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NLG-SF Testimonial Dinner in Honor of Anne Weills & Dan Siegel, 4/5/14: photos & audio
by Dave Id
Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area chapter held their annual Testimonial Dinner at the Oakland Marriott on April 5. Over three hundred people attended the fundraising event. The dinner honored Anne Weills and Dan Siegel as Champions of Justice, Zahra Billoo as Unsung Hero, and the Prison Hunger Strikers and Hunger Strike Solidarity Committee as Partners in Liberation. (full audio and program below)
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[Photo of banner hanging behind ballroom stage which quotes from the NLG Mission Statement: The National Lawyers Guild is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization which shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.]



The local chapter of the NLG has offered pro bono legal support to countless people exercising their Free Speech rights in Northern California. If you yourself have not directly benefited from their free legal services over the years, odds are that you know a number of people who have. Consider supporting the tireless work of the NLG with a financial donation at http://www.nlgsf.org/contribute.

The San Francisco Bay Area NLG has been holding testimonial dinners since 1979. The previous dinner in 2013 honored civil rights attorney Walter Riley and concluded with a musical performance by The Coup, featuring Walter’s son Boots Riley.



[Disclosure: Michael Siegel and Siegel & Yee are currently representing this reporter in a civil suit against BART PD over a wrongful arrest at a 2011 protest at the Powell Street station. A trial is currently scheduled for September of 2014.]
§Full audio from 2014 NLG-SF Annual Testimonial Dinner
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
Listen now:
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nlg-sf_testimonial-dinner_20140405.mp3 26.5MB

(audio 1:17:09)

Speaking at this year’s dinner were the following:


Sharon Adams, Vice President of SF Bay Area NLG chapter

MC Nadia Kayyali, NLG-SF and Electronic Frontier Foundation


Unsung Hero: Zahra Billoo

Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area


Partners in Liberation: California Prison Hunger Strike Coalition Members and Family Members of Hunger Strikers

Azadeh Zhorabi, prisoner advocate, <a href="http://ellabakercenter.org”>Ella Baker Center, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Marie Levin, prisoner advocate, whose brother, Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Ronnie Dewberry), has been imprisoned in Pelican Bay for 33 years, 30 of which have been in a solitary confinement Security Housing Unit (SHU), and helped to organize the recent prison hunger strikes


Champions of Justice: Dan Siegel & Anne Weills

Cat Brooks, Co-Chair, ONYX Organizing Committee
Michael Siegel, attorney at Siegel and Yee
Anne Weills & Dan Siegel (SiegelforOakland.org)
Nate Miley, Alameda County Supervisor (MileyforSupervisor.com)
§2014 Testimonial Dinner program
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM

(60-page PDF)

The printed program booklet for the 2014 dinner includes fascinating testimonial stories and letters by the following:

David, Jonathan & Jesse Siegel (brothers)

Penny Matson (sister)

Robert Scheer (journalist, editor of Truthdig, former LA Times editor)

Narda Zachino (journalist, former SF Chronicle editor)

Michael Siegel (son)

Christopher Scheer (son/stepson)

Krystof Lopaur & Effie Rawlings (community organizers)

Ignacio Chapela (activist, faculty UC Berkeley)

Cat Brooks (ONYX Organizing Committee)

Davi Barker (writer, activist) — on Zahra Billoo

California Prison Hunger Strikers & The California Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
§Sharon Adams introduces the Testimonial Dinner
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Master of Ceremonies Nadia Kayyali
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Zahra Billoo poses with her Unsung Hero award and Nadia Kayyali
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Honoree Zahra Billoo speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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For audio and photos of Zahra Billoo speaking at an "Isolation Units in U.S. Prisons panel discussion" in 2011, see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/04/21/18677734.php
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§Honoree Azadeh Zhorabi speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Honoree Marie Levin speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Cat Brooks speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Honoree Anne Weills speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Dan Siegel applauds his wife Anne Weills
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Honoree Dan Siegel speaks
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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Dan Siegel Announces “Radical” Agenda If Elected Mayor of Oakland
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/01/16/18749313.php
§Anne and Dan pose with their Champions of Justice awards
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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§Nate Miley
by Dave Id Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 2:27 PM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Long time KPFA listener
Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 7:34 PM
Democrat Dan Siegel and his entire law firm are champions of injustice. It was Dan Siegel who brought the police to Oakland schools. Dan Siegel and his fellow lawyers take turns sitting on the KPFA Local Station Board and the Pacifica National Board which oversees all 5 Pacifica stations, including KPFA, for the sole purpose of destroying the entire Pacifica Radio Network as he is a proud Democrat and he, like his fellow Democrat-Republicans, do not want a sincere voice for peace and justice, supporting the Green Party and Peace and Freedom Party. It is Siegel's fellow Democrats, as a super majority in the state legislature, which they have had in both houses since 1996, and now they also have a Democratic Governor, who have overseen the growth of the prison industrial complex in California from 12 prisons in in 1982 to 32 prisons in 2000 at a cost of $280 million to $350 million each by the taxpayers, including the infamous Pelican Bay concentration camp, built in 1989, currently housing over 1100 prisoners in solitary confinement for years, and many for decades.

These are the same Democrats who have allowed California to sink to 49th in per pupil spending, in the same group as Alabama and Mississippi, instead of taxing the rich with the progressive income tax. We have 750,000 millionaire households in California who should be taxed much more.

These reactionary bourgeois Babbitts at the National Lawyers Guild should take the time to read the websites of the real heroes of our community, namely United for Community Radio and Executive Director Summer Reese. See
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/
and
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedForCommunityRadio
In particular, they should read the statement of Carol Spooner, a lawyer, at:
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=569
and
Eric Jacbosen, a lawyer, at
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=543

Here is Dan Siegel threatening 70 year old listener, Dan Borgstrom at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBqU7F_m9s
and here is Dan Borgstrom's description:
http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/2010/08/siegel-youre-suing-me.html

The National Lawyers Guild that I knew as a child has certainly become much more reactionary. People are known by the company they keep, and anyone who keeps company with Dan Siegel is utterly reactionary.

by questionable claims
Saturday Apr 12th, 2014 9:48 PM
re: Dan Siegel who brought the police to Oakland schools.

Where is the link or supporting documentation for your claim?

According to this article, they've had officers of some sort for over 50 years and have been a certified police department since 1983.

"The Oakland school district created a security division in 1957 made up of two officers to protect school property. The officers patrolled the buildings and responded to burglary alarms. The division began to grow and officers began to take more law enforcement responsibilities in the two decades following. In 1983, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, the agency that trains law enforcement officers from school police to sheriff’s department, certified the division as a full-service police department." http://www.healthycal.org/archives/6062

Dan Siegel was General Counsel for OUSD in the late 1980s through early 90s. He was on the school board from 1998-2006.


re: Dan Siegel and his fellow lawyers take turns sitting on the KPFA Local Station Board and the Pacifica National Board... for the *sole purpose* of destroying the entire Pacifica Radio Network

Egads, hyperbole much? Claims like that don't give you much credibility. Not even bothering to address the many issues with that statement.

Then you go on to link Siegel to every horrible democratic party problem in California when he's not held an elected position since the school board and never statewide. Plus, to blame him for Pelican Bay is so off base, especially when you consider that Anne Weills spends so much time working on behalf of Pelican Bay prisoners and hunger strikers.

As for the KPFA meeting, sure, Siegel shouldn't have said what he did about slapping someone, and it was clearly unprofessional, but he didn't say that to Borgstrom as you claim here. He said that to attorney Richard Phelps who walked up to him and stood a couple of feet in front of him. It's hard to know what inspired Siegel to do so as Phelps speaks under his breath in the video and there's a lot of chatter from other people. Why wasn't what Phelps said captioned in the video so we could know the full story?

Lastly, your whole premise that KPFA would be leading a revolution if it weren't for Siegel and others you hate there, that's just delusional. KPFA has been around since 1949 and there's been no revolution to date. Pacifica is for aging hippies. It's a dinosaur and a magnet for never-ending in-fighting, much as you provoke here with your all KPFA comments all the time. KPFA can shine at times as an informational source compared with corporate media, but will never lead or even be a part of any real social justice revolution. The revolution will not be broadcast. Get over it!
by KPFA long time listener
Sunday Apr 13th, 2014 3:10 AM
JR Valery, a former programmer at KPFA, announced that he, JR, led the opposition to the police in Oakland schools, while Siegel was the supporter of same. This is not the police who keep an eye on physical property. These are the thugs who terrorize the children.

The claim that Dan Siegel and his fellow government operatives are determined to destroy the Pacifica network are made by the lawyers Carol Spooner and Eric Jacobsen in the cited articles:

http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=569
and
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=543

Let us start with Carol:
But others of them are not clueless, including Dan Siegel’s “SaveKPFA” allies at KPFA — Margy Wilkinson, Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Jose Luis Fuentes — and Lydia Brazon at KPFK and Cerene Roberts at WBAI. I’ve heard speculation and rumors about what their ultimate “end game” intentions may be, but whatever that is they are clearly attempting to force Pacifica into a position where desperate deals may have to be made that may not preserve and protect Pacifica’s mission. [Note: Fuentes is one of the attorneys at Siegel's law firm.]

Eric states:
In August of 2013 Mr. Siegel endorsed Ms. Spooner’s proposal although they differ on some “fine points”. See an exchange between Mr. Siegel and Ms. Spooner found here:

And according to journalist Paul Derienzo found here. Mr. Siegel told Ms. Reese that he (Siegel) would “sell WBAI to save KPFA,” the Berkeley station. The article also quotes former KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) member and Reese supporter Tracy Rosenberg who states that “there is a ‘rumor’ (one Ms. Rosenberg says she believes is true) “that ‘a small segment of the board has been in negotiations with an entity associated with Comcast news channel MSNBC to take over WBAI’s license.’” Hmmm.

Although Mr. Siegel is no longer on the PNB (due to Bylaws provisions precluding any candidate or holder of public office from participating in Pacifica governance and Siegel’s current candidacy for mayor in Oakland), Ms. Reese’s main antagonist on the PNB majority is Dan Siegel’s law partner Jose Fuentes, the member who made the motion for her termination at the very end of the March 13, 2013 telephonic Board meeting. Given the close relationship between Siegel and Fuentes, it is reasonable to assume that Fuentes and his colleagues in the Board majority are likely pursuing Ms. Spooner’s outlandish “game plan.”

****
There are many more articles on the above mentioned United for Community Radio websites on the illegal actions of Siegel and friends.

The most obvious is the firing of Summer Reese, a clear violation of the bylaws, and basic due process guaranteed by the US Constitution, with which all lawyers are familiar. NOTICE is required to be given within a certain number of days, usually 30, to all concerned, and that was NOT done. Thus, 4 members of the Pacifica National Board, and Ms. Reese, were absent from that meeting, so the thugs on that Board rammed through this phony vote of 11 to 7 of a 22 member Board near midnight, and Reese heard about it by a phone call in her hotel room in New York, where she was staying while she paid staff at WBAI. There are also procedures in the Bylaws that include providing a list of grievances after a thorough investigation against the person to be terminated. That was not done.

The 30-something year old Summer Reese explains all this in the excellent video by Labor Video Project at:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/04/01/18753412.php
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thu8qxZUoEE&feature=youtu.be
and
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=429

Another article on the illegal actions of Siegel & Yee may be found at
Impersonating the Corporate Counsel at
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=503

The people who attended the Board meetings when Siegel sat there including Dan Borgstrom, can easily verify that Siegel and his fellow thugs, the Hallinans, were completely "unprofessional." The Hallinans are trained boxers. If you go to the archives of the Media page of this website, you will read all about them.

You should also read the complaint filed with the Attorney General at:
http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=197

and the Complaint filed with the Alameda Superior Court at:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/8u7340q7vy4uq77/Case+HG14720131.pdf

The link to the Complaint is found in a comprehensive article by the outstanding Tracy Rosenberg at
http://www.facebook.com/notes/tracy-rosenberg/lawsuit-filed-to-uphold-reese-contract-rogue-board-paralyzed/10201809454219395

The positions and actions of the Democratic Party are relevant to all people who are members of the Democratic Party and who vote for the Democratic Party, the twin party of the Republican Party as they are both paid by the same capitalist class to carry out the same capitalist agenda. The Democrats only exist to keep the Reds and Greens out of office, so they mouth a few decent phrases at election time to get elected, and then once elected, carry out the same reactionary agenda. They both proudly state they have no difference in foreign policy, and thus they can have no difference on domestic policy as we cannot have guns and butter. Here is the foreign policy they support, namely supporting Nazis and Confederate flag wavers in Ukraine, the same thugs who are desecrating Holocaust memorials with fascist symbols:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/04/11/18753961.php?show_comments=1#18753982

You cannot call yourself progressive if you are a Democrat or Republican. This is certainly true for lawyers, who are very conscious of the meaning of their vote. The Democratic Party is a proud supporter of the prison-industrial complex.

The Democratic Party is a very old party, known at the time of Thomas Jefferson as the Democratic-Republican Party. So, who is the "aging hippie?"

The above comment clearly indicates contempt for all who care about the future when he attacks listeners to KPFA as "aging hippies." There are lots of young people who have programs on KPFA and who listen to KPFA. There is nothing wrong with being a hippie, whatever that is, and any and all attacks on "hippies" is always a reactionary defense of the bankrupt social order in which we live.

The battles that occur at KPFA are not between factions. They are the struggle against the government operatives who have been trying to destroy KPFA since its inception in 1949.

KPFA speaks truth to power every single day all day long, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reaching the whole world via the Internet, and locally by radio. All of the news programs and public affairs programs expose the true nature of this society and what can be done to make the necessary changes.

As to the old, in an advanced industrial society like the US, 50% of the voters are over age 50, and we vote in every election. We are also the most likely to have financial resources to donate to causes. Our very existence provides jobs to people not only the same as everyone else, but since we are most likely to have medical problems, in the medical and related fields. And we never condemn people for being "aging hippies," an absurd phrase. We gladly accept the leadership of people much younger than we are. Summer Reese is certainly worthy of providing leadership to all of us.
by Long time KPFA Listener
Sunday Apr 13th, 2014 9:20 AM
Given the style of "questionable claims" and his use of the reactionary term "aging hippies," the real name of "questionable claims" is most likely Larry Bensky, the former KPFA programmer and editor of a CIA publication, the Paris Review, all more fully described below. Bensky is the leading light of this government operation determined to destroy the entire Pacifica network. Here is the information on Larry Bensky:
1. His attacks to callers on air:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/09/25/18659813.php

2. Supporters of Pat Scott Gang and union busters American Consulting:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/09/21/18659436.php

3. More horrors of supporting Concerned Listeners gang:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/10/22/18626386.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/15/18472757.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/10/29/18324348.php

4. His opposition to Peace & Freedom and Green Parties:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/27/18495315.php

5. His use of name lists in violation of Pacifica election rules:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/21/18462672.php

6. His opposition to the 9/11 Truth Movement
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/10/18459899.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/09/15/18311830.php

7. His anti-labor outlook on labor programming:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/04/14/18154241.php

8. His contempt for free speech:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2004/11/13/17051361.php

9. His attack on William Blum's book exposing the CIA and a reminder that Bensky was editor of the CIA front, the Paris Review, at
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/06/27/17498851.php

10. His ridicule of the fact of history that Nazis influenced the anti-Communist witchhunts of the 1940s-1950s as of course they were first and foremost anti-communist:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2004/04/05/16762211.php


by Just another Copwatcher
Sunday Apr 13th, 2014 11:19 AM
Jerry Brown and Mayor Quan are just two of many who chose gentrification over anything mean meaningful for Oakland.
They allowed the police to continue the legacy they are best known for.
Expect nothing less from someone who want to be your ruler.

An open message to Mr Siegel.
If you're not abolishing the police in Oakland, then you choose to perpetuate their terror on the people of Oakland. .
If you gain your desired political power in Oakland, There will be a day that you sic the war dogs on us.

Anything else is a lie. .
by Long time KPFA Listener
Monday Apr 14th, 2014 8:46 AM
In the 2012 KPFA Local Station Board elections, we had the opportunity to learn all about the destruction of the Pacifica Foundation network of stations, and in particular, WBAI, by Dan Siegel as Pacifica attorney for 2006-2009. His actions in many instances were malpractice and in all instances were that of a government operative determined to destroy the Pacifica Foundation radio network. He had lots of help from fellow government operative, Brian Edwards Tiekert, KPFA programmer who sits on the KPFA Local Station Board and Pacifica National Board. He receives $25,000 a year for his part-time job, not enough to live on. Does the National Lawyers Guild endorse these malpractice actions?

1. "The Battle for Clarity: Dan Siegel and the Pacifica Foundation," 11/10/12 by Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and former member of the KPFA Local Station Board at
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/11/10/18725451.php
Pertinent paragraphs:
A response to Dan Siegel's Counterpunch editorial of November 2nd
The Battle For Clarity: Dan Siegel and the Pacifica Foundation

In his Nov 5th Counterpunch op-ed titled "The Battle for Pacifica", Oakland attorney Dan Siegel exhibits a severe case of amnesia. While chronicling a presumed series of deeds he claims occurred since 2009, Mr. Siegel mentions nothing at all that happened prior to 2009. As if Pacifica were a tabulae rasa born shiny and new at the exact moment Mr. Siegel and his cronies lost their 6 year grip on the foundation's national board of directors.

Siegel was the Pacifica attorney from 2006-2009, and at all times a powerful player in internal affairs and prime financial backer of the Concerned Listeners group that now calls itself Save KPFA. It is disingenuous for Siegel to pretend to a lack of culpability for some of the unfortunate circumstances he presents.

The Internet, at last report, existed well before 2009, so one must ask why in the decade prior no technology upgrades were made by the group Siegel now wishes to return to leadership. Who does he think failed to invest money -- when Pacifica had money to invest -- in digital technology throughout the 2000's?

Well …. um..... himself?

In fact, his crew didn't even maintain the radio transmitters, which in 2012, failed in both Houston and Los Angeles.

As the legal adviser to the board of directors in 2006, Siegel had every opportunity to point out the unaffordability of the Empire State building lease for WBAI-FM's transmitter, which was signed in 2006 for 20 years with rates that increase by 15% a year. Instead, he recommended that the board sign it, and sign it they did.

Or perhaps the WBAI lease at Wall Street which was signed repeatedly by him and his cronies in what the then-minority knew even then was financial insanity? That's not even mentioning a totally nutty balloon loan proposed in 2008 that would have endangered foundation buildings and licenses and was averted by one solitary vote from the contingent he ridiculously insults.

This kind of raw hypocrisy is the problem.

Siegel fails to mention his role in actively supporting a number of managers in extracting significant legal settlements from Pacifica after termination, greatly exacerbating the financial chickens that came home to roost in 2009-2010. Siegel served as an attorney for fired KPFK manager Eva Georgia and testified on behalf of Lonnie Hicks after he was let go as the CFO. These legal shenanigans are his responsibility and his alone. They're usually defined as malpractice.

Siegel's Save KPFA contingent described unpaid workers at KPFA-FM as "clowns" on Michael Krasny's Forum radio program, needlessly insulting the workers who create 75% of the program content and raise more than 1/2 the operational funds. [About 20 of the 200 workers at KPFA are paid.]

2. “Dan Siegel and WBAI” by Mitchel Cohen, Member and Chair of WBAI Local Station Board (2008-2012) at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/11/26/18726479.php and
http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/2012/11/dan-siegel-and-wbai.html

Following Dan Siegel's lie-fest about Pacifica in last night's KPFA LSB Candidates forum in which he repeatedly scapegoated WBAI, this article stands as a useful corrective. Siegel never begins his account of WBAI's travails until 2009 -- and Mitchel Cohen wonders why.
Dan Siegel should be proposing positive ways to expand KPFA's membership -- which has greatly diminished during his faction's control of the local board -- and stop scapegoating WBAI.

Siegel does not begin his account of WBAI's travails until 2009 -- I wonder why? It was, after all, WBAI's mismanagement up until the middle of 2009 that was the problem, and it was Siegel and his faction on the Pacifica National Board and national office who hired the destroyers and promoted their policies that were and still are undermining the network.

We at WBAI are still digging ourselves out from under an amazing amount of mis-management, terrible "planning", very real physical violence, and theft at WBAI that had been hammering us while Siegel was Chief Counsel and interim Executive Director at Pacifica.

In 2009, we succeeded, finally, in replacing the old Siegel-backed crew at WBAI that had caused so much damage to Pacifica. The following year, the new management was able to begin reversing the serious problems they'd inherited.

They'd inherited the following:

- at least $65,000 in essential equipment that WBAI had purchased had been "diverted" to private individuals, one of whom was a relative of the former Siegel-supported management. That was covered-up by one of the very officials Siegel continues to defend in his letter! Please recall that until 2009, Siegel's faction controlled the Pacifica National Board. He personally -- with the support of his Board -- pulled every trick in the book to block the Directors' inspections from looking into the $65,000 in stolen equipment, after which the PNB decided to sweep the whole matter under the carpet.

- more than 7,000 listeners had ordered and PAID FOR premiums over 2007 and 2008, but those orders had never been fulfilled (though the station accepted their money).

- the premiums department at WBAI was a wreck. When I personally went to investigate, I found literally thousands of CDs strewn, unlabeled, all over the floors, desks, and radiators! WBAI lost thousands of members as a result.

- there was more than $800,000 in pledges at WBAI each year that were left "sitting on the table" and never collected. Instead of pushing his managers to collect those funds, Siegel made excuses for their incompetence. Since we installed the new management, we have at long last increased the fulfillment rate income by over 10 percent (around $200,000 per year).

- thousands of dollars in cash had been appropriated and "misused" by a sticky-fingered manager supported by Siegel, and awarded to management's friends.

- violence at the station was rampant; reports of physical abuse occurred on a daily basis.

- Management purchased premiums from its friends, as a kickback operation to its faction's supporters.

- Management allotted prime office space for no rent to its friends doing private business from WBAI's studios.

- it was Dan Siegel's faction on the National Board that imposed the renewal of the onerous rental lease on WBAI, and which many of us opposed -- a lease that Siegel now incredibly blames on us! (Studio rent is $380,000 per year; antenna rent atop the Empire State Building is approaching $500,000 this year.)

All of these and a lot more occurred prior to 2009, when Siegel and his faction ruled Pacifica, which is why he begins his "analysis" only after that date. It was only when we finally were able to put into place new management at WBAI (not solidified until 2010-11) that each of these problems began to be seriously addressed and rectified.

Let me give one more example. Hundreds of WBAI listener-members and staff did not receive ballots in the 2007 election, when Dan Siegel was Chief Counsel for Pacifica and its interim Executive Director. We brought this repeatedly to Siegel's attention. Instead of simply ordering Pacifica to send us ballots, Siegel and the Board he controlled at the time refused to send them. We had to go to Court; we won a Temporary Restraining Order that, among other things, directed Pacifica to send us ballots.

Instead of following the Court's order, however, Siegel and Pacifica continued to play games with members' right to vote. He mired the Network deeper and deeper into an expense of more than $175,000 to Pacifica's attorneys, just to justify not sending us ballots! He lost, but Pacifica was left holding the bill.

Why were Siegel and Pacifica at the time acting so viciously, incurring huge expenses that the network had to pay? At the same time Pacifica and KPFA were pleading poverty, the management Siegel and his faction controlled at KPFA and supervised by KPFA's then-treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert (BET for short) "forgot" to deposit a $375,000 check, while claiming "there's no money!" (In fact, BET, Siegel and the KPFA GM met with the donor when the check was given to KPFA. Do you think they really just "forgot" about such a large sum?)

The new management teams at WBAI and Pacifica inherited that huge mess from the previous administration; it has taken several years to clean it up, and we're still not fully out of it yet. But we're way ahead of where we used to be. WBAI management has been excellent in addressing (and improving) at least that much.

But, no thanks go to Brian Edwards-Tiekert -- a KPFA paid programmer -- who proposed a few years ago that WBAI and the other Pacifica stations drastically cut staff. The National Board -- at that time controlled by Siegel and his faction -- voted to implement Brian Edwards-Tiekert's proposal. WBAI was forced to cut 35%(!) of its staff, bringing it down to around 1/2 the salaries of KPFA and crippling the station.

The very cuts Brian proposed were the cuts that he went to the barricades over when they affected his own job, instead of other people's.

So it is very strange that, all of a sudden, Dan Siegel "discovers" that WBAI is in trouble and "draining the network". It was the mismanagement of those supported by Siegel's faction that set those wheels in motion and that the new management is trying to reverse. We are slowly succeeding in doing so.

OF COURSE WBAI has to move to cheaper studios -- I've been one of those most vociferous about that. Still .... If WBAI had the same very low costs for studio space as KPFA or KPFK, we'd be swimming in funds. WBAI now takes in around the same in contributions as KPFA. Looked at another way, why is it that KPFA is in such serious straits under the Siegel faction, since it has around $900,000 less in overhead expenses than WBAI?

I believe that the best chance for improving KPFA lies in saving -- not breaking up -- the Pacifica network. And so I urge you to reject Siegel's blame-game, and vote for the United for Community Radio slate in the elections to the local station board.

MITCHEL COHEN
Chair, WBAI Local Station Board (for ID only) (2008-2012)
http://www.MitchelCohen.com
http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/
All that bitterness is eating you up. And you probably don't even live in Oakland. My guess is Berkeley where 90% of KPFA's grey-haired listeners live.

But please write more because we all enjoy reading 1000-word comments and then following the 18 links in each and reading those pieces too.

I certainly have nothing but time to think constantly about Dan Siegel and the earth-shattering KPFA wars.

Stay strong, brother!