Thursday, January 28, 2016

Exile newsletter: Jan. 28, 2016

January 28, 2016
For Immediate Release

Berkeley
Within days of the seating of the new KPFK local station board after the landslide victory of the Committee to Strengthen KPFK, GM Leslie Radford and roommate Adam Rice suggested to staff members the LA station was in "lockdown" after banning volunteer receptionist (and one of the Committee's staffer candidates), Allan Coie from the station. Coie, a retired attorney, stated the reasons for his firing were that he gave out the number of the Pacifica National Office to a caller and gave program director Alan Minsky listener complaints that were called in about the substituion of Something's Happening in the M-Th midnight to 3am hours. Coie said Radford told him the listener complaints were "personal to her". Rice then fired him and told him he would no longer be admitted on station premises. A petition to restore the popular overnight program curated by Roy of Hollywood (Something's Happening) can be found here. 

The LA station is certainly in a state of breakdown with no Internet stream all day Tuesday,archives stalled again, and no voice mail system. The station's next fund drive begins in the first week of February with a goal of $600,000, almost twice what the station raised in the December fund drive that concluded on December 23rd after 17 days of 24/7 on-air fundraising.

KPFK's management team, Radford and Rice, were focused on taking to the air Monday at midnight to spend an hour reading aloud and responding to posts on the Los Angeles Independent Media Center about the unpopular late night program change. Both the original anonymous post and a lengthy reply by an unpaid staff member were removed by IMC editors for racially charged content. The original post (author unknown: nom de plume "a KPFK donor") objected to the frequent profanity on Safe Harbor. The staff member reply, complete with pictures of hooded Klansmen, referred to the new station board overwhelmingly elected by KPFK donors as the White Citizens Council, the terrorist neighborhood groups that enforced racial segregation in the South in the 20th century.

The program can be heard in its entirety here. A donor who called in to address the program's subject said the program was getting on her nerves, the hosts sounded like kids in a candy shop who were cursing because they could, and she would never make any donations to KPFK ever again, in this brief snippet.The narrowcast program broadcast at 110,000 watts from Santa Barbara to San Diego a discussion of Internet posts probably read by less then 3 dozen people. The program had extensive technical problems referred to frequently on-air and used charged language including telling someone to "go back to their gay corner".

The ongoing board election turmoil continues. At New York's WBAI  the Siegel/Brazon faction has been preposterously trying to seat a last-place finisher from the 2012 election in a vacant seat after the 2015 election results were released. The NY Siegel/Brazonites are trying to upend the election results which left the independents with a 13-11 majority. NY's delegates assembly met on Tuesday night, achieved quorum and elected 4 members to the 2016 national board: Alex Steinberg, Bob Young, Frank LeFever and staffer Shawn Rhodes.

At the other stations: KPFK elected Grace Aaron, former board chair and executive director, Jan Goodman, Michael Novick and staffer Jonathan Alexander, KPFT elected Bill Crosier, Wesley Bethune, Adriana Casenave and staffer Vinita Patel-Adams, KPFA reinstated their 2015 delegation with no changes and WPFW elected Nancy Sorden, Tony Norman, former GM Ron Pinchback and staffer Jim Brown. The 2015 national board majority previously elected two affiliate directors, both from stations without current Pacifica affiliate agreements.

Long-time WBAI programmer Gary Null, after several verbal warnings to the network, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York. The civil action #1:16-CV-241 was filed against the Pacifica Foundation and individually against WBAI general manager Berthold Reimers, Pacifica's last three executive directors (Margy Wilkinson, Lydia Brazon and John Proffitt) and against former local station board and CAB chair Mitchel Cohen. The complaint will be published as soon as it is available. [you can access it here]

There were also firings in other parts of the network. The network's national office dismissed LaSchele Mosley, the network's payroll clerk. The African-American mother of a young child took a bereavement leave to attend the funeral of a deceased aunt and was terminated while away. She stated her firing was unjustified.

At KPFA's local station board meeting on January 23rd, a kerfluffle broke out when members of the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction called Save KPFA, took umbrage at a directors inspection by board member Janet Kobren that requested a few personnel files. While the discussion in full got thrown over to next month's meeting, members of the faction indicated they wanted to outlaw directors inspection of personnel records. California Corporations law section 6334 states:

6334. Every director shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the corporation of which such person is a director.

Personally identifying data including social security numbers and home telephone numbers and addresses should have been removed or blacked out prior to the release of personnel info in a directors inspection, but interim executive director Lydia Brazon did not comment on whether she had taken that action or not.

Brazon herself requested and received the social security numbers and payroll records of all KPFK employees in a directors inspection she performed in December 2012. Save KPFA board members Margy Wilkinson and Brian Edwards-Tiekert attended a PNB closed session in New York in January of 2013 when a KPFK employee presented a complaint regarding the release of their personally identifying information to Brazon and NY director Nia Bediako. Wilkinson and Edwards-Tiekert did not support the employee's complaint and upheld Brazon's right to have employees personally identifying information emailed to her in response to a directors inspection.

Outgoing board member Stephen Brown wrote a long breakdown of the Pacifica history of the majority's lawyer (and factional leader) Dan Siegel. While very long, the document is impeccably researched and deserves your time to read it. Among other previously unavailable information, Brown makes available extensive documentation from the sexual harassment case against KPFK general manager Eva Georgia in 2007-2008 including sanctions and misconduct by Siegel as Pacifica's attorney and ED and HR director and investigator and election supervisor.
**   
Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at pnb@pacifica.org.

11 comments:

  1. It finally makes sense. All the drama around the affiliate directors, placing Lynne Stewart on the slate, arguing over alternates, etc. was just simply about getting and maintaining a PNB majority at any and all costs. It may seem obvious to some but since there is so little information coming out directly from Pacifica and the stations, it was not at all clear to me. Everything is coming out second hand or third hand or from some disaffected member or former member. Instead of stepping forward and making your case, 'they' resort to all these convoluted measures to do what exactly? Their costs are still rising. They can't sell anything while the license status is in question. They're still any number of lawsuits, etc. etc. There is no guarantee of getting anything in bankruptcy court. Who is to say Clear Channel won't just scoop up the licenses?

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    1. Yes, all the pieces are forming a rather focused picture of the closing act.

      Delete
  2. Leslie "Typhoon" Radford is something else. She's doing a better job of destruction in less than a year than Reimers has in five years.

    Onto Null.

    Chris, Null has no case. I looked at the paperwork again, and can only say that the only lawyers who wouldn't be able to get this thrown out of court probably work for Pacifica. Null has knowingly(!) allowed, accepted and participated in all he claims was done to him for ten(?) years, up to the last beg-a-thon. He has shown that he has been complicit and taken NO steps to stop his participation in all his claimed wrongs. He could have refused to pitch any premiums once he discovered said wrongs, but didn't. Null's case has no merit, as he has, by his actions, allowed all this to go on for way too long and with his full knowledge. As there is no claim of coercion, as I see it, he was a willing participant and gave full acquiescence to any and all actions he is making a claim about.

    "Mister Null, did you know all this was going on for ten years?"
    "Yes..."
    "Why did you take no steps for ten years to stop it?"
    "Um..."
    "So you KNOWINGLY pitched premiums all the while claiming to KNOW they where being manufactured by the defendants?"
    "Ummm...."
    "So you FULLY CONSENTED to these alleged actions and took no measures for ten years to put an end to them, such as, when first learning of these alleged actions, refusing to pitch any premiums bearing your trademark, etc?"
    "Ummmmmm........."
    "Thank you Mister Null. No further questions."

    Only Pacifica won't get this lawsuit booted out of court.

    Anyway, this is why Null can't pitch any premiums of his own during the next beg-a-thon. In fact, he shouldn't even be airing his show on any Pacifica station, because any lawyer worth his/her salt is going to record EVERYTHING he says to find something to use against him.

    Null is just lucky he's dealing with the imbeciles at Pacifica.

    SDL

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    1. I can hear Judge Judy now.

      This certainly is not the earth-shaking case his earlier threats implied that he was preparing.

      Do I hear a hiss?

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    2. Best I can come up with is a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snore...

      SDL

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  3. @SDL I strongly disagree with your assessment.

    The first and indeed the primary question a court will consider is as to matters of fact. Assuming Null is in a position to document and/or otherwise support his claims as to matters of fact, and I would think he is very likely in such a position, then there is more than sufficient reason to issue an injunction. Once an injunction is issued, matters may proceed from that point.

    It is not a defense for Pacifica to argue ‘that he knew about it’. Most of the claims, most critically as to copyright and trademark infringement are prima facie illegal under federal law. In any case, it’s highly likely that Null is in a position to argue, factually, and to document, that he had attempted to protest and to end the illegal and improper conduct on the part of Pacifica for many, many years, and that that this action was now taken only because even after years of attempting to make Pacifica obey the law, and not to improperly and illegally damage his legitimate commercial interests, that he concluded there was no other course than to bring legal action. The facts will support him on this if he has the evidence, and I have very, very little doubt that he has the evidence.

    The consequence of this and a probable cascade effect are not to be underestimated.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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    1. Excellent point. It occurred to me that, although this lawsuit concerns only infringements against Null's rights, it opens the door to many other incidents of intellectual theft that WBAI and—presumably—Pacifica routinely commit. For example, do hosts like Michael Sargent, Tony Ryan and Jeannie Hopper have the right to resell commercial music? Then, too, there is the matter of selling products that the station does not have... a fraud compounded by their having taken the buyer's money.

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    2. It may open many, many doors.

      Consider the consequences of discovery, of depositions under oath.

      That’s only for openers.

      They face a desperate need to make this go away… if they can.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

      Delete
  4. I feel like McClane's wife in Die Hard when she sees Gruber is just stealing money.
    After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you're nothing but a common thief."

    Dear Siegel/Brazon faction:
    After all the lectures on diversity, lawsuits, rigged elections and trampling over your own rules, you're just another group of politicians.

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  5. Is Jeffrey Toobin or Greta Van Susteren out there? If so, can either one or both of you explain to be just what that bastard Gary Null is bitching about?

    KGT

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  6. By the way, much of Null's movies, DVDs, etc. that he's complaining about are posted on youtube by himself and his associates for free. I guess he only wants WBAI and its supporters to pay for the media.

    SDL

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