Some notes and comments regarding the
WBAI local advisory board meeting
These are a few of several views.
Responses are invited and will be posted on this page.
Also see: WBAI LAB meeting audio and notes
From: paul_surovell email@example.com
The WBAI LAB passed a resolution on Tuesday sponsored by Mimi Rosenberg to convene a national meeting of all five Pacifica LABs to decide on a bylaws plan acceptable to at least 3 of 5 LABs.
In the discussion, Mimi and Anthony Mackall made it clear that they wanted the meeting to promote the Unity Caucus constituency model to the LAB members from all the other listening areas. Mimi said, "We can still change minds."
During the discussion, Mimi rejected a friendly amendment from Andy Norris to include representatives of the Bylaws Committees in this national meeting. She said it wasn't necessary to invite listeners because it will be a "public meeting" that the community can attend.
Tbe vote was taken over the objections of LAB chair Miguel Maldonado, who warned that by seeking to ignore the decisions to reject the constituency model by the other four LABs, the WBAI LAB was removing itself from the bylaws process and making itself irrelevant.
Toward the end of the discussion and during the vote, 15 of the 20 members of the public at the meeting held up signs that said "New York Supports KPFA" [KPFA elections model] and "KPFA is Good for Constituencies."
Lee Kronick snarled, "Where are these people with the signs coming from?"
The demonstrators agreed that while the vote went against them, they had won a moral victory against a LAB which ignores the Bylaws Revision Committee's 29-10 vote for the KPFA model, and over 500 signatures on petitions opposed to the UC constituency model.
What the WBAI LAB majority fails to realize is that the more people learn about the constituency model the less they like it.
So, if this meeting of LABs ever takes place, the WBAI Committee for a Unified Membership and other New York listeners will be there in force, with documents and presentations to make sure that LAB members understand the flaws and biases contained in the Unity Caucus constituency model as well as the dangers it poses for the Pacifica mission.
Yes, if this meeting ever takes place, at the end, there will be even less support for the constituency model than there is now, among the four other LABs.
From: Andrew Norris [WBAI LAB secretary]
At the LAB special meeting last night the agenda included the items below that have already been voted on by the KPFA LAB:
1. Number of local station board
Unfortunately, in its 3 hour meeting, the WBAI only managed to close on one of these: item 3, which the LAB supports. However, that vote had been taken at the previous regular LAB meeting December 2 (which I missed).
The only substantive vote taken at the 12/17 Special Meeting related to an important detail on Item 3. The LAB voted 6-1-3 that "Up to one third of the LAB members would be grandparented for up to one year".
The Special Meeting of the WBAI LAB on December 17 2002 is very likely the last meeting of the LAB before the deadline of January 5, by which time the collective LAB input from the 5 LABs is due to the iPNB. The members of the WBAI LAB were made very clear of this at the Special Meeting by Leslie Cagan, who outlined the timeframe leading up to the iPNB meeting in LA Jan. 31- Feb. 2, 2003.
I believe it is a disservice to the WBAI community that despite the significant interest displayed in the bylaws process - evidenced by public attendance at approximately 25 WBAI Area Bylaws Revision Subcommittee meetings - the LAB has failed to respond to the specific request from the iPNB meeting in DC. The only issue on which it has spoken is Grandparenting: the WBAI LAB is in favor of retaining some of its current members.
The LAB has now effectively lost the opportunity to make a substantive contribution to the clear consensus among the 5 LABs. A substantial part of the Special Meeting was spent on items added to the above agenda. In particular, the only other vote taken was on the following: "That the LAB do outreach to other LABs before the iPNB Jan 31 meeting about positions of WBAI, as a continuation of the dialog begun in DC. Meetings are open." This motion passed 8-2-0.
My understandong of the motion is that be an open meeting of LAB members from the 5 signal areas prior to the iPNB meeting in LA. The purpose is to have the LABs focus on the position taken by the WBAI LAB, i.e. the Constituency Model. Several weeks ago we went through a process of each LAB making its opinion known about the "hybrid model" - the result of which was there is no interest in the "hybrid model". I think it is a major distraction and waste of precious time to now expect people to return to the CM, when the pressing business has been spelled out. As I mentioned at the LAB meeting, the boat is leaving and the WBAI LAB needs to get on it. Unfortnately, we may have missed the boat.
From: Mark Hernandez
I've been informed that members of the "Unity Caucus" have decided to focus their attentions on the KPFK LAB, seeing the overwhelming rejection votes in Berkeley and Houston as not worth the effort to try and change minds.
Can you tell who has been paying for the phone calls and airfares for these lobbying efforts?
Can anyone from Los Angeles tell us if they have been approached by the "Unity Caucus" or any _other_ group in an effort to change minds on the KPFK LAB to vote for the "constituency model"?
I'm just connecting dots here...any help is appreciated.
-- ====================================================================== Mark Hernandez markh@r... KFCF Volunteer | FFCF Member/Director | KPFA Volunteer/LAB Member ======================================================================
From: Dave Fertig
I think this effort to revive the CU model is a glorious distraction and a terrible misallocation of limited resources. Is this really the most pressing issue? Is it viable? Is it a re-hashing of a thoroughly processed debate? Is it a revival of an old argument which will do more to anger and alienate people than advance our cause?
From: Paul Surovell
What is going on here, plain and simple, is an attempt by the WBAI LAB majority to hijack the bylaws revision process.
The WBAI LAB majority refuses to accept the views of New York-area listeners and producers (including the Bylaws Revision Subcommitee) which are overwhelmingly against the constituency model. The WBAI LAB majority refuses to accept the votes taken by the other four LABs which overwhelmingly rejected the constituency model.
The WBAI LAB majority is following the lead of the Unity Caucus, a small group whose coordinator Fred Nguyen has engaged in a continuous, shameless campaign of smears, slanders and false charges of racism against anyone who dares to speak against the Unity Caucus elections model.
This campaign of race-baiting has been joined by other spokespeople of the Unity Caucus, some of whom are part of the WBAI LAB majority.
These attacks have been public and private, general and personal.
There is only one way to respond to the tactics of the WBAI LAB majority and their Unity Caucus mentors, and that is to expose and reject the elitist, demagogic, race-baiting and undemocratic essence of their politics.
The four other LABs should dismiss the proposed national LAB meeting as an obvious ploy to hijack the bylaws revision process that is very near completion. The answer to the WBAI majority should be a polite, but resounding "No! Your proposal is out of order."
For those of you outside New York, there are three LAB members, chair Miguel Maldonado, secretary Andy Norris, and Madelyn Hoffman (executive director of New Jersey Peace Action) who have courageously and steadfastly stood up to the abuse and intimidation of the majority and their Unity Caucus mentors.
They deserve a great round of applause.
The WBAI LAB and the Bylaws Process
By a Concerned Listener
The WBAI LAB's attempts to reverse positions taken on the revised bylaws by the iPNB and the other four Pacifica LABS is very serious. The Network is still recovering from the recent hijacking and the clock is ticking for compliance with the settlement agreement. The original settlement deadline will not be met and an issue that had been settled threatens to upset the bylaws process and endanger even a court extended deadline for elections of permanent boards under the new bylaws.
The issues and the relevant facts follow:
1. The WBAI LAB is out of sync with the other four LABS. In addition, it has ignored a formal request from the iPNB chair to consider a list of outstanding bylaws issues. Furthermore, certain LAB members were insulting and abusive of the iPNB chair in the December 17th LAB meeting because they disagreed with the chair's handling of the Constituency model (CM) issue in the last iPNB meeting in Washington.
2. The inexcusable behavior of some of the LAB members, and the position taken by the majority of the LAB regarding the CM indicates a disrespect for the iPNB chair, a disrespect for the iPNB and a disrespect for the other four LABS who have already decided against the CM. There is also a profound disrespect for democratic procedure and orderly process.
3. The WBAI LAB is not only out of sync with the other LABS, its position is opposite to that of the majority of the WBAI bylaws subcommittee attested to by a 29-10 vote for the KPFA model, and over 500 signatures on petitions by WBAI listener-sponsors, listeners and staff that oppose the basic elements of the CM.
4. The WBAI resolution to convene a national meeting of all five Pacifica LABS is to serve one purpose only, to try to get the other LABS to change their minds about the CM.
5. iPNB member David Fertig replies to the WBAI LAB position in these words: "I think this effort to revive the CM is a glorious distraction and a terrible misallocation of limited resources. Is this really the most pressing issue? Is it viable? Is it a re-hashing of a thoroughly processed debate? Is it a revival of an old argument which will do more to anger and alienate people than advance our cause?" The Fertig comments, in their rhetorical, interrogatory form, make perfectly clear that CM is a lost cause that has been debated enough, and that it will do more harm than good to Pacifica to pursue it further.
6. To recap the sequence:
a) the iPNB has consistently voted against the basic elements of the CM and has decisively rejected local autonomy for elections bylaws (9- 1 straw poll vote at the November Houston meeting).
b) In Houston, Donna Gould presented the Hybrid model on her own behalf as a substitute for the CM but the iPNB declined to consider it.
c) Bob Lederer, representing the Unity Caucus at the Houston meeting, announced the Unity Caucus was withdrawing the CM from further consideration and was endorsing the proposed Hybrid model as a compromise.
d) After a majority straw poll vote endorsing the KPFA elections model, the iPNB voted to ask the LABs to choose between the KPFA and Hybrid models. The chair did not send the CM to the LABs which had already been withdrawn by the Unity Caucus.
e) At the next WBAI LAB meeting, the LAB resoundingly rejected the Hybrid model and by majority vote re-affirmed support for the CM, despite the fact that the CM had been rejected by the iPNB and all four other LABs at that point.
7. As referenced in #4 above, the WBAI LAB passed a resolution at its December meeting to call for a national meeting of all LABs for the purpose of convincing them to accept the already rejected CM.
8. The above referenced actions of the WBAI LAB aimed at putting the issue of the CM back on the agenda of the LABs and iPNB are out of order, illegitimate, improper and inviolation of standard organizational rules and procedures. The ignoring of the recorded positions of the iPNB and the other LABS shows a disrespect for due process as well as a disrespect, if not contempt for those who disagree with the Unity Caucus model. There has been too much of smears, slanders and charges of racism against those who do not support the CM. This ad hominem insulting behavior is unprofessional, divisive and detrimental to the Pacifica Foundation and the Pacifica Mission in the long run.
9. The resolution carried by majority vote at the last WBAI LAB meeting, to convene a national meeting of all five Pacifica LABS has one purpose only, to put the CM on the table again and resume discussion of the already rejected model.
10. There is no legal, legitimate or procedural reason to resume discussion of the CM at either the level of the LABS or by the iPNB. The iPNB chair should be steadfast and make it crystal clear the CM issue is over. The chair should not be intimidated or cowed by certain loud spoken, insulting members of the WBAI LAB. The four other LABS should also stand firm and make it clear that they do not wish to take part in a meeting to further discuss a model or an issue that has already been decided upon.
By - Beresford Jones, WBAI Listener-Supporter and Volunteer.
From: Andrew Norris
It is unfortunate that you felt compelled to draw attention to the behavior - or misbehavior - of members of the WBAI Local Advisory Board at our Special Meeting on 12/17/02.
I would like to apologize to you for this. At the same time I will try to ensure that concerned listeners and supporters of WBAI who attend LAB meetings are no longer subject to insult and disrespect. Specifically, I intend to bring up this topic at the next regular LAB meeting 1/7/03.
And thank you for providing the coherent summary below. There is no doubt that the WBAI LAB has ignored the clear wishes of listeners as expressed in the WBAI Area Bylaws Subcommittee by focusing on a "model" that has been repeatedly rejected and is now irrelevant.
Andy Norris [WBAI LAB]
Andy, Thank you for your thoughtful reply to Beresford's statement. While I wasn't at the last WBAI LAB meeting, I am painfully aware of the tension and difficult dynamic existing at meetings between and among those who disagree. I add my voice to yours in calling attention to the need to establish some groundrules for the way in which listeners and LAB members treat one another.
Madelyn [Hoffman - WBAI LAB]
Also see: WBAI LAB meeting audio and notes
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