Monday, March 24, 2014

KPFA, a progressive station under attack!

KPFA is a target for infiltration and disruption by hostile agents of clandestine agencies, private and public, who are hostile to KPFA's "leftist" standards of reporting.
Currently, clandestine agents, having infiltrated KPFA's governing board, are tearing it apart, and have successfully fired New African show producers.

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.

Summer Reese, Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation Radio
1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way Berkeley, CA 94704
Ph:(510) 849-2590 ext 208
Cell: (510) 333-1965

Stan W. Former KPFA Local Station Board member, writes (2014-03-17):
"The ongoing battle for the future of Pacifica does really affect PFP (Peace and Freedom Party, California's only openly socialist party on the ballot). Pacifica and it's three stations in California (KPFA Berkeley, KFCF Fresno, and KPFK LA) is probably still, despite the 'net, the most important Progressive Media outlet in the state. Also note that the faction that illegally purged the Pacifica ED Summer Reese is, not coincidentally, the group that has tried to marginize PFP and, to a lesser event, the GP (Green Party) on the airwaves. over the decades.

"Board Calls The Police To KPFA"
2014-03-24 from "Pacifica in Exile" [pacificainexile (@)]:

This morning, only hours after 8 former board board members filed a complaint with the California Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts alleging "serious and substantive breaches of duty" by the Pacifica National Board, the Berkeley Police Department was called from KPFA next door, where disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson has set up shop, commandeering the largest private office space in the building for her personal use.
National office employees berated board members for harassing them and preventing them from doing their jobs and yesterday nine current board members tried to reassure the network's staffers, vendors and contractors that they would be free to do their jobs without interference from board members. An 11:00 conference call with the network's auditor, who is scheduled to begin work on Thursday on the 2013 audit, looks like it will have to be postponed due to the presence of the police.
The last time police were called to the buildings on Martin Luther King Jr Way by KPFA, unpaid staffer Nadra Foster was beaten by police and later prevailed in a civil suit against the Berkeley Police Department.

"Occupation Continues – Monday, March 24"
posted 2014-03-23 to "Support KPFA: United for Community Radio" []: People continue to support Summer Reese by keeping a presence at the Pacifica office.  The signatures on the Statement of Support jumped in the last 24 hours and many more remain to be entered.  Keep checking for the latest.

Statement of Pacifica’s Local Station Board Members, Staff and Listeners
posted 2014-03-20 to "Support KPFA: United for Community Radio" []:
Pacifica National Board acted improperly in its attempted termination of Executive Director Summer Reese -
We, the undersigned, members of the Pacifica’s Local Station Board, staff and listeners, strongly believe that members of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) acted improperly at their late-night telephone board meeting on March 13, 2014, when they voted to fire Pacifica Executive Director Summer Reese without due process.
The termination decision needs to be reversed immediately, with the PNB issuing a statement that its action was improper and a violation of due process, and that there will be no further interference, by certain PNB directors, with the Executive Director’s daily exercise of her duties at the Pacifica national office in Berkeley.
The Employment Contract between Pacifica Foundation Radio and Summer Reese, signed January 30, 2014, clearly states:
1.    The Executive Director cannot be terminated except for cause [and no cause was given in the decision to terminate Reese].
2.   “Any termination proceedings will be subject to the Progressive Discipline policies as articulated in the Pacifica Employee Handbook” [and there was no progressive discipline prior to the decision to terminate Reese].
3.   Termination is “subject to Human Resources review before being finalized” [and there was no Human Resources review prior to the decision to fire her].
4.   Prior to termination, “Pacifica shall complete a performance evaluation (and) demonstrate cause” [and there was no performance evaluation conducted whatsoever, much less one that demonstrated cause for termination].

In addition, there are procedural questions about the way the 3/13/14 PNB telephone meeting was conducted: a) there was no prior written notice to PNB directors that this very significant motion was on the agenda ….  b) the motion to terminate Reese was voted on without any discussion by the board members.
Clearly the PNB majority decided to terminate Summer Reese without due process and in violation of her Employment Contract.
Further, the improper action by the PNB majority could have negative consequences, such as making Pacifica more vulnerable to lawsuits, endangering its ability to hold onto broadcast licenses or obtain insurance, or in other ways placing the network in jeopardy.
The PNB could of course decide to bring up any proposed termination at a later date, provided the board has followed due process and respected the rights of the employee and the law. In the meantime, and for the immediate future, Summer Reese is the legitimate Executive Director of Pacifica Foundation Radio.

(Intro from leaflet made of the following article, passed out to interested folks who arrived at KPFA)
Please join the several listeners already stationed at the National Office to support Summer Reese, and please spread the word to others:
"Standoff In Berkeley: Executive Director Tries To Return To Work"

Contact: Summer Reese  Email: Phone: (510) 333-1965
March 17, 2014, Berkeley -
This morning, the padlock on the door of 1925 Berkeley Way, the home of the national progressive radio network, Pacifica, was removed so that locked out workers could return to work. Executive Director Summer Reese, who was offered and signed a three year employment contract in January of 2014, returned to her duties this morning despite a highly-contested board vote to fire her for no provided reason at a secretive late-night board meeting.

As events unfold, it appears a confrontation is building at the 60-year old radio network as Reese reports disputed chair of the board Margy Wilkinson who grasped control of the chairmanship via a mis-marked ballot) and less than a month afterwards proclaimed herself the new executive director, has brought her husband to the network's headquarters and is confroting Reese and the network's national staff as they try to resume network operations.
About a dozen people are present.
Reese is reported to have said that listener-sponsored station KPFA next door, has refused to release their books which are in a state of disarray, unreconciled since October of 2012 and with tens of thousands of dollars in event income unaccounted for.
One of the bones of contention between Reese and the board has been a chief financial officer hired by the board, who Reese believed to be concealing information, and who was “rehired” by the rogue board after his dismissal on January 2.
Another bone of contention is the stated desire of several board members associated with the coup to sell the license of New York station WBAI. There are unconfirmed rumors of unofficial negotiations between the officers of the new board and a corporate media outlet, although the full board has not been informed.
Former board vice-chair Bill Crosier (and current chair of Houston Peace and Justice Center) commented: "My biggest question is: With the mad rush to ignore the Pacifica Bylaws and California law, and to terminate the ED with no notice and no reasons given, and with talk from some Directors about sacrificing WBAI to keep from having to sell the buildings and other property of Pacifica stations and to allow deficit spending at those other stations, what's next? It's pretty scary to think about"
Reese sent the following memorandum this morning from her embattled office:

Memorandum -- Please distribute to staff lists immediately
To: Pacifica station managers, staffers and programmers
From: Summer Reese, Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation Radio
Subject: Rumors
I want to thank all of you for the work that you do everyday to keep Pacifica running.
Recently, we have experienced internal conflict between the board of directors and the executive director. I know that when these conflicts are expressed publicly, it creates a lot of organizational stress and makes it hard to concentrate on your work.
I want to assure you that I am in possession of a signed and valid contract for three years of employment from the Board of Directors and that I fully intend to complete that contract and work with all of you to make Pacifica bright and strong again.
The illegitimate actions of board members have, over the years, created a great deal of turmoil and financial stress on all of our stations and workplaces. It is time for that to come to an end.
The charges that I am going to seek hundreds of thousands dollars are ridiculous. What I am going to do is go back to work immediately and you will join me in doing so.
I deeply regret that the infighting on the board was not kept in the boardroom where it belongs.
I look forward to getting back to operating five precious and much-loved community radio stations. Thank you.

"KPFA’s Broadcasters of Color and Unpaid Staff Town Hall Meeting"
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 6:00 PM
At Laney College, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland, Student Center Room 401 (4th floor)
Contact: Block Report Radio blockreportradio [at]
We will talk about:
1. The arbitrary suspension of Black broadcaster JR Valrey from the Morning Mix, without due process; as well as the consistent racist treatment of broadcasters and staff of color in the recent past including Nadra Foster, Carrie Core, Miguel Gavilan Molina, and more.
2. The 2 tier treatment system in which KPFA/Pacifica deals with the paid and the un-paid staff. 80% of the broadcasters at KPFA are unpaid, the 20% that are paid use up all of the resources, although it is mandated that all broadcasters raise funds. The Un-paid staff has NO say in the budget, hiring, office allocation, etc.
3. A program Council does not exist at KPFA. The Program Council used to be a group that consisted of 1/3 listeners, 1/3 broadcasters, and 1/3 management, that evaluated broadcasts as well as recommended changes to the programming grid. In ’08-’09 former Program Director Sasha Lilley , of Against the Grain radio show, abolished the process, effectively getting rid of listeners and broadcasters participation in programming decisions.
4. The lack of a process to address grievances from the un-paid staff in a timely manner.
5. Selective enforcement of the rules by Pacifica and KPFA Management. Un-paid staff are penalized while paid staff, for the same infractions are not even addressed, let alone punished.
6. The Pseudo-union C.W.A. represents significantly less than half of the staff. It effectively controls the station and runs it into the ground, for the benefit of the entrenched staff.
It will feature presentations by Frank Sterling of the KPFA Local Station Board, Tracy Rosenberg of the Pacifica National Board, and The “Suspended” People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey of Block Report Radio
For more info you can call The SF Bay View Newspaper at 415-671-0789
Response to “KPFA’s Broadcasters of Color and Unpaid Staff Townhall Meeting – Thursday 4/11/13 6pm Laney College”, posted 2013-04-11 by Isis, at [link]:
For some background history of the labor issues at KPFA, please read "KPFA’s working majority gets screwed by CWA job trust" (2010-12-09 by Isis Feral, posted at "San Francisco Bay View" newspaper [link]). If the unpaid staff at KPFA still had a union, JR would not have been suspended without a proper grievance procedure.
The reason why the unpaid staff were excluded from the union is because back in the 1990′s some of the paid staff voted to switch from the UE, which included all workers at the station, to the CWA, which excluded the unpaid staff – the majority of the workers. Some people will claim that the decision to exclude the unpaid staff was made by the National Labor Relations Board, but that is historically incorrect: The switch to the CWA happened before the NLRB sided with the former Pacifica management and prohibited unpaid staff from union membership. At the time of the switch, the NLRB still upheld the right of the unpaid staff to be in the union.

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