Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Interlopers

Berkeley-Pacifica board member Jose-Luis Fuentes responded to an attorney's letter asking the board to ease up on pressuring and threatening employees by saying "interlopers will not be tolerated". Fuentes previously attempted to have Pacifica payroll processing data illegitimately sent to his employer, the law firm Siegel and Yee, on March 28th.

Southern California attorney James De Maegt wrote on behalf of 8 network employees describing them as caught in the middle of a dispute and asked members of the board to allow them to perform their jobs without undue interference and for members to cease and desist from berating, bullying and harassing employees. De Maegt's letter stated "Repeated demands to perform actions which employees have stated appear to them to be contradictory to the law and inappropriate must cease until the matters in question are heard by a higher authority"

Fuentes' response is below. The full exchange with the complete text of the letter can be found here. ( PIE is not releasing the names of the affected employees to protect their privacy. It's not clear what contracts Fuentes was referring below to inducing breaches in. The employees in question are non-union at-will employees.


From: jlf-gmail []

Sent: Friday, April 11, 2014 3:44 PM

To: 'Jim DeMaegt'; pnb@pacifica.orgSubject: RE: Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors

Mr. DeMaegt,

 Your communication with the Pacifica National Board is illusive {sic}. . Please let us know if you are communicating with the PNB as the attorney for "x,x,x,x,x,x,x".

 I do not need to caution you against interfering with Pacifica Foundation Radio contractual relationship {sic} or inducing a breach of Pacifica’s contract with “x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x”

 I am placing you on notice that Pacifica will not tolerate interlopers interfering with Pacifica’s contractual relationship with “x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x”.

Jose Luis FuentesBoard Director, Pacifica Radio FoundationKPFA Local Station Board Listener Delegate 499 14TH Street, Suite 300Oakland, California 94612


KPFA's local station board meeting will be meeting on Saturday April 12th at the North Berkeley Senior Center at Hearst and Martin Luther King Jr Way in Berkeley. Public comment will begin promptly at 11:00am. Jose-Luis Fuentes and disputed board chair/IED Margy Wilkinson are expected to be in attendance.

Yesterday, PIE printed an email from board member Lydia Brazon to former CFO Raul Salvador written on January 6, 2014, 4 days after Salvador was not offered permanent employment by the 2013 board of directors after completing a troubled probationary period. Brazon told Salvador to mislead the executive director as to his whereabouts and assured him he would be rehired, although delegates had not yet elected members to the 2014 board. Brazon's email can be found here (

Today former WNAI director Nia Bediako, a member of the Justice and Unity Caucus/Save KPFA faction that breached Reese's contract, threatened PIE with federal prosecution for distributing Brazon's email to the network's members.

"I don't know how "Pacifica In Exile" got Director Lydia Brazon's email but I'd like to bring to your attention:  The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) [18 U.S.C. Sections 250-2521, 2701-2710], which was signed into law in 1986, amended the Federal Wiretap Act to account for the increasing amount of communications and data transferred and stored on computer systems. The ECPA protects against the unlawful interceptions of any wire communications--whether it's telephone or cell phone conversations, voicemail, email, and other data sent over the wires. The ECPA also includes protections for messages that are stored--email messages that are archived on servers, for instance. Now, under the law, unauthorized access to computer messages, whether in transit or in storage, is A FEDERAL CRIME".

(Largeness and redness provided by Ms. Bediako).

An open letter signed by hundreds of the network's staffers and supporters objecting to the breach of Reese's contract can be found here. (

A new interview with Reese on Monday April 7th aired on the "Just Peace" program at WRFG-FM, Radio Free Georgia in Atlanta and can be found here. (

 Los Angeles public interest attorney Eric Jacobson wrote this detailed piece on the crisis precipitated by the abrupt attempted firing of Reese 6 weeks into the 2014 board's term. (

The ongoing description of Wilkinson as "disputed" or "alleged" board chair is due to Wilkinson's receipt of only 11 votes out of 22. The explanation for the use of a spoiled ballot to break the tie in Wilkinson's favor is caught on tape here ( . In a race with only two candidates, a "5th place vote" is not considered a countable vote as there are only first and second positions in a two-person race. Longer clips are available here and here ( and

"Losing" candidate George Reiter, a physics professor at UT-Houston, can be heard explaining the customary procedure on one of the longer clips.

"If the first place votes are a tie, then we count the second place votes. If the second place votes are tied, then we flip a coin".

Except they didn't.

The rogue board has still not released minutes from any open session meeting all year and has not released closed session minutes from meetings on February 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 20th, March 6th and 27th, or April 3rd. The fiscal 2013 audit has been delayed for more than 7 months after the end of the fiscal year. $1.5 million dollars in Corporation for Public Broadcasting Funding is being held back. Houston station KPFT's license expired in August of 2013. WBAI's license expires in June of 2014.

A satirical look at the chaos at the radio stations and what the future holds amid rumors of a network breakup by the Twit Wits comedy troupe and produced by noted theatrical producer George Coates can be found here. (

 Disputed chair Margy Wilkinson is reported to have said with regard to Reese's attempted firing; "it isn't illegal until someone says it is".

Reese has continued to report to work at the national headquarters since March 17th.


Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica's storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin's incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-supported radio.

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