One year ago the FJC loan documents were leaked – respect to those responsible

the leak – now mirrored across the net (only some of the 19 files are shown)

Most people, most of the time, don’t give a monkey’s about what goes on at Pacifica. And that includes the members. In the referenda brought by the breakers earlier this year, a massive 77% didn’t vote. (33k didn’t, 10k did.)

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2020/03/30/referenda-station-results-approx-absolute-numbers/

The anti-breakers shout about their ⅔rds support, but this misses the point. There’s aggregation – and there’s organisation. It’s the contrast between sharing attributes (typology) & being organised in & thru relatively enduring relations (structure). The contrast being statics & dynamics: one, a snapshot in the present; the other, a force projecting into the future. To be effective, atoms need to be organised – then mobilised. And things are so bad in PacificaWorld that even the anti-breaker higher-ups lack organisation: after three months they can’t get the PNB Strategic Planning Cttee to work. (Met twice, three cancelled, since it was ‘re-populated’ in April.)

RealWorld, in the latest form taken by its developed capitalist societies, has found a rhetoric to encourage both acceptance of an institution & participation within a ‘community’: be transparent, be open. Transparency of proceedings; transparency of facts. So, a threefold transparency: of process, of the world as it starts from, & of the world it creates. Well, the obdurate Pacifica secrecy culture is impervious to all this.

Three activities are essential to the species: working, reproducing, communicating. Pacifica’s pseudo-leaders may be able to work & reproduce, but they don’t know how to communicate, which is why transparency is an unwelcome complication. They’re always afraid they’ll be misunderstood – hence the sad performances of the hapless Mansoor ‘Uriah Heep’ Sabbagh & the hypocritical Chris ‘R Paul, my heart bleeds for WBAI’ Cory, continually fretting that the ignorant great unwashed won’t understand provisional financial data, data good enough for them, but not for others. Well, the hermeneutic failure is all theirs.

This contrasts with 26June2019: an exercise in transparency, communication, hermeneutic success.

~

On 2Apr2018, Executive Director Tom Livingston committed Pacifica to the biggest debt in its history, signing the $3.7m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, known in the wider world as FJC.

Pacifica was proud of the new form it had pushed its debt into. It issued a press statement, still on the websites of KPFK & WBAI: https://www.kpfk.org/blogs/kpfk-and-pacifica-news/post/pacifica-announces-settlement-with-empire-state-building-and-empire-state-realty-trust/ & https://www.wbai.org/articles.php?article=3570.

So proud, the statement to the world included this from the then PNB Chair, Nancy Sorden (who’s still a director & WPFW listener-delegate):

I’d like to first thank the Pacifica National Board, for deciding on this approach and the enormous amount of work they put into it to get us to this point. Second, to FJC for providing this loan at a very difficult time for Pacifica, and third to the team of professionals that helped negotiate the settlement, secure the funding, identify and secure an agreement for our new transmitter location.

But the recognition of FJC didn’t stop there. A whole paragraph followed, detailing this ‘n’ that, as Mansoor would say, &, in referring to its Agency Loan Fund (ALF), Pacifica implied that this was the vehicle used to access money lodged at FJC. I carefully say ‘implied’ because no Pacifica employee or officer has ever disclosed the source of the loan: be it via ALF; one or more FJC donor-advised accounts; or some other FJC arrangement.

So given all these heart-felt thanks it was surprising that pretty soon, & with no explanation, the word ‘FJC’ became taboo, with the great & the good becoming boys in blue whenever someone mentioned the acronym. The policing became so extreme that Chair Nancy summarily ended the 20Dec2018 PNB meeting, cutting the stream, after ‘Jehovah’ ‘FJC’, that obscenity, had been uttered once too often by a blasphemer. PacificaWorld had collapsed into The Life of Brian.

http://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/2018/12/hush-money.html (smiles to Chris Albertson for the felicitous title) & https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb181220/pnb181220a.mp3 (22:45)

(Digression . . . this portion of the meeting is an excellent example of how that breaker Rottweiler, Carole Travis, operates. A masterful performance. Not least for trying to get on the stack before the agenda item had even been reached. Superb. Chomping on the bit before the meat was even on the table. Kinetic. Carole, sadly, is now retired from the PNB & the KPFA Local Station Board, but hangs around, lurking, in the KPFA Community Advisory Board & as a trustee of one of the pension funds – along with former ED Tom Livingston. Yes, the ties that bind. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20200222 (click ‘Committee Members’))

As expected, the appeal to confidentiality – so beloved by Pacifica gatekeepers – was spurious, as fully explained July last year, by referring to the evidence, the leaked FJC contract documents we now have occasion to celebrate: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/21/pacifica-could-have-and-can-publish-the-fjc-loan-contract-the-confidentiality-clause-only-consists-in-fjcs-name-and-street-address/.

Giving credit where credit’s due, Chair Nancy, condemning mention of a press statement mentioning her very own words, richly earnt her PacificaWorld moniker, Chair ‘wooden as a chair’ Nancy. Nancy, we salute you, &, as they say interminably on Fox News, thank you for your service.

The self-appointed protectors of PacificaWorld created an aura of secrecy, one with its own lexicon: ‘the big loan’, to distinguish it from the Tom & Jerry loan, the Ben & Jerry loan – no, ‘the small loan’, the $0.5m loan collateralised by the Nakapon/National Office building (1921-1925 MLK Jr Way), the one ‘linked’ to Jan Goodman, the Jan & Terry loan, the Jan & fiends loan – no, the Jan & friends loan. In the leaked docs, ‘the small loan’ is called ‘the friendly loan’ & ‘the Pacifica supporters loan’ (sic). Inventive, & psychically revealing.

And yet the information gatekeepers, in doing their work, just couldn’t help themselves, antagonising fellow directors, by refusing to give everyone a copy of the loan documents. Directors Adriana Casenave & DeWayne Lark (both KPFT listener-delegates), not surprisingly, proved to protesteth the mosteth.

The notices for the PNB closed sessions say, “[o]n March 22, 2018 the PNB met in executive session and approved in principle a number of agreements that will immediately address our financial difficulties.” So, “in principle”: not the draft documents. The contracts were signed from the very next day: those with FJC signed 23Mar & before 3Apr by ED Livingston; the advertising contract with F.Y. Eye, Inc., signed 23Mar by ED Livingston (the euphemistic ‘underwriting’); & ‘the small loan’, the $0.5m, signed by director Grace Aaron perhaps 28Mar, & was due to be signed by director Mansoor Sabbagh. These docs weren’t distributed to all directors, either then or since. https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_180322.pdf

It should be added that the PNB Finance Cttee repeatedly complained about only some of its members having the FJC loan docs, even asking for them from the PNB. Fat chance. It was sorrowful to witness the repeated requests in Cttee of the forlorn Nick Arena, WPFW treasurer, a man who only happens to administer bank loan contracts in his day job. What could he contribute to Pacifica? Just as well he’s kept out of the loop.

(Elaboration . . . the lender of ‘the small loan’ was Pacifica Supporters Loan, LLC, & signing the contracts were two denoted “managers”, King Reilly & Jerry Manpearl. The PNB agreed that Pacifica donors pay Mr Reilly $10k “as a brokers’ fee for arranging this loan”, & pay the lender $28k as “legal fees and expenses” – page 2 of doc #1. In contrast, it takes a worker on $15 an hour all of 4 months to earn $10k. Progressive values in action, the Reilly/Manpearl way. From 1921-1925 MLK Jr Way to the Reilly/Manpearl way. The Pacifica journey. All funded by the members & listeners. #ThisIsWhatWinningLooksLike. https://mega.nz/folder/PloCiSqJ#9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g/file/W0J1Eaha

Also, doc #5 (duplicated as doc #6), a ledger that isn’t Pacifica’s, identifies the nine ‘small loan’ lenders, of between $25k & $125k, at 7.5% a year – one is a KPFK listener-delegate (then, & now), another a current KPFT listener-delegate. (7.5% = prime + 3 percentage points during the period 14Dec2017 thru 21Mar2018; prime then rose to 4.75%. To note, the FJC loan is on the same basis. What’s good enough for a FJC investor is good enough for a Pacifican – Pacifican, & liberal (not socialist), values at work.) https://mega.nz/folder/PloCiSqJ#9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g/file/DhAV1KCB & https://about.jpmorganchase.com/about/our-business/historical-prime-rate

The ledger shows that ‘the small loan’, $0.5m, was the residue of a liquidated $2.075m loan, also at 7.5% a year, that had lasted one month. This loan had 13 lenders, of between $25k & $875k (Manpearl $400k, Reilly $875k). Curiously, a $50k lender ‘earnt’ no interest, so perhaps the sum either was only committed or was withdrawn the day it was deposited (if the interest were foregone as a donation to Pacifica then this would have been further recorded). The existence of this $2.075m (or $2.025m) loan has never been publicly acknowledged by Pacifica, neither by employees nor officers.)

~

The publication of the FJC loan docs on 26June2019 was a giant step forward in making Pacifica transparent. The fact that no director claimed responsibility speaks volumes. Instead, respect goes to those who work to inform the members & listeners. Respect.

~

There are 18 unique documents (one is a copy):

https://mega.nz/#F!PloCiSqJ!9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g (convenient one-click download of the folder; also ‘preview’ allows reading online)

The ‘root’ contract, called the “loan agreement”, dated 2Apr2018, signed (with no date) by Pacifica ED Tom Livingston & FJC President Lorin Silverman: https://mega.nz/folder/PloCiSqJ#9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g/file/b0IBlaiR

There’s also an advertising (underwriting) contract as part of the loan, dated 2Apr2018, signed 23Mar2018 by ED Livingston: https://mega.nz/folder/PloCiSqJ#9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g/file/qkxynCxQ

ED Brazon spreads the calm

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

Dear PNB Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Than [sic] you,

Lydia Brazon
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation

How is it KPFA last paid property tax on 3Apr2013?!? Where’s the transparency? Where’s the accountability?

. . . is it really that difficult? . . .

Here are a few notes on the KPFA property tax debt, ~$487k. To be exact, it’s $486 750.86. It means an online public auction of the Pacifica building in Berkeley, at 1929 MLK Jr. Way, has been ordered for 20-23Mar – a building, one should add, that KPFA enjoys rent-free, so effectively receiving a subsidy, year after year, from the other four stations. Some thanks.

1) Almost half a million $$$? But aren’t charities exempt from this tax? Indeed: if a non-profit organisation is a registered charity, say, & the property in question is solely used for charitable purposes, then no tax is due, it’s exempt – but only if the organisation jumps thru the hoops set up by the taxwoman. Hoops such as annually applying for the exemption. Hoops such as providing the required evidences. OK, so administrative ABC, right? – or so one would think.

KPFA has to deal with the Alameda Co. taxwoman. As expected, the exemption’s on their website. It’s called the Welfare Exemption (it’s been around since 1944), & to apply the organisation needs an Organizational Clearance Certificate. The relevant introductory webpage even has this coaxing prompt, hypertexted: “Welfare Exemption for Non-Profit Organizations”. https://www.acgov.org/assessor/decreasetax/exemptions/other-exemption.htm

The powers that be have even gone to the trouble of writing a helpful booklet, explaining the rules & process: https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/pub149.pdf (Dec2018)

It even seems that unaudited financial statements are acceptable – which of course means they have to exist in the first place: https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/boe277.pdf

ABC. The basics. Basic admin. The sort of thing the average 14-year-old can do. If Pacifica had a Young Pioneers wing, they could have been charged with the responsibility. After all, kids have been known to run even more complicated things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyermekvas%C3%BAt.

2) As of 29Jan this year, the last payment made to Alameda for 1929 MLK was 3Apr2013 – almost seven years ago. (Primary documents are linked at https://pacificainexile.org/.) The itemised bill has property tax due, to 30June2020, of ~$373k. But the debt is ~$487k? Yes: penalties, interest, & fees is the difference, ~$114k. $114 000. Oh.

3) Is KPFA the only part of Pacifica paying – or not paying – property tax, when, on its face, there should always be an exemption? No. Consider, arbitrarily, the period since 1Oct2009, the start of Pacifica’s financial year 2010, FY2010. There are seven sets of audited figures, plus the financial statements in the FY2017 auditor’s report, statements which are not audited because the auditor, Rogers & Company, said they lacked sufficient evidence in order to express an opinion on the statements’ material accuracy. In the jargon, The Black Spot is a ‘disclaimer of opinion’. (As repeated Pacifica mtg. audios reveal, no delegate, even no director, seems to appreciate that the FY2017 statements, so all the figures in them, are effectively worthless. However, for prospective donors & lenders, & the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, they are not worthless but valuable: they are a bigger red flag than the one gracing Tiananmen Square, alerting anyone reading the auditor’s report that Pacifica is out of control, lacking even the basic financial controls.) https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/19/fy2017-auditor-refuses-to-declare-that-the-statements-are-materially-accurate/

For these eight years, FY2010 thru FY2017, total charge for property tax = $502 187. Yes, talk again of half a million. Almost all of it was for KPFA: 91.9%, $461 334. (The others: KPFK, $23 624; KPFT, $15 126; & ‘National Division’, the auditor’s term, $2 103.)

Pacifica owns properties housing KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT. Not every station has been charged property tax each & every year. The annual charge for each station, & National Division, starting with FY2010, are as follows. KPFA: $13 854, 0, 14 208, 13 036, 9 929, 14 354, 337 826 (sic), 58 127 (unaudited) … KPFK: $0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 9 762, 9 202, 4 660 (unaudited) … KPFT: $29 453, 14 354, 0, 0, refund of 28 686, 5 (sic), 0, 0 (unaudited) … National Division: all zero bar $2 103 (FY2014). There’s a lot of explaining to be done here. Not least the KPFA FY2016 charge of ~$338k. Since the statements include National Division in their analysis, this figure can’t have anything to do with the Berkeley ‘Nakapon’ building, 1921-1925 MLK, that housed the national office. (Coincidently, that auditor’s report, by Regalia, is dated 31May2018, & it addressed a post-balance sheet event, the sale of that property. Please note, if the ~$338k charge were to largely refer to previous years, perhaps even to the sold property, then that would have been disclosed as an adjustment to the opening balances, with an explanatory note, not as a FY2016 expense.)

4) Then there’s the Foundation for the Jewish Community, operating as FJC. Pacifica have to pay them $3.265m by 31Mar next year. A condition of the loan is paying all taxes when they fall due. A condition of the loan is getting FJC’s permission before any asset is sold. A condition of the loan is adhering to the conditions. FJC also have the legal right to sell on the loan, their asset, whenever it suits them. And this they have done in recent years, even of a loan comparable in size to Pacifica’s. And they don’t wait for a borrower to default; no, they sell it on when the loan is “potentially impaired”, as disclosed in any of their auditor’s reports. And we know who they sell it to: the Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation. Is this latest debacle the straw that finally broke the camel’s back? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/20/has-fjc-sold-the-3-265m-loan-is-the-owner-the-marty-and-dorothy-silverman-foundation/ & https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/what-fjc-has-made-pacifica-do/ (this also has a link to the root contract, the ‘loan agreement’, signed 2Apr2018 by Pacifica ED Tom Livingston & FJC President Lorin Silverman)

If the Pacifica building in Berkeley is indeed sold, it better go for in excess of $1.5m because FJC will want their $1m or so. That’s because it’s collateralised against the loan, which was made on a 3:1 value-to-loan basis. If Pacifica loses an asset, FJC gets its corresponding cash back immediately. “Cash back, Ma’am?”, “Why, I’ll have a million plus, thank you, young lady”, “Have a nice day, y’all!”

5) Money & debt aside, what about the politics of all this? Two democratic virtues are at stake: transparency & accountability.

A written public explanation must be provided by ED Lydia Brazon.

And who was responsible for this debacle? The KPFA GM, dear Quincy? The KPFA business manager, Maria Negret, who has exalted the financial performance of the station at every LSB mtg. she has graced? The KPFA treasurer, Sharon Adams? The KPFA Finance Cttee? What about the PNB as a whole, since 1Jan2014, say? Then there’s the current chair of the PNB Finance Cttee, Chris Cory, also on the KPFA LSB? The PNB Finance Cttee since 1Jan2014? The PNB Audit Cttee? And all the ED’s of the last six years? Indeed, whilst Breaker Bill Crosier was ED for almost a year, 2017-8, he supervised, by a continual act of omission, an increase in this property tax debt, including penalties, interest, & fees.

And, last but not least, what about Pacifica’s bookkeeper, accountant, & provider of the Chief Financial Officer since Sep2018, NETA, the expensive National Educational Telecommunications Association? How long did it take NETA in its early precautionary overview of Pacifica’s assets (& their attendant liabilities) & Pacifica’s aged creditors, to identify KPFA’s property tax debt, one accumulating since 2013??? A week? Two weeks? A month? When did NETA notify Pacifica’s ED of the seriousness of this debt? . . . this debt which, in the absence of contrary info, is an existential threat to KPFA?

So, besides the members & listeners, who will pay for this debacle? In neglecting the oft-cited fiduciary responsibility, who will pay the price? Is there evidence that GM Quincy McCoy continually disclosed & appealed to successive ED’s that KPFA was both living beyond its means & jeopardising a key asset of the Foundation? Is there? Or, as GM, does he deserve to pay the ultimate Pacifica price?


Putting the cart before the horse. Why’s there no public record of the Foundation having a Secretary, the only person authorised to receive this by-laws petition? Has the petition been validated, not least that c. 465 signatories are members in good standing? – open letter to Pacifica IED John Vernile

Tomorrow, Sunday, the Pacifica National Board meets at 6.30pm EDT with a single purpose, “Set Bylaws Amendments Notice Date”. (It hasn’t been given the necessary seven days’ notice – Article 6, Section 4; page 20 – but what’s new?) However, in the absence of a statement from the head of Pacifica’s administration, Interim Executive Director John Vernile, this PNB meeting puts the cart before the horse. The purpose of the meeting begs a number of questions, which only he is in a position to answer; &, as the principal administrator, to do so is his responsibility on behalf of Pacifica, not least the members. Moreover, to help give legitimacy to the process that’s started, they’re questions IED Vernile needs to answer unequivocally, & citing all the necessary evidence.

The questions concern two matters arising at the very start of this by-laws process: the Foundation Secretary, & petition validation. Does Pacifica have a properly installed Secretary to receive this petition? And has the petition been validated, not least establishing that c. 465 signatories are members in good standing?

This open letter is an attempt to cajole the IED, hitherto reticent, a man of few public words, into doing everyone a favour by making this process as transparent as possible. He may also be able to reassure everyone that the Foundation, in being rushed, isn’t being exposed to litigation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Subject: Evidence that the Foundation has a properly installed Secretary; evidence of verification of the by-laws petition, not least the signatories

Dear Mr Vernile,

The cart is being put ahead of the horse. What are you going to do about it? The available evidence about the by-laws petition is unambiguous. Yes, you’re the servant of the Pacifica National Board, serving at its pleasure. But you also have the responsibility to protect the Foundation from litigation. Moreover, you have a responsibility not to carry out an ‘illegal’ order, one egregiously violating the by-laws of the organisation. As Pacifica’s principal administrator, the Interim Executive Director, you bear this double responsibility. So what are you going to do?

1) A highly disturbing petition has been published. To the unwary reader it’s promoted as an attempt to improve Pacifica’s governance. But this is disingenuous, given its authors & its content. Instead, the by-laws proposal is their chosen means to set in train decisions that irreversibly break up Pacifica, transform particular stations (WBAI is a prime target), & gut decision-making hitherto exercised by members, staff, & affiliates.

The nine authors of the petition, by their own statements & public associations, are the latest expression of those who work to break up Pacifica, destroying the network. Indeed, two of them have published plans detailing their intent: Peter Franck in September 2018, & Carol Spooner in 2012.

The movers of this petition, just like their words, cannot be trusted.

The proposal’s own title is misleading in saying it’s ‘amending & restating’ by-laws. No, it’s a complete set of new by-laws. What’s proposed isn’t narrow & shallow, but broad & deep: the scope of change is comprehensive. As such, it’s a new constitution, refounding the Foundation, making it a completely different organisation.

The proposal also requires ushering in an abhorrent, anti-Pacifican form of governance: a ‘100-day’ dictatorship, of between 92 & 114 calendar days, exercised solely by six outsiders to Pacifica, all handpicked by the breaker faction: “the At-Large Directors shall constitute the full Board of Directors and shall be authorized to take any and all actions they deem necessary” (proposed Article XV, Section 1; page 16, my emphases).

The movers of this petition can only have nasty surprises, anti-Pacifican surprises, up their sleeve.

This Board – the only one left after abolishing the five local boards – would be detached from the membership, from the staff, from the listeners. It would be able to invoke the much-misused blanket confidentiality provision. As such, it would be immune to scrutiny; be able to avoid meeting even once in public; be accountable to no-one. Ensconced from view, their deliberations would lack Pacifican participation, transparency, accountability.

The rallying cry of the breaker faction is clear: AntiDemocracyNow!

Breaking up Pacifica is dissolving Pacifica: it’s the Acid Bath Strategy.

2) There is a clear division of responsibilities, & so activities, between the Pacifica administration & the PNB. You are the principal administrator of Pacifica Foundation Inc. As such you have responsibilities concerning two matters arising immediately from this petition:

  • you must know that the Secretary of the Foundation, properly installed, is the only officeholder who can receive a petition; &
  • you’re responsible for verifying that a petition is bona fide, valid: this is not the responsibility of the PNB, nor of the Secretary of the PNB.

a) Concerning the first matter, the relevant by-law is clear: for the petition to be “considered ‘proposed’ [it] must be delivered to the Foundation’s Secretary” (Art. 17, Sec. 1(A); p. 42).

So, some elementary questions, given the complete absence of publicly available evidence:

  • who is the Secretary of Pacifica Foundation Inc.?
  • when did the PNB last elect the incumbent for their one year in office?
  • when did they assume office?
  • where is the relevant minute from a PNB meeting?
  • surprisingly, none of this info is on Pacifica’s website, so where is the official Foundation notice of all this?

Please send me a copy of all this evidence if, indeed, the Foundation has a current Secretary. In so doing you will be demonstrating that there can be no doubt that a properly constituted Foundation Secretary is in post (Art. 9, Sec. 2; p. 29).

Also, please note the following elementary point: the PNB annually electing its own Secretary is quite different from it annually electing the Foundation Secretary. Words matter, as we know all too well from court proceedings. The PNB Secretary may act as if they’re the Foundation Secretary (such as signing bank forms), but that doesn’t make them the Foundation Secretary (impersonator, comes to mind): only a specific annual election by the PNB can make someone the Foundation Secretary.

I think you’ll agree, this is so obvious it hardly needs stating.

b) After the petition is properly delivered to the Foundation, your second responsibility is supervising Pacifica’s administration as it tries to establish whether the petition is bona fide, genuine. It needs validating in all respects. Not least is gathering the evidence that c. 465 signatories are Pacifica members in good standing, evidence that can be inspected by any Pacifica director, evidence that safeguards the Foundation in any litigation. (465 is 1% of the 46 505 membership, per National Elections Supervisor Penaloza’s latest report that gives absolute numbers, 5Sep2019.) In this, as a first step, you obviously need to be satisfied that the 10 station membership rolls are materially accurate – and you’ll be aware that they weren’t at 29Oct2018, as declared by the then NES, Graeme Drew, orally on 29Oct to ED Maxie Jackson & in writing on 30Oct to the PNB.

c) Please note that proper receipt of the by-laws petition by the Foundation Secretary sets the record date for validating signatories. (This record date isn’t to be confused with the notice date of a proposed by-law amendment, which is established by decision of the PNB.)

Lastly, if this petition process progresses, I trust you will be receiving daily evidence from each station that they’ve made their three announcements, creating a time-stamped & station-stamped audiofile of the 675 announcements (3 x 5 x 45), the number required by by-law Art. 17, Sec. 1(B)(1); pp. 42-3.

3) As head administrator, as a minimum, you need to be in a position to tell any inquirer, not least a director:

  • the name of the Foundation Secretary, & when they were elected by the PNB into office for one year;
  • when the by-laws petition was received by the Foundation Secretary (setting the record date for the validation process);
  • the content of your plan for validating the petition;
  • who validated the petition;
  • when this started;
  • when it finished;
  • how many signatories were rejected, & why; &
  • which validating materials were used (e.g. station membership rolls), etc.

4) If the PNB do indeed set a notice date for the proposed by-law amendments, & instruct you to act upon it, then, given your responsibilities, you will have first validated the petition before money is spent & before on-air announcements are made. You need to have an evidenced belief that the by-laws proposal is proper, that it’s valid. And that requires, in part, Pacifica’s administration validating a minimum c. 465 signatories as Pacifica members in good standing.

As stated, you need no reminding that part of your job is protecting the Foundation from legal action. Before the PNB meets to determine a notice date for proposed by-laws amendments, you need:

  • to ensure that any petition has been received by a properly installed Foundation Secretary, thereby turning the petition into a potential by-laws amendment proposal; &
  • if that’s been established, to ensure that such a petition is bona fide, that it’s valid, thereby turning it into an actual by-laws amendment proposal.

Would you please convey your informed judgment on these two matters concerning the mentioned by-laws petition.

5) Given all that has been said, directors should decide on Sunday that the motion to set a notice date for proposed by-law amendments is void, as it puts the cart before the horse.

Directors should then vote (a) to ask the IED to confirm who’s the Foundation Secretary, voted into office by the PNB within the last 12 months; (b) to remind the IED that it’s his responsibility to produce all necessary evidence allowing him to decide the genuineness of the petition; & (c) to require the IED to give a full report, covering all the questions asked above.

6) As all the details asked of you are elementary, & simple, would you please send them before the PNB meets at 6.30pm EDT this Sunday, 29 September. This is a courtesy deserved by all in ‘the Pacifica family’, the members, the staff, the listeners.

Yours sincerely,

Jara Handala

Can Pacifica cope with young peeps? The Red Wave slate for the WBAI Local Station Board

Red Wave gets the Gezi penguin of approval from PacificaWatch

Can Pacifica cope with the youfff, here we’re talking about people under 35?

We’ll soon find out, because something’s happening in New York. The organisation that benefited most from #feeltheBern was the DSA, the Democratic Socialists of America, a middle-of-the-road social democratic group. They grew perhaps tenfold, & much more in terms of active members. It’s become the principal home in the US of anti-capitalists who aren’t anarchists.

The DSA’s largest chapter is NYC. And they’re in WBAI. A weekly one-hour, drive-time programme, 5pm Tuesdays, Revolutions Per Minute (RPM), is usually hosted by two members, Jack Devine & Lee Ziesche. In fact, it seems to be de facto proprietary – and I’m not talking Pacifica:

NYC-DSA now has a weekly radio program, Revolutions Per Minute on 99.5 WBAI. If you are interested in getting involved come join! There’s room for everyone, no experience necessary!

https://www.socialists.nyc/events/2019/3/21/revolutions-per-minute-monthly-meeting

Seems becomes definitive, the statement heading RPM’s Twitter page:

*The official* radio show and podcast of NYC Democratic Socialists of America @nycDSA. [my emphases]

https://twitter.com/nycRPM

There is no mention of this on their WBAI webpage: https://www.wbai.org/program.php?program=306

That page was augmented today, three links, & a pretty logo.

One link is to the RPM website, which archives the weekly programmes. The inaugural broadcast was M7Jan this year, & it carried an interview with State Senator Julia Salazar, a DSA member, impressively 27-years-old, & more impressively said to be the first socialist in the Senate for well on 100 years (35:31): https://revolutionsperminute.simplecast.com/episodes/january-7th-noamazonnyc. RPM do outreach, having had their first monthly public meeting in March; they also publish a weekly newsletter. The three links: RPM website, http://revolutionsperminute.simplecast.com; their nest, https://twitter.com/nycRPM; & http://bit.ly/rpm-newsletter. [UPDATE: as of Tu27Aug, the logo & three links have been deleted, without explanation, from the programme’s WBAI page. Quite odd.]

Not surprisingly they’ve got a slate of candidates, the Red Wave, in the current WBAI Local Station Board elections.

They have seven listener-candidates & two staff-candidates, here in ranked order: Safia Albaiti, Michael Mordowanec, Charlotte Albrecht, Rosa Palmieri, Simone Norman, Jez Zerbe, & David Torcivia; Jack Devine, & Amy Wilson. (As for the competition, there are 26 verified candidates for the nine listener-seats, & four for the three staff-seats, so Red Wave will win at least one of the latter.) “We’ll have a website up soon with a detailed platform and vision”, in the meantime, https://www.facebook.com/RedWaveWBAI/ & https://twitter.com/RedWaveWBAI (luv the Pisa transmitter, non-Stalinesque socialist realism, in the honest sense). https://airtable.com/shrnu59exwc0rRKad (gives the rankings, & also has a form for email updates from the Red Wave Collective)

A to-&-fro between WBAI listener-candidates featured four of their number, Cdes. Albaiti, Albrecht, Palmieri, & Zerbe. They acquitted themselves well, especially Cde. Albaiti (she is indeed, astutely, ranked #1 on their listener-slate). The video was published this Thursday, 22Aug, on the YouTube channel of National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza, & on her website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpYa0DhFGB4 & https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-forum-stephen-finkelstein-david-andersson-dee-dee-halleck-jack-de-palma-jez-zerbe-william-heerwagon-safia-albaiti-rosa-palmieri-charlotte-albrecht/ (snappy URL – it’s ‘Heerwagen’ too). All nine candidates, bar Cde. Palmieri (perversely so, as she’s an actress), have a vid of their one-minute statement at the two sites.

Oddly, not one of their statements mentions that they constitute a slate, nor do they mention each other. Demonstrates they’re new to electioneering. https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-candidate-statements/wbai-listener-statements/ & https://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wbai-candidate-statements/wbai-staff-statements/

It’s also surprising that no statement stresses that the candidate isn’t a grandparent or great-grandparent, making the slate a fresh broom for WBAI. This isn’t to be ageist, simply drawing attention to perhaps the biggest persuasive plus they have: voters, one suspects, don’t plumb so much for candidate politics as they do for personal characteristics, & with everyone knowing that Pacifica is getting even older, lots of voters will be pleased that under-40s, even those in their 20s, are running. Letting voters know this will certainly not harm their chances.

If word of their slate spreads, with the positive message that they are part of Pacifica’s & WBAI’s future, they have every chance of getting at least five elected. They really need to hammer home their comparative advantage. The recent past shows that a listener can get elected at WBAI with what seems to be little campaigning. Eve Moser did so with nine votes in the first round of the 4Jan2016 election, out of 920 voting (election report, pages 2 & 56), winning out only in the penultimate round of redistributing the votes (p. 56). https://mega.nz/#!3rxxjAAa!WX4Jz65LkNJC3NYFQyArJwptK1dGX8USofVIq4qRCxM (this substitutes for the public link, broken without notice, presumably by NES Penaloza, c. Mar-June this year, http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2016/01/UPDATED-13Jan-16-WBAI-Listener-Results-Certification-LetterSimply-Voting.pdf)

Then on 5Mar this year (results certified 18Mar), Hazel Pinder did the same with three such votes, out of 830 voting (other low achievers, likewise getting elected, were Dacio Quintana with five; Michael White, nine; Jim Dingeman, 12; Carolyn McIntyre, 13; & King Downing, 14). You see how even being a parent comes in useful? Remarkably, our Hazel was then elected in the second round, the only candidate to do so, having picked up 88% of Errol Maitland’s 198 redistributed votes! So, sadly, all down to the slate, not Hazel’s magnetism. The first & last rounds of the nominal 2018 pseudo-election: https://mega.nz/#!yz4lEChK!AzaYP0_nv9b30hYQGb3xr3O71DnY7msBracGaajIkhg & https://mega.nz/#!6zxxHajY!J2dOgxN6paySjOENYqugm8A2hMBAdwkXKjY0lnxaCaM

Redistributed votes. The Pacifica voting system meant that March this year, for the WBAI listener pseudo-election, once one got 60 votes one got elected, be it the first round, the 25th round. (For the staff, it was 17 votes.) And how many in the NYC chapter of DSA? . . . “5 500+”. (At the 19Nov2018 ‘record date’, there were 6 806 WBAI listener-members & 177 staff.) https://www.socialists.nyc/ & https://mega.nz/#!fyAwGICZ!-4uWYMHZW3CHxt6yCOITu006SVZ4AyNPjT9bWw6csb0 (Election Final Report 2018, pp. 7-9, 9, 1, 19; in Stalinist style, no longer publicly available on a Pacifica site – with Pacifica, its pervasive & entrenched anti-transparency culture, integral to its unthinking common sense, download written records whilst you can!)

On Monday, 19Aug, Red Wave had an intro to Pacifican morality, having to issue a denial statement because the dastardly Steve Brown had put their candidates as endorsers on one of his mailers. A leopard never changes its spots; a slug never loses its slime. Did he ever know Jeff, one may wonder? https://www.facebook.com/notes/red-wave-wbai/red-wave-statement-on-the-stephen-brown-endosement-mailer/113899156636566/

Red Wave have set things up nicely, giving the WBAI members a test. How will they respond to the shock of the new, the shock of the youfff?

Will the Red Wave sweep all before it? Or will it be dammed, reduced to a ripple?

Can WBAI cope with this injection of youfff?

Or will WBAI carry on, undisturbed, confirmed & contented in its alienation, as if #feeltheBern never happened?

WBAI is fortunate to be presented with this opportunity, for Red Wave to bring a two-generation shift to the LSB. But will it be a step too far for the WBAI members?

This is a test of Pacifica’s capacity to change with the times, to embrace a harbinger of the future.

What transpires will be a portent, evidence of Pacifica’s capacity to re-new.

Whither Pacifica?

And the Gezi Park penguin graffito? There are very few green spaces, let alone parks, in much of Istanbul, population c. 20m, especially in the built-up retail areas. Gezi was to be destroyed, turned into shops & a barracks (where’s the surprise). People protested. When the rioting police moved in at 1am, Su2June2013, CNN International covered the attacks live; CNN Türk carried on showing their documentary, Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, starring 50 spycams. (Would have brought a smile to the face of Gil Scott-Heron.) Penguin graffiti ensued, along with a popular chant, responding to a police supply problem: ‘the people demand the old tear gas’.

The main Facebook group, ‘Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio’

[UPDATE: I was mistaken in calling this the main FB group on Pacifica: as of 11Sep, it has c. 390 members, whereas Pacifica Radio Supporters has c. 840.] Below is my inaugural post, made today, at [one of] the main Pacifica group on Facebook, Pacifica Radiowaves – past, present and future of Pacifica Radio. For readers here the post is banal, merely a repetition, but the FB group seems to be a noticeboard, a lil sleepy, undisturbed by discussion: even so, last month, Don Davis, warmed by a pleasant, minor disagreement, was moved to say, “I for one am glad to see threads of substance on this page at long last”.

Somewhat surprisingly, the FB group, on W26June, had leaked Pacifica documents, notably the loan agreement borrowing $3.7m from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, signed by iED Tom Livingston & President Lorin Silverman on M2Apr2018. At the time of the leak, the group was co-administered by Nalini Lasiewicz & Chair of the Pacifica board, Grace Aaron. The latter left her FB post a week or so after becoming iED during the evening of F5July, after successfully engineering, over many, many weeks, the ousting of ED Maxie Jackson – please see https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/01/administrative-measures-not-open-discussion-the-pacifica-way/.

I obviously wanted to thank the poster of the documents, & make substantive comments on what, unbelievably, has even been kept from the many non-directors on the PNB Finance Cttee, these including all five station treasurers! Yes, the PNB majority has chosen for 16 months now to prevent the Finance Cttee making fully informed rational decisions concerning Pacifica’s future, to prevent all the Cttee members discharging their fiduciary duty, as required by California corporation law. One can’t be a dutiful trustee, a diligent servant, when kept in wilful ignorance by the information gatekeepers, one’s ostensible colleagues.

However, in order to comment in this FB group one needs to be a member, & so I applied the same day, W26June. After a long silence, then more silence after two FB messages, finally last Monday, on 12Aug, after almost seven weeks, Comrade Nalini finally welcomed me – speaking as if I’d asked the same day. Gracias, caudillo. Who couldn’t love ‘the Pacifica family’?

P.S. My open letter referred iED Vernile to the deficiencies of the public Pacifica financial reports archive, noting to him that this blog had all the missing material, bar a single page. Even 15 days later, Pacifica’s archive lacks three auditor’s reports – FY2006, 2009, 2010 – & FY2011 is sneakily hiding behind the FY2009 ‘button’. C’est la vie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, all. By way of intro, here’s an open letter to Pacifica’s new executive director, John Carlo Vernile. Haven’t had a reply yet, nor even an acknowledgement – so much for the Pacifica ‘fam’. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/04/open-letter-to-pacifica-executive-director-john-vernile-what-s-your-plan-why-s-maxie-gone/

We’re lucky to finally have a music corporate careerist with us, who can devise a comprehensive strategic plan to bring stability to our failing network. It’s what we need after the ousting of that experienced radio professional, Maxie Jackson. After all, he’d only been making progress in laying a sound foundation.

With Vernile, will our decision-makers systematically allow technique to flourish at Pacifica? They certainly crushed Maxie as soon as they could.

Rationally, intent & action should spring from evidence- & argument-based communications science, not from tradition, prejudice, & hearsay. Pacifica needs to transform from a broadcaster focused on radios to an audio content provider focused on digital devices [emphases added].

Nevertheless, Pacifica is likely to muddle thru, sustained by the necro-economics of the golden corpses, the bequests. Yes, appropriately distasteful – & true in both senses.

Pacifica Financial Recovery Plan – 28Feb2012, not today

This is the first of a series of documents, drawing attention to the sort of work that Pacifica’s national decision-makers not only used to produce but were also happy to share with all members, staff, & the listening public more generally. As these documents show, the current decision-makers fail both tests.

Some Pacifica officials have ideas, as shown by the public sessions of PNB sub-cttees, but there are hardly any arguments, certainly not evidence-based, & certainly nothing that shows that either individual or collective research has taken place – not even the first necessary step, a perfunctory literature review, showing some awareness of the sciences of both programme production & delivery, & how to relate to, ‘to serve’, one’s audience, the famed ‘community’. Saying that the PNB keeps trying to re-invent the wheel is overstating even their intent: they’re idling, not even re-creating. The desperate question persists, one never asked by any Pacifica decision-maker: why?

This first document is the Pacifica Financial Recovery Plan of 28Feb2012. It was written by the Financial Recovery & Audit Taskforce. Headings used: the problem; increasing revenue; maintaining subscribers; increasing audience; digital distribution/mobile device access; e-commerce; controlling expenses; conclusion. The range of relevant areas, this alone, displays an adequacy of conceptualisation missing from any PNB public discussion occurring since the 2Apr2018 signing for the $3.7m loan, now reduced to $3.265m, from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC. The document is 10 pages long.

https://mega.nz/#!emgXjaYA!JrZeD6CTN26XyDWSc-ZoNoTWAiD__dGef6buW5uYTpM (click the magnifying glass to read online, without having to download)

Two excerpts: the causes, the expectation.

The causes, second line of the summary:

The deficits were a product of many factors, among them declining listener support, failure to make programming changes to retain and grow listenership, and poor management of our budgets and financial reserves, both on the national and local station levels.

Yea, the sun riseth each morn.

The expectation, first line of the conclusion:

With the above strategies in place to increase revenue and control expenses Pacifica expects to pay off debts and become financially stable within 5 years, 2012 – 2016.

Pious wish.

This plan is dated Feb2012. Seven-and-a-half years ago. At the time, a run of five years of successive losses. Instead of ‘the expectation’ there was this realisation: five more years of successive audited losses, thru FY2016; then the 2017 audit that demonstrated that those year’s financial statements, in not being supported by adequate documentation, are in effect worthless (& so can’t be relied upon by potential donors); & there’s every chance that the FY2018 auditors will come to the same conclusion whenever it is this year, now that NETA, in the person of the iCFO, announced to the latest PNB, Th1Aug, that they’ve ditched the pretence of a timeline. The FY2019 audit, the first of financial statements for which NETA have also done the bookkeeping, will presumably be a ‘clean’ audit, that is, the auditors issue an unmodified opinion. Which is progress.

(The latest, vaguest of vague, public iCFO report on the FY2018 accounts, by Tamra Swiderski, in effect recognises the hopelessness of the state of the financial records & supporting evidence, as NETA try to develop the trial balance into the two principal financial statements for evaluation by the auditors – please see the quote, & the Audit Cttee Chair’s unjustified silence, at https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/pacifica-annual-auditor-s-reports/.)

With all five Spring Fund-drives failing this year, & with no PNB-approved budgets guiding station financial decision-making, despite any sizeable bequests it’s only prudent, & so rational, to expect another loss this year. So, given the evidence, no-one doubts that thru FY2019, on top of the situation detailed in the Feb2012 report, this will be eight more years of successive losses, making the run 13 years, from 1Oct2006 to 30Sep2019.

And the response at the top, the directors supposedly directing? The PNB has proved unwilling to ‘bite the bullet’, to be rational about Pacifica’s financial crisis – so much so that it proved unable to accept that technique, as personified by ED Maxie Jackson, has any place in the work that has to be done. The PNB majority demands a supplicant, not a radio professional.

When a decision-making body has consistently proven both unwilling & unable to respond adequately to an obdurate chronic financial crisis, acute except when meliorated by a golden corpse, its members don’t deserve to be there.

Pacifica = the necro-economics of the golden corpses

But will the current LSB pseudo-elections, voting starting next Thursday, results due F1Nov (sic), usher in the necessary change? Hold your breath, then expire – but only after writing in that bequest. Forget those joke write-in votes, this is a serious matter, deadly serious: Pacifica’s life depends on you, Pacifica’s life depends on your death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Nagasaki Remembrance Day . . . 11.02am local time, mass murder from 5½ miles up)

Open letter to Pacifica Executive Director John Vernile: what’s your plan? why’s Maxie gone?

4 August 2019

Subject: The intensifying Pacifica crisis; & the financials archive at pacifica.org

Dear Mr Vernile,

You arrive at a momentous time for Pacifica. The majority of the directors has chosen to reject rationality, in this case, to reject technique. It has chosen to halt the initiative that was underway to create the multi-dimensional necessary & sufficient conditions that can arrest Pacifica’s decline, thereby bringing stability, this as preparation for allowing the network to improve & grow. This initiative was designed, monitored, & managed by Executive Director Maxie Jackson.

Not surprisingly, a public discussion of Pacifica’s irrationality is underway. For example, Ken Mills, a well-known radio professional, published three posts in the space of eight days. One of these posts was visited over 3 000 times within four days. This is public news amongst radio professionals. This is not Pacifica gossip. (For your convenience, one of the posts, that even refers to you, with photo: http://acrnewsfeed.blogspot.com/2019/07/what-its-like-to-work-for-grace-aaron.html.)

When you are better acquainted with the evidence, I’m sure you’ll agree that it was a serious mistake to oust Executive Director Maxie Jackson. And, unfortunately, not least for your own tenure, the consequences are not going away any time soon.

This is the situation you have become part of, & irretrievably so. But mitigation can be made. 

You are currently touring the stations, gathering information, hopefully knowledge. When you have devised your own evidence-based initiative, stated as your plan, the one to be implemented during your six-month tenure, I would very much appreciate you sending me a copy. As you know, being transparent helps make it possible for decision-makers, such as yourself, to be judged in an informed way by Pacifica members, staff, listeners, & others. It also helps generate confidence in your tenure.

The Pacifica Foundation has, bafflingly, chosen not to explain why Executive Director Maxie Jackson is no longer at his post. No-one believes he simply resigned, that he simply gave up. The air needs to be cleared. Honesty needs to be nailed to the Pacifica mission statement, in furtherance of its “educational purposes”. Confidence in your tenure, at this crucial early stage, will be raised if you are able to bring openness here. Pacifica members, staff, & listeners deserve to know the truth. I beseech you to do your best endeavours, if only for your own sake, making your job easier, earning respect through your action.

Finally, I want to raise a National Office matter. I do so with you because an email page or address for ‘National Office’ isn’t at pacifica.org, & you are the principal administrator of the Foundation.

I’m glad that, at last, the financials webpages of pacifica.org are being improved. However, there are a number of deficiencies, currently displayed, that may inadvertently be left there: they include the absence of auditor’s reports; & a crucial page missing from another of these reports, the auditor’s narrative. The deficiencies are listed in a post at PacificaWatch: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/18/pacifica-annual-auditor-s-reports/.

All users of these webpages will look forward to the completion of this improvement. Not an immediate priority, but a review should be made of the utility of all Pacifica websites. And wider still, an evaluation of Pacifica’s attempt to communicate using the internet. Yes, the Pacifica radio network needs an evidence-based communications strategy.

Yours sincerely,

Jara Handala

Welcome!

“Excellent!”, exclaimed Mr Burns . . .

[Please note the convenient tabs at the top of each page of this blog: the blog feed (replicated vertically, top right of each page); sources on Pacifica & its operating environment, with many links; annual auditor’s reports, covering the period from 1Oct2004 to present; &, lastly, details of the $3.7m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC, taken out on 2Apr2018.]

[Welcome! This blog started Th18July2019. This was the day the Pacifica ‘leadership’ told the world they’d blown it – again. They’d discarded an executive director, Maxie Jackson, who had been trying to give the radio network a sound foundation, & therefore the possibility of a sustained future, rather than being in perpetual firefighting mode, quenched somewhat by the occasional shower of a bequest. Listeners, after all, can only take so much ZR, Zombie Radio. And they deserve so much better. Pacifica needs its renaissance. Bio-economics, not necro-economics.

Please also note the pages at the top. One is Sources on Pacifica, carrying links to documents that are usually forgotten about – or some wish didn’t exist at all, & certainly not spoken about. You’re welcome to add links or make suggestions (please either make a comment to any post – it’ll be held as pending – or send an email to jara.handala@yahoo.com, or, for end-to-end encryption, to pacificawatch@tutamail.com). https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/sources-on-pacifica/

When I can make the time, I’m adding, as context, older material that I’ve written. Most of that comes from the blog of Chris Albertson, a former station manager of Pacifica’s WBAI in NYC, https://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/. Sadly, Chris died in April this year. He was a gentle man, kind, and decent. This blog is dedicated to him.]

. . .

Spreading knowledge to improve transparency & accountability all too often a conceit, a pious hope even. Many know what’s best but refuse to act. But when one cares, other than trying, what else can one rationally do? This is steadfastness, sumud.

So, yes, it’s often banging one’s head up against a brick wall, or the breakfast table. And, yes, given that normal people are quite limited in their incompetence & cock-ups, & for how long they let things go before seriously addressing what’s going wrong, one occasionally does have the sneaky suspicion that just a tad of Pacifica’s dysfunctionality might be intended, simply left to fester, making it easier to break up the network to the benefit of any station happening, against all the odds, to be making an operating surplus. Yes, Mr Burns is the metaphoric elephant in the studio.

This blog will assemble mostly publicly available info on the Pacifica radio network, known legally as Pacifica Foundation, Inc. The info will be commented upon, particularly for the gaps, &, importantly, a special striving will be made to ask the most illuminating questions, especially about what is not being said by decision-makers & the documents.

Pacifica entered a new, critical, phase in its history on 2Apr2018 when it signed the largest loan in its history, with the Foundation for the Jewish Community, known legally as FJC. The loan was $3 700 000 (albeit now reduced to $3 265 000), pretty onerous for a now annual $11m organisation that last made an audited annual net income in fiscal 2006. Yes, 2006. That run of consecutive losses, through fiscal 2017 (the latest statements), has totalled at least $12 745 968. (‘At least’ because the 2017 auditors refused to declare whether the statements were materially accurate: they found insufficient supporting evidence.) Pacifica last had audited net assets at 30Sep2012; & last had audited net current assets (that is, liquidity) at 30Sep2009. Yes, 2009. Not surprisingly, to get the loan, it had to give FJC as collateral all its property, every chair & coffee cup, besides the station buildings used by, not owned by, KPFA, KPFK, & KPFT (those in Berkeley, LA, Houston).

Pacifica decision-makers come & go, but the institution is noted for its obdurate & deep secrecy culture. Nevertheless, the co-signed loan contract between Pacifica & FJC was leaked on W26June2019, published with other documents on a public Facebook group, co-moderated & -administered at the time by Grace Aaron (she chaired her first public Pacifica National Board, PNB, meeting on Th9May this year). As an aside on the matter of info flow & speech advocacy, supposedly Pacifica values, my application to join that FB group, thereby acquiring the right to comment, has remained “pending” for three weeks now; two FB messages have gone unanswered, even unacknowledged; as context, this year just six people have joined. https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacificaRadiowaves/permalink/1264765520345396/ [UPDATE: the remaining gatekeeper let me in M12Aug, as if I’d wandered up the same day – rather than almost 50 days before.]

The leaked documents are linked from the original FB post, plus here: https://www.mediafire.com/folder/e1lo0t30pd4wc/ (the original drop); & https://mega.nz/#F!PloCiSqJ!9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g (convenient one-click download of the folder; also ‘preview’ allows reading online)

Pacifica power is now even more concentrated because Grace Aaron became the executive director on the evening of F5July: yes, Maxie Jackson left his job that day, “resigning”, according to Aaron’s statement, ‘Executive Director Transition’, at the Th18July PNB (13:18, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718a.mp3). Committee meetings M8 & Tu9July had quietly disclosed, without using his name, that he had been disappeared. The most contemptuous was from director Mansoor Sabbagh, a KPFK staff delegate, to the PNB Finance Cttee: “we have got rid of our Executive Director” (44:46, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/190709/finance190709b.mp3; unbelievably, R Paul Martin, WBAI’s stalwart treasurer, didn’t seem to know that Maxie had gone). With Pacifica being Pyongyang, without word from The Dear Leader this must have been unrestrained hubris. Quite pathetic, really, coming from Pacifica’s Uriah Heep. Yes, all human life, & much more, is found in PacificaWorld.

Well, be that as it may. The Personnel Cttee’s ED evaluation had stitched Maxie up M1July; the next day’s private PNB gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse; & Ken ‘I-can’t-help-it-if-I-sound-like-an-associate-of-Jimmy-Hoffa’ Aaron did the rest.

And being Pacifica, for over two weeks, no public announcement of the dismissal. No press statement. No statement to staff. No statement to listeners. Nothing on the website, https://pacifica.org/ (except ‘Contact>Foundation’ had a change, “Interim Executive Director”, but then gave “Bill Crosier”, which was true upto 23Jan2018 still there as of F19July; no surprise, as the latest item in the ‘News’ section is dated 25Feb2015). And even now there’s no explanation. Contempt for listeners & staff alike. A complete lack of manners. Just milk them for cash. Last night’s words, or lack of them, an insult. The behaviour, cowardly. A board of directors, lacking in integrity. But what’s new?

The Pacifica ‘leadership’ had a real opportunity with Maxie, but didn’t seem to recognise this, & now they have blown it. Despite their repeated words of receptivity, they actually couldn’t cope with the prospect of change, fundamental change. In two posts I have examined what happened & why, & what it means for Pacifica’s future: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/24/maxie-jackson-pacifica-the-politics-of-technique-a-tragedy-for-both/ & https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/08/01/administrative-measures-not-open-discussion-the-pacifica-way/

Pacifica’s inability to cope with an ED determined to bring industry norms to the network, comes on top of all five Spring Fund-Drives failing, & cashflow becoming seriously more acute than usual in June. Unable to generate an annual net income since FY2006, & now with the added burden of the c. $300k annual FJC interest charge, Pacifica now finds itself descending into necro-economics: relying on rich corpses to offer up bequests.

Pacifica, through its actions, & inactions, is faced with declining & ageing listenership, declining membership, declining listener-fundraising, & grants cut off through lack of listeners & audited financial statements (the FY2017 auditor made things worse Th27June by refusing to declare that the statements were materially accurate, having no alternative given the acute lack of supporting financial records). To cap it all, the PNB majority has now driven out a moderniser & technician, ED Maxie Jackson. He was behaving in a completely, not just un-Pacifican, but anti-Pacifican way: trying to raise standards, trying to lay the basis for Pacifica to improve its competencies, structures, & processes in broadcasting, programming, community involvement, fundraising, bookkeeping & accounting, & governance.

This was never going to end well. Being told home truths, & pushing for best practices rather than the same-olde-same-olde, just ruffled too many feathers, just upset too many people. The whiff of NPR-lite. The ED simply didn’t understand Pacifica. The ED simply had to go.

So what’s the plan? “[The] Pacifica Foundation is in the process of hiring a highly qualified radio, television, & multimedia professional to hold the interim position of executive director. More information will be forthcoming. A formal search for a permanent executive director is already in progress” (‘Executive Director Transition’, Th18July PNB; 14:00, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb190718/pnb190718a.mp3). Sounds reasonable. The sort of thing a normal radio network would say. But what are the prospects?

Consider the evidence. There were seven ED’s 2004-2009; since then, with Aaron, there have been another nine. So 16 in 15 years. Maxie lasted nine months. How many other outsiders, since 2009, have lasted longer than Maxie? One: Arlene Engelhardt, 2009-2012. Pacifica is so toxic for outsiders that there were only two others amongst these nine: John Proffitt, five months; Tom Livingston, eight months. Maxie was the second-choice: Numero Uno, at the last minute, decided to tune in to a PNB livestream. He immediately withdrew his application. Today, as yesterday, which media professional will risk their career with Pacifica?

So much for the current goings-on. This blog, in an attempt to give context & coherence, will begin with posts of work written in 2018 & 2019, corrected to remove the few errors pointed out to me. They were kindly published by Chris Albertson, a former station manager of WBAI, at his longstanding blog, https://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/. Sadly Chris died in April this year, & his blog cannot be added to. He was a gentle man, kind, and decent. This blog is dedicated to him.

But first I post the materially objective quantitative starting point, the annual auditor’s reports, here those covering the period from 1Oct2004. (These don’t include the reports by the pensions’ auditor, which I have been unable to obtain.)

Readers are heartily invited to comment, of course, & it would be even better if you also submitted posts & shared ideas on what should be covered & discussed. Please email me at either jara.handala@yahoo.com or, for end-to-end encryption, pacificawatch@tutamail.com.

For convenience, the main longer pieces I’ve written are downloadable as PDF’s here (I had sent them to all delegates of the five Local Station Boards on 16Nov2018): https://www.mediafire.com/#mr2t6dtdeknsd