Monday, December 26, 2016
Exiles Newsletter dec. 26, 2016
Winning Isn't Everything
Berkeley - After disenfranchising NY station WBAI of 75% of their national board representation, Pacifica's national board held elections for two 2017 affiliate directors. The two affiliate directors will be the tie-breaking votes on the 2017 PNB after the independents won resounding election victories in Los Angeles, Houston and New York. Incumbent affiliate directors Efia Nwangaza and Temba Tshibanda both voted not to seat the directors chosen by NY's newly elected delegates, who they feared would not vote for them to retain their affiliate seats in 2017. Sole NY representative Cerene Roberts brought motions twice last week to eliminate elected NY directors not affilated with her NY branch of the Siegel/Brazon faction. A legal letter sent by LA attorney Jerry Manpearl to the board prior to their second vote to disenfranchise WBAI can be seen here.
Roberts, Nwangaza, and Tshibanda were not wrong in their calculation that seating the elected NY directors would cause the Siegel/Brazon faction to lose their majority on the 2017 national board. Election staffer Terry Goodman issued a public report of the election results counting the votes of all of the elected national directors.
Goodman's report, which can be read in its entirety here, states: "Pacifica's governing body has been operating in continuing breach of the bylaws requirement for equal representation on the board from all 5 stations". The elected WBAI directors "likely should have been provided ballots in the election of two 2017 affiliate directors".
Goodman goes on to state "If the 2017 term Pacifica National Board or a court of proper jurisdiction rules that the various actions of the 2016 Pacifica governing body are null and void due to its continuing breach of Article Five, Section 1(C) of the Pacifica Bylaws, and further rules that the individuals named by the WBAI LSB Secretary were in fact WBAI Station Representative Directors on December 15, 2016, that future PNB or court might consider this alternate tally to be a more legitimate record of the election of 2017 Affiliate Directors".
Goodman's legitimate election results show 2009 PNB director David Beaton easily finished in first place, receiving 7 votes of the 16 cast and winning in the first round. Temba Tshibanda received 5 votes and Efia Nwangaza received four votes and was eliminated. When Beaton is seated at the end of January, as he should be, the Siegel/Brazon majority on the national board will come to an end after 34 months. The Pacifica National Board has not notified Beaton he won the 2017 affiliate director election.
The national board's December 13 call for an election "recount" appears to have been ignored to date. The Pacifica Foundation website at www.pacifica.org declares the elections certified and the results final, despite the board majority's proclamation results were only "provisional". ED Brazon, election supervisor Lynne Serpe, and election vendor True Ballot have never publicly replied to the call for a recount, much less started a recount. The 8 Siegel/Brazonites who voted to decertify (Roberts-NY, Sorden-DC, Brown-DC, Tshibanda-AFF, Casenave-HOU, Bethune-HOU, Patel-Adams-HOU, Kobren-BK) have also failed to publicly comment on the aborted decertification effort.
The 2014 audit (for the period ending 9-30-2014) remains unreleased, presumably because the balance due to the auditor hasn't been paid. Pacifica has not started the FY 2015 audit nor the FY 2016 audit. The FY 2016 audit (as well as the past due FY 2015 audit) would both have to be submitted to the California Attorney General and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by June 30 2017 to return Pacifica to compliance and access to three quarters of a million dollars in annual public media funding. While the obstacles to completing this task appear to be not simply financial (the network's fall on-air fund drives have booked well over $2 million dollars since September), the WBAI local station board took a step in the right direction by voting for "the LSB to propose a five station network-wide on-air fundraiser by January 31, 2017, specifically to raise funds for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 audits, the completion of which is a pre-requisite for CPB funding and critically needed off-air fundraising. The ED should immediately initiate a collaborative effort among the five stations to implement this proposal". The vote was cross-factional on one of the network's most divided local boards, summoning 17 favorable votes on the proposal. Unfortunately, one of the few no votes was WBAI's sole representative on the national Pacifica board: Cerene Roberts.
While statistics have been cited repeatedly and they never change, December's recently completed KPFK fund drive demonstrated once again the Siegel/Brazon-driven program changes to the LA station's formerly successful overnight grid have no financial basis in reality. Over the period of December 7 to December 22, Something's Happening, hosted by Roy of Hollywood, brought in $19,187 in listener support over 10 three-hour programs. Replacement program Safe Harbor brought in $170 over the same 10 three-hour programs in the more lucrative midnight to 3am time slot taken from Something's Happening. The replacement program has built no financially supporting audience in a year whatsoever. The overhead costs of facility and equipment maintenance are being subsidized by the Something's Happening audience, whose great distress over the change has been vocal. 99.1% of the overnight income was produced by the program whose air time was reduced by 50%.
Many Pacifica in Exile readers have written to this publication over the past two and a half years describing their anguish and difficulty deciding whether or not to continue financially supporting Pacifica despite deep distress at the actions of the Siegel/Brazon majority since their March 2014 coup. Pacifica In Exile has always advised donations continue, due to financial fragility and the potential ability of members to fix the mess by exercising democratic voting rights. But with the Siegel/Brazon board majority's actions to de-recognize and de-certify every election result contrary to their continued dominance, and the continuing and acute decline in the integrity of the network, we no longer feel unethical behavior can or should be enabled. In the age of Trump, the deliberate weakening of the biggest progressive media network in the country by botched audits, grant forfeiture, misuse of restricted funds, abrogation of member voting rights, premium theft, and copyright abuse should no longer be tolerated. We can't afford to have the only mass media infrastructure in the United States free of corporate or government ownership held hostage.
Therefore, we are asking Pacifica members to say enough is enough and that they will not participate in year-end giving or the upcoming January/February fund drive cycle unless and until the rot is cleaned out. Until the decertification and disenfranchisement votes of December 13 and December 15 are reversed, and affiliate director election winner David Beaton is assured of his seating in January 2017, we are asking for the immediate resignation and permanent severing from Pacifica governance of every single national board member who did not vote against decertifying the 2016 election results and the invalidation of two WBAI directors elections in defiance of basic voting rights. You can sign on to the Get the Rot Out Strike here.
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