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PNB: Important questions and points of information

Jonathan Markowitz
the firing of EB&G, forcing a settlement, & the interim PNB
Sat Jul 28 14:39:11 2001

Stephen Brown makes some very pertinent points in his 7-27-01 Goodlight post, "It's even scarier than you think...re: firing EB&G", as well as raising some questions that need 'answering', especially in regard to the urgency of LAB elections. I would like to juxtapose another viewpoint in regard to Pacifica's change of law firms.

I submit that Pacifica is trying to come up with any possible tactic to "scare" the movement into accepting an unsatisfactory settlement, which is exactly why the plaintiffs should NOT settle, but instead force Pacifica's cabal into court to face the music and be removed.

Listeners on the ground in NY, in addition to the WBAI LAB members who may be finally starting to wonder if democratization SHOULD happen before a settlement, ought to also consider the actual "qualifications" of two of our "courageous" future interim PNB members and the risk we face in having the future of Pacifica's bylaws being in their eager little hands.

I believe that LAB members are in a unique position in that the court ruling (or court anointed settlement) will most probably reinstate LABs power to seat PNB members. Well, what more important role could LABs do when that happens but to apply their power to approve or disapprove the seating of specific "interim" PNB members?

Back in February, 1999, appointed WPFW LAB member turned PNB member, Rob Robinson, under threat by the CPB that grants to Pacifica would be forfeited, voted away the power of LABs to elect members to the PNB. The question that needs to be asked is, what connections does Rob Robinson, who is a former Washington, D.C. City Councilman in addition to being a former aide to Mayor Marion Barry, have to Pacifica's new law firm and Democratic Party high-ups in Washington?

And what about the Pacifica call to "elect" Marion Barry to the PNB, is this not a direct effort to appeal to Robinson himself? Isn't Robinson a prominent member of Washington, D.C.'s Democratic Party machine and does this not create a clear conflict of interest regarding the future of a radio network that was nearly destroyed by powerful elements of the Democratic Party?

It was reported on one of the lists that appointed KPFK LAB member turned PNB member Rabbi Aaron Kriegel, who also voted away the LAB's right to elect PNB members, made a trip to the White House to 'counsel' President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski 'scandal'. Does that make Kriegel an unofficial Democratic Party Chaplain? Maybe Kriegel has even counseled some of the attorney's or clients of Pacifica's new law firm. If that's the case, wouldn't that constitute a "conflict of interest" or would that fall under the separation of church and state?

In spite of everything they've supposedly done to "save Pacifica", I don't trust Robinson and Kriegel as far as I can throw up on them and neither should the movement as far as I'm concerned. I am sorry to see Carol Spooner taint the spirit of her suit and her effort to empower Pacifica's listeners by trusting these Democratic Party connected charlatans with the future of Pacifica's assets and bylaws restructuring.

Can't the movement find a better 'crew' to make up the interim PNB?

Listeners may not be aware of this, but Rabbi Aaron Kriegel was actually recruited to the KPFK LAB in 1998 by KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb's confidant and political ally, Jim Horwitz, who was seated on the KPFK LAB at the beginning of Shubb's reign of terror at the station, but yet now the movement is supposed to consider Kriegel as "one of the good guys".

While on the LAB (or before being recruited) Kriegel never spoke out on record against the implementation of the Strategic Five Year Plan and the purges of local, radical programs at the station nor had he ever participated in any freepacifica activity or group. But then again, neither did Robert Farrell, who was recruited to the KPFK LAB by Dave Adelson and now sits on the PNB's Executive Committee.

One thing that's certain, Kriegel (and the other PNB members slated for the interim board) will do ANYTHING to protect the CPB funding paradigm. Is this why so many surviving programmers at the stations are cashing in their political chips with Kriegel (Robinson, Bramson, Moran & Cagan) to be on the interim board due to the inherent fear of cutting the White House controlled CPB purse strings?

A curious fact about former KPFK LAB member Jim Horwitz (Horwitz continues to put together speaking events in FAIR's name ever since Shubb ran FAIR's LA office) is that in spite of his shining record in support of Shubb's (and Pat Scott's) operation at the station, Horwitz was asked by Adelson to be a suit plaintiff.

There are some questions that need to be answered:

Why would Horwitz want to be a co-plaintiff on a suit against the PNB whom Horwitz was in alignment with?

Why would Adelson want to have Horwitz as a plaintiff to begin with?

What would the suit gain by having someone as compromised as Horwitz as a plaintiff?

Was there some other reason such as Horwitz's possible connection to some deep pockets to afford attorney Dan Siegel's legal fees?

Could this be why Horwitz felt he was in a position to bypass Adelson and communicate with Siegel directly? (Horwitz mentioned during his last LAB meeting that he was in contact with Siegel by phone)

Taking into consideration Horwitz's connection to Schubb and those who've sought to purge KPFK's radical programming, isn't it unwise for Adelson to have invited Horwitz onto the suit?

Adelson eventually removed Horwitz from the suit's plaintiff list by filing a third amendment to the suit's original complaint, but yet that amended complaint is nowhere to be found on any of the websites (maybe Dave can forward it to the lists along with his latest "reasonable" explanation why Horwitz was ever a plaintiff to begin with).

Horwitz provided an interesting anecdote ten minutes before publicly resigning from the KPFK LAB last year when he made a statement in defense of Kriegel (whose name was up, along with Farrell's, to be "removed" as LAB reps to the PNB by a vote of the KPFK LAB - Farrell got the symbolic boot but Kriegel was retained..big surprise!). Horwitz revealed that Kriegel and Adelson had made a very good team in helping to 'negotiate' with Mary Berry to get the KPFA staff back into the station during the lockout period in Berkeley. This is a very curious fact since Kriegel was one of Adelson's suit defendants at the time.

Months later, Adelson quietly removed Kriegel, Robinson and Bramson from the suit's defendants list without fanfare when the suit's original complaint was first amended.

Although many in the movement are aware of how devastating the return of KPFA's staff to the station (without obtaining significant terms from Pacifica) was to the listener revolt, most are not aware that this act by Kriegel (and Adelson) forever sealed an 'oath' of loyalty between those KPFA programmers and Kriegel, who they are now entrusting the future of the foundation in the soon to come transitional period. This is politics at its worst and Kriegel is no amateur to the way the game is really played in terms of positioning one's leverage.

Probably the most neglected but important fact that should be considered by listeners and LAB members in NY (and nationwide) is the rarely mentioned fact that current PNB Executive Committee member (former California State Senator and LA City Councilman) Robert Farrell was recruited to the KPFK LAB by David Adelson in 1998.

The question that up to now has only been asked by me, is why did Adelson, in the second amendment to his suit's original complaint, remove Farrell from the defendants list? Does anyone (other than Adelson) know the answer to this question? Why remove a straight out member of the Pacifica junta from the LAB plaintiff's suit? Is there a quid pro quo here that hasn't been revealed? What is the movement gaining by having Farrell's name removed from the LAB plaintiff's suit?

The other question is, why haven't the current LABs in Berkeley, LA and NY gone on record to confront Farrell regarding his actions while sitting on the PNB?

Jonathan Markowitz
Los Angeles

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