Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy 2017

I appreciate every visit and hope WBAI/Pacifica will be fumigated before we reach 2018—even if that means pulling the plug.

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 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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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Does the grid sparkle?

The following is a partial list of programs aired by WBAI that Jack Shalom—in a post to PacificaRadiowaves—considers to be “gems”. I have added my comments (in red). What are your thoughts?

*Democracy Now
Still good and appropriate, but showing weakness.

*Guns and Butter
Truther talk that occasionally flirts with objectivity.

Law and Disorder

First Voices radio with John Kane
Mostly ego-driven drivel.

Economic Update with Richard Wolff

Talk Back with Ron Daniels
A self-promoting, single-minded grab of free commercial airtime.

Talk Back with Malachi McCourt

Morning Irsay--lessons in music appreciation with James Orsay

Gary Null
Highly questionable misuse of the soap box.

The Positive Mind with acolytes of Armand DeMille

Take Charge of Your Health with Corinne Funari
An inappropriate commercial venture.

Arts Express--arts and politics with Prairie Miller and your correspondent

*Sojourner Truth
Very uneven Afro-centric KPFK import.

*Letters and Politics

The Morning Show --with Michael G. Haskins and guests
Valuable time slot wasted by an incompetent, unimaginative host.

Joy of Resistance-feminist show with Fran Luck
Sounds good, but I am not qualified to judge this topic.


Off to a good start.

Laura Flanders Show

Through the Opera Glass
Good music, knowledgeable presenters.

Randy Credico--political comedy
Good interviews with interesting guests—wisely downplays Credico’s humorless comedy.

New World Gallery with Chico Alvarez
Excellent music and presentation.

Golden Age of Radio with Max Schmid
Mixed bag of nostalgia.

Building Bridges--labor issues with Mimi Rosenberg
This laughably self-declared “sister” is a bad joke with a mouth that apparently can’t be closed. 

*The Jimmy Dore Show--political comedy
Some of the humor is strained.

Housing Notebook
Excellent, informative program that stays on course.

Liquid Sound Lounge--free form music with Jeannie Hopper
A long-running, meaningless mixture of bland music and idle chatter, this is a more or less thinly disguised promotion for Ms. Hopper’s commercial ventures.

Off the Hook--issues about hackers and
Generally excellent and authoritative. Good for WBAI.

Out-FM with John Riley and Bob Lederer
The subject could be handled more intelligently, but this one has its moments.

Personal Computer Show with Hank Kee
Hampered by the stagnancy of hopelessly out-dated DOS graduates.

The Katie Halper Show---political comedy
Still waiting to hear an inkling of humor, political or otherwise.

Cuba in Focus with Sally O’Brien
A worthy subject stifled by the host’s race-coated twists of truth.

Everything Old is New Again--the great american songbook with David Kenney
Well produced show, seemingly aimed at the gay cabaret set. No redeeming value as a Pacifica program.

And You Don't Stop--hip-hop with Chuck D.
Basically, a run-of-the-mill DJ show that might do well elsewhere.

All Mixed Up--sound collage with Peter Bochan
Excellent and intelligently conceived audio collages.

Hour of the Wolf--science fiction with Jim Freund
Usually excellent, thoughtfully produced program. Freund knows the subject inside out and attracts the right guests.

Explorations--physics and politics with Michio Kaku
Excellent in every way—should be scheduled in an appropriate time slot.

On the Count--prison issues

Radio Free Eirann
Well produced and presented, but limited to the Irish Republican side of this ongoing conflict.

Equal tIme for Free Thought--atheist and religious issues
An important subject that begs for more open discussion, but definitely fills a gap left by virtually all NYC stations.

And more that I haven't mentioned. (Sigh)  

This is an extraordinary list. Maybe some of you from the other stations weren't aware how strong this line-up is. This is hours and hours and hours of great programming. *Anyone who can't sell the shows in this list to a left audience isn't trying.*

A left audience forms only a part of the so-called “community.” WBAI has no mandate to aim at a “left” audience, nor—for that matter—a segment of the area’s black audience. When the lemmings declare WBAI as “community radio,” they are showing how limited their thinking is. Intelligent people of all colors are insulted by such a seriously limited scope. The original common denominator used to be an honest, intellectual approach to as wide an array of subjects as possible. Dumbing the station down and blurring its vision with eyes that see only one point of view is anathema to independent thinkers—an insult to intelligence, an incentive to tune out. 

Promoting the current WBAI is akin to selling a seriously moldy loaf of stale bread, because small parts of it remain edible.

And that's the problem. Management isn't trying.

Strictly speaking, the station has no management. Berthold Reimers is by no means the first misfit to occupy the GM position, but he may well be the worst and costliest—ca. $800,000 in salary alone, so far.

* Not originated at WBAI 

You're missing the point Jack. It doesn't matter whether we agree a show is good or not. We have no formal way to evaluate programming at the moment. The program grid as a whole simply does not work. Are we reaching a significant share of the potential audience? Are we raising enough funds to meet expenses and pay down internal and external debts? Are we serving underserved communities? Are we reaching out to a broader audience instead of just 'the left audience'? The answer to all these questions right now is a firm no.

We should develop a program evaluation strategy that includes a variety of factors but with the goal of raising the number of listeners and members. More listeners mean more members which means more money being raised. This strategy should be combined with a continuous fundraising model where fundraising is done within the context of a given program. This would end the long boring dedicated fundraisers while raising money on a continuous basis.

There are a number of factors to consider. The first would be ratings which in this context means website traffic and archive downloads. Other factors would include income generated by program, income generated by hour, production values, fundraising efforts by a given program, cross-promoting other shows, adherence to the Pacifica mission, serving under-served communities. Evaluating programs from other stations would need to be done in a different way. I also think we should find ways to work more closely with affiliate stations.  —Michael Ochoa

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Exile newsletter 12-19-2016

CATCH 22 and a Member Strike

Berkeley - The second Pacifica National Board meeting in three days went no better than the first with another three hours of invalidating elections on the agenda. The board took no action to change or correct their Tuesday action of decertifying the entire 2016 delegate election, despite a legal opinion informing them the certified election results are final. There has been no word from IED Brazon, National Election Supervisor Lynne Serpe or election vendor True Ballot if or when the board's requested "recount" would be performed.

Having decided the results of the elections,  60 newly elected delegates in all five signal areas, and any actions those new delegates take are "provisional" for an indefinite period of time, the board majority went on to finish the total disenfranchisement of NY station, WBAI, once the pride of the network for its fearless reporting and countercultural dominance. After throwing out WBAI's election of national representatives that occurred on December 7th, the board majority then threw out the WBAI election of national representatives that occurred on December 14th, invalidating a total of 13 elections in 3 days. You can hear an 11-minute summary reel of the meeting here. 

Invalidating the WBAI director elections allowed the board majority to prevent anyone from New York who is not in their own faction from voting for the two 2017 PNB-elected 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. Affiliate director candidates include the incumbents Efia Nwangaza and Themba Tshibanda, famed lawyer and professor Bob Fitrakis, DJ, teacher and equity consultant Jose Gutierrez and former PNB director David Beaton. Neither Beaton, Gutierrez nor Fitrakis is expected to have sufficient votes to defeat either of the incumbents unless the WBAI independent directors are seated in the national board's 3 vacant seats and allowed to vote.

In this brief clip from Thursday's PNB meeting, former IED Wilkinson can be heard in the first 30 seconds of the meeting sneering "yeah right" after KPFK listener rep Jan Goodman noted the WBAI directors had been elected on Wednesday night and should be added to the conference call. A colleague of Wilkinson's in the west coast wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction (Save KPFA) tried to say Wilkinson's vote to invalidate NY's second director's election was caused by a misunderstanding, but the snort indicates that is probably not the case. In case you are not following all of this closely, the invalidation of the WBAI directors election on the 15th was the second time the PNB refused to seat the delegate's choices in 3 vacant WBAI seats on the national board. On December 13th, they threw out NY's election results from December 7th. After the local board re-gathered the following week on December 14th and elected the same people again to fill the seats, the board majority threw out the 2nd election the following day and refused to seat them once again.

While we don't want to spend a lot of time chasing mirages, this 8-minute clip lines up side by side the excuses for invalidating the December 7 WBAI directors election followed by the excuses for invalidating the December 14 WBAI directors election the following week. Basically, it's a Catch-22,  to quote Joseph Heller's famous novel about a vicious circle of contradictory rules. "You can't call a special meeting of the delegates, only a regular meeting of the LSB, but at the regular meeting of the LSB you have to notice in advance an election after we threw the 1st election out the night before -- even though you didn't know we were going to throw the first election out and therefore couldn't notice the second election in advance".  Or something like that. Listen for yourself. 

As usual in a Catch-22, those setting out the crazy quilt of impossible rules do not follow those rules themselves. This meeting announcement for the January 16, 2016 WPFW local meeting when current directors Nancy Sorden, Ron Pinchback, and Jim Brown (all of whom voted to invalidate WBAI's director elections) and board chair Tony Norman (who did not), were elected to their own national director positions, contains no advance notice

In an even more ridiculous touch,  the board majority maintained Siegel/Brazonite Cerene Roberts on the board as a member, even after throwing out her election twice. Roberts continues to serve on the board as the sole WBAI director. The last time she was elected by the WBAI delegates in a "PNB-recognized" election was 23 months ago. KPFT rep Bill Crosier made a point of order Thursday night that the invalidation of WBAI's directors election, if allowed to stand, meant that all 4 WBAI's director slots were now vacant, not just those of the 3 independent. He was overruled. Board chair Tony Norman said the PNB had "placed Roberts on the board by vote for the entire 2016-2017 term". Actually, they didn't. The PNB's motion to allow Roberts to be a "stay-over 2015 director" can be found here and it says:

"That until an election of 2016 WBAI Directors is completed by the properly seated WBAI Delegates (as per the PNB's motion of January 21, 2016) and a report of the election results are submitted to the PNB secretary, only WBAI listener-Director Cerene Roberts shall be considered seated on the Pacifica National Board of Directors.

Needless to say, a report of the election results has been submitted. Repeatedly.

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 the organization 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 this week 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.  We are asking for the immediate resignation and permanent severing from Pacifica governance of every single national board member who did not vote affirmatively on the national board against decertifying the 2016 election results and the invalidation of the two WBAI directors elections in defiance of basic voting rights. You can sign on to the Get the Rot Out Strike here. 

At KPFA's local station board, the last of the 2017 local station boards had newly elected members seated "provisionally" per the PNB dictate. The meeting contents mostly focused on the local station board's desire to set up a new nonprofit and force Pacifica to give them KPFA's license, building, transmitter site, the national office building and the Pacifica Archives for pennies on the dollar. The local board says they intend to sue to dissolve the Pacifica Foundation if the assets are not voluntarily handed over. LSB chair Carole Travis relayed that preliminary contact had been made with actor Peter Coyote to headline the effort to forcibly extract the assets into Wilkinson's new nonprofit at a fraction of their value.

At KPFA, where the December fund drive ended $164,000 short of the opening goal, bizarre fund drive pitches filled with the air, with long-time host Phillip Maldari telling people to donate to the station due to the perfidy of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Maldari said on-air "they {CPB} owe us the money, they're just not sending it". For good measure, he added "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has an obligation to public media in this country that they're not fulfilling". Pacifica stations have been disqualified from CPB funding after missing June deadlines for the submission of audited financial statements in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The network has not released a 2014 audit, has not started a 2015 audit and would have to complete both the 2015 and 2016 audits by June of 2017 to restore funding eligibility and legal compliance. KPFA, like other Pacifica stations, likes to say the information the station provides can be heard nowhere else. Maldari's statement can certainly be heard nowhere else, because it is not true. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cerenely not yours—Exile update...

Berkeley - In an abruptly called "special meeting" on Tuesday evening, one of two Pacifica National Board meetings called for this week, the outgoing board majority decided they didn't like the results of the 2016 board elections and threw them out after certification by the independent national election supervisor and True Ballot, a nationally recognized election services firm. They declared in a motion they wanted a "recount" and that the seating of newly elected delegates, and any officers and national board members they elect, and any business they transact were all "provisional" until further notice.

The Siegel/Brazonites banana republic maneuver was probably motivated by their large losses in three of Pacifica's five signal areas. They lost elections overwhelmingly in Houston, New York and Los Angeles (all by a 2-1 or greater margin) and faced losing their majority in the upcoming year due to the strongly expressed desire of Pacifica members for a change in direction after botched audits, CPB disqualification and rapidly declining membership numbers.

The almost three hour meeting began with an opening salvo of refusing, yet again, to seat directors from WBAI who do not belong to the Siegel/Brazon faction, after they were elected to fill the year-long vacancies caused by the board majority's failure to seat directors from WBAI who do not belong to the Siegel/Brazon faction, last January. The motion, unsurprisingly, was from Cerene Roberts. The long rambling motion focused on one former board member whose term is over claiming he didn't get to vote, although his single vote would not have changed the results in any way. The NY Siegel/Brazonites had 8 members in attendance and the independents had 13. But logic was not in evidence and the board voted to reject the seating of the WBAI independent directors yet again.

But they weren't finished. Having spent an hour and a half on the WBAI directors, they then proceeded to spend 10 minutes on the delinquent FY 2014 financial audit and then moved on the real business of the evening.

The motion for a "recount" of the 2016 delegate election referred to a CD with the ballot scan files that PNB secretary Janet Kobren has refused to publicly post, although Pacifica elections require that be done. The availability of the complete ballot data allows anyone to independently verify the results using a simple piece of open source election software. Kobren has not stated why she is suppressing the ballot scan files and refuses to publish them.

The completed election results that have been certified with 251 pages of round by round totals can be seen here

Both national election supervisor Lynne Serpe and election services vendor True Ballot are owed money by Pacifica, which has already racked up  $150,000 in expenses for the delegate elections, which are paid for by member charitable donations. It is unlikely that either will engage in this new "recount" until their previous bills are cleared. Pacifica was told their FY 2014 audit would not be released until further payment is made to auditor Armanino. They have not started the FY 2015 audit that was due to California's Attorney General and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in June of 2016. $285,000 in expenses were incurred up in a failed labor arbitration with SAG-AFTRA in September. December fund drives at several of the stations, including KPFA, KPFK and WBAI are coming up short of projected revenues. The board majority indicated they had no idea how much their "recount" would cost or how it would be paid for.

The refusal to accept the certified election results throws the organization into chaos, with KPFK having already turned their board over and the other four stations scheduled to do so over the next six days. Local board members unable to let go after the end of their elected terms, have already jumped on the "recount" to suggest  they can continue on, notably former KPFT LSB chair Dewayne Lark, who having lost his bid for re-election, jumped in to announce that the old board would meet and vote on "unfinished business" Wednesday night after the expiration of their terms.

The refusal to acknowledge the election results echoes the events of 2007-2008, when then IED Dan Siegel, now Pacifica's corporate counsel, fired national election supervisor Casey Peters due to his displeasure at the election results - and replaced him with himself. Siegel kept expired board members on the Pacifica National Board for months after their elected terms ended by refusing to recognize the election results, until stopped by a NY court. Peter's report on work as a Pacifica election supervisor can be read here. He does not mince his words. That was the last time Pacifica members voted to remove a Siegel/Brazon board majority and replace it with an independent one. Pacifica was sued by NY law firm Silverman and Silverman for $95,000 in unpaid legal bills Siegel racked up for his maneuver to block the 2007 election. According the court records, a seizure warrant was executed against Pacifica in November of 2016 to extract the $95,000 from one or more Pacifica-owned bank accounts, although the board of directors was not informed of any forcible seizure of funds. 

Pacifica members must make it clear to the outgoing board majority they do not want their increasingly scarce charitable donations  spent on an unncessary recount when the Foundation is on the brink of a financial precipice. The will of the voters must be respected even if the Siegel/Brazon faction is unhappy they lost the elections. Please take a moment now to write to the board of directors at More dramatic action is likely to be necessary given the intransigence of the outgoing board majority.

WBAI Treas Report Dec. 2016

Pigs don't fly, but they have been known to sink.

WBAI Treasurer's Report - December 14, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Toxic Pacifica trio in cahoots.


DECEMBER 11, 2016
Berkeley - The upcoming week features not one, but two, Pacifica National Board meetings on December 13 and December 15. The long-scheduled December 15th meeting is when the board will select two affiliate directors for 2017 from among 5 applicants, and a recently called special meeting was initiated by directors Cerene Roberts, Adriana Casenave and Janet Kobren for December 13. The reason for the sudden meeting on the 13th isn't entirely clear with the meeting notice saying the meeting is about 2016 local board elections and the FY 2014 audit. The 2016 elections were certified as complete last Wednesday. A draft of the FY 2014 was distributed to Pacifica's audit committee last Monday. Roberts, Casenave and Kobren have not indicated what motions, if any, they may be presenting for board for consideration.

Pacifica's national board last met on December 1. The 3-hour meeting didn't come to much. The board did not address proposals from the KPFA local station board to swap WBAI's signal, transfer KPFA's broadcast license to the control of Margy Wilkinson and Dan Siegel's KPFA Foundation, or face a dissolution lawsuit. An 18 minute summary reel of the dissension-filled meeting can be heard here. On it, KPFK listener rep Jan Goodman asks again for the board to be sent the KPFK SAG-AFTRA arbitration judgment from September (it was sent - finally - a few days ago). Then the board, based on advice from FCC attorney John Crigler, prohibits local station boards from allowing members to vote and participate by telephone or video conference. In practical terms, the prohibition was pointed at KPFA's local station board which has had large amounts of telephone participation in the last few months due to local members residing in the state of Oregon and in Ventura in Southern California. Crigler's memo can be seen here. KPFA listener rep and former ED Margy Wilkinson strenuously objected, but was abandoned by the rest of the Siegel/Brazon board majority in a 10 (y), 1 (n), 5 (a)  vote. KPFK listener rep Jonathan Alexander asked if the eagerness to violate CPB open meeting requirements yet again was an example of sabotage. Pacifica's national board has dispensation for telephone-only meetings because the meetings are live-streamed on the Internet. KPFA's local station board does not stream their meetings. 

Pacifica in Exile provided a copy of National Election Supervisor Lynne Serpe's final certification of Pacifica's 2016 election results. That certification letter can be seen here. WBAI's local station board convened a meeting on December 7, 2016 following the certification, and elected four of their members to represent WBAI on the Pacifica National Board for the rest of the 2016 term, which is scheduled to end on January 26, 2017. The announcement to the Pacifica National Board can be seen here. WBAI has been restricted to 25% representation on the national board since January of 2016 due to the board majority's refusal to seat elected directors from WBAI. The directors elected for the next 6 weeks are Frank LeFever, Alex Steinberg, Kathy Davis and Cerene Roberts. Pacifica's bylaws require equal representation on the Board of Directors for all five stations.

The long-delayed financial audit for the year ending September 30, 2014 has finally surfaced in draft form and was provided to the Pacifica audit committee, which voted to approve it after a robust 15-minute conversation with the auditor, who was at an airport and unable to answer most of the committee's questions. The audit will not be released until Pacifica pays another $20-$30K still due to auditor Armanino. The most notable features of the draft audit statement for the year that ended 26 months ago, are savings from the end of the $650,000 annual expense for airing Democracy Now (the contract ended on 9-30-2012, Pacifica continued to accrue the expense without a contract in 2013), savings from a 75% reduction in payroll at WBAI implemented by former ED Summer Reese in late summer 2013, and a $651K increase in total accounts payable. This brings the national debt to $3.5 million and divisional debts (station-specific) to $1.1 million with the largest station amount at KPFA which owed $327K at year end. The bottom line loss on the draft audit was -$791K. For the third consecutive year, auditor Armanino altered audit practices to recognize no accounts receivable in the form of pledges made during fund drives that had not yet come in.

Armanino billings from December 2015 total $195K, more than 3 times the audit estimate of $60K. (You can see a copy of Pacifica's last income statement here. The audit charges appear on line 93). When asked the reason for the substantial overrun, IED Lydia Brazon told the national board that $50K of the billing was for preparation of the 990 tax form, not for the audit. Further investigation proved that statement wrong. $97K additional was billed between June and September of 2016, a period of time when Pacifica management was saying the audit was completed and the the hold-up was the need to pay for it. That does not appear to have been the case.
WBAI's Community Advisory Board tried to tackle concerns about the audit delay straightforwardly by proposing a national fundraising effort to raise about $100,000 for a bi-annual audit for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 at once, to bring Pacifica back into legal compliance by June of 2017. In order to comply with California law, Pacifica needs to complete both the FY 2015 audit, which was due in June of 2016, and the FY 2016 audit, which is due by June 30, 2017 - only 7 months away. Their proposal can be read here. Getting back into compliance would end the risk of punitive action by California's Attorney General, restore at least $750,000 in public broadcasting grant funds for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and allow directors and officers liability insurance to be restored. KPFK listener rep Grace Aaron brought the WBAI proposal to Pacifica's audit committee, but the committee voted it down with negative votes from KPFT listener reps Wesley Bethune (national director) and Nancy Saibara-Naritomi (both not re-elected to their positions), WPFW listener reps Nancy Sorden (national director)  and Ron Pinchback (national director), WBAI listener rep William Heerwagon and KPFA listener rep Janet Kobren (national director).

Archival reel to reel tapes continue to be shed on Ebay at an alarming rate. A new seller appeared in late November crowing "We recently purchased a huge archive of KPFA Radio station". You can see the listing here.  Quarreling about the archives broke out on Facebook when the chair of the Library of Congress' Radio Preservation Task Force, Dr. Joshua Sheppard, who has been trying to draw national attention to the endangered status of Pacifica's archival collection, found himself attacked by KPFK volunteer coordinator Adam Rice. Rice called the professor a "vampire", "carrion-eater" and "unprincipled" in an exchange that can only be described as a textbook example of how not to speak to a past funder. Sheppard replied with restraint saying he did not want to be "dragged into intramural ultra local baiting politics". In addition to his work at the Library of Congress, Sheppard is an assistant professor of media studies at Catholic University. His latest letter to ED Brazon can be seen here. You can see the Facebook exchange between Sheppard and Rice here.

IED Brazon continues to allow third party fundraising on-air without securing the required waivers from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Donations have been collected for Haitian hurricane relief and to support the Standing Rock pipeline protests. The issue came up at the November 13 KPFK local station board meeting, when GM Radford and IED Brazon were questioned separately by concerned board members. You can listen to a brief snippet here. Radford, who had previously insisted that "counsel" told her waivers were not required, hinted darkly at "pending litigation". IED Brazon stated " "Oh, FCC. I don't know that we got a waiver. I haven't seen a waiver requested. (Q) Do you know if its required? That's the question. (A) Uh, I think that it is required. I believe it to be required. And um, it has been required for years and we haven't gotten them for years and they've never moved on us (Q) So you don't know that we've gotten one. (A) No". .

As a matter of factual accuracy, the last 3rd party fundraising to occur at a Pacifica station prior to the Ebola-Gate controversy in 2014 was back in 2009. An FCC waiver was secured in advance to solicit funds for Haitian earthquake relief. Willful violations of broadcasting regulations can result in fines or the denial of re-licensure.

Pension payments continue to be a problem, with Pacifica management in default on pension obligations. 2015 pension payments missed the legally required deadline earlier this year. The previous year's payment, due in 2015 for 2014 salaries, wasn't handled properly. Non-union employees, including those at the national office and KPFT in Texas, have not been paid at all, and SAG-AFTRA employees at KPFK (and perhaps some of the other unionized stations) slipped extra checks equal to the 2% of their salary that should have been remitted via the pension fund. The payments were probably made in order to remove the issue from the KPFK labor arbitration where it likely would have generated an even larger fine than has already been assessed. The side payments were problematic in two respects: a) for the employees involved, the distributions were no longer taken out pre-tax, causing them to pay taxes on their pension distributions as supplementary income and b) as a violation of ERISA law which prevents the discriminatory distribution of pension payouts to only some eligible employees and not to others who are also eligible. 

The Pacifica Evening News startled its radical audience when it parroted the mainstream press on the "Prop Or Not" fake news report, a shady hit piece in the Washington Post which claimed several prominent left wing alternative news outlets were distributing "Russian propaganda" and should be investigated by the Department of Justice. One of the targeted outlets, Truthdig, airs on KPFK, which broadcasts the Pacifica Evening News, although the November 25 news story didn't mention that Truthdig Radio was a Pacifica show. After a local uproar, the Pacifica Evening News issued a pallid update on November 28 which quoted Glenn Greenwald's excoriation of the red-baiting report. You can hear both reports here.  KPFA programmer Bill Mandel, who recently passed away, helped build the reputation of the network for courage when 56 years ago he told HUAC "If you think that I am going to cooperate with this collection of Judases, of men who sit there in violation of the United States Constitution, if you think I will cooperate with you in any way, you are insane".

The publisher of Truthout, one of the targeted outlets along with Counterpunch, Black Agenda Report and Naked Capitalism, stated in an appeal to other members of the alternative press. "Unfortunately, the WaPo article has been shared widely, even by other people in progressive and independent media. And the fact that PropOrNot’s criteria for “fake news / Russian propaganda” are being taken seriously by anyone with a large audience should, in my opinion, concern us all. If it hadn’t already happened before, we are definitely at the point where the “fake news” debate is being weaponized as a way for corporate media to attack independent media"

For those interested in fund drive details, KPFK local station board member Ken Aaron did an analysis of KPFK's last fundraising effort, looking at the impact of various premium gifts used across broadcast times and frequency. The report is available here. It is a useful example of how local board members with management skills can contribute supplementary data and analysis to their local stations to better inform fundraising efforts
The Community Media Center of Marin taped a discussion on November 21 for btoadcast between PNB members Margy Wilkinson and Bill Crosier with 2010-2014 PNB member Tracy Rosenberg and hosted by Peter B. Collins. Audio from that hour-long discussion can be heard here A video of the panel can be seen here. 

Twit Wit Radio's satirical look at the KPFA Local Station Board's "proposals" to force the swap of WBAI's signal or privatize the Pacifica Foundation can be heard here

A timeline of the now more than two year old coup by the Siegel/Brazon faction can be seen here.