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.

Breakers try to disenfranchise 3 of 4 WBAI directors: alleged conflict of interest. Ford Greene legal opinion to PNB Vice-Chair Sabrina Jacobs, F11Oct2019. Page 1 of 3

The software only allows one large image per post, so for your convenience the three-page letter takes three posts.

https://mega.nz/#!qqhzHQwa!_sn44Q8cs3s5sg-rsBuJcFlkzxcFgPqsN3CAntJYOIo (read online using ‘magnifying glass’ or download)

“Wake up before our buildings are sold!” – ex-Chair Grace Aaron, W9Oct2019

. . . and then there was one . . .

This was passed to me by Peter Müller, one of those peeps slaving away in Switzerland, making sacrosanct cheese. He used to live in Gelsenkirchen.

It’s in three sections: Wake Up Before Our Buildings are Sold! … Is there a Solution? … Should We Seek Outside Help, Change the Board Structure, Replace Governance and Follow Experts? https://mega.nz/#!amAygQJK!Ioxsc7_fmq-iHLGpGl2Kqv2M2nmPYeiqPVNAV51kUwI

Cited, & attached, is what’s purported to be ICFO Tamra Swiderski’s cashflow projection for FY2020 (so the year ending 30Sep2020), with FY2018 & 2019 as comparatives. It’s undated, but the original filename includes the phrase “Pacifica Cash Flow Presentation 9.19.19”.

Another worker in Switzerland had passed this to me at the beginning of the month, but that copy lacked explanatory notes, esp. assumptions, so it made no sense publishing it. GA’s copy has the list of assumptions, plus the data for National Office & Pacifica Radio Archives. So here it is: https://mega.nz/#!mmZUkICB!1c74TQ4oTKyQ6dHNB_h5eLYHspltLDujlGFbEcj-X_c.

Note that for WBAI alone, it says “Assumes not funding Central Services FY20” (page 4). Oh. In the absence of a recommendation by the PNB Finance Cttee on the financial dimension of WBAI’s future, & no decision made by the PNB itself, why is this assumption in a fundamental planning document, such as Pacifica’s FY2020 cashflow projection? Who’s doing the planning here for a radically different WBAI?!? If this isn’t evidence of planning between the Interim Chief Financial Officer & the Interim Executive Director, I don’t know what is.

What was that date, again? “Pacifica Cash Flow Presentation 9.19.19”, Th19Sep2019. So perhaps presented at the private PNB session that evening. 2½ weeks later, home invasion station invasion. Will this be raised at the PNB, in a public session, calling these individuals to account? Don’t hold your breath.

I’ll discuss Ms Aaron’s piece in a summary post next week.

~~~

Wake Up Before Our Buildings are Sold!

Pacifica iED, John Vernile, has laid off all staff at WBAI, taken control of their transmitter and is broadcasting shows from other stations.  This was done without Pacifica National Board approval.  John Vernile never gave prior notice or a plan to every member of the PNB.

This action coupled with inaction to remedy financial shortfalls at all of our stations may very well result in the forced sale of our buildings.

Recent weak fund drives at all of our stations indicate that our financial crisis cannot be attributed solely to shortfalls at WBAI.  Bequests in 2019 at KPFA, KPFK, WBAI and the National Office have kept the Foundation afloat.  However, bequests are rare, so income projections cannot include them.  See the attached cash flow report from our iCFO.  Scroll down to see the actual income and expenditures for 2018 and 2019 as well as projections for 2020.  Significantly increased spending on the Pacifica National level in 2019 of about $600,000 above 2018 must be factored in to any financial analysis.  This increase in expenses dwarfs any WBAI shortfalls.  Therefore, even if WBAI disappeared (ie- no income/no expenses) predicted fund drive underperformance at the other stations coupled with out of control spending at the national level will rapidly create a cash crisis that may very well result in the forced sale of our buildings. 

Here’s why:

1) To my knowledge as a PNB Director, Mr. Vernile has neither calculated nor communicated the financial ramifications of the shutting down of operations at WBAI.  Initially, it will mean the loss of at least $200,000 to $300,000 in income from the WBAI fall fund drive.  The laying off of staff without proper notification of the WBAI Union will most likely result in legal expenses, arbitration costs, etc.  Severance payments will have to be made to employees who are laid off.  Where will the money for that come from?  Legal challenges have already ensued.  Travel, hotel and other expenses are being incurred without PNB approval.  Instead of ameliorating Pacifica’s cash flow crisis the shuttering of WBAI has exacerbated it.

2) No income generating mechanism has been put in place to replace the income currently brought in by WBAI.  In order to maintain the WBAI license it will have to be kept on the air.  That means that the overhead of the transmitter rent owed to 4 Times Square of almost $18,000 per month will have to be paid by the National Office or the other stations.  At least one WBAI staff member will have to be paid.  This will most likely mean an additional $10,000 per month in expenses.   Thus, overhead of about $28,000 per month will have to be paid without any income coming in from WBAI unless there is some plan that has not yet been communicated to the PNB for income generation. 

3) The sale or swap of a signal is a lengthy process.  A reasonable estimate is that it would take at least 1 ½ years and is, therefore, not an option that would prevent the forced sale of our buildings if we are not able to meet payroll at one or more of our stations or if a vendor or creditor takes legal action against us, which appears more likely than not in the next few months.  Three National Board Directors, Nancy Sorden from WPFW, Lawrence Reyes from KPFK and myself, Grace Aaron from KPFK spoke with Marc Hand, who is an expert on signal sales and swaps.  He verified that the sale or swap of a radio license is, indeed, a lengthy process.  To explain, first a buyer or swap opportunity for a signal has to be found.  Terms have to be negotiated.  Next, the National Board has to agree to the swap or sale.  Then the exact terms of the swap or sale have to be communicated to all members of the Pacifica Foundation and they must vote to approve the sale or swap.  A 10% quorum has to be reached.  If the membership approves, Pacifica would submit an application for approval of the specific swap or sale to the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC process takes a minimum of 90 days.  In that 90 days is a 30 day public comment period.  If there are any objections the FCC investigates them which adds at least 2 or 3 months to the process.  Also, it is not legal to borrow money against a potential signal sale or swap.  Bankruptcy would add another layer of approval to any signal sale or swap process, thus lengthening the process not expediting it.

4) Initially, if there is a lack of cash, vendor payments will be delayed.  This is already happening at the National Level.  The next step if income cannot meet expenses will be the inability of more stations or units to meet payroll.  It can be predicted that the first step will be for the National Office to use the $200,000 set aside to make payments on the $3.2 million loan to meet payroll or emergency vendor payments.  After that there will be no buffer whatsoever.  There is no other reserve.  Pacifica will not be able to make scheduled payments on the loan.  Bankruptcy will be the only option.  This will trigger the calling in of the loan by the lender to protect the lender’s interests from a Pacifica bankruptcy filing.  Then our buildings will be foreclosured on and the forced the sale of our buildings will take place to cover the $3.2 million principal owed as well as pay employees and other pressing obligations.

Is there a Solution?

In times of great stress, it is tempting to reach for quick, magical solutions.  Although these can sometimes pan out in rare instances, this would be a very risky course of action.  Staff, Board members, volunteers and others should be encouraged to seek help from major donors, etc., but the most likely way to stave off the forced sale of our buildings is to do the usual, not the unusual.  In that light I propose the following:

1) That the actions taken against WBAI be reversed immediately and that WBAI resume its fall fund drive.

2) That all efforts be made to improve the performance of fall fund drives across the network.

3) Our unions should be consulted and immediate union negotiations be started to help us reduce our salary and benefits expenses in a humane manner. 

4) Plan and execute a network-wide national fund drive to bring in extra resources.

5) When finances permit, consider hiring a National Development Director to pursue grants and major donor fund raising.

Should We Seek Outside Help, Change the Board Structure, Replace Governance and Follow Experts?

Commercial and public radio, newspapers, public TV and internet media are in terrible shape.  Experts galore have not found a solution to the changing media landscape which is causing the rapid decline in income of most traditional media sources with resources moving to social media.

Look at the facts:

The iHeartRadio bankruptcy: https://www.rbr.com/bk-end-for-iheart/

Cumulus Radio bankruptcy: http://www.insideradio.com/free/cumulus-post-bankruptcy-cleanup-may-continue-into/article_2be5180e-d5c7-11e8-9329-db4323e4e460.html

Pew Research on the state of the media: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/21/5-facts-about-the-state-of-the-news-media-in-2017/

There is also the demise of Air America, Current TV and Al Jazeera English. 

I doubt that ‘experts’ are the answer.  But, hey, someone at the LA Times reached out to a billionaire who bought that newspaper and is spending a lot to revive it.  So if anyone knows a billionaire, please reach out!

That’s all for now.

In peace,

Grace Aaron, Pacifica National Board Director from KPFK

Video of KPFA peeps supporting WBAI: Pacifica solidarians reject the breakers’ move

Today, a small group declared their support for WBAI, standing outside the Pacifica building housing KPFA, in Berkeley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyRrgN7JP08 (35:58)

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.

Best,

Becky Hayes

Broadcast Manager and Labor Counsel