Thursday, January 28, 2016
Exile newsletter: Jan. 28, 2016
For Immediate Release
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.