the time, the KPFA unit was experiencing serious cash flow difficulties and GM McCoy stated that payroll for April 2015 was "dicey".

In the local station board meeting held in Berkeley to discuss the decision about the bequest. Siegel/Brazonite Jose Luis Fuentes tried to frighten KPFA board members and any subscribers/staffers who may have been listening that "they" were going to sell of Pacifica's assets including the Berkeley property that houses KPFA and Pacifica's national office. The problem is that Fuentes himself, two days earlier, had been *insisting* that the national board pursue debt reorganization and the sale of assets. (The whole meeting, including the negative reaction to his proposal from board members in other signal areas, can be heard here).

So by *they*, Fuentes apparently meant *me*.

Fuentes' old boss Dan Siegel and ED Wilkinson set up a new California nonprofit foundation called the KPFA Foundation using Pacifica's 70 year old mission statement to re-house KPFA and Pacifica's assets under their sole control should the Pacifica Foundation file for bankruptcy or sell off assets.

In LA, Background Briefing host Ian Masters, one of the LA station's perennial money makers, declared his intent to take his program independent of KPFK. Masters says he has set up a nonprofit to support the program called the Full Disclosure Media Foundation and called current executive director Lydia Brazon and GM Leslie Radford, who was appointed by Margy Wilkinson, "incompetent ideologues". Masters says he needs to get away from KPFK "before it slides into bankruptcy". In 2013, KPFK had the highest listener support numbers in the five-station network at $2.775 million annually.

Masters mentioned "the deliberate and stated strategy of the "grassroots" faction to purge popular broadcasters off the air." (Grassroots KPFK is the LA wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction that took the board majority in 2014). His theory received evidentiary support from the last local station board meeting when Siegel/Brazonite Chuck Anderson characterized Masters, Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar, and overnight institution Roy of Hollywood as racists, and suggested "unplugging them," in this snippet caught on Youtube.

In other LA news, GM Radford, who was appointed  by Margy Wilkinson on her last day, announced yet another board crony appointment, setting up local station board member Doug Barnett as the "volunteer operations manager". Barnett's Linked in profile reveals no radio, media or operational experience and the only work experience listed is as a clerk for 28 years. The station's chief engineer flatly declared Barnett was "not qualified" for such a position.

As the biggest labor crisis in Pacifica for fifteen years edges towards arbitration, the Siegel/Brazon leadership is awkwardly attempting to get out from under the 20+ grievances filed against them since Margy Wilkinson appointed community college instructor and board crony Leslie Radford, the manager of the LA station. Unpaid pension deposits that were due June 30, 2014 for the fiscal year ending 9-30-2013 were suddenly mailed to LA SAG-AFTRA members a week ago. The checks, which are no longer tax-shielded for retirement, arrived with no explanation of what they were, no indication if or how much in taxes was taken out, and were sent to just the union employees although the station's non-union employees are also entitled to the payments per California law.

KPFK's bank account was reported to be at $134K on November 16th,  10 days after the end of a fund drive that booked $607K in pledges. External accounts payables were still in excess of $160,000 and about $350,000 was overdue in interdivisional network services payments that are 9 months in default.

The troubled board election process, which has seen duplicate ballots, insecure online voting codes and ballots that have still not come to many a month after being mailed, took another turn when it was announced LA's election supervisor had disappeared a month ago, apparently continuing to receive paychecks. The case of the missing election supervisor was kept concealed, with the disappearance unannounced in reports to the board on the state of the elections. 

If you are a member and have not recieved a ballot, the replacement ballot form can be found here. Pacifica in Exile's candidate endorsements for all the signal areas across the country can be found here.

On November 8th, KPFA's satirical Twit Wit Radio once again hauled out the truth serum. You can listen here.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.


For readers who may wish to do more, any donor to a California-based not for profit organization like Pacifica may file a complaint to the open file at the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the Office of the CA Attorney General. Pacifica's case number is CT011303. The form and instructions for filing may be downloaded here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kicking the can... kicking the gong?


A Cold Open... or A Cold Close?

A concentrate to set the mood.


A coda, a code, or a never-ending epitaph…?

Death agonies have been long-studied – Nelson’s for example, prior to that temporary interment in the rum-barrel of legend.

WBAI’s, and Pacifica’s, are likely to be rather less long-remembered.

A long slow decline. Episodes of ugliness. Refuge in cant, ideology, and racist errancy – above all, refuge in mindlessness and irrelevance.

A bit of delusion in the mix – ‘formal accounting’ v Pacifica’s private realities, largely confined to ‘executive session’ – a child’s chickenshit version of Star Chamber, albeit, unlike Star Chamber, impotent and absent so much as a single star.

A fact or two:

WBAI is out of control and bankrupt.

Pacifica is out of control and bankrupt.

For the senescent spirit of progressive regression, however, facts, as always, as the wider world itself, are beyond comprehension – which lack of comprehension is self-cast as ‘idealism’.

May the heavens forfend… and, indeed, it seems they have, albeit on the same slow schedule as a station manager who spends his time ‘terribly busy’ with his feet up, shoeless at his desk, sipping a beer as he works his outside scam hustles of ‘multi-level financing’.

Of course. Of course.

Pickled long before final pickling, final plucking, as reality slowly, slowly, ever-so-slowly, sets in…

At WBAI, Empire State is owed well-north of $600,000+, mounting fast, $43,000 per month $516,000 per annum fast.

No worries.

A minor fret or two from the chair of the finance committee, shut down swiftly by an executive director sitting in for an executive director who fled the sinking ship after five months replacing in turn however briefly an executive director tossed out in yet another of the endless coups that constitute executive authority at Pacifica.

Ah, Pacifica…

An ideal as so many squandered, shattered, spat and shat upon.

Nothing new, slowly twisting in the winds of reality.

As listenership collapses, financial support collapses…

A dreary death watch if ever there were…

Their own voices speak all-too-clearly if only one listens… but why, really, trouble to lend an ear?

Only morbid curiosity remains.

Only gloom and despair, rancor and spite, spittle and venom.

Nothing else.
~ ‘indigopirate’

With only minor internal editing (extraneous noises, routine roll and vote calls) here is the full relevant session of the November 18 PFC meeting. If you wish to hear the entire session, this is the address to Pacifica Archives, where it rests in one piece.

My thanks to indigopirate for the audio clips and poetic frame. — CA

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scraping the bottom: November 16th 2015 Candidates Forum.


There may have been more, but I have only caught two, so far. I am talking about Candidates Forums, live Q and A programs designed to give voters a more personal glimpse of individuals seeking to become members of the Local Station Board. These get-to-know-them sessions are not given much attention by WBAI—it's as if they were stuck into the schedule at random. The first one I happened upon was a contentious two hours that included a dramatic entrance by JUCista Cerene Roberts, whose atrocious behavior on previous occasions got her barred from ever putting as much as a toe onto an official WBAI locale, such as the studio. We later found out that permission was granted by Berthold Reimers on orders from KPFK's Lydia Brazon, who Chairs the Pacifica National Board and is sometimes referred to as "the wicked witch of the West."  

This one is a yawn stretched to the extreme, but I thought it ought to be made available, because it is a taste of things to come. You can always spot check to get that imitation KoolAid flavor. The three candidates on this program are, Carl Makower, Pauline Park and Dacio Quintana—the latter two belong to the JUC faction, which has already been warned by Local Election Supervisor Gene A. Johnson that they violated a Pacifica Fair Campaign provision. These people probably mean well, they have a vague idea of what is wrong and why the audience has dropped out, but the solutions they offer don't raise much hope, should they be elected. They seem aware of the poor programming and, being seated in it, they must find the makeshift "studio" arrangement laughable, but they just don't seem to have grasped the core of WBAI's present crisis. Now, more than ever, people want to hear what new candidates propose as a path out of WBAI's worst financial crisis in 55 years, but the proposals they make are not inspiring. With that, I leave you to listen to this forum and hope that you post your comment when you wake up. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

As the curtain drops: Pacifica in Exile newsletter - Nov. 2015

Here is the latest Pacifica in Exile newsletter with its perspective on the current WBAI mega-crisis. It is liberally sprayed with links and I am glad to see that it takes to task a hanger-on, Fred Nguyen, whose sophistry periodically pops up in the form of racist, anti-semitic amateur "journalism". 

Bankruptcy Is A Beginning

Berkeley-The Pacifica National Board had an informal "strategic planning" meeting Thursday night. In the hour-long meeting, KPFA director Jose-Luis Fuentes pushes for the Pacifica Foundation to move into voluntary bankruptcy, which is described as "a beginning" by PNB director George Reiter. The board indicates they wish to consult with their FCC attorney John Crigler about filing for reorganization, although Crigler is an FCC and copyright attorney, not a bankruptcy attorney.  Options on the table are described as a sale of Berkeley's national office building or a lease, sale or swap of WBAI's broadcasting license. PNB members Adriana Casenave and Tony Norman insist the board's discussions about selling real estate, leases, swaps or sales of broadcasting licenses or "debt reorganization" be held in executive session where the network's members cannot hear them, and discuss how these decisions are "political". The full meeting audio is here, a seven minute clip is here.  Fuentes seems to be taking instructions from KPFA radio host  Brian Edwards-Tiekert as he indicates at about 49 minutes into the meeting by saying "what more professional advice do you need than that of the chair of the finance committee?" Fuentes also says the board never authorized WBAI to move their broadcast tower from the Empire State Building (monthly rent $50,000) to 4 Times Square (monthly rent $14,000) which the board scolds him for divulging on a public stream.

The last time the board of directors considered a lease for WBAI operations, lead bidders considering taking on the project included WFMU's Ken Freedman who recently pioneered the Audio Engine project, and former Pacifica ED Dan Coughlin, who was just sued by Nuyurican poet Jesus Papleto Menendez and Paper Tiger Television co-founder Dee Dee Halleck for violations of First Amendment rights and operating a non-transparent publicly-funded facility.

Ironically, at about the same time national board member Fuentes is telling the board "where are you going to get enough money?", Fred Nguyen who describes himself as the co-founder of the Justice and Unity Caucus, the NY wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction, is rantingabout the "Zionist" and "corporatist" foundations that fund grassroots and progressive media.  Nguyen names the Bay Area's Zero Divide and the national Media Democracy Fund, funder to many, if not most, grassroots media organizations around the nation including: Prometheus Radio Project in Philly, the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, and national advocate Free Press as "Zionists". Nguyen's rants, which can be seen below, indicate the extent of Pacifica's alienation  from almost every possible source of funding for progressive and alternative media after the Siegel/Brazon coup, a big problem after the faction blew enough audit deadlines to lose Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding eligibility for the foreseeable future.

Fred Nguyen You can go on and check all these "foundations", most of which are funded by corporates and liberals, with plenty of Zionist money. The fact that X is paid by a 501c3 which is the way corporate and liberal foundations spread capitalist influence under the disguise of charity and education is properly disgusting. Here is another funder The Media and Democracy Fund: Take a look at the list of usual suspects: 

The problem, apart from Nguyen's hypocrisy which fails to take into account that factional colleague Lydia Brazon's nonprofit, the Humanitarian Law Center, was heavily funded by the Open Society Institute of George Soros, is that Pacifica Foundation is desperately in need of support from the progressive media funding sector, which is probably one of the few philanthropic possibilities for the debt-burdened network.

Nguyen then tilts over into straight-up anti-Semitism, finishing his rant on behalf of the Siegel/Brazon faction with "There is a large Jewish bourgeoisie in the US. On average, a Jewish family is 46% wealthier than the average American family", a mis-stating of statistics contained in a 2008 Pew study. 

The disarray at the managerial level, where the network lacks any paid national executive staff at all, manifested on the Internet when two of the network's five divisions crashed out their websites this week. Kpfa.org went down for a few hours with a "switch problem" and kpfk.org vanished from the Internet Wednesday night at the stroke of midnight after GM Leslie Radford forgot to pay the server bill. The KPFK website remained down as of 10pm on Friday evening.

The KPFK website crash, the more serious of the two, incited rage in Radford's chief assistant/mentor/roommate Adam Rice, who took to the Internet to blame "psych-ops" for Radford's failure to pay the server bill. The station laid off its web director of more than a decade in August, the only layoff of a full-time employee imposed by Radford, who said she would take over the website job herself. In response to a question about when the website would be restored, Rice said:

"Good question. Most likely when you and your vicious pack of reactionary obstructionists realize that we are all aging out and you can't take it to the grave with you and that Pacifica is the birthright of the youth, especially the ones repeatedly characterized as "Skid Row gutter rats". When a true intergenerational, intercultural and interracial dialogue is developed and maintained, in line with the Pacifica mission, not to serve the Democratic party or the Church of Scientology, but to serve the people. So when you and your psych-ops pushing clique are driven back into obscurity. In other words, soon".

Soon has not yet come as the website remains down, and Rice's contributions to intercultural and interracial dialogue, which included calling Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar a "dumb bitch" and threatening a female volunteer with "armed self-defense" probably haven't sped things up any. In the meantime, a fourth producer/host Melting Pot's Michael Barnes joined the exodus out of the LA station, saying off-air that "he was done with the place and how badly it was being managed". Barnes joins Global Village hosts Derek Rath, Betto Arcos and Yatrika Shah-Rais in departing in the wake of Radford's hire by former IED Margy Wilkinson, who was asked in writing by incoming ED John Proffitt not to proceed with the Radford hire before he got there. Wilkinson spurned his request and completed the hire of her board crony before Proffitt arrived  from Texas. He quit five months later.

In Berkeley, SEIU lawyer Sheila Sexton used a Pacifica Facebook page to saber-rattle at KPFA's Flashpoints for an "anti-union segment" interviewing journalist Arun Gupta, a founding editor for the Indypendent and Occupy Wall Street Journal and frequent contributor to the Nation, The Progressive and the UK Guardian, as well as Uprising. Gupta was mildly critical of the SEIU's Fight for $15 campaign, but after Sexton excitedly posted about "Dennis Bernstein's anti-union segment", former IED and Save KPFA-affiliated board member Margy Wilkinson encouraged her to file a complaint about the program, and another Save KPFA supporter jumped in to advocate for getting  rid of Bernstein altogether saying "I think Dennis Bernstein needs to move on, he’s used up his good will at KPFA".  After the full interview was publicly posted, the three reversed their positions saying they had "over-reacted". Pacifica in Exile commented about the episode: The exchange on Facebook reveals a poor understanding of current progressive discourse, intolerance for dissent, the instinct to censor prominent national journalists, and a reflex reaction to punish the Flashpoints program, even going so far as to say it should be eliminated on editorial grounds.

On Saturday, KPFA's local station board will finally get a look (albeit in closed session) at the 60 pages of secret documents that caused the national board to vote on October 29th that KPFA should refund a $400,000 bequest to the Pacifica Foundation that was deposited directly into KPFA's account as a restricted donation for the exclusive use of the Berkeley station. If Wilkinson can be taken at her word that "Pacifica’s management (herself) communicated with the estate", then it is strange the estate failed to issue a letter stating the donation was restricted for the Berkeley station.. If Pacifica management was unable to obtain a letter from the estate indicating the donation was restricted for KPFA's use, then the donation was not "unspecified" nor "ambiguous". It was quite specifically and unambiguously an unrestricted donation to the Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica National Board has indicated no intention so far to release all or a part of the documentation publicly or to allow national or local board members to do so.

The board voted 11-5 that the bequest had been redirected incorrectly to KPFA's exclusive use. 

Slowly the network's ballots, sent by bulk mail, are starting to arrive at member residences. Pacifica in Exile's national endorsements for local station board seats at all four stations having elections can be found here. Berkeley members can access audio from this week's candidate debates here.

On November 8th, KPFA's satirical Twit Wit Radio once again hauled out the truth serum. You can listen here.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.


For readers who may wish to do more, any donor to a California-based not for profit organization like Pacifica may file a complaint to the open file at the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the Office of the CA Attorney General. Pacifica's case number is CT011303. The form and instructions for filing may be downloaded here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Pacifica elections are a charade...


It's election time at Pacifica. Will the result reflect the wishes of people who really care for Pacifica? Will it result in yet another ineffective, dishonest WBAI LSB? I planned to post the WBAI Candidates Forum that aired live yesterday, but it was not archived. Here, however, is yesterday's PNB Election Committee meeting. It, too, does not bode well for what's in store, but you may find it illuminating. We start with an excerpted quote from that lengthy telephone conference: National Elections Supervisor, Ms. L. Joy Williams' impression of the culture of Pacifica.

Here it is again in its original context: the full November 9, 2015 PNB Elections Committee Meeting. It is posted sans long pauses, extraneous noises and irrelevant moments, having been mercifully slimmed down from two hours to one by indigopirate, whose summation follows:

Ms Williams points out, and we learn from questions and answers, amongst other things…

WBAI has failed to provide lists of eligible voters and email addresses, even after repeated request of the general manager.

KPFK is, unsurprisingly, no better.

The Pacifica National Board failed to inform her as to their vote on term length.

KPFA appears not to be airing its carts.

The method for counting ballots appears to violate Pacifica’s bylaws.

Several of the Election Committee members feel strongly that they should be able to personally oversee the counting of ballots, even if that would require the ballots being opened, then re-secured, then re-opened under special oversight, even if they’re in Oregon.

Several Election Committee members feel strongly that Ms Williams and her team should personally oversee the scheduling of carts and the verification of their having been played as scheduled, even though this is not in Ms Williams’ mandate.

Ms Williams is well aware that a number of lawsuits challenging elections and election results are already in preparation.  — 'indigopirate'

Friday, November 6, 2015

The muffled sounds of free-speech radio...



Indigopirate sent in this excerpted audio of the PNB General Meeting, and offers the following comment.

Pacifica, in its dedication to truth, to its listeners, and to its core values of openness, transparency, and democracy, offered the world, once again Thursday evening a clear display of its virtues.

Let the world tremble….


~ ‘indigopirate’

Elusive Bequest—Now you see it, now you don't.


The 60 Pages They Won't Show You

Berkeley- Thursday night's Pacifica National Board meeting focused 2 of its 3 hours on the bequest to the Pacifica Foundation deposited into KPFA's operating account in the spring of 2015 by board chair Margy Wilkinson. The conversation occurred in two parts. In the first hour of the meeting board members jockeyed around agenda items calling for the release of documentation on the bequest diversion. At the end of the hour-long agenda setting session, the document release motion ended up close to the top.

In the third hour, the board voted to release a 60 page document package about the bequest diversion to the network's five local station boards, but in closed session and not until November 14th. 

The conversation that ensued was dramatic, if a bit difficult to understand for observers without any access to the documents being discussed. Berkeley board member Jose Luis Fuentes, now a resident of Southern California, fiercely objected to the release of any documents on the grounds that doing so would cause the candidates affiliated with Wilkinson's "Save KPFA" slate in Berkeley to lose the local board election. PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert, after failing at a last-minute attempt to table the motion prior to the vote, asked if "the correspondence" would be included in the document dump to the local station boards, and was told that it would be. NY board member Stephen Brown objected vociferously throughout on several grounds: firstly that Wilkinson herself should not be allowed to vote on the document release and secondly, that the 60 pages of documents should be sent to local boards before their meeting dates to allow for review, rather than presented in the middle of the meeting without time to read the material, but the board of directors supported neither of the points he raised.

After the meeting, a board member referred to the documents as "incriminating", but the board continues to invoke the mask of confidentiality regarding the contents of the 60-pages. The basic information is that a $400,000 bequest to Pacifica Foundation (Radio) was deposited into KPFA's operating account and presented as a restricted donation for the exclusive use of supporting Berkeley operations, when no such restriction was attached to the bequest. The bequest was one of about a dozen in a will dividing up $4 million dollars between several national nonprofits, including Democracy Now, once Pacifica's marquee public affairs program.

This is not the first time Save KPFA-affiliated board members and management staff have done strange things with large bequest checks. In December of 2009, auditor Tony Pohl discovered in a routine audit check that a money market account listed as holding a $375,000 restricted bequest for KPFA actually had no money deposited in it and a balance of $0. A frantic search for the money uncovered a 15 month-old expired check made out to KPFA for $375,000 sitting in manager Lemlem Rijio's desk. A picture later uncovered showed now-PNB treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert and former PNB chair Sherry Gendelman accepting the check on KPFA's behalf 15 months earlier in September of 2008.
29 days before the planned end of board elections, less than 50 people have reported receiving ballots and less than 900 people nationwide have used the online voting codes sent out by email on October 22nd. Bulk mail is generally delayed by election-related mail and while a small trickle of ballots have started to show up, the majority of the network's 55,000 voters may have to wait as long as another week to get their ballots, meaning that they'll have to hustle to review materials, fill out the ballots and mail them back to arrive in Oregon by December 5th. Pacifica in Exile's nationwide election recommendations can be found here.

A few candidates have already bitten the dust with WBAI Indy caucus member Frank Lefever discovering he was erroneously classed as a board member elected in 2010 instead of in 2012 and was therefore ineligible to run, and Save KPFA-affiliated candidate Hilmon Sorey dropping out after long-time activist Barbara Lubin, director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, identified Sorey as the board chair at the Oakland Museum of Children's Art when that institution notoriously canceled a scheduled exhibition of children's drawings from the Gaza Strip after being pressured by the Jewish Federation and other pro-Israel organizations.

Another Save KPFA-affiliated board candidate, attorney William Campisi Jr, whose practice focuses on patient arbitrations largely in the Kaiser health care system, had an unfortunate venture into litigation in 1993, when he argued a personal car repair spat over his Mercury Sable with Broadway Ford all the way to the California Court of Appeals, where the court delivered this nattily worded smackdown:

The filing of a minuscule car-repair case in superior court is an inexcusable abuse of the judicial system, which vests in the superior court the authority to hear weightier matters than a front-end alignment. Responsible attorneys should not contribute to the clogging of our superior court docket by, for instance, confusing the suspension of their car with the suspension of habeas corpus". 

The judgment can be reviewed here.

In other news, KPFK Background Briefing host Ian Masters briefly broke his composure on air to say he was "restrained from talking about anything real", but was then hushed up by his pitching partner, program director Alan Minsky. Masters recently took down his dissent site "savepacifica.com", probably after pressure from management which was disclosed by another dissent site "KPFK United Staff", which has remained up and running. Gag rules have a long and troubled record in Pacifica history and seem once again to be cropping up at the Los Angeles station. The Masters/Minsky exchange can he heard here.

Charlene Muhammed, who has been an unpaid replacement for Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar after GM Radford refused to air Kolhatkar five days a week, following instructions received from volunteer coordinator/roommate Adam Rice to make program changes, issued a long statement of her distress at being called a "scab". Without even a trace of irony, Muhammed goes on to implore voters to support the LA wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction. totally unaware the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction ran an aggressive campaign against unpaid staff in Berkeley, frequently using the scab epithet for the Morning Mix hosts, diverting $61,000 in pledges away from KPFA's fund drive to their own slush fund, and marching around in front of the station with a giant plastic fake check.

KPFK GM Radford was a Pacifica National Board member in 2010 and never once spoke up in opposition to the scab epithet and voted against salary reductions and AM unpaid programming at KPFA. In other words, Radford the board member colluded with the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction in demonizing people like KPFK's Charlene Muhammed at KPFA. Radford's board successor Lydia Brazon also never objected to labeling KPFA volunteers as "scabs", failed to condemn the diversion of funds away from the fund drive by Wilkinson and Siegel (which the California Court of Appeals condemned in this preliminary ruling) and directly connived with Wilkinson in her plot to take over as the executive director in the spring of 2014, a move which directly led to the removal of all unpaid KPFA staff and community programming from the entire KPFA morning drive time in the spring of 2014.

The rampant hypocisy and lack of a coherent vison for Pacifica has been the Siegel/Brazon hallmark for more than a decade with the LA wing declaring that all paid programming should be eradicated and the Berkeley wing declaring the opposite, and union-busting charges alleged and then denied depending on whether the Siegel/Brazon faction were the ones in charge at the time. Ojectively, the 20+ grievances in arbitration with SAG-AFTRA now are more than double the size of any labor action at Pacifica since 2001. The Siegel/Brazon schizophrenia has been a large contributor to Pacifica's unending turmoil. Wilkinson and Siegel secretly incorporated a nonprofit in 2013 with the same mission statement as Pacifica to acquire the network's broadcasting licenses if it was shut down by the government or became insolvent.

On November 1st, KPFA's satirical Twit Wit Radio once again hauled out the truth serum for Hilary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, and the Pacifica National Board. You can listen here.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.

For readers who may wish to do more, any donor to a California-based not for profit organization like Pacifica may file a complaint to the open file at the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the Office of the CA Attorney General. Pacifica's case number is CT011303. The form and instructions for filing may be downloaded here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reimers' helpophobia... or game plan?

This post was updated November 10, 2015


The following letter to Berthold Reimers was made public by the author, Stephen M. Brown—a member of the WBAI LSB—this evening, November 5, 2015. It is by no means the first time we hear of Reimers ignoring fund-raising suggestions. His record of approving such outside events reflects his tendency to back the wrong horse, so to speak. Daulton Anderson's church concert is said to have been a failure, and some events have even resulted in loss of money.

Whatever you may think of Gary Null and regardless of what his motive might be, the fact is that he can raise money for the station. Like so many who have contributed funds and/or work to WBAI, Null has seen how Reimers' treats potential benefactors who wish to contribute their expertise while still among the living. It's a "will us your money and die" attitude that many listeners have sensed and taken as their cue to hit the road.

When hear that the current fund drive is unlikely to reach 50% of its goal and that Reimers' lack of visibility is, in part, due to his dodging bill collectors, so he should have welcomed the offer described in Mr. Brown's letter. He has chosen to ignore it, thus fueling the growing contention that he is out to play on Dan Siegel's team, whose aim is to render bankrupt and sell Pacifica's New York station.

November 5, 2015


Berthold –

I understand that Gary Null has volunteered to hold a special lecture event to raise money for WBAI at the 86th Street/Amsterdam Avenue Church, but that despite his repeated attempts to contact and coordinate this event with you and Andrea Katz, no one has gotten back to him. As you know, his fundraising events at this theater are always sold out, and its 500 seats, at $30 per ticket, generate about $15,000 gross, or $14,600 after deducting theater rental.

Your cavalier attitude towards obtaining money for WBAI might be expected (although not appreciated) if the station were flush with cash. But as we know, it is broke. So your failure to leap at the chance to get this money is inexplicable. At the very least you can use it to fulfill the backlogged 4,400 premiums for which you are already in serious default (and have publicly admitted), and the more than 25,000 premiums that I estimate you may owe for prior drives.

WBAI’s ever-poorer fund drives and fleeing membership (down from 18,900 to 8,150, mostly because of angry donors from the last 8 drives who never received their premiums) is jeopardizing not only the future of WBAI but that of the entire network. Right now, WBAI’s fund drive is averaging (I can hardly bear to write the figure) only $6,000 per day, so your decision to lock yourself in your office, turn off your phone, ignore messages, and cower in a corner while the station burns down around you is not proper behavior for a station manager.

I hope you will contact Gary Null to coordinate this event as soon as possible, because WBAI needs the money as soon as possible.


Stephen M Brown


UPDATE: That same evening, Berthold Reimers sent a brief response to Brown, with a copy to the Pacifica National Board's Executive Director.

Subject: RE: WBAI throwing away money again?

This is the first I hear about this. I guess you must have Gary’s ear!

Berthold Reimers
WBAI Radio 99.5 FM

General Manager

Steve Brown reply to that was e-mailed Monday morning at 1:04:


Berthold –

Your response is not funny and not true, since it pretends that Gary never made you an offer to give a fundraising lecture for WBAI, whose approximate expected net revenue would be $14,000.


Attached is Gary’s latest email to you on this subject, his third, in fact.  Which exposes your response as deceptive. But I guess that WBAI has so much money coming in that you can afford to throw away a fast $14,000 in a single night.



Steve Brown also wrote to Lydia Brazon regarding Cerene Robertson's in person appearance at WBAI's so called "Report". It sheds some light on that little drama.