WBAI LSB Meeting — April 30, 2007
The fifty ninth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Monday, April 30, 2007, at 7:00 PM at Local 1199's Auditorium, 310 W. 43rd St. in Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
This meeting began 29 minutes late.
The Chair announced that the LSB now had 3 sets of minutes to approve, so she wanted to add the minutes of the December 27, 2006, meeting to the agenda. Of course at this point we hadn't even approved the minutes from February 2006, yet and the Secretary hasn't even posted most of the minutes from that entire year.
The Chair reported that WBAI interim General Manager (iGM) Robert Scott Adams was not feeling well and wouldn't be at the meeting to give a report.
There were several amendments proposed to the agenda, attempts to put things higher up in the order of business so that they stood a chance of being gotten to at this meeting.
The ad hoc LSB Radio Show Committee wanted to have its report pushed up so that they could make a report to the LSB and begin the process of getting reports on the LSB's activities, or lack of activities, on the air. One faction operative who's hijacked this process in the past, and made a mess of it, started militating against this. She wanted the report to stay where it was on the agenda and just make the report longer. Since she was with the faction currently in charge they voted to do it her way.
And after less than a quarter hour we approved the agenda.
Under the “Chair's Comments” agenda item the Chair announced that the LSB would be electing LSB members to the Committee of Inclusion and the ad hoc Waivers Committee, as well as electing others to the Community Advisory Board at the next meeting.
I found it interesting that they'd bring up the idea of elections to the ad hoc Waivers Committee since that committee hasn't reported to the LSB since it was voted into being about a year ago.
After we excused some absences we almost got around to setting the date for the next meeting, but then it was noticed that it was already time for one of the public comment sessions.
So that large nut known as Gary From Staten Island got up and started to verbally attack a WBAI Paid Staff member. This member, an outspoken opponent of the faction currently in charge at the station, had prevented this Gary person from forcing his way into Master Control to take over a program that was on the air. Actually this faux revolutionary Gary From Staten Island nut should thank that Paid Staff person, since had he gotten on the air and essentially taken over or at least disrupted the air Pacifica would have been forced to report the incident to the F.B.I. since such an action is a federal offense.
And of course he wouldn't shut up when his time was up. Oh yes, this moron had some things to say about me, including that I'm “an imperialist.” Sigh. Where oh where is my empire?!
One former Staff member got up and said that she wanted responses to her questions. She said that the public comment sessions had become a time to allow lunatics to let off steam. Among other things she wanted to know what E-mail address she could use to address the entire LSB. She noted that the old WBAI Web site was gone and she wanted to know why, she wanted to know about the security lapse that had happened with the shopping cart on the WBAI Web site, she also asked who was responsible for some things, why was the LSB not on the front page of the Web site, and she also had questions about the Community Advisory Board, programming, and she especially wanted to know why the Program Director evaluation forms, from December 2005, had still not been shared with the LSB yet.
One person noted that an overnight program that had thought it had made $800 pitching had only made $25 because the premium it was pitching had not been allowed. And he wanted to see regular reports on progress by the LSB.
What progress by the LSB? The faction currently in charge is comfortable with the status quo and they don't want the LSB to make any progress.
Another nut went on about getting rid of Robert's Rules of Order, which is what the LSB is required to use to run its meetings. Yeah, right. The meetings would be even more chaotic without any rules of order.
Monroe Litman announced that he was not getting any respect and so he was going to let his membership in WBAI lapse. And he denounced me for not putting the voice mail he leaves me on the air.
After all of this we set two meeting dates, May 31, and June 26, 2007, at 7:00 PM. I made an amendment that if we didn't have a quorum by 8:00 PM on either of those dates that we cancel the meeting. That passed with minimal opposition from the faction.
We got to the item about the Programming Committee's forum. Well, I say the Programming Committee's forum, but it's actually a forum set up by the faction currently in charge, and the details had been dealt with by a very small working group. At this meeting all sorts of information about this forum came out, information that had never been reported to the committee. Some details were actually bartered out on the floor of this meeting.
So in the end the LSB voted to hold this forum on Saturday, June 23, at 2:00 PM.
UPDATE: It turned out that there was a conflict with another WBAI event scheduled for June 23, and so this forum was cancelled at the last minute — again.
Then the LSB passed a motion to hold a Town Hall meeting on June 2, 2007, from noon to 4:00 PM.
During the debate about this motion it was pointed out that there was a street fair in Queens scheduled for that date and that WBAI was supposed to be a part of that. The viper tongued faction operative denigrated the event in Queens and said that not many listeners would be going to that Queens event.
Attempts to change the date to avoid the conflict were unsuccessful.
One faction operative who is frequently out of it during meetings had the to have the entire question explained to her.
I noted that at its February 22, meeting the LSB had voted to hold this event on June 16. So it required a two thirds vote to pass. In the interest of just finally getting a bylaws-mandated Town Hall meeting to happen at long last most of the non-faction LSB members didn't vote against this motion and it got passed.
It was requested that the Membership, Outreach and Fundraising Committee, which was to set this up, bring their plans for this event to the LSB. The Chair said that they would later in the meeting.
UPDATE: This Town Hall meeting, the first in over 2 years, was held in New Rochelle in upstate New York and a total of 11 people attended. WBAI has a potential listenership of at least 17½ million people, and we got 11 to attend the first Town Hall meeting in two years. Not one of the 11 people was new to the internal WBAI politics of the past few years. Does no one in the faction currently in charge see this as indicative of a problem?
I don't know how many people showed up for the street fair in Queens, but I bet it was a lot more than 11.
Then we passed a pro forma motion of “support” for an event sponsored primarily by a group that a LSB member belong to. Yeah, this sort of stuff is much more important than trying to keep WBAI solvent and alive.
Then we had another public comment session. The former Staff member who'd spoken during the previous public comment session requested that when the iGM couldn't be there that he give a written report that could be handed out.
One person said that WBAI Program Director Bernard White should be “impeached” because for the last 4 or 5 years WBAI has not achieved its goal in a fundraiser. He criticized the extensive use of video premiums on the radio.
Another public speaker noted that the LSB continually adopts agendas that inherently cannot be completed. He noted that this night's agenda was set to consume 4¼ hours, but we only had the meeting space for 2¾ hours.
And after a while we got around to trying to correct the minutes. The motion was made to approve the minutes of the March 9, 2006, meeting. (Yes, we are more than one full year behind in approving the minutes of the WBAI LSB.)
As usual, I had a bunch of corrections for the minutes. Even when the faction operatives take months to “work” on them they can't get the details right. And sometimes they try to cover up some things which embarrass them.
An amusing set of exchanges occurred when I corrected the wording in the draft minutes regarding an incident when a faction member had thrown a piece of hard candy at Paul DeRienzo.
The faction accepted the correction of some of the wording but there was debate about actually naming the member who'd thrown it at him. Eventually they did have to agree that that person, Cheryl Ife Griffin, would be named in the minutes, but they wanted to word it so as to make it seem as if she'd merely been offering him a piece of candy, from across the room. I wanted the minutes to note that Ms. Griffin had thrown the piece of hard candy at Mr. DeRienzo, some faction operatives wanted to make the minutes say that she had thrown it to him, but in the end a compromise was reached where a majority voted that it had been thrown towards him. Well, at least they sometimes know to be embarrassed by their behavior at these meetings.
There was then a short discussion about the fact that most of the minutes of 2006, still hadn't even been posted in draft form.
It was almost 9:30 PM before we got to the ad hoc LSB Radio Show Committee agenda item.
Shawn Rhodes reported for the committee and said that they wanted to be empowered to work until the end of 2007. That viper tongued faction operative opposed this. In the past she'd been able to hijack that committee and keep her fellow faction operatives on the air to a maximum while keeping non-faction participation in the on-air reports to a minimum. She clearly wanted to continue this.
I had to point out that this was an ad hoc committee and that if they wanted to make it a standing committee they'd need to give notice and get a two thirds vote to approve such a thing.
And so the faction operative made a motion that would have basically kept the implementation of the LSB Radio Show as it had been in 2006.
This part of the meeting started to get complicated. The Chair began to participate in debate and after about twenty minutes of doing so had to relinquish the Chair because even she couldn't maintain the farce of her not being biased on this issue.
It was pointed out that the motion proposed by the faction operative was the same motion that had been made at the last LSB meeting and which had been referred to the ad hoc LSB Radio Show Committee, and that for the faction operative to bring this motion to the floor now hijacked the process. I noted that this required that either the LSB vote to discharge the ad hoc committee of this obligation or else it was out of order to have it on the floor. This was confusing to the Chair and some others, but the faction leader looked it up in Robert's Rules of Order and found that he had to agree with me on it.
The time set for adjournment arrived, and Steve Brown brought this to the LSB's attention. But the Chair allowed the faction operative who'd illegally brought that motion to the floor to go on talking for a lot longer than people are even allowed to speak to legal motions. The Chair ignored the notice that the meeting time had ended, and even ignored a motion to adjourn. The faction was in one of its states of mental disarray and they just couldn't figure out what to do or how to do it.
I made a motion to make the next meeting a continuation of this meeting, that motion failed. An attempt to extend the meeting time by 10 minutes also failed.
By now one non-faction member had left the meeting in disgust, and so when a motion was made to extend the time by 5 minutes it just barely passed when the Chair voted for it. But it was almost 10:00 PM by this time.
And suddenly the Chair said that there was indeed a motion to discharge on the floor! This motion had never actually been made and it was really out of order at this point in the meeting. But the Chair said it was on the floor and there was a real rush by the Chair to get the meeting ended to her faction's advantage.
When members wanted to debate the Chair announced that time was up! This caused more protests from members who were not in favor of one faction operative hijacking the LSB Radio Show again. It was pointed out that the Chair had allowed that one person to lie about what had happened at the committee meeting and to insult other LSB members for a long time and now the Chair was telling people that they couldn't even debate motions on the floor!
And then the Chair began to debate the motion, saying first that the motion offered by the faction operative was essentially the same as what the committee seemed to want, and then demanding to know what the structure would be.
The viper tongued faction operative made a fake point of order and used that to argue that she'd been the only consistent presence at the ad hoc LSB Radio Show Committee for 2006. Well, of course she was, she'd hijacked the committee!
Eventually the complaints about the Chair flagrantly engaging in debate had to be acknowledged. And even her faction leader had to admit that she was doing that. So the Chair stepped down and let the Vice Chair, Nia Bediako, chair the meeting. This all occurred at 10:16 PM, and the meeting had gone on more than half an hour after its scheduled adjournment time.
And so the Vice-Chair then allowed the Chair to go on debating the motion! A guy from Local 1199 came in to tell us that we had to vacate the room since we were only given it until 10:00 PM.
More debate raged as people tried to counter the arguments of the various faction operatives. It was pointed out a number of times that the committee was trying in good faith to work on this and that just taking the issue of how the committee would operate out of the hands of the committee was wrong. And there was a lot of chaos at this point in the meeting.
In the end the illegally made motion to discharge was voted on. It got 11 for and 6 against. Since it required a two thirds vote it failed.
A motion to adjourn was made and the meeting ended at 10:20 PM.
It was really more like the meeting fell apart at the end with faction operatives yelling at everyone else to get out of the room. Another toxic WBAI LSB meeting chaired by incompetents, driven by the greedy and opposed by a minority was over.
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
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