. . . the cttee members decide not to decide on the preliminaries of how to discuss the discussing of a Pacifica strategic plan (not least the need to pay $3.265m within the next six months to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC); instead they decide to decide to defer the deciding to the next meeting . . .
It was even on the agenda – it’s just that in 1½hrs they never got to it coz they had agreed (without objection) to place it as the penultimate substantive matter, & having spent almost all their time on whether to run a pilot on advertising (underwriting), the grains of time had passed thru the egg-timer. Ah well, there’s always another one in two weeks’ time. (The meeting next Monday, called on 6Sep, was cancelled on 15Sep, without explanation or subsequent comment – but then it was denoted as “Purpose: Discuss Strategic Planning”. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20200928)
[Highlight, from Our Grace, hallow’d be Thy name. Priceless:
I’ve been hearing, um, complaints & criticisms from a number of sources that Pacifica doesn’t have a strategic plan, & I would like to suggest that we, argh, at least start talking about it & – urgh – that we – I’d like to extend this meeting for 30 minutes to start a discussion about a strategic plan.
(1:07:19) The effort to extend just withered. And died. Never put to the vote. There’s always next time.]
Apologies to the three- & four-year-olds of Tourcoing, France, on the Belgian border, 12May2020; photographer, Lionel Top.
Also recognition to the teacher, a profession much maligned by the barbarians. But much more meaningful, & solidarian, than verbal support is significant material support: here, the widespread use of daily rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. As Michael Mina (Harvard public health) et al. argued even in late June, feasible on a universal basis is a $1 test giving a result within 15mins. It’s akin to a pregnancy test: it’s non-laboratory, just saliva on a paper strip impregnated with antigen (that’s a protein from the virus – non-infectious, please note! – that triggers a detectable immune response).
. . . so much for focusing on massive vaccine development funding, moreover, providing competing pharma with the guarantee that if they fail then the taxpayer pays for their failure, & if they come up with a winner then the shareholders take the profits. Brilliant. Not the Amerikan way but the capitalist way, when capitalist interests run the state . . .
the leak –now mirrored across the net (only some of the 19 files are shown)
Most people, most of the time, don’t give a monkey’s about what goes on at Pacifica. And that includes the members. In the referenda brought by the breakers earlier this year, a massive 77% didn’t vote. (33k didn’t, 10k did.)
The anti-breakers shout about their ⅔rds support, but this misses the point. There’s aggregation – and there’s organisation. It’s the contrast between sharing attributes (typology) & being organised in & thru relatively enduring relations (structure). The contrast being statics & dynamics: one, a snapshot in the present; the other, a force projecting into the future. To be effective, atoms need to be organised – then mobilised. And things are so bad in PacificaWorld that even the anti-breaker higher-ups lack organisation: after three months they can’t get the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee to work. (Met twice, three cancelled, since it was ‘re-populated’ in April.)
RealWorld, in the latest form taken by its developed capitalist societies, has found a rhetoric to encourage both acceptance of an institution & participation within a ‘community’: be transparent, be open. Transparency of proceedings; transparency of facts. So, a threefold transparency: of process, of the world as it starts from, & of the world it creates. Well, the obdurate Pacifica secrecy culture is impervious to all this.
Three activities are essential to the species: working, reproducing, communicating. Pacifica’s pseudo-leaders may be able to work & reproduce, but they don’t know how to communicate, which is why transparency is an unwelcome complication. They’re always afraid they’ll be misunderstood – hence the sad performances of the hapless Mansoor ‘Uriah Heep’ Sabbagh & the hypocritical Chris ‘R Paul, my heart bleeds for WBAI’ Cory, continually fretting that the ignorant great unwashed won’t understand provisional financial data, data good enough for them, but not for others. Well, the hermeneutic failure is all theirs.
This contrasts with 26June2019: an exercise in transparency, communication, hermeneutic success.
On 2Apr2018, Executive Director Tom Livingston committed Pacifica to the biggest debt in its history, signing the $3.7m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, known in the wider world as FJC.
So proud, the statement to the world included this from the then PNB Chair, Nancy Sorden (who’s still a director & WPFW listener-delegate):
I’d like to first thank the Pacifica National Board, for deciding on this approach and the enormous amount of work they put into it to get us to this point. Second, to FJC for providing this loan at a very difficult time for Pacifica, and third to the team of professionals that helped negotiate the settlement, secure the funding, identify and secure an agreement for our new transmitter location.
But the recognition of FJC didn’t stop there. A whole paragraph followed, detailing this ‘n’ that, as Mansoor would say, &, in referring to its Agency Loan Fund (ALF), Pacifica implied that this was the vehicle used to access money lodged at FJC. I carefully say ‘implied’ because no Pacifica employee or officer has ever disclosed the source of the loan: be it via ALF; one or more FJC donor-advised accounts; or some other FJC arrangement.
So given all these heart-felt thanks it was surprising that pretty soon, & with no explanation, the word ‘FJC’ became taboo, with the great & the good becoming boys in blue whenever someone mentioned the acronym. The policing became so extreme that Chair Nancy summarily ended the 20Dec2018 PNB meeting, cutting the stream, after ‘Jehovah’ ‘FJC’, that obscenity, had been uttered once too often by a blasphemer. PacificaWorld had collapsed into The Life of Brian.
(Digression . . . this portion of the meeting is an excellent example of how that breaker Rottweiler, Carole Travis, operates. A masterful performance. Not least for trying to get on the stack before the agenda item had even been reached. Superb. Chomping on the bit before the meat was even on the table. Kinetic. Carole, sadly, is now retired from the PNB & the KPFA Local Station Board, but hangs around, lurking, in the KPFA Community Advisory Board & as a trustee of one of the pension funds – along with former ED Tom Livingston. Yes, the ties that bind. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20200222 (click ‘Committee Members’))
Giving credit where credit’s due, Chair Nancy, condemning mention of a press statement mentioning her very own words, richly earnt her PacificaWorld moniker, Chair ‘wooden as a chair’ Nancy. Nancy, we salute you, &, as they say interminably on Fox News, thank you for your service.
The self-appointed protectors of PacificaWorld created an aura of secrecy, one with its own lexicon: ‘the big loan’, to distinguish it from the Tom & Jerry loan, the Ben & Jerry loan – no, ‘the small loan’, the $0.5m loan collateralised by the Nakapon/National Office building (1921-1925 MLK Jr Way), the one ‘linked’ to Jan Goodman, the Jan & Terry loan, the Jan & fiends loan – no, the Jan & friends loan. In the leaked docs, ‘the small loan’ is called ‘the friendly loan’ & ‘the Pacifica supporters loan’ (sic). Inventive, & psychically revealing.
And yet the information gatekeepers, in doing their work, just couldn’t help themselves, antagonising fellow directors, by refusing to give everyone a copy of the loan documents. Directors Adriana Casenave & DeWayne Lark (both KPFT listener-delegates), not surprisingly, proved to protesteth the mosteth.
The notices for the PNB closed sessions say, “[o]n March 22, 2018 the PNB met in executive session and approved in principle a number of agreements that will immediately address our financial difficulties.” So, “in principle”: not the draft documents. The contracts were signed from the very next day: those with FJC signed 23Mar & before 3Apr by ED Livingston; the advertising contract with F.Y. Eye, Inc., signed 23Mar by ED Livingston (the euphemistic ‘underwriting’); & ‘the small loan’, the $0.5m, signed by director Grace Aaron perhaps 28Mar, & was due to be signed by director Mansoor Sabbagh. These docs weren’t distributed to all directors, either then or since. https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_180322.pdf
It should be added that the PNB Finance Cttee repeatedly complained about only some of its members having the FJC loan docs, even asking for them from the PNB. Fat chance. It was sorrowful to witness the repeated requests in Cttee of the forlorn Nick Arena, WPFW treasurer, a man who only happens to administer bank loan contracts in his day job. What could he contribute to Pacifica? Just as well he’s kept out of the loop.
(Elaboration . . . the lender of ‘the small loan’ was Pacifica Supporters Loan, LLC, & signing the contracts were two denoted “managers”, King Reilly & Jerry Manpearl. The PNB agreed that Pacifica donors pay Mr Reilly $10k “as a brokers’ fee for arranging this loan”, & pay the lender $28k as “legal fees and expenses” – page 2 of doc #1. In contrast, it takes a worker on $15 an hour all of 4 months to earn $10k. Progressive values in action, the Reilly/Manpearl way. From 1921-1925 MLK Jr Way to the Reilly/Manpearl way. The Pacifica journey. All funded by the members & listeners. #ThisIsWhatWinningLooksLike. https://mega.nz/folder/PloCiSqJ#9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g/file/W0J1Eaha
— The ledger shows that ‘the small loan’, $0.5m, was the residue of a liquidated $2.075m loan, also at 7.5% a year, that had lasted one month. This loan had 13 lenders, of between $25k & $875k (Manpearl $400k, Reilly $875k). Curiously, a $50k lender ‘earnt’ no interest, so perhaps the sum either was only committed or was withdrawn the day it was deposited (if the interest were foregone as a donation to Pacifica then this would have been further recorded). The existence of this $2.075m (or $2.025m) loan has never been publicly acknowledged by Pacifica, neither by employees nor officers.)
The publication of the FJC loan docs on 26June2019 was a giant step forward in making Pacifica transparent. The fact that no director claimed responsibility speaks volumes. Instead, respect goes to those who work to inform the members & listeners. Respect.
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 subsidisedby 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.
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?
. . . 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.
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
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.
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?
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)
. . . “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.:
email@example.com & 520 8th Ave, Floor 20, NYC 10018
MDSF: 130 East 59th St, Suite 1102, NYC 10022
firstname.lastname@example.org & 130 East 59th St, Suite 1102, NYC 10022
National Enterprises Corp.: 130 East 59th St, Floor 11, NYC 10022
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:
FJC, in their latest auditor’s report, year-ending 31Mar2019, had net assets of ~$262m, investment income of $10m ($2.6m via the Agency Loan Fund from Pacifica, other borrowers, & sundry investments; possibly income from other loans; income from stocks & bonds), donors’ contributions of $33m, & disbursed $38m. (ALF generated $3m income but some, ≥ $0.4m, went to outside investors – p. 22 cf. p. 4; pp. 24 & 6 of the PDF.)
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).
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.)
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):
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.
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
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?
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:
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.
[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.]
[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).]
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
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?
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)
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.
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.)
[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.
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.