WBAI STRUGGLE – April 2016 Supplemental
From the WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign , www.justiceunity.org
1. Local Station Board Update & Next Meeting: Wed., Apr. 13
2. Station Updates
1. Local Station Board (LSB) Update & Next Meeting
If you’ve been following the developments surrounding the station and waiting for a really important issue to come up, we’re here! WBAI’s income is still not covering the cost of our operation. This cannot be sustained and what can/should be done about that is of pressing urgency. We need a functional board to work outside the system to broaden our footprint and reconnect to area communities and to advocate within the system. We need to survive until we again thrive.
Almost 2 years ago, working with staff, listeners, media experts, and fundraising professionals, J&U authored a plan “Toward a Vibrant, Sustainable WBAI”. Please read it: http://wbai.org/dldetail.php?doc=172
From refusing to accept the responsibility of bylaw-required voting on several previous annual station budgets to now refusing to even show up at meetings since the new 12-12 tie with Justice & Unity does not guarantee their dominance, the Indy Caucus-ACE board members are revealing their disinclination to really engage the issues and do real work. (You can remind them of their duty here: https://www.change.org/p/wbai-indy-ace-board-members-end-phony-boycott-step-up-or-step-aside)
Instead, they’ve launched another round of lawsuits. Pacifica is drowning in payments for the debts, suits, and settlements generated by their and their allies’ actions in the 5 years from 2009 to the national board majority changeover in 2014:
Since the January Local Station Board election results created a 12-12 tie between Justice & Unity and the Indy-ACE group, they have refused to attend board meetings. We need a minimum of 13 members to elect local officers and national representatives and do other business. Their “boycott” prevents any binding action on urgent station problems.
We think that they ran for office and so they should serve or step aside. Below is a petition that urges them to come to the table and also alerts the Pacifica National Board, of which the WBAI LSB is a committee. Please sign it!
In a February 23 letter to the Pacifica National Board (updated version available HERE), the governing body of WBAI's parent foundation, the 12 Justice and Unity local board members requested "action in the face of this continuing emergency." According to the letter, initiated by member Lynne Stewart, the prominent former activist attorney who was the top-vote getter in the recent elections, "One of the opposition was actually overheard saying that there may be no LSB meetings for the next year. Such a we-rule-or-we-ruin ideology has no place in a democratic process….Together we must defeat this attack on the democratically constituted and elected WBAI Local Station Board."
More background on this issue is HERE
We urge you to sign the online petition to tell the 12 Indy Caucus/ACE board members:
Please respect the bylaws and the decisions of the station’s voters and show up and do the work that you were elected to do: Save WBAI.
You can sign on HERE. Spread the word on social media!
The governance board of peace-and-justice radio station WBAI, long split into opposing factions, has been immobilized by one group's boycott of meetings since the January 13 announcement of election results. Because of the boycott, the WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) has been unable to conduct business, even as the station is reeling from a continuing severe deficit and falling paid membership.
The elections by listener and staff members delivered a 12-12 tie between the Justice and Unity Campaign, a multi-racial, anti-racist coalition, and the "Indy Caucus," the latest incarnation of the group (previously called "ACE") that was responsible for firing longtime program director and Black community activist Bernard White in 2009. That move heightened division among staff and alienated a significant portion of the listenership.
Indy/ACE members controlled the board for more than seven years preceding this election; none have appeared at the meetings of the newly reconstituted board.
In a February 23 letter to the Pacifica National Board, the governing body of WBAI's parent foundation (updated version appended below), the 12 Justice and Unity local board members requested "action in the face of this continuing emergency." According to the letter, initiated by member Lynne Stewart, the prominent activist and former attorney who was the top vote-getter in the recent elections, "One of the opposition was actually overheard saying that there may be no LSB meetings for the next year. Such a we-rule-or-we-ruin ideology has no place in a democratic process. . . . Together we must defeat this attack on the democratically constituted and elected WBAI Local Station Board."
In the recently completed station elections, Justice & Unity won 62% of the listener vote, which resulted in a 50-50 tie on the Board between J&U and the Indy-ACE people.
Some folks are so accustomed to calling the shots that a tied board and the possibility of having to spend a minute in the minority have caused them significant distress. They’re acting as if they’ve lost their minds.
Last Thursday evening, the 2016 Pacifica National Board held its first meeting - or tried to. It was disrupted by WBAI local board members pretending they’d been elected to the national board, and by WBAI’s 2015 national board members. After much shouting, name-calling, cussing, playing music to drown out the voices of others, etc., the PNB meeting was adjourned.
That teleconference took place via a toll-free service for which we listeners pay.
And listeners pay in other ways.
- We pay for board elections. Our elections are costly, and while no one has ever been completely happy with the process, absent fraud folks should live with the results and work to improve the next cycle.
- The bylaws are flawed, but when the language is clear, folks should read, not spin. There is an underutilized mechanism for amending them, BUT THERE IS A PROCESS.
- When the work of a governing board is prevented, the function of the entire institution is impaired. Our station and network face numerous, significant challenges. We don’t need more internal blockage.
See Read More below for:
- Pacifica Governance Structure
- Term Inheritance
- The Bogus Delegates’ Meeting