KPFT’s broadcast licence was due to expire Su1Aug – but you wouldn’t know it if you relied on the local management & Executive Director Lydia Brazon. Ditto the Local Station Board & the Pacifica National Board. No-one thought the members, listeners, & staff deserved to know. No-one thought they deserved to be reassured that all was in hand, that the application had been submitted on date X & a decision was expected by date Y. But communication & courtesy are skilled accomplishments, an achievement, even for those who think they’re professionals. But those running PacificaWorld are those running PacificaWorld.
Hence the post here on 13July, ‘Three station FCC licences expire this year: KPFT 1Aug, KPFA 1Dec, KPFK 1Dec’. It was welcomed in Houston, because even delegates on PNB cttees were unaware of the upcoming expiration.
Today, the public file of KPFT on the Federal Communications Commission website bore good news: “[t]his is to notify you that your Application for Renewal of License 0000142229, was granted on 07/22/2021 for a term expiring on 08/01/2029.” – https://publicfiles.fcc.gov/fm-profile/kpft.
. . . the inner circle of directors, capable of organising a new beginning? . . . or a wasted 1½yrs on top of 3yrs? . . .
. . . a coming gloaming? . . . the darkness sweeping in upon the face of the deep? . . .
Report out from the Pacifica National Board (PNB) Executive Session held on March 31, 2021: The PNB met in closed session to approve extension of the FJC loan for 18 months on the positive recommendation of the auditor.
. . . presumably badly written, in the haste: not “met […] to approve”, intent, the intent of some directors, but ‘met […] and approved’ . . .
[UPDATE . . . guess not in haste: this is what PNB Chair Alex Steinberg read out 8mins into the Th1Apr PNB meeting. Oh.]
. . . &, crucially, the statement doesn’t offer an explanation, with grounds, of why the directors think the business falls within the remit of the closed session provision of the Communications Act of 1934, § 396(k)(4), & its interpretation by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting . . . so hopefully an explanation to the members, & the world (not least the CPB), will be issued within the requisite 10 days . . .
[an update will be given]
On the loan, will the PNB be transparent, describing in full the terms of the extension, the commitments they have placed upon the members & the members’ organisation – even better, will the directors publish the agreement, the agreement they are so proud of?
. . . 18mths interest charge = $3.265m x 6¼% x 1½yrs = $306 093.75 . . .
. . . the last time Pacifica made an annual net income was FY2006 . . .
. . . a double-edged sword, putting off uncomfortable decisions . . . (image courtesy of David Jacques, Oil is the Devil’s Excrement) . . .
• the need to end de facto federalism
• the need for a network development plan
• KPFA: five-year $643k total net loss, yet personnel costs out of control
• only guarantee of quick cash is from a signal-swap: but where?
• the second $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program loan, Jan2021
• Pacificans get their tax-$$$ back: perhaps $2.56m [UPDATE: actually $2.64m]
• digression: how can NETA be saving Pacifica money?
In Sierra Leone, diamonds are known as the Devil child, eggs laid by the Devil.
The Iraqi lamented, if only we had had onion fields, not oil fields.
The ‘father of OPEC’, Venezuelan oil minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, even entitled one of his books, Hundiéndonos en el excremento del diablo – Sinking in the Devil’s Excrement.
And PacificaWorld? It has its own windfalls: if not The Golden Corpses, the bequests, then federal money. (Once upon a time in PacificaWorld, it was a political question whether to take fed money, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the CPB. That’s long gone.)
A gift can be a curse.
Why a curse? Behaviourally, it distracts from the underlying reality, the causal reality; so cognitively, it deludes; & prospectively, it provides an incentive to put off difficult decisions. To adapt another’s words, ‘it’s the “natural resource curse”: showered with sudden windfalls, quickly spent, but creating thirsty projects, a cost structure that’s unsustainable when revenues crash’ (Jerry Useem, Fortune). This is the warning made for years by Kim Kaufman, the recently resigned KPFK LSB Finance Cttee Chair.
The curse works insidiously. Habituated with windfalls, just go with the flow. See where it takes you. Problems? Just deal with symptoms, not causes. Firefight. Be immediate & ad hoc, focus on muddling thru. Don’t try to develop & exercise foresight. Don’t bother with a destination. Certainly don’t plan. Don’t address enduring problems, the decay (even mould). Ignore the possibility of pathology. The possibility of systemic dysfunction. Likewise, for the participants, don’t ponder the generative forces they themselves exercise in the way they live in PacificaWorld, in the way they interact with each other. But then we are, by default, creatures of the surface, attending to what’s immediately around us, rarely examining how & why things come to be, why some persist, whilst others change. Without heuristic reflection, we are, to put it onticly, condemned to be preoccupied with the generated dimension of human living, not the generative dimension. This partial understanding confers a delusional attitude, towards what’s going on & what has to be done.
This is PacificaWorld. Looking forward to the relief promised by the next fund drive. Hoping – but not hoping – another listener dies. Talking about ‘getting the audit done’ for that mil$lion from the CPB (as if no other condition has to be satisfied). All this expectation mashed up with the urgency of putting out the latest fire. Perpetual crisis mode, absorbing one’s time & energy. But this is merely the bubbling on the surface.
So what responsibility is borne for all this by Pacifica’s decision-makers? They’re not the sole determinant, but they are agents. Their responsibility lies both in what they have done & what they have not done, displayed in their acts of commission & acts of omission. The directors, legally, are the trustees of the Foundation, custodians of the assets. Given this, it needs to be recognised that, systemically, the directors have been perpetrators of an institutionalfailure, stemming from refusing to examine the generative dimension, the forces at work – those present, those absent. In practice, the directors have functioned as custodians not of assets but of failure. The directors need to recognise their failure, learn from it, & take remedial action.
The need to end de facto federalism
What are these acts of omission? Two stand out, & they are related. The first is refusing to find a way to systematically overcome the destructive, disintegrating dynamic dominant in PacificaWorld since at least 2005. This is refusing to challenge the principal deleterious political condition, & force: de facto federalism. The federalism in a supposed unitary radio network. Organisationally expressed as fiefdoms, keeping out ‘interference’ from the centre: from those with network responsibility, the Foundation responsibility, so from the executive director, from the chief financial officer, even from the directors. (Lynden & co have met 2mths’ resistance to arranging their directors’ inspection of KPFT.) Federalism, the force proving to be the most antagonistic to Pacifica’s organisational well-being. A political force spawning its correlate consciousness: ideationally as station separatism, the politics for break-up, & affectively as excessive station pride, station chauvinism, spreading corrosively around the network to fuel resentment amongst all parties. A parochialism, exemplified by the Berkeley Hillbillies. Shredding the mission statement, that shibboleth oft-heralded, then ignored. Toxicity, not Saint Greta.
A federalism expressed mundanely in not just a continuing lack of adequate bookkeeping, accounting, & financial activity, but, crucially, in their weak regulatory means, the internal control systems. It’s because most live the delusional attitude that since the 16July2020 acceptance of the FY2018 auditor’s report, the chatter has been ‘getting ready for the FY2019 audit’, rather than the honest, ‘the auditor can’t come in yet coz the FY2019 books are still chaotic, so we don’t even have a trial balance, plus all those gaps in the supporting evidence to any draft financial statements we might eventually come up with’. Yes, NETA’s head drone, George Walter, had to cough up to the 30Nov2020 PNB Audit Cttee, the last time it met (so two months & counting, with no next meeting date set), that even a trial balance didn’t exist (9:21) – 4½ months into ‘getting ready’.
[UPDATE: CFO Anita Sims told the Th4Feb2021 PNB, in her 67secs report (sic), that a trial balance still doesn’t exist, so over 6½ months after the acceptance of the FY2018 auditor’s report – but, rest assured, “George would run a trial balance, & that would go to the auditors, for them to start their fieldwork” (below clip, 0:53; audio not yet in the Archive [UPDATE: no change as of Su21Feb] … ADD LINK + TIME). So everything’s under control; as Anita said, “I feel very good about everything […] I’m feeling very, very good” (0:35, 1:11). Insincerity or the delusional attitude, it hardly matters. But listen to what she said, listen carefully: mention of lots of particulars, including dates, but they’re largely meaningless because they’re drowning in an ocean of indeterminateness: each desired outcome lacks a definite date. Every one. Seriously, listen to it. But her obfuscation, intentional or otherwise, worked: not one director asked her to speak plainly, to speak precisely. And it was as if the 30Nov2020 admission had never happened.
There’s a simple rule with the punters: be straight with them. Always.
Post-16July2020 is all Mickey Mouse, the taking advantage of the naive: when the money function is managed properly, ‘getting ready for the audit’ is quite straight forward: quickly doing the final update of the needed schedules, reviewing what’s ready, getting in the auditors two weeks after year-end. So the function dysfunction persists even under NETA, contracted since mid June 2018, so struggling in PacificaWorld for over 2½ years & counting: NETA, failing to impose centralised control within their domain, languishing under six ED’s who themselves failed to impose the requisite centralised control Pacifica needed & still needs . . . Tom Livingston, Maxie Jackson, Grace Aaron, John Vernile, Lawrence Reyes, Lydia Brazon. A comprehensive, & continuing, management failure, ultimately the responsibility, & so failure, of directors sorely out of their depth – it’s elder abuse, really. Mundanely, the current audit delay is because FY2019 lacked adequate bookkeeping, accounting, & financialpractices & internal control systems. And FY2020? Your guess is as good as Jorge’s.
(Launching Major Tom into both offices violated a non-trivial by-law: “neither the Secretary nor the Chief Financial Officer shall serve concurrently as the Chairperson of the Board or the Executive Director” – Article 9, Section 1; https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art9sec1.html. But, hey, rules are for the great unwashed, yeah, not the entitled?)
Summarily, the directors have copped out, refusing to combat federalism, the principal centrifugal political force in PacificaWorld, the most disruptive organisationally. The directors have refused to measure up to their responsibilities.
The need for a network development plan
The other act of omission, correlated but inversely, is yet again causing the directors to be perpetrators, & so custodians, of another key institutional failure, their refusal to generate a centripetal force: implementing a network development plan. (The right sort of NDP.)
And this is no surprise: even individually, the directors seem incapable of having a vision of Pacifica’s future, any vision, even an unviable one. For them, the future collapses into the present: it doesn’t exist. Just consider the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee. Almost three years of talking; nothing published. Established by the 15Feb2018 PNB. First met 12Mar2018 . . . Christmas 2018 . . . Christmas 2019 . . . 14Dec2020, 2¾ years later, the Cttee told there were some working papers – being worked on, of course. Sure enough, the next meeting, 5Jan2021, learnt that the worked working papers had been further worked on. Anticipation mounted for the only other meet, 19Jan, but it wasn’t streamed, & the audio isn’t in the Archive. Oh. But our saga doesn’t end there: no date set for the Cttee’s next meeting. Maybe there won’t be one. After all, there’s only the need, as it stands, to hand over on F2Apr2021, $3.265m + $51 015.63 quarterly interest to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC.
(Tu5Jan2021, there were some votes on what was described as a plan, and Cttee & PNB Chair Alex Steinberg (4:15, leading up to 6:31; then 28:06) spoke of presenting something to the Th7Jan PNB, but there was nothing in its public meeting, & no public report of the private meeting – in fact, the last written ‘report-out’, of any Pacifica meeting, was last year, 19Dec2020 (sic) … https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/210105/pnbstratcomm210105a.mp3, & https://pacifica.org/notices_home.php#exec. Question is, why the secrecy about what’s said to be ‘a plan’?Why wasn’t the motion read out, put into the public record, as happens every other time? Why not go public? Indeed, why didn’t the Cttee ask for planning ideas from staff, members, listeners, even their fellow LSB delegates? Why assume that the best ideas would come from the Cttee? Especially as the Cttee’s been going three years without publishing a page?)
Unable to recognise need, the directors are also unable to help create the minimal political conditions for implementing a network development plan, a plan turning an aggregate of radio stations into a unitary radio network. A network development plan sustained by an unavoidablespatialrevolution in the treatment of money, in the relationship between where funds are raised & where they are spent: making some of the allocation rules those of positive discrimination, mitigating the histories of each station, not least their initial endowment, & focusing on the future by allocating funds where it’s decided they’re most needed. (Cuba, 1963-4, Che versus the Stalinists: el Gran Debate, ¿Sistema de Financiamiento Presupuestario o Sistema de Autofinanciamiento?) A network development plan sustained by imposing the requisitecentralised control, one far exceeding the minimum demanded by RealWorld – by the public authorities & the social law of money, which both treat Pacifica Foundation, Inc. as a unitary legal personality.
For a unitary radio network, the analytic unit for balancing revenue & costs isn’t the station: it’s Pacifica. Not ‘the division’: it’s the Foundation. It’s a foundation, an edifice, not an archipelago, all strung out.
KPFA: five-year $643k total net loss, yet personnel costs out of control
Besides the need both to challenge de facto federalism & to implement a network development plan, Pacifica needs to address two other proximate matters: costs, & revenue.
When the latest $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program money runs out, perhaps end of April, it may cross the minds of the directors to address Pacifica’s cost structure – and how the change in the last five years is a silent scandal: KPFA has become an unbearable burden, dragging down the network.
Comparing FY2016 with FY2020, a span of five years, whilst Pacifica’s expenses fell 7% with KPFA’s dropping a staggering 14% ($520 771), KPFA personnel expenses were out of control, shooting in the opposite direction, growing 15% (from $1 996 377 to $2 294 297), their share of the station’s expenses rising a remarkable 34%, from 54% to a bloated 72%! This is a revolutionary change of KPFA’s cost structure. It has made the number of paid staff at KPFA wildly disproportionate within Pacifica. This rendered even more stark by what’s to come at KPFK. With worsening Pacifica cashflow, this dynamic at KPFA is unsustainable. It’s also wrong. The required policy to be carried out is obvious. Yet not one delegate on a local station board, nor one director on the national board, speaks its name. An elephant unseen.
Comparing these two fiscal years, Pacifica total expenses fell the mentioned 7%, but personnel expenses were unchanged: so their share grew from 52.6% to 56.4%, a rise of 7%. And KPFA’s share of Pacifica personnel expenses grew from 30.4% to 34.9%, a rise of 15%. When KPFA non-personnel expenses are also considered, one sees something extraordinary, making it glaringly obvious what’s happened at the station: whilst its personnel expenses grew $297 920, non-personnel expenses were chopped by a startling 47%, $818 691, from $1 729 812 to $911 121; this shifted the excess of personnel expenses over non-personnel ones from 15.4% to 251.8%, a 16-fold rise (sic). With Pacifica last making an audited net income in FY2006 (sic), why was this allowed to happen?
Why has the CFO said nothing?!?
Pause a moment. And consider another fact, the five-year station performance, its ‘bottom line’. Although the alleged shining light of Pacifica chopped non-personnel expenses 47% when comparing FY2016 with FY2020, it increased personnel expenses by 15%, $297 920, all the while making a station five-year cumulative net loss of $642 972 (FY2016, audited $315 661 loss; FY2017, unaudited $129 012 net income; FY2018, unaudited $524 572 loss; FY2019, unaudited $205 459 net income (including the contra of a ~$100k depreciation charge); FY2020, unaudited $137 210 loss (ditto the ~$100k depreciation). (Note, the FY2016 auditor’s report seems to say the “Division” analyses are materially accurate: one must be prudent with the declarative “[i]n our opinion, the [division] information is fairly stated, in all material respects, in relation to the financial statements as a whole” (p. 1b) because it’s almost certain that the auditors, as usual, didn’t do fieldwork at all seven accounting units, & their report gives no unit-level info on their particular activities, including the scale & the accounts sampled – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2016.pdf.)
To repeat, not least for the PacificaWatch scribe writing the memes: KPFA cost Pacifica $642 972, so ~$⅔m, across the five years, 1Oct2015 to 30Sep2020.
Putting it another way, KPFA has lived beyond its means for the last five years, throughout the period benefiting from three employees effectively paid for by the Foundation, by all the stations, out of income continually sucked from each successive accounting period.
The breakers don’t tell you this at the KPFA Local Station Board meetings, that’s for sure. It’s the protection of this reality, however they understand it, that strongly motivates the KPFA breakers: the urgency of the breakers at KPFA flows from the increasing pressure upon Pacifica to find cash.
(Depreciation estimate: the last audited depreciation figures Pacifica has are FY2016, being $216 780 Pacifica, $103 229 KPFA. The financial statements in the FY2017 & 2018 auditor’s reports are unaudited, giving, respectively, $200 279 & $161 781 Pacifica, and $93 511 & $99 442 KPFA. Being imprudent, to give KPFA the benefit of the doubt, assume for FY2019 & 2020, $160k Pacifica & $100k KPFA. https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php (please see the relevant pages).)
The concluding truth is staring us all in the face: this is where Pacifica has to make savings, at KPFA, *the personnel*, & do so immediately – and stop pursuing the self-financing unargued dogma of trying to rip out bone at KPFT, WBAI, & perhaps WPFW. (KPFK is currently undergoing its own slow-burn modification, that may become a transformation.) The directors really need to act here, for the sake of Pacifica.
(But an inkling of the truth may be starting to dawn – albeit hesitantly, partially, somewhat vaguely. Director James Sagurton (PNB Finance Cttee Chair, & WBAI listener-delegate) seemed to be saying something interesting to the 5Jan2021 PNB Strategic Planning Cttee (39:05). Something seemed to be there, as he reluctantly, timidly, almost apologetically made his pointraised the topic spoke, as if he wasn’t sure whether he should even be saying it, not sure how to express it, not sure how to frame it. Well, praps it’ll turn out to be a start – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/210105/pnbstratcomm210105a.mp3.)
Only guarantee of quick cash is from a signal-swap: but where?
Lastly, on the revenue side, considering a three- or even five-year horizon, the only likely source of big bucks to let Pacifica breathe, other than that seeping from a row of Golden Corpses, is a signal-swap, & not necessarily WBAI’s. It may take a year or so to do, but this is the only sure way to have cash to fund a network development plan.
One station should provide more than enough cash, but which one? So, what should be the decision rules? How to rationally decide which criteria are relevant? What are the best evidenced arguments pro & con for each station? No-one suggests this’ll be easy – it’s simply that for Pacifica it’s necessary to decide.
The directors need to bite the bullet.
Make a decision, not passively watch the agony that is Pacifica.
Anti politics can only take you so far. The anti-breakers need to recognise this. Pacifica needs a politics of hope. The breakers are devising theirs, & promoting it, taking initiative after initiative. Working to change the present, a springboard to a chosen future. The anti-breakers need to learn from this. They need to stop being the prisoner of events. They need to go offense. Pacifica needs a positive vision, informing a positive politics. This is what’s needed – but who’s going to recognise the truth, who’s going to do the work, & organise it?
All told, there’s only a narrow path to success: creating & maintaining political conditions, primarily solidarity engendering cohesion, allowing a centralised control, emanating from the National Office, from the ED & CFO, to supervise the carrying out of the network development plan, a control & a plan using monitored budgets as a disciplining means. Soberly, we can see how far away this is. But to make Pacifica healthy, to bring joy, even flowers in their hair, it needs to implement a network development plan.
Diamonds. Oil. Golden Corpses, fed money.
Palliatives, distracting from the generative forces causing worsening problems.
From the necro-economics of The Golden Corpses to the bio-economics of a Network Development Plan!
Learn, and act!
Get a grip. Man up. Just do it.
The second $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program loan, Jan2021
Which brings us to last night’s Pacifica National Board, to ED Lydia, & Pacifica’s next lifeline, the Second Draw PPP loan, as the feds call it. A state lottery. Hope your ticket comes up. Round 1 was June last year, Pacifica getting what seems to be $1.2m. Round 2 started W13Jan, so Lydia was on the ball.
How much has been approved this time is unclear because of a blip in the livestream: “one-point-[blip] million”, said the ED.
[FURTHER UPDATE: “[t]he second PPP loan was granted to the Foundation on February 9, 2021 in the amount of $1,222,237”, per the FY2020 auditor’s report (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf.]
[FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE: “[o]n August 16, 2021, the National Finance Committee was informed that the second Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan had been forgiven”, according to R Paul Martin’s monthly written report to the WBAI LSB (p. 1) – https://glib.com/treasurers_report_2021-09-08.pdf. There was no meeting on 16Aug, & when the PNB Finance Cttee next met, 24Aug, it was odd that forgiveness wasn’t mentioned – not even during a suitable early item in the meeting, the Chair’s announcements (5:07). https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/210824/finance210824a.mp3]
Round 1 was reported to the 23June2020 PNB Finance Cttee, CFO Sims saying, “I’m pretty sure it was one-point-two” (49:28). So maybe the same again.
https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/200623/finance200623a.mp3 (that evening, it took almost an hour (sic) before anyone asked what the amount was – but it was the PNB Finance Cttee) [UPDATE: no surprise that it was left to other than a Pacifica meeting for the basic facts to be accurately disclosed, the FY2020 auditor’s report: “[t]he PPP loan was granted to the Foundation on June 19, 2020 in the amount of $1,256,630”, & “on January 12, 2021, the full amount of this loan was forgiven by the SBA” (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf.]
In the absence of the PNB audiofile in the Archive [UPDATE: it’s now posted,https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb210128/pnb210128b.mp3(59:28)], here’s the clip of ED Lydia at the very end of the meeting, making the announcement because, surprise, surprise, after more than two hours, there was no time for any reports of what anyone’s been up to:
So what money is this? The COVID-19 epidemic in the US has spawned two conduits for disbursing federal loans to organisations, the new Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, & the pre-existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan programme, EIDL. PPP comes from the Small Business Administration, SBA, paying banks to do the work, but retaining power of audit. The First Draw started Apr2020, & the Second Draw 13Jan2021.
What Second Draw loans can be spent on, & their size:
Second Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations […] For most borrowers, the maximum loan amount of a Second Draw PPP Loan is 2.5x average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million.
[a] borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower: • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses • Has no more than 300 employees; and • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020
[UPDATE: ED Brazon told the Th4Feb2021 PNB that the PPP money will almost certainly be received F5Feb. (As of Su21Feb, audio still not posted. ADD LINK + TIME … another Pacifica Godot phenomenon: still not posted as of 19Oct2021 (sic).) . . . As subsequently updated above, the ~$1.2m rolled in Tu9Feb, as reported by PNB Finance Cttee Chair James Sagurton at that evening’s meeting.]
[FURTHER UPDATE: the FY2020 auditor’s report was the first source to disclose accurately PPP #1 & PPP #2: $1 256 630, & $1 222 237 (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf. Makes the total feed, more accurately, $ 2 638 767.]
Roughly $2.5m. Mustn’t grumble.
Can carry on muddling thru, without, importantly, having to think, having to choose.
[UPDATE: within days of learning of the PPP decision, it was back to normal at National Office: on Su31Jan, Pacifica’s homepage had a makeover, disappearing the National Fund Drive (never announced how much it made; nor whether it was success or failure; &, of course, not even thanking the punters for the wonga), this disappearance allowing the notice of by-law submissions to assume its rightful place, bang centre on the homepage. Brilliant. Panic over. Back to business as usual – until the next crisis. Looking inward, not outward. Notify visitors to Pacifica of the $1m+ PPP award? Are you crazy? That would require communication, being mindful of the bods who fund the whole charabanc. PacificaWorld, where alienation flourishes.https://pacifica.org/.]
Digression: how can NETA be saving Pacifica money?
According to the Nov2020 Foundation monthly management accounts, since Oct2019 NETA has been charging $27 500 per month, so $330k per year; this, within $20, was 2.50% more than the FY2019 comparative, $321 934. (Consider some of the raise a peppercorn interest rate on the de facto loan NETA is making, the “about $200 000” they’re owed as of Dec2020 – Grace Aaron’s report to 20Dec2020 KPFK LSB (2:06:20, read in her absence by staff-delegate, now ex-director but newly elected PNB Secretary, Polina Vasiliev).) When NETA was hired, ED/CFO Livingston told the 5July2018 PNB, “[t]he monthly cost, urgh, for, urgh, for their work is in the neighborhood of half of what we were paying Sam and the two senior accountants who, who all departed in the past three months” (27:59, emphases added). (This contrasts with the less informative & misleading minute: “the monthly cost will be approximately half of the total of Sam Agarwal and the accounting personnel” (unpaginated, but p. 2 of the PDF, emphases added).) Really? Twice the price? The ‘expensive three’ were annually ~$630k-$650k, so $210k+ each? Alternatively, & granted NETA may have taken on extra work, can it really be the case that, given the IRS Form 990 evidence cited below, NETA only started off at roughly ½ x ($110k + 65k + 65k) = $120k a year, $10k per month, ~⅓ of their current charge? Please. ED/CFO Major Tom was telling porkies, yes?
The Form 990 is the annual return to the IRS by an organisation exempt from income tax. It’s due “by the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s accounting period ends” (IRS, p. 6), so for the 30Sep year-end Pacifica it’s 15Feb. The initial versions of the above 990’s aren’t in the public domain at pacifica.org, but the amended ones were filed significantly late, probably once the corresponding audits were finally done. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990.pdf (wedge on how to fill in the 2020 Form 990, 102 pages thick, with a 6-page index, dated 12Jan2021)
The 2015 Form 990, signed by ED Tom Livingston, is undated, but presumably used the FY2016 auditor’s report issued 31May2018, so at least 15½mths late; there’s also a Form 8868 application for a second extension, to 15Aug2017, albeit lacking the signer’s name, signature, & date of signing (pp. 1 & 34 of the PDF) . . . penalty for unauthorised late filing?
The 2016 Form 990, with ED John Vernile’s name on it but unsigned & undated, has a preparer’s date of 9Aug2019 (sic), a week shy of 18mths late, & presumably used the FY2017 auditor’s report issued 27June2019; the PDF also has a 8868 application to extend to 15Aug2018, hence the typed addition at the start of the 990 (pp. 1 & 37 of the PDF) . . . penalty for unauthorised late filing?
• has Pacifica filed its 2017 Form 990 (using FY2018 data) due 15Feb2019, &, if so, when?
•has it filed its 2018 Form 990 (using FY2019 data) due 15Feb2020, &, if so, when?
• has it filed its 2019 Form 990 (using FY2020 data) due 15Feb2021, &, if so, when?
Re these, only the FY2018 audit has been finished (albeit so incomplete that it required a disclaimer of opinion), the auditor’s report being issuable 16July2020, & published 15Aug2020 (sic) at https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php. So, given that Form 990 needs figures from all the different kinds of accounts, both those appearing in the net income statement (incomes & expenses) & the balance sheet (assets & liabilities), when did NETA first compile these financial statements for FY2019 & FY2020? Or maybe they haven’t, & the three 990’s haven’t been filed with the IRS.
After all, there may be a lil legal difficulty here: “[u]nder penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return, including accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete. Declaration of preparer (other than officer) is based on all information of which preparer has any knowledge” (p. 1 of the 990). Executive director; certified public accountant. Well, if an auditor won’t vouch for the material accuracy of the financial statements submitted to them, rendering them devoid of professional confidence, unusable by anyone (which is what a disclaimer means) . . .
Given the chaotic condition of the FY2017 financial records, no-one wanted to sign anything, hence the mentioned delay with the 2016 Form 990, due 15Feb2018, it only being submitted, possibly on 9Aug2019, after the FY2017 auditor’s report (the first to have a disclaimer) was made issuable on 27June2019 – so only after someone else had gone public with the bad news, & even then ED Vernile didn’t sign. But then neither did ED Livingston, nor ED Maxie Jackson, nor ED Grace Aaron. This, an absence, is an example of what can be missing from a director’s report to a local station board, how it can fail, the director failing to take responsibility, failing to acknowledge & disclosetheir acts of omission.
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 at 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 director Jan Goodman, the Jan & Jerry 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. (Mr Manpearl just so happens to be hubby of a Ms Goodman: Jan, the Pacifica director.) 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/EdtSkCDZ#oJZi7rkbk2KcI6DtzIudXw
— 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.
This Wednesday, 16Oct, a group was again outside the Pacifica building in Berkeley, protesting the breakers’ coup against WBAI & Pacifica. (Vid is 15:58.)
One speaker is Tom Voorhees, a Pacifica director, & KPFA listeners-delegate (1:36). The breakers are trying to oust him as a director, replace him by a breaker, turning the PNB back into a 11-11 paralysis. Two weeks or so after the launch of their petition for a new Pacifica constitution, the breakers on Th26Sep called a KPFA delegates assembly to oust Mr Voorhees. This takes place Sa26Oct. It’s crucial that he’s supported both within the meeting & outside. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20191026
This video was made by the Labor Video Project. They also published another one today, on Monday’s home invasion station invasion. Steve Zeltzer spoke with Chair Carolyn McIntyre & Vice-Chair Michael White of the WBAI Local Station Board, & station manager Berthold Reimers. (Carolyn was misdescribed in early court documents as a “McGuire”.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyamU2dvvtU (11:56)
It’s important to note that the action by IED Vernile violates the union agreement, according to Becky Hayes from Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, SAG-AFTRA:
From: Becky Hayes
Sent: Monday, October 7, 2019 5:52 PM
SAG-AFTRA demands to bargain over the effects of WBAI and Pacifica’s decisions to cease assigning work to SAG-AFTRA members employed at WBAI, effectively laying them off as of today’s date. We request to meet at the earliest availability.
In addition, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, SAG-AFTRA demands immediate payment of the following for all covered bargaining unit members:
• Four (4) weeks’ notice pay under Article XVI(A)(4)
• Severance of one day of pay per month of service (up to a max of 125 days) under Article XVI(A)(5)
• Payout all accrued and unused time, including, but not limited to, vacation, comp time, etc.
• Payment of any and all other monies owing to each SAG-AFTRA member in connection with his or her employment.
We would also like to highlight other applicable sections of the contract including Article XVI(A)(7) which provide that the Company “shall recall all employees on layoff within the previous eighteen months” “before hiring new employees” to perform the work covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
The demands above are on behalf of any and all covered employees, including, but not limited to, Michael Haskins, Reggie Johnson, Max Schmidt, Shawn Rhodes, Leonard Lopate, Jesse Lent, Ilana Levinson, Juliana Forlano, Graceon Challenger, Barry Brooks, Andrea Katz, and Ian Foster.
Additionally, we believe the Company has already violated Article XVI(A)(1) by failing to inform the Union at least four weeks in advance before the layoff took place, thereby depriving us of the opportunity to “economic alternatives to the proposed layoffs,” of any nature.
Finally, please see the attached information request [not included], made in connection with the above demands.
Former Pacifica Treasurer, Tracy Rosenberg, had her take today on what’s happened, & happening, ‘Supreme Court of New York Stops Pacifica’s Attack on WBAI’. She claims that IED ‘Venal’ Vernile turned up at WBAI with (unnamed) Pacifica directors:
In the morning, a crew of Pacifica Foundation board members led by brand new IED John Vernile, locked out the staff at WBAI-FM in New York and then fired them all, told the landlord to rent the space to someone else, and started piping in content from the West Coast over mid-Manhattan [my emphases]
Accountability requires that these Pacifica directors are named. Perhaps it will take the court proceedings of F18Oct – unless they’re such proud breakers they’ll come clean. It’s been reported that one of them was Bill Crosier, having flown in on Sunday. He’s a former IED & current PNB Secretary, besides being a KPFT listener delegate in Houston.
No expense spared – just keep those charitable contributions rolling in, folks, doesn’t matter whether they’re membership subs or listener donations. The main thing is just keep funding the planned chaos so break-up happens almost organically, in the greenest way possible.
Tracy also notes that WBAI are currently in fund-drive! They’re bigger wreckers than I thought!
The lockout interrupted a fund drive in process that would normally book around $300,000 [my emphases]
Ms Rosenberg has had a blog, https://pacificainexile.org/, since July2015. Regrettably, there have been few posts since Feb2018, when Pacifica was getting ready to borrow $3.7m from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC. I made a few comments there, & tried early last year to get on her mailing list, & I’m still waiting. I tried again the other week, so yes, I live in hope.
It seems that at the mo there’s a lag between a newsletter article & it being posted at Pacifica in Exile. Given circumstances, it makes sense to post the latest one here, today. Hopefully, Tracy will soon put me on her list.
The quality of discussion by Pacifica decision-makers has, how can one put it, left much to be desired. This is especially so since 2Apr2018, when Pacifica borrowed $3.7m from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC.
The PNB Finance Cttee meets tonite, & it’s being livestreamed from 8.30pm ET at https://kpftx.org/ (best bet is probably ‘Direct Link’). It’s chaired by director Chris Cory, who was the breakers’ nominee for temporary Chair of the Board at the Th19Sep PNB meeting, the first after the launch of the breaker petition for a new Pacifica constitution, & the first display of paralysis, the vote splitting 11-11. The PNB itself meets this Thursday, livestreamed from 7.30pm ET, an hour earlier than usual, same webpage; this had been called last Thursday, so before the venal Vernile house invasion station invasion.
Second of the two-page judgment by Judge Nervo, granting a restraining order against Pacifica Foundation, Inc. (unfortunately, there had to be separate posts as the software only allows one large image):
See what happens when pseudo-progressives try to streamroller their way through? Remember, Dictator Vernile & Breakers Co. have never presented an evidenced argument to smash WBAI by reducing it to a relay transmitter. No doubt Interim Chief Financial Officer Tamra Swiderski will compile some figures into a dossier to give to the judge. These concocted figures must be challenged by a certified public accountant, not least because ICFO Swiderski recently told the PNB Finance Cttee that Pacifica lacks current statements, both management & financial, for any station & therefore for the Foundation as a whole. Pacifica must also be requested to provide all the data, so including supporting evidence, used in compiling these figures. The contrived nature of the figures must be exposed.
It’s no less than unfortunate that it takes a capitalist court to begin a process of enforcing the transparency, & accountability, that the pseudo-progressives dominating Pacifica have proved so inept in achieving.
They have perpetuated an obdurate & deep secrecy culture that has disabled Pacifica & helped bring it to this point. This must change.