Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Cerene couldn't get in to disrupt (she. again, begged twice), but—as Indigopirate so observantly demonstrates—you didn't have to do a two-way to get the drift.
In the course of the 17 April 2017 PNB Audit Committee meeting, following lengthy discussion as to how to construct an RFP for potential auditors, as well as how to identify, invite, and/or approach potential auditors, the chair presented the following information provided by Sam Agarwal, Pacifica’s Chief Financial Officer.
All stations are behind schedule submitting the financial information necessary for the 2015 audit. They are being reminded and encouraged to provide the necessary information. The national office cannot proceed without this information. There will then necessarily be adjustments and corrections before information can be provided to the auditors. The national office is severely short-staffed and is encountering real difficulty recruiting qualified people.
The National Office will likely need at least three to four weeks to bring the books to an audit stage suitable to present to the auditors.
The CFO says he will provide further details the next day, 18 April.
The CFO points out that an audit generally takes approximately three months, at the least.
The completion of the 2015 FY audit then would fall, according to this timeline, approximately four months away, that is, mid-August.
The stated deadline of the CA AG’s office of charitable trusts is 27 August.
In the then-following further lengthy discussion as to how to frame and construct the RFP for potential auditors, the committee concludes that the RFP will/must state a deadline for the auditors’ completion of the FY15 audit of mid-July, so as to provide them a ‘cushion’ of at least six weeks to review the auditors’ work.
One committee member points out that this isn’t enough time, since it allows the auditors only two months, not the three months CFO Agarwal said would be necessary at customary minimum.
The response to this was that the committee couldn’t be expected to expedite their review, and the issue of two-months vs three-months as to what would be necessary for the audit, appears to have been effectively unaddressed and unresolved.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Going bonkers (yes, even more so) over her recent relocation to the very fringe of Pacifica matters, the Disruptor-in-Chief spends much of her time these days pouring out her meaningless pixels at every opportunity and hoping that someone pores over them with undue attention.
Unwanted and uninvited, she makes increasingly desperate attempts to participate in streamed meetings that now are less chaotic than they used to be with her points of disorder.
Her begging for access to the Pacifica Audit Committee's recent fruitless clashes was ignored, but nothing seems to impede her constant need for attention.
Now a frequent e-mailer, here's what she came up with today as word of a flimsy super tent of iniquity made the rounds and another plot seemed destined for collapse.
What Cerene wants you to read.
Friday, April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Crosier, Interim Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 510-316-9783
“Big Tent Radio Network”
Pacifica Foundation Director Comments on Berkeley Secession Effort
Houston - Pacifica Foundation Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier addressed members of the 5-station radio network after it became known that at least one of the KPFA Local Station Board members, with others, has secretly contacted celebrities and prominent supporters of progressive causes, falsely claiming that Pacifica is “collapsing”, and asking them to be on the board of a new nonprofit organization which would seek to acquire Pacifica's assets, or at least those of station KPFA.
The attachment to the email forwarded to Crosier follows his statement below.
Pacifica Foundation Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier's Statement
As commercial media interests dominate our society and non-corporate journalism and culture struggle for survival, Pacifica, like most independent media networks, is facing financial, organizational, and technological challenges. But Pacifica's financial situation is beginning to turn around, with four of the stations doing very well in fund drives this year, and the fifth (KPFT) stepping up other fundraising. We had the most successful one-day fund drive ever, on March 2. In that drive, we got so many pledges for the new collection of historic audio recordings from Pacifica Radio Archives, that we had to order a second large batch of USB drives and just finished duplicating them and sending them out. We are working to improve Pacifica's finances, and we are making progress. Major donors are approaching us, asking how they can help. Pacifica also submitted a plan for financial stabilization and recovery to the Attorney General of California before the end of March, and this plan has received very positive reviews. Further, the majority of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) has a renewed commitment to financial stability so that the Pacifica mission can be preserved and so Pacifica can grow.
It is certainly not correct to say that Pacifica is “collapsing”. In fact, that is very misleading. We are actually improving our financial stability.
While I have had concerns about Pacifica's well-being in recent years, and feel very strongly about the importance of independent media, I am bothered that any local board member would falsely spread negative rumors about Pacifica. There is an ethical issue with passing along misleading information about Pacifica in order to line up oppositional support for another organization.
Is it not a conflict of interest, and a violation of fiduciary duty, for any board member to be secretly trying to line up well-known people to be on the board of a new organization, especially if that would discourage people from donating to Pacifica? It also seems strange that the recruitment involves telling prospective board members that no time or financial commitment is required, which makes us wonder what those board members are expected to do. What would help much more would be to ask those same people to help Pacifica directly - by recording announcements for our stations to encourage donations, for example, or helping to tell more people about the valuable and unique programming that we have. While I have nothing against contingency plans, it's wrong to falsely (and secretly) spread false rumors about Pacifica, in order to get support for this new clandestine organization.
Many of us on our national and local boards want to work together on a major Bylaws re-write this year, to improve our governance and support stronger fiscal stewardship. But we do not need a completely different organization in order to change our Bylaws or governance structure. We have reached a point where many people in Pacifica recognize that it is time for major changes to improve the way we function, and we expect to be able to do this in the coming months.
There is still much other work to do, including paying off debt that Pacifica has accumulated, getting caught up on audits, and dealing with a lawsuit by Empire State Building over unpaid antenna tower rent and related expenses for WBAI. We have a renewed commitment from the majority (but not all) of the Pacifica National Board to stop ignoring our financial problems and to get all of this under control. That's the main reason the PNB appointed me as interim Executive Director and re-hired Sam Agarwal as Chief Financial Officer. I've been one of the most vocal advocates for the PNB to develop a plan and to take immediate and responsible action to address our financial situation and insure recovery. Mr. Agarwal is also dedicated to repairing our finances. Although things were looking quite uncertain for the last few years, now we are working on it, and making good progress. Of course, it will take some time.
Many listeners and staff from the five main Pacifica stations and 220 affiliates within the Pacifica community are communicating and working together to build a network capable of addressing the political, environmental, social justice, economic and cultural needs of our time. Setting up a secret organization behind the backs of colleagues and fellow board members. and lobbying against those trying to save the network breeds confusion, distrust, and disunity when we most need to be supporting each other and this wonderful network of independent media.
I ask those promoting this division to come and talk with us about your concerns, and work with us to meet our challenges together. I also encourage anyone approached by those promoting this new “Big Tent Radio Network” to instead join with us to protect and support Pacifica. We have been supporting free speech, uncensored news, independent music and public affairs, and peace for almost 70 years. We are not going away, we are improving, growing and adapting to change. Please help us to meet the amazing and daunting task before us. Pacifica is needed now, more than ever.
—Bill Crosier, Interim Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation
“Board Invitation Information Sheet” for the new secret organization “Big Tent Radio Network”
Attention: This is a confidential communication.
Work to establish our non-profit 501(c)3 is underway and being conducted under the radar. When we are a fait accompli, we will announce with a splash.
An Invitation to Save a Corporate Free National Radio Network with as much or as little time as YOU wish and NO MONEY from you.
We invite and request you to join the Board of Big Tent Radio Network. We intend to make an offer to the collapsing Pacifica Foundation to receive its assets and liabilities. Our aim is to save/ grow listener sponsored radio to deliver news, information, ideas and music that contribute to a more just, peaceful, healthy, sustainable, culturally rich, beautiful world...while there is still time. We need you.
Pacifica is collapsing. With a diverse strong capable board, this project can move forward. At some point, the network will be rescued and revitalized…or…GONE.
What is The Pacifica Foundation?
A non-profit FM radio network established 1947, the only totally listener sponsored radio network in the United States, has no corporate sponsors or links.
Powerful signals blanket 5 of our largest metropolitan areas:
- New York, our finance capital
- Los Angeles, our entertainment capital
- Washington, DC, our political capital
- San Francisco, our tech capital
- Houston, our oil capital
- + 220 independent affiliates across the nation and rapidly growing
Does Radio Matter?
Terrestrial radio is the single most-used medium in the United States – in any given week, 91% of adults listen to it. It is one of the best mediums for reaching people outside the ideological bubbles created by social media—listeners discover new stations by spinning their dials, not clicking on links recommended by those who share their beliefs. Pacifica is a unique progressive media asset.
What We Are Doing?
- Establishing Big Tent Radio Network as a California non-profit and IRS 501(c)3
- Board recruiting: 13 dynamite progressive representative leaders, activists, specialists
What Can a Board Member Expect?
- Two teleconference Board meetings a year (active workgroups, for those interested in hands on)
- Powers to hire and fire the Executive Director and CFO (to assure adherence to mission)
- No time demands, but major involvement invited, no money demands
Why We Don’t Need Your Money!
- Pacifica has a strong donor base. The SF Bay Area Fall Fund Drive alone raised $780,000.
- Pacifica’s biggest donors have said that they will give money when the network has an effective governance structure and professional management; we meet those conditions.
- Pacifica owns property in Berkeley that can be used to collateralize debt when the banks are assured of the new network’s stability and professional management.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
In Denmark, where half of me comes from, we had a tactful way in which to break up a social gathering that adopted an extended life. Lingering guests can test one's patience and kindle a desire to end even the most enjoyable evening, but rather than yawning or bringing out coats, a simple tradition made it into Danish social life: "Skrup af te,".
In plain language, that translates into "get lost tea" and was universally understood as a pleasant, subtle cue to drink up and call it a night.
I don't know if they still practice that little ritual back home, but something equivalent might be needed for Pacifica board meetings, such as last night's melé, called to discuss the serious audit problem, but ending up as another study in deliberate disruption.
I mercifully eliminated about an hour of squibble-squabble, but I left intact the longest, most ignored call for adjournment in recent Pacifica mistory.Breaking up is hard to do...
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Berkeley-Pacifica's national board, which met a whopping four times in the month of March, spent most of its open sessions suspended in the twilight zone, although some mild improvement was noticeable by the end of March. In a month that began for Pacifica with a smashingly successful one-day national fundraiser and ended with the timely submission of a stabilization plan to California's Registry of Charitable Trusts, the board meetings were wildly out of touch, mostly focusing on the 2014-2016 Siegel/Brazon majority's difficulties in adjusting to their current minority position.
Since there is much good news to share, we don't want to harp solely on board meeting disruptions. Pacifica members should review the stabilization plan submitted to the California Attorney General on March 30 and can read it here. As an addendum to the document, which focuses on returning to financial sustainability, reform of governance, and improving managerial performance; the following can be reported about Pacifica's current status:
- Empire State Building, Pacifica's largest aggressive debtor, declined to file for summary judgment in their lawsuit, instead scheduling a settlement conference for late April.
- The Registry of Charitable Trusts formally set the drop-dead due date for Pacifica's delinquent FY 2015 audit report forward to August 27.
- A generous WPFW donor retroactively released a donor restriction on $140K of capital funds that WPFW used for operating costs in 2016, freeing Pacifica of the requirement to replace the funds immediately.
- Armanino LLC declined to perform the FY 2015 financial audit, which may allow Pacifica to rein in audit expenses that had soared to $193K for FY 2014, possibly the most expensive audit of a $13 million dollar organization in history.
All of this represents positive developments for the organization, which had looked to be on the precipice of disaster only a few short months ago. KPFK GM Christine Blosdale also asked this publication to update KPFK fund drive numbers reported in the last edition, because the numbers were too low. KPFK's February fund drive actually brought in $618K, which was $123K above the $495K goal. Pacifica in Exile regrets the error.
Since relatively few Pacifica members listen to the archived board meeting audio, here are some brief summaries and highlight reels.
On March 23, the national board met. The meeting marked the initial introduction of a new teleconferencing system, Maestro Conference. The Maestro system, which is heavily used throughout the nonprofit sector, offers a number of technological improvements including personalized pin codes, reduced dropouts and background noise, and the ability to mute disruptive participants. The muting capacity, although it wasn't used during the March 23 meeting, appeared to strike fear into the hearts of the disruptors. It was pretty much all they talked about all night. The meeting, which was almost entirely procedural in nature, featured votes with most of the board saying yes or no calmly into the phone and a small quadrant (most noticeably Adriana Casenave) insisting they were being muted and could not vote, even as they shouted loudly into the phone. At the end of the meeting, a barely audible Cerene Roberts can be heard despairing that there were not enough points of order during the meeting. It is true the 3/23 meeting fell somewhat short of the "Disruptathon" standard of 176 points in 4 hours. You can listen to a summary reel from the March 23 meeting here. In the closed session, without an online audience, the board did somewhat better, re-hiring Sam Agarwal as the Chief Financial Officer and authorizing interim ED Bill Crosier to select and hire an attorney to replace corporate counsel Dan Siegel, who resigned days after Lydia Brazon was let go. The board also formally censured a disruptive board member for dilatory comments, per their report out. Bill Crosier's comprehensive executive director's report is available here. As with the previous three he has prepared in the last 7 weeks, it was never presented during a board meeting.
A week later on March 30, the board met again, navigated more points of order about the telephone system and meeting notices and finally conducted some business by restoring committees to one director per station, which caps the size so committees do not have 20-person rosters. Not to be deterred, disruptive directors Cerene Roberts and Adriana Casenave proceeded to nominate themselves for every single one of the board's 9 committees and 4 task forces, a total of 13 different bodies. No independent director nominated themselves for more than 4 of the 13. During the meeting, KPFT listener rep Adriana Casenave continued to shout loudly into the phone "I am muted", apparently under the impression she was not being heard on the Internet stream. As your ears will attest, she was more than audible. A brief summary reel can be heard here. New officers Jonathan Alexander (KPFK - Chair), Sabrina Jacobs (KPFA - Vice Chair) and Akio Tanaka (KPFA - Secretary) continued their baptism by fire, but are gaining confidence in handling the ongoing disruption attempts they have faced since their elections to officer positions in February.
KPFA's local station board met on March 18. Newly-elected SK-affiliated member Craig Williams abruptly departed and was replaced by UCR's Marilla Arguilles. On local matters, the board mostly talked about the flooding and mold problems, which while long-standing, were especially acute over the last rainy Bay Area winter. The station has been cited by OSHA in the past for untreated mold and is looking for a permanent solution to the structural problem might cost. The station's building was erected over a creek. For the rest of the meeting, having run out of local matters, the KPFA local station board discussed visiting the California Attorney General. Some members of KPFA's local station board have expressed eagerness for the Attorney General to dissolve the Pacifica Foundation, although such an action would likely result in the return of the licenses to the FCC for reassignment.
According to KPFA listener rep Bill Campisi, former corporate counsel Siegel and Yee has to date refused to return legal files to Pacifica after resigning. Among the legal matters Siegel and Yee handled from 2014-2016 are collections lawsuits from Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship, Robert Half, and former BAI LSB member Stephen Brown, governance lawsuits Yeakey vs. Pacifica, Young vs. Pacifica and PDGG vs Pacifica, the lengthy SAG-AFTRA arbitration at KPFK, and the correspondence audit with the CA Registry of Charitable Trusts. Siegel and Yee are required to return the records to the Pacifica Foundation.
NY's WBAI had it's most lucrative fundraiser in several years in February, booking almost $500,000. Program manager Tony Bates' report can be read here. WBAI local station board member and radical attorney Lynne Stewart passed away from cancer in March, almost three years after compassionate release from a lengthy and undeserved prison term.
At KPFT, the managerial transition from long-time manager Duane Bradley, who was in place for almost a decade and a half, continues to be a bit troubled as Bradley's departure has been accompanied by the loss of the program and development directors, leaving a huge gap in experienced management. The usually stable Houston station has been struggling. It's new independent LSB has some work to do to re-balance the station after the Siegel/Brazon local station board in 2015-2016 succeeded in their campaign to remove Bradley and "rely more on volunteers".
The Siegel/Brazonites exported the national board disruption and chaos back to Los Angeles on March 12, when cacophony and a physical altercation resulted in an adjournment of the local station board meeting for the safety of all concerned. The disruption was orchestrated by former volunteer coordinator Adam Rice, who had earlier hijacked KPFK's Facebook page and threatened to destroy it unless $100,000 was delivered to Leslie Radford, who was let go as KPFK's general manager on February 27. Rice faced removal as a staff representative on KPFK's local board due to the extortion attempt. The board meeting audio is mostly yelling, but here is a few minutes sampling of the noise. The local board madness was a big contrast to the station's robust last week of fund drive and greatly increased morale. New general manager Christine Blosdale prepared a report for the board. You can read it here.
After 16 years Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship, the protest movement that became Free Speech Radio News has announced all production will be terminated at the end of April. The news collective, which once produced a daily news half hour with a network of stringers across the world, suffered greatly when Pacifica, its primary funder, lost Corporation for Public Broadcasting Funding and could no longer turn over its NPPAG (national programming) grant to fund the show's production. Attempts to produce segments for pay and just one weekly 30-minute newscast for the past few years, could not garner sufficient resources to survive. Nell Abram's announcement can be seen here.
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