WBAI LSB election disqualifications, violations, rulings
- WBAI/Pacifica campaign fair rules
After careful consideration I have made the decision to re-qualify
the candidate Father Lawrence Lucas due to the fact that reasonable "equal time"
was made available to all candidates running for the local station board. A second
round of air-time and candidate carts have balanced out the time and therefore all
votes cast by voting members in favor of Candidate Lawrence Lucas will be counted.
WBAI Local Elections Supervisor
Good Afternoon Bernard,
I pray that this message reach you in good health and spirits. I am sure you are aware that many listeners are upset regarding your mentioning of a listener candidate on the air during a wake-up call show. I tried to reach you via phone several times to discuss this matter with you, however your mailbox was full. And when I stopped by the station you were not in.
Whether intentional or not, your mention of the listener candidate Michael Warren can be construed as somewhat of an on-air endorsement, which are banned by on-air staff under the Pacifica Fair Campaign Provisions. This notice is an official warning to adhere to the mandates of the Pacifica Fair Campaign Provisions. In order to help guard yourself during the remaining days of the elections process it would behoove you not make mention of any candidate on the air.
Because I believe your violation was border-line and accidental, this warning is the level of remedy I believe to be appropriate. However, any repeat violation could result in a more severe remedy. As Local Election Supervisor, the Bylaws give me a range of remedy options up to and including the disqualification of candidates and the removal of staff from the air.
Thank you so much for your cooperation regarding this matter. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call me at 347-724-3315.
L. Joy Williams
Official Election Supervisor Announcement #2
There were two individuals by the names of Alma Rodriguez and Bernardo Palumbo, associated with one slate, who Joy Williams, the Local Election Supervisor, did not certify as candidates. There may have been a third individual who was disqualified according to a phone call I had from Ray Laforest on January 4, 2004, who was associated with a competing slate, but this is the first I heard of this, and I don't know of any appeal.
Joy Williams, says that she made a substantial effort in a timely manner to confirm whether the two were indeed eligible to run, but did not get any response from them until after the ballots had already been printed. Both Alma Rodriguez and Bernardo Palumbo provided no phone or email contact information on their nomination papers. There was no name or address matching Palumbo in the station database. There was a name similar (or the same) as Alma Rodriquez, but at a different address, and multiple phone messages left at the phone number for that name were not returned. Joy also says that she notified other members of the slate supporting these individuals about the problem she had contacting them to verify their eligibility. Joy notes that the individuals seeking nomination never formally contacted her about the disqualification until after the ballots had been sent to the printer and it was too late. Indeed, one of the individuals has still not formally complained about the disqualification.
Despite these efforts by the Local Election Supervisor, it should be noted that an individual seeking nomination has to be responsible to make sure that they qualify for an election by being on the rolls, rather than Pacifica having the burden of making sure that all interested individuals qualify. Even if there was a mistake on the rolls, it should be the candidate's responsibility to bring this mistake to Pacifica's attention on a timely basis. If you want to run in an election, you should first make sure you qualify. Even if the rolls were inaccurate, each candidate had ample time to fix the problem by bringing it to Pacifica's attention and providing proof that they should be on the rolls.
In addition, contacting a disqualified individual is not a requirement of the Bylaws, but more of a courtesy. The Bylaws also do not provide any appeal option for a ruling by the Local Election Supervisor on the issue of his or her review of nomination applications for eligibility and completeness. The reasonable decision was made to disqualify them since they did not appear to be "members in good standing" as required by the Bylaws, and they did not respond to Joy's efforts to confirm their status in a timely manner.
The Bylaws refer to "members in good standing" as having the right to run. Robert's Rules of Order only lists that term once in the index. On page 6 of the most recent (10th edition of) Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, in a section headed "The Local Assembly Of An Organized Society" it states, "Such an assembly's membership is limited to persons who are recorded on the rolls of the society as voting members in good standing." While the station had an obligation to TRY and "record on the rolls" all individuals who meet the qualifications, the individuals may reasonably also share some responsibility for assuring that they are on the "rolls" if they seek to be nominees. This is one reason why the Bylaws establish a "record date" -- only those correctly on the rolls are deemed eligible. The database system and most of the data for all of the Pacifica stations was developed prior to the adoption of the new Bylaws, and it seems inevitable that the database would not be perfect. However, as election supervisors we could only work with the information we were able to gather. The nomination forms requested contact information such as phone and/or email addresses so that candidate information can be confirmed (and so candidates can receive important election information. The fact that these individuals did not provide this information (although we believe they both have phones and at least one or both of them use email) places more of the responsibility for any failure on them. The excerpt pasted below from the legal opinion from the Pacifica Attorney, Kevin Finck confirms this view that individuals seeking nomination also have responsibility.
Also, the Foundation is under a court order to mail the ballots on Monday, January 5, and based on the information I have on hand, It appears that the greater legal risk to the Foundation would be to disobey that court order, than the absence of two (or three?) individuals from the ballot who the Local Election Supervisor did not qualify as candidates.
Under the present Bylaws, the Local Election Supervisor is charged with reviewing the nomination papers for completeness and eligibility. Article 4, Section 4 B of the Bylaws dealing with the job of Local Election Supervisors states in relevant part... "His/her duties shall include ...reviewing each potential candidate's nomination papers for eligibility and completeness, ...." While it is true that I have taken on some of the responsibilities (such as nomination form design and ballot printing and distribution) in conjunction with the Local Election Supervisors, that has been with their general agreement. Since I did not review the nomination forms of the individuals, without Joy's acceptance, I do not think I could add their names to the ballot.
My conclusion is that the decision to NOT certify the individuals as LSB candidates was done legitimately, and that the elections should proceed using the ballots that have been mailed on January 5, 2004.
Official Election Supervisor Announcement #1
All candidates were required to sign the Pacifica Fair Campaign Provisions as part of their declaration as a Listener candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board Elections. One of the mandates within that statement included the following: "All candidates for election as a Listener-Sponsor Delegate shall be given equal opportunity for equal air time, which air time shall include time for a statement by the candidate and a question and answer period with call-in listeners."
On January 3rd, 2004 Listener Candidate Father Lucas violated that mandate by appearing as a guest on Al Lewis Live. One possible remedy for this situation would be to give the same amount of time to all of the other Listener Candidates running for the Local Station Board, issue a warning to the candidate with out disqualification. However, after consulting with station management on the issue, I was told that additional time to make up for the inequality in airtime could not be provided to all of the candidates. Consequently in order to comply with the equal time provisions set in the bylaws (article 4 section 6) I am compelled, with the approval of the National Elections Supervisor Terry Bouricius, to disqualify Father Lucas as a valid Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board.
I urge each Listener Candidate to adhere to the rules and regulations of this election process. If you have any doubt on whether your planned actions will be in violation of these rules please do not hesitate to call me at 347-724-3315 before you act.
Thank you for your cooperation.
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