Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hearing Day

Berkeley-Various aspects of the PDGG vs. Pacifica lawsuit package (now expanded with a Siegel and Yee restraining order request and cross-complaint) were heard in Alameda Superior Court on the morning of May 6th. In a lengthy hearing, 5 witnesses testified. KPFA programmer Brian Edwards-Tiekert was the only witness for the Siegel and Yee side, and told a couple whoppers on the witness stand, including misquoting bylaws about telephonic meetings and asserting board member service at Pacifica is compensated when it is not. There were 4 witnesses for the PDGG side including 2013-2014 board member Richard Uzzell, Reese, national office senior accountant Joyce Black and 2013 PNB member Tracy Rosenberg.

The hearing largely revolved around issues of meeting notices, contracts/offer letters and the issue of Reese's lack of a social security number, which is the stated reason for the motion to fire her from Siegel and Yee associate Jose Luis Fuentes.

The judge agreed to review all of the pleadings and issue her decision as quickly as possible.  Nothing was released on the court's website at press time.

For those who want to take a look at all of the legal filings to date: here is a cheat sheet.

April 4th PDGG - Original Complaint
Request for Injunction PDGG
Memorandum of Points and Authorities PDGG
April 15th PDGG - Amended Complaint
Siegel - Opposition to Preliminary Injunction
Siegel - Request for TRO to Evict from National Office
April 30th PDGG Reply Brief
Siegel Cross-Complaint for Monetary Damages from Summer Reese
Reese - Opposition to Request for TRO

The 5 Pacifica stations went into fund drive this week, with reasonably positive numbers so far. Pacifica-In-Exile readers are strongly encouraged to donate to their local stations. If the May 6th preliminary 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 FAQ about the events of the last 90 days can be found here.

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 community forum held at the Berkeley Federation of Universalist Unitarians (BFUU) discussed the current situation last Sunday and is available on video.  The crowd was overwhelmingly opposed to the actions of the rogue board majority. Listener Daniel Borgstrom wrote about the forum and the last local station board meeting here.

KPFA's Community Advisory Board announced more town hall meetings:

One on May 17th at the Marcus Garvey building at 1485 8th Street in West Oakland

One at EastSide Arts Alliance at 2277 International Boulevard in Fruitvale on June 21st.

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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