. . . Pacifica Evening News, spilling the beans, broadcasted by KPFA, 1800 PT, Th8Dec2022, during the meet of the Pacifica National Board, where the directors sleepwalkers were choosing to conceal reality from their listening public – pathetic. https://kpfa.org/episode/the-pacifica-evening-news-weekdays-december-8-2022/(The screenshot has been updated to show the inclusion a few hours later of a ‘button’ to an added transcript – the URL of that page is at the very end of this post.) . . .
So broadcasted during the PNB meeting, 30mins after it was due to start at 2030 ET, 1730 PT.
“$305k” seized “this week”.
Layoffs underway – “10 positions” announced “Monday”.
. . . double oh . . .
Helps explain why KPFA Treasurer Chris ‘Janus’ Cory (staff-delegate) wasn’t at the Tu6Dec PNB Finance Cttee, with Chair Sagurton silent on any comms with him, & no-one mentioning that there wasn’t an excused absence item on the agenda. These peeps would have excelled in Stalinist times.
Helps explain why at the Cttee two weeks before, Tu22Nov, Cory, curiously cryptic:
“[w]e have a lot of undeclared assets within the organization. If we’re talking about declaring those assets that creates a lot of trouble for us. Umm, so [false laugh, expertly delivered – as usual] […] I don’t see any problem creating an informal balance sheet which also has undeclared assets on it […] But, umm, yah, urr, making it more formal than that I-I-I-I definitely see, I-I definitely [see] problems with that” (7:46).
Undeclared assets, you say? . . .
Odd, you may think?
But the Cttee knew.
Chris ‘Janus’ Cory (7:46), Tu22Nov2022 PNB Finance Cttee – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221122/finance221122b.mp3. (He was commenting on the motion from Beth ‘I prefer to pose rather than propose policy ensuring the ED controls the GM’s & bookkeepers’ Gunten (KPFK listener-delegate), the motion for the PNB to have two documents: “management shall provide a complete current balance sheet […] and […] an overall Pacifica business plan proposing a path forward from Pacifica’s current financial predicament into a viable future”, this “in advance of any further consideration of irrevocable liquidation and disposition of proceeds from [the sale of] any significant Pacifica capital asset” (a-file, 58:15).)
Interesting, yes? But will any delegate, of any local station board, publicly ask their treasurer or director sleepwalker what the hell are these “undeclared assets”? Of course not. The public record shows most don’t even know what’s going on at national.
The lack of scrutinisers is one reason why the Pacifica decision-makers keep getting away with their incompetence. Unfortunately, revelation is usually the result of external discipline, from contractors or the state.
Layoffs numbering 10 is somewhat dramatic. But the whole picture is different, as revealed by the newsreader herself:
“[o]n Monday, KPFA management announced 10 positions would be laid off, totaling 150 hours, effective [Friday] December 30th, including producers and engineers” (5:20).
150hrs. This explains why the talk of 10 peeps isn’t as drastic as it seems – for the station. 150hrs, presumably per week, is 4 full-time equivalents (approximate saving of 4 x $80k = $320k per annum). And the present KPFA complement? Per the Aug2022 KPFA net income statement (such as it is), personnel expenses for the first 11mths of FY2022 were $2 259 812 … annualising as $2 465 249 … @$80k = 30.82 FTE ≃ 31 FTE. So the loss of 4 FTE is a 12.9% drop, ~13% (4 ÷ 31); roughly 1-in-8 laid off.
just in case peeps think KPFA was on top of the world before this hiccup, its Aug2022 net income statement declares something never mentioned at the PNB Finance Cttee, even that of Tu6Dec when this ‘report’ was presented to it by ED Steph ‘The Breeze’ Wells, protecting NBM Markisha from scrutiny: KPFA has made an 11mth loss of $282 634.
. . . triple oh . . .
And this loss is more than WBAI’s!!!
KPFA’s loss is 61% more than WBAI’s!!! (282634 ÷ 175721)
. . . quadruple & quintuple oh !!!
The Aug monthlies are a mess, even arithmetically – not least for understating WBAI’s total revenue in the totals column by ~$140k! WBAI’s loss isn’t the stated $311 893: it’s $175 721. The restatement: loss = $ −311893 + ((9065 + 129158) − (1031 + 1020)) = −$175 721. Put another way, the loss, restated = revenue − expenses = $ (1129246 + 9065 + 129158) − ((1208907 + 1031 + 1020) + 232232) = 1267469 − 1443190 = −$175 721. This also means WBAI made a net gain of $56 511 before applying the Central Services charge. (Note, put to one side has been the nonsense concerning (a) the Aug telephone charge (being bigger than the year-to-date carried-forward total – sic), & (b) there being the usual office rent charge for Aug but the B/F & C/F totals are the same . . . can, worms.)
The directors sleepwalkers have chosen not to have a chief financial officer. The directors sleepwalkers have chosen to not even have an accounting professional, a CPA, a certified public accountant. Instead, the directors sleepwalkers have chosen to do it all by themselves, do it all without the expertise of a specialist. The directors sleepwalkers have chosen to fly blind. To fly a $11m annual turnover public charity completely blind. To fly without fiscal management. Defying the California Corporations Code requirement that a corporation have a chief financial officer (§§ 312, 5213).
At the Th8Dec PNB itself, the directors sleepwalkers pussy-footed around with euphemisms, refusing to call a spade a spade. The executive director also chose to say nothing in her report – yes, that’s the sort of ED we have. All this ensured the cash cow punters, Joe & Joanna Public, got what they think they deserve: nothing.
But KPFA, that black site, was breaking the news.
Note, the news report stated two falsehoods.
First, the framing was “parent” & so subsidiary, “Pacifica Foundation” & “KPFA”. No, the only legal personality in this is Pacifica: KPFA is Pacifica thru-n-thru, not related to it externally, but related internally: what’s here is an inner-connection.
Nevertheless, the breakers will try to ‘spin’ the state action to their advantage, mounting a defence of KPFA, not Pacifica – to the contrary, Pacifica will be presented as the problem. Will the anti-breakers respond, & how? Are the anti-breakers organised?
Are the anti-breakers ready for the coming storm?
The answer, we know.
Second, twice the report spoke of “KPFA assets”: no, all assets are those of Pacifica Foundation, Inc. A station holds, owns, no assets: a station is simply a manager of Pacifica assets (& liabilities), a custodian. There being ‘KPFA assets’ is a fantasy. There being a ‘KPFA building’ is a fantasy. This is because a station lacks legal personality. It’s an accounting unit. All this whilst the listeners usually live the station in quite a different way, as an attachment, living it affectively, cognitively, conatively. This can be purely utilitarian: the station as object, used as a means to satisfy wants or needs. But the relationship can be much more: causing a merging of self & object, an immersing, even turning into submerging: ‘soy Cuba’ ‘I am KPFA’. Generating a proprietary consciousness, disposition, &, crucially, orientation. Motivating. Lived with passion, even obsession. Escalating to an animosity towards opponents, the unbelievers. Persecuting perceived enemies. Hatching plans to separate the station, the physicality, from its current social organisation, it being an integral part of Pacifica. All this is a far cry from simply appreciating a radio station, holding it dear – caring for its programmes & what the station represents in an oppressive world.
This is why talk of “KPFA assets” is not benign: it’s part of a separatist politics. “KPFA assets” is a conception consistent with an ideology of station chauvinism, the polity of a fiefdom, & a separatist political practice; a conception antagonistic & alien to Pacifica pride & the polity of a network, one that could be powered by a network development plan – but that’s a path not taken, a path now closed off.
[UPDATE: KPFA is currently in fund-drive, 11days, Tu6-F16Dec. Something happened Friday morning, 9Dec, just after 0700 PT. The news summary ended with the Fed raid (6:29), & this was immediately elaborated upon by the presenter of UpFront. Yes, Brian Edwards-Tiekert gave his take (8:25), framing KPFA as captured by a corporate power that messes up, before dumping on the station:
“our parent organization, the-the Pacifica Foundation, the-the corporation that owns KPFA, has been severely financially distressed for some time, umm, and, I-I think it’s safe to say, quite poorly managed for a lot of that time. We at KPFA have mostly been insulated from that by, umm, local managers who-who ran a lot of interference for us, and by you, umm, by-by the fact that every time we’ve asked, you have stepped up and contributed enough money that-that we could keep paying KPFA’s bills no matter what was happening in the rest of the network”
[After a while he asked for money, & from 14:06 the broadcast continued with a prepared package, Zirin on the NFL. Whether it was down to Dave, the chosen item, or The Descent of the Feds, within the hour, after a longer reading of the news of the Feds, Brian was almost in tears:
“[w]hat I am awe-struck to report is h-how your fellow listeners have responded. Umm. To put this in context, during fundraising, you know, i’-if-if we raise $2 000 during the 7am hour, you know, we feel like we show[ed] up for work and we did our job. If we raise $4 000 during the 7am hour, we feel like we had a really good day. This morning, during the 7am hour of fundraising on KPFA, after we explained our situation, your fellow listeners contributed a total of $15 016. I-I can’t express to you how much that means to us”
This is becoming an unfortunate habit, the relevant Pacifica decision-makers & workers not bothering to post the audios of meetings, or doing so late. Low priority. Or not even registering. This has the anti-democratic effect of materially restricting the dissemination of knowledge (not simply info), plus discouraging the involvement of new peeps, especially those under the age of 70. The latest example is Thursday’s PNB meet. The same thing happened for two meets on Wednesday – still not posted at https://kpftx.org/archive.php as of 1600 MT, Su4Dec:
Teresa Allen (KPFT listener-delegate) saying solemnly, slowly, with great gravity, “[s]omething’s happened today” (11:12). Oh.
Oh dear. And she asked the Chair if it’s on the agenda for the closed meeting, & as the first item. Within seconds an interjected “yes” was heard from a KPFA staff-delegate, Darlene Pagano. (So a KPFA matter?) Then came a slow, purposeful nod from PNB Chair Julie ‘I’m so corrupt I’m insisting that Eileen Rosin is a delegate even though her 6yrs expired on 22June’ Hewitt.
Wonder what alarmed Teresa, wonder what happened? Does anybody work for Teresa, at her sour cream creamery? If so, please drop PacificaWatch a line, at email@example.com.
Off-topic, I know, but there should always be room for hearing a heart-warming story: Teresa must feel so at home surrounded by all that sour produce. Some peeps are so lucky, finding their niche in the world. Truly blessed. Can we have a hallelujah? . . . Hallelujah!!! Can we have a hallelujah? . . . Hallelujah!!! Can we have a hallelujah? . . . Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord!
[Our answer is revealed by the Vernile court docs. It’s about the seized $304 986.00. It seems that Th1Dec was when the Pacifica directors, as a group, found out. The docs have some real peculiarities – not least the deposition from Maria, KPFA’s business manager, made in support of Vernile & against her employer, Pacifica Foundation, Inc.: “declaration of Maria Negret in opposition to application for post-judgment ex parte relief”. A true volunteer: “if called as a witness I could testify”. In for a penny, in for a pound.
[An oddity is her physical evidence that the money was seized on W23Nov – yet she implies that the first anyone at Pacifica learnt of this was M28Nov (sic). She further implies that for the best part of 3days the news was kept at KPFA, with her sharing it with KPFA LSB Chair Christina ‘Nurse Ratched’ Huggins & GM Antonio Ortiz – and presumably others. It was only at c. 0905 PT, on Th1Dec, that ED Wells was informed (double sic) – who no doubt passed on the glad tidings to General Counsel Arthur Schwartz. Don’t you just luv it?
[If the Lord grants a minion strength, then the court docs will be written up – as ‘The Strange Case of Maria & the Cockatoo’. Can’t be fairer than that.]
. . . the PNB Finance Cttee: really more mature? 13yrs of Pacifica losses out of the 15 thru FY2021: more faced up to reality? Who’s less in denial? Who’s the baby? . . . the Cttee, ‘advising’ the directors sleepwalkers who have the legal duty as trustees to protect the assets that aren’t even theirs, but the ~40k members’ (~42.6k at 30June2021) . .
. . . and Amerika is so conservative: Trump, no nip rings . . .
Meanwhile, back in PacificaWorld . . .
. . . Couldn’t even wait till Friday – of that week, let alone the one after. Emptied the fridge Thursday. Julia, looked around one last time, sighed, reached out to knock off the light, laughed: she’d forgotten, the power had been cut off. Yes, this really was the end. At least she was getting out with her sanity – or so she thinks. How would it be after the weekend? Adrenalin draining, PTSD descending? Hopefully NETA has a post-conflict rehab programme for returnees to RealWorld.
🙏1🙏 the announcement – Th22Sep2022 PNB
🤲🏽2🤲🏽 no inkling, just Julia dozing – Tu20Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
•3• ED Steph’s “they’re opting not to use them” met by deafening silence from the directors sleepwalkers, & treasurers – Tu27Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
🙏4🙏 directors sleepwalkers never talk to the ED: 38 days of the 92 wasted in search for NETA’s replacement – Tu26July2022 PNB Finance Cttee & Su7Aug2022 PNB Personnel Cttee
🤲🏽5🤲🏽 Pacifica’s first NBM, National Business Manager, Markisha Deshaun Venzant-Sampson
•6• Markisha: why the secrecy? why the shielding?
🙏7🙏 what work is NBM KSMMBS MVS supposed to do?
🤲🏽8🤲🏽 is Markisha proximately responsible for the financial management tasks mandated by California law? If not, who?
•9• directors sleepwalkers must disclose the hierarchy of their decision rules, & its justification, how they’re addressing the debt-service crisis
🙏1🙏 The announcement – Th22Sep2022 PNB
This news broke at the Th22Sep Pacifica National Board (soon after 9:08, when Chair Julie Hewitt had discouraged questioning of the Executive Director – subtle). News courtesy of ED Stephanie ‘my contract means I have nothing to do with personnel & programming – I’m simply ED of the company’ Wells. Adding, this was NETA doing Pacifica a favour. Saving on 8days’ charge. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220922/pnb220922a.mp3
They’re even rubbish at lying. Do they really think the listeners are stupid? Do they really think that no-one notices that ‘saving $8k’ is such an absurd thought? When desperate times demand quality & timely knowledge – not simply information – to have a chance of making quality decisions?
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of there being no August net income statements, & no emergency interim mid September ones? An info deficit meaning that Pacifica is flying blind, with Navigator Steph peering into the gloaming, holding info (thru 31July) that’s almost 2mths out of date? Since when has it been to Pacifica’s advantage to dispense with timely knowledge collated, reviewed, supplemented, & interpreted by a certified public accountant?
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of one last effort by an accounting professional like CFO Julia Kennard to finally convince the directors sleepwalkers of the PNB that they MUSTinstruct the ED to instruct the eight accounting unit managers that they instruct their bookkeeper to use the Great Plains system, so that Pacifica has a unitary accounting record, allowing the ED, unit managers, & business managers to see in quasi-real time the depth of the money crisis? (No-one seems aware that’s its old name: for many years it’s been Microsoft Dynamics GP – unless Pacifica’s version actually is from the 1990s.)
But that remedial action requires a recognition that nothing effective can be done in PacificaWorld without two conditions being satisfied: (a) centralised control, with the directors sleepwalkers using as their principal instrument the ED; & (b) the operation of a control structure – a transmission, enduring – so that the ED controls the station managers. But this would mean the destruction of the fiefdoms, replaced by a different polity, the rule of the centre over the periphery – a rule, in the normal democratic way, with the centre carrying out policies decided collectively by the directors, who in Pacifica’s case happen to be locally elected (call this whole arrangement democratic centralism). And that has proved impossible – the whole of this century.
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of one last effort by Comrade Julia to take Pacifica to Shangri-La, to get the eight accounting units to use the same list of accounts, with the same definitions: the mythic chart of accounts?
Uniformity, standardisation, consistency. But in PacificaWorld, all are anathema: the spectre of totalitarianism, of authoritarianism, of interfering with local autonomy. But as Freddy said long ago, freedom stems from the recognition of necessity. Reality is obdurate. It can’t be wished away. Doing what has to be done, in circumstances largely not of one’s choosing, simply makes life that lil bit easier – comparing like with like, & saving time, making the audit prep easier & the audit itself cheaper.
But instead, what do we get? No director sleepwalker said a word. Not one.
Statement + silence, S + S.
The 8days: seems to total either $7 233 or $8 000. The NETA-produced monthlies habitually gave a monthly charge of $27 500 ($330k pa), & did so thru Jan2022, since when there have been three different figures (a fact never mentioned publicly), but Apr thru July it has been $30 417 ($365 004 pa, ~$365k, making it a neat $1k pd). Note, the annual rise, $35k, is an inflation-besting ~10.6% (Consumer Price Index – Urban per Dept of Labor, the year thru Mar2022 = 8.5% – https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
🤲🏽2🤲🏽 No inkling, just Julia dozing – Tu20Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
Two days earlier, there was no inkling of what was to transpire. At the Tu20Sep PNB Finance Cttee, no suggestion that NETA was going to rip up the departure timetable. That apart, this meeting ranks as one of Pacifica’s weirdest. It was ridiculously short – 15mins8secs – given the scale, complexity, & seriousness of what’s happening. (But what do the members, all ~42.6k of them, deserve to know about what’s going on, what the plans are? Anyone would think they own Pacifica.)
ED Wells was there at roll-call, but not CFO Kennard. Although there had been a chat before the meeting: Sir James Chair James said Julia “did mention that she was gunna take a little rest [James chuckled; then paused, for effect]. We may need to wake her up” (1:42). Obviously thinking he was onto a winner, we then got: “Chair’s announcements is [sic], urgh, just tonight we’re going to have reports from the ED & the CFO – if we [chuckle, but no pause], if we get her out of her nap” (3:07). How we laughed. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/220920/finance220920a.mp3
Julia never turned up.
CFO Julia Kennard also hadn’t been at the previous week’s PNB, Th15Sep: “she will not be here this evening”, said a stern Chair Hewitt (2:21). Of course no director sleepwalker asked why.
At the 13Sep meeting, Julia said she & Markisha were sharing the work on the Aug mthly net income statements, & they should be produced “by Monday [19Sep], & get them out for next week’s meeting [20Sep]” (49:36). Didn’t happen. At the 20Sep meeting, no-one asked why.
[UPDATE: as of M10Oct, 21days after delivery day, not a word. Is anyone surprised? Is Markisha simply unable to produce the statements? How long will she be trying to do the impossible?]
[2° UPDATE: the monthlies didn’t appear at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee. Neither on the agenda (draft, proposed, amended, accepted) nor mentioned. Guess they disappeared with the departure of NETA. A quirk of NETA – not standard reporting for the likes of a ~$11m-annual public charity. The Cttee members’ behaviour indicates they won’t miss the 9 mthly net income statements – guess they never found them useful or even interesting. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3& the b-audiofile]
[3° UPDATE: at the Th20Oct PNB, ED Wells, answering a question from Darlene ‘I know a thing or three about BDSM, & it’s proven invaluable at my LSB meetings’ Pagano (KPFA staff-delegate), declared that the Aug monthlies do indeed exist: “[t]he last one we had, umm, that was sent to the Board last month [so in Sep], was, argh, the year-to-date ending August” (18:21). Very odd: they’ve never been mentioned at the PNB Finance Cttee (not even a ‘where the hell are they?!?’); &, as is well known, the procedure for the monthlies is once they’re generated they go first to that cttee, not least for checking, & are then sent out to the 22 directors, the eight unit heads, the five LSB’s, & then on to the four LSB Finance Cttees (KPFA doesn’t have one – coz the LSB majority does its best, at all times, to stifle discussion & minimise participation by Pacifica members: who knows where questioning may lead). ED Wells also went on to give news of the Sep monthlies: “[w]e have not run a consolidated financials yet for the end of September, and Markisha should have that before the next Board meeting [Th27Oct]”. Given this evidence, (a) the PNB Finance Cttee is being cut out of the loop (how can they make informed decisions?!?), (b) the LSB’s & LSB Finance Cttees are being cut out of the loop, & (c) not even one of these excluded boards & cttees has made a public protest. Not for the first time, one needs to ask, why is it that within Pacifica, peeps behave in ways that (a) copy the opacity of our rulers, (b) copy the participation-stifling measures of our rulers, & (c) copy the submissive, indifferent ways that ‘activists’ are banging their heads up against? One should also note ED Wells’ usage of “we”: a Royal ‘we’, or is ED Wells violating California law (Corps Code, § 312(a); this sub-section also requires Pacifica to have a CFO (the “shall have”): which it doesn’t, & hasn’t effective 1Oct) & by-law 9/1, which prohibit an executive director also doing the work of the chief financial officer? The plebs, & the CA AG, deserve to know. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb221020/pnb221020b.mp3; https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CORP&division=1.&title=1.&part=&chapter=3.&article=, &https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art9sec1.html.]
•3• ED Steph’s “they’re opting not to use them” met by deafening silence from the directors sleepwalkers & treasurers – Tu27Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
ED Steph ‘don’t look at me, I’m only the ED’ Wells, 8½mths into the job, dropped a bombshell at the Tu27Sep PNB Finance Cttee:
They have them [all the units have the Great Plains software]. That’s the key. They have them. They’re opting not to use them.
‘They’ve opted out’. Making Pacifica what? A polity of actually existing fiefdoms.
And the response of the assembled? Of the 10 Pacificans on the Cttee, only WPFW Treasurer Nick ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ Arena was missing. (A cold? COVID? Maybe a migraine? No, station financial scandal.) So four treasurers were present. Not one responded. Not one. Silence. Deafening.
The scandal, all very hush-hush. The W14Sep LSB, an open meeting, was postponed to W28Sep. But it was then held in secret, closed to the public, violating by-law Art. 7, Sec. 6(C) & the CPB standard: the Zoom page never transitioned to a meeting; & there was neither a stream nor a phone #.
The scandal also involves station manager Jerry ‘I’ve been here since 2015, so give me a break! And it was ED Vernile who made me WBAI’s GM!’ Paris, more recently known as Jerry ‘the difference between a fund-drive statement, a cash account statement, & a bank reconciliation statement? – aren’t they the same?’ Paris. But a resolution was reached, with Nick & Jerry ending up in the Potomac, the local East River. Someone has to pay. Accounts have to be settled. The replacements? Nick’s is Kamau Harris (one of the three certified staff candidates in 2021 – for the three seats), whereas with Jerry they’re still too busy drowning him in the ‘evaluation process’. Nick had been on the PNB Finance Cttee since 19July2016 (he succeeded Eileen ‘it’s Ros-in’ Rosin) – was his passing regretted by Chair ‘wooden as a chair’ Sagurton? You know the answer. As if he never existed.
More important than the treasurers, also present were five directors sleepwalkers. Not one responded. Not one. Silence. Deafening.
And who were the Pathetic Five, the ones with the exalted legal fiduciary duty, as trustees, to protect Pacifica’s assets?
James ‘I may write in Counterpunch & design space instruments, but I can’t for the life of me come up with a vision for Pacifica’ McFadden (KPFA listener-delegate, & anti-breaker)
Indeed, Julie Clueless, PNB Chair, was Zen-like thru’out this 39min meeting: she uttered a single word, “here”, at roll-call. I kid you not. And this behaviour of Julie Clueless has been consistent thru’out this whole crisis: bunny in the headlights.
Yes, simply unbelievable.
. . . Jim . . . bat . . . favour/misery . . .
(Julie Clueless was not alone in cosplaying as a near-perfect Quaker: two other directors sleepwalkers mimicked the leader, Jimmy Mac & Queen Liz III. Leading, all the way to the back.)
All this meant not one director exclaimed in astonishment,
‘Ms Wells, you are the executive director, & have been for 8½mths. You manage the station managers, & indirectly their underlings. So why on earth, Ms Wells, have you been derelict in allowing the unit managers & bookkeepers to objectively sabotage Pacifica’s tracking of money & debt accumulation?!?’
No. Her statement was met with the universal silence. Not even one word. (Where’s Twit Wit Radio when you need it?)
And not one director proposed a motion along the lines of,
‘Given the imperative for the ED & directors to know what the fuck’s going on, the PNB Finance Cttee cannot recommend too highly to the PNB that it immediately instruct ED Wells to ensure that all eight accounting units (the five stations, National Office, Radio Archives, & Affiliate Network) are comprehensively using the unitary Great Plains system as of yesterday, if not 10 years ago. We don’t have time for the whereas clauses: just to say, NETA tried for over four years, and were ignored & resisted by directors & managers alike. But now is now: now it’s up to you, Ms Wells. Impose yourself. Do your job.’
. . . ‘I’m just the ED. They can opt out if they want.’ . . .
. . . ‘We’re just the directors. They can opt out if they want.’ . . .
Sums it up, yes?
There you go, says Lydia.
[UPDATE, of the greatest importance: at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee, Markisha displayed her gross ignorance of the Great Plains problem – speaking, in a timeless way, as if there is no problem. In so doing, she demonstrated that the Great Plains problem remains a key expression of the generative reality, that is, of the Pacifica governance/management problem(25:25 – this is the b-file, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011b.mp3). Of course, no-one pointed out that there is a problem. Absolutely no-one. Not Julie Clueless, the most senior director sleepwalker, who said nothing. Not ED Wells, who said nothing. And not the other directors sleepwalkers (James McFadden, Beth von Gunten, Susan Young, James Sagurton), who all said nothing. Passive thru & thru. Trying to conceal reality. Unable to point out to Markisha the bombshell dropped two weeks before.
• After all, if the problem had been overcome, then ED Wells, in particular, would have welcomed the opportunity to inform the world, & take the credit. But no. Complete silence.
• After all, if the problem had been overcome, then where are the Aug monthlies, & where are the Sep monthlies?
• Markisha’s display also shows that she currently isn’t using Great Plains! Jesu. Pacifica is really flying blind . . .
• . . . & if it goes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, there’s every chance the judge will be presented with evidence that Pacifica lacks competent fiduciaries for protecting its assets, be they the passive ED Wells or the Fabian directors who, for example, have chosen not to hire a suitably qualified & experienced chief financial officer to be responsible, on their behalf, for the financial management tasks mandated by California law. If persuaded, the judge will issue a rare order to the Office of the United States Trustee to provide a ‘case trustee’: new management in the house –Title 11 United States Code, section 1104,https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title11/pdf/USCODE-2020-title11-chap11-subchapI-sec1104.pdf; &https://www.justice.gov/ust-regions-r16(Central District of California; Peter C Anderson).]
🙏4🙏 directors sleepwalkers never talk to the ED: 38 days of the 92 wasted in search for NETA’s replacement – Tu26July2022 PNB Finance Cttee & Su7Aug2022 PNB Personnel Cttee
So that’s the kinda situation Markisha is supposed to work in. But before getting to the dynamo herself, what happened when NETA gave their notice?
ED Wells thought the directors sleepwalkers & their cttees were getting things ready. And the directors sleepwalkers thought the ED was racing ahead with things.
Don’t. Talk. To one another.
NETA gave their 3-mths’ notice on 30June2022. Seems no-one noticed. To make all this worse, strong hints must have been given weeks, or even months, before the blood splattered all over Steph’s desk, & the sluice gates opened up to turn her office into a drowning tank. The inner circle – ED Wells, PNB Chair Hewitt, privileged others – knew what was coming.
Director Sagurton: “Umm, I have a question for Julie and/or Stephanie. And that is, in terms of replacing NETA, I don’t, I don’t know where the discussions are on that [I’m only the Finance Chair]. Up to this point I know that there’s been some talk about, umm, trying to muddle on using internal resources for at least [a] period, umm. Don’t know what other explanations [sic] are being made. Argh, but let me just ask Stephanie first, and then I’ll ask a follow-up. Stephanie, do you need any further authorization from the PNB to start looking into how to replace the various functions that NETA provides – payroll, umm, H-HR, etc., accounting?” (20:31, emphases added).
[… ‘you need any further authorization to start that process?’]
ED Wells: “It was my understanding that the PNB needs a – unless there’s a motion that’s g-going to be addressed on this upcoming meeting. I know, I know I thought something had been on the agenda for a while, that the Personnel Search Cttee was going to start that process. And I thought the Finance Cttee, this one, was going to determine what was needed as far as the CFO replacement” (21:21, emphases added).
[… ‘no: Personnel Search Cttee was going to do the starting’]
Director Sagurton: “Do you need any more authorization to do what you need to do? Or are you good?” (21:48, emphasis added).
[… ‘I don’t think you understand: I repeat my Q’]
ED Wells: “I’m under the assumption that since these are fairly large positions, that the Personnel Search Cttee or search cttee through the-a motion as approved by the National Office [sic; no, PNB] would start that process. But I don’t think that I have the [an “OK” interjection by Sagurton] I don’t think that I have the ability to-to hire an HR director or payroll person or finance person” (21:56, emphases added).
[… ‘I don’t think you understand: I repeat my A’]
. . . Kim put James out of his misery, saving the day . . .
KPFK Treasurer Kim ‘(sigh) yes, Bella (sigh)’ Kaufman: “[sigh] Kim to the stack [sigh]” (22:20).
. . . And, of course, The Leader of Pacifica, Julie Clueless, didn’t say a word. Bunny. Headlights.
Obviously, at the PNB meetings of 7 & 21July no director sleepwalker thought to ask ED Wells what she was doing to replace NETA – even as a prompt, to let the public know what’s happening. Or to ask her in a phone call or email.
And the Chair of the Board obviously hadn’t spoken with the ED for the best part of a month, because otherwise they would have created a timeline, & agreed any division of labour, on how to maintain from 1Oct some financial & pecuniary control over the affairs of the public charity known to California Attorney General Rob Bonta as Pacifica Foundation, Inc.
The Tu26July PNB Finance Cttee debacle provoked a response. It pushed the PNB Personnel Cttee into action. A gentle push: it met 12days later, Su7Aug.
Effectively, this was the last we heard – until everyone started using the ‘M’ word: Markisha. The idea of creating the post of National Business Manager was never broached in a Pacifica public meeting. Let alone there ever being a discussion. And no public meeting even mentioned the idea that there should be a discussion of how to cope with NETA leaving. So also from the local station boards, nothing. In fact, the 120 officeholders elected directly by the ~42.6k members have made it plain that the members deserve exactly what they get.
Enough of the past. Let’s go forward.
Although we’ll see that the present is marked by the past, & shapes the future. And despite what the directors sleepwalkers may think, wishful thinking is no more than it is, it doesn’t make things better. No, it deludes, it disorientates, it debilitates. It’s self-harming.
🤲🏽5🤲🏽 Pacifica’s first NBM, National Business Manager, Markisha ‘I’m so calm I could be basking in the Gulf – and yes, I’m cooler than Cerene’ Venzant-Sampson
Which brings us to Markisha. Markisha Deshaun Venzant-Sampson. The KPFT business manager & bookkeeper. Not on the station website – but then no-one is. Not even the station manager – violating all sorts of rules, regulations, laws. https://kpft.org/
Markisha. Now also the NBM, the National Business Manager.
Markisha ‘I’m so calm I could be basking in the Gulf – and yes, I’m cooler than Cerene’ Venzant-Sampson, to give her full PacificaWorld name – and yes, it deserves being given twice. But whether her serenity survives being NBM is another matter.
. . . after rush & sorority, there’s always the junior service league – and y’r local Pacifica station – Fort Bend/Southwest Star, 23May2012, page 14 . . . 2012, when Pacifica last had audited net assets at year-end: the $495 924 that was to be wiped out by the FY2013 loss of $2 824 046 – can’t say the directors sleepwalkers were never warned . . .
Markisha, a fixture at KPFT. She was Business Manager Markisha even in 2003:
[UPDATE: two inferences from the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee: Markisha is off the KPFT payroll; & her bookkeeping for KPFT is being paid by the National Office. There are three reasons for this. First, Chair Sagurton never referred to her as the KPFT business manager or bookkeeper, choosing to name her as the NBM (5:11), & saying she would be co-presenting KPFT’s FY2023 budget (5:37). Second, even during the proceedings of that item, at no point was Markisha described as a KPFT bod, be it as staff, employee, personnel, consultant, position-holder. For example, when station personnel was discussed (25:12), Markisha wasn’t included amongst the paid peeps: Howard Reynolds (engineer; the only full-time employee (25:12) – and, given what was said, & not said, he’s presumably the only station employee); & Robin Lewis (development, fund-drives, membership; the only contractor (25:18)). (The two paid workers were named in a recent Houston Chroniclearticle, 26Sep2022, on the KPFT station-move –https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/theater/after-50-years-two-bombings-and-a-notable-bullet-17462443.) Third & last, Chris Corey had a dialogue with M-Girl, all a bit nod-wink, mysterious (49:56): “Markisha, where are you on this budget […]?” — “I am no longer in this budget” — “[…] I understand why – there’s no need for you to explain that comment […]”. For the listeners, it was a Masonic, secret-society moment. Chair Sagurton didn’t function as the people’s representative, insisting on explication. Par for the course. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3]
And before going into Markisha’s new workload . . .
•6• Markisha: why the secrecy? why the shielding?
Structurally, Pacifica had made itself reliant on NETA, as the range & depth of work grew. A prime part of any executive director’s work is to (a) identify risks, (b) outline coping scenarios, & (c) devise efficacious plans. No evidence has ever been presented that any of the seven relevant Pacifica ED’s have done any of this: in sequence, Tom Livingston, Maxie Jackson, Grace Aaron, John Vernile, Lawrence Reyes, Lydia Brazon, & Stephanie Wells.
• why no Pacifica open meeting discussion of how to cope with NETA leaving, that is, what policy to adopt?
• ditto, if a qualified accountant couldn’t be afforded, would it require the creation of a new post, something not done since whenever, if at all?
• ditto re the job description?
• ditto re the hiring process?
• ditto where to place adverts?
• ditto, if this new post can’t cover everything, what policy will allow the necessary other tasks to be performed?
• why didn’t the PNB Personnel Cttee, in open session, meet to discuss all this?
• why didn’t that Cttee pass a motion, in open session, making recommendations to the PNB?
• why didn’t the PNB, in open session, discuss such recommendations?
• why didn’t the PNB Personnel Cttee, in open session, discuss the mechanics, & timeline, of the hiring?
• why wasn’t her appointment, a Pacifica first, thought worthy of a public announcement at any Pacifica meeting or in any Pacifica statement?
• why was the M-word, ‘Markisha’, simply mentioned in passing?
• (a) why was there no PNB open meeting when the directors decided their policy on how to cope without NETA?
• (b) why was there no PNB open meeting when the directors decided their policy to create this new post?
• & (c) given that this matter concerned personnel structure, not an individual employee – the post had yet to be filled – why did the directors choose to violate the open meeting requirement of the CPB, whose rules Pacifica management & officeholders are trying to adhere to in order to make an eligible application to join the Radio Community Service Grant Program, be it in May2023 or sometime this century?
The secrecy culture continues to cause a loss of trust.
Pacifica: a secret society. A self-harmer.
No director sleepwalker or the ED has described what Markisha is expected to do – let alone published a job description. All we’ve had is a job title. No-one has said she even has a bookkeeping qualification – let alone an accounting qualification. The directors sleepwalkers behave as if such thoughts have never crossed their minds.
[UPDATE: at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee, Chair Sagurton pointedly never mentioned that Markisha has either any bookkeeping or accounting or financial management qualification, or any bookkeeping or accounting or financial management experience. Instead, he said she’s been a Pacifica “business manager” for close to two decades – something quite different!; “has a BA in accounting” – something very different!; & “an MBA in business management” (5:11). And when Chair said, “do you want to take a moment to introduce yourself?” (8:14), Markisha declined (sic). So that’s how it’s going to be. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3]
What’s been said in open meetings has been ‘no, Julia won’t be at the meeting . . . and no, neither will Markisha, “I don’t think for the short-run” . . . in fact, “I think we’ll let Stephanie give reports, and see how that goes”‘ (Julie Clueless (2:21), 15Sep PNB, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220915/pnb220915a.mp3). Of course, no director sleepwalker said,
‘point of point, madam Chair: isn’t it true that the Board has yet to agree those two matters as policy – and this is eminently controversial: it prevents the directors, who have a legal fiduciary duty to protect the assets of the public charity, from doing their due diligence by directly asking Pacifica’s most senior financial officer, Markisha, what the hell’s going on?’
The plan seems to be an extreme example of the management of National Elections Supervisor Peñaloza: keep Markisha away from scrutiny, & if it’s impossible to quarantine her then say she’s incredibly busy with everything, she can only stay for 10mins, & then get her to give an 11min report so she can’t take any questions. Brilliant!
The inner circle will try to protect Markisha: they don’t want her to be driven out. So, keep her public appearances to an absolute minimum; warn cttee members to think about how they ask questions, & how far they push her; in fact, better to not even mention her, keeping the focus on Steph; etc., etc.
The plan now has a name: ‘the folded-in ruse’. Revealed by Julie Clueless, at the Th29Sep PNB Coordinating Cttee, just before the PNB met:
[p]reviously we had a ‘CFO report and Q&A’, & I b-believe going forward what we’re gunna do since we don’t, umm, tech-technically have a CFO – we have a National Business Manager – but-but the National Business Manager’s report is gunna be folded in with the, urgh, ED’s report, you know, the financials, umm, so we’ll call that just the ‘ED report and Q&A’, so I’m deleting the item that used to be the CFO report.
And again we got the presumption, an “I b-believe going forward what we’re gunna do […]” – of course, no director sleepwalker pointed out this isn’t Pacifica policy. Yup, this polity, strictly speaking, is a dictatorship, not a democracy. The Führerin speaks. This is law – it doesn’t even become law, & that’s because the Führerin is law: this is an identity, making transition impossible. Moreover, a speaking Führerin makes voting superfluous. And acceptance of the Führerin’s position means no-one speaks – indeed, their speaking is rendered superfluous for the Führerin speaks for them. Hail!
Meanwhile, given an absence of reassuring words, it’s obvious that Pacifica doesn’t have a single CPA under contract. Certified public accountant – the sort of person who can not only know what’s happening but, crucially, know the questions to ask, & the things to do, to give oneself the chance to discover what’s happening. A bookkeeper doesn’t live in this dimension. Ignorance can be an absence of knowledge, but it can also be the result of a lack of training, a lack of skills configured as competences, that need to be exercised, practised, allowing the opportunity to improve. And a key competence, especially when an organisation is stressed, is identifying the presence of absence. Lacking that, one can easily believe things are under some sort of control, that there’s an inner stability within the turbulence. When those at the centre of Pacifica ‘management’ & ‘governance’ think they’ve managed the latest storm, that they can now take a breather, that’s in fact a moment of great danger.
Which is why Markisha shouldn’t be shielded. Now, with no expert above her, more than ever she needs to be exposed to scrutiny because Pacifica will be seriously harmed if it’s actually the case that Markisha has been promoted beyond her competence – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle.
When the very existence of a ~$11m-annual public charity is on the edge, there can’t be a safe space for anyone. And no-one should be put in a place where they can’t cope. In rational money management, thus basing the accounting/money planning function upon knowledge, no expense should be spared: the alternative is too costly. It needs to be paid for – here, be it diverting some of the annual $365k NETA saving from baying creditors, or having to make redundant 1½ full-time equivalent KPFA employees (~$120k).
So maybe the shielding is to do with a disparity, known or suspected by the inner circle, between Markisha’s competences/habitual practice/experience/qualifications/training & the task before her. Let’s take a look.
🙏7🙏 what work is NBM KSMMBS MVS supposed to do?
Despite appearances, everything’s under control:
• Markisha can do the mthly 9 net income statements (the 5 stations, PNO, PRA, PAN, & consolidated) – get the Aug ones out by the end of Sep, the Sep ones out by mid Oct, the Oct ones by mid Nov, etc., etc.
• Markisha can do what no CFO has ever been able to do, get Maria to stop holding things up (this is KPFA’s business manager, Maria ‘if you don’t stop your nasty questions about the budget I’m off this call’ Negret – and, of course, her minion, even in these desperate times, “Bookkeeping Assistant, Angie Llarinas” – https://kpfa.org/contact/)
• Markisha can maintain, daily, KPFK’s bookkeeping
• (Markisha’s already doing KPFT’s bookkeeping)
• Markisha can maintain, daily, WPFW’s bookkeeping
• Markisha can maintain, daily, WBAI’s bookkeeping
• Markisha can ensure, daily, that Pacifica’s bookkeeping & accounting is done within a single system, the famed Great Plains – Markisha can do what x number of CFO’s have failed to do since whenever, & persuade the ED to get the managers of accounting units (so including PRA & PAN) to ensure that the bookkeepers use this system
• Markisha can produce, wkly, the 9 analysed aged payables reports (current, due within the contracted period; 1-30days late; 31-60days; 61-90days; over 90days late – note, one needs to take great care with the headings (these are not ‘days since invoiced’) coz otherwise one can misunderstand what’s stated, as evidenced when ED Wells gives info to the directors & treasurers). ‘Analysed’ means the identification of each individual invoice, by amount & date due, grouped by period (so 5 x 9 = 45 sub-lists)
• Markisha can produce, wkly, the 9 accrued expenses reports. (Accrued revenues reports, presumably, figure little – such as sub-carrier accounts.)
• Markisha can produce, wkly, 9 analysed aged receivables reports
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly (if not daily), the 7 bank reconciliation statements (reconciling Pacifica’s books of account to the statements of tens of bank accounts) – and she can check that for KPFA produced by Maria, & PRA’s made by Mariana Berkovich, https://pacificaradioarchives.org/whos-who.
(PRA & KPFK share a building: how is it that PRA has kept a full-time business manager/bookkeeper whereas KPFK lost theirs in 2021, F1Oct, given that KPFK is x7 the size of PRA: FY2021, KPFK annual revenue $2.667m, PRA’s $392k? – p. 33, being p. 36 of the PDF, https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2021.pdf)
• Markisha can produce, mthly, 9 general ledger reconciliation statements (reconciling Pacifica’s books of account to ‘the paperwork’ – invoices, receipts, bank statements)
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly, the 9 cashflow statements
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly, the 9 cashflow forecasts (for the obvious periods of 7days, 14days, 30days, 60days, 90days) – necessary, but not sufficient, to plan payments re the aged past-due accounts payable
• Markisha can collate – as a Pacifica first – the 7 sets of fund-drive performance data (pledge goal, total pledged, fulfilment rate, gross proceeds, cost of fundraising, net proceeds), for the 5 stations, plus Radio Archives, & National Office
• Markisha can also set up a system to produce, mthly (if not wkly), 9 balance sheets
• Markisha can produce all the rates of change reports that are needed, as & when
• Markisha can produce all the comparative reports that are needed, as & when
• Markisha can both devise the chart of accounts, & ensure its consistent application by all 8 accounting units
• Markisha can evaluate the design & procedures of the internal audit system she inherited from NETA, make all necessary changes, & twice-mthly & mthly perform all necessary exercises
• Markisha can do the basics of preparing for the FY2022 audit, with the audited financial statements contractually needed by FJC by 28Jan2023: (a) producing the 8 unit FY2022 trial balances, (b) consolidate them, & then (c) produce the 3 draft financial statements, & send them to the FY2022 auditor (the PNB Audit Cttee has yet to discuss whom to recommend to the PNB), before (d) girding herself for the tortuous liaison with the auditor, mth after mth
• Markisha can complete, & file, all the pecuniary forms required by creditors (such as re the $2 258 821 from FJC, & the $2m from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan programme), regulatory & tax bodies (FCC, state authorities, federal authorities), & even grantors, prospective (CPB, say) or current (perish the thought)
• Markisha can also find the time, twice-mthly (sometimes thrice-mthly), to collate all the payroll data from the 8 units, check them scrupulously, then enter them into the system of “the payroll company”, Paylocity – https://www.paylocity.com/.
. . . this is Markisha’s 23rd generic task – working how long each week? . . .
• Markisha will forego any days off – let alone holidays – coz she doesn’t have an assistant – let alone a colleague – who can step in to do all this essential daily work
[UPDATE: after the removal of the last wisp of cotton wool, Markisha was led into the room by Steph, to make her first public appearance, the Tu25Oct PNB Finance Cttee (54:48). She spoke for exactly 100secs, 100secs, so Pacifica members are really getting their money’s worth (55:21-57:01). She said two things, and two things only, but they spoke volumes: she doesn’t have a report, & in fact she isn’t the NBM but the CHC, the Creditor Hotline Clerk. CHC Markisha. Apparently she can’t do any national, or local, business managing coz she spends all day getting calls from creditors, angry calls – all day long. Markisha really needs to tell her union steward she has to file a misrepresentation claim against her employer. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221025/finance221025a.mp3]
🤲🏽8🤲🏽 Is Markisha proximately responsible for the financial management tasks mandated by California law? If not, who?
[apologies: finishing a quantitative piece on KPFK heading for repeater operation, given
(a) the current fund-drive’s $3 500-3 600 average daily pledged: in the first week, “daily average, so far in this drive, for a week, is $3 600” (Kaufman, Tu11Oct PNB FinCttee, 53:26 – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011b.mp3), dropping by the weekend, “the fund-drive is making $3 500 a day” (Kaufman, Su16Oct KPFK LSB, 2:29:18 – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/221016/kpfk221016a.mp3) … & @78% fulfilment (the latest disclosed rate, per the Oct2021 & Dec2021 drives – praps a current understatement: with donors presumably fewer, maybe they’re more motivated to come thru), $3 600 pledged = $2 808 gross proceeds ≃ $2 800.
Despite the turn of phrase, esp. saying ‘making $x’, it’s imperative to appreciate that Kim is spkg. not of cash but of pledges.
Four reasons: (i) she doesn’t give two totals, cash & pledges, & give the derived current fulfilment rate; (ii) with the info being current, she has no way of knowing if, say, yesterday’s pledges & payments will come thru as cash; (iii) during a drive itself, the certain figure is pledges made, not what cash will come thru; & (iv), the killer, the 2nd quote continues immediately by contrasting this pledge level with that used in the FY2023 budget: “the fund-drive is making $3 500 a day. The budget was for $5 200 a day [no: $5 333]”. And what’s in the budget? It was presented to the earlier Su28Aug KPFK LSB, & it explained how its drive cash figure, “$790 245”, was generated: drive days = (5 x 30) +12 in Dec = 162, x $5333 daily pledged (so the mth pledge goal is $160k) = $863 946, yielding $790 245 cash. Noticeably, the fulfilment rate wasn’t disclosed – and no-one asked!?! – but it’s 91.469%, ~91%, & this is worthy of comment: the latest disclosed rate, as mentioned, is 78%, meaning the budget figure is a rise of >13 percentage points, & the actual percentage rise is a Burger King 17.268% ≃ 17%. No justification has been given for this. An actual rate for KPFK higher than 78% has never been spoken, or intimated, in a Pacifica open meeting. Habeas data! https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/220828/kpfk220828a.mp3 (from 42:35, with the cash figure at 43:18).
(KK’s speech at the Su16Oct KPFK LSB continued immediately as a reality check: “and that budget was a million dollars in deficit, so that’s more than just bad, it’s like really, really bad […] And then there’s all November with no revenue coming in […] and there’s really no other money from around the network to help us out […] It’s worse than bad […]” – intelligent verbatim transcription. And Ms Reality Check has ruffled the wrong feathers – again, as she did in Apr2015, https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/showfile.php?id=3663&type=agenda (charge sheet from the PacificaWorld Feds, 30Apr2015 PNB) & https://pacificainexile.org/archives/554. She may still have majority support within the KPFK Finance Cttee, but that counted for naught at the LSB, as shown last Sunday: they sacked her as station Treasurer. What was particularly nauseating was witnessing delegates who have demonstrated no evidence of knowing anything about the finances of either Pacifica or KPFK piling in with gusto, when if they had an ounce of integrity they would have asked pertinent questions & certainly abstained (most egregious was Mr Funmaker, who took his seat that very day (sic), someone who’s never made a contribution to a station meeting, in either public comment or the Zoom chat). But no, the herd trampled all over her. Another victory. Dizzy with success . . .);
(b) the station’s cost structure being treated as obdurate: the ‘cut to the bone’ refrain, although ~63% of budgeted FY2023 non-CS is personnel costs (pm: $90k ÷ 143k), ~13½ FTE – whereas KPFT has 1 FTE (the engineer), sic, with the longstanding development/membership/fund-drive bod paid as the single consultant (hello, IRS!) … (i) re the $90k, Kim ‘(sigh) yes, Bella (sigh)’ Kaufman: “the total salaries, line 62, I’ve just put in what we’ve been doing this year […] the total for that is – for this year, for the current year, which is the same as the budget – is $1.1m” (39:37, intelligent verbatim transcription), & ÷ 12 ≃ $91 667 pm – Su28Aug2022 KPFK LSB … (ii) re the $143k, non-CS expenses total “$1 718 533” (48:14; she misspoke: it’s $2 more), & ÷ 12 ≃ $143 211 pm – W24Aug2022 KPFK Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfkfin/220824/kpfkfin220824a.mp3; &
(c) Pacifica’s unchallenged dominant ideology of Reaganite/Thatcherite ‘pull y’self up by yer bootstraps’ & ‘Pacifica as a series of household economies (the stations), not the network as a single accounting unit’, & in being non-reflective it’s cemented into the spontaneous understanding of what’s at stake & how to respond – even though, as explained in this blog (section 3, 19Nov2021), the Articles of Incorp’n specify “the facilities”, not ‘the facilities of each station’ or similar formulations.]
•9• directors sleepwalkers must disclose the hierarchy of their decision rules (& its justification), & how they’re using them in addressing the debt-service crisis
The decision rules hierarchy:
• so, how to rank selling the Pacifica building in Berkeley rather than the one in Los Angeles, the latter also housing the temperature-sensitive Radio Archives? What criteria are being used? In this single matter, what are the time-dependent conditions that have been identified?
• if a single swap is envisaged, what’s the justification for it being not KPFA’s but KPFT’s?
• as KPFA has a paid staff of ~31 full-time equivalents (FTE), on what basis should this be dropped to 15 rather than 12?
• generally, how to decide, for example, whether to raise cash from either selling a building or making redundancies at scale – for sake of argument, a one-off $1m net proceeds from a sale (including after FJC take their share: ⅓ of the valuation they hold) or make 12 FTE redundant at KPFA for an annual $1m gain (as KPFA Treasurer Chris ‘Janus’ Cory would say), 12 x $80k, a gift that keeps on giving, yr after yr?
So many questions. So many decisions to be made. So much silence in how the directors sleepwalkers, how the inner circle, are going about things.
But why do the closed meetings hardly ever say whether any decisions were actually made, & their subject matter? There’s no confidentiality at stake in such disclosure. Just the secrecy habit of ‘the culture’.
• a trial – of course, all part of PacificaWorld’s bread & circuses: locally we get the 2022 Potomac Incident, & nationally the demand for court appearances of Donny ‘do you think I care?’ Goldmacher and the stars of Macbeth & Hollywood films, creeping across the heath, chanting “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air”: Carol ‘she spoke! remove her from the meeting!’ Wolfley & Christina ‘Nurse Ratched’ Huggins – https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_220922.pdf
• and signal-swapping, slipped into a PNB meeting, the fateful 22Sep one, when ED Steph said she had been told by a resolution (obviously of a closed session) to “meet with a signal broker […] I did meet with someone […] we were just discussing valuation reports & population counts for two of the stations” (12:22, emphases added) – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220922/pnb220922a.mp3. So, which ones? On what basis were they chosen, the application of what policy? And why is this info kept secret? Of Pacifica’s ~42.6k members, why should they be excluded, unlike the privileged 20, the ‘station’ directors? (1% = 426.) Do those who fund the network not deserve to know what is being explored ‘on their behalf’? Who knows, maybe they even have something to say on the topic?
[UPDATE: two points from the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee. (1) Re downgrading to a repeater station, after a few mths of silence, it popped up again at this meeting – at least in its agenda: “9. Repeater Station estimates and questions (10 minutes, Kim Kauffman [sic])” – yes, time wasn’t extended to reach it (nor to reach “8. Executive Director’s Report (20 minutes)” – https://kpftx.org/archive.php (not available as a separate file). (2) Cuts are being carried out, but thru the filter of the Pacifica secrecy culture there have been no unit-level details. However, Chris Cory noted in passing, surprisingly without a false laugh, “there’s been a little chaos at KPFA […] but […] it seems like things are starting to settle down” (13:08). So this is likely to be the station – absurdly anonymised – where employees’ hours were being reduced. In one of those PacificaWorld coincidences, he has been AWOL, missing two or more meetings, at a time when he might have had to face a pointed question or three – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3.]
The directors sleepwalkers & the ED, given the level of their public discussion, provide little evidence that any of them know, with NETA gone, what it’s going to be like flying blind. The guessing the pattern of fires – coz waiting for them to break out will be too late.
Now is different from previous years without audits & financial control: now it’s touch-&-go. Touch-&-go whether the mass of debt, ever increasing, can be serviced. The supply of cash is barely enough for personnel costs, utilities, tower, office, insurance, paying FJC quarterly, & the inevitable premiums. The cumulative threat to Pacifica is now existential. Hence recent talk of being in a Chapter 11 situation.
The open meetings are funereal. Solemn. Why? Peeps allow themselves a lil peek into the black box, allowing themselves an inkling of a reality check – and they can’t completely suppress their distress. But this is nothing compared to what’s coming. The fund-drives starting early October at the five stations – the biggest of the year – will provide some cash, but once that’s eaten up, the fires will do their work.
As Mr Slippery himself says, he’d been there over eight years.
No Pacifica director sleepwalker had the guts, not least the Chair, Ms Julie Hewitt (WPFW listener-delegate), to announce this shattering change at any PNB meeting, not least at the full board public meeting of 7July, or 21July, or 28July, or 4Aug, or 11Aug. Abdication of responsibility doesn’t grasp the half of it.
This week, Quince did his last day at KPFA (Tu16Aug, i’ve been told – of course, like the mafia, nothing’s written down), & on the weekend changed his LinkedIn page. Nice.
In the true Pacifican spirit of communication, the basis of not just a ‘mass’ media outlet but a listener-funded one, the KPFA & Pacifica websites have haven’t announced his departure. Nor why. Neither, as of 1430 PDT Su21Aug, have the sites told the pleb public who is the acting station manager – a violation of the station’s licence from the Federal Communications Commission. But hey, rules are for RealWorld, not PacificaWorld.
(In the vid, please excuse the inclusion of the misanthropic missionary position: see the truth described by Chris Hitchens, free download at http://library.lol/main/6573C0841922255B1B87295A35DE8A4B – also please excuse the presence of a later pope, & of Amerika’s first black prez, LBJ, & the unforgivable absence of the likes of Paul Robeson, shunned by the majority of the ‘leaders’ of the civil rights movement.)
. . . sleepwalking into the chainsaw . . .
UPDATE, Tu23Aug2022 (& then some)
At that evening’s PNB Finance Cttee, CFO Julia Kennard said, regarding the July monthlies, “who needs to receive it at KPFA, now, umm, that the GM left? […] is there an interim GM at KPFA now?” – no audiofile archived yet, but at 2153 EDT, c. 23mins before the open meeting ended. (One may think a bod chosen by ED Stephanie Wells – but praps by the PNB, given that the ED has said publicly, more than once, that she has no powers, under her contract, (a) to appoint anyone, (b) to dismiss anyone, or (c) to change any programming at any station (“I can’t do anything with personnel, and nothing with programming” (at a KPFK meeting, 1:36:30 … link, etc., at the ‘boxed in/boxed up’ paragraph way below)) – but one needs to acknowledge that the public record does suggest that her contract does give her the autonomy to breathe, move around, & rehydrate. Although she probably did need the PNB’s permission to donate that kidney this month.)
The Chair, James Sagurton (WBAI listener-delegate), responded quickly & authoritatively: “argh, I don’t think so, not yet, not that I’m aware of. So I guess just send it to Maria, and, umm [long pause] yeah” . . . and to Maria we shall return . . . At the Finance meeting, clarification re the iGM couldn’t come from KPFA’s Treasurer, Chris ‘Janus’ Cory (staff-delegate until 14Jan2023, when his 6yrs are up – first seated as per https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfa/170114/kpfa170114_4792_minutes.pdf) coz he was MIA – praps plotting, given he’s a breaker, in that KPFA militia, the Protectors: “KPFA Protectors Staff Board Members[:] Sherry Gendelman[,] Chris Cory” – https://www.kpfaprotectors.org/news-updates.
Maria. Yes, Maria. Maria ‘I never make a mistake, & don’t you dare harass me with questions’ Negret, who happens to appear in the first screenshot above. Maria, the busy business manager, so busy she needs, even in these desperate times, an assistant, “Bookkeeping Assistant, Angie Llarinas” – https://kpfa.org/contact/. Pacifica, assistant bookkeeper – same sentence?!? How does this compare with other operating units? Well, the Pacifica Radio Archives has had four full-timers from pre-epidemic times, one being a business manager/bookkeeper, Mariana Berkovich (https://pacificaradioarchives.org/whos-who), even though the FY2021 unaudited revenue, excluding that from Central Services, was only $231k (Oct2021 monthlies – the last publicly available monthlies giving the FY2021 totals). Nevertheless, the whole of KPFT, in Houston, with FY2021 unaudited total revenue of $667k (same source), has been reduced to a single full-time employee, an engineer, & one part-timer, & with ‘Consultant/Temps/Contractuals’ a mere ~$2k a month thru Apr2022 (that’s why CFO Julia reported, “they have one-and-a-half [paid] people there” – c. 11:30 into the Finance meeting [2° UPDATE: per audiofile, 12:33]). [2° UPDATE: KPFT now “only have two part-time employees” – ED Wells, 18:06, 22Sep2022 PNB, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220922/pnb220922a.mp3.] (Concurrently, at WBAI, CTC runs at ~$15.5k a month, so 2-2½ FTE – despite the ‘IRS! IRS! IRS!’ cry by station treasurer R Paul Martin (1:09:26), 22Sep2021 WBAI Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/wbai_fin/210922/wbai_fin210922b.mp3. Have FCC investigators, called in by the Pacifica Safety Net breakers, already sent off a letter?)
And overall staffing at KPFA, the veritable home of welcomeness, conviviality, & joy? KPFA, home of the bestselling bumper sticker & range of children’s merch, ‘It’s Nice to be Nice’?KPFA currently has more than 30 full-time equivalents: in no uncertain terms, that’s where staff must be chopped – for the sake of the network. And the stock as a flow, KPFA personnel costs have effectively risen 14%, ⅐, since the onset of the epidemic!(All calculations are below, in a pair of paragraphs.) Yes, it’s all about power, inertia, a lack of vision – not a rational distribution of labour-power.
Fundamentally, Pacifica’s decline & crises this century are the responsibility of successive sets of directors sleepwalkers, who have refused to ensure that there is adequate centralised control over operations – the very activities that could have been designed & coordinated to turn a vision for Pacifica into reality. In this, the sets of directors sleepwalkers have dramatically failed to ensure that their main instrument, the executive director, uses a control structure that does the job. Lack of vision. Lack of skills. Lack of control. The observed destructive deficiencies shredding Pacifica are evidence that the directors sleepwalkers have failed, & continue to fail, to discharge their fiduciary duty, their legal responsibility as trustees to protect the assets of this public charity.
. . . no, not a Board of Directors: a Board of Sleepwalkers . . . sleepwalking into the chainsaw . . .
FTE’s at KPFA: FY2022, personnel costs thru Apr2022 annualise as $2 525 834, say ~$2.525m … using the evidence examined in a Nov2021 PacificaWatch post, @ $66k, that’s 38¼ FTE; @ $75k, 33⅔ FTE; @ $80k, 31½ FTE … so, roughly, between 31 & 38 FTE. Part of that data solely concerned KPFA, during June2019, giving estimated average annual personnel costs of $71 463; three years on, 2.525m ÷ 71.5k = 35.3 FTE. But hang on a sec, shouldn’t that figure be deflated given the 14% increase in personnel costs? Only if there’s been a rise in the FTE unit labour cost, such as from $71.5k. So, for example, $71.5k x 1.14 = $81.5k … & 2.525m ÷ 81.5k = 31.0 FTE, which happens to agree with the number derived from the June2019 payroll records of the station’s 47 employees (suggesting a possible staffing freeze). Given the limits of the publicly available info, if a single figure is to be used, perhaps the most reasonable prudent working assumption is 31 FTE – see Apr2022 monthlies, & appendix at https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2021/11/19/today-kpfk-is-losing-money-at-a-rate-of-3500-dollars-a-day-105k-a-month-1-point-26m-a-year-as-per-the-docs-publicly-why-does-no-one-recognise-the-scale-the-urgency-qm/.
The 14.02% rise in KPFA personnel costs across the 3yrs, 1Oct2019-30Sep2022: FY2019, $2 215 341 (FY2019 auditor’s report, page 35 (the PDF page # always lags, here p. 38); lacking the auditor’s opinion on the figure’s material accuracy – p. 2); FY2020, $2 282 066 (FY2020 auditor’s report, p. 36; judged materially accurate by the auditor, pp. 2 & 3); FY2021, $2 428 265 (NETA’s computation) [2° UPDATE: the FY2021 auditor’s report gives $2 441 210, p. 35; judged materially accurate, p. 2]; FY2022, $2 525 834 (annualisation of NETA’s total thru Apr2022) … year-on-year changes: FY2020, +3.01%; FY2021, +6.41%; FY2022, +4.02% … the +14.02% over 3yrs: 2525834 ÷ 2215341 – https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php; Oct2021 & Apr2022 NETA-produced monthlies.
Well, re the iGM matter, guess neither Julia nor James subscribe to the KPFA e-newsletter: the adieu sob to Quince, signed “KPFA’s Management Team [line-break] Antonio Ortiz, Interim General Manager [with on the next line, four other names – including Maria’s]” (emphases added), not dated but archived as Th18Aug, https://us2.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=2a41e4b88df5fc0a665096618&id=c99d228302; Julia, James, newsletter subscription button is, conveniently, in the bottom-left corner of any webpage at https://kpfa.org/. (Tino keeps stepping up, but then he is a dancer: at KPFA since 2004, including 4yrs as Operations Manager before Quince appointed him Director of Operations as recently as January – https://www.linkedin.com/in/antoniotortizjr.)
It’s a pity ED Wells didn’t tell CFO Kennard what’s going on. But i guess that lil prob gets solved in typical Pacifica fashion by there being no CFO from 1Oct – only an NBM, a National Business Manager, an empty vessel getting a few mentions that evening. Brilliant.
[Two 2° UPDATES, the first much longer:
[. . . 2° UPDATE: a vessel now filled, without as much as a vacancy advert or even a job description, by KPFT’s bookkeeper/business manager, Markisha ‘I’m so calm I could be basking in the Gulf – and yes, I’m cooler than Cerene’ Deshaun Venzant-Sampson – although her appointment hasn’t been thought worthy of a public announcement at any Pacifica meeting or in any Pacifica statement, the word ‘Markisha’ simply mentioned in passing. (The ‘V’ part of her name is usually misspelt in Pacifica docs.) Good luck in getting the Sep monthlies out by mid Oct – or before Xmas. And good luck trying to cope with Maria.
[And no, no director sleepwalker has publicly asked why there’s no disclosed timeline for hiring a new Chief Financial Officer; nor why there’s been no discernible progress, not even the placing of an advert.
[And it gets worse. Despite the dire situation, with NETA giving up on Pacifica, making it go it alone, with no cash to hire anyone (not even a GM at KPFK, to replace a guy trying to do the job from 3 000 miles away), no director sleepwalker or member of the PNB Finance Cttee has asked for a public disclosure of what’s at stake here: (a) the plan of the NETA ⭢ Markisha ‘transition’, with temporal details; (b) the achievements & cock-ups of this ‘transition’; (c) how Pacifica will try to mitigate for what Markisha can’t do; & (d) what are Markisha’s qualifications to do bookkeeping & accounting, her skills, & her experience in these quite different fields? The directors sleepwalkers, & the station treasurers of the PNB Finance Cttee, don’t seem to recognise how weird this silence is. It’s the practice of the politics of the emperor with no clothes: ignore it, & it’s not there. Denial = no problem exists.
[As explained in the note mentioned, Pacifica’s “Board Treasurer” – the by-laws don’t refer to a corporation treasurer – is the Chair of the PNB Finance Cttee. This year that’s James Sagurton (WBAI listener-delegate). James ‘terms out’ his 6yrs on 7Dec2022 (his last currently noticed PNB Finance Cttee meeting is Tu22Nov), having come 5th in the delegates election held 2016, & seated at the 7Dec2016 WBAI delegates’ assembly. (Remember, one is elected as a delegate – not as a local station board member – and being a delegate entitles one to be seated as a member of the LSB, so making this derivative.) The current PNB Finance Cttee has expressed no inkling that they’ll need to elect a new Chair this year.
[Not having a CFO poses at least one problem: the FJC contract. Requirements. Certifications. CFO certifications. Who’s going to become legally liable for the promises that a CFO has to contractually make, re ‘the big loan’, to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, operating as FJC? The promises are of two kinds: “[t]he financial statements shall be accompanied by a written statement of the Chief Financial Officer of Borrower certifying the financial statements to be true and correct” (Section 6.2 of the root loan agreement document, p. 11; p. 12 of the PDF); & “[w]ithin one hundred twenty (120) days following the close of each fiscal year of the Borrower, Borrower shall provide to Lender a certificate (the ‘CFO Certificate‘) of the Chief Financial Officer of Borrower, in form and substance acceptable to Lender, certifying to the compliance of the Borrower with the covenants set forth in Article 7 of this Agreement” (§ 6.3, same pagination, original bold & underline). https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/realworld-disciplines-pacifica/principal-creditors/foundation-for-the-jewish-community-operating-as-fjc/origin-of-fjc-s-name-and-acronym/, &, the root loan agreement doc, https://mega.nz/file/AI0iUYga#QzMtaBd0iRTZJ_YNmh2KZ1xKu7Qh_hQ6IcPMVkGWX94
[Both certification deadlines are 28Jan2023 – as the date also applies to the FY2022 audited financial statements (§ 6.1, p. 10; p. 11 of the PDF). The feasibility: (a) only twice in the last 28yrs has Pacifica been speedy (FY2006, 19Jan2007; & FY2007, 14Jan2008); (b) NETA have walked, leaving Markisha in the void; & (c) auditors, Rogers & Company, given the complaint they face, have probably already scarpered.
[(The loan is now $2 258 821, down $1 006 179 (−30.8%). In FY2019, $100k was repaid, & the rest in FY2022 thru 20July2022 (the FY2021 auditor’s report helpfully gave the balance at the day when FJC extended maturity to 30Oct2024) – however, Pacifica, & the auditor’s notes, haven’t disclosed the date, sum, & reason re any payment: per auditor’s reports, FY2019 (pp. 3 & 16; pp. 5 & 18 of the PDF), & FY2021 (pp. 3 & 29; pp. 5 & 31 of the PDF),https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php. The current quarterly interest payment is, @8.5%, $47 999.94, ~$48k – https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/. The next one, the 18th, so 4½yrs, is due 30Sep (the 1st fell on 30June2018, per §2.3(1) of the cited loan agreement, p. 5; p. 6 of the PDF). Pacifica listeners & members have handed over the best part of $1m of their donations to FJC as interest.) [The ¾ percentage point rise effective 22Sep will cost Pacifica an extra $16 941 pa – with a double-whammy expected of at least a further +1 point to endure for a year, pushing the annual charge to $231 529, a quarterly ~$58k.] . . .]
[. . . 2° UPDATE: re Quince, KPFA management preferred to make the announcement via YouTube rather than the station website. The channel, KPFAradio, started 30May2007, & since Jan2022 it has produced ‘On the Deck’, first as a monthly, then weekly from 3May (playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcKTcNwy7BrEsznejjHhbJnpgD1FcKWaP). It’s hosted by the Social Media Manager, MikO Tolliver, & since 31May she’s been joined by Tino. (No typo: http://mikotolliver.com/bio.html; oddly, her name is omitted from the Social Media section – https://kpfa.org/contact/; not that that would impair her self-promotion/self-expression, http://mikotolliver.com/gallery/images/4.jpg, https://www.nsfwyoutube.com/watchmore?v=nttxLeKFKNc, etc., etc..) The announcement of Quince’s passing was made 5Aug (6:10-6:38; 408 views) – but not in the intro itself. Those paltry seconds contrasted with the >8mins obituary given days later to a host, & staff-delegate, Jeannine Etter (9Aug, 1:54-10:26). Quince got another mention, 16Aug (0:09-3:44; 9 views), when Tino read a script (sic), after MikO had introduced him as Interim General Manager. She even tapped him on the head. Sweet.
On Steph being boxed in/boxed up by the PNB, with minimal powers – so ‘the Vernile effect’ – she revealed all at the Su26June2022 KPFK Outreach Cttee (1:33:10-1:36:41, the topic continuing to pop up thru to 1:49:48) – still not posted at https://kpftx.org/archive.php, but it’s here, https://mega.nz/file/tUM0QbRQ#MeTGbJIebc5aMq0lurpoV4iSVbH-Gk-YGa1zbHSEsDs (please rise above the crackle – the recording came from the Cttee). Given how she described what the directors sleepwalkers expect of her, as codified in her employment contract, Steph merits being denoted as ER Steph: not the Executive Director but the Executive Recommender. At long last, Pacifica has a social influencer!
This Quince piece is part of a triptych, the other flank being his olde friend, Berthold (who’s now telling the world that he’s looking for a new job: “[s]eeking a Director position”), with the central panel graced by an imaginative hiring idea spawned within the Su21Aug PNB Personnel Cttee. Yes, an employment theme.
If the energy allows, there’ll be an examination of the KPFK FY2023 budget, presented to the W24Aug station Finance Cttee. It was met by a series of motions, none of which passed. It’s due to be discussed at the Su28Aug KPFK Local Station Board. It had been prepared by KPFK Treasurer Kim ‘(sigh) yes, Bella? (sigh)’ Kaufman, CFO Julia ‘I work a 73hr-week, for Pacifica – what is wrong with me?’ Kennard, iGM Moe ‘what new excuse can I come up with to avoid going to the next KPFK meeting?’ Thomas (WPFW’s full-time engineer, & also working at KPFT – there seems to be no truth in the rumour that Pacifica is trying to lend him to a station in Alaska), & his assistant, Ali ‘Michael, I’d rather go after Beth’ Lexa Al-Hilali (director sleepwalker, & staff-delegate – what about management not being eligible for Pacifica staff membership? – see sub-section B, https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art3sec1.html). [2° UPDATE: director sleepwalker Ali Lexa has just left the sinking ship – mentioned in passing at the W14Sep KPFK Governance Cttee by Chair Michael Novick (listener-delegate, & LSB Chair). He reminded us, the iGM lives in Maryland. So now losing his right-hand in Los Angeles. Pacifica is unravelling.]
[UPDATE: the budget presented to the Su28Aug KPFK LSB had two immaterial changes: a deletion of an unjustified $3k from total revenue, & the addition to it of $10k (presumably to “Sponsorship”, doubling it from $10k to $20k coz of the likely PNB move to encourage underwriting, Politese for advertising). The adjusted totals presented that Sunday: revenue $1 102 245, expenses $2 219 403 (so, Central Services $500 868, others $1 718 535), loss $1 117 158.]
On the day the world ends A bee circles a clover, A fisherman mends a glimmering net. Happy porpoises jump in the sea, By the rainspout young sparrows are playing And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
On the day the world ends Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas, A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn, Vegetable peddlers shout in the street And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island, The voice of a violin lasts in the air And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder Are disappointed. And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps Do not believe it is happening now. As long as the sun and the moon are above, As long as the bumblebee visits a rose, As long as rosy infants are born No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy, Repeats while he binds his tomatoes: There will be no other end of the world, There will be no other end of the world.
[Pertinent is the successful 2022 news blackout, keeping secret even the concrete topics of any significant PNB decision (made in the famed ‘executive sessions’), the cherry on the top of the increasing number of open meetings either lacking a publicly available audio recording or even closed to the public thru the withholding of joining details when they aren’t streamed. Every lil bit helps. This exercise in opacity makes it even more likely that Milosz is right, that “There will be no other end of the world, / There will be no other end of the world.” – “And those who expected lightning and thunder / Are disappointed. / And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps / Do not believe it is happening now.” Gotta luv it. Only goes to prove that when Pacifica decision-makers really put their mind to something, even without coordination, they can come up trumps. Now there’s a thought.]
. . . KPFK is in the distance, just left of centre, set in the Hollywood Hills; the transmitter is upper right, Mount Wilson; foreground is that urban beauty, Pregerson Interchange, with Harbor Freeway (Interstate 110) heading north, & Century Freeway (I-105) running west-east . . . LA, 2009 – not a composition by the excellent Edward Burtynsky, 60 x 75 ins. (a sight to behold) . . .
[Today is another example of the civilisatory decay that is the USA. Rittenhouse shows there’s no safety on the streets. The coming history, exacerbated by elections, will show that Rittenhouse isn’t an anomaly. Some social scientists, including political strategists, have used an approach glossed as ‘in & against the state’; now we shall see an acceleration of ‘in & with the state’. Intensifying the integral state. Vigil, Latin = awake. If you can’t make it into the police & military, making a career out of defending the social order, no prob: just serve the community, do some community organising, weaponising it with a vigilante group, protecting women, property, the good life, apple pie. Acting local, thinking national. Awake, stay woke, be watchful, then act, extinguishing the danger. Fair & reasonable. Right & proper. Erwachen, Amerika! Vigilantes, the new social justice warriors. Another new golden dawn for Amerika.
[Meanwhile, back in PacificaWorld . . . this is the first of three posts on KPFK’s crisis. Programming has turned away listeners; only one net income in the 15yrs, FY2006-2020. It has meant that for the period, the gross cumulative loss is ~$2.851m (an average of ~$204k per deficit year), & the net cumulative loss is ~$2.732m. What’s different now is a reinforcing dynamic: the station’s rate of pecuniary loss has a velocity escaping the ability of Pacifica to amass cash to pay creditors. It’s inevitable that KPFK will continue to shrink. But the crisis only becomes existential for Pacifica, & KPFK, if there’s excessive delay – worryingly, a delay already displayed by the directors & Executive Director Lydia ‘Fabian’ Brazon since Jan2020, so before the epidemic started in southern California.
[(This post is long, so it’s also made available as a four-parter.)
[The other two posts in this KPFK triptych: the latest fund-drive, Tu5Oct-F5Nov; & its immediate context, the fund-drives since Oct2018.
The great & the good haven’t told us – but their documents show the reality. The headline is where KPFK, & Pacifica, is at.
Why bother to estimate KPFK’s current rate of loss-making? Because the scale of loss-making per unit time, such as per month, needs to be known by management, especially in giving meaning to estimated cashflow. It provides a baseline: if nothing changes, & the current financial performance persists for 12mths, say, this is how bad it’ll be. The presentation of this figure with evidenced argument isn’t in the public domain – hence this attempt. The current rate of loss-making is a measure of the generative power of the present, a representation of the present as future, the unfolding of what’s already there.
To be clear, the formulae used here are an attempt to estimate KPFK’s current rate of loss-making, & then using the typical period of one year to illustrate its meaning. Judgement is applied to the latest available historic info to put a number on each of the constituent variables. The result is an estimation of KPFK’s total loss at 5Nov2022 if nothing changes.
The KPFK headlines, not read on the Pacifica Evening News:
• current total revenue, annualised: $1 674 811 per year . . . $139 568 per month . . . $4 588 per day
• current total expenses, annualised: $2 936 208 per year . . . $244 684 per month . . . $8 044 per day
• current rate of loss-making, annualised: $1 261 397 per year . . . $105 116 per month . . . $3 456 per day
• so, loss-rate of over $1.25m a year . . . over $100k a month . . . over $3k a day
• cuts needed to be in balance: 43% (42.96)
This is an emergency. Pacifica needs to act urgently. The directors & senior managers need to act as a Cttee on the Present Danger.
The coming seven sections, some quite petite, plus an appendix:
•1• the Th18Nov PNB rises falls to the occasion
•2• “[t]he financial goal would be to balance our FY22 budget against our lowest-income expectations” – KPFK station manager, Miquel Calçada, Su17Oct2021 KPFK LSB
•3• the ‘in balance’ unargued mantra
•4• formulae re current loss-making: total revenue; total expenses
•5• assumptions re current loss-making, & why: general; revenue; expenses
•6• workings re current loss-making: total revenue; total expenses; total loss
•7• discussion: general; revenue; expenses
•A• appendix: how many employees work at KPFK? the average personnel cost?
. . .
•1• The Th18Nov PNB rises falls to the occasion
This scale shows how naive were the proceedings at last nite’s Pacifica National Board meeting. Otherworldly. It really was. Saving $30k here, $40k there. Simply doesn’t cut it.
The pearls of wisdom adorning our leaders, for all to see:
“Um, ok [pause], argh [pause], it’s a serious situation and, urgh, it’s pretty obvious that we have to do something” (PNB Chair Alex ‘Miguel, report to me in 3 minutes, & Blair, you’re a loser, get outta here’ Steinberg, WBAI listener-delegate, 12:35 into the KPFK item – https://mega.nz/file/xNlShAQD#D-BDaZRtl3-kZZSiGXSmi3GkaMH7KlJWd19XLfxbkmk; not yet in the meetings archive . . . [UPDATE: still not at https://kpftx.org/archive.php as of F10Dec. For more than 6wks now, there have been less audiofiles in the archive. Obviously coincidental.]) . . .
. . . Alex. Exercising all his skills & expertise honed from tens & tens of meetings chatting on the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee, a body that even now has only produced one document, on 5Jan2021 (4:14) – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/210105/pnbstratcomm210105a.mp3. A document so important it took over 7wks before the PNB bothered to look at it, on 25Feb (13:18) – no minutes at kpftx, but audiofile, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb210225/pnb210225b.mp3. Then promptly buried – never put on a Pacifica website, never cited in public. Never. That’s been its practical value. Even its title is wrong: “Strategic Recovery Plan for Pacifica Radio, Inc.” – but then Alex had only been first seated as a director on 29Jan2010, & when submitting the doc he’d only been in post for a year as Chair of the Board of Directors, the custodians & trustees of the assets of the public charity registered as Pacifica Foundation, Inc.. Jesu.
PacificaWatch found the doc on the Aaron/Rosenberg anti-breaker 2nd-referenda site, Pacifica Democracy Project, & even there it was buried in ‘Resources’ – but it’s so thin, physically & conceptually, why the surprise – https://pacifica-democracy-project.org/documents/strategic-recovery-plan-approved-feb-25-2021/. It’s a mere 4½ pages. Occupying two pages are all of “Emergency Strategic Plan: Immediately address deficits at the stations” (I kid you not), “Short Term goals: Addressing the Loan” (ditto), & “Medium term goals: Restore CPB funding” (I give up). This left the opportunity for musings, some sky-blue thinking, as in “I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills”, freeing Alex to discourse for 2½ pages on “Long Term Strategic Plan and Goals”. Priorities. Easier to think of the future than the present. Perhaps an expression of his political formation.
Ah, the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee. A jewel in the crown of recent PNB’s. A light not to be hidden under a bushel. Its gestation was the late 2017-early 2018 threat of bankruptcy, transformed into debt, courtesy of the Foundation for the Jewish Community, known to most as FJC. The Cttee first met 12Mar2018, &, like a photo of a 1918 Bolshevik Central Cttee, only Cdes Alex & Jan of the original 11 are left standing (& they topple off the mortal coil of PacificaWorld in a few weeks’ time, terming out): Carole Travis (not McMichael), Mansoor Sabbagh, Joseph Davis, Alex Steinberg, Tony Leon, Tom Livingston, Nancy Sorden, Janet Kobren, Jan Goodman, Efia Nwangaza, Sam Agarwal. (The memories, the memories.) The Cttee’s purpose: “[t]he mandate of this committee is to propose to the PNB the implementation of a financial recovery plan to address both the short term and long term requirements of the Pacifica Foundation. As such this committee is charged with the responsibility to consider all options for raising funds and/or liquidating assets as well as restructuring the business model of Pacifica” (emphases added – minutes of the inaugural meet, 12Mar2018, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/180312/pnbstratcomm180312_5420_minutes.pdf). Never got near. But not for lack of trying. In 2018 met 15 times. In 2019 met 11 times. In 2020 met 11 times. Then the golden dawn on 5Jan2021, the 38th meet. Being on a roll, why stop? Met 9 times since. And there’s still another 6wks to the year. For their 50th, maybe they’ll give each other medals. Especially as there haven’t been any new draft docs to hand around. Stakhanovite – and yes, Стаханов was an Алексей, Alexey.
(And Chair ‘Fabian’ Steinberg is displaying bad manners as he tries to cope with a situation he has helped create. It seems almost as an afterthought that Miquel was even invited to the meeting, causing him to put it on the record that “I have the encouragement of my iED – I cannot talk the same way regarding the PNB. I was aware of my presence in this meeting just half an hour ago, and this is an urgent meeting to discuss KPFK financial situation” (49:08, emphases added; an intelligent verbatim transcription; responding to a question from DeWayne Lark, 2020 PNB Vice Chair, & KPFT listener-delegate, but crashing out in the recent LSB election to the likes of Sister Mama Sonya, but achieving the rank of 5th alternate – could have been worse). And then the dismissive disdain delivered to KPFK Finance Cttee Chair Fred Blair by a 1-2 from ‘Fabian’ & his side-kick, PNB Finance Cttee Chair James Sagurton sounding like one of Jimmy Hoffa’s capos with his “do we want him back for the closed session?”, evoking from ‘Fabian’ a bored “I guess so, huh” (53:46). Uncouth. This followed the attempted humiliation of Fred by ‘Fabian’ the week before, as if he was personally responsible for the disastrous fund-drive (15:21) – Tu9Nov PNB Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/211109/finance211109a.mp3. Deplorables.)
And the pearls from last nite’s PNB just kept on glistening:
“[s]o, argh, so your budget will be reduced by about 70 [$70k] a year just with that one [cough] excuse me – that one, argh, re-do of our telephone services” (Executive Director Lydia Brazon, 13:15 into the item);
“I don’t want to fill you in-in-in peanuts, like printers. We have seven printers [laughs], in a station that doesn’t print, that we have to pay our-our-our, argh, um – anyway. Argh, so these are minimum things. There are other things that-that concern me, but even this-this [sic] lil things, um-um, it’s really frustrating and difficult to move, argh, to move ahead” (GM Miquel ‘yes, I am indeed as demoralised as I sound’ Calçada, 22:34) . . . Miquel, better get used to it – or resign & spend Christmas in Catalonia.
The luminaries of the PNB Finance Cttee also couldn’t wait to get in on the act:
Chair James ‘oh, R Paul, I didn’t tell you Berthold was presenting the FY21 budget tonite?’ Sagurton (WBAI listener-delegate) tried to move a motion, Chair Steinberg & ED Brazon asphyxiated him, Jim cried out with a “[sigh] I’m going to object to that, mmm [whimper]” (45:07), the assault continued, there was no ‘I appeal the ruling of the Chair’, & the world was to hear no more;
loser in the Chair election, Chris ‘I’m no Sisi’ Cory (KPFA listener-delegate), knowing there’s no point being on a committee unless you speak, spoke, excelling himself, exercising all his critical faculties, eliminating tertiary, even secondary questions, getting right to the heart of the matter, putting his query to Miquel, crafted, concise: how many members does KPFK have? (50:38) . . . bless us & save us. (‘Janus’ has just won a staff-delegate seat, & if the rulers of the KPFA LSB deign to follow by-law Article 4, Section 8 next month he’ll be seated in a seat with armrests . . . but the meetings archive shows that not even one KPFA meeting is noticed, for anything . . . his term ends c. 1100 PST 14Jan2023 (first seated as per https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfa/170114/kpfa170114_4792_minutes.pdf), maxing out the 6yrs, with Richard Wolinsky the 1st staff alternate. [UPDATE: a LSB was noticed 24Nov for Sa18Dec.]); &
Beth ‘I’m really Queen Liz III, but no need to bow – well, not until I become Chair of the PNB, ascending another throne’ von Gunten (KPFK listener-delegate) found the proceedings somewhat common, & to avoid being sullied, refrained from comment, preferring the dignity of silence whilst dining leisurely in her chambers with a slice of Marie Antoinette & a cup of Earl Grey – served to her on a silver tray, of course. The Queen of PacificaWorld distains public proceedings, preferring privacy, unencumbered by all those CPB rules, safely ensconced, from prying eyes, secreted away, deciding Pacifica’s future. The Golden Age of Appointed Boards, GAAB, was so much more suited to the disposition, to the station, of Her Maj.
However, the other director on that Cttee, Julie Hewitt (WPFW listener-delegate), was a lil different:
“one thing that’s kind of interesting about this conversation so far is that we have spent a lot of time talking about telecom, and, you know, even if we started realizing that $70,000 savings tomorrow, argh, that wouldn’t knock a dent in but one month’s deficit, and so that’s the sense in which I think we need to make sure that we don’t focus too much on one thing, and make sure that we’re looking at the big picture, and honestly, um, you know, what-what I think we really have to do is come up with – I say ‘we’ coz I want to think of this as one Pacifica, right – um, think of a way that we’re gonna really raise revenue because there really isn’t, um, you know, a cushion of cash around the Foundation that-that we can, you know, kind of let KPFK work itself out, work its issues out over time, and so what I’m hoping is that, urgh, your work with the LSB will-will turn out to be fruitful in-in the very near term, and then if it really isn’t, that you have a Plan B that you start executing, you know, where you’re maybe asking some of the other stations for help in terms of pitching because if you don’t have people who are good at it at KPFK, urgh, or who are experienced, maybe, you know, folks from other stations can help you out, at least through this December pledge-drive, and really make this December pledge-drive a kind of a bang-up, urgh, you know – do other kinds of advertising to make sure that people are listening to the station, you know, use your networks of people to, you know, post things on Facebook, and-and Twitter, and what not, to-to-to build up your listener base” (26:07, emphases added – this all the more impressive for Julie probably not being aware of the composition style of Thomas Bernhard).
“[M]ake sure that we’re looking at the big picture”. Now there’s a thought . . .
But no sooner was the very idea mentioned, the blank canvas was turned around, the frame propped against the wall, out of mind’s eye. Instead of inspiring the outline of an approach, it died. There & then. Not even evoking a glimmer of enlightenment from others. Not even a mumbling of the p-word – except in a remark by Lawrence Reyes (15:22), KPFK listener-delegate, so un-serious that he didn’t even follow it up when Miquel evaded.
But all this happens when the directors fail to provide leadership. Passive. Thru & thru. The directors: allowing themselves to be overrun by events – well, allowing KPFK to be drowned in debt. But then, if one station bites the dust, run on a minimal budget, just like KPFT has been these last 6yrs, then maybe that’s not so bad coz it reduces competition for cash when the next station ‘falls’ on hard times. Hostile brothers, if not sometimes “einen Kampf der feindlichen Brüder”, a struggle between enemy brothers, as Chuck put it.
•2• “The financial goal would be to balance our FY22 budget against our lowest-income expectations” – KPFK station manager, Miquel Calçada, Su17Oct2021 KPFK LSB
If he’s a man of his word, & not a hypocrite, the budget will be ~$1.675m. That means cost-cutting of ~$1.261m (2.936 − 1.675). That’s 43%.
For an accounting unit, a station, to be ‘in balance’ is neither an operational imperative nor a moral one. No. Concerning money, the relevant organisational unit is not a station but Pacifica; therefore the relevant accounting unit is not a station but Pacifica. This is the conceptual framework for a substantively rational Pacifica budget-formation process, one that prioritises amongst the needs of the constituent operational units, the stations. This means there has to be a Pacifica network development plan – the expression of a comprehensive vision. From this is derived how much each station gets to spend.
Framework-&-plan is the best reason for rejecting the ‘pull y’self up by y’bootstraps’ folk naivety, the self-financing idea for the parts of the whole.
Ok, a comprehensive vision is a somewhat un-Pacifican idea for many, but it’s needed to meet the urgency of already being in the 3rd decade of the 21st century, & over 50yrs since the glory days of the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. RealWorld has moved on. PacificaWorld hasn’t. Suffocating in a time warp. The radio isn’t what it used to be. But what’s going on is a lot more than what’s to hand: it reaches much, much further, for a new horizon has opened up for humanity: digitisation. As I put it June last year, in an earlier appeal for an approach adequate to the scale of Pacifica’s problems:
[i]n any case, a radio signal isn’t what it used to be. Digitisation has caused broadcasting to be transcended by providing. The broadcast schedule, transcended by the download list. The position on the dial, transcended by reputation, sustained by social media, enhanced by branding. The radio, transcended by mobile digital devices. Radio is 20th century, it’s passé. It’s one reason why the BBC since 2018 no longer speaks of radio but of ‘sounds’: not a device, but an output.
Under present conditions, only a signal-swap can provide the necessary cash for implementing a Pacifica network development plan. That’s out of the picture, if only because agreeing a swap can take a number of years. Therefore, present conditions need to be changed not from without but from within: the course of action required is creating the political conditions for a planned, holistic, systematic shift of spending from KPFA to the other stations – not so much to stop their suffering but to give them the cash to have the opportunity to flourish. There is no other possibility. Obviously it requires a thorough overhaul of management – national & especially station – to ensure that the money is spent not just in a satisficing way but in an exemplary way. As reactionaries are quick to say, every crisis is an opportunity. It’s about time Pacifica learnt from the enemy.
If this doesn’t happen, not Groundhog Day as such but Groundhog Day in a tailspin. As the tormented Sardinian hunchback with the Albanian name put it, “[l]a crisi consiste appunto nel fatto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo non può nascere: in questo interregno si verificano i fenomeni morbosi piú svariati” – the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid phenomena appear.
But don’t the Articles of Incorporation require station self-sufficiency?
A common belief, yes, but no, a mistaken belief. Article II identifies purposes, & sub-article (b) says, “the purposes of this corporation shall be: (a) […] (b) To establish and operate for educational purposes, in such manner that the facilities involved shall be as nearly self-sustaining as possible, one or more radio broadcasting stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission […]” (emphases added; article as amended 19Aug1948 – https://pacifica.org/articles.htm). Making explicit what’s here, by separating the subordinate clause, we have “the purposes of this corporation shall be […] To establish and operate for educational purposes […] one or more radio broadcasting stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission”, & “in such manner that the facilities involved shall be as nearly self-sustaining as possible”. The corporation’s facilities, the Pacifica facilities. The organisational unit stamped with ‘self-sustaining’ is Pacifica, not each station. So ‘self-sustaining’ is the attribute of facilities, not stations – and it seems obvious that it was said in this deliberate way to be consistent with the originary funding conception: Pacifica is an endeavour paid for collectively by the members & listeners – not outsiders, such as grantors & underwriters.
So not saying ‘in such manner that the stations involved shall be as nearly self-sustaining as possible’. So not saying ‘To establish and operate for educational purposes one or more as nearly self-sustaining as possible radio broadcasting stations‘. So not saying ‘To establish and operate for educational purposes one or more radio broadcasting stations, each of which shall be as nearly self-sustaining as possible’. No: the “self-sustaining” pertains to “the facilities”, undifferentiated facilities, the facilities collectively, the Pacifica facilities – not the facilities of each individual station. That’s why the linguistic construction is what it is: the particular concerning “the facilities” is slotted in, splitting the sentence – so much so, it warrants being enclosed by a pair of dashes, not commas.
That’s why Pacifica needs a network development plan – to stop the firefighting that inevitably arises because not all stations are adequately resourced to achieve resilience with a stable cashflow, making them vulnerable when adversity strikes; & the firefighting has been continuous because some stations have been allowed to degenerate, & languish. Rooting Pacifica in the present, never envisioning the future. But will Pacifica political conditions ever allow such a plan?
The remaining sections:
•4• formulae re current loss-making: total revenue; total expenses
•5• assumptions re current loss-making, & why: general; revenue; expenses
•6• workings re current loss-making: total revenue; total expenses; total loss
•7• discussion: general; revenue; expenses
•A• appendix: how many employees work at KPFK? the average personnel cost?
. . .
•4• Formulae re current loss-making: total revenue; total expenses
• total revenue = fund-drive revenue + background listener support & donations + other revenues
= (120 days x 5836 pledged daily x 0.78 fulfilled, the last two per the 5Oct-5Nov drive) + (245 days x daily average of April & July 2021, per the Aug2021 NETA-produced monthlies’ KPFK net income statement) + (other revenues, per the FY2020 auditor’s report, p. 34, being p. 37 of the PDF)
• total expenses = 12 x average of June, July, & August 2021 expenses, per the Aug2021 monthlies’ KPFK net income statement
• To be clear, these formulae are an attempt to estimate KPFK’s current rate of loss-making, then using the typical period of one year to illustrate its meaning. Judgement is applied to the latest available historic info to put a number on each of the constituent variables. The result is an estimation of KPFK’s total loss for the year thru 5Nov2022 if nothing changes. One doesn’t need reminding that the $3.165m loan from FJC, taken out 2Apr2018, falls due at this time, on 30Oct2022 (FY2019 auditor’s report, p. 15, being p. 17 of the PDF; that for FY2020, p. 16, being p. 18 of the PDF).
•5• Assumptions re current loss-making, & why: general; revenue; expenses
These follow the sequence of the terms in the formulae.
• In this attempt to estimate KPFK’s current rate of loss-making there’s no fine tuning, no adjusting of published figures. Both uncertainties & contingencies are many, plus the latest info in the NETA monthlies is August, so almost a quarter of a year ago. Adjusting would only create the illusion that precision is accuracy. We also have to accept, as with the climate emergency, that tipping-points, unknowingly, may have already been passed – our knowledge imperfect, even dangerously so.
• Assume 120 days in drive. A 1:2 split for the year. (For FY2021, so thru 30Sep2021, drive really was driven: a mind-numbing 186 days, 51% of the year (dates given below). Pausing to absorb this, one’s reminded of the title of a memoir by Frigyes Karinthy, Utazás a koponyám körül – A Journey Round My Skull.)
• Let the daily pledged be the average of the last drive, 5Oct-5Nov, $5 836 (186761 ÷ 32 days) – KPFK Treasurer Fred Blair (10:06) to the 9Nov PNB Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/211109/finance211109a.mp3. (Although, with KPFK in decline, it can be reasonably argued that this figure should be slightly deflated for the coming 12mths, not least because of donor fatigue; however, doing so by 10%, say, wouldn’t cause a material change given the rate of loss-making.)
• Let the fulfilment rate be the latest provided, 78%, as per the “about 78%” on Tu9Nov from Chair Blair, big cheese of the KPFK Finance Cttee, a veritable double-air cheeseburger, melting into oblivion (answering a query at that PNB Finance Cttee from Chair James Sagurton (30:18) – link above). The previous rate given publicly was 76.8%, by KPFK business manager Barry ‘The King’ Brooks (18:17), for the Tu20Apr-F4June drive (16June KPFK Finance Cttee – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfkfin/210616/kpfkfin210616a.mp3).
• Background listener support & donations:
(a) there’s no one-to-one mapping between the NETA monthly revenue categories & those appearing in the subsequent auditor’s report: the unaudited monthlies have “Listener Support”, “Website Income”, & “Major Donor Income >$1K/Yr”; whereas the auditor’s report has “Listener support and donations, net”, & “Grants & contributions”.
Re KPFK’s FY2020 revenue, the Aug2021 NETA monthlies give ‘Listener Support’, $2 108 695; ‘Website Income’, $409 470; & ‘Major Donor Income >$1K/Yr’, $67 868; whereas the auditor’s report gives $1 951 112 for ‘Listener support and donations, net’ (p. 34; p. 37 of the PDF). That’s why ‘Website Income’ can’t be assumed to be solely from listeners – although one wonders who else gave the money & why. (These docs are linked at the end of this ‘Revenue’ section.)
The auditor’s report has only one other sizeable revenue category: ‘Grants and contributions’, $644 644. Audited total revenue is $2 635 743. This contrasts with the unaudited NETA total of $2 793 326 – an overstatement by $157 583 (~6%, 2793326 ÷ 2635743 ⇒ 5.98%). It would be nice to see an explanation of this, & others & similar – maybe the KPFK Finance Cttee can ask NETA.
Pacifica, if only as a courtesy to the members, staff, & listeners should have a publicly available note explaining the mapping. In that absence we have the spectacle of the elite parading in front of the plebs: the insiders talking about x, y, z when hardly anyone is in a position to contradict them or even ask an informed question. The quiet work of the info gatekeeper usually goes unnoticed & unrecognised, invisible, taking the form of the presence of absence – but this sentinel is essential for the Pacifica secrecy culture;
(b) given no explanation of the mapping, a paucity of information, & even less confidence in the posting accuracy of station-level bookkeeping, not least because Pacifica doesn’t use a uniform chart of accounts, the only rational course is to solely use ‘Listener Support’, per the August monthlies, for the auditor’s category, ‘Listener support and donations, net’. The April & July 2021 totals are taken because they’re the only months in FY2021 largely free of fund-drive, & less likely to have received money from the previous drive: 19 days free in April (the previous one ended 7Mar; re-started 20Apr); 19 days free in July (the previous one ended 4June; re-started 20July). No adjustment has been made to them not being free of drive days – again, immaterial given the scale of KPFK’s rate of loss-making; &
(c) no deflator applied to the April & July 2021 totals, as just reasoned.
• The expenses are calculated as the average of the June, July, & August 2021 totals, per the August monthlies. The last three months are used because (a) the trend in 2021 is downwards; (b) July is 6% up on June; (c) August is suspiciously low given that being all month in drive, many of the associated costs weren’t there, not even as invoices from previous drives: within the much reduced ‘Development Expenses’ there was no ‘Telemarketing’ charge, & the charge for ‘Premiums from Other Vendors’ was way down; & so, (d), it’s prudent to average total expenses over those 3mths.
• The depreciation charge is absent, as a matter of course, from the net income statements constituting the NETA monthlies. KPFK’s is so low it makes no sense to use an estimate in the current exercise. (Audited FY2020’s for KPFK was $15 461 (p. 36; p. 39 of the PDF), & for Pacifica, $154 415 (also at p. 7; p. 9 of the PDF); KPFA’s charge is anomalous in Pacifica terms, & exactly x5 that of KPFK: they’re buying assets, presumably to improve their service to the listeners, whilst the struggling stations are dying on their knees . . . this is the inverse of the implementation of a Pacifica network development plan – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf.)
total revenue = fund-drive revenue + background listener support & donations + other revenues
annualised total revenue from 6Nov2021 = (120 days x 5836 pledged daily x 0.78 fulfilled, the last two per the 5Oct-5Nov drive) + (245 days x daily average of April & July 2021, per the Aug2021 NETA monthlies’ KPFK net income statement) + (other revenues, per the FY2020 auditor’s report)
= (120 x 5836 x 0.78) + (245 x ((47899 + 62636) ÷ 61)) + (2635743 − 1951112)
annualised total loss from 6Nov2021 = 2936208 − 1674811
= $1 261 397
•7• Discussion: general; revenue; expenses
Most of this section draws attention to various non-trivial defects in the NETA-produced monthlies, the set of nine net income statements. But first, a demonstration that, despite the bland picture painted by the leaders, each Pacifica station made a FY2021 loss once extraordinary revenues are removed, the losses aggregating as ~$1.79m. This is then followed by two features of the KPFK fund-drive, discerned when one generalises from the monetary performance of the last one, Tu5Oct-F5Nov.
• When windfalls are removed, what’s the estimated FY2021 financial performance? Each station made a loss. Was it KPFA that made the smallest loss, ~$66 847? The answer may surprise you . . .
• But back to KPFK. Ever wondered how much extra comes in because of a fund-drive? It must be a fair bit, yes? No. These days it’s surprisingly low: the extra is only 1½ times the drive-free figure (per day, $4552 − 1812 = $2 740; & 2740 ÷ 1812 = 1.51; details above, in ‘Workings re KPFK annualised total revenue’).
• And that isn’t the biggest surprise: having drives now brings in less than an extra ~$102 300 for the year (546240 − 443940; computation below) – ‘less than’ coz that’s the gross figure, the fulfilment of the pledges. It excludes the cost of fundraising, those such as premiums, post & packaging, hiring pitchers, borrowing existing staff deployed elsewhere (albeit a sunk cost: already incurred, but a cost of this activity), call-centre charge, payment processing. Computation: if fund-drives total 120 days, the drives bring in $546 240 (120 x 4552), & the rest of the year brings in $443 940 (245 x 1812). The pledge level is now so low that, counter-intuitively, drives may bring in less money, less net income, than if the station had no drives at all. It would be a good idea for KPFK management to do a more accurate set of calculations, for different scenarios, & think the matter thru.
. . .
• Now the NETA monthlies. Six examples of the problems, P#1-P#6. Financial statements are standardised, communicating to the world a particular kind of monetary expression of the organisation. By contrast, management statements, using elective constituent account categories, are a monetary expression tailored to the decision-making needs of managers. For them, primary is timeliness, secondary is accuracy. They need to act using information generated by the accountants, a trusted team because of their earnt reputation for producing info that is credible enough to function as practically adequate knowledge. The most efficient organisations have these statements within days – Pacifica distributes theirs, at best, 6wks after period. Not good. And even then, it’s only a set of net income statements – never aged accounts payable (the many creditors) or aged accounts receivable (the few debtors), or a balance sheet, or a bank reconciliation statement. There you go, says Lydia.
• P#1 … The NETA monthlies are a set of nine net income statements: Pacifica as a whole (the ‘consolidated’ tab), & the eight accounting units (five stations, plus PNO, PRA, PAN – Pacifica National Office, Pacifica Radio Archives, Pacifica Affiliate Network (it’s not Affiliates), the last-mentioned since 1Oct2020, having been disaggregated from PNO). It isn’t declared on what basis they’re prepared: accrual, cash, or a dangerous hybrid of accrued revenue & cash expenses (only recognising them when they’re paid: the ‘just-slip-the-invoice-in-the-drawer’ approach). A case in point: PAN, having the lowest volume of monetary events you’d expect the least problems, right? Wrong. The statement per the Aug2021 monthlies shows that only five of the 11 months had a Central Services charge, with no regularity to the five, & only two being the same sum. Oh dear. Dangerous? How prevalent is this nonsense? . . . if only Pacifica had an internal auditor.
• P#2 … Another reason to be careful using the monthly net income statements is that they don’t always square. Oh. They seem to be entered manually: they’re not reports generated automatically. Double oh. An example, so simple, one wonders how it wasn’t spotted, again from the Affiliate Network. (Guess Ursula isn’t pulling her weight, checking her net income statement before the LSB’s get the monthlies.) Re the statement in the July2021 monthlies, the analysed bottom half doesn’t agree with the totals at the top. Why? The July ‘Expenses Before C/Services’ wasn’t entered, & it was the sum of the row that ended up in the totals column. So an actual year-to-date loss was turned into a net income. Brilliant! The magic of NETA! (It was corrected in the August monthlies.) Question is, how prevalent is such sloppiness? (A more egregious example comes up in a sec.)
• P#3 … But le magnifique spectacle is in the Aug2021 monthlies, what NETA did to the first Paycheck Protection Program loan (PPP #1): pulled out of the consolidated FY2021, but not the units. The $1 256 630 loan had been approved 19June2020 by the Small Business Administration. With the lender having forgiven it on 12Jan2021, the incoming FY2020 auditor agreed to recognise this as an after year-end event, treating it as FY2020 income, a grant (auditor’s report, p. 19, being p. 21 of the PDF – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf).
So in the August monthlies, NETA correctly pulled it out of ‘Miscellaneous/Other Income’ in the Jan2021 column of the FY2021 consolidated net income statement (to post it in the FY2020 column as ‘Grant Income’), but incorrectly left it in the units’ FY2021 statements. In the public record, why has this been met with deafening silence – has no-one noticed? What NETA’s done is distorting: the unit total revenues & net incomes/losses are overstated – materially so. It’ll catch out the inattentive – especially as there’s no warning note. Taking KPFK as an example, one sees ~$3.060m total revenue & ~$143k net income, whereas the adjusted figures are ~$2.660m total revenue & ~$257k loss. Oh.
Inexplicably, having done this restatement, NETA then stopped: they didn’t change all of the FY2021 totals! So, re the consolidated net income statement: the Jan2021 total revenue wasn’t reduced by $1 256 630, it was left as it had appeared in the previous monthlies. So, as expected, adding the monthly totals, the row, exceeds the correct FY2021 end column total. And as in all good tales, there’s a twist: NETA used a false figure as the Aug2021 total – but not a completely random gibberish number but a repeat of the July2021 total, $673 751.91 . . . which looks even odder coz the number immediately above it, which includes the PPP #2, has an extra digit: $1 222 741.63 . . . there you go, says Lydia.
• P#4 … There’s also a prob with the FY2019 comparative used in the NETA monthlies to date. The FY2019 auditor in their report issued a disclaimer of opinion upon the NETA-produced financial statements, so deciding they couldn’t vouch for their material accuracy. (Those statements appear again, reproduced, in the FY2020 auditor’s report as the comparative – in the consolidated at the front, & in the units at the back.) Thing is, the statements differ from those carried in the NETA monthlies – without saying so, & why. They haven’t been restated in the monthlies. That’s not a trivial matter.
That’s apparent in these four examples, with the Aug2021 monthlies carrying overstated, & at least one understated, FY2019 primary totals. For Pacifica: total revenue is overstated by 5.4%, $658 013 … (12814681 − 12156668); & total expenses, after omitting the unaudited depreciation charge, are understated by 14.5%, $1 696 122 … (9983328 − (11867848 − 188398)). For KPFK: total revenue is overstated by 8.7%, $296 456 … (3717740 − 3421284); & total expenses, after omitting Central Services & the unaudited depreciation charge, are overstated by 10.0%, $298 645 … (3293787 − (3575200 − 500868 − 79190)). (CS omitted coz it’s the same in both docs.)
Explanation of the anomalous understatement, of Pacifica expenses: NETA haven’t followed the FY2019 auditor’s treatment of Democracy Now! forgiving Pacifica’s $2 361 828 debt (p. 4; p. 6 of the PDF). The auditor has it ‘below the line’, the net income line, as an extraordinary item, a contra against what was hitherto a liability; whereas NETA, in the monthlies, contradicts this by having it within the net income statement, as a contra (of debt incurred eons ago) against FY2019’s total programming charge, making it a huge negative number, of more than $1.5m – albeit understated by exactly $36k, for an undisclosed reason.
In the public record, no-one, on a LSB finance cttee, the PNB Finance Cttee, or the PNB, has pointed any of this out.
• P#5 … As a complement, in the Aug2021 monthlies, the FY2020 comparative hasn’t been restated in the light of the findings by that year’s auditor. Consider these four examples, with the Aug2021 monthlies carrying overstated FY2020 primary totals. For Pacifica: total revenue is overstated by 7.6%, $879 936 … (12386996 − 11507060); & total expenses, after omitting the audited depreciation charge, are overstated by 3.6%, $403 720 … (11491271 − (11241966 − 154415)). For KPFK: total revenue, after adding PPP #1 as a grant, is overstated by 20.9%, $551 236 … ((2793326 + 393653) − 2635743); & total expenses, after omitting the audited depreciation charge, are overstated by 4.9%, $159 774 … (3435348 − ( 3291035 − 15461)). https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf
The main explanation for the anomalous KPFK revenue overstatement is that the unit-level net income statement in the FY2020 auditor’s report has all of PPP #1 posted to PNO; for an undisclosed reason, the parcelling out to the units has been deemed secondary, & so with PNO being the middleman that’s the unit treated as the recipient of the grant. As such, the most public of Pacifica’s financial documents carries a material distortion of revenue effectively received by the units.
The distribution of PPP #1 (& #2, for that matter) hasn’t been made public. But in the NETA monthlies are the Jan2021 & Aug2021 totals for ‘Miscellaneous/Other Income’, within which they’re posted. The Jan2021 totals per the July monthlies, the latest to have PPP #1 posted within FY2021: KPFA $440 828.47, KPFK $393 653.02, KPFT $58 199, WPFW $141 119.64, WBAI $126 557.47, PNO $50 180.54, PRA $46 755.67, consolidated as $1 257 293.81. That’s $663.81 more than the loan – and, indeed, that’s the figure left in the Jan2021 statement of the Aug2021 monthlies, when PPP #1 was deleted from the FY2021 consolidated & put in the FY2020 one. With no other info, in the KPFK computation above, the perhaps overstated $393 653 has been used.
• P#6 … Finally, to return to a Pacifica darling, PAN, Ruedenberg’s baby. In the Aug2021 monthlies, comparing the consolidated & PAN statements, the former’s ‘Income from Affiliates’ is understated by $20k: May2021, $2 192 per consolidated statement, $20 192 per PAN statement; & July2021, $10 852 per consolidated, $12 852 per PAN (when applicable, per May/June/July/Aug2021 monthlies). Guess Ursula not pulling her weight again – as well as everyone else reviewing the draft before duly authorised distribution to their high excellencies.
Given the silence, a warranted digression: ever wondered how much PAN pulls? An average of $2.50 per affiliate per day. That’s the price ED Brazon thinks the affiliates can bear – for broadcasting & streaming Pacifica programmes, even done at the same time as a Pacifica station (the FY2019 contract, unpaginated, being p. 1 of the PDF: https://pacificanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Agreement-FY19.pdf). Calculation re the 233 affiliates: per the PAN net income statement in the Aug2021 monthlies, annualised revenue is $ (194646 ÷ 11) x 12 = $212 341 … ÷ 233 = $911 (sic) per affiliate per year … ÷ 365 = $2.496 = $2.50 per affiliate per day. A bottle of water? PAN = BWP. [UPDATE . . . the Sep2021 monthlies became available 30Nov, & per the PAN net income statement, the figure went up to $2.76 … 234473 ÷ 233 = $1006 per affiliate per year … ÷ 365 = $2.757 = $2.76 per affiliate per day. https://mega.nz/folder/RR8XmaAB#kEhHjAFTec2X_Z6CzAC5dw/file/xFk2QQ7T ]
At the mo, of the 233, only three outside the US (Liberia, France, Switzerland). So, John Lennon, & as an accident of the denary number system, 1000 x $5 x 365 = $1.825m pa … so x8.6 … or 2000 x $2.5 x 365 = $1.825m pa … going global, not just the anglophone world, but where English is a working language, a proper Pacifica marketing campaign could convince 750 stations somewhere in the world, yes? As PacificaWatch has been arguing, do that signal-swap, release that cash, implement a Pacifica network development plan.
• These are just a sample of the problems with the NETA-produced monthlies, & they’ll have to be discussed properly in another post. The lesson, analogously, caveat emptor.
KPFK revenue structure
• For context, what’s the scale of KPFK revenue, & how does it compare with the other stations? Given KPFK’s revenue collapse in FY2021 we should focus on that year, putting the previous one aside. We also need to clear away confusing leaves, omitting windfalls, such as PPP forgiven debt, & bequests. KPFK’s annualised adjusted total revenue for FY2021 is ~$2.4m, per the unaudited Aug2021 NETA monthlies. As per the estimated FY2021 net income statements presented in ‘Discussion: General’, the Pacifica revenue order is: KPFA $3.4m, KPFK $2.4m, KPFT $0.55m, WPFW $1.5m, WBAI $1.2m. So, KPFK < WPFW + WBAI. (Note, this $2.4m figure, for the whole of FY2021, is materially different from the $1.7m estimated in this post for the currentrate of annual revenue generation. This shows the need for being attentive to what one is addressing, how it’s conceptualised, & the questions crafted.)
• At KPFK, what proportion of revenue comes from LSD, listener support & donations? Inspecting the unaudited Aug2021 monthlies, with little confidence that postings to some of the different revenue categories are materially accurate (has Pacifica ever had an internal auditor?), other than LSD the station relies more on scrap metal than being in the wonderful world of public charities fed by grantors. Using ‘Listener Support’ alone as the proxy for LSD, as discussed in ‘Assumptions: revenue’, & assuming $48k for September (as per the lowest, April), that’s ~$1 591 147 for the year. And assuming $88k total for September (48k + 30k website income + 10k car donations), & removing the two PPP amounts, adjusted total revenue is ~$2 414 408. So LSD is ~65.9%.
For all the stations, audited FY2020: KPFA 63.1%, KPFK 74.0%, KPFT 86.8%, WPFW 94.3%, WBAI 98.7%. (In station order, LSD: $2 190 787, 1 951 112, 601 308, 1 315 134, 1 230 132; total revenue: $3 469 457, 2 635 743, 692 815, 1 393 924, 1 245 732.)
So KPFK’s unaudited year-on-year fall in LSD is ~$359 965, ~18.4% … (1951112 − 1591147) ÷ 1951112 = 359965 ÷ 1951112.
Relying on one revenue stream is intrinsically risky. But this is how Pacifica started off, how the organisation was designed. Later, to sustain a workforce of 150 & more, it became reliant on grants, not least from the Feds. With the last CPB grant being received c. Oct2012 (with the Mar2013 payment withheld, then cancelled), it’s been back to the LSD. Supplemented, of course, by the ray of sunshine emanating from the membership’s age structure, the upside of the downside, the grateful dead, the bequests – the Necro-economics of the Golden Corpses. The drying up of both has caused the current flood of pain. And across the Styx, as far as ever, lies the promise of the Bio-economics of the Network Development Plan.
The politics of revenue streams
In PacificaWorld, where money comes from in a contested topic, it’s a politics. Given this, & given the cash crisis, it would be helpful if those who decry advertising, the reality of the euphemistic underwriting (Saint Greta Grace & the multitude), & those who decry grants (Jonathan Markowitz et al.), present feasible 3, 6, 12, & 18 mth plans – with implementation of all having already started yesterday – of how to power a radio station by what is a revenue stream turning into a trickle. That would put meat on the bare bone of a sincerely held value, give it some substance & relevance in what is a political struggle conditioned by forces regulated by the material imperatives of an obdurate generative reality that becomes recalcitrant when challenged – not least in the case of the social law of money, exercised in capitalist society partly thru the institution of the court allowing a creditor to claim their cash. Pacifica listeners, members, & staff deserve more than rhetoric.
How should PPP #1 as income be accounted for: for all the units or just PNO?
Most peeps don’t think about accounting & auditing, & if they do they assume it’s pretty black & white (or black & red). Numbers. But they aren’t always as ‘hard’ as they seem – especially when different words can be harnessed to them. Conveying the most salient meaning is an achievement. There are accounting & auditing standards, quite detailed, but they necessarily embody some incompleteness & also ambiguity. All this means judgement is always involved, in conditions where material interests are at stake (such as wanting to be hired for the next audit), & so at work when they’re recognised. Enron isn’t unique. Choice, albeit bounded, is existential.
It popped up in FY2018, in how to account for the disposal of the ‘Nakapon’ land & building, Berkeley: should it be treated as a KPFA asset or a Pacifica asset? The PNB decided Pacifica, & the PNO accounting unit was used. https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2018.pdf (p. 31; p. 34 of the PDF)
A choice also arose in FY2020, with the forgiven PPP #1 loan, an after year-end event, transforming the sum from a liability into grant income. And it draws attention to the difference between financial accounting & management accounting. Concerning the former, the event appears, correctly, in the Pacifica net income statement, within ‘Grants and contributions’ (p. 5; p. 7 of the PDF). But there’s a choice in how to treat it in the net income statement of the ‘Supplementary Information’, the unit level disaggregation (p. 34; p. 37 of the PDF). Should it be PNO’s income, or split up according to how much went to each of the seven units? https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf
Well, it depends on the primary meaning one wants to convey, this an expression of the primary semantic purpose, be it chosen or a default of orthodox training. If it’s shown as PNO income – as it was – then the windfall goes no further, it doesn’t pump up station (& PRA) income, so it shows them without that one-off distortion. But the reader of the statement needs to be aware that this has happened, that lacking the subsequent distribution it shows both an understatement of effective station (& PRA) total revenue, & an overstatement for PNO. That there was a choice, was never publicly discussed – probably coz no director or other delegate understood what was in front of their eyes.
EIDL, praps $2m – not an income (it’s a 30-yr loan), but seen by some as a saviour
• “As part of its underwriting, SBA will perform a cash flow analysis to confirm the business’ ability to repay the proposed COVID EIDL loan as well as its existing debt obligations. Once Applicant completed the inputs for revenues, COGS [cost of goods sold], expenses as appropriate, the system will automatically calculate the maximum eligible loan amount.” (unpaginated, p. 5 of the PDF, emphases added). Oh. Current liabilities are those falling due within 12mths, & since 31Oct2021 the $3.165m owed to FJC, is a . . . current liability. Double oh. (And, yet again, the capitalist state gets sight of info denied to the plebs, milked for their flow of cash to Pacifica Foundation, Inc.) https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2021-09/Supplemental-Checklist-COVID-EIDL-intake%20form-090821-508.pdf
• But it doesn’t stop there: “[t]he information contained in this schedule is a supplement to your balance sheet and should balance to the liabilities presented on that form”. Oh. So NETA has to get all the station data, & PNO & PRA & PAN; do all the reconciliations for the eight units; then make eight unit trial balances; before producing a consolidated trial balance; & finally turning this into both a Pacifica balance sheet & a Pacifica net income statement. Big oh. (And NETA tell us that KPFA is holding up a prelim like the monthlies. And NETA tell all & sundry that at this time a balance sheet can’t possibly be produced for a station, let alone for Pacifica – that sort of work can only be done once all the preparations have been made for a visit by the doctor auditor.)
Concerning the lil matter of current items, Dr & Cr, the last balance sheet date at which Pacifica had audited liquidity, the luxury of working capital, an excess of current assets over current liabilities, was 30Sep2009. Yes, 2009. (Working capital is a difference: the phrase isn’t a synonym of cash.) https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php
Hang on a sec. The application for the extra $1.5m could have gone in straight after 8Sep, if Pacifica was ready? Does this matter? After all, two months later, at the PNB Finance Cttee last Tuesday, 9Nov, ED Brazon was still flapping about: “we will be submitting on paper 2 million realizing that 350 – well, that 500,000, urgh, is, um – it-it would be reduced by, and, um, and see how much of that is, um, you know, we end up getting. So, we’re in the process of-of doing that […] we will be, argh, subsequently applying for, um, more of the loan […] and we wanna do this before the [calendar] year-end, so we are, argh, anxious to move ahead with that” (36:18, emphases added). https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/211109/finance211109a.mp3
Guess Lydia, 9Nov, saying “we will be, argh, subsequently applying for, um, more of the loan […] and we wanna do this before the year-end”, doesn’t cut it, does it?
KPFK expenses structure
• For context, what’s the scale of KPFK expenses, & how does it compare with the other stations?
KPFK’s annualised total expenses for FY2021 are ~$3.15m, as per the estimated FY2021 net income statements presented in ‘Discussion: General’, using the unaudited Aug2021 NETA monthlies (the monthlies exclude the depreciation charge: audited FY2020 totalled $154 415, with just over half at KPFA, & KPFK’s being $15 461 – auditor’s report, p. 36, being p. 39 of the PDF, https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf).
Total expenses = Central Services expense + other expenses. So . . .
The monthly CS charge (the set persisting contrary to the formula adopted 18Feb2021 by the PNB – on which more anon): KPFA $39 288, KPFK $41 739, KPFT $13 469, WPFW $17 348, WBAI $21 112. So, annual charge: KPFA $471 456, KPFK $500 868, KPFT $161 628, WPFW $208 176, WBAI $253 344.
And non-CS expenses for FY2021, in rough terms: KPFA $3.20m, KPFK $2.65m, KPFT $0.54m, WPFW $1.35m, WBAI $1.41m.
As context, all the stations, audited FY2020: KPFA 65.4%, KPFK 62.4%, KPFT 32.8% (sic), WPFW 44.7%, WBAI 36.4%. ‘Cut to the bone’ = no workers. (In station order, personnel costs: $2 282 066, 2 054 311, 248 216, 598 427, 674 704; total expenses: $3 489 553, 3 291 035, 755 945, 1 509 889, 1 645 202.)
This is even more obvious when seeing personnel costs as a proportion of non-Central Services expenses, ‘the station free of the shackles’, as is the wont of the KPFA breakers. So, witness audited FY2020: KPFA 75.6%, KPFK 73.6%, KPFT 41.8%, WPFW 46.0%, WBAI 48.5%. (CS: $471 456, 500 868, 161 628, 208 176, 253 344; non-CS expenses: $3 018 097, 2 790 167, 594 317, 1 301 713, 1 391 858.)
Other KPFK personnel details are in the appendix, ‘how many employees work at KPFK? the average personnel cost?’.
• What’s the proportion incurred by Central Services expense?
Audited FY2020: 15.2% ($500 868)
All the stations, audited FY2020: KPFA 13.5%, KPFK 15.2%, KPFT 21.4%, WPFW 13.8%, WBAI 15.4%. Source as above. With KPFA revenue rising, & the fixed sum CS expense starting 1Oct2014, to the rich the riches! Whilst KPFT gets the tumbleweed – and has no cash for relocation. (But at least they have the porch – at home, not at the station.) Why even have a flat rate tax when you can go turbo regressive with fixed sum? So-called neoliberalism in spades! To get rich is glorious!
An even more appalling index of this reactionary nonsense is the ratio of CS expense to programming expenses. The ‘happy news’ folk trumpet Charity Navigator ratings, & say potential grantors like something or other to do with programming spend. So, CS as a proportion of programming, FY2020: KPFA 22.6%, KPFK 29.5%, KPFT 78.5%, WPFW 41.7%, WBAI 40.6%. This shows how wrong is the fiscal structure of Pacifica, how reactionary it is.
In fact that self-claimed “world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator” (“About Us”) hasn’t updated their computation of Pacifica’s programming expense as a proportion of total expenses: the given 44.4% is the average of the 2016-2018 Form 990’s, whereas that of the 2017-2019 ones is 45.6% (the last uses the FY2020 audited data) – https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/941347046.
Reinforcing this message is comparing programming spend with CS, the absolute amount. Programming: the mantra for Pacifica’s renaissance. And yet . . . and yet . . . For FY2020, KPFT’s excess of programming over CS was a mere $44 233 (205861 − 161628); for KPFA it was $1 617 391 (2088847 − 471456). A remarkable x36.6 – the remuneration structure of a Chinese factory. Blaming the poor. Blaming the victims of a lack of a Pacifica network development plan. Leaving Pacifica as an archipelago, stations all strung out – an aggregation, not a network. But congratulating WPFW for being one of Lydia’s green shoots. That’s as coherent as the laissez-faire Pacifica gets.
• What’s the proportion incurred by non-Central Services expenses? The inverse.
So, for audited FY2020, 84.8%.
All the stations, audited FY2020: KPFA 86.5%, KPFK 84.8%, KPFT 78.6%, WPFW 86.2%, WBAI 84.6%. Source, as above.
The new Central Services policy, 18Feb2021 – never implemented, but how much would it have saved KPFK thru 30Sep2021?
• the PNB unanimously adopted a new CS policy 18Feb2021 – but it’s never been implemented. If it had been, KPFK would have saved an unaudited ~$78 802 19Feb-30Sep2021. Why has no-one at KPFK pointed this out – and acted upon it?
KPFK’s Central Services charge changed with effect from 19Feb because of the new PNB formula unanimously adopted the evening before. The new policy, in full:
[t]hat the central services formula be based on 15% of total revenue of the stations calculated quarterly. All revenue is to be included in the calculations; however the cost of air conditioning for Pacifica Radio Archives shall be deducted from KPFK’s revenue, and the tower, studio and office rent for all stations shall be deducted from their revenue.
However, CFO Anita Sims & ED Lydia Brazon have chosen not to implement it. No director or other LSB delegate has informed the public of this fact – or explained their quiescence to this insubordination. More tail wagging the dog. Not even a reprimand, let alone a punishment. The directors, allowing their instruments to abdicate their responsibilities & duties. Another example of not even taking their own decisions seriously – just like with their 11June2020 policy on loss-making stations. To be honest, they’re LARP’ers. But all is not lost: they could make a show of sincerity, of authenticity – donning clown costumes.
old CS policy: annual charge = $500 868, so period = ~⅝ x 500868 = ~$313 043 (Incidently, this annual charge is ~29.9% of the estimated annualised current revenue of $1 674 811, quite different from 15%. Paying twice as much.)
new CS policy: period = ~½ Jan-Mar charge + Apr-June charge + July-Sep charge
= ~60084 + ~98490 + 75667 = ~$234 241
savings = ~313043 − ~234241 = ~$78 802 = ~$80k
So, a ~$80k saving that no-one at KPFK is talking about, with no public evidence that they even know it exists.
• Workings re new policy:
Jan-Mar2021 charge determined by total revenue Oct-Dec2020:
Oct-Dec2020 net total revenue = (399393 + 103528 + 315949) − ((3 x 4000, PRA electricity) + (3 x 1919, tower rent)) = 818870 − 17757 = $801 113
0.15 x 801113 = $120 167, & ÷ 3 = $40 056 per month
Apr-June2021 charge determined by total revenue Jan-Mar2021:
Jan-Mar2021 net total revenue = ((541145 − ~393653) + 305355 + 221567) − ((3 x 4000) + (3 x 1937)) = ~674414 − 17811 = ~$656 603
0.15 x ~656603 = ~$98 490, & ÷ 3 = ~$32 830 per month
charge = ~$98 490
Note: per the Aug2021 NETA monthlies, the PPP #1 still sits in the Jan2021 column ($393 653) of the KPFK net income statement, so this had to be deducted. (As already mentioned, thru the June2021 monthlies the Jan2021 total was different, $322 201; then in the July 2021 set it went up $71 452. No-one on the PNB Finance Cttee publicly asked why this happened.)
July-Sep2021 charge determined by total revenue Apr-June2021:
Apr-June2021 net total revenue = (107683 + 261975 + 152598) − ((3 x 4000) + (3 x 1937)) = 522256 − 17811 = $504 445
0.15 x 504445 = $75 667, & ÷ 3 = $25 222 per month
charge = $75 667
A note on the Central Services charge
The monthly Central Services charge: KPFA $39 288, KPFK $41 739, KPFT $13 469, WPFW $17 348, WBAI $21 112. (Serving as these incomes: PNO $115 576, PRA $17 380 – total $132 956.) Expressed as an annual charge: KPFA $471 456, KPFK $500 868, KPFT $161 628, WPFW $208 176, WBAI $253 344. (Incomes: PNO $1 386 912, PRA $208 560 – total $1 595 472.)
In FY2014 the annual total levy was higher, by $75 955, & for all stations except for WBAI (the current annual charge is in brackets): total, $1 671 427 ($1 595 472); KPFA, $487 312 ($471 456); KPFK, $524 874 ($500 868); KPFT, $193 286 ($161 628); WPFW, $245 995 ($208 176); WBAI, $219 960 ($253 344). What does this mean? Four stations shared the benefit of the $75 955 for each of the last 7yrs – plus sharing the benefit of the extra $33 384 levied each year upon WBAI. The total 7yr benefit for KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, & WPFW is $765 373, $191 343 per station, $27 335 per station per year.
WBAI’s charge rising in FY2015, at the very moment its financial crisis was extending & intensifying, is just more evidence in support of the idea, consistently propagated by PacificaWatch, that the distorting charges/benefits resulting from the initial endowment of a station be stripped from its management accounts & dumped in PNO – for example, WPFW & WBAI continue to suffer the double whammy of not just effectively subsidising KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT for enjoying Pacifica property rent-free, but having to pay their own rent for buildings & tower. That’s one reason why it’s superficial, & misleading, for Chris Cory, Sharon Adams, & Sabrina Jacobs, all of KPFA, to repeatedly castigate some stations for being less productive, inefficient, performing badly, barbs laced with digits plucked from the published station-level monetary data. Cary Grant.
The formula 1Oct2014-18Feb2021, at some point, seems to have been 15% of station listener support & donations – CFO Sims (3:31), 24Nov2020 PNB Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/201124/finance201124b.mp3. But who quantified the LSD sums subjected to the 15% appropriator, & when? That is, are they as per auditor’s report, produced whenever (for example, the FY2015 one is dated 7Aug2017)? – or is each an unaudited figure self-declared by the neutral station bookkeeper, hired by the station manager? And who decided never to change the 1Oct2014 charge level, even when NETA started producing monthly net income statements?
It’s also the case that the CS charge is somewhat nominal, in that at year-end a reconciliation isn’t made between the total charge & the actual expenses incurred, to result in either a rebate or a levy supplement for the stations. (Has it ever been done?)
The charge started being incurred by PAN on 1Oct2020, when it became an accounting unit independent of PNO. However, its size was never discussed by the PNB Finance Cttee, according to the public record, so presumably it was simply chosen, on whatever ground, by CFO Anita Sims, whenever. Also, at $26k thru Aug2021, it’s so low that it was decided, by whoever, not to reduce the station charges.
Note on the budget-formation process … The current PNB Finance Cttee practice is back-to-front: it first looks at station draft budgets before, if ever, getting to PNO. Hello! The need for a station/PAN levy exists coz PNO doesn’t have enough endogenous revenue to fund pan-Pacifica expenses. So just to be rational – that old-fashioned idea – one starts with PNO, with its estimate of coming year expenses, less estimated revenue, & that establishes the non-discretionary expense, as it were, that the units have to cover before allocating their discretionary spend. Quite simple, really. But then the directors, ED, & CFO would have to transform the obdurate generative reality, with all its recalcitrance: the Pacifica dynamic of weak centre & largely unchallenged fiefdoms. Given their enduring capitulation, that’s why the current budget-formation process is both substantively & formally irrational. (It would also require ED Brazon to take the lead – which she has consistently proved incapable of doing since taking office on 5Dec2019 – https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_191205.pdf.)
General, a return: to what extent does the KPFK revenue structure satisfy the expenses structure?
audited FY2020: 70.0% … 1951112 ÷ (3291035 − 500868) … a material deficiency. (Same net income statement in the auditor’s report cited.)
unaudited FY2021: ~60.0% … ~1591147 ÷ (~3151239 − 500868) … falling towards only half of those expenses.
• To what extent does LSD cover personnel costs?
As context, current personnel costs are what percentage of current expenses? It was argued – not asserted – in ‘Assumptions: Expenses’ that current expenses be calculated as the average of the June, July, & August 2021 totals, per the August monthlies. So, current personnel costs, annualised = 12 x 119411 = $1 432 932 … where 119411 = ⅓ (120690 + 113290 + 124253. And current total expenses, annualised = 12 x 244684 = $2 936 208 … where 244684 = ⅓ (242434 + 254872 + 236746). So, percentage = 48.8%.
Given that the Central Services charge has a certain arbitrariness about it (as discussed above), what context is provided by the relationship of personnel costs to total non-CS expenses? Current total non-CS expenses, annualised = 12 x 202945 = $2 435 340 … where 202945 = 244684 − 41739. So, percentage = 58.8%. Exactly 10 percentage points higher.
So, to the question posed: to what extent does LSD cover personnel costs?
Audited FY2020: 95.0% … 1951112 ÷ 2054311 … LSD wasn’t enough. And that leaves all the other expenses untouched, to be paid for by some other revenue stream: scrap metal, advertising, grants – and the miraculous windfalls (pp. 34 & 36; pp. 37 & 39 of the PDF).
Unaudited FY2021: ~92.7% … ~1591147 ÷ (1597151 thru Aug + ~120k Sep) … LSD is a lil bit more off.
. . . and the labours of Sisyphus continue in PacificaWorld:
the next fund-drive, which is gunna be, um, December 7 until the 22 [from a Tuesday to a Wednesday, 16 days]
•A• Appendix: how many employees work at KPFK? the average personnel cost?
How many employees work at KPFK? More particularly, how many full-time equivalents (FTE)?
Never easy to find out. A common ploy of the Pacifica secrecy culture is to hide behind the closed meetings rule grounded in the 1934 Communications Act, & so appearing in the CPB’s rules. And, yes, it does indeed refer to personnel matters. So in the meetings archive we readily get talk such as this: “[m]eeting to discuss confidential personnel issues at KPFK, proprietary business issues at KPFT and other legal and personnel issues” (Th21Oct2021 PNB, emphases added) – https://kpftx.org/archive.php. Peeps switch into panic mode: there’ll be litigation! – although no-one ever cites a case sparked by what’s in an audiofile. (In PacificaWorld, fear does a lot of work – without too much effort.) But few ever read the relevant Comms Act passage: a valid ground for a closed session is “to consider matters relating to individual employees” (§ 396(k)(4), emphasis added; p. 216) – so not ‘relating to employees’, & not ‘personnel’ which can be interpreted to include anyone working for Pacifica, so including contractors – Comms Act is embedded at https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/pacifica-sources/pacifica-documentary-sources/. (Obvious didactic prescription: Pacifica management should post in the meetings archive a legal opinion, one using a minimum of five borderline scenarios, as well as case law, to illustrate the boundaries of the “individual employees” concept. But this won’t happen, will it?)
But recent info is dispersed around:
• Obviously Pacifica isn’t organised enuf to have a basic like an annual report. (Intrinsically dangerous in simply being something written down; worse still in serving as a benchmark for evaluating peeps like the directors, ED, CFO, station managers, etc.) But whilst respect for the members is missing, it’s there for the arm of the state, such as the IRS, who demand such reports. So the 2019 Form 990 says, “[t]otal number of individuals employed in calendar year 2019 [is] 167” (unpaginated; p. 1 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/2020-990.pdf. Useful in a way, but doesn’t give the FTE total – & includes those only employed for a day (it doesn’t say ‘the average number …’).
• At the 20Oct2019 KPFK LSB, just after the raid on WBAI, Grace ‘I have always exercised my fiduciary duty to the utmost’ Aaron (1:25:24) gave pan-Pacifica info, down to 2 decimal places (sic). She had examined “payroll from the second-half of June 2019”, extracting these data (‘ees, FTE): KPFA 47, 31; KPFK 35, 26.21; KPFT 4, 3.38; WPFW, 11, 7.87; WBAI 11, 7.57. Total: 108 ‘ees, 76.03 FTE. (She mis-spoke at the end, meaning ‘KPFA has x4 the FTE of WBAI’.) (Big gap here between the 108 & the 167 just cited – even when adding in PNO, & the 4 at PRA. Irreconcilable, yes?) https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/191020/kpfk191020a.mp3
And the average personnel cost? The FY2019 personnel costs are found in three sources, that give slightly different figures: an expenses statement in the FY2019 auditor’s report dated 29Apr2021 (p. 35; p. 38 of the PDF), which in giving a disclaimer of opinion means all the figures provided by NETA are unaudited (pp. 1 & 2; pp. 3 & 4 of the PDF); & the Nov2020 & May2021 sets of unaudited NETA monthlies (Nov2020 is the earliest set in the public domain; May2021 is the last one to give FY2019 as a comparative).
Unaudited, per the FY2019 auditor’s report (p. 35; p. 38 of the PDF; there was a disclaimer of opinion upon the NETA-produced statements): KPFA $2 215 341, KPFK $2 015 667, KPFT $250 167, WPFW $681 384, WBAI $728 030 (the other accounting units are PNO $524 506, & PRA $279 310; the seven totalling $6 694 405).
Applying the Aaron FTE figures: KPFA $71 463, KPFK $76 905, KPFT $74 014, WPFW $86 580, WBAI $96 173 (can the last two be true?); the five stations, $5 890 589 ÷ 76.03= $77 477. Given the limitations of the evidence used, if a prudent single figure is to be offered, $75k wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Interestingly, the first three, those with their own bookkeeper, are different from the NETA monthlies, which themselves can vary (first the Nov2020 set, then May2021): KPFA $2 235 652 & $2 212 213, KPFK $1 976 259 & $2 017 857, KPFT $251 581 & $250 167, WPFW $681 384 for both, WBAI $728 030 for both. (The differences: KPFA, May2021 gives $23 439 less than Nov2020, & the FY2019 auditor’s report gives $3 128 more than May2021; KPFK, +$41 598, −$2 190; KPFT, −$1 414, 0; WPFW, 0, 0; WBAI, 0, 0; so May2021 is $16 745 more than Nov2020, & the NETA statement in the NY2019 auditor’s report is $938 more than May2021.)
• At the Su15Dec2019 KPFK LSB, then station manager Anyel ‘who cares if KPFK keeps losing money, I’m just the GM’ Fields (1:17:47) gave some personnel info: “the median [annual] income for a full-time employee at KPFK is $50 639; part-time employee is $32 635″ (emphasis added). Notice the choice of concept: “income” – not personnel costs. So what may be the median annual personnel costs? The latest monthlies giving monthly statements for FY2020 are those for May2021. KPFK’s net income statement for Dec2019 gives ‘Salaries’, presumably Fields’ “income”, as ~73.9% of the total personnel costs of $177 166. The composition: ‘Salaries’ $130 983, ‘Health Benefits’ $31 218, ‘Pension Contributions’ $2 648, ‘403B [Pension] Contributions’ $1 374, ‘Child Care’ $890, ‘Payroll Taxes – FICA’ $10 018, ‘Payroll Taxes – SUI’ $36. Applying this 73.9% proportion, Fields’ median annual personnel cost may be $68 494 (50639 ÷ 0.739). https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/191215/kpfk191215a.mp3
(The median is a kind of average: it’s the one in the middle, with as many terms bigger than it as there are smaller than it. The best-known average is the (arithmetic) mean, the sum of the terms divided by the number of terms; another is the mode, the most frequent value. Presumably GM Fields chose as his measure the unusual median coz it came out lower than the mean – just like choosing “income” rather than personnel cost. Have to stay alert in PacificaWorld, peeps.)
GM Fields added: “KPFK has 23, urgh, full-time employees and 10 part-time, and a handful of temp employees that we bring in during fund-drives or in other extraordinary circumstances” (1:18:55). The only way to square this with Saint Grace’s report about the late June2019 data, 6mths before, “35 total staff, 26.21 full-time equivalents”, is that the 10 or so part-time workers amount to 3.2 FTE, so averaging ~1½days per week. Plausible?
• The penultimate info, quite revealing, comes from Mark Torres, Director of the Pacifica Radio Archives. He presented their FY2021 budget to the 13Apr2021 PNB Finance Cttee (33:35). He said there are four “staff”: MT himself; Shawn Dellis (“administrative officer”), Mariana Berkovich (“business manager”), Edgar Toledo (“production director”; also “an expert in tape transfer”). All very comfortable. So PRA get to have a business manager but KPFK doesn’t? Raising the question: where’s ED Brazon’s assessment doc that rejected NETA taking over this very low volume transaction operation?
Per the Aug2021 NETA monthlies, there’s only one month a year – the PRA fund-drive (one day?) – when revenue, other than from Central Services (& windfalls like PPP #1 & #2), exceeds $15k, with two $10k-15k, the rest less than $6k. Meaning, the usual working day brings in ~$279. I kid you not. Poor Mariana. Frazzled. All that managing. Relieved whenever the clock strikes five. But every vacation ruined, dreading the return to the backlog.
PRA’s average takings of $279: the 11mth revenue (excluding the Central Services stream) = $225 710 … less (Nov2020 fund-drive + PPP #1 & #2) = $67 437 … ÷ 11 = $6 131 pm … ÷ 22 = $279 per working day. Poor Mariana, worked off her lil feet.
And Pacifica Affiliates Network isn’t that much better: its revenue rate is only x3 of that $279: PAN generates an average of ~$2.50 per calendar day from each of the current 233 affiliates, ~$212k a year. So, apart from CS & PPP, total revenue of PRA + PAN ≃ $ (64k drive + 74k other) + 212k = ~$350k. https://pacificanetwork.org/stations-2/
Guess Mark forgot to mention how intense things are at PRA when he chatted with the PNB Finance Cttee in April. And the directors & other LSB delegates didn’t know to ask.
But I digress. The point is that these four specialised, quite experienced workers bear annualised personnel costs of ~$263 438. An average of ~$65 860. (Per Aug2021 monthlies: $237218 + the omitted Aug health benefits, 4267 (without a NETA note it’s prudent not to rely on an adjustment occurring) = $241 485, then annualised, & divided by 4.) This is $10k or so less than that using the June2019 Aaron figures. Yet one would think these PRA workers would earn above average pay, yes? Odd.
• Finally, what did station manager Miquel say at the PNB meeting yesterday? “[W]e are about 15 staff members […] we are 15” (17:38 & 18:21 into the KPFK item). Really? And he means the 15 are all full-time? No part-time?
August’s personnel costs, which in being higher than any month since March may include severance costs, were $124 253, an annualised $1 491 036 … ÷ 15 = $99 402 per ‘ee for the year. Plausible? So take the lowest monthly of FY2021, July, $113 290. Annualised as $1 359 480 … ÷ 15 = $90 632. Again, plausible? Ok, let’s say all these months have severance, & assume current monthly costs of the 15 as $100k (making monthly severance costs since March, $13k-24k), so an annualised $1.2m … ÷ 15 = $80k. Well, maybe still on the high side – and is monthly severance of the order of $20k? And we need to keep in mind the other estimates: Aaron’s June2019 ~$75k, & PRA’s FY2021 ~$66k – and Fields’ median of perhaps $68½k.
A public comment was made, on the fly, at the Su12Sep2021 KPFK LSB (2:07:03, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kdelegates/210912/kdelegates210912a.mp3). Listening to the meeting, & what hadn’t been said, a comment had to be made. In the rush, one clause was incomplete; that’s been rectified in this somewhat augmented re-write. The immediate context was an emergency LSB meeting to replace a prominent breaker, Jim Osborne, who resigned as a listener-delegate, & so as a Pacifica director, a few days before, on Th9Sep. He, like most of the breaker delegates Pacifica-wide, had withdrawn from most of the meetings since the referenda results, M12July – no doubt working on getting the breaker vote out in the current LSB delegate elections . . . mixed in with spending more time with the next group writing another parachute, a new constitution for Pacifica, benignly termed, in Pacificese, a set of proposed by-law amendments.
It was noticeable that not one director candidate (nor anyone in the earlier public comment) stressed that what Pacifica needs today are plans & their execution. In other words, (1) Executive Director Lydia Brazon has been derelict in not producing plans, and (2) the directors constituting the National Board have been derelict in the legal sense (as they’re the carers of the charity’s assets) in not ensuring that ED Brazon has both produced plans & executed them.
Plans have to be of different durations: one, three, & five years. Today there are five most urgent plans: one for Pacifica as a whole; a plan addressing the $3.165m due to FJC by 30Oct2022 (especially given that FJC only allow a loan to last five years, so to 1Apr2023); a financial plan to eliminate losses at KPFK; ditto one for KPFT; ditto one for WBAI.
This will necessarily mean a planned transfer of Pacifica’s fundraising proceeds from KPFA to allow all Pacifica stations to have a station manager & enough staff to adequately do the work of station development & growth, so focusing on programming, outreach, fundraising, & business. This is the minimum perpetual station staff complement of any functioning radio network – Pacifica cannot be reduced to an aggregation of stations, of fiefdoms.
The directors need to take control, making the ED (& the Chief Financial Officer) their instrument; likewise, the ED needs to ensure that the five station managers implement her plans. Both relationships are required to allow the testing of ideas for Pacifica’s development & growth, concretised in plans that are democratically adopted & made public. It’s also one way that Pacifica member decision-makers, & senior employees & contractors, can be made accountable to the members & listeners, those who either elect them or pay their wages. This is all basic. One may call this rational arrangement democratic centralism.
But can the political conditions be created for this? – not least because the breaker momentum is likely to result in them controlling from Jan2022 the PNB & three local station boards, allowing them to ram thru all the by-law amendments they want that don’t need a national membership vote; plus them creating a 23rd at-large director; plus a PNB-directed ED taking over any of KPFK, KPFT, & WBAI as emergency austerity operations.
Without comprehensive public statements (that is, policies) of what the directors want to achieve, & so what the ED has to plan & execute, (1) the directors & the ED are largely unaccountable for their acts of commission & omission, & (2) the intent of all concerned isn’t transparent. That’s why these plans have to be made public.
Instead, what we have is firefighting: living at the level of events, not structures. Choosing not to develop a vision, choosing not to exercise foresight. Refusing to make the necessaryhard decisions. Objectively, the anti-breakers function as breakers, jeopardising both individual stations & Pacifica as a network.
Deficiencies & absences. Helping to explain why Pacifica is largely run not as a public charity but as a private club.
[This would have taken 3¾mins to read; so ~30secs a para.]
. . . a double-edged sword, putting off uncomfortable decisions . . . (image courtesy of David Jacques, Oil is the Devil’s Excrement) . . .
• the need to end de facto federalism
• the need for a network development plan
• KPFA: five-year $643k total net loss, yet personnel costs out of control
• only guarantee of quick cash is from a signal-swap: but where?
• the second $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program loan, Jan2021
• Pacificans get their tax-$$$ back: perhaps $2.56m [UPDATE: actually $2.64m]
• digression: how can NETA be saving Pacifica money?
In Sierra Leone, diamonds are known as the Devil child, eggs laid by the Devil.
The Iraqi lamented, if only we had had onion fields, not oil fields.
The ‘father of OPEC’, Venezuelan oil minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, even entitled one of his books, Hundiéndonos en el excremento del diablo – Sinking in the Devil’s Excrement.
And PacificaWorld? It has its own windfalls: if not The Golden Corpses, the bequests, then federal money. (Once upon a time in PacificaWorld, it was a political question whether to take fed money, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the CPB. That’s long gone.)
A gift can be a curse.
Why a curse? Behaviourally, it distracts from the underlying reality, the causal reality; so cognitively, it deludes; & prospectively, it provides an incentive to put off difficult decisions. To adapt another’s words, ‘it’s the “natural resource curse”: showered with sudden windfalls, quickly spent, but creating thirsty projects, a cost structure that’s unsustainable when revenues crash’ (Jerry Useem, Fortune). This is the warning made for years by Kim Kaufman, the recently resigned KPFK LSB Finance Cttee Chair.
The curse works insidiously. Habituated with windfalls, just go with the flow. See where it takes you. Problems? Just deal with symptoms, not causes. Firefight. Be immediate & ad hoc, focus on muddling thru. Don’t try to develop & exercise foresight. Don’t bother with a destination. Certainly don’t plan. Don’t address enduring problems, the decay (even mould). Ignore the possibility of pathology. The possibility of systemic dysfunction. Likewise, for the participants, don’t ponder the generative forces they themselves exercise in the way they live in PacificaWorld, in the way they interact with each other. But then we are, by default, creatures of the surface, attending to what’s immediately around us, rarely examining how & why things come to be, why some persist, whilst others change. Without heuristic reflection, we are, to put it onticly, condemned to be preoccupied with the generated dimension of human living, not the generative dimension. This partial understanding confers a delusional attitude, towards what’s going on & what has to be done.
This is PacificaWorld. Looking forward to the relief promised by the next fund drive. Hoping – but not hoping – another listener dies. Talking about ‘getting the audit done’ for that mil$lion from the CPB (as if no other condition has to be satisfied). All this expectation mashed up with the urgency of putting out the latest fire. Perpetual crisis mode, absorbing one’s time & energy. But this is merely the bubbling on the surface.
So what responsibility is borne for all this by Pacifica’s decision-makers? They’re not the sole determinant, but they are agents. Their responsibility lies both in what they have done & what they have not done, displayed in their acts of commission & acts of omission. The directors, legally, are the trustees of the Foundation, custodians of the assets. Given this, it needs to be recognised that, systemically, the directors have been perpetrators of an institutionalfailure, stemming from refusing to examine the generative dimension, the forces at work – those present, those absent. In practice, the directors have functioned as custodians not of assets but of failure. The directors need to recognise their failure, learn from it, & take remedial action.
The need to end de facto federalism
What are these acts of omission? Two stand out, & they are related. The first is refusing to find a way to systematically overcome the destructive, disintegrating dynamic dominant in PacificaWorld since at least 2005. This is refusing to challenge the principal deleterious political condition, & force: de facto federalism. The federalism in a supposed unitary radio network. Organisationally expressed as fiefdoms, keeping out ‘interference’ from the centre: from those with network responsibility, the Foundation responsibility, so from the executive director, from the chief financial officer, even from the directors. (Lynden & co have met 2mths’ resistance to arranging their directors’ inspection of KPFT.) Federalism, the force proving to be the most antagonistic to Pacifica’s organisational well-being. A political force spawning its correlate consciousness: ideationally as station separatism, the politics for break-up, & affectively as excessive station pride, station chauvinism, spreading corrosively around the network to fuel resentment amongst all parties. A parochialism, exemplified by the Berkeley Hillbillies. Shredding the mission statement, that shibboleth oft-heralded, then ignored. Toxicity, not Saint Greta.
A federalism expressed mundanely in not just a continuing lack of adequate bookkeeping, accounting, & financial activity, but, crucially, in their weak regulatory means, the internal control systems. It’s because most live the delusional attitude that since the 16July2020 acceptance of the FY2018 auditor’s report, the chatter has been ‘getting ready for the FY2019 audit’, rather than the honest, ‘the auditor can’t come in yet coz the FY2019 books are still chaotic, so we don’t even have a trial balance, plus all those gaps in the supporting evidence to any draft financial statements we might eventually come up with’. Yes, NETA’s head drone, George Walter, had to cough up to the 30Nov2020 PNB Audit Cttee, the last time it met (so two months & counting, with no next meeting date set), that even a trial balance didn’t exist (9:21) – 4½ months into ‘getting ready’.
[UPDATE: CFO Anita Sims told the Th4Feb2021 PNB, in her 67secs report (sic), that a trial balance still doesn’t exist, so over 6½ months after the acceptance of the FY2018 auditor’s report – but, rest assured, “George would run a trial balance, & that would go to the auditors, for them to start their fieldwork” (below clip, 0:53; audio not yet in the Archive [UPDATE: no change as of Su21Feb] … ADD LINK + TIME). So everything’s under control; as Anita said, “I feel very good about everything […] I’m feeling very, very good” (0:35, 1:11). Insincerity or the delusional attitude, it hardly matters. But listen to what she said, listen carefully: mention of lots of particulars, including dates, but they’re largely meaningless because they’re drowning in an ocean of indeterminateness: each desired outcome lacks a definite date. Every one. Seriously, listen to it. But her obfuscation, intentional or otherwise, worked: not one director asked her to speak plainly, to speak precisely. And it was as if the 30Nov2020 admission had never happened.
There’s a simple rule with the punters: be straight with them. Always.
Post-16July2020 is all Mickey Mouse, the taking advantage of the naive: when the money function is managed properly, ‘getting ready for the audit’ is quite straight forward: quickly doing the final update of the needed schedules, reviewing what’s ready, getting in the auditors two weeks after year-end. So the function dysfunction persists even under NETA, contracted since mid June 2018, so struggling in PacificaWorld for over 2½ years & counting: NETA, failing to impose centralised control within their domain, languishing under six ED’s who themselves failed to impose the requisite centralised control Pacifica needed & still needs . . . Tom Livingston, Maxie Jackson, Grace Aaron, John Vernile, Lawrence Reyes, Lydia Brazon. A comprehensive, & continuing, management failure, ultimately the responsibility, & so failure, of directors sorely out of their depth – it’s elder abuse, really. Mundanely, the current audit delay is because FY2019 lacked adequate bookkeeping, accounting, & financialpractices & internal control systems. And FY2020? Your guess is as good as Jorge’s.
(Launching Major Tom into both offices violated a non-trivial by-law: “neither the Secretary nor the Chief Financial Officer shall serve concurrently as the Chairperson of the Board or the Executive Director” – Article 9, Section 1; https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art9sec1.html. But, hey, rules are for the great unwashed, yeah, not the entitled?)
Summarily, the directors have copped out, refusing to combat federalism, the principal centrifugal political force in PacificaWorld, the most disruptive organisationally. The directors have refused to measure up to their responsibilities.
The need for a network development plan
The other act of omission, correlated but inversely, is yet again causing the directors to be perpetrators, & so custodians, of another key institutional failure, their refusal to generate a centripetal force: implementing a network development plan. (The right sort of NDP.)
And this is no surprise: even individually, the directors seem incapable of having a vision of Pacifica’s future, any vision, even an unviable one. For them, the future collapses into the present: it doesn’t exist. Just consider the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee. Almost three years of talking; nothing published. Established by the 15Feb2018 PNB. First met 12Mar2018 . . . Christmas 2018 . . . Christmas 2019 . . . 14Dec2020, 2¾ years later, the Cttee told there were some working papers – being worked on, of course. Sure enough, the next meeting, 5Jan2021, learnt that the worked working papers had been further worked on. Anticipation mounted for the only other meet, 19Jan, but it wasn’t streamed, & the audio isn’t in the Archive. Oh. But our saga doesn’t end there: no date set for the Cttee’s next meeting. Maybe there won’t be one. After all, there’s only the need, as it stands, to hand over on F2Apr2021, $3.265m + $51 015.63 quarterly interest to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC.
(Tu5Jan2021, there were some votes on what was described as a plan, and Cttee & PNB Chair Alex Steinberg (4:15, leading up to 6:31; then 28:06) spoke of presenting something to the Th7Jan PNB, but there was nothing in its public meeting, & no public report of the private meeting – in fact, the last written ‘report-out’, of any Pacifica meeting, was last year, 19Dec2020 (sic) … https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/210105/pnbstratcomm210105a.mp3, & https://pacifica.org/notices_home.php#exec. Question is, why the secrecy about what’s said to be ‘a plan’?Why wasn’t the motion read out, put into the public record, as happens every other time? Why not go public? Indeed, why didn’t the Cttee ask for planning ideas from staff, members, listeners, even their fellow LSB delegates? Why assume that the best ideas would come from the Cttee? Especially as the Cttee’s been going three years without publishing a page?)
Unable to recognise need, the directors are also unable to help create the minimal political conditions for implementing a network development plan, a plan turning an aggregate of radio stations into a unitary radio network. A network development plan sustained by an unavoidablespatialrevolution in the treatment of money, in the relationship between where funds are raised & where they are spent: making some of the allocation rules those of positive discrimination, mitigating the histories of each station, not least their initial endowment, & focusing on the future by allocating funds where it’s decided they’re most needed. (Cuba, 1963-4, Che versus the Stalinists: el Gran Debate, ¿Sistema de Financiamiento Presupuestario o Sistema de Autofinanciamiento?) A network development plan sustained by imposing the requisitecentralised control, one far exceeding the minimum demanded by RealWorld – by the public authorities & the social law of money, which both treat Pacifica Foundation, Inc. as a unitary legal personality.
For a unitary radio network, the analytic unit for the considering of revenues & costs isn’t the station: it’s Pacifica. Not ‘the division’: it’s the Foundation. It’s a foundation, an edifice, not an archipelago, all strung out.
KPFA: five-year $643k total net loss, yet personnel costs out of control
Besides the need both to challenge de facto federalism & to implement a network development plan, Pacifica needs to address two other proximate matters: costs, & revenue.
When the latest $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program money runs out, perhaps end of April, it may cross the minds of the directors to address Pacifica’s cost structure – and how the change in the last five years is a silent scandal: KPFA has become an unbearable burden, dragging down the network.
Comparing FY2016 with FY2020, a span of five years, whilst Pacifica’s expenses fell 7% with KPFA’s dropping a staggering 14% ($520 771), KPFA personnel expenses were out of control, shooting in the opposite direction, growing 15% (from $1 996 377 to $2 294 297), their share of the station’s expenses rising a remarkable 34%, from 54% to a bloated 72%! This is a revolutionary change of KPFA’s cost structure. It has made the number of paid staff at KPFA wildly disproportionate within Pacifica. This rendered even more stark by what’s to come at KPFK. With worsening Pacifica cashflow, this dynamic at KPFA is unsustainable. It’s also wrong. The required policy to be carried out is obvious. Yet not one delegate on a local station board, nor one director on the national board, speaks its name. An elephant unseen.
Comparing these two fiscal years, Pacifica total expenses fell the mentioned 7%, but personnel expenses were unchanged: so their share grew from 52.6% to 56.4%, a rise of 7%. And KPFA’s share of Pacifica personnel expenses grew from 30.4% to 34.9%, a rise of 15%. When KPFA non-personnel expenses are also considered, one sees something extraordinary, making it glaringly obvious what’s happened at the station: whilst its personnel expenses grew $297 920, non-personnel expenses were chopped by a startling 47%, $818 691, from $1 729 812 to $911 121; this shifted the excess of personnel expenses over non-personnel ones from 15.4% to 251.8%, a 16-fold rise (sic). With Pacifica last making an audited net income in FY2006 (sic), why was this allowed to happen?
Why has the CFO said nothing?!?
Pause a moment. And consider another fact, the five-year station performance, its ‘bottom line’. Although the alleged shining light of Pacifica chopped non-personnel expenses 47% when comparing FY2016 with FY2020, it increased personnel expenses by 15%, $297 920, all the while making a station five-year cumulative net loss of $642 972 (FY2016, audited $315 661 loss; FY2017, unaudited $129 012 net income; FY2018, unaudited $524 572 loss; FY2019, unaudited $205 459 net income (including the contra of a ~$100k depreciation charge); FY2020, unaudited $137 210 loss (ditto the ~$100k depreciation). (Note, the FY2016 auditor’s report seems to say the “Division” analyses are materially accurate: one must be prudent with the declarative “[i]n our opinion, the [division] information is fairly stated, in all material respects, in relation to the financial statements as a whole” (p. 1b) because it’s almost certain that the auditors, as usual, didn’t do fieldwork at all seven accounting units, & their report gives no unit-level info on their particular activities, including the scale & the accounts sampled – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2016.pdf.)
To repeat, not least for the PacificaWatch scribe writing the memes: KPFA cost Pacifica $642 972, so ~$⅔m, across the five years, 1Oct2015 to 30Sep2020.
Putting it another way, KPFA has lived beyond its means for the last five years, throughout the period benefiting from three employees effectively paid for by the Foundation, by all the stations, out of income continually sucked from each successive accounting period.
The breakers don’t tell you this at the KPFA Local Station Board meetings, that’s for sure. It’s the protection of this reality, however they understand it, that strongly motivates the KPFA breakers: the urgency of the breakers at KPFA flows from the increasing pressure upon Pacifica to find cash.
(Depreciation estimate: the last audited depreciation figures Pacifica has are FY2016, being $216 780 Pacifica, $103 229 KPFA. The financial statements in the FY2017 & 2018 auditor’s reports are unaudited, giving, respectively, $200 279 & $161 781 Pacifica, and $93 511 & $99 442 KPFA. Being imprudent, to give KPFA the benefit of the doubt, assume for FY2019 & 2020, $160k Pacifica & $100k KPFA. https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php (please see the relevant pages).)
The concluding truth is staring us all in the face: this is where Pacifica has to make savings, at KPFA, *the personnel*, & do so immediately – and stop pursuing the self-financing unargued dogma of trying to rip out bone at KPFT, WBAI, & perhaps WPFW. (KPFK is currently undergoing its own slow-burn modification, that may become a transformation.) The directors really need to act here, for the sake of Pacifica.
(But an inkling of the truth may be starting to dawn – albeit hesitantly, partially, somewhat vaguely. Director James Sagurton (PNB Finance Cttee Chair, & WBAI listener-delegate) seemed to be saying something interesting to the 5Jan2021 PNB Strategic Planning Cttee (39:05). Something seemed to be there, as he reluctantly, timidly, almost apologetically made his pointraised the topic spoke, as if he wasn’t sure whether he should even be saying it, not sure how to express it, not sure how to frame it. Well, praps it’ll turn out to be a start – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnbstratcomm/210105/pnbstratcomm210105a.mp3.)
Only guarantee of quick cash is from a signal-swap: but where?
Lastly, on the revenue side, considering a three- or even five-year horizon, the only likely source of big bucks to let Pacifica breathe, other than that seeping from a row of Golden Corpses, is a signal-swap, & not necessarily WBAI’s. It may take a year or so to do, but this is the only sure way to have cash to fund a network development plan.
One station should provide more than enough cash, but which one? So, what should be the decision rules? How to rationally decide which criteria are relevant? What are the best evidenced arguments pro & con for each station? No-one suggests this’ll be easy – it’s simply that for Pacifica it’s necessary to decide.
The directors need to bite the bullet.
Make a decision, not passively watch the agony that is Pacifica.
Anti politics can only take you so far. The anti-breakers need to recognise this. Pacifica needs a politics of hope. The breakers are devising theirs, & promoting it, taking initiative after initiative. Working to change the present, a springboard to a chosen future. The anti-breakers need to learn from this. They need to stop being the prisoner of events. They need to go offense. Pacifica needs a positive vision, informing a positive politics. This is what’s needed – but who’s going to recognise the truth, who’s going to do the work, & organise it?
All told, there’s only a narrow path to success: creating & maintaining political conditions, primarily solidarity engendering cohesion, allowing a centralised control, emanating from the National Office, from the ED & CFO, to supervise the carrying out of the network development plan, a control & a plan using monitored budgets as a disciplining means. Soberly, we can see how far away this is. But to make Pacifica healthy, to bring joy, even flowers in their hair, it needs to implement a network development plan.
Diamonds. Oil. Golden Corpses, fed money.
Palliatives, distracting from the generative forces causing worsening problems.
From the necro-economics of The Golden Corpses to the bio-economics of a Network Development Plan!
Learn, and act!
Get a grip. Man up. Just do it.
The second $1m+ Paycheck Protection Program loan, Jan2021
Which brings us to last night’s Pacifica National Board, to ED Lydia, & Pacifica’s next lifeline, the Second Draw PPP loan, as the feds call it. A state lottery. Hope your ticket comes up. Round 1 was June last year, Pacifica getting what seems to be $1.2m. Round 2 started W13Jan, so Lydia was on the ball.
How much has been approved this time is unclear because of a blip in the livestream: “one-point-[blip] million”, said the ED.
[FURTHER UPDATE: “[t]he second PPP loan was granted to the Foundation on February 9, 2021 in the amount of $1,222,237”, per the FY2020 auditor’s report (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf.]
[FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE: “[o]n August 16, 2021, the National Finance Committee was informed that the second Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan had been forgiven”, according to R Paul Martin’s monthly written report to the WBAI LSB (p. 1) – https://glib.com/treasurers_report_2021-09-08.pdf. There was no meeting on 16Aug, & when the PNB Finance Cttee next met, 24Aug, it was odd that forgiveness wasn’t mentioned – not even during a suitable early item in the meeting, the Chair’s announcements (5:07). https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/210824/finance210824a.mp3]
Round 1 was reported to the 23June2020 PNB Finance Cttee, CFO Sims saying, “I’m pretty sure it was one-point-two” (49:28). So maybe the same again.
https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/200623/finance200623a.mp3 (that evening, it took almost an hour (sic) before anyone asked what the amount was – but it was the PNB Finance Cttee) [UPDATE: no surprise that it was left to other than a Pacifica meeting for the basic facts to be accurately disclosed, the FY2020 auditor’s report: “[t]he PPP loan was granted to the Foundation on June 19, 2020 in the amount of $1,256,630”, & “on January 12, 2021, the full amount of this loan was forgiven by the SBA” (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf.]
In the absence of the PNB audiofile in the Archive [UPDATE: it’s now posted,https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb210128/pnb210128b.mp3(59:28)], here’s the clip of ED Lydia at the very end of the meeting, making the announcement because, surprise, surprise, after more than two hours, there was no time for any reports of what anyone’s been up to:
So what money is this? The COVID-19 epidemic in the US has spawned two conduits for disbursing federal loans to organisations, the new Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, & the pre-existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan programme, EIDL. PPP comes from the Small Business Administration, SBA, paying banks to do the work, but retaining power of audit. The First Draw started Apr2020, & the Second Draw 13Jan2021.
What Second Draw loans can be spent on, & their size:
Second Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations […] For most borrowers, the maximum loan amount of a Second Draw PPP Loan is 2.5x average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million.
[a] borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower: • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses • Has no more than 300 employees; and • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020
[UPDATE: ED Brazon told the Th4Feb2021 PNB that the PPP money will almost certainly be received F5Feb. (As of Su21Feb, audio still not posted. ADD LINK + TIME … another Pacifica Godot phenomenon: still not posted as of 19Oct2021 (sic).) . . . As subsequently updated above, the ~$1.2m rolled in Tu9Feb, as reported by PNB Finance Cttee Chair James Sagurton at that evening’s meeting.]
[FURTHER UPDATE: the FY2020 auditor’s report was the first source to disclose accurately PPP #1 & PPP #2: $1 256 630, & $1 222 237 (p. 19; p. 21 of the PDF) – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2020.pdf. Makes the total feed, more accurately, $ 2 638 767.]
Roughly $2.5m. Mustn’t grumble.
Can carry on muddling thru, without, importantly, having to think, having to choose.
[UPDATE: within days of learning of the PPP decision, it was back to normal at National Office: on Su31Jan, Pacifica’s homepage had a makeover, disappearing the National Fund Drive (never announced how much it made; nor whether it was success or failure; &, of course, not even thanking the punters for the wonga), this disappearance allowing the notice of by-law submissions to assume its rightful place, bang centre on the homepage. Brilliant. Panic over. Back to business as usual – until the next crisis. Looking inward, not outward. Notify visitors to Pacifica of the $1m+ PPP award? Are you crazy? That would require communication, being mindful of the bods who fund the whole charabanc. PacificaWorld, where alienation flourishes.https://pacifica.org/.]
Digression: how can NETA be saving Pacifica money?
According to the Nov2020 Foundation monthly management accounts, since Oct2019 NETA has been charging $27 500 per month, so $330k per year; this, within $20, was 2.50% more than the FY2019 comparative, $321 934. (Consider some of the raise a peppercorn interest rate on the de facto loan NETA is making, the “about $200 000” they’re owed as of Dec2020 – Grace Aaron’s report to 20Dec2020 KPFK LSB (2:06:20, read in her absence by staff-delegate, now ex-director but newly elected PNB Secretary, Polina Vasiliev).) When NETA was hired, ED/CFO Livingston told the 5July2018 PNB, “[t]he monthly cost, urgh, for, urgh, for their work is in the neighborhood of half of what we were paying Sam and the two senior accountants who, who all departed in the past three months” (27:59, emphases added). (This contrasts with the less informative & misleading minute: “the monthly cost will be approximately half of the total of Sam Agarwal and the accounting personnel” (unpaginated, but p. 2 of the PDF, emphases added).) Really? Twice the price? The ‘expensive three’ were annually ~$630k-$650k, so $210k+ each? Alternatively, & granted NETA may have taken on extra work, can it really be the case that, given the IRS Form 990 evidence cited below, NETA only started off at roughly ½ x ($110k + 65k + 65k) = $120k a year, $10k per month, ~⅓ of their current charge? Please. ED/CFO Major Tom was telling porkies, yes?
The Form 990 is the annual return to the IRS by an organisation exempt from income tax. It’s due “by the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s accounting period ends” (IRS, p. 6), so for the 30Sep year-end Pacifica it’s 15Feb. The initial versions of the above 990’s aren’t in the public domain at pacifica.org, but the amended ones were filed significantly late, probably once the corresponding audits were finally done. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990.pdf (wedge on how to fill in the 2020 Form 990, 102 pages thick, with a 6-page index, dated 12Jan2021)
The 2015 Form 990, signed by ED Tom Livingston, is undated, but presumably used the FY2016 auditor’s report issued 31May2018, so at least 15½mths late; there’s also a Form 8868 application for a second extension, to 15Aug2017, albeit lacking the signer’s name, signature, & date of signing (pp. 1 & 34 of the PDF) . . . penalty for unauthorised late filing?
The 2016 Form 990, with ED John Vernile’s name on it but unsigned & undated, has a preparer’s date of 9Aug2019 (sic), a week shy of 18mths late, & presumably used the FY2017 auditor’s report issued 27June2019; the PDF also has a 8868 application to extend to 15Aug2018, hence the typed addition at the start of the 990 (pp. 1 & 37 of the PDF) . . . penalty for unauthorised late filing?
• has Pacifica filed its 2017 Form 990 (using FY2018 data) due 15Feb2019, &, if so, when?
•has it filed its 2018 Form 990 (using FY2019 data) due 15Feb2020, &, if so, when?
• has it filed its 2019 Form 990 (using FY2020 data) due 15Feb2021, &, if so, when?
Re these, only the FY2018 audit has been finished (albeit so incomplete that it required a disclaimer of opinion), the auditor’s report being issuable 16July2020, & published 15Aug2020 (sic) at https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php. So, given that Form 990 needs figures from all the different kinds of accounts, both those appearing in the net income statement (incomes & expenses) & the balance sheet (assets & liabilities), when did NETA first compile these financial statements for FY2019 & FY2020? Or maybe they haven’t, & the three 990’s haven’t been filed with the IRS.
After all, there may be a lil legal difficulty here: “[u]nder penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return, including accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete. Declaration of preparer (other than officer) is based on all information of which preparer has any knowledge” (p. 1 of the 990). Executive director; certified public accountant. Well, if an auditor won’t vouch for the material accuracy of the financial statements submitted to them, rendering them devoid of professional confidence, unusable by anyone (which is what a disclaimer means) . . .
Given the chaotic condition of the FY2017 financial records, no-one wanted to sign anything, hence the mentioned delay with the 2016 Form 990, due 15Feb2018, it only being submitted, possibly on 9Aug2019, after the FY2017 auditor’s report (the first to have a disclaimer) was made issuable on 27June2019 – so only after someone else had gone public with the bad news, & even then ED Vernile didn’t sign. But then neither did ED Livingston, nor ED Maxie Jackson, nor ED Grace Aaron. This, an absence, is an example of what can be missing from a director’s report to a local station board, how it can fail, the director failing to take responsibility, failing to acknowledge & disclosetheir acts of omission.