Sunday, May 18, 2014

What Majority?

What Majority?

May 18, 2014 at 6:23pm
Berkeley-As the first week after the TRO ruling passes, the extent of the shaky foundation of the 2014 rogue board continues to emerge. The lack of eligibility of not one, but two of the twelve directors claiming to constitute the majority of the board is unquestionable. Boards of directors of CA nonprofit organizations have only the powers and authorities vested in them by the organization's bylaws, and in this case, that's not looking like anything at all.

WPFW listener representative Tony Norman, who is currently claiming to be vice-chair of the board,certified to Pacifica that he did not hold a public office when elected to the local board in DC. That was false. Norman's position as an elected neighborhood commissioner is described by the DC Board of Elections as an elected public office and by the District of Columbia Office of the Corporate Counsel as an elected official of the District of Columbia government. ( (

Pacifica's bylaws state that "no person who holds any elected or appointed public office at any level of government , federal, state, or local , or is a candidate for such office shall be eligible for election". (

KPFT listener representative Hank Lamb is a member of the KPFT unpaid staff and would not have been eligible to join the local or national boards as a listener delegate. Lamb's KPFT station email contact form can be seen here. (

The Pacifica bylaws differentiate between classes of members and do not permit station staff members, paid or unpaid, to fill listener representative positions.  "Any Listener-Sponsor Member in good standing, except radio station management personnel or Foundation management personnel or staff members, may be nominated for the position of Listener-Sponsor Delegate for the Foundation radio station with which s/he is affiliated". (

So what to make of these endemic bylaws violations? While they certainly indicate sloppiness in carrying out Pacifica's elections over the last few years, the more important index is that, without the invocation of an "emergency", ongoing lack of compliance with bylaws introduces real questions about board authority. Seating ineligible directors does not constitute an emergency.

A FAQ about the events of the last 90 days can be found here. (

Director Lamb, who has made previous appearances in Pacifica In Exile for his rant on the gun rights of patriots and threatening emails to network staffers, also presents the problem of multiple felony convictions. The Communications Act of 1934 allows the Federal Communications Communication (FCC) to order a party applying for a broadcast relicensure with felony convictions to show cause for why they should be granted a broadcast license. With two of Pacifica's stations in the relicensure process right now (WBAI-FM and KPFT-FM),
Lambs failure to disclose his long rap sheet on his candidate statement introduces an element of risk that Pacifica's board should have (and did not) consider with advice of counsel, before risking both station's licenses. (

In a horrifying social media comment, KPFA local station board member Mark Hernandez  (and Save KPFA member) proposed biometric surveillance at the front door of the community radio station in Berkeley before dismissing the idea as "too expensive". Biometric surveillance, which is often referred to as "face-recognition software" is one of the Orwellian devices recently floated for Oakland's Domain Awareness Center (DAC) before the Oakland City Council rolled back the proposal due to a huge community uproar.

KPFA LSB member (and United for Community Radio member) Samsarah Morgan wrote  this piece in April about her experiences on KPFA's local station board. (

The last edition discussed Dan Siegel's unethical investigation of sexual and racial harassment charges he knew in advance to be false at Pacifica. This pattern of facilitating false charges has come up before inSiegel and Yee's legal dossier when a 2010 ruling in Moreno vs. Ostly resulted in a sexual harassment claim rebounding against Siegel and Yee's client with a $1 million dollar award for defamation. The prevailing side mentioned that "the system is not to be used to bring claims that are not legitimate because you have some sort of personal vendetta". (;Sexual_Predator'_Wins_$1.pdf)

Siegel and Yee were sanctioned for "misuse of the discovery process" and engaging in a "charade". (

Siegel testified in 2011, as a sitting board member at KPFA, on behalf of former CFO Lonnie Hicks, that Hick's firing was caused by racism. Hicks won a $440,000 settlement and Pacifica shortly afterwards lost its directors and officers insurance policy and was only able to secure coverage at 3x the price, greatly exacerbating the financial stress at the network. Siegel's deposition (in a long and short version) can be found here. Multiple board members have reported over the years that Hick's financial statements were chronically confusing and they believed him to be concealing information. The controller Hicks hired and worked with for many years was later found to have been convicted of embezzling $90,000 from a previous employer and was let go by Reese in 2012 after charging personal items on the nonprofits credit card.

The court decision, if upheld on June 3rd, may also clear the way for "organizational darwinism" (as the decision to partition the network was described by attorney Dan Siegel) to prevail as the California stations may be poised to throw the weaker East Coast and Texas stations overboard by either withholding financial support or selling off the weaker units to endow the stronger ones, as some board members have publicly recommended.

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's Community Advisory Board announced a town hall meeting at EastSide Arts Alliance at 2277 International Boulevard in Fruitvale on June 21st.


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.

1 comment:

  1. Tony Norman is not considered to be holding an elected office, at least that is the conclusion of Judge Petrou, based on the description of the position. Summer Reese faction was in control of the board. You are splitting hairs with Hank Lamb, and yes, both sides of this conflict have been involved in dirty factional in-fighting, so the big question is, what each faction represents.

    Summer Reese is a second issue. She is an egotistical opportunist. I MYSELF, would have never hired her to do anything base don the information that she did and did not disclose to the Pacifica National Board. I would never have hired her, because I would think her to be an infiltrator either for police, or for my business competition trying to spy on my company. Het faction are self-proclaimed left-wing progressives, and yet, Rreese was involved in a tax-avoidance scam that attracted the right wing and the sovereign citizen movement type, neither particularly friendly to the Left, plus all the disclosures that she DIDN'T make, should make your hair stand on end. Hank Lamb is less paranoid and more approachable, than Uzzell, and that is a plus for any struggling foundation. The choice in Pacifica comes down to two political factions. You Pacifica National Board Majority, which favors KPFA at the expense of Pacifica, and you have the Reese faction, which has hamstrung KPFA by destroying its Morning Show, and did fatal damage to BAI by getting rid of its news department, in which they may not have had any other choice, but Reese has been damaging the local stations to prop up the National Organization, which it ran into deep debt to Democracy Now. KPFA has programming superior to the current BAI and the DC station, and to me, it is worth preserving.

    You have corruption, both financial and political, on both sides. Summer Reese faction has allowed both, Gary Null and Democracy Now! make money during the fund-raising drives. Andrew Phillips went on record to state that Gary Null took 50% cut of the money raised from the sale of his premiums. Democracy Now! too, is paid a lot of money for its content to be used during fund raising drives. Tracy Rosenberg said that they had no other choice, and that Amy Goodman is hiding behind a prominent lawyer, but the Summer Reese has not taken any real action to get out from under that contract. The big question is, who were the individuals who awarded that suicide contract to Amy Goodman.

    Have you noticed, how all of the PNB's Latino directors are on the side of the Save KPFA majority? You think that's an accident? The worst that Save KPFA will do is lease out the NYC or the DC transmitter, and will align the Pacifica more with the mainstream Democratic Party, and take their grants and run it more like NPR. The worst that Reese faction will do, will be to destroy KPFA and any other local programming and make the local stations mouthpieces for the Pacifica syndicated content. The more serious problem that the Summer Reese faction has is that is aligning the station along a commercial broadcasting model of marketing premiums to support whatever ideological vision it has. In addition, one of them (Blosdale's early postings, I think), came out with a theoretical business model of creating an internet radio network, that will reach out to millions of progressive listeners, which will be a gold mine as a progressive audience for the alternative marketers and advertisers. Aside from the fact that Gary Null's internet radio has not been a sweeping success, I'd rather have the network turned over to local political party bosses and wannabes, than one that is run by unprincipled political radicals that will turn its listener supporters into a target audience for the advertisers and marketers of the alternative products. A commercial red radio, except that by getting rid of the KPFA's Morning Show, which was too left wing for NPR, the Reese faction has shown itself to be neither really left wing, nor progressive; so what are they? Those are your choices.