WBAI LSB Non-Meeting — July 14, 2007
The WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) had scheduled this meeting to start 1:00 PM on this date at the Wassat Kommuniversity, 271 South 9th St., Newark, NJ. However a quorum never appeared at this meeting and so legally no business could be done at it. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
This was a rather bizarre non-meeting. We never made a quorum so it was not a legal meeting, but that didn't stop the faction currently in charge from blundering ahead with all sorts of things that it was illegal to do.
This meeting date had originally been set at the meeting of May 31, 2007. At that meeting Andrea Fishman had specifically noted that she couldn't make this meeting because she works on Saturdays. Ironically, this meeting missed quorum by one member. Too bad they didn't listen to Ms. Fishman.
This meeting was held at the Wassat Kommuniversity in Newark, New Jersey. It's in a converted garage. About 14 non-LSB members showed up. Some of them were actually from New Jersey. The meeting had been scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM.
This non-meeting began 53 minutes late.
The Chair convened the meeting and immediately acknowledged that there was no quorum.
One of the people who ran the Wassat Kommuniversity gave us a little welcoming speech. He welcomed us to Newark, I'm sure that a number of us had been there before. And then he asked us to respect each other. Has this guy seen videos of the LSB meetings or had he been briefed by the faction operatives who'd set the meeting up in this space?
After this I made a point of order that there was no quorum so we really couldn't do business. All we could do would be adjourn, or listen to what the public who were at the meeting had to say.
The Chair agreed, or seemed to. She said that we could have discussions while we waited for a quorum to show up and we could vote on motions later on, we were short of a quorum by two members at this time. Unfortunately, the Chair didn't stick to this legal way of doing things.
The Chair then announced that the interim General Manager (iGM) was not going to be at the meeting, but the Local Elections Supervisor was at the meeting and the Chair asked if anyone objected to our removing the iGM's report from the agenda and giving the time to the Local Elections Supervisor. Of course no one objected.
The Local Elections Supervisor of the WBAI 2007, LSB elections is Dale Ratner. Mr. Ratner reported that he'd been in that position since June. He said that the elections process was slowly going on and he wanted to hear from the LSB about how we thought the elections had gone last year and he wanted to hear any questions or suggestions we had. He said that his E-mail address was email@example.com.
Mr. Ratner said that he wanted to form a committee to do the things that needed to be done and he invited all present to come join him on that committee. Anyone who wants to be on the committee should E-mail Mr. Ratner to that effect.
James Ross asked Mr. Ratner about his background. He replied that he's from the New York area, had graduated from Vassar in 2002, and that he was now in his third year of drama school. He said that he coordinates schedules with people all the time, does databases and does public relations for a small publisher.
After this report the faction leader rose to amend the agenda. This was a bit of an odd thing to do without a quorum. This being an adjourned meeting it would have needed to begin where the previous meeting on June 26th, had left off. The agenda would need a two thirds vote to amend it. In addition the faction leader was proposing to amend the motion which had been illegally adopted at the previous meeting to create a LSB Radio Show Committee as a standing committee. Well, that would have required a two thirds vote at least. And the question was brought up of how do you have a mere majority ratify a motion that requires a two thirds vote? The Chair became totally confused at this point, but after it was explained to her she said that it was a good point. She then made the comment that we'd all agreed to have motions at this non- meeting and then have them ratified at the next meeting. I immediately objected and pointed out that I certainly didn't agree to any such thing and that I objected to this meeting being held this way and to any attempt to bring such a motion to the floor. I pointed out that Roberts' Rules of Order only allows for motions of an emergency nature to be brought during a meeting with no quorum. The faction leader then said that we did have an emergency. But he didn't reveal what it was.
Steve Brown pointed out that we have real emergencies but this isn't one of them. We have emergencies regarding the interim General Manager, the fact that WBAI has serious money problems, etc. He said that we should discuss the larger issues facing WBAI.
Lisa V. Davis, who belongs to the Newark based political group that calls itself the People's Organization for Progress immediately began playing to her home crowd, what there was of it. She said that if people say something it doesn't mean that it's true. She said that the members of the Pacifica National Board (PNB), and she is one, know that it's not true that things are missing from the station.
Wow, really? Maybe Lisa V. Davis knows where all of our missing equipment is! Does the entire PNB know where WBAI's missing equipment is?
Eventually, the faction leader withdrew his motion to amend the agenda.
And then Lisa V. Davis added a motion to the agenda about the death penalty. Yeah, she was playing to that home town crowd, all right.
The Management Evaluation Committee then reported. The Chair of the LSB has also become the Chair of that committee, so she had to give up the chairing of the meeting to Nia Bediako who's the Vice Chair of the LSB.
The Chair reported that the committee had put out surveys the previous week. I don't know who got those surveys.
And then they brought a motion to the floor. It said that the interim General Manager (iGM) would be evaluated in a manner similar to the way that the Program Director was “evaluated.” Well, aside from the fact that the Program Director didn't actually get evaluated but just got a rubber stamp approval from his faction underlings this was just a stupid motion they brought. The motion called for the evaluation of the iGM's performance for the Period November 6, 2006, to May 31, 2007, which is a pretty short period.
I objected that this was hardly a motion addressing an emergency. I noted that the evaluation of the Program Director had taken 2½ years and that the iGM's Contract was only for one year. He'd be gone before they got partway through their evaluation! The faction didn't want to hear that.
I also asked if the final evaluation would come from the LSB. And the answer was of course not. And then one faction operative made an amendment that said that the LSB would review the evaluation in executive session. That passed.
Steve Brown noted that there was no provision for confidentiality in that motion, especially for Paid Staff, and that fear of retaliation could be a factor in the evaluations.
James Ross proposed an amendment that said that the Management Evaluation Committee would present a draft report to the LSB for approval in executive session. That got voted down, but just by a vote of 3 for and 3 against. Do some of the faction operatives want to have the LSB do the evaluation, as it's supposed to do, or were they just not interested enough to bother voting?
Steve Brown pointed out that during the years that the Program Director evaluation went on confidentiality was broken. At this point Nia Bediako, who was chairing the LSB meeting, started trying to debate! Another example of how faction operatives don't care about rules or fairness to others.
Interestingly, Ray Laforest said that based on the low number of surveys turned in by the Staff in the Program Director evaluation process maybe some Staff were afraid.
Vajra Kilgour said that Shawn Rhodes had written a report which he had posted to the Staff list saying that confidentiality of those surveys had been observed.
I replied that Shawn Rhodes had written that report in December 2005, and it was only about the second set of surveys that had been gathered from the Staff, that the first survey had been completely illegally handled as Mr. Rhodes had reported. Also the then Chair of the Management Evaluation Committee, who was at the time acting as the Program Director's personal assistant, had kept the surveys for a year and a half and no one knew to whom she had shown them. I then went over the details of the things that were very wrong with the Program Director evaluation process, and I noted that while the elections had “certified” over 250 Staff as eligible to vote in the elections only 33 had handed in those evaluations. I noted that the initial survey from the Fall of 2005, had simply been disappeared after Mr. Rhodes had complained about irregularities. Oh, there were a lot of things wrong with that evaluation process, and I don't think that we should make the same mistakes again. But apparently the faction currently in charge does.
There was more debate about the lack of confidentiality after this, and then a faction member made an amendment that the process used in the evaluation of the Program Director that insured anonymity of the surveys would be followed and that each participant in the Management Evaluation Committee would have to sign a confidentiality agreement. That passed.
After this we had public comment. But there was even debate on that. Some argued that the people who'd come to the meeting to see the WBAI LSB in action were owed the courtesy of being heard and that we should interact with them. The faction passed a motion that broke public comment into two 15 minutes blocks with some public comment allowed during the discussion of waivers later in the meeting. And of course that passed.
Monroe got up and did his usual thing.
One local person said he would have liked to have had us all talking to each other. He wanted to hear more about what Steve Brown had said.
And after these two no one else wanted to speak! The public comment session had lasted 6 minutes.
Vajra Kilgour took back the Chair of the meeting and Nia Bediako reported that the Programming Committee had been supposed to have had a forum on June 23rd, but that there was “an alleged conflict.” She said that they'd come back to the LSB with another proposal for this forum in the future. She then described some of what the committee is supposed to be doing, and then talked about how the Program Council, which has no connection to the Programming Committee, has members who don't show up and so it doesn't function.
And while the Chair of the Membership, Outreach & Fundraising Committee wasn't at the meeting another faction member gave an “informal report” on that. She reported that the committee had worked on a David Rothenberg even that had raised $6,000.
There was then a motion made, I'm not sure if it came from the actual committee or from an individual, that the LSB urges the iGM to reinstate the Folio and the weekly e-newsletter. This passed without objection. I guess it sounded good to those attending the meeting who didn't know that WBAI is in deep financial trouble and is actually facing layoffs and so is not about to hire a new Folio Editor.
At this point there was some debate about what to do next. Some wanted to go to an interactive public comment, others wanted an ordinary public comment session and still others wanted to get to all of the business that we couldn't legally conduct anyway. And then the faction leader started whining about how he wanted to bring up his motion that would have required a two thirds vote at a legal meeting.
After some more debate the faction leader got his motion added to the agenda. In the end, we never got to it.
The ad hoc Waivers Committee reported - finally!
The ad hoc Waivers Committee had been created in June 2006, and hadn't reported to the LSB since then! It's duties had been 100% over and done with by the middle of October 2006, but they'd never reported at all. Now they did, to a non-meeting that had no quorum.
There was a written report handed out. Vajra Kilgour explained what waivers were to the assembled public. She said that the ad hoc committee had had serious problems doing its work because 3 members was too few. She also said that she wanted it to be a standing committee.
Faction operatives went on about how important it was to do this. They began to voice a theme of how evil people with money are and that such people could buy an election. Of course they were aiming their comments at Steve Brown. But if Steve Brown had wanted to use his money to buy an election he would have done so already, and there he was sitting as a minority member of the LSB for the third year in a row.
Steve Brown noted that money wasn't the issue, the issue was the recruitment of people who knew nothing about WBAI to simply vote for the faction currently in charge. He noted that only a few thousand members voted and that if some group did decide to get a lot of waivers they could swing an election. He said that money was a false issue.
At this point it turned out that there was some confusion over who was chairing the meeting. After some questioning about this Nia Bediako said she was and Vajra Kilgour agreed, although they'd seemed to both be chairing at times.
The time was approaching 4:00 PM, which was the time when the space was no longer going to be available. But the guy in charge of the place said that we could take all the time that we needed.
And after this various faction operatives took turns verbally attacked Mr. Brown. One faction operative called for a thousand waivers. And that's exactly what they'd like to do, too. Luckily they were too incompetent to accomplish this during the last election. In fact they reported that after all of the stressing of the necessity for these waivers they only issued 7 of them.
James Ross asked if the ad hoc committee had been satisfied with the carts last year. Vajra Kilgour said that no, they hadn't been because the carts had gotten on late and there had been interference from a Staff member.
Sara Flounders then got on her soap box about economic equality and attacked Steve Brown, saying that some members of the LSB had said that WBAI Management and the LSB were corrupt and dishonest. Gosh, I wonder why she didn't vote for that motion I made last year to have the Treasurer report on what happened to the cash receipts from the Riverside 9/11 fundraising event?
James Ross called on the Chair to call Flounders to order. You're not allowed to attack members by name like that. Flounders, having named Steve Brown, then went on attacking him but not using his name anymore. Of course she didn't have to, she's already named her target.
Marian Borenstein started rambling on about people not storming the Bastille and then said that this was a national board. It's not, it's the Local Station Board. She rambled on a bit more and said that some unnamed thing was an attempt to divide.
One public attendee objected to the mention of the phrase “religious fanatics” earlier in the meeting.
The guy who runs the meeting place said that it was difficult for people to call in to request waivers, and that the public should be told about them.
And then Monroe got up and in his ramblings ended with the comment that if Steve Brown wanted to he cold buy memberships for people, have them vote how he wanted and take over.
And then the motion to have a Waivers Committee was made and the faction acted as if it had passed at this meeting without a quorum. It looks like they wanted it to be a standing committee. But that requires prior notice and a two thirds vote. Well, the whole meeting was illegal.
I objected at this point. I said that the idea of having elections for this committee, whatever it was supposed to be, with a lack of a quorum was illegal and I objected. I made a point of order and said that I wanted my objection noted in the minutes of the meeting. Nia Bediako, who was chairing, said that the minutes would reflect my objection.
So they held the election anyway. Elected to this farce were: Nia Bediako, Shawn Rhodes, Vajra Kilgour, Ray Laforest and Cerene Roberts, with Berta Silva, Carolyn Birden and Mitchel Cohen as alternates.
After this Vajra Kilgour took back the Chair of the meeting.
Then we got to Lisa V. Davis' big grandstanding motion where she got to show off in front of the several members of her group who were attending.
She didn't have a copy of her motion to hand out, but it was about how the LSB urges worldwide repeal of the death penalty, and it went into wanting a new trial for Mumia Abu Jamal and a guy on death row in Georgia, and it just went on. She then said that it didn't need motivation, but she started speaking in favor of her motion and went on and on for some time motivating it anyway.
The motion called for this motion, yeah it sought to promote itself, to be passed on to the PNB, and another faction operative moved to amend the motion to have copies sent to the governors of Pennsylvania and Georgia.
This got other faction operatives all excited about the prospect of one-upping Lisa V. Davis. So they amended the motion to call from Mumia Abu Jamal's immediate release, rather than a new trial. This got enthusiastically accepted.
It was really something to see the faction operatives acting as if they were actually doing something rather than masturbating all over each other.
And then we set the meeting date for the next meeting, August 6, 2007, at 7:00 PM. Of course this would have to be an adjourned meeting since without a quorum we can't pass any motions. I wonder if the faction operatives realize this?
I made an amendment that if on August 6, we didn't have a quorum by 8:00 PM that we cancel the meeting. We've done this a number of times in the past and I said that it does help to get people to the meeting if they realize that if they're more than an hour late the meeting may not happen.
At this point Nia Bediako said that no, we'd never done any such thing in the past! Wow, here she is essentially calling me a liar when we've all been at the meetings where this amendment has passed before.
I put my hand up and got called on again and said that we had too passed motions requiring that we cancel the meeting if it didn't start before an hour after its official starting time.
While I said this the faction leader whispered in the Chair's ear, and the Chair then whispered in Nia Bediako's ear and Nia Bediako said that she was correcting herself and that we had done this before. Jeez, talk about Cloud Cuckoo Land!
My amendment failed by a vote of 2 for and 5 against.
It was almost 4:30 PM when we entered a Committee of the Whole. This allowed everyone in the room to talk about things without a motion being on the floor.
One woman in a yellow People's Organization for Progress T-shirt asked if the LSB goes through education. Nia Bediako said that no, but a few of the LSB members were community activists. The woman asked if everybody went through that. She said that people should not make comments, and that people who steal are not the poor people. She then went on again about how the LSB should be educated and that it's criminal to be uneducated when we represent the public.
From what she was saying it really sounded like she wanted us all to be properly indoctrinated in a reeducation camp!
Marian Borenstein agreed and went on about how she works for the City of New York and wants to get programs for children.
Lisa V. Davis then commended the woman in the People's Organization for Progress T-shirt and said that on the PNB they always need to educate people. She then went on and on, denigrating other LSB members, but not by name.
The guy who ran the place then went on about the death penalty and launched into an attack on “people of wealth.”
Another woman in the audience said that she's started a group called The Ministry of Justice Committee that looks after youth who had been in jail. She talked about people in jail getting “wedgies,” and then described this grammar school humiliation in quite a bit of detail. She said that the people coming out of jails were worse than when they'd gone in, saying that maltreatment in jail was making monsters out of the prisoners. She said it was parents' fault and called for guns to be insured. Hmmm, but that last part will make certain that only financially better off people will be able to legally own guns. I didn't get to say anything about that.
A faction operative who's made a habit of posting expressions of race hate on a mailing list commended Lisa V. Davis and Sara Flounders for their comments about the waivers, along with the woman who'd called for us all to be educated. And then he slandered Steve Brown some more.
Gosh, with all of this talk of wealthy people taking over no one seems to have mentioned the threat from demagogues. I think that demagogues are a much larger threat to taking over WBAI than wealthy people are. And there are so many more demagogues around, too.
At this point no one wanted to talk anymore, so the meeting wound down. then one guy from the place where we were meeting said that there should be a WBAI store for fundraising purposes, and that he'd talked to Bernard White about doing that, he went on about this a bit. Then he thanked us all for coming.
Yeah, a WBAI store. Imagine the job of keeping the usual crooks from turning that into the faction's funding base!
And as we ended the meeting faction operatives were shouting that people should remember who'd said what at this meeting and vote, and there was something said about waivers. After this the meeting pretty much disintegrated.
This non-meeting dissolved without a formal motion to adjourn at 4:54 PM.
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
Back to the New Pacifica page.
To my home page.