Happy 65th birthday KPFA!

Cake for KPFA's 65th from Berkeley's Sweet Adeline Bakeshop

Cake for KPFA’s 65th from Berkeley’s Sweet Adeline Bakeshop

KPFA celebrated 65 years of amazing radio on April 15 and we all said HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the station we love.

There were special guests all day, and listeners make contributions in honor of KPFA’s past as well as its future health and longevity. You can still do so online at kpfa.org.

In case you missed the special programming here’s a taste: Brian Edwards-Tiekert interviewed Matthew Lasar and Adam David Miller on UpFront about the founding on KPFA.

KPFAbirthday2Mitch Jeserich interviewed KPFA founder Richard Moore and new Pacifica interim executive director Bernard Duncan on Letters & Politics. He was later joined by long-time KPFA programmers Kris Welch and Lewis Sawyer.

On Against the Grain, Sasha Lilly delved into the station’s anarcho-syndicalist origins. | MORE PHOTOS: the studio is dressed up, another cake is delivered, a sign marking the day, balloons outside on the street

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KPFA’s LSB demands fired exec leave office

KPFA-radio-dialA motion demanding that the former interim executive Summer Reese, who is sleeping at Pacifica’s National Office, “leave peacefully,” passed the KPFA Local Station Board overwhelmingly by a vote of 10-5 on April 12. Board members were responding to the flood of  emails and comments about the situation, including a petition signed by over 700 listeners and staff. | LISTEN to the LSB meeting: part a, part b, part c

Meanwhile, the Pacifica National Board met on Monday, April 14 in executive session and issued this report out, which says that due to “pending litigation” the board adjourned to a separate phone number to discuss the lawsuit against Pacifica “without any of the 9 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit monitoring the call.”

That’s the lawsuit we reported on last week, which board members supporting Summer Reese filed with an Alameda County judge. The judge denied their request for a Temporary Restraining Order, and set a hearing for May 6. On Monday’s call, the board authorized Pacifica’s interim executive director Bernard Duncan and/or PNB chair Margy Wilkinson to decide who to retain to defend Pacifica against the suit.

Wilkinson has said that she hoped the plaintiffs would “express dissent with their voices and their votes, not litigation. Pacifica is in a fragile state, and can’t afford the time or expense of this lawsuit.”

Posted in KPFA Local Station Board, Margy Wilkinson, Pacifica | Comments Off

Judge denies TRO to Pacifica board members backing terminated executive

gavelToday, 9 members of the Pacifica National Board tried to convince an Alameda County Judge to overturn the actions of the democratically-elected majority sitting on that board. They lost.

The plaintiffs are Janet Coleman (WBAI), Carolyn Birden (WBAI), Manijeh Saba (WBAI), Luzette King (WPFW), Richard Uzzell (KPFT), Kim Kaufman (KPFK), Janet Kobren (KPFA), Heather Grey (Affiliates) and Janis Lane-Ewert (Affiliates). They were out-voted when the new Pacifica majority began making changes last month, such as renewing its programming and listener base, and terminating interim executive director Summer Reese, who reacted by breaking into Pacifica’s offices with bolt cutters and refusing to leave. Coverage appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Reuters, among other places.

Those suing had gone to court without following basic due process requirements: they didn’t communicate their intent to file a lawsuit beforehand; they didn’t even serve notice on the board members they are suing.

They had so badly mangled the procedural part of filing the lawsuit, that Judge Ioana Petrou didn’t even get into the merits of their argument. She denied their motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, and scheduled the next phase of the lawsuit — a preliminary injunction hearing — for May 6.

At one point, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Amy Sommer Anderson, asked for more time. “On very short notice, you put this on my calendar” the judge chastised her.

Pacifica National Board chair Margy Wilkinson said, “I hope today’s decision will encourage the plaintiffs to express dissent with their voices and their votes, not litigation. Pacifica is in a fragile state, and can’t afford the time or expense of this lawsuit.”

Hundreds of Pacifica’s listeners apparently agree, as they are signing and commenting on a petition demanding Reese and her supporters respect the majority’s decision.

Posted in Carolyn Birden, elections and governance, Heather Grey, Janet Coleman, Janet Kobren, Janis Lane-Ewert, Kim Kaufman, Luzette King, Manijeh Saba, Margy Wilkinson, Pacifica National Board, Richard Uzzell, Summer Reese | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

PNB chair Margy Wilkinson on KPFK’s Truthdig Radio

New Pacifica National Board chair Margy Wilkinson appeared on KPFK’s Truthdig Radio today with Peter Z. Scheer. “There are real governance issues,” she of the network. “Pacifica is not highly functioning…. change is needed,” she said, adding that “most agree with that.”

“Right now way the national is functioning is not that helpful to the local stations,” said Wilkinson. She advocated for decentralization and greater autonomy at local stations, and encouraged listeners to find out more at their local Pacifica radio staton by volunteering.

Posted in Margy Wilkinson, Pacifica National Board, Summer Reese | Comments Off

Moving forward: new executive director for Pacifica

duncanWhen Pacifica National Board chair (and SaveKPFA activist) Margy Wilkinson assumed executive powers after the termination of Summer Reese, she promised listeners and staff that she didn’t want the job, wouldn’t accept pay, and would work to get a qualified professional in as soon as possible. This week, she delivered. Pacifica has announced that KPFK former station manager Bernard Duncan has been hired as interim executive director while a search in under way for a permanent replacement.

Duncan has extensive experience in radio and television broadcasting, including years in management positions, according to Pacifica’s website. “Bernard Duncan knows his way around this organization, cares about Pacifica’s Mission, and he’s worked everywhere from behind a microphone to inside the executive offices,” said Wilkinson. “What Pacifica needs right now is a skilled manager who can hit the ground running, and I’m very pleased Bernard’s taken us on.”

Progress: Pacifica going multimedia

Sonali Kolhatkar, a contributor to KPFA’s UpFront and host of Uprising at KPFK in Los Angeles, is fundraising for an ambitious new multimedia project that could have her following in the footsteps of Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman. She has secured a deal to distribute her program nationally via the satellite channel Free Speech TV. This will raise Pacifica’s profile in areas where its combined signals currently do not reach, and could create a multimedia production model for other stations in the network to follow.

uprisingCurrently, KPFK is running an online fundraising campaign for the money needed to install professional-quality video equipment, which will then be available to any KPFK programmers who want to make use of it. If successful, the campaign will turn KPFK’s studios into a multimedia production facility right in the middle of Los Angeles — a place with access to filmmakers, celebrities, and grassroots organizers on the cutting edge of struggles for immigrants’ rights and environmental justice. The best part of this online fundraising campaign is that it will not intrude on KPFK’s normal programming, like a pledge drive. The donation page is here. The campaign has already raised $5,000 online in its first few days — if you can, help out!

Meanwhile, KPFK’s Alan Minsky published this thought-provoking piece about how Pacifica can become the “media we need.”

Posted in Alan Minsky, Bernard Duncan, Pacifica, Pacifica National Board, Sonali Kolkathar | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Some still clinging to the past

Reese using a bolt cutter to break into Pacifica's offices

Reese using a bolt cutter to break into Pacifica’s offices

[UPDATE 4/9/14 @10:05 am: The national board minority's attempt to get a Temporary Restraining Order to allow Reese to keep her job has been DENIED by the Alameda County Superior Court. More news as we have it.]

Pacifica’s former interim executive director, Summer Reese, remains barricaded in her former office, which she broke into with bolt cutters four days after the elected Pacifica National Board voted 11-7 to end her employment. In violation of California law, she’s still illegally blocking elected members of Pacifica’s Board of Directors from entering the premises to look at financial records.

Over the past week, Reese made moves to sabotage Pacifica’s funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by complaining to the organization’s Inspector General about financial problems that either took place while she was running the organization, or that she failed to fix during her tenure. Reese has also signed a lengthy declaration as part of vague, rambling lawsuit against Pacifica brought by her supporters on the national board (Carolyn Birden, Janet Coleman, Heather Gray, Kim Kaufman, Luzette King, Janet Kobren, Janis Lane-Ewart, Manijeh Saba and Richard Uzzell).

Not coincidentally, on the day those board members filed suit against Pacifica, they also filibustered a meeting of the Pacifica National Board that was intended to retain counsel for the foundation — an apparent attempt to sabotage the foundation’s ability to defend itself. National board members reported that the litigants were so disruptive in the closed portion of the meeting that they prevented the board from even approving its agenda before its mandatory adjournment time.

Terminated interim executive Summer Reese and her supporters have been generating prodigious amounts of misinformation, from wild allegations of corruption that she never raised before her termination, to breathless reports of police interventions that never actually occurred. The treasurer of the KPFA local station board has released a statement rebutting Reese’s charges of financial improprieties. All of KPFA’s financial information is publicly available.

SaveKPFA has prepared a concise Q&A that cuts through the smoke and deliberate obfuscation that seem to be a standard part of Reese’s game plan. The Q&A is also available as a PDF flyer you can download and distribute.

What you can do: Join the over 600 Pacifica network staff and listeners who have signed this open letter demanding Summer Reese leave peacefully. Signatories include former Pacifica National Affairs correspondent Larry Bensky, community activist Ying Lee, KPFA’s UpFront’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert, former Pacifica board chair Sherry Gendelman, KPFA’s Aileen Alfandary, labor journalist David Bacon, Alameda County School superintendent Sheila Jordan, KPFA’s Philip Maldari, former KPFA GM Jim Bennett and former KPFA iGM Andrew Phillips.

Comments by petition signers have been pointed. Listener Benjamin Balthaser wrote, “I am embarrassed by the actions of Reese and hope the station returns to its mission of providing critical and informative programming.” Lee Block wrote, “Pretty selfish of you to bring down the whole network because you feel dissed. You’re as bad as a Koch Brother.”

“This destructive behavior serves no purpose,” noted listener Saraswathi Devi. Listener and Free Speech Movement activist Lynne Hollander Savio captured the conclusion many observers have reached: “Unbelievable behavior, which just confirms the wisdom of the Board’s decision.” You can add your own name and comments here. | DOWNLOAD PDF FLYER OF OPEN LETTER

 

Posted in elections and governance, KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, Pacifica, Pacifica National Board, Summer Reese, WBAI, WPFW | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Hundreds of listeners demand Reese vacate office, others call her actions “unethical”

“This action reaches new levels of absurdity,” writes KPFA listener Catherine Bell to terminated exec Summer Reese, on a petition that has gathered over 500 signatures — and counting — in less than 72 hours. Listener Sandra Douglas writes to Pacifica’s fired executive: “Please, Please, Please stop your willful intent of the destruction of Pacifica.” And another listener, Sarah Kulberg, says: “Please, for the sake of Free Speech Radio, honor the process, and remove yourself from the office.” | ADD YOUR NAME

justgoaway“What are you accomplishing by locking yourself in the Pacifica office? You need to leave peacefully NOW,” writes listener Jane Kelsberg. “The shredding van pulling up to Pacifica office looks rather suspicious indeed,” says Bruce Campell, another signatory.

Meanwhile, local board members and staff are circulating this letter, saying Reese’s actions have been “unethical” and “improper,” and calling on her to allow an open and honest discussion of her claims.

FLYER: An open letter to Reese | FLYER: What’s happening at KPFA & Pacifica?

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The truth about KPFA’s financial records, from the station’s treasurer

KPFA-radio-dialThis is a statement released on 4/2/14 by KPFA’s elected Local Station Board treasurer, Barbara Whipperman.

“The business manager at KPFA is working on a complicated reconciliation of the KPFA financial records. The complications center around the records of income from credit card donations, many thousands of records. There are statements from credit card processing companies involved, as well as the monthly bank statements.

“The temporary controller from the national office wanted to take all records out of the KPFA office, saying she would complete the reconciliation in the national office. Neither the business manager nor I (KPFA LSB treasurer) agreed to this. In other words, we refused to turn over this function to the national office.

“There has been no refusal to prepare for the necessary audit, the preparations are under way. As treasurer, with many years experience in this kind of work, I have been assisting the business manager where possible. Any claim that all the other stations are completely ready for the auditors is completely false, and those in the national office who are
saying so, know that it is not true.

“I have personally examined the records in the KPFA business office. All records are complete and in order, in preparation for and up to the reconciliation to the bank statements, which, as I have said is well under way.”

Barbara Whipperman
KPFA LSB listener representative and Treasurer

FLYER: An open letter to Reese | FLYER: What’s happening at KPFA & Pacifica?

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Listeners and staff to terminated executive: just leave!

exit“The Pacifica Radio network is as fragile as it is important — it cannot afford this protracted disruption,” reads a petition launched by the network’s listeners and staff, addressed to terminated executive Summer Reese, who has barricaded herself in the national office next door to KPFA with her mother and a handful of supporters.

“Please respect the decision by the majority of the elected Pacifica National Board, stop blocking elected board members’ access to financial records, leave Pacifica’s offices peacefully, and help make Pacifica’s leadership transition a smooth one,” the petition continues.

Early signatories include former Pacifica National Affairs correspondent Larry Bensky, long-time community activist Ying Lee, KPFA’s UpFront co-host Brian Edwards-Tiekert, and former Pacifica board chair Sherry Gendelman, who called Reese’s actions a “breach of trust of the listeners.” | JOIN THEM BY SIGNING HERE (and please circulate to your lists)

Since Reese broke into Pacifica Offices with bolt cutters on March 17, four days after being terminated, newly-elected Pacifica National Board chair Margy Wilkinson has responded with restraint — attempting to meet, and asking that she vacate the office and that all keys, codes, digital equipment and cell phone be returned. Wilkinson is a former union negotiator and long-time community activist in Berkeley.

Pacifica staff attempt to shred documents, attract police attention

shredder2 shredderMedia were drawn to the scene this past Monday, after an industrial shredding van pulled up outside the Pacifica office and KPFA’s workers began to ask questions, according to the SF Weekly.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that a Berkeley police officer stopped to investigate the scene after a Reese supporter began yelling at observers on the sidewalk.

“When the van driver for the shredding service emerged with Pacifica’s office manager,” said Pacifica chair Margy Wilkinson, “I asked her for a list of the items to be shredded, as required by Pacifica policy, and even offered to make such a list myself if it would help.”

The request for the shredding equipment was made March 21, five days into the illegal lock-out. Wilkinson had already asked staff to refrain from destroying any records, notes the SF Weekly. In her short time on the job, Wilkinson has discovered many large unpaid bills that were not previously reported to the national board or the public. Pacifica’s documents were returned to the office.

“Who knows what mischief Reese and her supporters are up to in the Pacifica National Office?” said volunteer KPFA music programmer Tim Lynch. “They are denying entry to elected national board members, which is strictly forbidden by the California Corporations Code.”

Not the attention Pacifica needs  

Reuters confirms that Reese was fired by the Pacifica National Board on March 13 by a vote of 11 to 7.  The board has declined to comment on the matter, citing employment confidentiality concerns, but PNB chair Wilkinson told Reuters, “I think [Reese's] response since she has been terminated totally validates the decision to terminate her,” adding that the board “took an action that was appropriate and necessary.” Wilkinson said the board was carefully considering legal options, and met tonight to consider how to move forward.

Coverage by Oakland’s KTVU shows very few people in Pacifica’s offices. “You’re going to crush my arm! Don’t break my arm!” exclaims KTVU reporter Patti Lee to Reese’s mother as she tries to enter the almost-empty office through a heavily fortified door for an interview.

Reese’s action, sadly, has become an example for a national employment law firm’s blog, which cited her misconduct to illustrate what can go wrong when firing employees.

Meanwhile, Reese continues to send out a thick daily stream of completely fabricated “information” about the situation. The latest:  her claim that water was turned off in the Pacifica office, when in reality it was an outage related to utility work.

Feel free to contact SaveKPFA if you have questions and we’ll clear up what we can. And please, don’t forget to SIGN THE PETITION demanding that Reese leave.

 

Posted in elections and governance, KPFA, Margy Wilkinson, Pacifica, Pacifica National Board, Summer Reese, Summer Reese petition | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Pacifica Radio Archives celebrates women’s history

uprisingDon’t miss this month’s commemoration of international women’s history by the Pacifica Radio Archives, which were recently awarded the network’s largest grant ever to preserve historic recordings of women’s history. In particular, check out Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar‘s interview with the project archivist, Jolene Beiserhere.

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