[UPDATE, Su9Aug . . . these topics were to be separate posts but, hey, life moves on – so now a digest. (Hence the change of title & deletion of the final one-sentence paragraph; given that Pacifica relies on donations, & so normal life, including childcare, added is a note on a study finding that “children under 5 with COVID-19 have a higher viral load than older children and adults, which may suggest greater transmission”.)]
Twelve topics, in chronological order:
what are Pacifica’s chances of getting CPB money? Its disbursements: structure, size, distribution criteria. A reality check, not a cheque
Trump goes all Guevarista! One, two, three Vietnams! Scenarios of US excess deaths thru summer 2021. This is the red ground spreading out before Pacifica, the principal force structuring its immediate prospects thru all sorts of mediations. (Can you recall the last time you read or heard discussion of the excess deaths question? For a society this is the focus, not death from a pandemic.)
the passed by-laws amendments: surely, as the breakers have warned, Pacifica will now be sued. Why? One simple reason: for trying to restrict a right of members, “materially and adversely”, without going thru the final step, namely a vote of all members agreeing to such a diminution (by-law Article 17, Section 1(B)(3)(v)). Yes, that again. The right affected is that of voting, by making it more difficult to vote on a by-laws amendment. Moreover, the change is also discriminatory, applied solely to voting on a proposed amendment brought by just one of the three possible routes, a members’ petition: the threshold has been raised from 1% of members to 5% (so today, from ~435 to ~2 175). How difficult is this? At the last LSB voting round, Aug-Oct2019, a provisional 6 085 voted; given this, it can be said the effective threshold has been raised to something like 35%, a third of typical voters, so beyond the clouds, from 7.1% to 35.7% (435 ÷ 6085, & 2175 ÷ 6085; the 6 085 is provisional because National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza, presumably breaching her contract, still fails to submit her final report!; note, the Feb-Mar2020 referenda had 10 226 voters, breakers being 3 450). The petition route has been rendered infeasible; that right of members has been, in practice, abolished – and not done legally: members’ consent can’t be given indirectly but only directly, not by decision of Pacifica boards but by a referendum. Silly question I know, but before voting on Th25June did the PNB inform themselves by getting an estimate of the cost of litigation? https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200625/pnb200625_6541_minutes.pdf (pages 9-11)
on a matter that no-one would deem trivial, & is indeed a test of morality, why were all the directors silent, even those from KPFA? And what about Margy Wilkinson’s dad, & the forgotten Smith Act?
(A post will not be made on the unsavory attempt to remove PNB Chair Alex Steinberg (WBAI listener-delegate) & PNB Secretary Grace Aaron (KPFK listener-delegate) from their positions, Th2 & 9July. Pacifica boards are nasty. Toxic. The dynamic brings out the worst in people. It’s as if they enjoy their symptom. Here, yet again, the observing ethnographers were able to record a typically sly manoeuvre by Chris ‘Cowardly’ Cory (KPFA listener-delegate). This time it was a sorry-I-couldn’t-get-the-motion-to-you-in-time-for-the-proposed-agenda-as-I-was-still-writing-it (8:56, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200702/pnb200702a.mp3 & https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200702/pnb200702_6464_minutes.pdf). There’s a pattern here. His most disingenuous was when he was Chair of the PNB Finance Cttee the day after the WBAI coup, faking amnesia (what-day-is-it?), feigning ignorance, then largely faking empathy, laced with guilt, wrapping his arms around R Paul, WBAI’s treasurer, at the end of the meeting, “I-I-I I can’t express how much grief I have over this-this last-uh few days […] I don’t have words for it […] if it were my place to apologise I would” (0:01, 5:40, 20:37 & 27:46 https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/191008/finance191008a.mp3, & 1:05:41 https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/191008/finance191008b.mp3). Self-denigration is a sorry spectacle. And as mom must have told him, no-one likes a liar.)
why are directors choosing to omit a lil detail in their latest reports to their local station board, that the PNB has rejected an offer to buy WBAI’s broadcasting licence? (Note, this was not a proposed signal swap.) The circling opportunists sleep less than Fauci – more indefatigable, too. https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_200709.pdf
Chris Cory exaggerates Pacifica membership by ~15%, roughly 1-in-7 (50k rather than the 43.5k figure, Mar2020, of the National Elections Supervisor) . . . & has Peter Franck got dementia? The wonders of KPFA’s pseudo-town hall
FY2018 draft auditor’s report repeats the previous year’s judgment: fair financial statements don’t exist (so, the ones provided by NETA, yet again, aren’t materially accurate), but something does exist, “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern”. NETA also came up with an unaudited ~$7 800 loss – which means an unaudited ~$735k loss without the benefit of an extraordinary event, the sale of Nakapon, it functioning as an internal bequest, the death of an asset, thru autophagy, “an adaptive response to stress” (Wiki)
the WPFW praetorian guard just can’t help themselves. Rather than the hammer seeing any problem as a nail, here outsiders are the problem. So make the problem theirs: set up barriers, make them jump thru hoops. But what to do with a town hall? Obvious: make it difficult. WBAI posts in their notice the URL & password of the Zoom. Absurd. WPFW posts “[f]or security and integrity, we ask you to email your interest in participating to email@example.com. You will receive a link to enter the zoom room. See you there!” (emphases added). The authoritarian & bureaucratic tone exuded effortlessly, serenely. The cynical politeness, the cheery good humour, the added twist of experienced operators. No Gatekeeping 101 here
(My own experience with the WPFW LSB ruling clique is condensed in the saga arising from my attempt in Nov-Dec2018 to send an email to each of the delegates. Secretary Ellen Carter & Chair Robb Simms blocked it. Sample, a complete email from Our Robb: “Knock this off, OK? I will not waste time sending your materials to our Board. The WPFW LSB pretty much know about what you wrote in your essays. Please stop communicating with me as your messages will be ignored.” Nice. The Politics of the Gate. Eat y’ 💗 out, Lew. The write-up is linked from here: http://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/2018/12/jara-handala-reports.html.)
Barry Brooks, KPFK. Nobly addressed as the business manager so can’t be an emperor with no clothes, although he has a touching faith in the imminence, & efficacy, of ‘a vaccine’, a vaccine jabbed into KPFK listeners, magically making the last three quarters of FY2021 boomtime in Tinseltown, making redundant any need to stem the current station losses (running at ~$150k a month, according to Our Grace, hallow’d be Thy name). Warped, or what? Whistling Barry seems oblivious to the contrary vaccine evidence (itemised below). Illusions delude, they inspire false optimism, they provide poor counsel – particularly when a principle of accounting is prudence (its patron saint), its embodiment & expression of the precautionary attitude
lastly, Pacifica is suing John Vernile, the executive director who organised – and most fail to recognise this – the coup not simply against WBAI but against Pacifica. Running dog! “The Pacifica National Board met in executive session and voted to authorize its Legal Counsel, Arthur Schwartz, to initiate legal action against its former interim Executive Director, John Vernile, for breach of his fiduciary duties toward Pacifica” (Th30July private PNB session: https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_200730.pdf). As they say back in the olde country, revenge, a dish best served cold.
As it’s of general interest, it’s worthwhile itemising here the stubborn evidence confronting Pangloss Brooks. That, to be quite blunt about it, no vaccine exists, just a hope, albeit a hope motivating research; that acquired immunity has proven ephemeral, a matter of a few months; that the efficacy of any vaccine may itself be short-lived, requiring new jabs, be it annually or quarterly; that, & this is crucial, existence of a vaccine is quite different from there being a vaccination programme; that even the reality of such a programme is the laborious result of the organisation, diffusion, & mobilisation of resources, not least a stock of 330m units (see below note) for immediate distribution; & that, last but not least, there’s the lil problem of Joe & Joanna Sixpack having a certain resistance to Faucicide, of surrendering to The Evil Sorcerer’s warp-speed potion coursing their veins.
Barry could also acquaint himself with a US report, Tu21July, bearing the sub-title From Information Catastrophe to Empowered Communities. It coldly puts the US in its place, soberly exposing the anarchic & patchwork infrastructure it’s trying to use in its attempt to protect the public’s health. From the report’s opening para: “[u]nlike many other countries such as Germany, Senegal, South Korea, and Uganda, the United States does not have standard, national data on the virus and its control” (emphases added); next sentence: “[t]he US also lacks standards for state-, county-, and city-level public reporting of this life-and-death information.” This applied to an average behaviour of brazen ego individualism trumping basic human solidarity. The result, obvious, as night follows day. A long, dark night. No sun in sight. Just the glow of the pyres. Administrative anarchy. Irrationality ruling. A failed state. A society in decline. https://preventepidemics.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RTSL_Tracking-COVID-19-in-the-United-States_-7-23-2020.pdf
(A special mention in the BB post has been earnt by KPFK’s very own Diva J.Lo, the exalted & revered Margaret Prescod, who recently insisted not on specified flowers adorning her dressing-room table but on her very own leased desktop printer sitting in her office, frequently maintained by an outside contractor, Wells Fargo (all-in, a snip at $142 a month for two!), this done so she’d never be frustrated again by finding that the communal copier/printer had run out of toner. I’m serious. And so was Margaret. Interesting, as Chris Cory would say. This is the nitty-gritty of how institutional Pacifica programmers fight over what listener donations get spent on (1:56:47). But, heaven forbid, don’t let this stop you donating. Have to support ‘the station’. Spoiler alert . . . the decisive Anyel had overruled the frugal Barry; this upset Barry. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfkfin/200722/kpfkfin200722a.mp3)
I say 330m vaccine units, for all US residents, although it would be less because population immunity is achieved when transmission of the virus grinds to a halt, finding it increasingly difficult to find ‘fresh prey’. Here, & oddly, a veterinary-sounding term has found acceptance, herd immunity; & great uncertainty surrounds its level, with estimates ranging from 50% to 80%. Note that no age group is exempt from the virus, SARS-CoV-2, never transmitting or falling sick. Indeed, under-5’s may transmit the virus as well as anyone – if not better. “We found that children under 5 with COVID-19 have a higher viral load than older children and adults, which may suggest greater transmission” (emphases added), said the lead author of a recent Chicago study of patients with “mild to moderate illness”, published by JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. ‘May’, not least because the measurement is of virus material, not necessarily of infectious material: only intact virus, the virion, can be infectious, not ‘ripped up’ virions, the debris. (Also, little is known of the minimum & typical amount of infectious virus causing COVID-19.) Older children had as much virus as adults in their upper respiratory tract, by median value, but under-5’s had much, much more, “a 10-fold to 100-fold greater amount”. There are no innocences to hug. [UPDATE . . . & it’s been inferred that infectivity peaks when symptoms appear, if indeed they do.]
And some remarks on the FY2018 draft auditor’s report (year-end 30Sep2018), not least because it remains unpublished, despite being accepted by the PNB over two weeks ago, on Th16July (so keep checkinghttps://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php):
the unaudited loss, ~$7 800, is immaterial, in the jargon, $1 lost for every ~$1 500 of the unaudited ~$11.6m volume of activity
(To keep saying, & writing, the u-word is somewhat tedious, even irritating, but we need to get used to the fact that all publicly available Pacifica figures since 30Sep2016 lack the approving nod of a key alien visitor to PacificaWorld, the arrival of a strange guy, an expert, someone drawing on a quiver of skills & knowledge, the auditor; it should be noted, it’s not known whether this alien has managed to elude Houston’s very own very stable genius, its fave doc, Stella Immanuel MD.)
it bears repeating, without the gain on the sale of Nakapon there would have been an unaudited loss of ~$735k (8k + 727k); this is comparable to the $771 408 of FY2014
ignoring the mitigation of that extraordinary event, the unaudited loss was x~8½ that of FY2017’s (735k ÷ 86 640 = 8.48); the auditor, at the Tu14July PNB Audit Cttee, didn’t just fail to mention the scale of the underlying deterioration, he failed to recognise its very existence
listener & grant income was 84% of the unaudited total (~$11.6m x 0.84 = ~$9.744m), making the balance ~$1.856m. Gain on Nakapon sale was $727k, so leaving $1.129m as other income. As this is comparable to the previous year’s other income of an unaudited ~$1.135m, it means the net income statement itself only gives a net figure for Nakapon – so not disclosing the proceeds & the costs of sale. (It was due to be sold for $1.1m, according to the FY2017 auditor’s report, p. 23.) Hopefully a note to the statement provides transparency, giving the gross figures; & remember, $500k + costs came out of the sale’s gain to pay off ‘the small loan’, going to Manpearl-Heron-Heron-Reilly-&-co, including interest at 7.5% a year. You won’t be surprised that no PNB Audit Cttee member asked about this – but then they were as quiet as mice the whole time, not even meekly asking for the cheese wrappers . . . what’s become of Point-of-point-madam-chair Adriana & Bellicose Bella? Perish the thought, but it was as if no-one could understand the document they were supposed to interrogate
so the unaudited year-on-year increase in revenue, from ~$10.9m to ~$11.6m, is solely down to the gain on Nakapon – in a word, stagnation
but expenses didn’t stagnate – which is of especial interest today, given both the ongoing KPFK revenue collapse, & the current attempt to create FY2021 budgets for all Pacifica units. Effectively breaking even means that, year-on-year, expenses rose an unaudited ~$600k, all the time whilst units lacked budgets, with no central control given inadequate real-time data. That’s ~5.5%, 1-in-18 (from ~$11m to ~$11.6m); this arose from each of programming & “management & general” growing by an unaudited ~$300k, or 6% (0.3m ÷ 5.0m, & 0.3m ÷ 4.9m, respectively). Again, passed the auditor by. (And the Cttee.)
but that’s nothing: they ignored the 2018 elephant, the unaffordable ESRT contract for housing the WBAI transmitter, & how Pacifica was able to both pay the rent arrears & pay to end the contract early. It was as if the trident from Hell never existed: the 2017-8 bankruptcy panic; the $3.085m settlement with the Empire State Realty Trust; & the $3.7m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, operating as FJC. Pacifica came out of this with the largest loan by far in its now 74-year history. There’s almost a mystical quality about how so much turmoil, emotion, & confrontation is embodied in that over 30-page auditor’s report without so much as a mention that Tuesday evening. It’s as if none of it had ever happened. A mere figment of the imagination. But that’s PacificaWorld for you.
Before ending, I wonder if, in the spirit of diversity, inclusion, free speech, & ‘the mission’, Stella Immanuel MD can get invited onto KPFT? Stella, besides running what’s called an ‘urgent care center’ in built-up Houston, is a woman of the cloth, in Katy, on marginal land at the western edge of the city. (Ideal for carrying out exorcisms, in the seclusion of the woods.) She’s been reincarnated as an “Emergency Medicine Specialist”, having been an experienced, get this, paediatrician: Stella was trusted with children. It seems she recently came to TX from Louisiana, having got into bad trouble (nod to Mr Lewis), allegedly running from a malpractice suit after her patient died six days after the consultation. 🔥🙏🏾❤️🔥❤️🙏🏾🔥
. . . can’t help noticing the N95, & the (non-clinical) sunglasses . . . reality trumps ideology . . .
But is KPFT up to the task? Does it have the dynamic, innovative, inspiring leadership it so badly needs? Can it seize the moment? After all, Stella has the experience, hosting her own Pentecostal radio & TV show, Fire Power, serving the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries, so maybe she can be offered a trial slot? And think of the fund-drives! Stella MD could not just rival Christine Blosdale & Gary Null but exceed them, pushing self-promotion beyond the terrestrial limit, going astral, excelling as a role-model: a woman of colour, an immigrant, a recovering victim of media ridicule. Come to think of it, DeWayne DeLark could become her manager, arranging her PR, negotiating her endorsements. The possibilities, the possibilities. 🔥🙏🏾❤️🔥❤️🙏🏾🔥
https://www.give2wbai.org/category_s/1981.htm(amazingly, four pages of Gary product, proudly hosted by WBAI; as it’s so difficult to choose between Gary’s Red Stuff & his Energy Stuff, why not throw caution to the wind, go all in, peruse page 3, then buy “Gary Null’s Triple Stuff Pack”, a bargain at $160!)
. . . no flowers in their office, no flowers in their hair . . .
[This synthesises, & develops, the comments made to the seven separate doc posts. It’ll be completed W25Sep (apologies for the delay).
[Obviously, this post will come before the docs, but, as it’s written after the posting of the seven, a copy of this intro will appear with a 25Sep date for a week or so, to alert readers who use the home page or blog roll/feed.]
context (post-Sep2006 financial decline; Cali push for breaking up Pacifica) — summary of the new constitution — will the resistance prevail? (assessment of both sides’ constituencies) — why have the resisters never developed a plan, let alone a persuasive plan? (the need to transition from resistance to leadership; the aspiration, by becoming the majority, to transform Pacifica, restoring health & achieving growth)
. . . no flowers in their office, no flowers in their hair . . .
[This synthesises, & develops, the comments made to the seven separate doc posts. It’ll be completed W25Sep (apologies for the delay).
[Obviously, this post will come before the docs, but, as it’s written after the posting of the seven, a copy of this intro will appear with a 25Sep date for a week or so, to alert readers who use the home page or blog roll/feed.]
context (post-Sep2006 financial decline; Cali
push for breaking up Pacifica) — summary of the new constitution — will
the resistance prevail? (assessment of both sides’ constituencies) —
why have the resisters never developed a plan, let alone a
persuasive plan? (the need to transition from resistance to leadership;
the aspiration, by becoming the majority, to transform Pacifica,
restoring health & achieving growth)
Pacifica got the new year off to a great start: the PNB adjourned at 1.40am ET. They had gathered the day before, Th3Jan, nominally at 8pm, but combat didn’t commence until 8.26 because the axe-grinder had run out of wheels. (That’s grinder, not grindr.) But don’t despair, they all meet up again this Thursday.
The question captivating everyone is, for how long will Mrs Maxie let Mr Maxie stay up well past his bedtime? Forget about the $3.265m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community (FJC), this is what the people deserve to know.
Mr Hill was mentioned in a recent video that discussed how Pacifica can save itself. Also referred to were Ms Sawaya & Ms Spooner.
The discussants were Ken Freedman (WFMU station manager), Peter Franck (former President of Pacifica), a current Pacifica director (Ms Travis), & a current station treasurer (Ms Adams, KPFA). Mr Freedman said WFMU embraced digital from the 1990s; & listener support is now $2m pa. Wiki say they have a 15-day fund drive. Once a year. That’s it.
On Monday, KPFA’s homepage linked to three election films made by the video company just mentioned. The presenter is a very busy person: Pacifica’s National Elections Supervisor & three-times Local Elections Supervisor (KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT). Yes, the one-and-only Renee Penaloza.
Little birdie with access to the system tells me there is a BIG doubt that quorum will be made for three elections: two listener, one staff. Who knew things could be so complicated?
This Thursday the PNB meets at the call of director Outraged Lark and his outraged accomplices. We can all enjoy their public interrogation of the National Elections Supervisor, Reneeeeeeee Penaloza. As she’s also the Local Elections Supervisor for KPFA, KPFT, and KPFT, she won’t be able to fall back on the excuse that the info got mangled passing up the chain/dropping down the sewer. (Once that is disposed of they go private, to rip each other apart with info presented by legal counsel.)
The following Thursday the PNB meets again, this time called by director Ice Maiden Aaron and her Scientologist drones. They’ve assembled the assembly to dissemble on Pacifica’s debts and increasing lack of cash. The failed and currently failing fund-drives at KPFA, KPFK, & WBAI are sending a chill through the corridors of powerlessness. Those in the know are looking to borrow in the summer (after the FY2018 audit) to pay off FJC before declining listener support makes juggling the creditors unsustainable.
The Thursday after is a return to normality, the regular monthly PNB.
No rest for the wicked – especially wicked Scientologists.
The new lender? Who knows, but the broker for the FJC loan, Marc Hand (whose company also gave FJC an award last year) is on the case, and will soon present options to the PNB. The hope of the Scientologists is that it will be sufficient that (1) all the audits (general and pension) have been done, (2) NETA can declare to a potential lender that the bookkeeping and management accounting functions are under control, and (3) adequate collateral is available.
This hope, however, received blows at Monday’s PNB Audit Committee:
– first, the auditor said the current FY2017 audit won’t be ready until April at the earliest (the original expectation was November last year). One can estimate that the earliest the FY2018 will be completed is August, but with holidays and info delays it’s better to think October. Then, breathlessly, if they have the will, they, or someone else, can start on the FY2019 audit.
– second, ED Jackson said that Business Managers should be appointed at the three stations lacking them: KPFT, WPFW, and WBAI. (In typical unicorn politics style, neither he nor anyone else spoke of the cost, where the $$$ would come from, or the need to put this cost in station budgets.) But wasn’t NETA supposed to be doing everything for Pacifica, and magically saving lots of money at the same time? Well, another blow came at the end of last year: NETA, finding out what they’d got themselves into, insisted on amending the contract, so (1) only taking on the CFO role for three months, and (2) declining the offer to provide station Business Managers. This has made it easier for NETA to extricate themselves when the contract expires, after two years, in September 2020; by happenstance this benefits Pacifica, by stopping it being completely dependent upon NETA.
– oddly the elections came up, with Ice Maiden Aaron saying that, as of Friday, quorum hadn’t been achieved in any election (then 29 days down, 18 days to go to 5 March).
And the collateral? For any new loan it will almost certainly be on the current basis: a value-to-loan ratio of 3:1, so almost $10m, all the Foundation’s property, collateralized for the $3.265m currently borrowed from FJC.
Note that the first quarterly interest payment from Pacifica’s general account is due the very end of December this year; the current interest charge is 8.5%, so, for the privilege of this FJC loan, listeners currently pay $277,525 pa, $69,381 per quarter, to tread the water.
Finally, a correction, I typed ‘KPFT’ twice: Ms Reneeeeeee is LES for KPFA, KPFK, and KPFT.
Forgot to mention another blow from Monday: the auditor strongly indicated that the FY2017 financial statements will be given what he called “a scope limitation”. No surprise, as May 31 last year the FY2016 auditor did the same (surprisingly, Pacifica’s first), using as their language “a qualified opinion”. An auditor issues this warning because some of the quantities in the financial statements cannot, in the jargon, be said to be ‘true and fair’, and these feed through to necessarily affect both the net income statement and the balance sheet (and the cash flow statement).
NETA have tried their best to avoid this eventuality, but, as the Audit Committee heard at their previous meeting, NETA could spend more time trying to patch things up and still get a scope limitation, so what would be the point of delaying the audit even more?
The auditor made no mention of the ‘going concern’ test. Why? Because everyone knows the answer: the last two auditor’s reports carried a “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern”, so with the current facts why would this one be different?
On quilt v. strip programming, no-one on the Prog. Cttee or PNB or LSB’s has mentioned whether anyone, esp. unpaid, is available for a yearly 48 x Mon. thru Fri.
Also no-one has put forward, even as an illustration, a bundle of existing programs (‘shows’ in the infotainment jargon) to fill one hour for M-F. For example, Richard Wolff (Economic Update) – Doug Henwood (Behind the News) – Suzi Weissman (Beneath the Surface) – … where do the other two hours’ come from? Do some double-up? Or doesn’t that theme get an hour slot, instead are their 20 or 30 mins segments distributed under some wider umbrella? In just this one example there are multiple matters to dispute — as if station managers & anyone national has the time to make all these decisions & do all the requisite preparatory work. Without hiring staff the task is beyond the incumbents. And besides that aspect, do they have the management & negotiating skills? What’s likely is the Buns & Gutter approach: administrative order, delivered summarily. Trump-style ‘management’: the workplace as a dictatorship — even when profits, or net income, aren’t at stake. With the prospect of a programmer strike.
Ambiguous is talk of ‘the five inherited properties’, and if this refers to the Federal Communications Commission licenses then we need scare-quotes for both words. That’s because a FCC license, in most circumstances, isn’t property but a permission (a ‘right’ in Legalese), one granted by the FCC. That’s why the licenses aren’t capitalized (as an asset) by Pacifica, and so don’t appear on Pacifica’s balance sheet; and that’s why they couldn’t be collateralized by Pacifica when getting the $3.7m loan last March from the Foundation for the Jewish Community (operating as FJC; its 990 will be filed any day now in NY).
Note that the nature of a license determines, in part, what happens with a signal-swap. If Pacifica is to raise cash this way, it swaps a license with that of another licensee, and it’s no surprise that the FCC must agree to this.
Which brings us to a crucial matter hitherto absent from the public discussion: if Pacifica wants a signal-swap, can it demonstrate to the FCC that it’s a going concern? Licensees are subject to oversight by the FCC. When a licensee wants a change of conditions, such as swapping its license, it attracts greater scrutiny – akin to an audit. Pacifica’s good intentions cut no ice when its last two auditor’s reports carried “a substantial doubt” about it continuing as a going concern. On top of this, the report due in April can only be expected to make it three thumbs-down in a row. This FCC-danger has not been acknowledged by any recorded public meeting of the PNB, its committees, the LSB’s.
And there’s another FCC-danger: the “substantial doubt” will soon enter stage left at the FCC Theater. Why? Because WPFW’s license expires on October 1 this year. Remember, WPFW’s financial performance is irrelevant: the license is Pacifica’s. The going concern test interrogates Pacifica. And public objections can also be made – and not just at renewal time. (The other expiry dates: KPFT, August 1, 2021; KPFA and KPFK, December 1, 2021; WBAI, June 1, 2022.)
WPFW is under threat. And no-one’s talking about it publicly.
King Maxie III has disclosed he has connections with CPB. FCC too?
Small world: Geraldo & Willowbrook . . . who would think this would lead to Pacifica & FJC? The other month I quoted from a puff-piece on FJC which disclosed that the letters denote Foundation for the Jewish Community. This article starts with our intrepid reporter, & before getting to FJC this excerpt refers to the fund that spawned it, the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation – which, as I noted at the time, buys FJC loans that are “potentially impaired” (any FJC auditor’s report):
“[i]n 1972 a relatively unknown reporter named Geraldo Rivera released a documentary highlighting the abuse and neglect of disabled patients at Staten Island’s Willowbrook School. Public outcry led to a signed consent decree by New York State transferring Willowbrook’s patients to 200 smaller group homes for better care. United Cerebral Palsy of New York (UCP), a leading nonprofit organization advancing the rights of people with disabilities, played a key role building the new group homes.
“To finance the construction, UCP received bridge loans from local banks. Upon completion of a group home, New York State would issue bonds to repay the bridge loans. At the height of the Savings & Loan Crisis in the 1980s, the banks providing bridge loans failed, and UCP was in desperate need of financing. UCP leadership turned to their donors for help and [Lorin Silverman] stepped up to provide a bridge loan from his family foundation’s investment capital [the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation] to support the continued construction. The loan was repaid and the foundation began to develop a reputation as a lender to the nonprofit sector.
“A few years later, [Lorin’s] family was approached by United Jewish Appeal (UJA), a philanthropic umbrella organization. As large numbers of Russian Jews were immigrating to the United States, UJA organized a successful fundraising campaign for re-settlement efforts. However, UJA urgently needed cash for housing, food, language training and childcare and couldn’t wait for the collection of pledges. [Lorin’s] family also had a donor-advised fund (a charitable giving vehicle) administered by UJA and he suggested that the fund would be an excellent source of short-term capital to support Russian Jewry. It had long frustrated [Lorin] that the only investment option UJA provided to donor-advised fund holders was two-year treasury notes. UJA declined his suggestion and instead requested a loan from [Lorin’s] family foundation. The foundation loaned $10 million to UJA against the pledges at a prime plus 3% interest rate, or approximately 10% at the time.
“In light of UJA’s reluctance to use donor-advised fund capital for mission-related investments, [Lorin] decided to pursue the idea on his own. A new community foundation was created to pool donors’ funds and permit investments for social good before the funds were eventually used for charitable donations. [Lorin’s] family and others officially launched FJC (Foundation for the Jewish Community) in 1995.”
Thursday’s PNB revealed that the nominal 2018 pseudo-election chickens are coming home to roost: the KPFK listener pseudo-election will almost certainly have to be extended by upto four weeks (by-law Article 4, Section 5), with even then little prospect of reaching quorum. The KPFA listener pseudo-election may also fail when the polls close at Tuesday midnight (PacificaWorld, for RealWorld interactions, apparently uses Central Time). And as of Thursday’s PNB there were three other deficient pseudo-elections. The cost of each valuable vote? More than $50 (c. $200k / <4k). https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art4sec5.html https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190228/pnb190228a.mp3 (14:36, the c. $200k)
Something else has passed most people by: if best practice has been exercised by the Executive Director then he will have started the 2019 elections by Saturday just gone. That’s because according to Art. 4, Sec. 4 he would have appointed the National Elections Supervisor “by a date no less than 90 days before nominations are set to open [on 1 June – Sec. 5]”. As of writing, it’s not publicly known whether the nominal 2018 NES has had the go-ahead from her psychiatrist.
So c. $200k is the estimated cost of the nominal 2018 pseudo-election – unless voting is extended. And now the 2019 is starting. To put these PacificaWorld-RealWorld interactions in perspective, $400k would, at FJC’s current interest rate of 8.5%, pay for 17.3 months of the 18 months’ payments that are due from Pacifica’s general account starting on c. 1Oct this year & running thru to c. 31Mar2021, when Pacifica is contracted to also pay FJC $3.265m. So with the likely KPFK extension, elections cost = FJC interest charge. The time is approaching when FJC decides that the Pacifica loan is “potentially impaired” (the term used in their auditor’s report, pages 12-13 of the PDF), requiring them to sell the loan to the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Heady days. http://fjc.org/uploads/user-uploads/image/FJC%203-31-18%20FINAL.pdf
The info provided by King Maxie III at Thursday’s PNB was perhaps an hour old (22:10). No explanation was given for the NES’ absence – perhaps Reneeeee Penaloza was too busy being the Local Elections Supervisor for KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT (yes, Reneeeee’s own website is in error). Remember, quorum is 10% for listeners, 25% for staff; & there’s no WPFW listener pseudo-election because the nine seats only had five verified candidates (they happen to be all the incumbents up for re-election). The listener turnout: KPFA 8.7%, KPFK 5.8%, KPFT 10.6%, WBAI 9.2%. Staff turnout: KPFA 37.8%, KPFK 19.5%, KPFT 37.2%, WPFW 26.6%, WBAI 23.8%.
So as of last Thursday, using these percentages, how many voters were needed to meet the quora? 884. Listeners: KPFA 205, KPFK 605, WBAI 55. Staff: KPFK 16, WBAI 3. And all in just over five days. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that the NES pops out of a KPFA office, inadvertently leaving on her screen the list of staff at KPFK & WBAI who haven’t voted yet . . . https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/nes-responses-2018-election/
What happens to LSB seating if quorum isn’t made? “If no quorum of ballots is obtained by the extended date, then those Delegates whose terms would have expired upon the election of new Delegates shall remain in office until the next regularly scheduled Delegate election” (Art. 4, Sec. 5). In the nominal 2018 KPFK listener pseudo-election, six incumbents are running again: Grace Aaron, Ken Aaron, Jan Goodman, Steve Kaiser, Rob Macon, & Reza Pour. So they would keep their seats (eating into their possible six years in the job), but have to run again in June – disrupting not just their holidays but also making the next cohort of faction members wait until 2021 before they can compete for seats.
So much for the enthusiasm stirred up by the Gorgon faction in their lair, KPFK. So much for the future being safe in their hands.
Correction: at the very end, on the KPFK situation, I illogically deduced that it’s likely to make “the next cohort of faction members wait until 2021 before they can compete for seats”. No: the election for that half of the LSB listener-seats is just delayed until the summer, when the whole LSB is then up for election (possibly bar the three staff currently being voted on).
This makes Californians c. 65% – which serves as the justification for the current by-law amendment making PNB representation proportionate to station-level listener membership. Pacifica’s membership has almost halved since late 2003, a then 90k, when the first LSB elections were held under the current by-laws (Carol Spooner, then Secretary of the interim PNB). Incidently, does anyone have this 15-year time series of Pacifica’s descent into hell in a handcart (albeit now collateralised, with everything else, to FJC)? https://current.org/2003/9/radio-thats-representative/
3) Some of Thursday’s PNB audio has gone AWOL: the last 22 minutes of the first part of the meeting, the discussion of the failing nominal 2018 pseudo-election. It really comes to something when even the fake fails.
Of course, the web administrator doesn’t tell the visitor. Of course, no explanation is offered. Of course, no apology is offered. Of course, discourtesy prevails, effortlessly.
4) Lastly, a sad note. Bill Eisen, who was standing for election as a KPFK listener, died at the end of December. He was a CPA, & had written repeatedly to FJC asking for information on the $3.7m loan they made to Pacifica. FJC never once acknowledged his requests, let alone replied to them. He particularly wanted to find out why FJC had approved the loan when Pacifica did not satisfy the lending tests published by FJC themselves: what had Pacifica promised to make the loan possible?, were there guarantees made by persons or organisations unknown?, have the parties acted in bad faith, and why? http://fjc.org/fjc-agency-loan-fund
His death has passed by in silence. There is nothing on KPFK’s website. There is nothing on Pacifica’s website. There is nothing on the NES’ election website – except a created absence: his name was removed from the candidates list, his candidate statement was removed. NES Renee Penaloza (firstname.lastname@example.org) has chosen not to inform readers of the site that one of their candidates has died. Values are to be practised. Pacifica bosses are showing all too clearly what Pacifica values mean to them, what ‘the Pacifica family’ means to them. https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/kpfk-candidates/
I should also have referred to the disastrous way the PNB meeting was ended by Chair Nancy Sorden. But like the antics of the Trumpanzee, after a while one simply loses the will to talk about them. Nevertheless, in defence of decorum, one should report that Wooden-as-a-Chair Chair Nancy flipped out yet again, summarily closing the meeting in a panic, completely disregarding her fellow directors (1:00:44). https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190228/pnb190228d.mp3
She’d done the same at the 20Dec PNB (from 22:45), the infamous ‘FJC/Jehovah’ meeting, when Adriana twice mentioned the taboo word, ‘FJC’, causing Nancy to have a meltdown, summarily ending the public session, which had hardly begun. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb181220/pnb181220a.mp3
At that time, she didn’t apologise to the directors & the public at the next PNB meeting, so she probably won’t do so this Thursday. Displays of ignorance just fuel the dysfunctionality, destroying the trust that springs from common decency.
Her time as Chair can’t end soon enough – which doesn’t mean her successor won’t be worse.
You’re right about the membership lists, but the King is simply exasperated. How close he is to the end of his tether is hard to say. Contra the Gorgon faction, he has to continually defend the station bookkeepers & the multi-tasking Wandra at National Office, repeating again & again that they are all working flat-out in coordination with NETA, getting the FY2017 statements & records ready for the auditor. Grace Aaron et al. think they’re helping, but they’re making things worse. That’s why Maxie admonished her in public at last Thursday’s PNB (57:00, the below ‘b’ audio) when he rebuked her micro-managing motion. (I mistakenly thought this was at Monday’s Audit Cttee.)
It’s worth reflecting on what he said, especially his warning of the coming austerity for Pacifica, which will inevitably affect employees:
“I’ve managed a company in austerity man- [indistinct] – um, protocol before – um, that’s probably where we’re headed – um, I just – the big question to come to mind for me is the people – the person, I should say – who put this motion forward is the same person who negotiated the NETA agreement, um, for the most part, um, & is probably having some second thoughts about he – the amount of money we’re spending on that agreement, considering how inflated it is with respect to what I originally put forward &, um, how little we’re getting in re- exchange for that, um, that is upto this point.” (my emphasis)
He continued immediately, criticising the substantive irrationality of the Board majority, expressing his bewilderment: “[…] NETA have made it very clear that until they are able to get accurate financial records – that are projecting March, early April – that there’s no value in them providing financial reports to this Board because they would be unreliable. And the fact that this Board wants to proceed with numbers that are not reliable is mystifying to me. Um, but, you know, vote your consciences, &, um, I’ll play the cards that are dealt.” (my emphasis)
His quiet exasperation. He likes a challenge, & he isn’t a quitter. But he needs those above him to behave correctly, he needs to believe that all the work he’s putting in isn’t a waste of time, he needs to be convinced that recovery can be achieved. Like all of us, he has his limits. He’s obviously not getting the support he needs. He’ll stay until he’s lined up his next job. It’s just a question of when.
1f)W6Mar2019 [not chronological coz it was in a new comment thread]:
Monday’s PNB Audit Cttee had a surprise: the CFO seems to have walked out into the ocean. Everyone else was there: the National Office bookkeeper/accountant, the ED, NETA, & the auditor. But not Larry Dankner. Not even mentioned. In fact he’s never attended a recorded Pacifica meeting. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/audit/190304/audit190304a.mp3 (two other files too: ‘b’ & ‘c’)
The disappearing Dankner. The 6Dec PNB private session statement disclosed his appointment: “the Pacifica National Board hired an interim CFO, Larry Dankner, as a Pacifica employee”. The final words are there to make explicit what had been said at a meeting now in the archive: he’s seconded from NETA. The meetings archive also says he’s there for three months – so expiring today. Oh. But maybe there’s been an extension, as might also have happened c. 1Oct2018 to the six-month waiver granted by FJC at the very start of the loan (ED Livingston email, c. early April 2018). https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_181206.pdf
As Larry’s been seconded from NETA it’s rather odd that, according to the (poorly worded) PNB statement, he was instructed by the PNB to negotiate a contract with . . . NETA: “[the PNB] authorized him, in conjunction with our Pacifica ED and NETA, to negotiate and submit a modified agreement with NETA to the PNB that includes hands[-]on staff to address deficiencies in our financial accounting at the station level and throughout our network.” NETA’s website still lists him as in the second highest stratum in the hierarchy, a Senior Controller, immediately below Anita from NETA. But no doubt NETA can be trusted to maintain that wall to prevent a conflict of interest, especially concerning Larry’s career prospects within NETA. After all, they keep telling us they are full of Southern hospitality. (Maxie also had a dig at Grace: he said she was largely responsible for the content of the NETA contract: a lot has been spent, for not that much.) http://www.netaonline.org/Contact-Us
Even odder than the prima facie conflict of interest, & perhaps more important in the long run, some guys from the Kalahari seem to have got onto the call. It must be said that recording quality has deteriorated markedly over the last few months.
Two pieces of election news, courtesy of a coalition website (pejoratively, faction), the Grassroots Community Radio Coalition, which supported the candidature of Bill Eisen, who died in December.
1) The NES declared the day after polls closed that “[w]e have met quorum across the 5 stations”. The GCRC’s homepage used the same formulation: “[t]he election is over and all five Pacifica stations achieved quorom [sic]!”. But what the NES said doesn’t necessarily mean what one may think at first glance: re-read the NES’ words: she didn’t say ‘quorum was met in all nine elections’ (listener, staff – no WPFW listener election) – so what she said admits the possibility that one station, or more, may have met one quorum but failed another. http://gcrc-socal.org/content/menu/2018_election/election_news.htm http://gcrc-socal.org/index.htm
2) The site also has documentation on the firing of the second NES, Alma Viscarra, on Sa5Jan, the day after she had sent a revised timeline to the ED & PNB, made to protect, in her judgment, the integrity of the pseudo-election, thereby discharging her prime duty on behalf of the Pacifica membership. Ms Viscarra says she needed the membership lists to be improved, & for the whole pseudo-election process to be protected from the persistent political pressure of well-placed candidates: “[m]y ‘faults’ were to try to resist interference and directives on how to conduct the 2018 elections from individual directors (who are also nominees/candidates)”. (She was also fired as the KPFT LES on 15Jan.)
On 3Jan she obviously upset the ED &, especially, director Grace Aaron by announcing to them that she was revising the pseudo-election timeline, basing herself on the by-laws & “the advice of the Pacifica Counsel, Mr. Ford Greene”. The next day she sent the revised timeline to the ED, the PNB, & Mr Greene. The day after, fired. Makes sense, really. After all, director Grace Aaron seems to be acting as de facto Executive Director, even to the point of running that conversation when the ED called NES Viscarra two days before her firing. http://gcrc-socal.org/content/menu/2018_election
At the crucial moments, again & again, King Maxie III takes the path of least resistance, towing the line of the Gorgon faction. The other week he provided a Stalinesque public denunciation, rubbishing Alma during a recorded Pacifica meeting, it now enshrined in the Short Course as his ‘AWOL’ speech. No-one stays long as a virgin in PacificaWorld. No wonder WPFW couldn’t even find four more listener candidates to slide straight into those empty LSB seats.
Not to hog things, just to say it was announced Tuesday that Pacifica got a $2.361m windfall: Amy’s board of directors unanimously agreed to write-off most of Pacifica’s debt. So Democracy Now! decided to reduce both their own net assets & their net income, causing Pacifica to reduce their net liabilities & to improve their net income/loss.
I had always wondered what was the age structure of Pacifica’s liabilities – the last mention of the DN! debt was in Pacifica’s FY2011 auditor’s report: c. 43% of accounts payable, & DN! causing c. 55% of programming costs (note 10, p. 18 – p. 21 of the PDF). https://pacifica.org/documents/Audit_FY_2011_final_signed.pdf
The King disclosed the gratifying news at Tuesday’s PNB Finance Cttee (17:53), repeating it at last night’s PNB. DN! did this “in honour of new leadership at Pacifica, & our continued support of Pacifica & community radio”. Incredibly this decision was made in October but only related to Pacifica last week when the King visited NYC. It also seems to be a belated response to a Pacifica begging request made in August 2017 by its auditor, Regalia & Associates. (I say “seems” because the DN! letter, read out by the King, was somewhat garbled at this point.) The write-off is for broadcast fees, presumably through to September or October 2018, not specified by either the letter or the King. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/190312/finance190312a.mp3
Another oddity: the King wasn’t sure whether Pacifica currently has a broadcast contract with DN!. Exclamation mark.