14 November, 2008

KPFA Business Manager to Resign;
PNB considers $1M Loan, KPFK as collateral

(note: correction made to reference of draft letter from KPFK. - Ed. )

It is six weeks since Nicole Sawaya resigned as Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation. In her wake is a deeply divided organization, a national office and five stations in deficit, a slew of unresolved lawsuits from coast to coast, a CFO returned from virtual AWOL following their power struggle, her own image captured on video fending back observers and interveners during the beating and arrest of Nadra Foster, followed by the resignation of the HR Director, a written seance to lecture Lew Hill as an 'explanation', and topped with the controversial 11th Hour appointment of Lemlem Rijio as General Manager for KPFA.

What a legacy to add to the annals of Pacifica, perhaps for Matthew Lasar's revisionist counterparts to document...

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Back in September, former Pacifica Executive Director Greg Guma, Sawaya's immediate predecessor, included in his incisive retrospective series on the state of Pacifica, an entry foreshadowing the Foundation's impending economic crisis:

This week, the growing desperation appears to be coming closer to a head:
As approved during a special meeting, the Pacifica National Board has given the green light to 'seek' an application for a $1 million dollar loan, in an arrangement which would ostensibly use KPFK as collateral.
As can be expected, this has caused great uproar, especially from the KPFK Local Station Board. * On Wednesday, a KPFK LSB member floated a draft letter to CFO Lonnie Hicks and the PNB, calling for greater transparency and consultation in such decision making, and asking other stations to stand with them against the action. The draft concludes: "This appropriation of station assets without notice and consultation sets a precedent that endangers every station in Pacifica."
(* note of correction: the memo distributed to various Pacifica member/listener lists did not distinguish as a working draft; thread continues at this link. )

As of this writing, the latest word is the KPFK LSB approved this week "...a motion calling for the PNB to require a repair and repayment plan as a condition for its approval of any collateralized loan agreement."

* * * * *

Meanwhile, as previously announced at last weekend's KPFA LSB meeting in Fresno by Treasurer Brian Edwards Tiekert, Lemlem Rijio on Monday announced the resignation of Lois Withers. While Ms. Withers is known by many as capable and responsible in her position as Business Manager, the more recent memory of her tenure is marred by her role in escalating a simple volunteer matter into a disproportionate action of calling the Berkeley Police into the KPFA building and exacting violence on volunteer programmer, Nadra Foster. The original charges? Using the phones, and printing paper.

While there are other details, participants and circumstances contributing to the incident, the KPFA LSB has yet to proceed with an investigation of the matter. Between the LSB holding its monthly meeting outside of the KPFA signal area in November followed by a majority vote to postpone the next scheduled meeting until January 2009, has effectively demonstrated a certain apathy by the LSB majority of so-called 'Concerned Listeners' to insulate itself with distance and time from giving any seriousness and priority to the August 20th incident, while dishonoring the Mission established by Mr. Lew Hill and his team in building a station and a community based on peaceful resolution and understanding. Such contempt...

Meanwhile, as Ms. Foster's case is still being dealt with in the courts. Plans are in the works for fundraising events to cover legal costs. Please stay tuned to this site per developments.

- Ed.

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