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

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

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

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

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

#Karen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

How many are in the streets?

½%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers.

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

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

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

Thoughts & prayers. Thoughts & prayers.

~~~

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

Referenda station results: approx. absolute numbers

In a vote, it’s usual that the absolute numbers are made public. They even do that in The Other Land of the Dear Leader, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But that’s RealWorld. In PacificaWorld, the NES, Renee Penaloza, chose not to. Why, a director or three may be able to find out.

Here are figures for the stations, albeit approximate, not least because the NES only gave whole number percentages, presumably rounded.

[When I have nothing better to do, I’ll post the below as tables. Before that, in another post, I’ll comment on what the figures reveal.]

~~~

Info is in this order:

(a) electorate (#);

(b) respect for those members not taking part in the process: abstainers (#,%) — voters (#,%); &

(c) the voters: ‘no’ voters (#,%) — ‘yes’ voters (#,%) — invalid ballots (#,%). Some of the Total voter info gives two percentages: of the electorate, & of the ballots cast.

1. LISTENER-MEMBER REFERENDUM

Total:

electorate: 42 491

abstainers — voters: 32 777 — 9 714 (77.1% — 22.9%)

‘no’ — ‘yes’ — invalid ballots: 6 340 — 3 273 — 101 (14.9% of electorate, & 65.3% of ballots cast — 7.7% & 33.7% — 0.2% & 1.0%) . . . ‘no’ win by 3 067

KPFA: 12 496 ….. 8 768 — 3 728 (70% — 30%) ….. 2 199 — 1 494 — 35 (59% — 40% — 1%)

KPFK: 13 729 ….. 11 570 — 2 159 (84% — 16%) ….. 1 165 — 974 — 20 (54% — 45% — 1%)

KPFT: 4 368 ….. 3 485 — 883 (80% — 20%) ….. 423 — 453 — 7 (48% — 51% — 1%)

WPFW: 6 085 ….. 4 809 — 1 276 (79% — 21%) ….. 969 — 283 — 24 (76% — 22% — 2%)

WBAI: 5 813 ….. 4 145 — 1 668 (71% — 29%) ….. 1 584 — 69 — 15 (95% — 4% — 1%)

Station listener-voting summary (‘no’ — ‘yes’ — invalid ballots):

KPFA: ….. 2 199 — 1 494 — 35 — ‘no’ win by 705

KPFK: ….. 1 165 — 974 — 20 — ‘no’ win by 191

KPFT: …….. 423 — 453 — 7 — ‘yes’ win by 30

WPFW: …… 969 — 283 — 24 — ‘no’ win by 686

WBAI: ….. 1 584 — 69 — 15 — ‘no’ win by 1 515

2. STAFF-MEMBER REFERENDUM

Total:

electorate: 993

abstainers — voters: 481 — 512 (48.4% — 51.6%)

‘no’ — ‘yes’ — invalid ballots: 331 — 177 — 4 (33.3% of electorate, & 64.6% of ballots cast — 17.8% & 34.6% — 0.4% & 0.7%) . . . ‘no’ win by 154

KPFA: 218 ….. 100 — 118 (46% — 54%) ….. 49 — 68 — 1 (42% — 57% — 1%)

KPFK: 268 ….. 161 — 107 (60% — 40%) ….. 45 — 61 — 1 (42% — 57% — 1%)

KPFT: 169 ….. 113 — 56 (67% — 33%) ….. 19 — 37 — 0 (35% — 66%)

WPFW: 120 ….. 43 — 77 (36% — 64%) ….. 72 — 4 — 1 (94% — 5% — 1%)

WBAI: 218 ….. 64 — 154 (29% — 71%) ….. 146 — 7 — 1 (95% — 4% — 1%)

Station staff-voting summary (‘no’ — ‘yes’ — invalid ballots):

KPFA: ….. 49 — 68 — 1 — ‘yes’ win by 19

KPFK: ….. 45 — 61 — 1 — ‘yes’ win by 16

KPFT: ….. 19 — 37 — 0 — ‘yes’ win by 18

WPFW: .. 72 — 4 — 1 — ‘no’ win by 68

WBAI: .. 146 — 7 — 1 — ‘no’ win by 139

Note: the staff electorates are small compared with the listeners’ – and given the paucity of info from NES Penaloza this causes a slight computational problem. Absolute numbers are derived from the voting percentages, & being provided by the NES they’re treated as authoritative (Final Report, p. 10); squaring the figures has meant that the occasional number tips over into a contiguous percentage point.

NES Penaloza fails to disclose station referenda numbers, & the raw data. Why?

NES Penaloza’s refusal to disclose absolute numbers (Referendum Final Report, Su29Mar2020, p. 10)

IMPORTANT CORRECTION (M30Mar) . . . The lack of info provided by the NES is even worse than I thought: the station voting percentages she gave (the “Voted (%)” column in the above tables) aren’t the station turnouts, as I mistakenly took them to be, but each station’s share of the total vote – that’s why, in the tables, one adds to 99 & the other to 100 (it’s 100 in the “Electors (%)” column of each table). Note, the heading “Voted (%)” is misleading: it should have been ‘Voting Share (%)’.

(I’m working out all the absolute numbers, which necessarily have a margin of error, not least because the percentages given are whole numbers; I’ll post them later today, M30Mar.)

~~~

M23Mar, NES Renee Penaloza posted on her website’s homepage the two referendum result certificates, issued by Simply Voting Inc. the same day. These stated the ‘yes’/’no’ numbers, as well as the percentages.

What was missing were station data. Obviously these would be in today’s NES’ report. As absolute numbers, & as percentages. But no. Just percentages, rounded to, presumably, the nearest whole number.

Hopefully, one or three Pacifica directors will persuade the NES to include them in the report. Those numbers should be prominently & proudly displayed. After all, this is the go-to document on a Pacifica high: “[v]oter turnout was higher than in any prior Pacifica election” (p. 1).

More importantly, not least for voters, the raw data, anonymised by each voter’s receipt code, haven’t been disclosed. They’ve been kept secret. Why? Why have voters been prevented from checking if their vote was properly recorded? Why? . . . More work for directors who care.

(awkward to read the NES’ posting of the report (viewing its pages at 67% may be adequate) – why no PDF? Note, to turn the pages of the doc on the webpage, hover just below the ‘0’ at the bottom, which is the page number. Also, the downloadable zip file, oddly, doesn’t include the NES’ report – as efficient as the US’ ‘Third World’ capitalist response to the work of the SARS-CoV-2 virus . . . somewhat worse than the usual ‘market failure’.)

~~~

[Remarks will follow as a separate post.]

Screwed? 1-in-13 purged from the listener elector roll, WBAI culled by 30%, whilst KPFT grows by 21% – update on the Th5Mar PNB figures

the four tables sent by NES Penaloza to the PNB, Th5Mar (the first in the sequence) & F6Mar2020; elector & online-voting totals for Pacifica & stations, split for listeners & staff in the last two tables

The listener elector rolls for the referendum are drastically different from those used just nine weeks ago in the 2019 LSB pseudo-elections. There’s been a shocking, sudden change. A strange change. A Pacifica purge has been perpetrated, particularly at WBAI. And the Lord has delivered unto KPFT a heavenly host of new believers. Besides the practical implications for these existential referenda, there’s a lot here that needs explaining.

Highlights, the changes in only nine weeks:

  • listener-membership has fallen 3 581 (−7.84%, 1-in-13), from 45 690 to 42 109
  • KPFA listeners −13.6%, so 1-in-7 (14 334 → 12 385, so −1 949)
  • KPFT listeners +21.2% (3 569 → 4 327, so +758)
  • WBAI listeners −30.1% (8 240 → 5 761, so −2 479)
  • WPFW listeners −4.2% (6 293 → 6 029, so −264)
  • staff membership has fallen −1.5% (970 → 955, so −15)

Five topics are addressed:

  • the listener referendum online-voting data – including necessary revisions to last Wednesday’s blogpost
  • adding in estimated paper-voting
  • the staff referendum
  • predicted referenda turnout
  • final, regrettable point: the coronavirus societal crisis, Pacificans (not least re the age structure & existing ill-health conditions), & the $3.265m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community (FJC); this crisis of capitalist society will necessarily cause both the largest & the swiftest contraction in the world economy in human history.

[I’ll finish writing this, & its replacement will be posted on the blog a day late, so apologies, on Referendum Day, Th19Mar.

[Just noticed that the NES, after seven l-o-n-g days of silence, has just given a turnout update (online voting only, take note). The W11Mar one gave listeners 13.8% (~5 811) & staff 34.7% (~331). The one denoted an ambiguous 1.42am (EDT?), W18Mar, gives listeners 19.0% (~8 001) & staff 42.2% (~403). So, added votes of 2 190 listeners (+37.7%) & 72 staff (+21.8%). The listener surge is a whole week of 313 a day, compared with 232 a day for the difference between 9 & 11Mar, the previous updates.

https://mega.nz/#F!dN1VXLiQ!ywTPcyUP8SWg4BviRNx1xw (#5 in the series)]

ED Brazon spreads the calm

. . . receding or rising? . . . and how close? . . .

Reprinted below is a purported progress report on the KPFA property tax debacle, sent by the Pacifica executive director, Lydia Brazon. It’s said to be an email of Sa15Feb. It was originally re-published the day after, as a Facebook comment by Tim Lynch, KPFA LSB staff-delegate. (The comment doesn’t have a URL, but it’s here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacRadioSupporters/permalink/2974960562523557/.)

Note that even this report is a product of the default Pacifica secrecy culture secreting itself again: the update is not sent to the members & listeners, the funders of the whole network, but to the directors, the occupants of the highest perch in the cage. Indeed, Brazon starts off in permitting mode, focusing on info control: “[f]eel free to share this information with your LSBs in open session”. Her orientation is to fellow officials not the members & listeners. In the realm of this bureaucratic outlook, in the patrolling of its horizon of interest, the members & listeners are only good for money, mere cows to be milked for cash. Paternalism rules. The watchword, not-in-front-of-the-children. Here, the relationship of service & duty is inverted: the members & listeners exist to dutifully serve the management & officialdom.

So we get this update addressed to the 22 directors, as an email, rather than addressed to the public, duly posted on the Pacifica website, & sent by email to all c. 46 500 members. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/09/04/pacifica-membership-30june2016-c-30june2019/ & https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/ (bottom of the homepage)

As I noted 19Oct last year, “[t]he politics of ‘not in front of the children’ really has to end […] It’s crucial that the new PNB majority speaks publicly – to members, staff, listeners, interested vendors, creditors, regulators, & potential donors & grantors. In a struggle, it’s essential to communicate […] The new PNB majority must start a website or blog, not only posting their statements & reliable info, but also opening a discussion forum. Just in terms of disseminating the most basic info, it was absurd that the PNB tumult starting Th10Oct wasn’t made public by the PNB solidarians but by Tracy Rosenberg, in her Pacifica in Exile newsletter, released Su13Oct after the PNB sessions that day. That is the responsibility of protagonists, no-one else.” [some emphases removed] https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/19/qt-my-guess-is-that-there-is-big-money-and-powerful-people-behind-vernile-and-quincy-mccoy-qt-temp-pacifica-chair-alex-steinberg/

In terms of transparency of proceedings, both of discussion & decision-making, no progress, regrettably, has been made. These self-proclaimed progressives remain as alienated as ever from the members & listeners.

~~~

From: Pacifica Executive Director
Date: Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 8:08 PM
Subject: Open session statement re KPFA Property Taxes
To: Pacifica National Board

Dear PNB Members,

Feel free to share this information with your LSBs in open session.

This is a progress report specifically re the KPFA property taxes which have become a topic of public discussion.

At issue is that the property taxes for KPFA and its transmitter parcel in Berkeley were not paid for a number of years. Penalties were accrued resulting in tax liens.

Pacifica Foundation, Inc. has engaged two specialty firms helping us with the tax lien for KPFA and the transmitter property as well. Both firms have clearly made this a priority. The law firm helping us with the tax exemption has great expertise in this particular area and the lawyers and [sic] communicated with someone with the authority to grant us some status relief, pending the submission of our exemption application by Friday, February 14. Relief regarding the lien is not guaranteed, but I think we can be cautiously hopeful. KPFA produced the final financial documents needed for both properties on Thursday, February 14 [sic: the 13th].

However, it is also the case that the Organizational Clearance Certificate I sent them which we’ve always used, and which grants the Pacifica Foundation, the property tax exemption status as a non-profit entity, must be reapplied for. It turns out such a Certificate had to be applied for when the name was changed in 2013 and again when we changed it back in early 2015 to Pacifica Foundation, Inc.. That further complicated the application attempted by KPFA during that same period. KPFA already had a reduced tax amount as a result of previous tax exemptions applied for, but the subsequent one was intended to render the properties totally exempt from taxation. The lawyers also believe all of Pacifica’s properties should qualify for full exemption status.

On Friday, the focus was on providing the lawyers the requisite information for a new Organizational Clearance Certificate application including Pacifica’s financials for fiscal ending 9/30/19.

I’m happy to report that the February 14 deadline was met and both the multiple exemption applications and the application for a revised Organizational Clearance Certificate were submitted yesterday.

The second law firm dealing with the actual tax bill and fines for KPFA, part of which hinges on the exemption discussed above, is working simultaneously to eliminate as much of the penalties as possible and get Pacifica out from under the threat of the dire consequences which would otherwise be a possibility.

Additionally, the KPFK Business Manager submitted an application for additional tax exemption yesterday as well. KPFK is current with its tax payments but since the yearly deadline for exemption claims is February 15, I asked the attorneys to review it as well and they found KPFK application to be in good order.

The KPFT property in Houston Texas is totally exempt from property taxes.

As the situation progresses toward resolution, I will update your PNB directors [sic].

Than [sic] you,

Lydia Brazon
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation

“My guess is that there is big money and powerful people behind Vernile and Quincy McCoy” – temporary Pacifica Chair, Alex Steinberg

Below is a comment posted to this blog today by temporary Chair of the Pacifica Board, Alex Steinberg. He’s also a WBAI listeners-delegate. (The text includes his correction, & three corrected typos.) https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/15/wbai-statements-at-ny-city-hall-tu15oct2019/

As Alex says, it augments his remarks made Tu15Oct on the steps of NY City Hall. Given the political points he makes, & his assessment that Vernile & McCoy are more than they might seem, it warrants being a separate post on this blog.

However, what I said on Tuesday still stands: we need, & deserve, an explanation of why a temporary Chair was elected in secret. Not only does this violate the transparency principle of democratic proceedings, it’s also contrary to the Communications Act of 1934 – §396(k)(4); page 216 of the PDF. https://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf

Even when Pacificans are victims of egregious secret manoeuvring, they themselves seem incapable of breaking with the unthinking obdurate & deep secrecy culture permeating the organisation. Yet, as passed down from the fathers to Primo Levi, if not now, when? The politics of ‘not in front of the children’ really has to end.

And this opens out into a much wider vista. It’s crucial that the new PNB majority speaks publicly – to members, staff, listeners, interested vendors, creditors, regulators, & potential donors & grantors. In a struggle, it’s essential to communicate. And the PNB minority seems to have control of Pacifica’s website & meetings archive. The new PNB majority must start a website or blog, not only posting their statements & reliable info, but also opening a discussion forum. Just in terms of disseminating the most basic info, it was absurd that the PNB tumult starting Th10Oct wasn’t made public by the PNB solidarians but by Tracy Rosenberg, in her Pacifica in Exile newsletter, released Su13Oct after the PNB sessions that day. That is the responsibility of protagonists, no-one else. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/14/can-this-be-true-qm-has-pnb-reversed-wrecker-vernile-s-wrecking-qm-will-he-resign-in-disgust-qm/

In the meantime, Mr Steinberg . . .

~~~

I would have said something about the politics of the coup. But I was under pressure to finish my remarks quickly. The lineup at the Press Conference gave too much time to people who were talking in general about WBAI and not about the coup. We did not hear nearly enough from [the Chair of the WBAI Local Station Board], Carolyn McIntyre, or the WBAI GM, Berthold Reimers, or the WBAI Program Director, Linda Perry.

It is now obvious that John Vernile was selected for this job to do a corporate style takeover of WBAI and to drown up whatever radical voices remain on WBAI and afterwards the rest of the network. My guess is that there is big money and powerful people behind Vernile and Quincy McCoy [my emphases]. They are attempting a ‘cleansing’ operation to remove any dissident voices to the left of the Democratic Party establishment from having any say on the politics and culture of this country. It’s of a piece with Hillary Clinton’s attempt to demonize Democratic Party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who is the only consistently anti-imperialist candidate running as a Democrat.

Alex Steinberg WBAI Director to the Pacifica National Board [Sa19Oct2019]

Protest & solidarity continues in Berkeley, W16Oct2019

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

A similar action by the protest/solidarity group occurred the Wednesday before: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/09/video-of-kpfa-peeps-supporting-wbai-pacifica-solidarians-reject-the-breakers-s-move/ (the vid is much longer, 35:58)

IEW Vernile already came into the job with ‘Pacifica Across America’: Quincy McCoy at the Sa17Aug2019 KPFA LSB

M7Oct2019

With the coup at WBAI by the breakers, a new phrase entered the lexicon of PacificaWorld. Everyone wondered what it was, where it came from. It may surprise people, but Pacifica Across America, both the term & the idea, was mentioned seven weeks before, by KPFA station manager, Quincy McCoy. The occasion was the Sa17Aug2019 KPFA Local Station Board. In response to what proved to be a serendipitous question, McCoy referred to Pacifica Across America in connection with Interim Executive Wrecker John Vernile & SiriusXM:

[…] a series of programs that we want to put together called, er, I think – the working title is Pacifica Across America, & that would be a list of the best shows of Pacifica that would run on, on Sirius & also on the Pacifica website”

31:07, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfa/190817/kpfa190817a.mp3

Audio feed? There is no “Pacifica website”. But there is a WBAI website. It’s now a single webpage, emblazoned with Pacifica Across America. Beneath it is an audio button of the 24-hour alienation organised by the PAA “Consulting Programmer”. A certain Quincy McCoy. (And, of course, it’s not being pumped out on https://pacifica.org/.)

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/07/vernile-and-breakers-propagandise-pseudo-plan-in-sq-peaceful-informed-dialogue-sq-m7oct2019-letter/

Seven weeks. And how long had IEW Vernile been in the job? 17 days, having started 1Aug. Now why would the IEW prioritise starting this Pacifica Across America project in his first two weeks? Before visiting the stations? Without having raised this idea in a publicly recorded Pacifica meeting? Why?

The clue lies in the months before. In the planning of how to oust ED Maxie Jackson:

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

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

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/01/administrative-measures-not-open-discussion-the-pacifica-way/

Four weeks later, Vernile appeared out of the blue. Or so it seemed.

And the personnel of the Personnel Cttee? Chair Jan Goodman (KPFK listeners-delegate), Sabrina Jacobs (KPFA staff-delegate), Donnie Grumpf (KPFA listeners-delegate), Adrienne LaViolette (KPFT listeners-delegate), Robin Collier (affiliates) . . . more than a majority – and all breakers.

It seems IEW Vernile came into the job already knowing what he was going to do.

How can conflict of interest by-law 13 disenfranchise 3 of the 4 WBAI directors? 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙋𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖 – 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨𝙣’𝙩 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩?

This comment arose from Tracy Rosenberg’s assertion, Sa12Oct, that “Board directors representing WBAI’s 8,000 voting members prevented from voting in post-facto vote to authorize WBAI’s shutdown” (my emphasis). That was her one-sentence post this evening, Sa12Oct, at the Pacifica Radiowaves group at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacificaRadiowaves/permalink/1345046588983955/. Her post links to her Sa12Oct article, ‘The turn of the screw: WBAI’s elected directors prevented from voting on WBAI shutdown’, https://pacificainexile.org/archives/2769.

In response to that post, Kim Kaufman noted, “Kathy Davis was on the PNB when Summer asked for a vote of the PNB to lay off/fire a majority of the WBAI staff in 2012 or 2013. Kathy voted for it, even though she knew she would lose her job. She voted for what’s best for Pacifica.” Ms Rosenberg replied, “Absolutely. No staff representative has ever been excluded from a vote regarding layoffs for expense-cutting in the history of Pacifica democratic governance. Until now” (my emphases).

My own comment was posted at that FB group, with this as the final sentence of the intro:

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙋𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖 – 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨𝙣’𝙩 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙩?

~~~

Tracy, why do you say “Board directors representing WBAI’s 8,000 voting members prevented from voting” (my emphasis)? Who, making what decision, has done this? When was this decision made? How can such a decision be made by other than a legally constituted meeting of the PNB, at which those alleged to have a conflict of interest are (1) able to hear the reasoning against them, before (2) being given time to get advice (legal & otherwise), & then (3) having the opportunity to present at a PNB meeting an evidenced counter-argument?

Let me note, because no-one mentioned it in this FB group, that since the Th10Oct PNB public & private sessions there have been two more private sessions: 8.30pm (all ET), F11Oct, “Purpose: discuss confidential personnel, legal, and contractual matters”, “Continuation of Oct. 10 Executive Session”, called by Bill Crosier, 11.07pm, Th10Oct; & 8.30pm, Sa12Oct, “Purpose: To discuss confidential personnel,legal,and contractual matters [original, rushed typing]”, called by Crosier, 11.24pm, F11Oct. These notices only appeared on the grid calendar, not on the linear list that is the homepage of Pacifica Calendar & Meeting Archive, https://kpftx.org/.

https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20191011 & https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20191012

Tracy, you say “prevented”, so the PNB voted to exclude the three? Was this done at Friday’s meeting?

Just some immediate, obvious points concerning by-law 13, “Conflicts of Interest”, that Greene relies on for his opinion. [UPDATE, Sa12Oct: Tracy says, “Greene is not relying on Pacifica’s bylaws. He’s relying on section 5233 of the CA Corporations Code”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacificaRadiowaves/permalink/1345144892307458/]

Links to by-law 13: https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art13.html (this form is convenient); another is the booklet, also dated 1Jan2016, pages 37-9 https://mega.nz/#!qyBgCK6J!99O3H916evVwa5U0FSef2ONlL8pkQU4OZKLZIfXzq6Y)

On its face, there are two themes in this by-law that make it inapplicable here:

  • it only applies when “financial or business interests” are involved; &
  • it only applies to “proposed contract or transaction”, so prospective action by Pacifica, not retrospective justifications of unauthorised actions by IEW Vernile, the Interim Executive Wrecker.

I’ll go thru the by-law in its sequence.

By-law 13(2) speaks of a conflict of interest as involving “financial or business interests”. Greene gives no evidence that this applies to directors Steinberg & Sagurton. Concerning staff director Rhodes, he has as much of a monetary interest as any of the other paid staff directors, as the claimed benefit of shuttering WBAI is to monetarily help the other stations.

https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art13sec2.html

By-law 13(3) starts by saying, “An Interested Person must disclose in writing all material facts related to an actual or potential Conflict of Interest to the Board and/or the members of a committee considering a proposed contract or transaction to which the Conflict of Interest relates” (my emphasis). Have the three accused submitted anything in writing?

https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art13sec3.html

But the whole of by-law 13 only refers to prospective action by Pacifica, “proposed contract or transaction”, not retrospective action, such as Vernile’s wrecking on Monday.

13(3) then speaks of “after the Interested Person responds to any questions that the Board may have regarding the Conflict of Interest, the Board shall discuss the matter, outside the Interested Party’s presence, and vote on the contract or transaction in question” (my emphases): so this occurs during a PNB meeting, not an exchange of emails – and anyway, the possible conflict of interest refers to prospective action, not retrospective.

Furthermore, 13(3) says, “In order to approve the contract or transaction, the Board must in good faith after reasonable investigation make the following determinations [blah, blah]” (my emphases): no evidence has ever been presented that shuttering WBAI was merely one option amongst a number of considered, thought through, &, furthermore, costed options; indeed, there is no evidence that the PNB has ever directed the IEW & ICFO to document such options, & no evidence that the PNB has ever discussed such options.

13(4) starts this way: “If the Board or committee believes that an Interested Person has failed to disclose an actual or potential Conflict of Interest, it shall inform the Interested Person of the basis for such belief and afford the Interested Person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose” (my emphases). Greene’s letter to PNB Vice-Chair Sabrina Jacobs, KPFA-staff delegate, is dated F11Oct. So how long was this opportunity, the one given to the three accused? Five hours? Five minutes?

https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art13sec4.html

The next & final paragraph, indeed, the last of this by-law: “If, after hearing the response of the Interested Person and making any further investigation, the Board reasonably believes is warranted in the circumstances, the Board determines that the Interested Person has in fact failed to disclose an actual or potential Conflict of Interest, it shall take that action it, in its sole discretion, believes to be appropriate in light of the circumstances.” Again, all this done in five minutes?

Kangaroo court.