WBAI LSB Meeting — December 27, 2006
The fifty fourth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Wednesday, December 27, 2006, at 7:00 PM at Local 1199's Bread and Roses Art Gallery, 310 W. 43rd St. in Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
This was the first meeting of the 3rd WBAI LSB. The elections that had happened the month before had not worked out that well for the faction currently in charge. They actually lost a seat on the LSB in that election. But they still had a bare majority of 13.
This meeting started 18 minutes late. As the meeting started the Chair announced that Evan Tobias had resigned from the LSB. As per the Pacifica bylaws the next runner-up in the recent elections, Tibby Brooks, took his seat.
We each went around the room and introduced ourselves and said what we hoped might happen in the LSB this year. I said, among other things, that WBAI is a radio station and that I hoped that people would realize that and act accordingly.
Faction operative Nia Bediako said that she'd wanted “the proper people elected” to the LSB.
The agenda was haggled over as usual. Some members wanted the interim General Manager (iGM) to report no later than 9:00 PM. The iGM couldn't stay much past that time, so if he couldn't be gotten to by then there might not be enough time for him to give a report. The faction leader announced that he was against this. The faction's argument was that the Programming Committee hadn't been able to meet its quorum for months and it needed to have the LSB vote to reduce its quorum so it could meet. Of course this really wouldn't have interfered with the timing of the iGM's report, but it was the only excuse the faction could come up with for keeping the iGM from reporting. But when a vote came some of the faction operatives were just so out of it that they didn't bother to vote! So the iGM's report was made a special order of business to begin no later than 9:00 PM.
After a while the agenda was set and we proceeded with the meeting.
We even had arguments about excused absences at this meeting. Not about the two individuals, one a faction member the other not, who were to be excused but about excused absences in general. The Chair tried to prevent people from debating about this at all, and one viper tongued faction operative let loose with her usual nastiness, just in case anyone thought that she might behave differently during the tenure of the Third WBAI LSB.
There was an attempt to make the runners-up to the offices of Secretary and Treasurer the assistants to those jobs. The Chair ruled it out of order.
And then the faction passed a motion to create a new office of Assistant Treasurer.
The maker of the motion that the runners-up would become the assistants objected to what was now a substitute motion. The Chair ruled that it was in order, and that ruling was appealed. I spoke in favor of the Chair's ruling on this one, but when the time came to vote someone came up in back of me and did something and I voted against upholding the ruling!
Unlike most of these meetings the tables that the LSB members sit behind were arranged so that a bunch of us had to sit with our backs to the door, almost blocking the door. So there was a small disturbance just as I was about to vote, and since an appeal of a ruling has the quirk of a “yes” vote being against the appeal I voted “no,” while I was distracted by the disturbance and then it was too late to do anything about that. Oh, the things that can happen in meetings.
The motion to have the runners-up serve as assistants to the Secretary and Treasurer was replaced by the motion to have an assistant Treasurer, and that eventually passed by a vote of 11 for to 9 against.
And then it was 8:30 PM and we got around to starting to elect the officers of the WBAI LSB for 2007.
The results of the balloting were that the following were elected:
Chair - Vajra Kilgour
Vice-Chair - Nia Bediako
Secretary - Tibby Brooks
Treasurer - Baruti Bediako
I ran for Chair and then Secretary. I said that I were elected Chair I'd be fair to everyone, in contrast to the behavior of the current Chair. And as Secretary I said I'd get the minutes out accurately and on time, in contrast to the current Secretary. Alas, the faction had the votes and the officers are all faction operatives again.
The Chair said as part of her speech that since she'd been Chair there had been no security guards at the meetings because we didn't need any while she was Chair. Well, sure, that's largely because her faction caused the near riots and disruptions that necessitated security guards!
So then we had the votes cast and public comment began. I went to the men's room for a couple of minutes.
When I came out of the men's room there were a bunch of people shouting in the lobby outside the meeting room, the Chair was out there hollering at people to go back inside and the Local 1199 security guards were standing around looking displeased.
From what I can gather the people who'd volunteered ahead of time to count the ballots were “supplemented” by various faction operatives. During the counting of the ballots the faction operatives took the ballots and brought them outside the meeting room, which is irregular, since the counting is supposed to happen within sight of all members.
So the ballots got counted at the desk of the concierge in the lobby, I'm not sure if his permission was asked for this. A non-faction LSB member went outside to watch this ballot counting, as is her right. Then a faction member came up and started shoving her. Shouting began, more shoving happened. The faction's basic bullying tactic came out, and one large male faction operative grabbed one of the smaller female LSB members and shoved her backwards. It took a while before order got restored, and there were recriminations back and forth as the meeting rolled on.
I found it ironic that the Chair had run on a platform of no need for security guards, and her own fellow faction operatives' thuggery resulted in the meeting room attracting every security guard in the building.
The faction operatives then began to collect ballots for another of the night's elections before the non-faction candidate's statement could be read! At least they're consistently unfair.
And then it was pointed out that it was after 9:00 PM and the iGM was supposed to report.
The Chair announced that it was time for public comment, but then stopped the public comment session for the iGM's report. She needn't have bothered.
WBAI iGM Robert Scott Adams rose and said that the problems at WBAI had crystallized outside, meaning the small riot that had erupted minutes earlier. He said that he wanted to mend fences and improve Staff morale at WBAI, and then he said that the public comment session should continue. He then stormed out of the meeting with a few indiscreet words, as some members tried to ask questions and others suggested that we move into a committee of the whole to interact with the iGM.
The entire iGM “report” had lasted about 2 minutes. And in the end the faction currently in charge appeared to have gotten their way, there was no iGM report and there were no questions put to him that may have reflected upon the faction in a not totally complimentary way.
When it came time for me to deliver my speech about how I'd be a good Secretary the ballots were getting filled out before I even began to speak.
During public comment one person called the newly elected Vice Chair, Nia Bediako to task for her comment during this meeting that the elections for LSB had been a fraud. He said that he wanted his vote to count and he called for an investigation of the election, since so many irregularities had occurred.
The faction sycophant who denounces Staff a lot was frustrated that Robert Scott Adams had left, he apparently wanted to unload a lot of his usual vitriol on him. He said he'd do it at a future meeting.
In the election for the newly created position of Assistant Treasurer the guy who'd physically assaulted the small, female LSB member in the lobby was voted in by his faction.
Then there was even more public comment. One person called for cooperation and said that WBAI can't go on with things the way they are. Then a Staff faction operative who has in the past run for public office while endorsing himself under an assumed name on WBAI's air complained about the recently announced lawsuit by Gary Null against WBAI for reneging on an agreement to let him say goodbye to his listeners. This faction operative suggested counter suing Gary Null for his profits from having been on WBAI. Wow, I don't think that such an idea would go over very well with some of the other faction operatives who are doing some questionable things on the air!
After this the LSB was really pressed for time. We voted to meet next on January 9, 2007. And then a motion was passed to make the next meeting a continuation of this meeting.
Things started getting frantic as time slipped away, a motion to start the next meeting with a committee of the whole to discuss WBAI's financial situation was defeated.
And then the time for the meeting was up, but the Chair and her faction tried to railroad through a motion about having a Town Hall meeting.
The bylaws mandate that the LSB hold 2 Town Hall meetings per year. WBAI has not had a Town Hall meeting since early 2005. Motions had been passed to hold more Town Hall meeting than that, but the efforts all fell through. I guess that they wanted to at least be able to say that they'd voted to have one in 2006, so they tried to just all shout and make believe they'd put a real motion on the floor. I objected to this railroading, I demanded that we either end the meeting since the agreed upon time was up or else vote to extend the meeting. The Chair didn't want to do this, but I insisted. After a lot of arguing about it and points of order a vote to extend the time for the meeting was made, and it failed. The Chair had to announce that the meeting was adjourned.
The meeting formally ended at 10:06 PM.
Immediately after this the Chair came rushing over to where I was seated, yelling at me about having stopped their railroading of the motion to have a Town Hall meeting. She was quite angry, and I'm sure that if she could have gotten away with it she'd have resorted to violence. Well, somebody has to stand up to these bullies.
Here's a video of this meeting.
Here's a shorter video which begins with the nutty way that the agenda was wrenched around at this meeting.
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
Back to the New Pacifica page.
To my home page.