Monday, February 8, 2016
Pacifica in beeping exile...
February 7, 2016
Who Needs A Vote?
Berkeley-Mozart did not make an appearance at the second disrupted national board meeting in a week, but while the sounds were less than musical, the outcome was the same: meeting interruptus. Doubling down on their outrageous stripping of all national voting rights from NY station WBAI and the seating of two bogus affiliate directors from non-affiliated stations, the rump majority did not even keep their promise to allow WBAI's 2015 directors to "participate, but not vote". They didn't send WBAI the meeting codes and hung up on them when they called in. In fact, they hung up on everybody, including duly elected directors from other stations, as KPFT director Bill Crosier stated: "I was repeatedly disconnected from the call. I have not been making any interruptions, but tried several times to raise a point of order and was never recognized, but my call was disconnected several times. This is highly improper. Whoever is controlling the conference call has no right to just disconnect anyone they don't want to talk, even when making valid points of order". Crosier provided a Skype log documenting 5 disconnections.
A sound clip of the meeting "highlights" can be heard here in a 26 minute version. The full meeting (of about two hours duration) has been posted on a NY-based blog "WBAI Now And Then" and you can access that sound file here.
New LA director Michael Novick, who announced he had been appointed the "sergeant-at-arms" for the intended meeting, was inserted in place of the network's technical employees and admitted he was randomly disconnecting and muting participants throughout the call, with no idea if they were disrupting the call or not. At one point, there were at least 28 individuals on the call, although there are 22 directors and only 18 have been seated by the Siegel/Brazon majority.
The Pacifica Foundation is currently without an executive director, as the last volunteer former director Lydia Brazon, was appointed with an end date of January 31st. The nominal successor would be the 2016 chair of the board, but the board has no permanent chair. The temporary chair, DC's Tony Norman, has not accepted the ED responsibilties and has his own problems as he is one of several director/delegates elected in 2012 who extended their own terms from three years to four years, without the required authorization of the network's members (Bylaws Article 17, Section 3(B)i). Network members who recently voted will recall their ballots contained no request for them to agree that half the network's delegates could serve for an extra year through December 2016. Other directors sitting on unauthorized term extensions include KPFA's Brian Edwards Tiekert and Jose Luis Fuentes, Houston's Adriana Casenave, and NY's Cerene Roberts.
How did the Siegel/Brazon majority deal with the no ED problem? They lied about it. After attaching the indefinite appointment of Brazon as volunteer ED to a completely unrelated motion, they pretended the motion had been voted on Thursday night, when no vote occurred, and at least three directors can be heard yelling over the cacophony that a) they can't hear what the motion is and/or b) they're objecting to it. Nonetheless, the board continued to pretend the vote occurred and declared the motion passed after the meeting in a descent into complete Orwellian surreality.
Possibly there should be no surprise that a fake board would stage fake votes. The rump group of 14 people that keeps declaring they are the Pacifica National Board and staging meetings that are disrupted, has no valid claim to be the PNB. This is what the organization's bylaws say about the national board (Article 5, Section I(c)):
There shall be a minimum of twenty-two (22) and a maximum of twenty-three (23) Directors of the Foundation. The Board of Directors shall fix by resolution, from time to time, the exact number of Directors within the minimum and maximum numbers permitted herein. The Board shall have equal representation from each of the Foundation's five radio stations.
The dispute that continues to render the national board toothless is the insistence of the NY wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction (the Justice and Unity Caucus) on preventing the seating of Kathy Davis as a staff delegate representative in order to deny a local majority to NY's independents. The faction continues to try to overturn the 2015 election results by national fiat and has twice eliminated all WBAI national voting rights, possibly in order to facilitate a sale of the NY signal.
In other news:
At troubled KPFK in Los Angeles, where a massive arbitration is underway with the SAG-AFTRA union, Pacifica lost the first round, resulting in the immediate payment of at least 18 months of withheld seniority pay to almost two dozen unionized employees. The arbitration is continuing. Several union employees have attempted to voluntarily terminate their employment, but have been told severance pay agreements will not be honored, forcing them to consider sacrificing thousands of dollars in order to leave the network's employ. (KPFK's union contract entitles union members to 2 weeks pay for each year of employment as severance).
The LA station is experiencing a significant backlash from the unpopular late night program change that eviserated the Southern California station's trademark late night programming curated by Roy of Hollywood. The station has been inundated with calls and emails of protest and dozens of member donors saying they will never pledge again, as well as a landslide election victory for the slate opposed to the direction of current general manager Leslie Redford.
The first two days of the LA fund drive showed the station's listeners voting with their pocketbooks. 6 hours of "Safe Harbor" broadcasts netted $145 in pledges. 6 hours of "Something's Happening" broadcasts netted $2,983.
A petition to restore the popular overnight program curated by Roy of Hollywood (Something's Happening) can be found here.
Here's a sample of some of the emails/comments.
Dear Leslie Redford and Alan Minsky, As a listener-member of KPFK since 1982, and a proud wearer of a KPFK bumper sticker for the past 22 years, I always knew that just like all other good things that must some day come to an end, Roy Tuckman's exceptional line-up of nightly programs too would some day come to its end. But I never expected that this, or a severe reduction in its hours, would happen by someone's choice, and while Roy is still very able and active. I can safely say this on behalf of countless other listeners that Roy's choice of programs, and KPFK's unique platform to air them, have changed the lives of so many of us for the better and made it richer. Please do not allow the Midight-to-6:00 AM program be cut. So far, the replacement has not been anywhere to the level, quality and substance of what Roy would choose to help us listeners help ourselves towards a better way of life and a better world. Please do not allow this program to suffer as a result of so much unpleasant things that have happened in the way Pacifica has been run, administratively and fiscally. I wish you all the best in rescuing this vital outlet --ever more important now that the programs are archived and could be accessed by so many others accross the country and around the world. Sincerely, Kasha
Hi Roy, When can we expect changes at KPFK now that the "candidate slate" group won most of the LSB seats? In fairness I thought I would listen to the trial program "Safe Harbor" from midnight to three. OMG!!! No humor, no insight, no fun, but lots of expletives. I miss your first three hours. Thank goodness you are still there. Vicki Click here for 18 more letters.
Gary Null files suit against Pacifica/WBAI
WBAI host and alternative health author Gary Null, filed a copyright infringement, piracy and premiums fraud lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York (federal court). The civil action #1:16-CV-241 was filed against the Pacifica Foundation and individually against WBAI general manager Berthold Reimers, former ED Lydia Brazon, former ED Margy Wilkinson, former ED John Profitt and former local station board chair Mitchel Cohen. The suit requests injunctive relief, statutory fines and says the behavior has been ongoing for at least a decade. The complaint can be read here.
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