WBAI LSB Meeting — August 7, 2006
The forty ninth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Monday, August 7, 2006, at 6:30 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 meeting had been scheduled to start at 7:00 PM because so many LSB members arrive so late that we never even start at 7:00 PM. So the faction's logic was that starting half an hour later than our usual start time would give people a chance to arrive for the meeting on time. That didn't make sense when the motion was passed and it didn't work out in reality, either. That's why when this motion to start at 7:00 PM came up at the last meeting I amended it to say that if we didn't start by 8:00 PM the meeting would be canceled.
This meeting started 52 minutes late, at 7:52 PM. It could have started by about 7:35 or 7:40 at the latest but the faction was staying out of the room to avoid starting the meeting. I think that they didn't have a majority and didn't want to start the meeting without one. Last August they didn't have such a good time when they were shy of a majority.
So the faction currently in charge started out wanting to put an executive session on the agenda. I pointed out that the bylaws require that notice of an executive session be included with the notice of the meeting, and this proposal for an executive session was only made during the meeting. I recall that this provision of the Pacifica bylaws, which says, "In the event that all or a portion of a meeting is closed, the LSB shall indicate in its notice of said meeting that the meeting or a part of it shall be closed.," was brought to my attention at a meeting of the WBAI LSB on November 19, 2004, when I chaired the meeting and Bob Lederer himself pointed this provision out when a member tried to put an executive session on the agenda of that meeting.
We wrangled over this and the Chair ruled that the LSB could break this rule. I moved to appeal this ruling of the Chair and of course the faction majority voted that the Chair was right. Bob Lederer also voted that we could violate the rule which he'd cited at a previous meeting.
I made a point of order that a majority of the LSB had just voted to violate the bylaws.
So then they kept trying to put an executive session on the agenda. But the faction members pushing this executive session said that they wanted Pacifica Executive Director Greg Guma in on the meeting, that they'd call him up and have him on the phone. But there was a question of whether or not he'd even be available.
During this time the entire executive session idea metamorphosed into a teleconference meeting the next night, since the Executive director couldn't be reached. People pointed out that we didn't know if he could make it the next night, August 8, either. The faction members amended their motion to say that the LSB would go ahead with a meeting whether the Executive Director was available or not. This was odd, given that they'd been citing the need for the LSB to talk to him as the reason for the executive session meeting.
It was then pointed out that any special meeting called with less than 10 days notice required that all LSB members be informed of the meeting at least 24 hours in advance. So we had the rather comical situation where the time for the August 8, executive session teleconference meeting kept getting pushed back. Eventually it was decided that the meeting would begin at 9:40 PM on August 8. Yeah, that's a good time to start a meeting.
And in response to a question the Chair stated that the member who has been illegally suspended for six months, and whose suspension was then about to enter its 18th month, would not be allowed on the teleconference call and would not be notified. This ruling of the chair was appealed and of course the faction voted to uphold it by a vote of 8 to 7.
The new Local elections Supervisor for the WBAI listening area was there and we voted to give her some time on the agenda to speak to the LSB and those who attended the meeting.
Her name is Attieno Davis and she gave us a little speech. Monroe disrupted it and she went over and did what she could to deal with him. Maybe she doesn't know that he's nuts.
She said that she was human and that on occasion she'd stumble and she was relying on all of us to help her when she does. Monroe wasn't exactly shutting up and so Marion Borenstein went over and stood next to Monroe with a posture that seemed to say that she was intending to menace him. Sarah Founders then joined her in looming over Monroe. This was, of course, out of order but the Chair said nothing.
Ms. Davis said that people who want to contact her about anything, including running for the LSB, should send her an E-mail. Copies of the packet to get on the ballot are available at the WBAI Web site. She then read the entire "Fair Campaign Pledge" and warned people not to test her.
When she was done I asked if we could ask questions, the Chair said no.
I'd wanted to ask how she'd make sure that all WBAI Staff would get the Fair Campaign Pledge forms to sign. In 2004, most WBAI Staff never got them. They were not put in Staff mailboxes and very few were left at the front desk. The majority of WBAI Staff never signed them in 2004, in fact by the time the 2004, deadline for candidates' registration came around only about 40 WBAI Staff out of 252 had signed the Fair Campaign Pledge. But, I wasn't allowed to ask this question.
The LSB set the date of its next publicly accessible meeting for Wednesday, September 13, 2006.
During the public Comment section of the meeting that faction sycophant who frequently denounces me at these meetings got up and gave an anti-Greg Guma speech, saying that there was a “fifth column” out to destroy WBAI. Well, if there is he's one of that fifth column's cheerleaders! He then said that Indra Hardat is doing a fine job! In the past he's denounced her. I guess he got new dictates from the faction he so loves. He ended up speaking twice during the public comment session.
We then came to the part of the meeting where we had to elect a LSB member to the Committee of Inclusion (COI). James Ross asked Ray LaForest, the Chair of that committee, how often the committee meets. That Chair didn't really answer the question. The reality is that the WBAI COI hasn't been meeting in the last year and a half!
The need for this election came about because one of the LSB members on the COI, Mitchel Cohen, had resigned from the WBAI LSB on July 10.
Nominated for this position were James Ross and Berta Silva. Silva was elected to the COI by a vote of 9 for her and 7 for Ross, so it's an all faction committee now.
At this point we were supposed to go to the Finance Committee report which included the LSB's first motion on the draft WBAI budget for FY07.
But suddenly faction members wanted to propose a new order of business, a motion that would set up a Town Hall meeting in September.
Well, the agenda had been set and the Chair knew that she didn't have the two thirds necessary to change it. She asked that we all just let this go on, it would be a fast motion. I called for the orders of the day. This meant that I was demanding that we adhere to the agenda.
A Town Hall meeting is a big deal. The LSB had voted to have one back in April, on pretty short notice. And we'd had to cancel that one due to it just not having been ready to go on time. For the faction to suggest that sliding a motion to have a Town Hall meeting off the bottom of the deck was a good idea is amazing. There would have been zero time for the LSB to consider this motion.
The Chair complained that the bylaws required that the LSB do two Town Hall meetings per year and we hadn't done one yet for 2006. I pointed out that the bylaws also required that we pass a budget and that the budget was not only important but it was on the agenda. We proceeded to the Finance Committee report.
Those of us who are on the Finance Committee knew about the draft budget details already, but many of the LSB members were seeing details of the budget for the first time. At least one faction member began to doze off during this part of the meeting.
So the Treasurer handed out the draft FY07 budget. He said that the money WBAI receives from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was being reduced this year. And a number of us dove into the budget draft and asked questions.
In response to my question the Treasurer revealed that his previous projection of a $310,000 surplus for WBAI in FY07 was now reduced to $265,985. This also projects that WBAI won't have the one month reserve that Pacifica Management is requiring us to have. This projected surplus is wearing away rapidly.
The motion was made to pass this draft budget. I made an amendment to the motion that said that WBAI's goal would be to raise the projected $2,400,000 in listener donations in 85 days of on-air pitching. This is what we'd passed for FY06, and although we went over that and pitched for 92 days in FY06, I thought that we should set the goal again, just so we all keep in mind that excess pitching becomes counter productive.
James Ross pointed out that we'd pitched for 92 days in FY06, 89 days in FY05, 90 days in FY04 and in FY04 and FY05 we'd raised more money than we had in FY06.
My amendment was tabled by a vote of 8 to 6.
Two hours into the meeting the Chair asked the Vice Chair, Omowale Clay, to take over. When it came time to vote for the approval of the motion to pass the draft FY07 budget, with questions attached, he just had to play games with what hand people were allowed to raise.
After the vote I called for the orders of the day, and the Vice Chair declared the meeting adjourned. Adjournment occurred at 10:11 PM.
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