Confidential #9 – 3/27/05

Bulletin #9
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.
www.struggle-and-win.net

PACIFICA FOLLIES
1. KPFA Business Manager threatens Confidential with legal action.
2. Pacifica National Board: Who’s in charge?

FOLLOW THE MONEY
3. Pacifica ED refuses to abide by PNB resolutions on financial disclosure.
4. Carlin Fund pulls grants.

BRING BILL MANDEL BACK TO KPFA
5. Jeffrey Blankfort takes on General Manager Roy Campanella II.
6. New video of March 7 delegation.
7. East Bay Express: “Where, Where the Hell is Bill?”

MORE PACIFICA NEWS
8. Popular WBAI programmer, Robert Knight, suspended.
9. And, for comic relief: Mark Hernandez appointed KPFA parliamentarian.

1. KPFA Business Manager threatens Confidential with legal action.

I received the following email recently from KPFA’s Business Manager Lois Withers, copied to General Manager Roy Campanella II, reproduced here in its entirety:

“I don’t know you well and I don’t know if we have officially met. I am the Business Manager here at KPFA. I am disturbed by information regarding employee interactions posted on your web-site. This information can be damaging to an employee’s future and this can also be construed as harassment by the
employee(s). This could potentially open up a law-suit that could hurt you as well as KPFA. I would implore you to please not post information that you have regarding employee’s on your web-site.

“We are handling the situation internally and it is being addressed. It is not open for discussion with the LSB as matters involving employees are confidential.

“Thank you for your understanding.

“Lois Withers, Business Manager”

Is this supposed to be a joke? Withers provides absolutely no specifics about what she is talking about. Everything I have posted on the www.struggle-and-win.net website was already in the public domain. Is the KPFA community supposed to just stop talking about “matters involving employees,” or face legal action? What are listeners supposed to talk about, the color of the walls on Martin Luther King Way? Why is the Business Manager in charge of enforcing this new gag rule? So much for “free speech radio.” Interestingly, Campanella, who has had much to say recently about the renewed, Confidential-inspired campaign to restore Bill Mandel to the KPFA airwaves, fired as a result of an earlier gag rule, hasn’t weighed in with me about Wither’s outrageous letter.

2. Pacifica National Board: Who’s in charge?

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) is set to begin its next quarterly meeting on Friday, April Fool’s Day, in New York. But it is unclear whether the Chair Ambrose Lane, who has been ill, can make it, Vice-Chair Julie Chavez Rodriguez isn’t planning on attending, and KPFA’s William Walker recently resigned from his position as Secretary. Walker’s resignation is welcome, as he has failed to produce minutes of any PNB meetings since he became Secretary in January. As of this date, there is not even a draft agenda for the April meeting. Let’s hope that Treasurer Mike Martin can step up to the plate.

One of the underlying problems is that two of the four PNB officers elected at the January meeting (Lane and Walker) are staff members — a perfect example of the fox watching the hen house. How many other non-profit organizations allow the staff to be in charge of the governing board?

3. Pacifica ED refuses to abide by PNB resolutions on financial disclosure.

Talk about chutzpah. Pacifica’s Executive Director (ED) Dan Coughlin, faced with repeated resolutions by the PNB demanding financial records, had this to say to a meeting of the PNB’s Finance Committee, according to a transcript from the webcast of the meeting:

“I am placing a moratorium on additional financial requests until such time as the CFO [Chief Financial Officer] can adequately handle extra requests in an orderly fashion… We also positively disassociate and disavow ourselves from the December PNB resolutions. All the station’s General Managers join in the disavowal.”

What right does Coughlin have to refuse to abide by a directive from Pacifica’s governing board? What other non-profit would allow an employee to get away with what some might call insubordination? Lest we forget, many believe that former KPFA General Manager Nicole Sawaya was canned in 1999 for asking too many questions about finances. What happens now — does Coughlin fire the PNB?

4. Carlin Fund pulls grants.

The following letter was sent to Coughlin and the PNB on March 1, and has been circulated on several email lists:

“Our organization, the Leo J. and Celia Carlin Fund, has been making annual grants to Pacifica for many years. During the ‘hijacking’ crisis several years ago we held back our grants until the crisis was resolved. It has come to our attention that again problems have arisen at Pacifica. We will not donate to Pacifica until there is financial transparency as is required by the new bylaws, and as is common in nonprofit corporations. Through discussions with members of Pacifica we learned that important financial information asked for by the governing board has not been forthcoming in a timely manner. This shows a lack of cooperation with the new democratic structure. We are concerned about the resistance by national staff to the legally required oversight by the governing board and afraid that our donations may not be used in the best interests of the community.

“After all we went through in the recent ‘highjacking’ crisis, which included financial shenanigans, this current lack of financial transparency is particularly troubling to the Carlin Fund.

“Please contact me to let me know how this new crisis is being resolved.

“Sincerely,
“Alexander Carlin, Executive Director, The Leo J. and Celia Carlin Fund”

 

5. Jeffrey Blankfort takes on General Manager Roy Campanella II.

In a recent email exchange with Campanella, long-time KPFA activist Jeffrey Blankfort relates the history of Bill Mandel’s banishment from KPFA, including the complicity of current staff members Philip Maldari and Kris Welch. He also writes about Bill’s courageous fight against HUAC and other red-baiting congressional committees during the McCarthy period, which prefigured Bill’s ongoing battle against KPFA’s notorious gag rule. The full exchange is posted at
www.struggle-and-win.net/13201/32229.html.

6. New video of March 7 delegation.

Video activist Bill Carpenter has produced an edited version of his recording of the March 7 delegation demanding Bill’s return to KPFA. It is exciting to watch. If you have Quicktime, it can be downloaded in three segments, at:
www.indybay.org/uploads/1mandel21.mov,
www.indybay.org/uploads/2mandel21.mov,
and www.indybay.org/uploads/3mandel21.mov.

7. East Bay Express: “Where, Where the Hell is Bill?”

The East Bay Express weighed in with a piece about Bill and the campaign to “give Mandel his old show back — the one he had a decade ago before being shitcanned for blabbing about internal station politics and violating the station’s gag rule…” The full piece is reproduced at www.struggle-and-win.net/13201/31529.html.

8. Popular WBAI programmer, Robert Knight, suspended.

Popular WBAI programmer Robert Knight, who produces Earthwatch and segments for Flashpoints, has been suspended for a month, without pay, by WBAI General Manager Don Rojas. As previously reported in Confidential, Knight reportedly had his desk, notes and computer rifled and tampered with, and was then allegedly threatened. Knight complained to Rojas, and now Rojas has suspended Knight. Knight is currently appealing his suspension to ED Coughlin. We expect more info in the near future. For background on the situation, see
www.struggle-and-win.net/16732/index.html.

9. And, for comic relief:
Mark Hernandez appointed KPFA parliamentarian.

At the last KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) meeting, on March 19, new chair Rosalinda Palacios appointed LSB member Mark Hernandez as parliamentarian. It’s a bit unusual for a member of a board to serve as parliamentarian, especially someone as partisan as Hernandez, but that’s the chair’s prerogative. At the March meeting, 30 minutes was set aside for public comment, as usual, but there was only about five minutes of public comment. When Palacios tried to move on to the next agenda item, Hernandez objected, claiming that the LSB should sit silently for the next 25 minutes, until the 30 minutes of time for public comment on the agenda was over. Somehow a motion was made, and Hernandez’ objection was canned, reportedly unanimously.