Two-stage emergency plan; & signal-swap to release cash. Response to remarks by Mr Burton

Clifford Burton was kind enough to make a comment yesterday, about the current travails at KPFKD (not the KPD). My response became a lil longer than two paras., so i’ve put it here as a post. I thank Mr Burton (or is it Mx these days?) for helping me coalesce my thoughts. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2020/06/05/within-the-hour-facebook-inexplicably-deleted-the-post-about-the-pnb-zombies-and-karen/

In a separate post i’ll comment more narrowly on the KPFKD crisis thru consideration of two Pacifica meetings & a commentary: the Tu9June PNB Finance Cttee, & the W10June KPFKD Finance Cttee, & the W10June report by R Paul Martin to that evening’s WBAI Local Station Board (https://glib.com/treasurers_report_2020-06-10.pdf – 5pp. plus 3pp. appendices).

~~~

Strictly speaking, & this is the practical reality, KPFKD’s fate is Pacifica’s, not the station’s. A station owns nothing, not even the paper-clip being flipped across the station manager’s desk while he stares at the spreadsheet. Yes, the listeners think of the station as their own, they’re attached (Bowlby), & the station activists have not just a cognitive but an emotional involvement in the station, but in the famed last analysis, each station (1) is a custodian of Pacifica assets, administering them, (2) owns no debt, & (3) is an accounting unit.

This means that a revenue collapse at a station is Pacifica’s problem.

And this can cause a problem in a signal area when the self-understanding of what it is to support ‘my’ station, to love ‘my’ station, to be involved in Pacifica, is based on a falsehood, when, in the strictest sense (& so not to be thought unkind), the self-understanding isn’t up to the task, it’s practically inadequate.

As i’ve said elsewhere, all station accounting data, either as an aid for management decision-making or to inform the members & listeners, should allow a fair comparison between station performances, so of like with like. This requires the stripping out of the effects of historical accidents, which started in the Garden of Eden, when Pacifica & KPFA constituted an identity, the one & the same. The most glaring effect is that some stations are privileged, enjoying Pacifica buildings, land, & transmitters on a rent-free basis, thus being subsidised by the other stations, which also have the extra burden of paying non-Pacificans simply to function. A double burden is a double shift (Arlie Hochschild).

And the political effect of this persisting deficiency in how some Pacificans self-conceptualise & live affectively? Station chauvinism; separatism; provincialism. Station chauvinism: breeding poison, fuelling resentment. Separatism: break up Pacifica, destroy the network. Provincialism: springing from an exclusory proprietary attitude, it’s simultaneously inward-looking & antagonistic to others, causing the living of an in-group/out-group perceived reality, friend versus foe (Carl Schmitt). All this, antithetical to the nature that is Pacifica.

In terms of getting out of Pacifica’s endemic crisis, this blog (& in prior comments at Chris Albertson’s http://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/) has consistently noted the obvious: the only plausible way to, in the current idiom, let Pacifica breathe, is to negotiate a signal-swap (two isn’t needed), thereby using cash both to settle debts & to pay for the implementation of a network development plan. Only this can give Pacifica a future.

The Gorgon Grace approach has always been intrinsically myopic. Preserving the $3.265m loan principal, thru either extending the loan term or finding a new lender, has never addressed Pacifica’s future. It has only condemned Pacifica to a perpetual present, a Sisyphean existence, perpetual firefighting mode, the living of a diminishing, & so debilitating, present. The Grace approach, accepted by the PNB by default, the typical Pacifica action of inaction, an act of omission, has choked Pacifica, presenting it with the living of a shrinking horizon.

Only by eliminating the constant firefighting is it possible, but not guaranteed, to (1) pay bills timely, (2) give management, staff, the PNB, & the local station boards the time to focus on the future, rather than the present, & (3) improve the appalling interpersonal interactions at four of the stations (WBAI is relatively pacific).

In terms of the politics (not morality) of practice, Pacificans need to grasp that money isn’t necessarily sinful, but instead can simply make life a lot easier & less stressful. (Ask the hundreds of millions of Chinese no longer in dire poverty.) Most so-called leftists fail to recognise the liberatory potential of money (& of marketing) in our current kind of society, one that’s necessarily mediated by money: there’s no way to avoid this, other than suffering the consequences even more. Regrettable, yes, but true. It means money is needed to allow Pacifica to regain health, & to not just grow (augment existing capacities) but to develop (acquire new qualities).

It’s time to flourish, not suffer.

But how to do that?

Money. And the only feasible source, other than Danny Glover, is a signal-swap. But that can be a two-year process, so in the meantime Pacifica needs to find a way to survive, & the depth of its cashflow crisis may require a two-stage response.

First, the only way to chop enough costs rapidly is to chop the staff at both KPFA & KPFKD, changing their character, making Pacifica as a whole volunteer-based. Second, its cashflow crisis may require the sale of a building, even two. (Note that as they’re collateralised to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, at a 3:1 asset-to-principal ratio, it means FJC gets a third of the valuation sum constitutive of the contract.)

Pacifica is in its current Laurel & Hardy mess because the PNB has been in denial since 1Apr2018. It had taken out the $3.7m loan from FJC but didn’t take responsibility for the future, grasping the monetary nettle by starting the process of doing a signal-swap.

In any case, a radio signal isn’t what it used to be. Digitisation has caused broadcasting to be transcended by providing. The broadcast schedule, transcended by the download list. The position on the dial, transcended by reputation, sustained by social media, enhanced by branding. The radio, transcended by mobile digital devices. Radio is 20th century, it’s passé. It’s one reason why the BBC since 2018 no longer speaks of radio but of “sounds”: not a device, but an output.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds

Yes, Pacifica’s listeners are, literally, a dying breed. If Pacifica is to avoid extinction it needs to grasp the future, it needs leadership, it needs a group to initiate a transformation. But do they exist? The breakers do. We know that. But can the Pacifica partisans rise to the occasion? As Primo said, thru his alter ego in the Belarusian forest, se non ora, quando?, if not now, when?

Two months down, ten to go, yet the zombies keep shuffling on to the abyss – but where is Pacifica’s Karen? . . . will tonite’s PNB instruct ED Brazon to identify the options for paying $3.265m to FJC by 31Mar2021?

. . . one reason why the PNB only has teleconferences – without cams . . .

At least the protesters in the streets today have some vitality. Back in PacificaWorld the directors just keep on keeping on, shuffling along as zombies, towards the abyss they refuse to see.

Besides the obvious – money & more appealing programmes – Pacifica needs one thing: Karen.

Yes, the directors vary in their abilities, but why the continuing collective failure? Just like the street, there has never been a more opportune moment to say, no more. Cometh the moment, cometh the Karen. Karen needs to step up to the counter.

#Karen.

The anti-breaker coalition hasn’t endured: Steinberg & Aaron have pushed Reyes aside, trying to close down discussion, stitching things up beforehand over Skype calls. The revived PNB Strategic Planning Cttee has been stymied. It’s as if when the moment suits them they’ll sort something out with Brazon, getting Marc Hand or whoever to try to find a new lender. What isn’t happening is transparency of proceedings, giving Pacifica members the opportunity to then hold directors & delegates accountable for their views/silence, for their action/inaction. All this has been made worse by the ugly tone that has descended upon the PNB, under the chairmanship of Alex Steinberg.

The differences between the street process & the PNB process can be pursued further.

The political problem facing the protesters, albeit unacknowledged, is the politics of the institutionalisation of enthusiasm, that is, how to meliorate oppression (glossed as achieving justice) through new or reformed institutional arrangements. So what institutional demands will the protest coalesce around? Or will it just peter out, like Occupy, without even an organisational legacy, just a fond memory?

So it’s the unknown that’s being lived in the street, & this makes the behaviour of the Pacifica directors even more inexcusable: they know what has to be done; they simply refuse to take responsibility, they simply refuse to carry out their duty. Instead, the last two months of proceedings have been largely devoted to tertiary & quaternary matters.

  • the Pacifica directors know what has to be done
  • they simply refuse to take responsibility
  • they simply refuse to carry out their duty

The reality is in plain sight: Pacifica is contracted to pay the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, the $3.265m principal by 31Mar2021. What payment options have the directors contractually committed Pacifica to?

a swap or sale of one or more radio station licenses or a sale of other Pacifica owned assets of sufficient value to repay this Loan (as defined below), or such other sources that will become available

https://mega.nz/#!5NMhHAxI!QzMtaBd0iRTZJ_YNmh2KZ1xKu7Qh_hQ6IcPMVkGWX94 (the loan agreement; click on the Clouseau to read online, or download)

Just over two months ago, on 31Mar, when many were basking in the glow of the referenda results, I drew attention to the enduring problem, the elephant, the fact that Pacifica not only didn’t have a plan for what to do but hadn’t even identified the practical options it has. As I said,

So what’s it going to be: signal swap? buildings sales? extend the loan? find new lender? maybe the Jesse James approach, improving on the Symbionese Liberation Army?

With not an ounce of expectation, I asked the question whether at the Th2Apr PNB meeting a director would take the initiative & do the obvious.

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2020/03/31/pacifica-now-has-365-days-to-pay-fjc-its-3-point-265m-dollars-unless-fjc-or-the-current-owner-of-the-loan-decides-otherwise/

No doubt counter-intuitive, but what Pacifica needs at this moment is a Karen: a director, of any pronoun, who demands to speak to the manager. Tonite, will anyone move a motion to instruct ED Brazon to identify the practical options Pacifica has for paying $3.265m to FJC by 31Mar2021?

Not to be thought reductive, but no Karen equals no Pacifica: Karen = Pacifica.

~💗~ code 666, Karen at the counter ~💗~

~~~

How many are in the streets?

½%.

It seems to be roughly ½% of those older than 14. ½%. Not even the fabled 1%.

Politically it’s always crucial to have a sense of scale, not to be fooled when seeing lots of people around you: it’s easy in the enthusiasm of the moment to be deluded, & misled in your judgment.

Do a ballpark exercise. The crowds are say 15k, & there are only 50 states, plus DC, & the other colonies. OK, even double the crowd: 30k x 50 = 1.5m.

US population is ~330m, & those aged 0-14 are 18.46%, which leaves ~268.9m. And ½% is ~1.345m.

How may the fallout of the protests affect electoral politics? Trump lost the 2016 popular vote by ~2.9m (65 853 514 − 62 984 828 = 2 868 686). This time he could lose it by 5m – and still win the electoral college. Remember, a US voter casts their ballot not for a presidential candidate but for a party’s state list of candidate Electors.

Meanwhile, the most excited of all by far, the most expectant, is Viro the Virus, the billions & billions & billions of SARS-CoV-2 virions.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html (0-14: 18.46%; this source is used because the latest age structure at the Census Bureau website is 2015; note, the CIA uses a different total population figure; re the age stratum, it’s ♀ 30 034 371 + ♂ 31 374 555 = 61 408 926; incidently, the total is ~20m for each of the 5-year age groups from 0-4 thru to 60-64)

https://transition.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2016/federalelections2016.pdf (p. 5; p. 10 of the PDF)

Happy birthday! FJC, looking forward (NYC pun) to their $3.265m from Pacifica, is 25 years old today!

. . . “these amazing heroes”: FJC proudly advertising during the 2014 Gaza Massacre that it acts as a conduit for boosting the morale of enforcers of the colonial military dictatorship over Palestinians; ad in the NYC-area Jewish News, late July/early Aug 2014 . . . when it comes to the crunch, liberalism always breaks down, here with religio-ethnic supremacism trumping individual equality, the equal worth of human groups, & even the imperative of property rights . . .

If you must sing ‘Happy birthday, FJC! / happy birthday, FJC!’, at least repeat for more than 20secs whilst washing your hands in the proper manner, as modelled by Dr Tedros, the world’s fave Ethiopian (his day job is Director-General of one of those globalist elite organisations, the World Health Organization):

Please send celebratory greetings to Lorin Silverman, President & Treasurer of the Foundation for the Jewish Community (FJC), President & Treasurer of the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation (MDSF), founder & President of F. Y. Eye, Inc., & President of National Enterprises Corp.:

fjc@fjc.org & 520 8th Ave, Floor 20, NYC 10018

MDSF: 130 East 59th St, Suite 1102, NYC 10022

info@fy-eye.org & 130 East 59th St, Suite 1102, NYC 10022

National Enterprises Corp.: 130 East 59th St, Floor 11, NYC 10022

SC Group (Silverman Charitable Group): 830 3rd Ave, Floor 6, NYC 10022 & 1501 Lexington Ave, Apt 5T, NYC 10029-7345

FJC don’t let borrowers default: they sell “potentially impaired” loans, without discount, to MDSF. The advertising broker, F. Y. Eye, Inc., has a $37 000 advertising contract with Pacifica, as part of the $3.7m loan. All this is explained in this link, which also has all the loan documents:

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/

FJC, in their latest auditor’s report, year-ending 31Mar2019, had net assets of ~$262m, investment income of $10m ($2.6m from Pacifica & other borrowers via the Agency Loan Fund & possibly other loan arrangements), donors’ contributions of $33m, & disbursed $38m. (ALF generated $3m interest but some, ≥$0.4m, went to outside investors – p. 22 cf. p. 4; pp. 24 & 6 of the PDF.)

https://mega.nz/#!dJlzQYTD!4NAmjin7kXXnz3LR5LpypS9YKDMMmUAVI-2KKdxN3vs

MDSF, in their latest 990-PF public filing, year-ending 31July2018, had net assets of ~$447m (fair market value ~$588m), investment income of $15m, interest ‘earnt’ from loans (such as those bought from FJC) of $2.4m, & disbursed $11m (including $10 000 to Forward, $42 366 to Mother Jones, & $76 800 to New Israel Fund).

https://mega.nz/#!Ec83XYhT!Lw1smsxBxo6sZe1Jn6LYAMs0f1TD9nGTxFsPxCtXfgA

~~~

To F. Y. Eye’s great credit, they have a very informative practical help page for New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic – it even has a Chrome extension to watch Netflix with others:

COVID-19: Stay Informed

~~~

Pacifica now has 365 days to pay FJC its $3.265m – unless FJC (or the current owner of the loan) decides otherwise

. . . Recital B: the directors have committed Pacifica to “a swap or sale of one or more radio station licenses or a sale of other Pacifica owned assets of sufficient value to repay this Loan (as defined below), or such other sources that will become available” https://mega.nz/#!5NMhHAxI!QzMtaBd0iRTZJ_YNmh2KZ1xKu7Qh_hQ6IcPMVkGWX94 . . .

As the other Bill wrote, about the land where Chris Albertson spent some of his childhood, “TikTok or Tick-Tock, that is the question” . . . Given Pacifica’s age structure, we know the answer. The foundation now has exactly a year to pay $3.265m to another foundation, the Foundation for the Jewish Community, that operates as FJC.

For two whole years, the directors have sat on their paws. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. FJC loan? Excuse me? How many millions? Due when? Why worry? Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers. It’ll just go away. One day we’ll wake up & it’ll be gone. Like a miracle. It’ll just disappear. Yes. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear. Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers. The loan, under control. Things. This FJC thing, it’ll just run its course. Let it rip. It’ll all work out well. Victory. The next PNB election. Incredible. Leadership. Be appreciative. A lot. A lot. This is what winning looks like. Stronger. Better. Victory. PacificaWorld, RealWorld. Country with a stockpile? Or all pile & no stock – a pile of BS, & a pile of gravestones. (But always a stockpile of nuclear weapons: priorities.) Vicious. Carnage. Keeping Amerika great. USA! USA! USA! Ode not to joy but to the United Scarves of Amerika.

Meanwhile, back in PacificaWorld, it’s from the ballot to the bullet – and the bullet has to be bitten. And now. How to pay the principal of $3.265m has to be decided now. And, rationally, that requires knowledge of the options Pacifica has.

The directors, since 2Apr2018, have lacked not foresight on this but due diligence. It didn’t even require vision; just plain diligence. Everyone knew what has to be re-paid, & when. The question was, how. The 2018 directors, by agreeing to the contract, identified two particular ways of getting the money to FJC: signal swap or sale of assets. The third way was generic, “other sources that will become available” – such as cash provided by another lender. So what’s it going to be: signal swap? buildings sales? extend the loan? find new lender? maybe the Jesse James approach, improving on the Symbionese Liberation Army?

There’s no evidence that research was done on any of this by the then executive director, Tom Livingston. Nor by ED Maxie Jackson III, or ED Grace Aaron, or ED Lawrence Reyes, or the current ED, Lydia Brazon.

So, obviously, the PNB needs to immediately direct ED Brazon to conduct or commission an authoritative report on Pacifica’s options. The PNB meets on Thursday, 2Apr. Will a director make the necessary motion?

Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers.

Since 2Apr2018, Pacifica’s being & future had been structured most forcefully by the FJC loan. No more. Since mid March, that’s been replaced by the spread of disease, of COVID-19. It’ll collapse Pacifica’s revenue. And well before the principal is due. Pacifica’s executive & national governance aren’t noted ballerinas, nimble. And confirmed cases are cascading. NYC’s first was Su1Mar. 1Mar. The Bay Area shelter-in-place started 0001, Tu17Mar. The US’ first 100k confirmed cases took 68 days, M20Jan to F27Mar. The second took 5 days [UPDATE, W1Apr]. It was as if federal officials were watching Fox & CNN rather than the world news. (Guess Al Jazeera America was ahead of ‘the market’, one suffused with national chauvinism.)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-case-of-coronavirus-confirmed-in-new-york-state-11583111692; https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/files/HealthOrderC19-07-%20Shelter-in-Place.pdf (City & Co. of San Francisco); & https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html (first case diagnosed M20Jan, publicly reported by CDC the next day)

Will Pacifica’s ‘leadership’ rise to the task?

Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers.

~~~

The set of loan documents are linked from the below webpage (it consists in the 19July2019 PacificaWatch summary of the loan, including details of the attendant advertising contract Pacifica’s directors agreed to, worth $37 000):

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/

Why FJC may no longer own the loan (posted 20July2019):

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/20/has-fjc-sold-the-3-265m-loan-is-the-owner-the-marty-and-dorothy-silverman-foundation/

~~~

Please note, as of tomorrow, W1Apr, the $3.265m owed to FJC is no longer a long-term liability: it becomes a current liability. In so doing it significantly worsens Pacifica’s illiquidity quotient, the measure of Pacifica’s incapacity, in terms of current assets, to pay current liabilities, that is, those falling due within 12 months. Even before this $3.265m became a current liability (albeit mitigated by the $2.361m written off by Democracy Now!, announced to Pacificans by ED Maxie at the 12Mar2019 PNB Finance Cttee), Pacifica was last liquid, according to audited balance sheets, at 30Sep2009. Yes, 2009. Pacifica’s latest audited balance sheet is at 30Sep2016 (the FY2017 one, proffered by NETA, wasn’t audited thru lack of supporting documentary evidence). That’s exactly 3½ years ago. And the illiquidity ratio was 11.54: that means every Pacifica $ of current assets was being chased by $11.54 from the short-term creditors (7 356 997 / 637 716 per auditor’s report, p. 2). Micawber would be cheered, yet saddened, seeing someone worse off than himself – splendidly cheered, m’boy.

https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2016.pdf; also at https://mega.nz/#!YEcTRYID!IIQGPCye8yYMqj3_eOf0voVp8aVTcurd93L_D1Lpr30

How is it KPFA last paid property tax on 3Apr2013?!? Where’s the transparency? Where’s the accountability?

. . . is it really that difficult? . . .

Here are a few notes on the KPFA property tax debt, ~$487k. To be exact, it’s $486 750.86. It means an online public auction of the Pacifica building in Berkeley, at 1929 MLK Jr. Way, has been ordered for 20-23Mar – a building, one should add, that KPFA enjoys rent-free, so effectively receiving a subsidy, year after year, from the other four stations. Some thanks.

1) Almost half a million $$$? But aren’t charities exempt from this tax? Indeed: if a non-profit organisation is a registered charity, say, & the property in question is solely used for charitable purposes, then no tax is due, it’s exempt – but only if the organisation jumps thru the hoops set up by the taxwoman. Hoops such as annually applying for the exemption. Hoops such as providing the required evidences. OK, so administrative ABC, right? – or so one would think.

KPFA has to deal with the Alameda Co. taxwoman. As expected, the exemption’s on their website. It’s called the Welfare Exemption (it’s been around since 1944), & to apply the organisation needs an Organizational Clearance Certificate. The relevant introductory webpage even has this coaxing prompt, hypertexted: “Welfare Exemption for Non-Profit Organizations”. https://www.acgov.org/assessor/decreasetax/exemptions/other-exemption.htm

The powers that be have even gone to the trouble of writing a helpful booklet, explaining the rules & process: https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/pub149.pdf (Dec2018)

It even seems that unaudited financial statements are acceptable – which of course means they have to exist in the first place: https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/boe277.pdf

ABC. The basics. Basic admin. The sort of thing the average 14-year-old can do. If Pacifica had a Young Pioneers wing, they could have been charged with the responsibility. After all, kids have been known to run even more complicated things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyermekvas%C3%BAt.

2) As of 29Jan this year, the last payment made to Alameda for 1929 MLK was 3Apr2013 – almost seven years ago. (Primary documents are linked at https://pacificainexile.org/.) The itemised bill has property tax due, to 30June2020, of ~$373k. But the debt is ~$487k? Yes: penalties, interest, & fees is the difference, ~$114k. $114 000. Oh.

3) Is KPFA the only part of Pacifica paying – or not paying – property tax, when, on its face, there should always be an exemption? No. Consider, arbitrarily, the period since 1Oct2009, the start of Pacifica’s financial year 2010, FY2010. There are seven sets of audited figures, plus the financial statements in the FY2017 auditor’s report, statements which are not audited because the auditor, Rogers & Company, said they lacked sufficient evidence in order to express an opinion on the statements’ material accuracy. In the jargon, The Black Spot is a ‘disclaimer of opinion’. (As repeated Pacifica mtg. audios reveal, no delegate, even no director, seems to appreciate that the FY2017 statements, so all the figures in them, are effectively worthless. However, for prospective donors & lenders, & the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, they are not worthless but valuable: they are a bigger red flag than the one gracing Tiananmen Square, alerting anyone reading the auditor’s report that Pacifica is out of control, lacking even the basic financial controls.) https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/19/fy2017-auditor-refuses-to-declare-that-the-statements-are-materially-accurate/

For these eight years, FY2010 thru FY2017, total charge for property tax = $502 187. Yes, talk again of half a million. Almost all of it was for KPFA: 91.9%, $461 334. (The others: KPFK, $23 624; KPFT, $15 126; & ‘National Division’, the auditor’s term, $2 103.)

Pacifica owns properties housing KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT. Not every station has been charged property tax each & every year. The annual charge for each station, & National Division, starting with FY2010, are as follows. KPFA: $13 854, 0, 14 208, 13 036, 9 929, 14 354, 337 826 (sic), 58 127 (unaudited) … KPFK: $0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 9 762, 9 202, 4 660 (unaudited) … KPFT: $29 453, 14 354, 0, 0, refund of 28 686, 5 (sic), 0, 0 (unaudited) … National Division: all zero bar $2 103 (FY2014). There’s a lot of explaining to be done here. Not least the KPFA FY2016 charge of ~$338k. Since the statements include National Division in their analysis, this figure can’t have anything to do with the Berkeley ‘Nakapon’ building, 1921-1925 MLK, that housed the national office. (Coincidently, that auditor’s report, by Regalia, is dated 31May2018, & it addressed a post-balance sheet event, the sale of that property. Please note, if the ~$338k charge were to largely refer to previous years, perhaps even to the sold property, then that would have been disclosed as an adjustment to the opening balances, with an explanatory note, not as a FY2016 expense.)

4) Then there’s the Foundation for the Jewish Community, operating as FJC. Pacifica have to pay them $3.265m by 31Mar next year. A condition of the loan is paying all taxes when they fall due. A condition of the loan is getting FJC’s permission before any asset is sold. A condition of the loan is adhering to the conditions. FJC also have the legal right to sell on the loan, their asset, whenever it suits them. And this they have done in recent years, even of a loan comparable in size to Pacifica’s. And they don’t wait for a borrower to default; no, they sell it on when the loan is “potentially impaired”, as disclosed in any of their auditor’s reports. And we know who they sell it to: the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Is this latest debacle the straw that finally broke the camel’s back? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/20/has-fjc-sold-the-3-265m-loan-is-the-owner-the-marty-and-dorothy-silverman-foundation/ & https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/ (this also has a link to the root contract, the ‘loan agreement’, signed 2Apr2018 by Pacifica ED Tom Livingston & FJC President Lorin Silverman)

If the Pacifica building in Berkeley is indeed sold, it better go for in excess of $1.5m because FJC will want their $1m or so. That’s because it’s collateralised against the loan, which was made on a 3:1 value-to-loan basis. If Pacifica loses an asset, FJC gets its corresponding cash back immediately. “Cash back, Ma’am?”, “Why, I’ll have a million plus, thank you, young lady”, “Have a nice day, y’all!”

5) Money & debt aside, what about the politics of all this? Two democratic virtues are at stake: transparency & accountability.

A written public explanation must be provided by ED Lydia Brazon.

And who was responsible for this debacle? The KPFA GM, dear Quincy? The KPFA business manager, Maria Negret, who has exalted the financial performance of the station at every LSB mtg. she has graced? The KPFA treasurer, Sharon Adams? The KPFA Finance Cttee? What about the PNB as a whole, since 1Jan2014, say? Then there’s the current chair of the PNB Finance Cttee, Chris Cory, also on the KPFA LSB? The PNB Finance Cttee since 1Jan2014? The PNB Audit Cttee? And all the ED’s of the last six years? Indeed, whilst Breaker Bill Crosier was ED for almost a year, 2017-8, he supervised, by a continual act of omission, an increase in this property tax debt, including penalties, interest, & fees.

And, last but not least, what about Pacifica’s bookkeeper, accountant, & provider of the Chief Financial Officer since Sep2018, NETA, the expensive National Educational Telecommunications Association? How long did it take NETA in its early precautionary overview of Pacifica’s assets (& their attendant liabilities) & Pacifica’s aged creditors, to identify KPFA’s property tax debt, one accumulating since 2013??? A week? Two weeks? A month? When did NETA notify Pacifica’s ED of the seriousness of this debt? . . . this debt which, in the absence of contrary info, is an existential threat to KPFA?

So, besides the members & listeners, who will pay for this debacle? In neglecting the oft-cited fiduciary responsibility, who will pay the price? Is there evidence that GM Quincy McCoy continually disclosed & appealed to successive ED’s that KPFA was both living beyond its means & jeopardising a key asset of the Foundation? Is there? Or, as GM, does he deserve to pay the ultimate Pacifica price?


Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, FY2019 auditor’s report

. . . this isn’t a Quinten Massys, 1514 . . .

2Apr2018, Pacifica took out a $3.7m loan (now $3.265m) from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, a donor-advised funds holder. A week or so later than expected, this is the auditor’s report on their FY2019 financial statements (year-end 31Mar), dated 27Aug2019:

https://mega.nz/#!uv5ihaaA!l1oM3AMgandB1nMflPaxBqAhapnpWhbQv3YzLfjKTxI

For a summary of what the loan has made Pacifica do, please see https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/.

P.S. Promise I didn’t get the pic from Patty Lipshutz, MoMA employee, the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, its longstanding chief legal counsel & Secretary – also Vice-President & Secretary of the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Perhaps no surprise she’s married to a Silverman, Lorin, who happens to be not only President & Treasurer of the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation but also President & Treasurer of FJC, and founder & President of F. Y. Eye, Inc., an advertising broker, which Pacifica has a $37k contract with for on-air & website advertising, the euphemistic underwriting.

[Analysis will follow by Tu24Sep (apologies for the delay). A focus will be on their Agency Loan Fund, ALF, cited in the 6Apr2018 Pacifica press statement, announcing its loan from FJC, & devoting a paragraph to ALF. This is the KPFK link (it’s also on the WBAI website): https://www.kpfk.org/blogs/kpfk-and-pacifica-news/post/pacifica-announces-settlement-with-empire-state-building-and-empire-state-realty-trust/.

[Note that, despite what some Pacifica directors & others say, FJC do sell on their loans, to the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Just ask Patty, or Lorin – or daughter Allison, a director of the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation, and VP, Strategy & Operations of F. Y. Eye, Inc. Selling on a loan happened again in FY2019: “[d]uring the year ended March 31, 2019, the private foundation purchased one loan totaling approximately $1,018,201” (p. 17, my emphases; p. 19 of the PDF). This is as per policy: “[s]ince its inception, any loans that were determined by FJC to be potentially impaired were purchased in full by a private foundation” (p. 11; p. 13 of the PDF). That’s right, folks, FJC never wait for a borrower to default. Pacifica’s loan, & the liens on its properties, may just get sold on without the chance to go to court. Capitalist right is capitalist right, the right to dispose of one’s assets as one sees fit.]

Station listener-membership to split the $67k FJC quarterly interest charge?

[I misunderstood the PNB Finance Cttee motion, mistaking “station membership” for listener-members only. I was misled by the discussion focusing on listeners, not members consisting in listeners plus staff. Apologies. However, my points are unaffected, as are the computations; the text has not been revised. The motion is given correctly by WBAI Treasurer R Paul Martin in his report: “The NFC recommends that the quarterly interest payments starting with December 2019, be apportioned by station membership as of December 1, 2019, and revised annually according to changes in membership” (page 4, link given below).]

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Last night’s PNB Finance Cttee decided that station listener-membership alone should decide the split of the $67k going each quarter to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC. So, KPFA 31%, KPFK 29%, KPFT 8%, WPFW 14%, WBAI 18%. This was the Cttee’s recommendation to the Pacifica National Board about the $3.265m loan (46:52; the vote was 7-2-1, that is, 7 for (including KPFA listeners-delegate/Pacifica director/Finance Cttee Chair Chris Cory, & KPFK listeners-delegate/Treasurer Fred Blair), 2 against (KPFK staff-delegate/Pacifica director Mansoor Sabbagh, & WPFW listeners-delegate/Treasurer Nick Arena), 1 abstained (KPFA listeners-delegate/Treasurer Sharon Adams)). The PNB next meets Th19Sep. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/190910/finance190910a.mp3

These are the station charges, quarterly & monthly: KPFA $20 876, $6 959; KPFK $19 529, $6 510; KPFT $5 387, $1 796; WPFW $9 428, $3 143; WBAI $12 121, $4 040. FJC’s quarterly charge to Pacifica is $67 340, at the new interest rate since 1Aug2019 ($3.265m x 8.25% ÷ 4). (WBAI Treasurer R Paul Martin’s own calculation for WBAI gave $12 600 (page 5, https://glib.com/treasurers_report_2019-09-11.pdf): he took the quarterly as a round $70k.) Station listener-membership was given in National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza’s 28Aug report (unpaginated p. 1): http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Election-Report-08.28.19.pdf.

How feasible is it that WPFW & WBAI, in particular, will make these contributions? Contributions due to FJC, contractually within five days, on 2Jan2020, 2Apr2020, 2July2020, 2Oct2020, 2Jan2021, & 2Apr2021? Contributions, at the current 8.25% annual interest rate, totalling $56 568 by WPFW & $72 726 by WBAI?

(section 8.1, p. 13, of the signed loan agreement, https://mega.nz/#F!PloCiSqJ!9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g?b0IBlaiR)

There are three obvious sets of facts indicating that they won’t make their contributions:

1) In June-July, neither WPFW nor WBAI could pay either payroll or health insurance (Interim Chief Financial Officer Tamra Swiderski, 32:19, Tu9July PNB Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/190709/finance190709a.mp3). She was ‘economical with the truth’: they both had to borrow from the Foundation’s national account.

2) WBAI forecast that FY2019 (so to 30Sep) will be a loss of $318k, & they’ve budgeted FY2020 as a $316k loss. Honest, one may say, but no less worrying for that. This info comes from today’s WBAI Treasurer’s report (p. 5).

3) The much trumpeted coming recession.

Intention & action are unavoidable in both PacificaWorld & RealWorld. But in PacificaWorld they tend to be more independent of the means at hand. But even in PacificaWorld there comes a time when RealWorld intrudes so much that the train hits the buffers: the state & the market discipline all, not least by the inevitable onset of capitalist slump.

In these urgent times, there’s more talk now in Pacifica public meetings of cost cutting, rather than just raising revenue. Reality is biting. The acute cashflow can only be alleviated temporarily by The Golden Corpses, the bequests. Because relentless are the costs of the living: workers, 53% of expenses (FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 5a, https://mega.nz/#F!6uwhAQIY!-QW2NXuAc6rRdWE5KbNb6w?mqw32KrI – FY2017’s financial statements are effectively worthless because their material accuracy wasn’t vouched for by the auditors due to insufficient auditable evidence; please see https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/19/fy2017-auditor-refuses-to-declare-that-the-statements-are-materially-accurate/). And the paid workers are mainly in California: KPFA, 30% of wage costs; KPFK 26%; KPFT 8%; WPFW 9%; WBAI 9%; with 5% at Radio Archives & 11% at National Office (FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 26; two percentage points lost by rounding).

So firings will be largely in California – fuelling both Californian station chauvinism & its correlate, Californian resentment. This affective dynamic splinters clear thinking, unleashing centrifugal forces, ripping at those ties that still hold the network together.

The core of the PNB majority has been counting on not having to make any fundamental decisions. It was hoping to muddle through, & then re-finance the FJC loan during summer 2020, relying on the three Pacifica buildings as collateral, & using as positive evidence the auditor’s reports of FY2017, FY2018, & FY2019. But RealWorld reality intruded, & I’m not talking about FY2006 being the last annual net income: the 2017 statements were rendered effectively worthless, & the auditor told the M19Aug PNB Audit Cttee (20:15) that the same fate beckons for the 2018 ones. Maybe the 2019 statements, the first with NETA either doing or supervising the bookkeeping, will earn an auditor’s unmodified opinion. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/audit/190819/audit190819a.mp3; https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/auditor-s-reports-from-fy2005/ (notes 3(b) & 4)

External pressures will ensure that the bullet is bitten during the coming 12 months – even if it’s The Comedy of Terrors solution. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/25/pacifica-s-strategic-plan-peter-lorre-vincent-price-the-comedy-of-terrors-allegory/

Postscript

1) WBAI listeners-delegate/Pacifica director James Sagurton had asked at Tuesday’s PNB Finance Cttee if figures were available for ‘station revenue per member’ (42:53). None was at hand. Now they are.

The matter isn’t as transparent as it seems; for example, the FY2016 stations statement includes “[g]rants and contributed income” & “[o]ther revenue”. It’s not apparent how members are involved in these categories of fundraising. Given this, an obvious approximation is the ratio, for each station, between “[l]istener support and donations” & number of members (total of listeners & staff). Data are publicly available for FY2016, & one can use the 2016 LSB elections record date at 30June.

So to answer Mr Sagurton’s query, the figures vary from $128 to $176 per member (37.5% more), & harbour quite a surprise, the station in DC: KPFA $176.30 (2836208÷16087); KPFK $168.38 (2504410÷14874); KPFT $127.52 (753499÷5909); WPFW $169.32 (883693÷5219); WBAI $153.52 (1200676÷7821) – FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 25, https://mega.nz/#F!6uwhAQIY!-QW2NXuAc6rRdWE5KbNb6w?mqw32KrI; & NES Penaloza’s final report on the nominal 2018 pseudo-election, p. 19, p. 20 of the PDF, https://mega.nz/#!fyAwGICZ!-4uWYMHZW3CHxt6yCOITu006SVZ4AyNPjT9bWw6csb0.

2) Ability to perform, a kind of capacity, is a socialist, humanist, rational criterion of expected just contribution to collective human endeavour. That a station raises money shows it has the ability to somewhat pay the network’s bills, & it’s a crude measure of this capacity. So, in 2016, the latest FY we have audited figures for, what proportion did each station contribute? KPFA 34.7% (2836208/8178486, the five-station total of ‘listener support & donations’ – see the above p. 25), KPFK 30.6%, KPFT 9.2%, WPFW 10.8%, WBAI 14.7%. These certainly share a PacificaWorld ballpark with the Finance Cttee’s 31-29-8-14-18 that use data three years later, those of the late Aug2019 membership. (That even now there is no evidence available to members & listeners that the membership records, & elector rolls, are materially accurate, we’ll leave to one side. And, given this, any assertion by NES Penaloza will be treated for what it is.)

The main Facebook group, ‘Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio’

[UPDATE: I was mistaken in calling this the main FB group on Pacifica: as of 11Sep, it has c. 390 members, whereas Pacifica Radio Supporters has c. 840.] Below is my inaugural post, made today, at [one of] the main Pacifica group on Facebook, Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio. For readers here the post is banal, merely a repetition, but the FB group seems to be a noticeboard, a lil sleepy, undisturbed by discussion: even so, last month, Don Davis, warmed by a pleasant, minor disagreement, was moved to say, “I for one am glad to see threads of substance on this page at long last”.

Somewhat surprisingly, the FB group, on W26June, had leaked Pacifica documents, notably the loan agreement borrowing $3.7m from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, signed by iED Tom Livingston & President Lorin Silverman on M2Apr2018. At the time of the leak, the group was co-administered by Nalini Lasiewicz & Chair of the Pacifica board, Grace Aaron. The latter left her FB post a week or so after becoming iED during the evening of F5July, after successfully engineering, over many, many weeks, the ousting of ED Maxie Jackson – please see https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/01/administrative-measures-not-open-discussion-the-pacifica-way/.

I obviously wanted to thank the poster of the documents, & make substantive comments on what, unbelievably, has even been kept from the many non-directors on the PNB Finance Cttee, these including all five station treasurers! Yes, the PNB majority has chosen for 16 months now to prevent the Finance Cttee making fully informed rational decisions concerning Pacifica’s future, to prevent all the Cttee members discharging their fiduciary duty, as required by California corporation law. One can’t be a dutiful trustee, a diligent servant, when kept in wilful ignorance by the information gatekeepers, one’s ostensible colleagues.

However, in order to comment in this FB group one needs to be a member, & so I applied the same day, W26June. After a long silence, then more silence after two FB messages, finally last Monday, on 12Aug, after almost seven weeks, Comrade Nalini finally welcomed me – speaking as if I’d asked the same day. Gracias, caudillo. Who couldn’t love ‘the Pacifica family’?

P.S. My open letter referred iED Vernile to the deficiencies of the public Pacifica financial reports archive, noting to him that this blog had all the missing material, bar a single page. Even 15 days later, Pacifica’s archive lacks three auditor’s reports – FY2006, 2009, 2010 – & FY2011 is sneakily hiding behind the FY2009 ‘button’. C’est la vie.

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Hi, all. By way of intro, here’s an open letter to Pacifica’s new executive director, John Carlo Vernile. Haven’t had a reply yet, nor even an acknowledgement – so much for the Pacifica ‘fam’. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/04/open-letter-to-pacifica-executive-director-john-vernile-what-s-your-plan-why-s-maxie-gone/

We’re lucky to finally have a music corporate careerist with us, who can devise a comprehensive strategic plan to bring stability to our failing network. It’s what we need after the ousting of that experienced radio professional, Maxie Jackson. After all, he’d only been making progress in laying a sound foundation.

With Vernile, will our decision-makers systematically allow technique to flourish at Pacifica? They certainly crushed Maxie as soon as they could.

Rationally, intent & action should spring from evidence- & argument-based communications science, not from tradition, prejudice, & hearsay. Pacifica needs to transform from a broadcaster focused on radios to an audio content provider focused on digital devices [emphases added].

Nevertheless, Pacifica is likely to muddle thru, sustained by the necro-economics of the golden corpses, the bequests. Yes, appropriately distasteful – & true in both senses.

Administrative measures, not open discussion – the Pacifica way

[This is a comment, sent in four parts, to Ken Mills’ blog, Spark News, on Th1Aug, published the next day. It remarked upon his F26July post, ‘What its like to work for Grace Aaron, Chair of the Pacifica National Board’ (yes, there’s a sic in there) http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html. I’d made a few comments there recently, & I was waiting for others to join in. A few did. As I had three points to make, I decided to send it to Mr Mills. The post here carries a few alterations, importantly correcting the declaration date of the nominal 2018 pseudo-election results: it happened M18Mar2019. For convenience, at the end of the piece, is a list, with links, of Mr Mills’ three posts on the Maxie Jackson disaster.]

Unfortunately there was little discussion here, so I don’t think I’ll be hogging things if I make three points: the Drew Precedent; choosing not a rational course, but administrative measures; & fermenting instability.

1) The Drew Precedent The end of Maxie Jackson’s first month delivered a stark warning of what he had let himself in for. He witnessed a considered, evidenced judgment, by an experienced & knowledgeable professional, being trampled into the dust by the Pacifica National Board (PNB). Why? It was simply politically inconvenient.

Pacifica were due for local station board elections (LSB’s) in late 2018, so iED Tom Livingston had hired Drew North Consulting to act as the National Elections Supervisor (NES). A company. Professional. “Our election teams are led by Graeme Drew, Certified Electoral Officer[,] whose experience includes general elections, by-elections, special elections, and membership ratification processes involving referendum votes to adopt Custom Election Codes, Land Codes, De-Annexation Agreements, Impact Benefit Agreements, and Constitutional Frameworks.” For Pacifica, this was a high-risk choice. http://www.drewnorth.com/ (‘Elections’ tab)

Sure enough, it soon ended in tears.

Mr Drew & his team started work, in the Pacifica National Office & the five stations. They soon found what the reality was, & it halted them in their tracks: on M29Oct, he found himself with no alternative but to terminate the election. Why?

The 10 elector rolls, listener & staff for each of the five stations, are principally derived from the c. 46k membership records – and these had proved inadequate. (Station staff rolls are largely derived from employment records.) The membership records weren’t materially accurate: lapsed members included; current members excluded; out-of-date contact details; & inadequate supporting evidence, of donations made, & of volunteer timesheets. Through a lack of maintenance, the records had become corrupted. The membership list was, in a word, corrupt. Damningly, this meant that the eligibility of not one candidate could be verified: “I am unable to reliably verify any of the applicants for candidacy due to the poor quality of elector lists” (his final, leaked, report to the PNB, Tu30Oct, page 2, my emphasis). He also determined that there was no prospect of this being remedied any time soon – as I’m sure we can all imagine. http://www.mediafire.com/file/s8eu60d26b3ame9/Pacifica_2018_NES_Final_Report.pdf/file

The most basic building block was absent. The process had self-destructed. Logically, he terminated the election process. After all, if a NES is empowered to declare a certification of the election results, just as logically they are empowered to declare a self-destruction of the election process. And this he was about to do.

He told the PNB in his Tu30Oct report that, “I plan to announce the end of the 2018 election on Wednesday, October 31, 2018” (p. 3). PNB Chair Nancy Sorden (WPFW, in DC) called an emergency private PNB meeting for that evening. The PNB majority chose to ignore the considered, evidenced judgment of the elections professional: they wanted voting to happen – any voting.

For the defenders of the Pacifica secrecy culture, trying to end something, that’s one thing; telling the public, quite another.

That meeting instructed Maxie to hire a new NES. The next day Mr Drew resigned. A pseudo-election took place, results declared 18Mar2019. Currently underway is another pseudo-election, for the other half of the seats of the five LSB’s. Sham elections because no evidence has ever been publicly presented showing that the membership list, & the derived electoral rolls, are no longer corrupt. The PNB majority feel they don’t have to reassure anyone, least of all the members.

So, unbeknown at the time, the Drew treatment set a precedent for Maxie. He had seen, in his first month, how professional judgment gets the Pacifica treatment. But he wasn’t cowered. He consistently defended professional standards. And so, over the subsequent months, hearing the wrong news, the core of the PNB majority planned, then engineered, the ousting of ED Maxie Jackson. If Pacifica is really good at one thing, this is it.

2) Choosing not a rational course, but administrative measures The Aaron Machine spent a lot of time & effort ousting Maxie. People working unpaid. Giving up their spring & summer evenings. Plus all those Skype preparation calls. Week after week . . . after week. Committed. Motivated. Determined. True dedication.

The proximate context is captured well by Ken’s audio compilation above, of excerpts from the exchange between Maxie & Grace, at the Tu19Mar2019 PNB Programming Cttee. Probably not a defining moment, but illustrative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw4asLVnet4

So what did they do?

Within a month, the wheels were in motion, ready to grind. The five-person PNB Personnel Cttee hadn’t met in Feb & Mar. But it was awoken from its slumber. And put to work. Starting Tu16Apr, it met each & every week, for 12 weeks. The last five meetings, from M3June, were all in private. M1July everything was ready, agreeing its ED evaluation report for the PNB. The next evening, the PNB ousted Maxie. Friday, he left his job. Sorted.

If Pacifica’s good at anything, this is it. (Yes, it bears repeating. Pacifica rarely gets complimented these days. Have a heart.)

[I should have included this in the original comment, now added here, F2Aug: Note, whilst doing the important business, nine FCC violations were committed: a written explanation to the public hadn’t been given as to why nine deliberative sessions had been private (this had only been done for those on 3June & 1July). Law requires that this occur “within a reasonable period of time”; the CPB’s own requirement is “within 10 days after each closed meeting”. Too late to be remedied, then. Par for the course, really. (Communications Act of 1934, §396(k)(4); page 216 https://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf, & https://www.cpb.org/stations/certification/closed-meetings)]

Much politics is not so much conflict resolution as it is conflict pacification. Suppressing the unacceptable. The Pacifica way is not evidence, but belief. Not open discussion, but secret manoeuvre. Not persuasion, but brute force. Not rational argument, but administrative practice.

This is the Pacifica set-up. And the final element used in deciding the fate of this radio professional, a technician, knowledgeable & experienced, is a bedrock of Pacifica governance, the silent hands, the cttee members who say nothing, & prevent someone else occupying their seat, but who, crucially, vote with The Dear Leader. Pyongyang has captured Pacifica. One may as well call it the Pyongyang Foundation, Inc.

All this was too much for a woman of honour, Maskeelah Washington (WPFW). She had protested, in the public sessions, about the lengths being gone to by ‘the evaluation’. She resigned from the Personnel Cttee, & also as a director of Pacifica. Her last public attendance as a director was at the Th27June PNB, as it was for Maxie. Neither appeared at the next public PNB meeting, Th11July. As is normal in a secret society, Maskeelah’s resignations have not been announced publicly by Pacifica, not in writing, not orally. This means Maskeelah has never been thanked publicly for her service to the members & listeners. Her name was simply removed, without explanation, from lists. Name . . . delete. People just disappear in PacificaWorld.

Given this, is there any surprise that a blog like PacificaWatch, rooted in evidence, was started the evening Maxie’s ousting was announced by Grace, at the Th18July PNB? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/

3) Fermenting instability The email to the PNB from the KPFK station manager, Anyel Zuberi Fields, that Ken kindly published, rightly focused on the further creation of instability. That has been exacerbated by two appointments, announced on M22 & M29July: John Vernile as Pacifica’s iED, & Jack Valinski as iGM of KPFT in Houston. 2 (JV), with the hyperbolic intent of (JV)².

Vernile has been a corporate careerist, in music, with Sony & EMI: Pacifica has presented no evidence that he’s ever headed a failed & failing organisation, let alone a radio network, nor that he’s succeeded in ever stabilising one. I say that, rather than turning one around, because he’s on a six-month contract – according to Jan Goodman, still Chair of the PNB Personnel Cttee, the one that delivered Maxie to the slab (Su21July KPFK LSB, 3:40, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/190721/kpfk190721b.mp3).

As I said in another comment, the swiftness of his appointment shows that he’d already been lined up. And, politically, he would have been carefully chosen: Grace, having waited for over a decade to have the chance to become executive director, won’t be dislodged that easily. In fact, there’s every chance she pushed through Vernile’s temporary appointment because he’s happy to be a silent partner, relying on her knowledge of Pacifica, & she’ll be more than happy to do the work, poking her nose into each & every station. She’ll rope in her confidants, as subordinates, functioning as a collective shadow ED, call it Pacifica’s de facto executive cttee – pushing the PNB further away from where the decisions are actually made. In fact, surprise, surprise, when they can’t find a permanent ED, maybe Vernile extends, or Grace becomes iED again. Either way, there’s going to be no regime change any time soon. Just like with the son of the real Dear Leader.

But stability at the top won’t trickle down, because performance is not determined by agreement amongst friends but by the quality of radio output: do people want to listen, & then donate? Deteriorating performance is the fundamental cause of the instability that GM Fields wants to end. And in this, sadly, the PNB majority is an obdurate obstacle.

Turning to this Monday’s communique, the KPFT iGM hiring, its content is revealing – in what it left out. No mention of the LSB. They’re mandated to draw up a shortlist for the ED, who chooses the lucky one (by-law 7.3B). https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art7sec3.html So, had they done this? The silence poses four questions concerning her well-known dispositions: another example of Aaron’s authoritarianism?; of her willingness to steamroller by-laws when they get in the way?; of her disposition to misjudge politically?; &, dangerously, an example of her willingness to knowingly create more turbulence, this time in a locality? https://pacifica.org/documents/kpft_jack_valinski_190729.pdf

KPFT has no recent series of Nielsen ratings. But internally there is longitudinal evidence. Recently, membership has fallen precipitously: 25% in less than 2½ years, from 5 736 to 4 294 (the election record dates of 30June2016 & 19Nov2018 – National Elections Supervisor’s final report, 18Mar2019, pp. 19 & 17). And the LSB, highly factionalised for many years, split into two in early Jan this year. They met separately – and had never been happier. But now they’re back in the same room, &, perversely, keeping radio silence, with none of the last four meetings recorded & put in the Pacifica meetings archive. They can’t be happy bunnies, can they? So Pacifica’s default secrecy mode kicks in. http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Pacifica-Election-Final-Report-2018-by-RAP-1-1.pdf

Into this Valinski has been thrown. But actually he’s part of the furniture: exec producer of ‘his’ show for 20 years. So he’ll have made lots of friends – and enemies. In a highly factionalised station, when ‘national’ recruits from within it sends the strongest signal of intent: war will be waged in the localities. Such as this, GM Fields was warning against. Maybe his own days are numbered.

To sum up Pacifica, fuelled by bequests, & with the iCFO skilfully judging which creditor to pay next, not least the $3.265m owed to the Foundation for the Jewish Community (FJC), the current structure is plain for all to see:

Pacifica = zombie radio + necro-economics

4) What does all this mean for any radio professional thinking of working for Grace Aaron? This isn’t personalising the matter because this is the substantive reality, a pigheaded authoritarianism that is based on belief, not upon radio knowledge, least of all upon radio success. Maxie was trying to create the conditions allowing Pacifica to turn itself around. The Board stopped him. What is any new ED at Pacifica supposed to do? What sort of radio professional will take the job? Does it really have to be someone who doesn’t really care, content to do whatever it takes to keep their job? Seems so. Rationally, that’s all that’s possible.

The ousting of Maxie proves that under this Pacifica Board there is no place for technique, no place for rationality.

Inverting what’s just been said leads to a highly disturbing question, one that any radio professional taking the ED job will have to live with: why does the Board majority, by its actions, let alone its inactions, not want Pacifica to improve?

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[For convenience, here are Ken Mills’ three posts on the Maxie Jackson disaster. They were provoked by iED Chair Grace Aaron publicly announcing, for the first time, that Maxie had “resigned”. No: he was ousted. She was addressing the Th18July PNB (13:18, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718a.mp3).

[As an insight into how Pacifica works, it’s worth saying that even the writing up of a draft agenda can betray how crafty the praetorian guard can be. Presumably so as not to draw attention to the livestream, ‘iED report’ didn’t appear in the draft agenda published on the meetings website, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718_6125_agenda.pdf. But the draft would have struck one as odd because Maxie isn’t listed as an expected attendee, & there’s no mention of an ED report. Yes, Kremlinology, Pyongyangology, they’ve now transmuted into Pacificaology. (Apologies to the cacao.)]

Mr Mills’ posts:

F19July ‘Maxie Jackson out as Pacifica executive director’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/maxie-jackson-out-as-pacifica-executive.html (as of F2Aug, two comments – a two-parter of mine, the points made being incorporated in this blog’s inaugural ‘Welcome!’ post, https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/welcome/)

M22July ‘Pacifica alert: Maxie Jackson is out & Grace Aaron has taken over’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/pacifica-alert-maxie-jackson-is-out.html (five comments – including a two-parter of mine, posted here as https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/24/maxie-jackson-pacifica-the-politics-of-technique-a-tragedy-for-both/)

F26July ‘What its like to work for Grace Aaron, Chair of the Pacifica National Board’ http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html (five comments – including my above four-parter. Mr Mills re-posted his piece later that day; as of F2Aug that has no comments.)

FJC getting award from Marc Hand – one year ago

FJC gets award from Marc Hand, Pacifica’s fixer for the FJC deal (Mark Cohen; Erin Moran)

On 2Apr2018, Tom Livingston & Lorin Silverman signed the $3.7m loan contract between Pacifica (legally the Pacifica Foundation, Inc.) & the Foundation for the Jewish Community (legally FJC). Pacifica’s broker was Public Media Company (PMC), which had put Chief Executive Officer Marc Hand on the case.

A few months later, the July issue of FJC Quarterly showed what happens when business goes well. The joyous occasion was attended by Marc, of course, together with Mark C Cohen, FJC’s Chief Legal Officer (& Assistant Secretary), & Erin Moran, PMC’s Chief Financial Officer. There was talk of FJC, of course, & of PMC, & some gift-giving & -receiving – but no mention of Pacifica. Even so, a one-year anniversary deserves celebration, don’t you think? http://fjc.org/uploads/newsletters/0047-july-2018-newsletter.pdf

And business did go well. PMC earnt their origination fee. OK, only 1.5% you may say, but that is $55 500 (the loan agreement, Section 3.1(2); page 6). And that payment came from Pacifica listeners: Pacifica has agreed to pay all costs arising from the contract – “[to] pay legal and other loan related fees” (Recital B; p. 1), & “at Borrower’s cost and expense, each in form and content satisfactory to the Lender” (Sec. 3.1(1)-(11); pp. 6-7). https://mega.nz/#F!PloCiSqJ!9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g?b0IBlaiR

And FJC, just by sitting there, earnt its own consideration (benefit), but decided to forego its origination fee, instead plumbing for underwriting credits of 1% of the loan amount, so $37k (Sec. 3.1(2); pp. 6-7; & p. 25). So, rather than take money directly from the listeners, they chose to make Pacifica enter into an advertising contract. (That suited Pacifica financially, if not politically – please see link at the end.)

Pacifica’s advertising contract is to be with F.Y. Eye, Inc. (Exhibit B; pp. 25-7), an advertising broker in NYC. I wondered why FJC didn’t take cash from Pacifica, for the benefit of the FJC account holders funding the loan. Now I know why – and I’ll give the answer in the next post on these matters.

(The circuit made by the advertising credits is described here: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/21/underwriting-section-of-fjc-loan-contract-drives-pacificas-urgency-for-an-advertising-policy/.)

[AN ASIDE: Note that Pacifica’s interest rate falls by 0.25 percentage points, to 8.25% a year, from tomorrow, Th1Aug. The change was made today by a Federal Reserve cttee that decides a rate that prime & others are tied to. The saving is smaller than you think: $8 162.50 a year (1% is $32 650). But mustn’t grumble. https://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/About-JPMC/historical-prime-rate.htm ]