The one hundred twenty fourth WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at Alwan-for-the-arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, in downtown Manhattan. This is not an official Web page of the LSB.
This meeting began 71 minutes late.
The LSB had a hard time achieving a quorum for this meeting. The meeting start time was 7:00 PM, as usual, and we did not get a quorum until 8:11 PM. I wish the LSB had passed one of the several motions I've offered over the years to declare the meeting cancelled if no quorum shows up a full hour after the official meeting start time. That might actually give some of the usual late comers an incentive to get there before an hour has elapsed with the rest of us just sitting there.
While we were sitting around waiting for a quorum to appear we got word from the faction that one of their members, Camille Yarbrough, had resigned. In such a case the next runner up from the latest election takes the vacated seat. In this case that person was Sharonne Salaam who is also from the faction and she took that seat at this meeting. So the faction got rid of one of their chronic no-show members and seated one who will probably show up at the meetings.
After sitting around for more than 50 minutes the Chair decided to convene the meeting without a quorum, There was disagreement about what could be done at that point. apparently there are a number of people who either have not bothered to read Robert's Rules of Order or who find it inconvenient to follow those rules. One faction operative was whining that so many people had shown up for the meeting that the LSB had to give them something. Well, there were a handful of people there. The LSB, devoid of a quorum as it was, may have out numbered the public attending the meeting.
The faction was after getting back to their faction boss' motion from the August meeting which would strongly urge the WBAI General Manager not to sign a lease extension for WBAI. That suicidal motion had just barely failed at the August meeting. Maybe they figured to have the handful of faction operatives, and a couple of crazies, who were in the audience intimidate some non-faction LSB member into voting their way or at least not voting against their motion.
So the faction leader at the meeting suggested just having a dialog between the dozen LSB members and the audience. I made a motion to make the agenda for this non-meeting just that. We were debating that when a faction operative walked in and we had a quorum.
Well, the LSB Secretary termed out in July, and he's not coming back just to take down minutes of a meeting he can't really participate in much anymore. So since we now had a real meeting to deal with we needed to have minutes of the meeting. We had to find a Secretary pro tem. No one wanted to do it. After a while one faction operative from the audience said she'd do it, but the minutes wouldn't be “precise.” She wouldn't agree to get all of the details of things. The Chair said that we did need some precision for the minutes. At this point I had to intervene. I volunteered to be Secretary pro tem for this meeting.
Now that we had a real meeting where motions could be made and passed we had to deal with a real agenda. The faction wanted to have their suicidal motion to kill WBAI by de-housing the station moved up on the agenda. Why were they so hot about it when it had failed at the previous meeting? Well, the Pacifica National Board (PNB) was meeting the next night to vote on whether or not to direct the Acting Executive Director to allow the signing of that lease renewal. Now some people on the PNB, like Dan Siegel of KPFA, want to sell WBAI. But there are other PNB members who are not committed to the destruction of the Pacifica Foundation. Some of those know that WBAI must renew this lease so we can have a chance to build up some capital and make a real move in the near future. But some PNB members don't really get this, they are, to put it bluntly, stupid. They're the sort who'd be swayed by an argument that the WBAI LSB had approved of the plan to not sign a lease renewal. So passing such a motion at the WBAI LSB might get the faction operatives the votes they needed on the PNB, which actually can call shots like this.
There was a lot of back and forth on all of this, along with a couple of other amendments to the agenda. In the end the motion to give the faction's motions a prominent place on the agenda failed by a vote of 6 for and 6 against. And when the mandated 20 minutes for setting the agenda was up we voted on approval of the agenda. Well, that vote initially came out at 5 for and 6 against! We'd end up with no agenda at all. It turned out that one non-faction member just hadn't bothered to vote. She does this sometimes. So she changed her vote and voted for the agenda. The faction was hollering that she couldn't do that. As it turns out she can do that. Robert's Rules of Order says so. The faction leader tried to invent new rules, tried to claim things had happened which hadn't happened, and the Chair couldn't figure out how to rule that she could vote. He was confused about it and claimed she was calling for a reconsideration of the vote, when no such thing was happening. So he made a mess of a ruling. The faction appealed that ruling of the Chair. This time the non-faction member decided to vote and the appeal upheld the Chair's ruling. And then the faction leader started shouting out that the vote to approve the agenda would now require a two thirds vote. More stuff he was making up. In the end the agenda got passed by one vote.
For public comment we had some people who were going to be candidates in the LSB election speaking. We also had some faction operatives getting up with their know-nothing crap about not renewing the lease. This public comments session included a crazy person or two, one of whom went on to make physical threats against a couple of LSB members.
Then we got to a report from the “General Manager Ad Hoc Evaluation Committee.” Basically this committee had met five times in as many weeks and felt that it needed more time to do its work. So they wanted an extension. This simple request got argued about for the next 47 minutes, with extensions of time and histrionics. In the end the LSB voted, just barely, to give them an extension to the October 10th, LSB meeting where they are going to have to present a written report. After that we were out of time, but everyone wanted to give the public more time to comment. Many of the same people who'd already spoken got up to speak again, and to pretty much say exactly the same things again. One of the crazies had to repeat her vitriol, but the physically threatening crazy had left the meeting by this time.
This meeting adjourned at 10:02 PM.
Here are the approved minutes of this meeting.
The approved minutes of this meeting are available in Rich Text Format (.rtf).
The approved minutes of this meeting are available in Portable Document Format (.pdf).
Here's the page showing the attendance at the LSB meetings.
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