SaveKPFA hit pieces &UCR rebuttals
SaveKPFA hit pieces
with UCR rebuttals
A couple of hit pieces against United for Community Radio appeared at the Save KPFA website. They contain lies and distortions about UCR. To learn more about UCR please visit radioucr.org.
Here are statements from the hit pieces, in yellow followed by the UCR rebuttal in blue.
From "An inside look at Pacifica" from SaveKPFA's Brian Edwards-Tiekert, posted on the Save KPFA website
“ What's at stake is the survival of KPFA as we know it, " writes /UpFront/ host Brian Edwards-Tiekert, who also serves as Pacifica's treasurer, in an open letter. "Pacifica, the nonprofit that KPFA is a part of, is teetering on the brink. Years of mismanagement at a national level has reduced stations that were once alternative media icons to shadows of their former strong selves, struggling to keep from going dark altogether. "
The faction now called “SaveKPFA” had a strong hand in the financially mismanagement referred to. The so called Justice&Unity faction at WBAI in New York was mismanaging the station on every level, including bleeding the station dry, and was protected by their Chief Financial Officer ally and also by the SaveKPFA faction predecessors on the PNB, who for example voted down the mandated evaluation of the Program Director, the key player in the degradation of WBAI. This evaluation proposal came to the PNB because it was required yearly, but had not been done in years.
Nevertheless Save KPFA’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert, then treasurer of KPFA, persisted in targeting WBAI alone as the main drain on the network and KPFA.
Five years ago, it looked like KPFA was headed the same way. The old regime at Pacifica had just purged KPFA's biggest fundraiser, .>The Morning Show. They had hired the country's top union-busting law firm, Jackson Lewis, to fight us. But SaveKPFA led the charge to change Pacifica's leadership, and prevailed.
By at least 2008, it was obvious that income at the stations was down but expenses up. Because stations had hired extra paid personnel.
Pacifica’s Executive Director took the only remedy possible and asked them to cut their paid hours. Most stations complied with the directive but KPFA did not, and although formerly the most flush of the stations, burnt through its $1m surplus and beyond in 3 years, to the point where it could not meet payroll without borrowing from another station. Pacifica, as the legal owner of the stations had to step in and made the needed layoffs following the seniority rules in the union contract. SaveKPFA hit the fan and mobilized hundreds of listeners with telling them lies that the layoffs were political moves against them and their union. They would not allow other paid staff to run the morning show, and told possible interviewees not to allow themselves to be interviewed on that program
As for fundraising, that program raised good money partly from being at morning drive time – a slot they would not give up to the more listened to Democracy Now. Also, the Morning Show’s paid staff expenses offset the money they made fund in fund drives.
It was the layoffs which stopped the bleeding.
However, more paid staff have now been hired, and measures to further cut paid staff as needed were defeated at the PNB. This disastrous decision was one reason Summer Reese was reluctant to accede to her unwise and quasi legal firing which portended the untenable financial position most stations are now in.
They had hired the country's top union-busting law firm, Jackson Lewis, to fight us.
Jackson Lewis had been hired years before in connection with a harassment suit, never for labor-related matters, or to target a faction.
Since then, we've recovered our financial stability - KPFA is now the only station in Pacifica that doesn't have any debt. But SaveKPFA led the charge to change Pacifica's leadership, and prevailed.
However KPFA is still not financially stable, does have a debt, and is producing unbalanced budgets with unrealistic income and expense figures.
For many years, during which KPFA’s treasurers were appointees of SaveKPFA, incorrect financial figures were presented. They bear the responsibility for our financial situation, in more ways than one.
In the last few years the accounts every non-profit needs to keep and whose audits are a condition of non-profit status and eligibility for CPB funding have not been done or have been obstructed, causing the loss of $1m in funding and an investigation by the state Attorney General. So many egregious errors and unilateral mismanagement have occurred in finances plus other actions violating shared decision making and transparency requirements that a program of bankrupting the station and network appears to be deliberate. Two members of SaveKPFA secretly began a application for a non-profit which they called the KPFA Foundation 2 years ago, without disclosing this, and when discovered recently, claimed that it was to appropriate KPFA incase of network bankruptcy and sale – an outcome which they seem to be pursuing to the best of their ability!
We've put a locally-hired management team in place at KPFA for the first time in years.KPFA's rolled out popular new programs like Sonali Kolhatkar's Uprising and the program I work on, UpFront - both of which drew dramatically increased pledges.
Kolhatkar’s program was imported from KPFK to displace the Morning Mix programs of various volunteer programmers hosting mainly local issues, which they took on after paid staff reused to take on the morning show. Uprising fund drive figures were heavily promoted as higher than the Morning Mix’s, and the reason for replacing it, although it was known from its KPFK results that these were not very high but in fact were similar to those of the Morning Mix
and, thanks to some windfall income and off-air fundraising initiatives, even started shrinking the amount of time KPFA spends in >>fund drives.
The ”windfall income” was from 2 bequests, one of which was $400,000 directed to Pacifica, not KPFA! It was taken by Wilkinson and deposited in KPFA’s account. The PNB has just ordered the money refunded to Pacifica. Though Brian E-T is claiming KPFA donated some of this money to other needy stations, the deposit to KPFA was wrong, and it will possibly have to repay some of the money.
It supposedly made it possible to skip the summer fund drive, but the many appeals for money afterward belie this – especially now that the theft has been revealed.
That's why I hope you'll vote to keep SaveKPFA in the majority on KPFA's Local Station Board.
Their tenure has been a disaster for the station and network.
The opposing slate, United for Community Radio, consists almost entirely of new faces. But the actions of the slate's incumbents speak volumes.When Pacifica fired the entire staff of The Morning Show, they supported it.
See the explanation of the 2010 layoffs in paragraph 2, above.
When Pacifica hired the nation's most notorious union-busting law firm to fight us, they publicly defended it.
See explanation in 3d item, also above.
When Pacifica's disgraced former executive barricaded herself in her office for two months after being fired, they helped maintain the >barricades - and block KPFA's elected board members from access to financial records.
Summer Reese, who was the interim Executive Director, was hired as (permanent) ED 3months before SaveKPFA fired her in a midnight executive session. At the time, she was trying to gain access to KPFA’s financial data which was overdue to be filed for a required audit. The Business Manager had not entered the figures in the ledger for the past year, and was unable or resistant to providing these figures.
The ED felt that this is why the slim majority on the PNB, under the leadership of Margy Wilkinson (who had taken this post in a questionable manner) was intent on firing her. The legality of this firing was in question because of the recently signed contract. This was the reason for the sit-ins. The question of the access to financial records is exactly the opposite of what E-T is stating.
One of their candidates for this year - Janet Kobren- even joined a frivolous lawsuit against Pacifica while sitting on its board (the >lawsuit was tossed out of court).
This was no frivolous lawsuit – it was the last recourse of 8 PNB directors to save the Pacifica network from the financial malfeasance of the Siegel-Brazon faction(of which SaveKPFA is a part) and its attempts to dismantle Pacifica. Hardly a frivolous matter.
Court judgements, you may know, are not always the last word in justice.
Does that mean everyone running on their ticket supports more of the same? Not necessarily. There are a lot of new faces in the>election this year. But the first thing they'll do once they're on KPFA's Local Board is vote to send their veteran slate-mates to the >Pacifica National Board, where the real power lies. And those slate-mates will make their worst decisions behind closed door Executive Session meetings, where there's very little accountability.
Representation on the PNB reflects the majority faction of the LSB representatives, who almost always elect 3 out of the 4 directors each station is allocated. B.E-T is trying to make this sound invidious.
There are far too many matters now relegated to closed Executive Sessions, but not by the UCR representatives, who support democratic governance. SaveKPFA does not support democratic transparency in governance
The last time they were in control of Pacifica, they hired one of their board allies as executive director -- and gave her the highest salary anyone's ever made here. They ran a near-record deficit, and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to consultants ,temp agencies, and law firms – debt Pacifica's still >paying down today. They bungled basic compliance work. and lost Pacifica nearly $1 million per year in funding from the Corporation >for Public Broadcasting. They skipped two years' worth of contributions to our pension fund, in violation of our union contracts. They withheld money from employee paychecks that they never deposited with the IRS. And they left Free Speech Radio News - once our flagship daily newscast - unpaid for so long that they forced it off the air
These comments mostly describe the actions of SaveKPFA and their faction, not UCR– see above.
FSRN was put in jeopardy by the lack of payment by KPFA when it was spent into insolvency. SaveKPFA is ignoring back payments due to Pacifica etc. when they declare that KPFA has no debt.
We were told that elections would be “delayed” because there was not enough money in the network. Then 2 bequests were received, one of which it seems was meant for Pacifica, but was illegally taken for KPFA, and some of it used for routine expenses which were in arrears, without consultation of the LSB and Pacifica.
I'll be frank: things are really dicey for the Pacifica network right now. I don't know if it will pull through, or in what kind of shape. But I do know that our chances are better if KPFA stays strong, and that means keeping a SaveKPFA majority on KPFA's Local Station Board.
*Here's what you can do:
*"Help get out the vote . KPFA elections have low turnout, and tend to be decided by relatively small margins-which is why your actions are so important. Please:
* Pass this email onto people you know who might be KPFA members.
* Go to www.savekpfa.org to learn more about the SaveKPFAcandidates.
* Most importantly, return your ballot now so you don't forget. Pacifica is not allowing any in-person ballot drop-offs this year - you have to mail it. Your ballot has to /arrive/ at the ballot-counting location by December 4 - so send it now.
Co-Host, KPFA's /UpFront/ | Former Co-Host, /The Morning Show/ Staff Representative, KPFA Local Station Board and Pacifica National Board
Yes, please vote – but for the candidates who are on the UNITED FOR COMMUNITY RADIO slate, who want to really save KPFA and the entire Pacifica network, not force it to fail by working against it in every way, and planning to capture it when it falls, by means of their secret “KPFA Foundation”. That could happen if the SK retains its present slim majority.
Vote for the 11 candidates of UCR –UNITED FOR COMMUNITY RADIO
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Then this by another SaveKPFA author, this one anonymous: Changing course at KPFA -also from SaveKPFA.org
The challenges facing our network are great, but when we look over *SaveKPFA*'s recent accomplishments there is cause for hope.
For years, under previous leadership at Pacifica, KPFA responded to every financial shock it experienced - the loss of funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the elimination of KPFA's biggest fundraiser, /the Morning Show,/ etc. -- by increasing the length and frequency of its pledge drives. That meant long, frequent fund drives that tended to drive listeners away, and eventually produced a downward spiral of shrinking audience and diminishing returns.
Here s/he is attributing to ”previous leadership” – us! – “financial shocks” brought on by Concerned Listeners/SaveKPFA. Her story is that fundraising was increased without reason, ignoring that KPFA needed a balance between income and expenditures to remain solvent!
Last fall, KPFA finally got a locally-hired permanent management team in place. Almost immediately, general manager Quincy McCoy and program director Laura Prives went to work on changing the way KPFA raises money and had the shortest fund drives in years. How did they do it? Read How KPFA shrank its fund drives. http://www.savekpfa.org/how-kpfa-shrank-its-pledge-drives/
A number of cost cutting measures are mentioned, such as cutting medical plans, but we know that the major one, cutting paid staff (FTE) hours was not pursued in a meaningful way.
Move on KPFA
Most of the other parts of the five-station *Pacifica Radio* network are in varying degrees of financial distress. It showed at a recent meeting of the *Pacifica National Board (PNB)* when, in a surprise move, the PNB grabbed a $400,000 bequest that *KPFA* received 7 months prior, and redirected it to the *Pacifica National Office*.
At issue: the bequest document was unspecific about what part of the *Pacifica Foundation* the $400,000 should go to, but all the correspondence from the estate named KPFA, and was sent to KPFA addresses.
Confused? "The Pacifica Foundation" is the legal name for *KPFA* and four other radio stations, because they're all owned by the same nonprofit corporation. After getting notice of the impending bequest, Pacifica's management communicated with the estate, looked up the deceased donor's giving history (she'd regularly given money to *KPFA* -- and no other part of Pacifica -- for years), and determined the money should be allocated to KPFA
But seven months later, in a closed-door meeting called on short notice, the Pacifica board reversed that decision, passing a motion that moved the $400,000 to *Pacifica's National Office*. (The discussion itself was mostly a moot point, as KPFA had already transferred the $400,000 - and more -- to other stations in the network as bailouts and loans, so there is little immediate impact from the decision).
It is not a moot point that the money was taken for KPFA when, contrary to the excuses here, it was not earmarked for KPFA and was not sent to KPFA’s mail but Pacifica’s. Being so generous as to distribute it from KPFA to other stations after appropriating it from Pacifica does not excuse the theft either.
The affair brings to mind the bequest check of $375,000 which Lelem Rijio, their handpicked General Manager, kept in her drawer for a year (2009-10), after having gotten it through the chain of custody Dan Siegel (iED) at the time, Sherry Gendelman, and Brian Edwards-Tiekert; the last two were photographed accepting the check.
Two of the *SaveKPFA* members on the board, *Margy Wilkinson *and *Brian Edwards-Tiekert*, voted against the move. The third, *Jose Luis Fuentes*, was unable to attend the short-notice meeting. The sole representative from KPFA who voted to take the $400,000 (and also to keep the debate secret), was *Janet Kobren *- running on the *United for Community Radio* slate in the election currently underway.
Since they are unable to make credible personal attacks on Tracy Rosenberg, attributing current KPFA/Pacifica problems to her, they need a new target – Janet! Here she is “charged” with voting to return the money to Pacifica!
(Members of her slate have long championed replacing unionized staff at KPFA with volunteer-produced programming).
The group she is referring to do not want to replace all paid staff with volunteers.
The SaveKPFA group have promoted the idea of “professionalism”, suggesting that they want KPFA programmers to be all paid “professionals”, and ignoring the contributions of the unpaid , who make up about 75% of programmers and most of whom are highly skilled.
* On October 14, Pacifica executive director *John Proffitt* stepped down after serving for less than five months. He gave no reason for cutting short his tenure with Pacifica.
We note however that almost every KPFA General Manager has quit because the core paid staff (of 25 people?) backed by a particular group of listeners, now known as Save KPFA, have never accepted any governance but their own.
Pacifica National Board chair Lydia Brazon, who represents KPFK in Los Angeles, is now serving, unpaid, as interim Executive Director. Per a resolution of Pacifica's board, this arrangement will last no longer than January 2016, when Brazon reaches her term limit on the board. In Pacifica matters, a grain (or a ton) of salt may be helpful.
More than a grain indeed. One must feel like Alice in Wonderland to see SaveKPFA manipulating listeners and other staff members with Big Lie untruths and other unethical tactics.
Many of you have reported receiving far-out, conspiracy-laden and frankly laughable bulletins from various quarters in Pacifica Radio land.
I doubt that SaveKPFA is laughing to see their conspiracies revealed by a knowledgeable source.
Please remember that back in 2011, United for Community Radio's Tracy Rosenberg was censured by KPFA's Local Station Board for misappropriating KPFA's official subscriber list and using it for her own partisan purposes.
Tracy provided a list of station members to a staff group wanting to promote the new “Morning Mix”, at their request, not realizing this was illegal. The purpose was to raise money for the station, however, not just the one program. SaveKPFA did not want that program, the Morning Mix, to succeed and sabotaged it in many ways. There was no “theft” or “misrepresentation” as was claimed, and Tracy never planned, and never used the list for any purpose. The censure was made at the LSB by their majority without the required advance notice.
>If you receive such emails and never signed up for them, contact her provider, Salsa Labs at firstname.lastname@example.org w what response you get.
Here s/he is pretending that Pacifica In Exile is trying to use that list to bombard and harass people unreceptive to its investigative findings, but is actually smearing Pacifica in Exile in such a way that the recipients will attack it instead of giving it any credence.
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for updates, reports & essays on KPFA/Pacifica, please visit these websites:
UNITED FOR COMMUNITY RADIO
PACIFICA IN EXILE
ANN GARRISON, A KPFA REPORTER
LORDS & LADIES vs. the PEASANTS at KPFA
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KPFA 94.1 FM is one of five stations of the Pacifica radio network which are located in major cities across the country. The other stations are WBAI 99.5 in New York, WPFW 89.3 in Washington DC, KPFT 90.1 in Houston, and KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles. There are also about 160 affiliate stations.