wbai.net Pacifica/WBAI history   events   links   archive   bylaws etc
PNB   LSB   elections   contact info   opinion   search


Feb. 26, 2001

On February 22, 2001, the six dissident members of the Pacifica National Board (Pete Bramson, Leslie Cagan, Rabbi Aaron Kriegel, Beth Lyons, Tomas Moran and Rob Robinson) sent a memo to the chair of the Pacifica Board, David Acosta, putting forth specific recommendations for the Board meeting scheduled for March 3rd and 4th in Houston, Texas. The full text of their memo is included below.

As of mid-day on Monday, February 26th there has not been any response from the Board chair. The six members of the National Board will continue their efforts to make sure that the many critical issues within Pacifica are fully addressed in open and democratic ways.

MEMO TO: David Acosta, Chair of the Pacifica National Board
FROM: Leslie Cagan, Tomas Moran, Pete Bramson, Beth Lyons, Rob Robinson and Rabbi Aarn Kriegel
DATE: Feb. 22, 2001
RE: Upcoming National Board Meeting
CC: Members of the National Board

On the January 24th conference call you convened we each had an opportunity to raise our concerns and the issues we believe must be addressed by the National Board. It was our understanding that you were going to convene another call and that we would have input into the agenda for our upcoming March 3 - 4th Board meeting. Since this has not yet happened, we are contacting you now with our recommendations.

1) There are several major issues the full Board should discuss at this upcoming meeting, and therefore we suggest that the usual schedule be altered. More specifically, each of the committee meetings on Saturday should be shortened so they all can be completed by 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. If this is done, we can use both the rest of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning for the fullest discussion possible.

2) In the past, the time alloted for public comment has been at the end of the meeting. Instead, we believe it makes more sense to have an hour for public comment at the very beginning of the full board meeting. This would allow us to hear what concerns and ideas people have before we start our discussions, and as such could allow us to consider whatever comes up in the public comment time during our deliberations. There could still be time for public comment at the very end of the meeting as well.

3) The issues we believe must be addressed by the full Board include the following (not listed in order of importance):

- The current crisis at WBAI, including why Pacifica's Executive Director made the decisions to fire the Station Manager, install an interim Station Manager, fire two other people and change locks throughout the station. In addition, the Board should understand the present situation at WBAI: people being banned, significant changes in programming, an on-air gag rule, not allowing the LAB to hold their open meetings at the station, etc. There needs to be time on the agenda for a full Board discussion of the appropriateness - or not - of these actions.

- The decision to close the Los Angeles financial office and what has happened with the financial records and the financial operations of the Pacifica Foundation. We should know who is now serving as Controller and how the other financial tasks are being handled. As members of the Board, we have fiscal oversight responsibilties and therefore we must be involved in such decisions.

- In relation to these two items (and this might apply to other items as well), there should be enough time during the full meeting for members of the Board to ask questions directly of the Executive Director about the reasons such actions where taken. Of course, we would assume there would also be time for Board members to address the wisdom of such actions, as well as make any recommendations for changes we would like to see made.

- Plans for revising the Pacifica Foundation's ByLaws. We are fully aware that initial proposals for changes have been circulated by the chair of the Governance Committee and that a great deal of feedback has already come in. We also know that there are plans for more discussion of this matter during the meeting of the Governance Committee. Nonetheless, the full Board should have a discussion of how we view the present ByLaws, what types of changes we might like to see made, and the process for doing this work. The ByLaws are the organizational rules for how we do our work and as such any consideration of changes in them must be thoroughly discussed by all Board members. - Status of grievances against Pacifica and/or any of the five stations. This specifically should include the situation with Democracy Now! and WBAI.

- Bringing new people on to the National Board. While a decision was made at the September Board meeting for a process that would have allowed us to possibly vote on new Board members at this upcoming meeting we are concerned that this process was not fully followed. Instead of voting for any new Board members we think the full Board should discuss the status of present members (when terms are over, etc.), the criteria we want to use in making decisions about potential new members and a time-line that includes review of resumes and interviews.

- Planning for the evaluation of the Executive Director.

4) Finally, to help us all be as productive and focused during the Board meeting as possible, we urge that you take whatever steps are necessary to make sure we all receive the following information before the meeting. We want to point out that many of the items on this list have been asked for in the past, but have still not been forthcoming:
- Minutes of the last two National Board meetings. (Even if this is a hard copy of what is posted on the web site, although we expect that, as is common practice in most organizations, we would receive minutes that focus on decisions and important and/or controversial discussions.)
- Minutes of all Executive Committee meetings this past year.
- Report on the FCC inspection of WBAI last month.
- Updates on grievances.
- Initial reports on the goals and pledges of this recent fund drive at each of the five stations.
- A full report from the Executive Director on decisions she has made since the September, 2000 Board meeting, including but not limited to: firings at WBAI; closing of the finance office in Los Angeles; letters from Epstein, Becker and Green to at least two web sites.

top of page | home

sponsors this site