Monday, April 28, 2014

When In Doubt.....Call The Police

Berkeley-On Monday morning, Siegel and Yee, claiming they represent the Pacifica Foundation despite no evidence of a letter of retention or a vote of the board, are rushing into court to seek an order to send the police to clear out the Pacifica national headquarters. The request, while not yet calendered in Department 15, will supposedly be heard ...between 9 and 9:15am. The request states the Berkeley Police Department, despite numerous entreaties by Wilkinson, has refused to attack without such a court order. Police were last called to Martin Luther King Junior Way in 2008, when unpaid staffer Nadra Foster was declared a "trespasser" by KPFA management and police were called to hog-tie and remove her. Foster's wrist was severely sprained in the melee and she later received a settlement from the Berkeley Police Department. 

On Tuesday April 29th, an ad-hoc group called the "Coalition Against The Corporate Takeover of KPFA and Pacifica" plans a press conference and protest in front of Siegel and Yee's offices at 499 14th Street at noon. The group is demanding Siegel's firm "get their conflicted hands off of KPFA and Pacifica" and declares "it is time to call a halt to this wrecking operation."

The State Bar of California responded to a bar association complaint against Siegel associate Jose Luis Fuentes by commenting  "civil remedies would have to be sought, such as dismissing Mr. Fuentes from the board". The amended PDGG vs. Pacifica complaint can be found here in a 137-page full complaint ( and a 24-page Memorandum of Points and Authorities ( 

A FAQ about the events of the last 75 days can be found here.

The request for police intervention attempts to blame the delayed audit on the national office occupation, instead of unreconciled books at the KPFA unit, which is the reason field work scheduled for March will not begin until May. National office accounting staff are currently doing the backed-up reconciliations for KPFA after accounting records the station refused to hand over on March 13th were finally extracted by GM Richard Pirodsky a month later.

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.

Today's specially-called PNB meeting was boycotted by the majority, but allowed discussion on critical matters the majority faction has kept off the agenda for months. Rather than deal with issues, the majority has created chaos with personnel issues and driven off legal counsel. A total of 9 PNB members along with the Executive Director Summer Reese, participated in the meeting. Reese provided this Report From The Executive Director. (

A March 31st interview with Reese at the occupied Pacifica national headquarters can be viewed here.

The public session included discussion of a process for selecting a new corporate counsel, a 5-year strategic plan for Pacifica, opportunities for increasing Pacifica's membership and donations, plans for stabilizing WBAI, candidate statements for contested national committee seats and a motion regarding conflicts of interest for paid staff on the finance committee. The executive session included corrections to the closed session minutes of February 7-10, 2014 and fixing an unauthorized report-out from an April 17 meeting. Open session audio is currently posted on, and if that audio file is taken down, can also be accessed here (

A complaint filed by 8 former national board members with the CA Attorney General can be found here. (

A public town hall at the Berkeley Federation of Unitarian Universalists (BFUU) attracted about 60 people on Sundayafternoon who spoke out on the radio network's crisis. KPFA Local Station Board chair Carole Travis, who spoke on behalf of the board majority said  "We were surprised. We didn't think Reese had this much support". The crowd was overwhelmingly in support of the occupation and opposed to the reckless actions of the board.  Travis's comment reflected the Save KPFA tendency to personalize issues and understand that Reese's support is not a popularity poll, but a set of beliefs about Pacifica's needs for stable management, fair hiring and firing procedures, and increased financial transparency.

KPFA listener-sponsor Daniel Borgstrom published a report from the last KPFA local station board meeting where he documented the entire public comment session consisted of speakers opposed to the actions of the rogue board majority, despite claims to the contrary by the Save KPFA campaign slate. (

A Community Advisory Board-sponsored forum at the South Berkeley Senior Center last month was also 90-95% overwhelmingly supportive of Reese.

All 5 Pacifica stations go into fundraising mode in May and Pacifica-In-Exile readers are strongly encouraged to donate to their local stations. If the May 6thpreliminary injunction request is granted, there will be a need to settle out the new lawsuits and labor grievances, meet equipment needs, and repair the havoc of the past few months. All 5 station websites (,,,, as well as, can process online donations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Your support will help to avert a threatened break-up of the network and keep all 5 radio major-market licenses non-commercial and non-corporate for the long run.

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 (produced by noted theatrical producer George Coates) can be found here.

KPFA local station board member and Oakland community activist Samsarah Morgan sized up the situation 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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