Pacifica National Board Already Decided — Bequest Should Have Been Sent to Pacifica!

By:  UCR Candidate Sharon Adams

Our opponents have been claiming that United For Community Radio “cost KPFA $400,000“, implying that KPFA was actually entitled to a $400,000 bequest.  Of course, that is the exact issue — KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest — the Pacifica Foundation was entitled to this bequest.  Our opponents inappropriately decided, WITHOUT CONSULTING PACIFICA, that this bequest was intended solely for KPFA.  The reason we know that KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest is because the Pacifica National Board (PNB) has determined that the bequest was actually supposed to go to Pacifica.
Bequest_Check

The PNB’s decision is supported by the evidence.  First and foremost, both the bequest and the check were specifically made out to “Pacifica Foundation Radio”.  There was no mention of KPFA in the bequest documents.

Pacifica LogoAnd, even assuming there was ambiguity in the identification of Pacifica Foundation Radio, the proper response would have been to contact the PNB to mutually discuss and decide how to deal with the bequest.  It was our opponents failure to ask Pacifica that is at the heart of this matter.   To the extent that our opponents felt there *was* ambiguity, they should have checked with the Pacifica National Board.

Interim Executive Director (and SaveKPFA candidate) Margy Wilkinson later apologized for this failure to disclose — after the fact and when the bequest funds were already comfortably residing in the KPFA bank account.  It really would not have been that difficult to send this information to Pacifica prior to depositing the check in the KPFA bank account.

FBOKPFA

~Screen shot of kpfa.org website

As the image above shows, it is quite easy to make a bequest that is for KPFA, and the KPFA website provides clear instructions on how to do this.  Of course, Pacifica must be mentioned in the bequest instructions because Pacifica is the parent organization of KPFA.  Significantly, the KPFA website makes clear that the phrase “for the benefit of KPFA” or “fbo KPFA” must be added.  This is not difficult to do, and is standard operating procedure for attorneys working in estate planning who are trained to make clear and unambiguous bequests.

Now that our opponents have been exposed, they start the mudslinging, with personal attacks on UCR candidate Janet Kobren who found the documents showing that the bequest was intended for the Pacifica Foundation.  However, Janet Kobren was simply doing her duty as a board member and secretary of the PNB.  This is in stark contrast to other KPFA members on the PNB, Brian Edwards-Tieckert and Margy Wilkinson.  They have shown that they are willing to “Save” KPFA — at the expense of the entire Pacifica network.

United for Community Radio is not into assigning blame.  UCR wants to ensure that the entire Pacifica network remains strong, including KPFA and its sister stations.  UCR’s opponents must stop cannibalizing Pacifica to allegedly “Save” KPFA.

Vote for the entire UCR slate in the KPFA Local Station Board election.

RESCUE KPFA from Save KPFA

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For another perspective on the bequest, read Frank Sterling’s article here about how We Are All One!
Frank Sterling is KPFA’s Technical Director of First Voice Media program.

 

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Democracy Now! on KPFA — UCR wanted Dem Now! aired at 7 a.m., when most people listen

 

By:  Mara Rivera DN
Save KPFA is apparently claiming that United for Community Radio (UCR) wanted to eliminate the show — this is UNTRUE. United for Community Radio has always wanted Democracy Now! to air at 7 a.m. on KPFA.

 

At the time in 2011 (and as it is now) KPFA airs Democracy Now two times each morning, at 6 a.m. and again at 9 a.m.  UCR wanted Democracy Now to be on the airwaves one time in the morning, at 7 a.m.  As Richard Phelps says, you put your most listened to program at the most listened to time. Therefore, UCR wanted Democracy Now to have one slot in the program line-up, at 7 a.m.  This would open the 9 a.m. slot for additional local programming.

 

The Save KPFA forces wanted to keep drive time for the paid staff, apparently so that paid staff can claim that their programs are the biggest fundraisers for the station. More information can be found here, in an article written at the time these events were happening.

 

The article, written in 2011 by Marc Sapir states:

[T]he governments of Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and massive non-violent uprisings are occurring throughout North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, all this widely covered daily on KPFA which recently became the only national network carrying Al Jazeera-English. In addition, the staff of the program Voices of Middle East and North Africa put together extended shows that aired in prime time with fantastic commentary from experts and activists rarely heard anywhere in U.S. media. At the same time Amy Goodman’s Senior Producer, SA Kouddous, an Egyptian-American, traveled to Egypt where he was on the scene daily reporting from Tahrir square as well. Through the good sense of Pacifica ED, Arlene Engelhardt, Goodman’s show, Democracy Now (KPFA’s most listened to program) is now running in the 7 a.m. drive time slot, complemented by a diverse and local Morning Mix show at 8-9 a.m. which has also brought to KPFA airwaves many new voices and perspectives.

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Save KPFA Candidate said Palestinian Children’s Art “Not Appropriate”

(Since this information emerged, Hilmon Sorey was quietly dropped from the Save KPFA website and the official website says “candidacy withdrawn”)

In 2011, Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art abruptly cancelled a planned exhibition of art created by children in the Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  At the time, Museum board chair (current Save KPFA candidate) Hilmon Sorey stated that the art was “not appropriate” for the Museum.

UCR says: “This kind of candidate is NOT APPROPRIATE for the KPFA Local Station Board.”

The following open letter was sent by Barbara Lubin, executive director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

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From: Barbara Lubin
Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Hilmon Sorey

I received a letter today asking me to vote for the new KPFA Board of Directors and I was shocked to see Mr. Hilmon Sorey’s picture and name on it.

I don’t know if you remember when MECA brought the Children’s Art Exhibit to the U.S. from Gaza.

We spent 6 months working with the staff of The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland.

They had agreed to let us hang the exhibit at the museum for 2 months during which time we would have many small events with children and teachers.

We were all very excited but that changed after a visit from Hilmon Sorey who was chair of the Museum’s Board.

He came to MECA’S office 2 weeks before the exhibit was to open and informed us that the Museum had changed their mind and we would have to look elsewhere for a place to hang the pictures.

The rest of this story is in the book we had published and I will get to you.

I have been thinking about all of this and all the pain that we here at MECA went through and I asked myself this question “with all the problems that KPFA has do we really need a person like Mr. Sorey on our Board?”

He is not to be trusted and when push comes to shove he will do what the Zionist community tells him to do.

We received hundreds of letters from all over the world condemning him for his lack of leadership but mostly for insulting the Palestinian children who drew these pictures.

Barbara Lubin
Middle East Children’s Alliance
Web: www.mecaforpeace.org

Maia Project: Bringing clean water to children in Palestine
www.mecaforpeace.org/project/maia-project

Press coverage of the incident:

San Francisco Chronicle

Daily Kos

Huffington Post

VOTE!!! 

UNITED FOR COMMUNITY RADIO CANDIDATES

KPFA LOCAL STATION BOARD ELECTION

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Secret Plot Revealed to Hijack Pacifica’s Broadcast Licenses & Assets

Documents registered with the California Secretary of State for a private “foundation” called the “KPFA Foundation seem to be part of a conspiracy by “SaveKPFA” insiders to gain total control of KPFA (under the guise of protecting KPFA) and to “capture” its license in the event of Pacifica’s dissolution. Further, it appears to be an attempt to privatize the Pacifica Foundation for the benefit of a few instead of the many. These documents were recently uncovered by Pacifica’s National Board (PNB) Secretary Janet Kobren, a United for Community Radio (UCR) candidate and whistleblower.KPFA_Foundation

Here’s what was revealed:
In September 2013, PNB director, former PNB chair/interim Executive Director (iED) Margy Wilkinson registered the above named shadow corporation with the California Secretary of State at the address of Siegel & Yee, the law firm of former PNB director and current Pacifica legal counsel Dan Siegel. They kept this information hidden from the KPFA listeners, the Local Station Board (LSB) and the Pacifica National Board (PNB) until its discovery only recently.

In addition to usurping Pacifica’s trademarked “KPFA” call letters, this shadow corporation also adopted Pacifica’s Articles of Incorporation that includes its Mission Statement. When asked to explain, Siegel and Wilkinson admitted that they created this shadow corporation to acquire the licenses and assets of Pacifica (estimated to be worth more than $100 million) in case Pacifica went bankrupt and/or was taken over by creditors or the government.

The establishment of this covert “KPFA Foundation” raises the question of whether some of the decisions Wilkinson made when overseeing Pacifica’s finances during her tenure as interim ED contributed to the current disastrous financial state of the Pacifica Foundation and its stations. What might be considered gross ineptitude was so systematic that it appears to be an intentional attempt to bankrupt Pacifica and its stations, in order to gain control of KPFA from Pacifica via the “KPFA Foundation”  At the very least, this constitutes a severe conflict of interest and ethical violation by Wilkinson and Siegel.

How does this relate to the KPFA Local Station Board election?

Your Vote Matters (photo credit below)

Your Vote Matters (photo credit below)

As a KPFA member, your vote will elect members to the KPFA LSB. This board not only sets policy for KPFA, it also selects four of its members to sit on Pacifica’s National Board. Right now, the Siegel-Wilkinson “Save KPFA” faction has a majority of KPFA’s seats on this board. This election can overturn the “Save KPFA” majority of seats on the board and enable the new local and national boards to block their plan to hijack Pacifica’s licenses. “Save KPFA’s” Brian Edwards-Tiekert’s recent motion to get the KPFA LSB to overstep its powers and ratify the creation of thesecret “KPFA Foundation” was stopped by UCR LSB members. But it could still be approved if the LSB majority stays the same in this election.
The United for Community Radio (UCR) candidates are committed to doing everything in their power to block “Save KPFA” from dismantling KPFA and Pacifica and walking away with KPFA’s licenses and assets.

     HELP PACIFICA REMAIN INTACT ~
RESCUE KPFA
~  VOTE FOR THE UCR 9

————

“Your Vote Matters” photo by Brooke Anderson from a rally for the Right to a Roof / El Derecho al Techo in Santa Rosa, California, Summer 2015.

 

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“SaveKPFA” Squanders $600 Thousand Bucks

by Adrienne Lauby

Something remarkable happened earlier this year.   Two devoted KPFA listeners made bequests to KPFA in their wills totaling nine hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars — nearly a million greenbacks. While these unexpected gifts allowed our sister station KPFT to finally replace their failing transmitter and made some improvements in KPFA’s building, most of the money vanished down a rabbit hole in routine salary expenses.2678453389_b997dd3496

It was remarkable to have such generous gifts. It was also remarkable that the SaveKPFA-led governing board allowed the money to disappear so quickly.

Here’s the details.

An Unrealistic Budget

The local station board adopted KPFA’s 2015 budget a year ago in the fall of 2014.   In what has become a yearly ritual, United for Community Radio board member, Janet Kobren, criticized the budget as unrealistic. The Save KPFA board members, as usual, claimed that the budget was reasonable because the projected expenses would be covered by an increase in fund drive income.

Why, one asks, was it reasonable when, KPFA subscriber numbers are decreasing? In only three years, KPFA’s subscriber numbers have dropped by 1800 individuals. And, what was the projection based on, given that fund drive numbers have dropped consistently over the last decade?

With the strong Save KPFA majority, the board passed the budget with the anticipated fantasy income intact.

That budget was again questioned when it went to the Pacifica National Board for approval.   The National Finance Committee asked the same questions that were asked by Janet Kobren on the local level. With several stations in the network unable to meet a payroll in the previous year and facing other financial problems, the Finance Committee wasn’t in the mood for fantasies. They said that KPFA’s income projections were over-estimated by at least $250 thousand dollars (1) and told General Manager Quincy McCoy to make cuts to bring that figure down.

Standard budget practices are contentious at KPFA. Generally, an organization makes its budget carefully, setting out the expenses it knows it can meet, and happily accommodating any additional money in a quarterly budget review process.

8954731550_9f2a8d1aed

At KPFA, most of the expenses are fixed. There’s no wiggle room in the electric bill and license fees, and only four managers do the administration and engineering work of a 300 person staff.  To stay within amount of money donated by the listeners, KPFA would have to lay off some of its union staff members.  Under SaveKPFA’s board majority and union leadership, this has become an unthinkable taboo.

The Bequests

Near the beginning of the year, $958 thousand in unexpected bequest income was greeted with great pleasure. For one thing, it alleviated General Manager Quincy McCoy’s immediate problem. As I said, the national board had told him to make cuts and later added that any cuts should include management. In addition, McCoy knew that after the spring fund drive, it would be obvious he didn’t have the cash to make his payroll.

McCoy knew that layoffs that would be greeted with a storm of public criticism and perhaps even the outright rebellion faced by former Pacifica Executive Director, Arlene Engelhardt, when she ordered tough cuts to save KPFA from bankruptcy in 2010. Nevertheless, McCoy began union negotiations to make the necessary cuts.

When news of the unexpected bequests arrived, McCoy not only cancelled the union negotiations but also cancelled two fund drives.   Save KPFA’s board members and staff representatives tacitly agreed with him. McCoy went on air to proclaim the fund drive cancellation and many paid staff members also made triumphant on-air announcements. They all spoke in glowing terms about “KPFA’s promise to the listeners” claiming that KPFA had cancelled the summer drive because listeners had asked for it.

There was a vague thank you for those who include KPFA in their wills in an announcement encouraging more listeners to leave some of their cash to KFPA. But, no one made it clear that the summer fund drive was cancelled because of the generosity and love of two deceased listeners.

This emotional manipulation of KPFA’s listeners hit a new propaganda low in the station that claims to “tell truth to power.”

How the Money was Spent

General manager, Quincy McCoy presented his plans for spending the money to the local station board after that spending was in progress. United for Community Radio representatives reminded the board that it is their responsibility to set budgets and asked that there be a discussion with Mr. McCoy about his plans for the money.   The SaveKPFA majority did not agree and managed the meetings to keep such a discussion off the agenda.

Here’s numbers the General Manager gave to the local board (rounded to the nearest hundred):

$119,000 help for other stations in the network2
$110,250 building improvements (carpeting, elevator repair, painting)

$30,000 new membership software
$223,400 routine payments (National Office and Pacifica Archives)3
$350,000 salaries4

$134,500 lost income due to cancelled fund drives

In short, only $260 thousand dollars of these incredible gifts were spent on one-time expenses and improvements.  $573 thousand dollars were frittered away on expenses that should have been covered by KPFA’s usual fundraising.

A Missed Opportunity

It’s fairly standard financial practice to sequester unexpected and large gifts.   It’s Bookkeeping 101 that large gifts should not be used for routine expenses.  To use gifts to push tough decisions down the road creates an unrealistic expectation that expenses can and will remain high.  It’s far better to make the tough decisions based on the routine income and use the major money for something that will strengthen the organization over the long haul.

Here’s a few things this money was NOT used for:

  1. A major outreach effort to new, more diverse and younger audiences.
  2. An improvement in KPFA’s digital and social media presence in order to connect with audiences who are migrating to wireless and web devices.
  3. A revamp of the program grid with new programs, hosts and formats.
  4. Remodeling work on the crumbling and currently uninhabitable property owned by KPFA on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Berkeley Way.

These projects, many of them proposed as no-brainers by multiple listeners and staff members, have been on the back burner for years. Managers haven’t been able to find the money and staff time to spearhead anything beyond the next payroll.

Large gifts should be used for large projects, items that can’t be funded with the usual income. They should be used to initiate well-planned projects that might develop greater income, larger audience or be of use to listeners over the long haul. Naturally, most organizations are tempted to use an unexpected gift to relieve some immediate or chronic stress. But generations of bookkeepers and accountants have taught us that is the fast road to regret. If an organization receives a large gift, it should leave something tangible in place when it is gone.

Under Save KPFA and Quincy McCoy’s watch, these lessons have yet to be learned. Next year, unless more generous and devoted people die, KPFA will return to the grind of one fund drive after another, with the energy of paid and unpaid staff alike tied up in, (have I said this enough?) an unsustainable level of staffing.

10-18-15

  1. Link to National Finance Committee meeting.  Begin listening at 9:40 to hear the resolution.
  2.  $100 thousand was loaned to KPFT in Houston who had been operating at 30-50% of its authorized power (100 kilowatts) for almost three years in order to stay on the air despite a failing transmitter. This money allowed them to make the replacement.  Approx. $19 thousand was loaned to WBAI to help them meet an immediate legal obligation.   It’s unlikely either loan will be repaid.
  3. KPFA’s obligations to pay a share of the national Pacifica office cost as well as support the Pacifica Archives are anticipated expenses that should be covered in routine fund drive income.
  4. Salaries ($350 thousand). This figure was called a 3-month reserve but it will be, obviously, a reserve that is quickly spent.

 

photo credit: Money via photopin (license)  

photo credit: Pay Bills via photopin (license)

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“Save KPFA” Supports Union Busting at KPFK

broken Transmitter towerSave KPFA’s current Pacifica National Board member Margy Wilkinson was elected to chair the national board.  As part of that position, she stepped in to serve as the Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation when there was no one serving as the E.D.   This summer, in the weeks immediately before John Proffitt took over the job, Wilkinson appointed Lesley Radford, a long time SaveKPFA ally, to the job of General Manager at KPFK, our sister station in Los Angeles. 

Radford, although faced with a nearly impossible task, massively bumbled her dealings with the KPFK union and set off a staff rebellion.  To date, neither Wilkinson or Save KPFA have severed their support for Radford.  In fact, another central Save KPFA member, Dan Siegel continues to advise Radford.

KPFK Management’s Anti-Union Tactics

  • Management cut all the union staff working over 50% to 50% pay.
  • They gave the staff less than two weeks’ notice before their pay cut took effect.
  • SAG-AFTRA said the pay cut was breaking the contract. KPFK management refused to talk to or negotiate with SAG-AFTRA. The matter went directly to arbitration.
  • Management made no arrangements to cut the staff workloads and to address the critical needs of running a radio station.
  • KPFK management said that the staff would be eligible for the Cal Works program. It was discovered later that when KPFK management made that statement KPFK was not eligible for the Cal Works program. Management claimed the union did not sign off on it. Management had not sent it to the union for their signature when they made that statement. KPFK management has, as of Monday, still not put through the paperwork in order for the staff to receive this benefit from the state.
  • KPFKManagement is using volunteers for some of the union positions.
  • There is still a discrepancy about:

– Seniority pay
-Pension funds owed

   It seems management is contesting these monies; management is anticipating litigation over these monies.

  • KPFK/Pacifica collected the union dues from staff salaries as usual – but for the previous six months did not send those monies to the union. SAG-AFTRA could have kicked our staff out of the union but did not. It is not known if those funds have since been paid to SAG-AFTRA.
  • At least one staff member, with a critical position – the webmaster – was terminated with no reason given. Web donations are somewhere between $150,000-$200,000 a year.
  • The union host, although offering to work 100% for 50% pay, had her show cut and half her days given to volunteers.
  • The subscriptions manager and person who runs ours fund drives, also a shop steward, is or was in the hospital; cause unknown. Management claimed Tues night at the finance meeting it was not work related.
  • The other person now out sick was not a union person. It is not known if she is or was in the hospital but claimed exhaustion for overwork due to filling in to replace the subscriptions manager for the fund drive.
  • Due to these two absences, KPFK’s GM cannot verify any of the fund drive tallies and can only guess at an overall total to date.
  • Save KPFA member, Dan Siegel, is advising KPFK’s GM in these matters against the SAG-AFTRA union staff.

Suggested question to ask Save KPFA folks:

Do you condemn the CURRENT regime’s extensive union – busting tactics at KPFK?

The massive cutbacks and layoffs, all done without any union negotiating was just the start. There are over half a dozen union grievances that have been filed and arbitration on all these complaints is set to happen during the first weeks of November. Add to that the intimidation and hostile tactics to intimidate the staff and you have classic union busting that Walmart would be proud of.  

A KPFK Staffer

 

10-21-15

Source: KPFK Staff

 

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