Friday night: a strategy session attended by people from around the country. We heard from Sam Husseini that the DC LAB has not met in the past year. They did announce a meeting, but cancelled it when it became apparent that people might actually attend! There were reports from Sherrie Gendelman, Robin Urevich, Nan Rubin, and others. Sherrie, along with Barbara Lubin and Robbie Osmand, met with Coonrod of the CPB in the afternoon, to determine CPB's attitude toward the current situation. They reported that Pacifica has not requested additional funding from CPB at this time. They also met with reps from Saul Landau's organization, the Institute for Social Policy, to discuss Saul's recent letter of infamy. Several At ISP did not sign the letter, and they seemed to better understand the importance of the issue by the end of the meeting, so they can be stronger in opposing Saul's point of view. There is also some feeling that Saul is "cooling" on the letter. However, he's done a great deal of damage. We also heard a report that David Giovannoni of Audiographics, an Arbitron analyst, had stated at yesterday's Board meeting that "we are failing. Pacifica has gone from being underutilized to irrelevant." This became the buzz quote at this morning's Program Policy Committee meeting, which we attended.
Nan Rubin facilitated the meeting this morning, in which we heard from every board member who attended and every station manager. The constant theme was the need for more money, more resources, in the effort to increase audience or market share. There was a period of public comment at the end of that meeting, in which Mimi Rosenberg spoke passionately about the question of who it is that we want to reach out to? She urged that we not make ourselves palatable to increase numbers, saying that we could become Christian Radio and increase numbers exponentially. An excellent speech.
The meetings this afternoon are also open to the public: finance, and governance, at which the new board nominees will be introduced. Further bulletins as events warrant.
Love to all from Jeff, Alice, Kyle, Adrienne, Carol, and Heidi.
Second report from the Streets of the Walking Dead...
This afternoon's meetings were: Finance, and Structure and Governance. We learned several interesting things at the Finance meeting: one of the areas Tomas has been focusing on is what happens to funds raised in excess of the Pledge Drive goals. The current rule is that surplus is applied to debt retirement and to capital improvement, and then to station projects. "What debt retirement?", I asked myself? Bessie Wash even referred to "debt to the Foundation." What was that all about? Valerie Van Isler referred to a contract for major donors -- raising that spectre again.
Tomas then presented three ideas to the committee which he had attempted to present the previous day to the Board as a whole, as part of his "rebuilding trust" package. He had three questions: What happens to surplus from the prior year? How is the budget established for the following year? And how can budget adjustments be made, due to needs arising from extraordinary expenses, or because of extraordinary income. He wanted to propose that Sandra Rosas go to each station to clarify the budget procedure, as part of his trust-building ideas. Palmer, who chaired this committee, did his version of "you silly boy, this isn't how things work around here." MFB said "I asked Mr. Moran to deliver copies of his resolutions by fax, email, fed ex, or whatever," so they could be reviewed prior to the Board meeting, but that he hadn't done so. She said that she couldn't understand his proposals on such short notice. Tomas replied, on a point of personal privilege, "I understand that the Chair does not feel capable of reviewing this now," and went on to say that he had intended to make a presentation only, not propose resolutions. MFB replied "Mr. Moran prevaricates," and later stated "Mr. Moran does not run this Board." The meeting ended with nothing being done about his questions.
Between this meeting and the next, there was a very heated discussion between Lori Iyama and Don Rush, and Robin Urevich, about the firing of Dan Coughlin. I didn't hear much of it, as I was talking to Tomas, but the shouting went on for quite some time.
Then came the very interesting Governance meeting. John Murdoch spoke on behalf of his nomination to the Board, stating that he is not a labor lawyer. Robert Farrell asked "are you perceived as being anti-union, or are any of the clients whom you represent involved in labor disputes or management vs. union disputes?" Murdoch said "the short answer is no." He went on to say of his firm, "much of what we do is in the area of compliance."
Rob Robinson then stated, in reference to the Epstein Becker website, that it mentioned a "union-free workplace." Murdoch replied, "the website says what it says....I am not a labor lawyer." MFB then spoke up and protested what she called "an unwarranted invasion of (Murdoch's) personal life, and said to Murdoch "I want to apologize to Mr. Murdoch for what I consider an unwarranted invasion of his personal life."
Acosta, who chaired this meeting, then commented that the Board had authorized 19 members. Tomas questioned that, when there had always been only 15, and asked if there had been an amendment. Acosta said yes, in '97. Then it got even more interesting. The discussion of Tomas' resolution for a by-law change for a No-Sale resolution occurred.
Below are the notes Jeff took during this event:
At todaỳs Pacifica National Board meeting of the Governance and Structure Committee, the second of two attempts occurred that marginalized the authority of Tomas Moran to act as a member of the Pacifica National Board.
The agenda item being discussed was the proposal to pass a resolution to add a bylaw to preclude the sale of any station or frequency. David Acosta, the chair of the Governance and Structure Committee, stated his intention to bring a resolution to the June meeting after review by Pacifica lawyers.
Tomas stated that he had a proposed resolution that he had asked to be included in the notice for the National Board meeting, as required by the board bylaws. According to Moran, this proposal had been reviewed as to language and structure, so there was no reason not to bring it to the committee. Palmer then asked if these reviewers were lawyers, and if so, then two sets of lawyers were reviewing the proposal, which complicated matters.
Moran then asked that procedure be followed and that this proposal be tabled by motion. Acosta stated that the proposal had not been properly presented in that it had not been included in the notice. Tomas said that he had followed procedure by asking the executive director to include it in the notice. Acosta replied that the committee had met and voted to not include it. Tomas asked when that meeting had taken place, and why he had not received notice. Acosta replied that it was in error.
Dr. Mary Frances Berry then added her clarification to Acostàs statement - that Moran was not a member of the committee and therefore was not entitled to be notified. Tomas pointed out a listing in the meeting packet that listed the members of the various committees, including a listing of him as being a member of the Governance and Structure Committee. Berry replied that that was a mistake, and that there were many errors in the packet, including a listing that her term expired in September of 2001, rather than 2000.
This is Alice again. We are all taking very detailed notes about this event, because the Court Reporter mysteriously did not record this committee meeting, and we don't want to rely on whatever was picked up by various recorders and sporadic note-taking. The point is, Tomas WAS appointed to the Governance committee in October -- I have it in my notes from that meeting, which are here with me. Jim Bennett also has it in his notes. But since the minutes from that meeting have not been distributed, it can't be officially proven. MFB now says that Pete Bramson was appointed to the Governance committee -- not true. Also, what no one noticed in the melee about all this is that what has been lost is Tomas' No Sale resolution. This whole section of the meeting was an absolute outrage, and a continuation of the effort to paint Tomas as inexperienced and not knowledgeable about how things are supposed to work, and paint the rest of the Board as being indulgent with him and his "mistakes."
So that's it for today's meetings. Tonight we're going to the Unitarian Church for the teach-in.
From Alice and Jeff Chan
North Bay for KPFA
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