L et T h em T A L k !

June 27, 2002
Paul DeRienzo
Friends of the Fired, Banned
and Future Plaintiffs

Leslie Cagan
Pacifica National Board
2390 Champlain St. NW
Washington DC 20009

Dear Leslie,

I am writing on behalf of a number of banned and fired producers and staffers who believe the current Board and station management actions have not only been arbitrary, capricious and illegal but also undermine Lew Hill’s pacifist mission. We would appreciate for the benefit of all supporters of Pacifica your addressing the following questions and concerns:

  1. The following individuals have been fired summarily with no opportunity for response since Judge Sabraw’s order prohibiting such firings and removal.
  2. Edgar Boldar–WPFW Jazz Show cancelled w/out notice
    JC Calderon–WBAI Latino Journal co-host cancelled w/out notice
    Marc Cooper–KPFK programmer AFTRA Shop Steward.
    Robert Daughtry–General Manager WBAI
    Armand DiMele–WBAI Positive Mind host cut back 25% w/out notice
    Paul DeRienzo–WBAI news reporter, talk show host--Shop Steward
    Djabel Faye–WBAI Program Director, AFTRA activist
    Ken Gale–WBAI host cancelled without prior notice, fired and banned
    Garland Gantner–KPFT General manager resigned
    Joe Gill–Chief Engineer PNN, Satellite Service Supervisor
    Shannon Gilson–Pacifica Network News
    Russell Greene–WPFW engineer forced to resign
    Patricia Guadalupe–Pacifica Network News
    Louis Hankins–WPFW General Manager fired
    Noelle Hanrahan--KPFA co-host of Flashpoints, CWA Shop Steward.
    Bob Hennelly-- Pacifica Network News
    Roman Hunt–WPFW engineer forced to resign
    Laura Iiyama-- Pacifica Network News
    Kim Jackson–WBAI music show host cancelled without prior notice
    Saul Landau--Pacifica National News commentator silenced
    Utrice Leid–Exec Dir PNN forced to resign
    Michael Levine–Expert Witness show preempted without notice.
    Marjorie Moore–WBAI Morning Show host\
    Santiago Nieves–WBAI Morning Show host cancelled and fired
    Sally O’Brien–WBAI host programs cut back and threatened
    Josephine Reid-- Pacifica Network News
    Clayton Riley–Saturday host fired and banned by Valerie Van Isler
    Don Rush–Sr. Correspondent Pacifica National News Shop Steward
    Ralph Schoenman–WBAI producer harassed and banned
    Mark Schubb–KPFK General Manager forced to resign
    Habte Selassie–WBAI producer show time changed to 3am w/out notice
    Miriam Sherrod–Pacifica Finance Office
    George Stonefish–WBAI Red Nations Host cancelled w/out notice
    April Watts–WPFW Program Assistant fired w/out notice
    Edwina Williams–WPFW Wednesday Talk cancelled w/out notice
    Paul Williams–WBAI Operations Director forced to resign
    Andy York–WPFW engineer forced to resign

    We demand immediate reinstatement of all these individuals who were improperly dropped. We also request an investigation into the question of whether any station Program Director offered on air jobs as payback to those who fought as dissidents for removal of the former Board.

  3. The Pacifica Foundation is currently the subject of at least three Unfair Labor Practices complaints brought by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. AFTRA has taken the position that Paul DeRienzo, Djabel Fay and Marjorie Moore, all WBAI employees were wrongfully terminated because of their staunch pro-union activism. Considering that the dissidents and current Board majority have invoked labor terminology throughout their struggle and that the dissidents have claimed widespread union support, what are you doing to amicably settle this dispute?

  4. Is the interim Board in violation of Article 3 Section G of Judge Sabraw’s order when it violates existing Pacifica policy by taking personnel actions (e.g. the firing of Bob Daughtry) that it did not have the authority to execute?

  5. In an email from you dated June 24, 2002 to programmer Armand DiMele (The Positive Mind) you stated, "Let me be clear as chair of the Interim Pacifica National Board I do not have any involvement in programming decisions at WBAI or any of the other four stations." How do you square this representation with your statements at the January 2002 National Board meeting where you directly spearheaded the public firing and humiliation of WBAI General Manager Bob Daughtry?

  6. Can you supply a copy of the Board approved budget for fiscal year 2002?

  7. Is the current Board functioning as an operating board or a governance board?

  8. Are the advisory boards involved in the day-to-day operations of the stations?

  9. We have direct evidence that Pacifica National Board members have been attending LAB meetings in Washington DC. Are current Board members also serving and voting on local advisory boards?

  10. Given the facts is the advisory board involved in programming decisions does this threaten Pacifica’s eligibility for CPB funding?

  11. Is all employee compensations reported and taxed according to the IRS?

  12. What is your policy in regards to compensation of some radio hosts and not to others?

  13. What is your policy for providing transportation, day care, health insurance and other benefits to some hosts and staffers and not others

  14. There were strong allegations that the previous Board was trying to amend the Foundation’s by-laws for purposes that were not acceptable to the current Board’s philosophies. It’s now being argued that the current Board is also engaged in efforts to redo the by-laws in ways that also undermine the principles of the Foundation. How will you insure that Pacifica’s by-law revisions will not become a vehicle for one faction or another’s continuing domination of the broadcast air?

  15. Many people have suggested they can no longer listen to Pacifica stations including some of your own dissident supporters. Their argument is that Pacifica and its stations are beginning to sound like a Soviet era propaganda machine. They are using autocratic and undemocratic means to maintain power within small cliques. They have systematically purged longtime professional and popular producers. Lew Hill was not an advocate of a radical, leftist, communalist, Socialist, anarchistic or messianic philosophy for broadcasting. People feel that this kind of frequently violent rhetoric from un-professional, non-accountable individuals who engage in personality bashing has led the stations to offering the worst type of anti-Semitism, vilification of Israel and Zionism and racism that’s ever been broadcast on WBAI. This type of violent rhetoric with non-accountability offers only half-truths and substitutes for accuracy, objectivity and fairness.

    Also, has there been an overt emphasis on supporting a radical leftist agenda? If so please explain how this reconciles with Lew Hill and the founders who believed that no political ideology should supercede another? Hill firmly stood for the view that both moderate and conservative voices should also be represented and that Pacifica was the foundation upon which all ideological decisions should begin.
  16. Pacifica at its best built unity against the Vietnam War by using its commitment to pacifism to bring together all people against the war who could be confident that their activity would not be turned towards supporting extremist positions of the day. What is your administration doing to insure that today’s activists drawn to Pacifica will not be misled into believing they are involved with a non-violent movement, which is in fact violent or pro-violence?

  17. We also question the accountability of this Board and station personnel who have committed acts that must now be addressed. Are you aware that credible individuals have come forward with evidence documenting acts of violence including shootings, physical assaults, hate crimes, sabotage, vandalism, verbal abuse, hacking, placing viruses in computers and stealing personal files? Have you discussed with your attorneys that these may constitute acts of terrorism under the current definition of terrorism provided by the USA Patriot Act? It’s not only those who commit the crime but those who set it into motion. That includes those who inspired, motivated or turned a blind eye to their followers. Virtually every incendiary article and broadcast made by the dissidents has been documented. Should you not now bring in the authorities to investigate these allegations?
  18. Surely Pacifica and its broadcasters would not hold a double standard, where they have railed and championed for crimes committed against others to be exposed and prosecuted? Is not the failure to come forth and testify sending the wrong message that violent, terroristic acts can be committed in the name of a cause provided it’s your cause and not other peoples’ cause? It’s not merely that you have power that’s in question but whether you have the standards and ethics to honor that power. Until this is addressed there cannot be full closure and healing.

  19. What is being done concerning the numerous charges of sexual and other forms of harassment filed against a certain senior producer? There are a number of women, managers and other staffers and volunteers who are waiting for an honest hearing. A large number are willing to come forward. We have interviewed former co-workers of this producer, who although they share a common political ideology are outraged that he was allowed to treat them in a manner that had this been done by the previous regime they would have been pilloried or worse. Is this Board afraid to act? Would it not be in everyone’s best interest to bring in special investigators to determine if the allegations are accurate or not? If he is innocent he deserves to be cleared. If he’s guilty of these violations the Board must act according to its own rule

  20. There have been reports of financial irregularities at KPFA and WBAI including unauthorized bank accounts, people receiving money from fundraisers in the name of Pacifica and its stations while not giving either the funds, receipts or a detailed accounting to managers. Why haven’t they been turned over to the IRS Special Investigation Division?

  21. The FCC requires formal notification when more than 50% of the Board has changed in a given year. When the former majority of the Board was forced to resign so that the new Board could convene was this properly documented and reported to the FCC?

  22. The Green party has supported the dissidents and the former Board minority in their campaign to control the Pacifica Foundation. If there is a financial relationship between the Green Party and Pacifica or a relationship based on granting air time and political support for the aims of the Greens this could put the licenses for all five Pacifica stations in jeopardy? Is there any relationship that according to the FCC, may violate elections laws with the Green party?

  23. Have any of the stations accepted contributions from any political parties?

  24. Have donor names and/or addresses been shared with political parties?

  25. There have been statements on air of the success of fundraising at each of the stations. We request a detailed accounting as we have heard from high level, reliable station sources that these figures are fraudulent. Is it legal to report falsified figures? Is Pacifica using generally accepted accounting principles? What government agencies have been invited in to examine these issues?

  26. We also have questions concerning disturbing reports of funding improprieties, particularly at WBAI and WPFW. The dissident groups and the current Board majority have made numerous references to charges that the previous Board ran up huge legal bills while fighting the dissidents attacks. Is it true that the current Board has hired lawyers to deal with the legal problems stemming from the Foundations debts by itself hiring lawyers who are billing the Foundation at the rate of $450 an hour?

  27. Consistent reports from WBAI staff members allege that monies raised at WBAI are being siphoned off to support the dissident’s Internet radio station named WBIX. If funds are being used for purposes other than those advertised during fundraisers this could open Pacifica to criminal and civil liability. Are you investigating these allegations?

  28. WBIX is running many hours of WBAI programming and WBAI facilities are being used to produce programs for WBIX. But when listeners give money, they are funding WBAI, not WBIX. Do contributors know that they are also aiding WBIX when they donate money? Is there any relationship between Pacifica and WBIX?

  29. Has there been an accounting of funds raised during events sponsored by or in the name of WBAI? Who is doing the accounting? Are there any possible tax law violations that may subject the Foundation to liability with the IRS?

  30. In mid June WBAI host Gary Byrd promoted an event on reparations for African Americans. Afterwards WBAI received many calls from listeners concerned that Fleet Bank had sponsored the event. Is WBAI now promoting events with corporate, commercial ties?

  31. Is there any move by the Foundation to replace resources siphoned away to fund Democracy Now? Have promises of in perpetuity contracts with built in increases been made to other employees? If not could this be construed as a form of discrimination and open up the Foundation to lawsuits? Who owns Democracy Now? Our research shows that Pacifica owns it. How could Amy Goodman own Democracy Now if she didn’t buy it and it’s nor for sale?

  32. High-level sources inform us that Pacifica may be in violation of Article 3 of Judge Sabraw’s order by giving money to Amy Goodman for refusing to report to work. Ms. Goodman chose not to report in opposition to the direction of her union (AFTRA) and in violation with her contract with Pacifica. The current Board, under your direction, reportedly gave her $59,000 plus an additional $40,000. Please explain how this decision was warranted in light of the current financial instability of the Foundation?

  33. Does Pacifica plan to provide a living wage with benefits to its employees as the previous management had promised and began the process of delivering?

  34. What’s the Foundation’s grant policy with independent producers and is the policy consistent across the Foundation?

  35. Is WBAI program director Bernard White and some of his close associates threatening staffers with dismissal for lack of "loyalty" to him during last year’s crisis at WBAI? Are reports true that there is a disorganized and hostile work environment at WBAI?

  36. Is it accurate that WBAI staffers close to PD White are being given carte blanche access to technical facilities at WBAI?

  37. Is it true that at least one candidate for General Manager at WBAI withdrew their resume after charging that a member of the search committee had stated on air that "Blacks and Latinos shouldn’t be allowed to manage WBAI?"

  38. Do you plan to allow the WBAI search process for GM to continue or will she appoint an interim manager, thereby circumventing the process?

  39. Is the current Board abiding by the by-laws of the foundations?

  40. Is the governing board involved in programming decisions?

  41. Have the stations made misstatements when raising funds on-air and off?

  42. Are promised premiums sent out when pledges are fulfilled?

  43. Have donor names and addresses been shared without their permission?

  44. Are employee disputes handled fairly in accordance with existing policies and procedures? 

We believe that it’s time for all these questions to be addressed honestly and openly, otherwise the Foundation and stations’ future may be put in jeopardy. We will be following developments closely and waiting for your detailed responses. We wish you well in your efforts.


Paul DeRienzo
Executive Producer
Gary Null’s Natural Living

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