Thursday, October 27, 2016

Exile Newsletter - Oct. 26, 2016

Documents and Meetings in Hiding

Berkeley -  IED Lydia Brazon has failed to respond to a directors inspection request filed by KPFK listener representative and attorney Jan Goodman requesting the final SAG-AFTRA arbitration results at LA station KPFK. Goodman's request was filed on October 14. Brazon had not replied as of the close of business on Tuesday October 25, much less provided the requested information.  California Corporations code section 6334 provides every member of the board of directors the absolute right to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind. Members of the board of directors have not seen the SAG-AFTRA settlement signed by Brazon and unofficial corporate counsel Dan Siegel more than a month ago. Until recently, they had not even known the amount of money Pacifica was was responsible for paying and when it had to be paid.

Pacifica's preliminary year-end financial statements, prepared by controller Efren Llarinas, presented a total of $397,000 for salary expenses accrued for KPFK in the month of September 2016, which is $295,000 more than the amount recorded for the previous month of August 2016.

Since Lydia Brazon has been interim Executive Director (iED) of Pacifica, the financial, legal, and organizational problems have continued to multiply, and member numbers continue to dwindle. Plans for reversing the acute downward slide are nowhere to be found. Sign the petition to tell the PNB it's time to let Lydia Brazon go as iED.  Selected comments from Pacifica members who signed the petition can be found at the end of this Pacifica In Exile edition.

Pacifica management continues to struggle to provide a coherent explanation for how it will meet the six-figure arbitration settlement. The May 2016 preliminary decision and award from arbitrator Louis Zigman was granted after the arbitrator ordered ED Brazon and attorney Siegel on January 7 to provide information about asset ownership, finances and board minutes by the 2nd arbitration hearing date of March 22, 2016. Zigman stated the financial ledger was not provided on or by March 22, 2016, with attorney Siegel telling the arbitrator "the finances and information were essentially in disarray". 

At the KPFK local station board meeting on October 16, embattled GM Leslie Radford, who had previously tried to blame the arbitration loss on former ED John Proffitt, stated unless she was allowed to subtract the arbitration settlement from monthly payments to Pacifica's national office that cover network insurance, audit fees, satellite services, payroll administration and annual tax filings, she would implement drastic austerity on the LA station, including turning off the transmitter from midnight to 6am, flipping off the station's repeater and booster signals in Malibu, San Diego, Ridgecrest/China Lake and Santa Barbara, and terminate the facility air conditioning to pay for her 2015 labor violations. You can hear her statement here. The local board passed a motion instructing Radford to reverse program changes she implemented in 2015 that demonstrably reduced revenue. KPFK's listener support dropped by $300,000 in 2016 from 2015 numbers, the largest year over year decrease in the five-station network in 2016. 

Pacifica's finance committee cancelled a planned October 25 meeting just 5 hours before it was scheduled to begin. The finance committee, whose primary job is to put together the annual seven-division organizational budget each year, is in a dysfunctional state. Pacifica has no organizational budget for the fiscal year that began a month ago, despite beginning a "budget process" 4+ months ago. Only one division, the archives, has a draft budget approved by the finance committee,  although not by the full board of directors. The lack of any financial planning gives a free hand to IED Brazon to do as she pleases with little to no supervision by the board. It represents an almost complete collapse of the board's financial oversight responsibilities.

If you want to download a copy of Pacifica's preliminary year-end income statement, you can do so here. A list of confusing aspects to the statement was prepared by former PNB treasurer Tracy Rosenberg and can be referenced on the NY-based blog WBAI Now and Then.  The most startling information contained in the financial statement was the costs accrued for the still incomplete FY 2014 financial audit, now totaling $193,000. $95,967, essentially the cost of another entire audit, was accrued between June and September of 2016, a year after the statement was due to the CPB and Attorney General and after Brazon insisted publicly the FY 2014 audit was "basically completed". 

In 2014, Pacifica, in an episode dubbed "Ebola-gate", applied retroactively for a third party fundraising waiver from the Federal Communications Commission. Pacifica FCC attorney John Crigler made the retroactive application after being notified that Sojourner Truth host Margaret Prescod was promising 50% of donations to her show during the 2014 on-air fund drive would be re-donated to Partners in Health for ebola relief in West Africa. This year, Prescod along with several other Pacifica program hosts, said donations would be re-donated for Hurricane Matthew hurricane relief  via the Haiti Emergency Fund. An inquiry to the ED, the Pacifica National Board and attorney Crigler as to whether an FCC third party fundraising waiver had been or would be requested, went unanswered. None of the 18 currently seated national board members confirmed the FCC waiver had been sought.

Governance meetings for the rest of the week are in closed session referencing "personnel matters", with a secret session of the KPFT local station board noticed for the evening of October 26 and a secret session of the Pacifica National Board noticed for the evening of October 27.

It took the intervention of a Pacifica member long removed from board service to address the national board's deliberate open meeting violation of October 6. Retired former board member Terry Goodman finally took matters into his own hands on October 24, some 18 days after the board of directors voted not to stream their meeting, Goodman notified Pacifica in Exile that he downloaded the audio we publicly posted on October 7 and posted it on Pacifica's meeting records page, after none of the board's officers accomplished the task. Pacifica is required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to provide the public with real-time access to open session meetings of the board and board committees. Had Pacifica been able to submit timely audited financial statements, the board's actions on October 6 would have delayed funding for another year. Pacifica has not yet started the FY 2015 financial audit that was due to CPB on June 30, 2016.

In the latest episode of "the streaming wars", KPFT rep Adriana Casenave and WBAI rep Cerene Roberts engaged in a 1 hour-40 minute filibuster of Pacifica's affiliates task force meeting on the evening of October 24, preventing the meeting's attendance roll call with more than 100 procedural points focused on stopping the meeting from being Internet streamed. The meeting had no contents that impacted any of the network's 200 affiliated community radio stations - at all. You can listen to a brief clip here. The meeting continued in this vein for more than another hour. 

Selected Comments from the Petition to 
Remove Lydia Brazon as Pacifica IED

The evidence that has been documented in multiple ways, at multiple times, clearly indicates that Ms Brazon should be prosecuted for negligence at least, and arguably more serious crimes. She is a clear and present danger to the survival and solvency of the entire Pacifica Network and should be replaced by any and all legal remedies as soon as possible in the interests of long-suffering members and listeners of the stations.

Please remove her.  She is not qualified and doing more damage to an already fragile situation. We need someone that cares and works hard and LISTENS to the listeners. Without us Pacifica will cease to exist. Is that what you want?? She needs to go NOW.
Pacifica needs a new interim Executive Director who will work full-time to preserve all of the stations and put Pacifica on a course to return to sustainable operations. I don't understand how breaking laws, both internal and external laws, can continue for so long. Why is Pacifica and it's member stations being purposefully destroyed?

I don't understand why it is not possible to kick those individuals off the board who obviously do not want the financials to improve and who evidently want Pacifica to go bankrupt so that they can somehow seize the remaining assets.  I also do not understand why the Board Chair and followers are allowed to commit illegal maneuvers such as refusing to seat the elected WBAI Board Members.

The current management has breached its fiduciary duty to members, listeners, the stations, and Pacifica.

I am so sick and tired of this matter of doing nothing to get on with survival.

Members donate in good faith because they appreciate the programming  and then  they learn that board and management haven't performed their fiduciary responsibilities toward finances and obeying the law. Not only is this a power grab of the "commons", but it is a heartbreaking destruction of all the beautiful work to fulfill Pacifica's mission over the last 66yrs
Get her gone!

It is difficult to separate incompetence from purposeful destructiveness by the iED over her reign.

The instances and evidence of Brazon's bad faith are multitudinous, and continue to pile up. Such brazen bad faith needs to be discouraged and apparently the only way to do that at this late date is to bring it to an end as quickly as possible with her dismissal.

Get rid of Brazon, before you have nothing left to work with!

It's so sad that this is happening to my beloved BAI. It's unimaginable that the so called leadership would let this happen and no one is able to stop them.

I've just read the timeline of the "coup." Sickening. Is it not possible to obtain injunctions against some of the actions?

Please get her out of Pacifica entirely, she's been a long time cancer who MUST find another mission to destroy, NOT Pacifica!

PNB It's time to take charge of the mess we are in and get to the bottom of all the financial blunders and prioritize the values promoted when Lou Hill began the station.

Oust Ms Brazon AND REPLACE HER with someone dedicated to Pacifica's mission and qualified to carry it out.

It's beyond accident or incompetence that Brazon and her faction are letting the financial situation of the network deteriorate. It's a deliberate attempt of the faction to bankrupt it and then take it over.

The Brazon/Seigel has to go!  They have done nothing but help destroy Pacifica.  Their inabilty to provide CFB documentation and funding is inexcusable!   This is worse than than the crisis of the late 90's. I see little hope, until we legally get rid of all the Brazon/Siegelites, top to bottom, legally.  I know this takes time and money.  I pray that we have the time and resources to rescue Pacifica from the point of no return.  A dedicated listener since 1992.
Where is the attorney general with all of the illegal actions that  violate the nonprofit charter?

 This has been allowed to go on too long.

How much longer are the stations going to be run by people hell bent on destroying Pacifica ? Get them out . We need competent and dedicated leadership committed to the mission statement.

She MUST go!  NOW! This reign of error must stop!

Make all audit info up to date and fully transparent to regain the large CPB grant and other withheld funding. Make it easier for more members to vote in Pacifica elections. Create continuing programming about Pacifica history and current Pacifica issues to engage listeners and contributors in its election process. This will both create a pressure valve and counter the imbalance created by the tendency of mic controlling program hosts to lean toward the "dark side" regarding internal politics at Pacifica. Fire / vote off board anybody attempting to destroy Pacifica, i.e. the current regime.

Why is Pacifica and the stations purposely being destroyed?  I've been a member of KPFA for most of the past 40-50 years and have learned and enjoyed so much that is not available elsewhere, including PBS (which I do like).  When I listen to KPFA now, I just wonder how many names I have respected in the past can support what is being done to KPFA and Pacifica.  What is the payoff for these hardworking people with a long history with Pacifica?  And how can the PNB allow the archives to be dispersed like unwanted junk?  The destruction of the network and stations must stop!

Ms. Brazon, if you care at all for Pacifica, please step down immediately, and let someone with the desperately needed skills take your place.  Of course, if you despise Pacific and intend to destroy it, you enduring and historic legacy will be a historic outrage of the 21st Century as the ultimate assassin of the last vestige of non-corporate, free speech radio in America!

COMMENTS???  I'm too angry about this to be able to write a comment without recourse to VERY foul language.

Color me "Disgusted"....
A new iED now!  please, please, please, please, please, etc.

HIgh time the culprit should be let go, fired and as I am against the death penalty, I will stop here. Yes, way past time to get a new interim Executive Director.

I was a member for many years but stopped sending in donations because of the unethical behavior of KPFA and Pacifica interim directors.  She should be fired!

We must save Pacifica.  The folks hurting the stations must go.

I have lost trust in the IED, Ms Brazon and want a new interim executive director who will fight for the preservation of all our stations and fulfill the Pacifica mission.

Who's behind these jackasses?  Is money being passed...? 

The overall handling of KPFK's affairs has become so appallingly inept, tone deaf, and destructive that I can no longer trust that my donations will actually go where they should. As of 18 mos. ago, I stopped offering even minimal financial support. And, because of all the fund drives, I can no longer recommend to friends and colleagues that they listen to the valuable programming this station has done for so many decades. Three weeks of programming followed by three weeks of fund drives in an endless rotation only leads to tuning out. It's all so sad, and it didn't have to happen. If Lew Hill were still alive, he'd commit suicide all over again. On the other hand, perhaps the station/network would actually be functioning with the integrity he intended.

The current leadership and officers of the Pacifica National Board have violated governance principles of the Pacifica Foundation, taking control of the Pacifica Foundation by arbitrarily applying governance principles to further their own selfish ambitions. Decisions made by Lydia Brazon and her backers are clearly leading to the destruction of at least some of the five Pacifica stations to the personal financial gain of a few individuals.

Who is this Lydia Brazon to draw critically needed funds for a Real Estate assessment? Why did not these funds go directly to support the Archives?  The  termites have infested the entire ship of Pacifica.

Not being able to keep books is pathetic and inexcusable. Giving up CPB money is inexcusable.  Losing the Pacifica archives storage materials is unforgivable.  Selling things that aren't yours is criminal.  Get these establishment moles out of Pacifica.

It's obvious, this is purposely an attempt to end Pacifica like it's been planned for a long time. And to sit back and let this one person destroy   an entire foundation is a crime. And for all of these scary people to sit back, watch, say and do nothing is also pathetic and they should "go jump off a bridge!"

You know, If I were working for SoundExchange, I'd be all up and down asking the CPB if Pacifica is operating the radio stations legitimately...GET THE AUDITS DONE AND RELEASED TO CPB, PLEASE!?

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  1. Regarding Ebola-gate and Haiti relief. What did I tell you? Uh huh...


  2. I thought the title of the clip of the affiliates meeting was a joke. Its not. She actually says her point of order is that she has three points of order. This is supposed to be a committee to deal with folks who actually pay us to use our programming.

    I didn't get the memo that said program hosts get to decide how to spend money raised on their shows. Maybe I'll get a show and spend my money on something frivolous like the archives or getting premiums out.

  3. this is copied here from comments written at Pacificainexile -- that were not responded to, so asking same Q here :

    #1 =" Presuming there is a pay for the interim Exe Director, how much has Brazon been receiving for how much work/hours contributed solely to Pacifica ? Just curious and wonder if her other work interferes or maybe influences her 'service' to Pacifica ?:”

    and #2 comment : with relevant questions =

    "Does anyone have or be willing to share the salaries listed for PNB members and/or executive Pacifica directors [interim or not ?] as asked in comment above ? Or are such serious $$$ concerns not part of the Pacifica-paying Public ? it also happens in most social secret circles -- where salaries are never disclosed nor admitted. Same old hiding of what is important to everyone there concerned. Why ? Everyone pretending to not care and the taboo repeats: “Don’t ask ! "