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KPFA Pacifica Press Conference To Denounce Violation Of Bylaws & Sale Of KPFK Building

Thursday, March 09, 2023
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Event Type:
Press Conference
Rescue Pacifica/Pacifica Fight Back
Location Details:
2929 Martin Luther King Blvd/University

3/9/23 KPFA Pacifica Press Conference To Denounce Violation Of Bylaws & Sale Of KPFK Building and attempts by KPFA to secede from Pacifica.

What: Press Conference On The Violation of Pacifica Bylaws and Move To Sell KPFK Building In Los Angeles

When: Thursday March 9, 2023 4:30 PM

Where: KPFA
1929 Martin Luther King Blvd/University
Berkeley, California

Supporters of KPFA and Pacifica will present evidence that the financial crisis threatening Pacifica is, in part, as a result of the KPFA Local officers and Board majority (most who belong to the “Protectors”) have supported and initiated nuisance lawsuits against Pacifica costing over $400,000. Some KPFA LSB members have helped former ED Vernille win a suit against Pacifica for $300,000 by voluntarily testifying in his arbitration against Pacifica. The $300,000 was seized as a result in part of their testimony on behalf of ED Vernille.
The same KPFA member on the Local Station Board and many of the PNB supported the illegal shutdown of WBAI and some of the same people are for the sale of KPFK in Los Angeles which would threaten the viability of the station and its future as the largest independent broadcast platform in Southern California.
KPFA LSB even passed a motion supporting a petition filed by a member of the KPFA LSB to the FCC to take away the broadcast license of sister station WBAI.

This press conference is called by Rescue Pacifica and Pacifica Fight Back, network wide to prevent the corporate take-over of Pacifica.
The PNB with the support of KPFA LSB officers and others have also improperly tried to do an end run around the By Laws by passing a motion to allow them to continue in office beyond the 6-year term limit.
This flagrant violation of the bylaws is being challenged in State Courts and will be heard in Los Angeles on March 30, 2023.
The independence of Pacifica and the integrity of the network is at stake if these actions by the PNB and KPFA “Protectors” are allowed to continue.

-stop the sale of the KPFK building
-remove the termed-out delegates from all boards and seat the runners-up immediately to restore legitimacy
-Redo the PNB elections
-Set a clear date and financing plan for the long overdue LSB elections
-reverse all actions in which this illegitimate PNB suspended or removed members, muzzled complaints and attempts to handpick Local Station Board members into the PNB in disregard of the member-elected representatives.
-reinstate the KPFK Board which has been declared illegal by the illegitimate PNB
The court date is set for 3/30 at LA Superior court.

For more information:
Contact Rescue Pacifica
Rescue Pacifica
Pacifica Fightback


A Rescue Pacifica Newsletter
by Daniel Borgström

A few days ago federal marshals seized $305,000 from KPFA, a progressive radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A court awarded this money to John Vernile, a former Executive Director (ED) of the Pacifica, the parent organization of KPFA and four other sister stations, along with over 200 affiliate stations. Although Vernile held that position for only a few months, he took part in a bizarre incident for which he was fired and became the object of unkind words. So he sued Pacifica for "defamation" of his character; an arbitrator and then a court ruled that he was legally fired for his extreme actions, but in favor of his defamation suit.

That incident happened three years ago. In the morning of October 7, 2019, John Vernile and his team -- which included two rent-a-cops -- raided the studio of WBAI 99.5 FM in New York. Vernile's people evicted the staff, changed the locks, shut down local programming, and turned WBAI into a repeater station.

"BAI," as it's affectionately called by its staff and listeners, is one of the five Pacifica sister-stations. Pacifica is a non-commercial listener-sponsored network where stations supposedly enjoy a certain amount of independence and democratic governance -- in theory at least. Staff and listeners occasionally demand to have a say in how their station is run. But John Vernile seems to have been remarkably unaware of Pacifica's traditions. The result was instant outrage. People at WBAI united in opposition to Vernile. Even feuding factions and longtime enemies who hadn't spoken to each other for years, suddenly found themselves embracing each other to fight a common enemy.

And it wasn't just the staff and listeners of BAI. New Yorkers who were by no means leftwing or related to WBAI saw the move as an intrusion into the city's cultural life. Even the city's mayor denounced it, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led a rally in support of the radio station.

An op-ed in the Amsterdam News read: "If it smells like a coup, walks like a coup, and looks like a coup . . . it's a coup!" Staff and listeners at BAI called Vernile a "coupster." Perhaps a lot of people saw it that way, but U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles recently ruled that as "defamation," even though he acknowledged that Vernile was not wrongfully terminated.

There is a saying that victory has a thousand fathers, but fiasco is an orphan. And so it was in this case. Nobody seems to have claimed credit for the idea. Vernile reportedly said he traveled around the country, consulting board members at several of Pacifica's stations. However, it appears that he only spoke with people who agreed with the plan. He did not speak with any of the Rescue Pacifica group here at KPFA, and he reportedly didn't speak with the folks at BAI either.

Was he a bullheaded guy who didn't listen to other opinions? Or was he just a puppet of his faction? I don't know. I never met John Vernile and don't have a first-hand, face to face impression of him. But I would say that his raid on BAI is a classic example of what can happen when only one side gets listened to.

Most of Vernile's team and backers were at KPFA in California. KPFA's power elite supported the takeover of WBAI. KPFA's then general manager Quincy McCoy became Consulting Programmer of a new entity called "Pacifica Across America." That turned out to be a fancy way of saying that Quincy was running WBAI as a relay station -- though not with KPFA's current line-up. He used old stale stuff. Later, when John Vernile needed funds to pay the lawyers that were defending him, Quincy McCoy sent him $80,000 of KPFA's money. The KPFA gatekeepers have claimed that Quincy was required to send that money. Maybe so, but didn't report the expense.

KPFA's LSB (Local Station Board) majority faction who speak for the gatekeepers at KPFA defended Vernile. They're the "SaveKPFA" group, which now goes by several names: "NewDay," the "KPFA Protectors," and "Safety Net," among others.

Of course not everyone at KPFA went along with that. And our affinity group, "Rescue Pacifica," supported the people at WBAI, as did many at other Pacifica stations.

Each of the five Pacifica stations has its own Local Station Board (LSB), and above these five local boards is the National Board, the PNB. A majority of the PNB voted to return WBAI to its own staff, but Vernile and his faction were reluctant to comply, so it was necessary to go through court proceedings and finally get a court order. The takeover lasted a month; then the New Yorkers got their station back, and John Vernile was fired.

The announced purpose of the takeover was to save money. WBAI was losing more money than Pacifica could afford, so Vernile and his team decided that Pacifica could save money by eliminating the managers and staff of WBAI and making it a relay station. The problem with that logic was that even running it as a relay station cost money. A major long standing expense was the antenna. Unlike KPFA which owns its own antenna, WBAI has to rent one, and it was through no fault of WBAI that some very unwise people running Pacifica two decades ago signed an incredibly bad and costly deal to rent an antenna for WBAI. So during the takeover the antenna costs continued. The difference being that the station's staff were no longer there to hold fund drives and raise money.

An email from Ken Gale on the day of the takeover, Oct 8, 2019, said: "Pacifica has taken down all WBAI archives. This seems to be an act of hostility, not a cost-saving measure. They also timed their move for the second week of a fund drive that was going well, replacing programs that were raising money with California programs that do not."

Being new to Pacifica, John Vernile may not have thought that through. But his NewDay/Protectors/SafetyNet team were long-time KPFA and Pacifica people who should've known.

So the idea of turning WBAI into a relay station to save money doesn't seem very logical; some observers have suggested that there were other motives, that Vernile's crew simply wanted to trash WBAI and get rid of it, maybe sell it. Interestingly, this year the same people (NewDay/Protectors/Safety Net) petitioned the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) to deny renewal of WBAI's broadcast license. Not only that, but their majority faction at KPFA (on May 21, 2022) passed a resolution in support of the petitioners requesting the denial of the license renewal.

Is there more? Yes, there certainly is. On December 8, 2020, members of that same majority faction (NewDay et al) petitioned a court in Los Angeles to put Pacifica into receivership -- bankruptcy. Had the court approved that request, the entire network, including KPFA, would've gone into the hands of a corporate lawyer and who knows where from there? Fortunately, we do sometimes get justice in the court system, and that was one of those good days. But think of it: although the recent loss of $305,000 is certainly a disaster, the loss of the whole the network into receivership would've been far worse.

Considering that there are no other progressive networks in the US beside Pacifica, a loss of WBAI in New York, a major metropolitan media "market", would be an irreplaceable loss.

NewDay's lawyer for the receivership petition (Dec 2020) was Attorney Stephen Jaffe. And by some coincidence, Stephen Jaffe is also the attorney for John Vernile in his "defamation" suit. A coincidence? Some questions should be asked.

Three of the witnesses who testified in support of Vernile's defamation claim were NewDay people from KPFA.

Pacifica's attorney, Arthur Schwartz, is appealing the $305,000 seizure. But strangely, the chair and vice chair of KPFA's LSB, Christina Huggins and Fred Dodsworth, have demanded that Schwartz abandon the appeal. Huggins is one of the petitioners who asked a Los Angeles court to put Pacifica into receivership in 2020.

The seizure of the money is being reported on KPFA's airwaves, and it should be. But like other news, it needs to be covered accurately. Unfortunately, some programmers are blaming Pacifica, telling us that's where the problem is. In a way, that's true. But it misses the fact that people from KPFA's inner circle gatekeeper group -- the ones associated with SaveKPFA/NewDay/theProtectors/SafetyNet -- are the very ones who teamed up with John Vernile and promoted the events which led to this lawsuit. Although John Vernile was the face of the takeover at WBAI, it was the NewDay people who did the leg work. They have considerable influence on events at Pacifica.

Attorney Schwartz knows this appeal will be a steep hill to climb; he said so himself. But if this ruling stands, Pacifica could be hit with endless numbers of lawsuits. Every manager that KPFA ever had could probably make a case -- rightly or wrongly -- that he or she has been a victim of "defamation." At the same time, in any democratically run society or radio station there has to be transparency. Lawsuits and even just the threat of lawsuits can put an end to transparency, and the end of democracy at Pacifica.

If we lose this case, it could have a major negative impact on the future of our First Amendment rights -- which seem to be under constant attack these days.

Daniel Borgström
Rescue Pacifica Newsletter

Daniel Borgström is a member of KPFA's Local Station Board

Answering KPFA "Protector's" email

With “Protectors” like these…. The Fight to Rescue Pacifica from the KPFA Pretenders

Pacifica National Board Censures KPFK Jan Goodman For Illegal Deal Making

RE: FCC File # 0000180618 Date: July 19. 2022
Dear FCC Investigators,
I am writing in response to a Petition to Deny for FM non-commercial radio station WBAI in New York (File # 0000180618) licensed to the Pacifica Foundation. I am in support of an investigation into the WBAI’s renewal application.
From the emails below you will see that I have twice contacted WBAI’s licensee governing board of directors, The Pacifica Foundation’s National Board, with my concerns about possible FCC violations at station WBAI. I have received no written communications or seen any plan or concrete evidence of how what appear to me to be continued FCC violations will be stopped. One Pacifica Foundation’s National Board member actually publicly criticized me in an open meeting for supporting efforts to address the situation.
I believe that it is important for WBAI to provide programming that is in alignment with FCC laws, especially given the regulations regarding using a non-commercial license for the profit of on-air staff’s personal businesses and the non-disclosure of this activity to listeners.
I hope the FCC will investigate and take action to resolve the problems there by providing oversight and clarification to protect the integrity of WBAI’s programming and license.
Thank You, Carol Wolfley
From: Carol Wolfley
Subject: Previous Notification of Possible FCC Violations at WBAI and KPFA LSB Motion
Date: June 27, 2022 at 8:49:46 AM PDT
To: Pacifica National Board , Julie Hewitt , PNB Secretary , "Stephanie D. Wells"
Cc: Christina Huggins , Donald Goldmacher
Dear PNB Directors,
In 2019 as a member of the Pacifica Programming Committee in response to numerous complaints, I sent the PNB the following email regarding possible FCC violations at WBAI.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Carol G Wolfley
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL Commission Policy on the Noncommercial Nature of Educational Broadcasting | Federal Communications Commission
Date: November 7, 2019 at 11:03:13 AM PST
To: Pacifica National Board
Dear PNB Directors,
Please address these potentially serious issues.
At a National Programing Committee discussion last night a question was raised about use of premiums at WBAI which may violate FCC policies.
I am writing to ask you to look into the legality of a radio producer on a non commercial station promoting premiums which he benefits from financially. In this case involving claims and promotions related to health cures and body products. I understand that WPFW had concerns about that approach to fund raising and moved away from it and that a number of EDs and IEDs have expressed serious concerns about it.
Here are the guidelines which may apply for your legal investigation. Can you please communicate to us if this is legal and if there is a plan to continue this practice.
Also in following up on the situation with the unsent premiums for WBAI, please clarify from how far back there are still unsent premiums from before October 7 and the number of unsent premiums involved. I appreciate that some of the volunteers at WBAI are helping with this and it is my understanding that this is a monumental task.
To Grace Aaron,
It is my understanding that there was a proposal from a PNB Director at KPFK to put football games on the air which would not be in alignment with Pacifica!s non commercial status or the mission. Can you please verify if that proposal is still under consideration and the legal implications of it in relation to Pacifica!s license.
Carol Wolfley
Member of the National Programming Committee
These Current PNB Directors were on the board on Nov 7 2019.

Listener Lawrence Reyes, KPFK,
Listener Shawn Rhodes, , WBAI
Listener James Sagurton, WBAI and on National Finance Committee Donald Goldmacher, KPFA
Grace Aaron, (who is currently on the Pacifica Programming.) Committee and Alex Steinberg, (who is currently on the Strategic Planning Committee) were also on the PNB when my email was sent.
It is of great concern that rather than address the alleged financial irregularities and programming concerns, the PNB appears to have chosen to pass the problem on to lawyers, perhaps to negotiate a way out of making needed changes and without an in depth PNB investigation of the complaint.There may be a conflict of interest with an attorney who is also a producer of a program at WBAI and who has represented WBAI in cases being involved in legal issues related to the FCC petition.
Instead of working with the Pacifica Executive Director to make much needed personnel and programming changes the PNB seems to have limited the Pacifica Executive Director’s ability to take action in those areas, Apparently the PNB has usurped the authority of the the Executive Director who is mandated by the bylaws to have “the primary responsibility for implementing the directives, decisions and policies pertaining to administration, personnel, programming, financing and public relations”.
And while bypassing a PNB investigation of the alleged FCC violations at WBAI, the PNB and its Parliamentarian allowed the PNB to hold an open meeting with discussions of possible punitive action against then board director Donald Goldmacher. Dr. Goldmacher is a retired medical doctor with serious concerns about the public health threats and financial irregularities resulting from long term WBAI practices.
Please know that the KPFA Local Station Board passed the following motion at the May 21. 2022 meeting:
Motion: The KPFA Local Station Board supports an FCC investigation into possible broadcasting violations at WBAI. Charges of self-inurement, "payola" and enrichment threaten the very foundation of Pacifica, if proven. KPFA Local Station Board opposes the efforts by some members of the Pacifica National Board to suspend and remove Donald Goldmacher from the Pacifica National Board because of his efforts to protect Pacifica and all its stations by supporting the FCC investigation. Mr. Goldmacher is upholding his fiduciary responsibilities. The alleged programming and business practices at WBAI could bring down the entire Network. PASSED
Added to the calendar on Wed, Mar 8, 2023 11:37AM
§The KPFA "Protectors" Are Supporting The Sell Off Of KPFK
by Rescue Pacifica/Pacifica Fight Back
The "Protectors" at KPFA aka New Day & "Save KPFA" on the PNB have voted to flagrantly violate the 6 year term limit to stay in office and also support the sell off of KPFK. They also supported the illegal shutdown of WBAI and have filed numerous corporate nuisance lawsuits to break up Pacifica and end democratic governance.
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