Guess the anniversary never even got to Amy’s editorial meeting this morn. So here it is.
Bare leads, WBAI’s master control studio (W9Oct2019 photo; courtesy of R Paul Martin)
R Paul Martin: “[n]ot pictured is the vacant space where the Emergency Alert System (EAS) module had been. It is illegal for WBAI, or any radio or TV station in the United States of America, to operate without a functional EAS capability.”
Lockout notice, new locks on the door, 3rd floor (W9Oct2019 photo; courtesy of R Paul Martin)
After the W9Oct WBAI Local Station Board, R Paul Martin & other staff went to the building housing the station, got inside, & saw the damage.
This was the work of “a group composed of Pacifica interim Executive Director (iED) John Vernile, Pacifica National Board Directors Bill Crosier (KPFT) and Adrienne LaViolette (KPFT) and Moe Thomas, Chief Engineer of WPFW”. Pacifica’s very own wrecking crew. WCP.
That 9Oct WBAI LSB meeting (2:03:39; videographer, Joe Friendly):
Protest outside City Hall, 15Oct (59:42; videographer, Joe Friendly):
There are quite a few PacificaWatch blogposts about this attack on Pacifica by the breakers. Please scroll down on the right, or click ‘WBAI’ in the list of folders at the end of this post.
But the saddest thing is that the political lesson hasn’t been learnt: Pacifica partisans have to be strategic, have a plan, & not just be reactive to the repeated initiatives of the breakers. One year on, the only change is deleterious, a further reinforcing of established routines.
‘Peruvian’ Lynden isn’t just an average breaker: he’s named in the groundhog scheme to give Pacifica a new constitution, the so-called by-laws petition doing the rounds. Lynden would be Pacifica’s treasurer, one of four breaker-appointed officers running a reconstituted Pacifica until “early December” 2023 (proposed Article 4, Section 13, added emphases), officers “responsible both for implementing the New Day Pacifica Bylaws and also bringing Pacifica back to financial and governance health during the transition”.
Here are a few notes on the KPFA property tax debt, ~$487k. To be exact, it’s $486 750.86. It means an online public auction of the Pacifica building in Berkeley, at 1929 MLK Jr. Way, has been ordered for 20-23Mar – a building, one should add, that KPFA enjoys rent-free, so effectively receiving a subsidy, year after year, from the other four stations. Some thanks.
1) Almost half a million $$$? But aren’t charities exempt from this tax? Indeed: if a non-profit organisation is a registered charity, say, & the property in question is solely used for charitable purposes, then no tax is due, it’s exempt – but only if the organisation jumps thru the hoops set up by the taxwoman. Hoops such as annually applying for the exemption. Hoops such as providing the required evidences. OK, so administrative ABC, right? – or so one would think.
KPFA has to deal with the Alameda Co. taxwoman. As expected, the exemption’s on their website. It’s called the Welfare Exemption (it’s been around since 1944), & to apply the organisation needs an Organizational Clearance Certificate. The relevant introductory webpage even has this coaxing prompt, hypertexted: “Welfare Exemption for Non-Profit Organizations”. https://www.acgov.org/assessor/decreasetax/exemptions/other-exemption.htm
ABC. The basics. Basic admin. The sort of thing the average 14-year-old can do. If Pacifica had a Young Pioneers wing, they could have been charged with the responsibility. After all, kids have been known to run even more complicated things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyermekvas%C3%BAt.
2) As of 29Jan this year, the last payment made to Alameda for 1929 MLK was 3Apr2013 – almost seven years ago. (Primary documents are linked at https://pacificainexile.org/.) The itemised bill has property tax due, to 30June2020, of ~$373k. But the debt is ~$487k? Yes: penalties, interest, & fees is the difference, ~$114k. $114 000. Oh.
3) Is KPFA the only part of Pacifica paying – or not paying – property tax, when, on its face, there should always be an exemption? No. Consider, arbitrarily, the period since 1Oct2009, the start of Pacifica’s financial year 2010, FY2010. There are seven sets of audited figures, plus the financial statements in the FY2017 auditor’s report, statements which are not audited because the auditor, Rogers & Company, said they lacked sufficient evidence in order to express an opinion on the statements’ material accuracy. In the jargon, The Black Spot is a ‘disclaimer of opinion’. (As repeated Pacifica mtg. audios reveal, no delegate, even no director, seems to appreciate that the FY2017 statements, so all the figures in them, are effectively worthless. However, for prospective donors & lenders, & the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, they are not worthless but valuable: they are a bigger red flag than the one gracing Tiananmen Square, alerting anyone reading the auditor’s report that Pacifica is out of control, lacking even the basic financial controls.) https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/19/fy2017-auditor-refuses-to-declare-that-the-statements-are-materially-accurate/
For these eight years, FY2010 thru FY2017, total charge for property tax = $502 187. Yes, talk again of half a million. Almost all of it was for KPFA: 91.9%, $461 334. (The others: KPFK, $23 624; KPFT, $15 126; & ‘National Division’, the auditor’s term, $2 103.)
Pacifica owns properties housing KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT. Not every station has been charged property tax each & every year. The annual charge for each station, & National Division, starting with FY2010, are:
There’s a lot of explaining to be done here. Not least the KPFA FY2016 charge of ~$338k. Since the statements include National Division in their analysis, this figure can’t have anything to do with the Berkeley ‘Nakapon’ building, 1921-1925 MLK, that housed the national office. (Coincidently, that auditor’s report, by Regalia, is dated 31May2018, & it addressed a post-balance sheet event, the sale of that property. Please note, if the ~$338k charge were to largely refer to previous years, perhaps even to the sold property, then that would have been disclosed as an adjustment to the opening balances, with an explanatory note, not as a FY2016 expense.)
4) Then there’s the Foundation for the Jewish Community, operating as FJC. Pacifica have to pay them $3.265m by 31Mar next year. A condition of the loan is paying all taxes when they fall due. A condition of the loan is getting FJC’s permission before any asset is sold. A condition of the loan is adhering to the conditions. FJC also have the legal right to sell on the loan, their asset, whenever it suits them. And this they have done in recent years, even of a loan comparable in size to Pacifica’s. And they don’t wait for a borrower to default; no, they sell it on when the loan is “potentially impaired”, as disclosed in any of their auditor’s reports. And we know who they sell it to: the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Is this latest debacle the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/20/has-fjc-sold-the-3-265m-loan-is-the-owner-the-marty-and-dorothy-silverman-foundation/ & https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/ (this also has a link to the root contract, the ‘loan agreement’, signed 2Apr2018 by Pacifica ED Tom Livingston & FJC President Lorin Silverman)
If the Pacifica building in Berkeley is indeed sold, it better go for in excess of $1.5m because FJC will want their $1m or so. That’s because it’s collateralised against the loan, which was made on a 3:1 value-to-loan basis. If Pacifica loses an asset, FJC gets its corresponding cash back immediately. “Cash back, Ma’am?” — “Why, I’ll have a million plus, thank you, young lady” — “Have a nice day, y’all!”
5) Money & debt aside, what about the politics of all this? Two democratic virtues are at stake: transparency & accountability.
A written public explanation must be provided by ED Lydia Brazon.
And who was responsible for this debacle? The KPFA GM, dear Quincy? The KPFA business manager, Maria Negret, who has exalted the financial performance of the station at every LSB mtg. she has graced? The KPFA treasurer, Sharon Adams? The KPFA Finance Cttee? What about the PNB as a whole, since 1Jan2014, say? Then there’s the current chair of the PNB Finance Cttee, Chris Cory, also on the KPFA LSB? The PNB Finance Cttee since 1Jan2014? The PNB Audit Cttee? And all the ED’s of the last six years? Indeed, whilst Breaker Bill Crosier was ED for almost a year, 2017-8, he supervised, by a continual act of omission, an increase in this property tax debt, including penalties, interest, & fees.
And, last but not least, what about Pacifica’s bookkeeper, accountant, & provider of the Chief Financial Officer since Sep2018, NETA, the expensive National Educational Telecommunications Association? How long did it take NETA in its early precautionary overview of Pacifica’s assets (& their attendant liabilities) & Pacifica’s aged creditors, to identify KPFA’s property tax debt, one accumulating since 2013??? A week? Two weeks? A month? When did NETA notify Pacifica’s ED of the seriousness of this debt? . . . this debt which, in the absence of contrary info, is an existential threat to KPFA?
So, besides the members & listeners, who will pay for this debacle? In neglecting the oft-cited fiduciary responsibility, who will pay the price? Is there evidence that GM Quincy McCoy continually disclosed & appealed to successive ED’s that KPFA was both living beyond its means & jeopardising a key asset of the Foundation? Is there? Or, as GM, does he deserve to pay the ultimate Pacifica price?
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 themselvesseem 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]
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
. . . screenshot of the homepage, taken the day of the coup, M7Oct2019 – the sole webpage WBAI has, showing the audio button of the relay, https://www.wbai.org/ . . .
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 broadcaster:
[…] 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”
Audio feed? There is no audio “Pacifica website”. But WBAI has a 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/.)
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.)
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.
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.
Pacifica listeners, unbeknownst to them, have been funding for weeks a coup, paying the wages of authoritarians, paying for security guards, paying for a secret plan, an action that is the very antithesis of what Pacifica stands for.
Bulldozering through the break up of Pacifica . . . “peaceful, informed dialogue” . . . the hypocrisy of dictators.
The rational response to this nonsense by the 11 anti-breaker directors on the Pacifica National Board:
• today, the 11 anti-breaker directors on the Pacifica National Board must issue an open letter condemning the unauthorised move by Vernile & his associates, such as the station manager of KPFA in the Bay Area, Quincy McCoy; &
• declare that all those involved will be fired for acting beyond their powers, not least in using members’ subscriptions & listeners’ donations to defy all that Pacifica stands for.
The rational response to this nonsense by the anti-breaker delegates on the three Local Station Boards that have their monthly meeting tomorrow, WBAI in New York, WPFW in DC, KPFT in Houston:
• the anti-breaker delegates must move a motion in support of the letter of the anti-breaker directors;
Who would have thought that Ukraine would have dominated the week’s news? A comedian, as well. Imagine? So, very much a side issue has been those royals in the land of an incomplete capitalist revolution, those odd peeps, who instead of a president have a monarch, sitting on a throne above not a Senate but a gathering of lords, the House of Lords, & not a House of Representatives but a gathering of commoners, the House of Commons.
Meghan Markle, a former TV actress, married a British royal, Harry Windsor, & Mr Windsor was so annoyed by media types allegedly hacking his family phones that he’s taken them to court. And this is where Pacifica comes in.
But he hasn’t always been taciturn. Here he is, in 1983, a 24-year-old, full of himself, discoursing for a good hour, on so-called libertarian politics, low voter turnout, even on the need for compromise (44:23). But his interviewer had him sussed from the start: after John says he got his B.S. at Stony Brook, he walked straight into a “you got a lot of that, yeah” (56:40) – poor John, he was forced to pause. https://www.2600.com/chatterbox/1983/1083.html (from 3:04). (The Chatterbox homepage mentions Samori Marksman, linking both to the WBAI tributes the day after he had died on 23Mar1999, & to his funeral ceremony. The tributes start with Al Lewis, a man who was much more than Grandpa Munster.)
And now to Charlotte Church. A pre-teen prodigy, she wooed the world with her sweet tones. The New York Times, predictably, called her “the major minor”. And, being valuable, she soon fell into the arms of an enemy of the people, a corporation. Sony. But, given their resources, there was virtue in this, as the NYT related: “John Vernile, vice president for promotion of Sony Classical, says, ‘Charlotte has done more to make young kids aware of classical music and opera than anyone has done in years'” (1Apr2001 – no, this is not an April Fool’s). Yes, John Vernile. And the same article gives a touching, life-affirming moment, recounted by Fred Child (I kid you not), host of NPR’s ‘Performance Today’, when, around 1999, “I had dinner with John Vernile and Charlotte and her mother in a little Italian restaurant in San Antonio”, before events took an unexpected turn. Sweet. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/01/magazine/the-major-minor.html
Sadly, Charlotte’s contract with Sony ended in 2006, & it wasn’t renewed. She was 20. Products on shelves carry best-by dates & expiry dates. But celebrity can live on, with the media staying interested. Even enough to keep hacking someone’s phone. She took Rupert Murdoch’s News International to court. And Trusted John was called in to help. In a 2012 story on the case, the UK newspaper, The Independent, called him “Mr Vernile, her former development manager at Sony Records and now her manager”. Reminiscing, he himself says, “I [was] managing a major U.K. phone hacking lawsuit against News Corp.”. So, given the work lawyers do, it’s not clear what John actually did. Anyway, main thing is he got paid. (Appended are his longish quotes from The Independent article.) https://www.allaccess.com/triple-a/10-questions/archive/19586/10-questions-with-john-vernile
And so, finally, Mr Quincy McCoy, much loved KPFA station manager. Where does Quince fit into all this? Another of Charlotte’s managers, along the way? Maybe the centre of his own phone hacking scandal? Or internet hacking? . . . Well, that’s getting closer. . .
John used to work on Second Street. Not Manhattan, San Francisco. For Gavin Report. The late ’90s. He ran the IT depot – well, ran it in a John kinda way. This was John, in his SF incarnation: “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY/ONLINE SERVICES Executive Director JOHN VERNILE” (unpaginated, p. 9 of the PDF). And who’s that above him, in the Gavin who’s who, heading his own section in the radio music trade weekly? “THE NEW MAINSTREAM Senior Editor QUINCY MCCOY”. https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Gavin-Report/90/98/Gavin-Report-1998-07-03.pdf
Peas in a pod.
In this issue of Gavin, 3July1998, Quincy has an article on Michael Jordan, ‘Fundamentals make legends’ (p. 10; p. 12 of the PDF), & also a rosy-eyed piece on the reluctance of large Japanese firms to lay off workers (p. 8; p. 10 of the PDF).
Finally, John in The Independent, Tu28Feb2012:
“To take on NI [News International], she and her manager John Vernile began reconstructing her life during the height of the NOTW’s [News of the World] illegal hacking adventures […] Mr Vernile, her former development manager at Sony Records and now her manager, shares Church’s anger. ‘You can understand the proper journalism of investigating criminals, people who’ve done something wrong,’ he says. ‘But that’s what these rats were hiding behind. Proper journalism needs a mechanism to protect sources, to be aggressive, and to bend the rules to get to the truth. But they were using that same protection to conduct this vivisection of private individuals.’
“He adds: ‘The only analogy I can think of is organised crime. They wanted to get to Charlotte, but they never targeted her: they went for her driver, her friends, her manager, her family – everyone around her.’ […] Mr Vernile says: ‘From the memos that came from inside the NOTW we learned who was watching us, and who inside the company was told. We saw the traffic between reporters, the newsdesk editors, features, finance people, lawyers, and others. It was a community, people from different departments, all communicating with each other.’
“He adds: ‘The memos we saw painted a picture of an internal culture. Then in court [at the pre-trial meetings – original interpolation] you see their resources: 25 lawyers all trying to bury you. So you need to up your game. With all those lawyers you know they are serious. But if they have that many people in one room, you know they are worried. And if they are worried they have something to hide. We thought – we can figure this out.'”