From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Between the minutes at KPFA's board mtg. of May 15th
A look at the New Day supporters who are the majority faction at KPFA, their GM who gives a report but takes no questions, the treasurer's story regarding the unpaid property taxes, the LSB vote on the proposed New Day bylaws, and an update on the ongoing lawsuit which began last December with an attempt to put Pacifica into receivership..
Between the minutes at KPFA's board mtg. of May 15th 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
These are some highlights from KPFA's 4-hour Local Station Board (LSB) meeting of Saturday, May 15th., 2021. For the full event, please see the AUDIO at kpftx.org
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Forty Zoom participants attended most of this meeting, at one point as many as 45. That would be about 20 listeners plus about 20 board members, not all able to be present for the full four-hour meeting. Observers from other Pacifica stations also attended.
Christina Huggins chaired this meeting; she was a plaintiff in the Dec 8 courtroom attempt to put Pacifica into receivership and the ongoing amended lawsuits against Pacifica; she is also an advocate of the New Day bylaws. http://donmacleay.blogspot.com/2021/01/no-shame.html?m=1
SKIPPING MINUTES APPROVAL -- (to avoid an embarrassment?)
Roll call was taken and the agenda for this day's meeting was quickly approved; next was the approval of the minutes of our previous meeting, that of March 20, 2021. I was anticipating this moment, but paused to take a drink of water, and on setting the glass down, I discovered we were already on the next item.
So minutes approval got skipped? It sure did, presumably because of an inaccuracy that had been pointed out in an email the evening before. The secretary's draft recorded that the LSB of March 20th had passed a resolution condemning the anti-Asian hate crime violence which was occurring across the country. In reality no such resolution had been passed by the KPFA board. LSB member Lily Kimura had tried to present such a motion but couldn't get time for it; she then said: "A man was murdered. People have been brutalized … and if you guys call yourself a community station and you can’t even make a stand … then I think you guys are really useless.”
That back and forth on March 20th went on for about six minutes, but meeting time was running out, and the LSB returned to the business at hand, without hearing or passing the resolution. A few days later Secretary Carol Wolfley sent a motion to the PNB's governance committee which approved it and sent it on to the PNB which passed it. So it did get passed, but not by the KPFA board as secretary Carol Wolfley attempted to record in the minutes.
The email correcting the secretary on that inaccuracy was sent by board member James McFadden; his email included a transcript of an audio,
There was also an omission of some quite unpleasant thing that really had happened at the March 20th meeting. That was a Red-bating or Green-baiting attack on Green Party members of the LSB. Please see Anthony Fest's article: "March Madness: McCarthyism at KPFA?"
The whole point of having minutes is to have an institutional record of what happens at meetings. And it's to correct mistakes in the record that the minutes are reviewed before being approved. But on this day, that particular agenda item was skipped.
THE GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
It was now 11:15 a.m. and we were hearing the GM report, read by KPFA's General Manager Quincy McCoy. The report was about 25 minutes long, and among other interesting things, he told us he has hired Ahmad Anderson. Ahmad is a former LSB member and KPFA general manager who had resigned from the board after it was exposed that he was running for a seat on the Richmond City Council with endorsements from the police and corporate folks. The resignation was because you're not allowed to be on the board if you're running for a governmental office. As it turned out, despite having corporate backing and funds, Ahmed lost the election to his opponent, a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. So here he was back at KPFA where our GM gave him a job and told us: "He'll evaluate and identify what changes our organization needs to make. KPFA will implement custom solutions and resources to help us embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging values."
The GM report is at https://kpfa.org/gm-report/kpfa-general-manager-report-may-2021/
During the Q&A that should've followed this report, we can easily imagine board members from our Rescue Pacifica group raising questions about the hiring of this would-be corporate politician, an endorsee of the police during the Back Lives Matter protests. "Was this a good use the listeners money?" we might've asked, "especially while Pacifica owed a debt of over $3 million?" But there wasn't any Q&A this day. Nor had there been for some time.
One time a couple of years ago when Quincy took questions RP board members asked him about his firing of several show hosts. Quincy lost his cool that day and said, "I don't deserve to be yelled at." Well, nobody was yelling at anybody that day, or on any other day that I know of; but the GM seemed reluctant to tell us why he'd fired the programmers. He did take questions a couple of times after that. On one of those occasions he was asked about the $80,000 of listeners' money that he gave then iED Vernile for legal expenses in the takeover of WBAI. The problem is that people ask questions.
It was now 11:39 a.m., and there were about 40 participants in this Zoom meeting.
Staff Rep Frank Sterling (Rescue Pacifica) spoke up and objected to the lack of Q&A. People should be able to ask questions and hear the answers, Frank said. As a staff member at the station, Frank shows a lot of courage by speaking as he does. KPFA has been known to deal somewhat harshly with staff who don't toe the line. Yet Frank is a stalwart voice for peace and reason - he does what he does with a friendly attitude but he does it.
Secretary Carol Wolfley then explained that questions would have to be emailed in and Quincy would include his answers in his next GM report. In effect, Carol is the gatekeeper for any questions directed at Quincy, and those questions will not be answered directly but incorporated in the next GM report. (Whenever that might be.)
FUND RAISING PRESENTATION
The next item was Fund Raising Training, presented by Kevin Hunsanger, KPFA's Development Director. After his presentation, Kevin took questions, which went well. Kevin's report was the one item of this day that seemed to be liked by people on both sides of the aisle. Someone suggested that his presentation be posted for other Pacifica stations to read.
TREASURER’S REPORT -- Missed Opportunities that Mattered
Then came the Treasurer’s Report by Sharon Adams. It was about 15 minutes long, much of it an attempt to excuse KPFA's GM Quincy McCoy from responsibility for the station's failure to pay property taxes, which in 2020 nearly cost KPFA the studio building. In Sharon's version of the story, KPFA Business Manager Maria Negret is a hero who saved our station, kept the building off the auction block. And she blames Pacifica for the failure to pay the taxes.
"It would have been a simple matter to take care of this issue more than four years ago, in 2017. In 2017, KPFA's business manager [Maria Negret] and I sent emails to Pacifica management about this issue, " Sharon told the LSB. "Pacifica management ignored the issue until the Alameda County tax assessor threatened to sell the KPFA studio building."
Sharon is probably right in saying it would've been a simple matter four years ago What she does not talk about is what she and Maria did when their warning was ignored. Rather than sounding an alarm loud and clear till everyone heard it and people jumped into action, it appears that after 2017 she and Maria dropped the matter.
That seems really strange. They saw a disaster looming, contacted a person or persons who did nothing, and then just sat back to let it happen. Why?
Two or three years passed. When a notice arrived from the Alameda County tax office on January 13, 2020, it was overlooked (or just plain ignored) by KPFA management. According to that notice, KPFA's studio building was to be auctioned off that March, but nobody at the station seemed aware of it. GM Quincy McCoy went on vacation. Action on the matter began only after whistleblower Tracy Rosenberg discovered the notice and sounded an alarm in a Pacifica in Exile article she posted on January 30, 2020.
Sharon gives us interesting parts of the story, but leaves us a lot to wonder about.
Meanwhile, the New Day folks (including Sharon) have been citing KPFA's unpaid property tax as an example of Pacifica's failure and as a reason for needing their proposed new bylaws.
As with every KPFA board meeting, there was the usual PNB bashing, Pacifica bashing, and of course no session would ever be complete without WBAI bashing. Not only that, but there were nasty remarks by LSB members aimed at guests from other stations who were in the Zoom audience.
A dozen people spoke during Public Comments: Carlos Kohen, Darien De Lu, Sherry Gendelman, Vicente Cruz, Virginia Browning, William Heerwagen, Beth Kean, Signe Mattson, Ann Garrison, Mara Rivera, Rachel __, and Anthony Fest.
Three participants were not given time to speak. Two of these were Nancy Saibara-Naritomi and Lawrence Reyes who were among our guests from other Pacifica stations. Secretary Carol Wolfley said they were limiting or excluding people "in governance," meaning LSB members of other stations. However, a third person who didn't get to speak was Steve Zeltzer, a listener-member of KPFA. Steve is the former host of Work Week Radio, a labor program that GM Quincy McCoy took off the air without explanation.
Of the people who spoke, eight opposed the New Day proposed bylaws, and only four were in favor. It was surprising that only four New Day proponents spoke. A large crowd was expected because New Day had sent an email blast to their supporters, urging them to attend and speak. They must have a huge list since over 5,000 people reportedly signed their petition, but less than one in a thousand of them showed up and spoke.
Quotes from the public comments are included at the end. They are also on an audio at:
THE NEW DAY BYLAWS DEBATE AND VOTE TALLY
The meeting culminated in a vote on the proposed New Day bylaws. It began with a debate, James McFadden speaking for the NO, and Carol Wolfley speaking for the YES, followed by comments and questions from board members. The audio can be heard at the audio archive at KPFTX.org.
The TALLY OF THE VOTES
The people voting YES, plus the two who abstained are part of SaveKPFA/UIR. And seven of those who voted NO are RESCUE PACIFICA. One person, Jeannine Etter, is an independent.
Frank Sterling - No
Marilyn Langlois - No
Don Macleay - No
Tom Voorhees - No
Jeannine Etter - No
Daniel Borgström - No
Christine Pepin - No
James McFadden - No
Several people including Marilyn, Christine and Frank weren't able to make most of the meeting but phoned in for the vote.
Tim Lynch - Yes
Mark van Landuyt - Yes
Philip Maldari - Yes
Sharon Adams - Yes
Susan da Silva- Yes
Shirah Dedman - Yes
Christina Huggins - Yes
Lily Kimura - Yes
Akio Tanaka - Yes
Andrea Turner - Yes
Carol Wolfley - Yes
Darlene Pagano - Yes
Don Goldmacher - Yes
Chris Cory - abstains
Sabrina Jacobs - abstains
The four members from KPFA who voted No at the PNB (Pacifica National Board) were: Tom Voorhees (Rescue Pacifica), Chris Cory (UIR), Sabrina Jacobs (UIR) and Andrea Turner (UIR). Chris and Sabrina changed their votes to abstain in this day's LSB vote. Andrea changed her vote to a Yes. Tom voted No both at the PNB and at this day's LSB.
The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.
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HOW LSBs AT THE OTHER STATIONS VOTED
There are five Pacifica stations. KPFK (Los Angeles), WBAI (New York), and WPFW (Washington DC) voted No.
KPFT (Houston) voted Yes.
The Pacifica National Board voted No.
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UPDATE the lawsuit against Pacifica takes an ironic turn
The New Day folks who said their new proposed bylaws would end squabbling and infighting at Pacifica are now squabbling among themselves, accusing one of their proposed board members of an "unlawful self-dealing transaction."
This is in the latest amended version of a serial lawsuit by three KPFA board members, Christina Huggins, Donald Goldmacher, and Andrea Turner. The suit began last December 8th with a request that a court put Pacifica into receivership. Had that request succeeded, the Pacifica radio network (including KPFA) would've been put in the hands of a corporate lawyer who would've then passed it on to "The Pacifica Safety Net," a shell corporation. In short, a handful of persons from the SaveKPFA/UIR faction would've had total control of all 5 Pacifica radio stations. Fortunately, the judge said no.
The plaintiffs then continued their suit with an amended version, suing Pacifica board members Grace Aaron and Alex Steinberg. That 2nd version also failed. So on May 17th they launched their 3rd amended lawsuit, still suing Grace and Alex, but now also naming Jan Goodman.
Jan Goodman is one of the four board members who will be running Pacifica if the New Day bylaws are voted in. The "self-dealing" accusation has to do with a fee of $28,000 that she and her husband were paid for their work in getting a loan for Pacifica.
The details of that loan were well known, so if anybody in the New Day camp considered Jan Goodman's role in procuring that loan to be illegal, wrong, or improper, then it's puzzling that they chose her as one of their New Day board members.
And the big irony is that the New Day promise that their system would end infighting and squabbling was actually about the only claim they made that sounded remotely credible. That's because their new bylaws would basically gerrymander the opposition out of the game, leaving only members of their own clique. With nobody left who might disagree with them, there'd be no more disagreements. We tend to forgot that even authoritarian systems can be rife with bitter squabbles and infighting.
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These are quotes from the Public Comments, which began at 1 p.m.. In transcribing them, most of the below are abridged or paraphrased. To hear the full length audio please visit Part 3 of the recorded session at
CARLOS KOHEN --
Pacifica is in very serious financial trouble … The present structure is very undemocratic.
Carlos endorses Yes on New Day.
DARIEN DE LU --
Thank you Carlos.
I have experienced the dysfunction of Pacifica…So I really support the New Day approach
SHERRY GENDELMAN, CEO of "Pacifica Safety Net," the team which asked a court to put Pacifica into receivership last December 8th.
I'm also going to speak in favor of the proposed new bylaws.
The current bylaws … resulted in the same group of people being in charge of the station for the last 20 years. There is nothing less democratic than people occupying and holding on to positions of power for 20 years.
For the last 20 years Pacifica has lost more than 50% of its listeners, more than 70% of its values and the respect of the media community because of its dysfunction and constant bickering.
VICENTE CRUZ, Oakland
I am very, very triggered by the way people do not practice nonviolent communication
(Note -- the previous speaker had named people in her comments)
Some of the people that spoke said that the new bylaws will effect some change. Well, the New Day bylaws in the worst way will not change anything. It keeps the worst of the old bylaws. One of the worst things is that the same very powerful, somewhat entrenched people on the staff will have even more power under [New Day].
Virginia also responded to Sherry Gendelman's criticism on the same group of people being in charge of the station for the last 20 years." --which is unfortunately true. Virginia pointed out that those were mostly Sherry's allies. They prevented robust elections on the air. Now they talk about dysfunction, but they mostly created the dysfunction.
On programming Virginia said: Last month we heard some of you people on the board defend neoliberal points of view on the air. We need more anti-imperialist points of view. A lot more people want a leftist, antiwar point of view. KPFA should not be aligned with more warmongering points of view
WILLIAM HEERWAGEN from New York --
The New Day bylaws are democratic? That's just laughable.
BETH KEAN --
Strongly in favor of the New bylaws. The current national board is not elected by the listeners, it's more like the Electoral College. Why shouldn't we be directly electing our representatives. No wonder listeners don't know who the persons on the national board are.
NOTE: Beth Kean debated Tracy Rosenberg on KPFA's Full Circle, hosted by Frank Sterling, on April 9, 2021. It's at:
SIGNE MATTSON --
I've been a listener since 1957, and a frequent phone room volunteer. My basic question for New Day Pacifica is: I don't understand how your change in the bylaws relates to changing the financial situation. So unless somebody can tell me that, I'm voting NO.
ANN GARRISON --
I'd like to read something that is on the New Day website, today, right now
"Pacifica has no money to pay a $3.2 million loan payment through April 2021. We could lose Pacifica's last 3 buildings as a result."
That's not accurate, the loan has been extended, with certain conditions: a percentage of bequests have to be paid down toward the principal during the next year and a half. So this is inaccurate information. This loan is no longer due in April 2021. And I don't know why New Day Pacifica has left this inaccurate information here. But I do believe New Day Pacifica has a responsibility to provide voters with accurate information, and they're not doing that, for whatever reason. I believe that alone should be enough to make people vote NO.
Sometime after this May 15th board meeting, after Ann Garrison had called them out about this in CounterPunch, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, the SF Bay View, the WPFW online forum and the KPFA LSB meeting, they finally corrected it. That was two months after the loan had been extended and two weeks before ballots were scheduled to go out. https://newdaypacifica.org/
MARA RIVERA --
I want to advocate a NO on the ND bylaws because they're undemocratic.
As a San Francisco resident I can tell you that once we started to get district elections rather than at large elections of our board of supervisors we came up with a much more progressive board and it's because you have a better chance of knowing the local people than the people "at large."
I want to mention some of the undemocratic features:
• It would centralize Pacifica's governance structure and remove any oversight functions from Local Station Boards.
• Representatives from each of the stations on the Pacifica National Board would be a minority (5 out of 15) on the National Board.
• It would introduce a winner take all voter method, thus leaving no room for minority votes as our current system does.
• It favors paid staff over unpaid staff who produce most of our programming.
• There's no room for minority representation, even if the minority gets 49% of the vote.
I want to know if your station has a program council?
I urge you to vote NO on the bylaws. If New Day wins, then it won't be democratic.
None of the programming will be relating to any local events.
Vote NO. Everyone vote NO!
ANTHONY FEST --
I'd like to talk about radio. a great opportunity was squandered, when those 8 hours Sonali Kohatkar occupied were left open. Those 8 hours should've been used to improve the diversity of KPFA programming. There were many possibilities.
For example there's the Covid, Race and Democracy program that's produced by KPFA and KPFK and WBAI staff. KPFK has a Mideast show... it could've gone on KPFA to supplement our locally produced one. The same as for the Native American show, we could add KPFK's to ours. Antiwar.com has a radio show. KPFK has an LGBT program which is completely lacking on KPFA. Also Code Pink has a radio show. There's Margaret Prescott's show, "Sojourner Truth." You could've put on Thom Hartmann. Any of these. And the answer was none of the above.
We are getting eight hours of reruns and not a single new voice. Management didn't have the boldness nor the spirit of innovation to try something new. It's really a dreadful failure.
As to the New Day bylaws, if you like centralization and directors choosing new directors, then vote for New Day. Otherwise vote NO.
By Daniel Borgström