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Updated 12/1/2012 (most content prior to Oct. 25, 2010)

WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign

*NEW: This is an archive of old posts. Our current main website is justiceunity.org and justiceunity.com (both names go to same site). Please click on those links to get current information and candidate statements.

*OLD: Website under reconstruction
WHAT THEY DO IN YOUR NAME! Come to the WBAI Board Meeting - Wed., OCT. 12, 2011- 7:00 p.m.
Take Back WBAI on Facebook. Click HERE to visit for the latest news.

Older Stories

Click here for Round by Round 2010 Listener Election Results
Click here for Round by Round 2010 Staff Election Results
 
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on the Firings at WBAI
Join Us in the Struggle to Take Back WBAI
Steps to take if your web Page is linked to justiceunity.org web pages

Daily News: ''Democracy Now!' duo, Gonzalez and Goodman, blast new WBAI team"

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez Issue Letter to the New WBAI Management, and to the Staff, Listeners, and Supporters their Dissatisfaction with Recent Changes. 
Bernard White receives official termination notice Tuesday, May 19th
 
Take Back WBAI Flyer (2pages)
 
* Contact Us / Join our low-traffic email list

WBAI BOARD MTG - Thurs., Nov. 17 - 6:30 pm at LGBT Center, 208 W. 13th St. (bet. 7th & 8th Aves.), Manhattan.

What's Happening "Inside WBAI":  "Transparency" is in the nose of the observer. The LSB majority dodged public discussion and voting on the budget by claiming no wheelchair-accessible space was available in the NY area on established August and September meeting dates. The GM installed an un-budgeted Development Director in violation of hiring processes, at an undisclosed salary, and with monies lent from an unknown source.

Website under reconstruction

(UPDATED 11-11-2011) The Justiceunity.com and justiceunity.org websites were hacked Sept 10, 2011. Probably it was a malicious hacker. To continue to have a functional site, we redirected our site to an archival site and disabled the site that had been attacked. You are now at that site, which is a completely different site that is safe from the attack. We hope to be back on line within a month. Keep struggling.

WHAT THEY DO IN YOUR NAME!

COME TO WBAI BOARD MTG - WED., OCT. 12, 2011- 7:00 p.m.

Location: LGBT Center, 208 W. 13th St. (near 7th Ave.), Manhattan. What's Happening "Inside WBAI":  Out-of-process program changes that violate the Foundation Bylaws, staff contracts and good sense; arbitrary firing and banning including barring 2 Board members from the station; hiring friends and friends of friends without required applicant review; and spending outside of the budget are all actions of the general manager who is an ally of the Board majority.

Public comment is part of the agenda. Come and make your voice heard.

New Design for Justice and Unity Website

Justice and Unity has redesigned it's website. Over the next few days it will migrate to it. We will use the old website address as well as a new address www.justiceunity.com. The name change is only to facilitate the redesign and move. After the move is complete this site will be an archive site and accessible in the future as www.justiceandunity.org.

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez Issue Letter to the New WBAI Management, and to the Staff, Listeners, and Supporters their Dissatisfaction with Recent Changes. 

The entire text of their letter follows, but the headlines are:

1.  Dissatisfaction with the change in broadcast time of Democracy Now from 9 AM to 8 AM, as the beginning of the end of popular, local program Wake Up
Call.

            "This decision disturbs us deeply and we ask that it be reconsidered."

Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez on WBAI Crisis

2. Dismay at the firing of Bernard White by the new regime

            "Given Bernard's decades of dedication and devotion to 'BAI , the way he
was treated lacked basic human consideration."

 

3. An assessment of the dysfunctional status of governance and the lack thereof at WBAI since the Coup ten years ago
           
            " ..... we urge that the scheduling of Democracy Now (should) not be
used as a weapon by the current management of WBAI against its opponents."

These concerns of Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez echo the concerns voiced by the Take Back WBAI Coalition.  We announce them to present further proof of the problematic nature of the current changes at WBAI and enlighten the people as to the reality of what is taking place.

Lynne Stewart
lynneportia@earthlink.net

****

From: Amy Goodman <amy@democracynow.org

 To: <lynneportia@earthlink.net

 Date: 6/7/2009 3:20:03 PM Subject: Letter to WBAI management, staff, listeners and supporters

 To: WBAI management, staff, listeners and supporters From: Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, co-hosts of Democracy Now!

 We have recently learned that starting this week, the new management at Pacifica station WBAI is shifting the broadcast time of Democracy Now! from its customary 9 a.m. slot to 8 a.m. We hear this change is part of a reorganization of programming that could end up eliminating the popular and long-running Wake Up Call program on WBAI.

 This decision disturbs us deeply and we urge that it be reconsidered.

 We fully recognize that any station broadcasting DN! READ MORE

Bernard White Received Official Termination Tue., May 19th

If you haven't heard, Bernard White was fired yesterday as Program Director by Interim General Manager (imported from Berkeley) LaVarn Williams -- on Malcolm X's birthday, no less! More to follow on this latest reinforcement of the coup. This reinforces the urgency of all of our forms of work to take back WBAI.

See below concerning the Local Station Board meeting that had been scheduled for tonight. It's outrageous that the postponement was withheld until the morning of the meeting -- this despite board member Lisa Davis's repeated public requests over the last few days for information about the location of the meeting.

Anyway, it's important that people turn out to the LSB meeting on May 28 to express their strong opposition to the continuing coup. All meetings include public comment. (see e-mail from vice-chair Fishman below.

To: WBAI-LSB-PUBLIC@yahoogroups.com, afwbai@yahoo.com

From: wbai afishman <afwbai@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 23:05:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [WBAI-LSB-PUBLIC] lsb meeting

***Kindly distribute widely.***

To the WBAI Local Station Board, Listeners, and Supporters:

Apologies for such late notice. I know that there have been
requests for information about the meeting.

Space for the scheduled May 20th lsb meeting was not secured
until this afternoon (Tuesday, May 19). Because this would
require such short notice, it was decided to postpone the
meeting to the day the lsb reserved for additional meetings
if necessary, i.e., the last Thursday of the month.

Therefore, the lsb meeting is postponed to next Thursday,
May 28th, at 7:00 p.m.
, in the community room of Cathedral
Parkway Towers, 125 West 109th Street, between Amsterdam
and Columbus Avenues. The location is wheelchair accessible.

Take the #1, B, or C train to 110th Street, and walk east.

Again, many apologies for this late notice and any inconvenience.
Hope to see you at the meeting.

Andrea Fishman
Vice Chair

UNDO THE COUP AT WBAI!

Pacifica National Fires General Manager and Bans Program Director
Gag Rule Imposed on Programmers Who Dissent from National Takeover

 
Former GM Tony Riddle
Pacifica Interium Exec. Dir. Grace Aaron
WBAI Program Director
Former WBAI GM Tony Riddle
Interium Exec. Dir. Grace Aaron

Suspended Program Director

Bernard White

May 16, 2009

WBAI is under attack from Pacifica’s Interim Executive Director, Grace Aaron of Los Angeles, as
well as from the Pacifica National Board majority and the WBAI Local Station Board majority.
Exploiting a very real financial crisis at the station, they want to impose their own brand of
programming – removing what some label “racial divisiveness and balkanization,” meaning
community self-determination programs, particularly those by and for the Black community.
On May 6, Aaron fired WBAI’s progressive Black General Manager, Tony Riddle, and
replaced him with LaVarn Williams, Pacifica’s Interim Chief Financial Officer, from Berkeley.

Two days later, another progressive Black manager, Program Director Bernard White, was
“suspended” and excluded from the building AND from the WBAI airwaves, following years
of harsh attacks on him by majority board members locally and nationally. At an April 20 secret
session of the Local Station Board, the majority had reportedly done a snap “evaluation” of these two managers (over strong objections by the board’s minority Justice & Unity group), initiating the firing process. No data was collected and no chance given them to respond. Riddle had been manager for 13 months. White, a 30-year station veteran, had recently resumed work after major surgery.

These actions follow Riddle’s and White’s vocal and written protests about the recently revealed attempt by Aaron to hijack the station by changing the locks on the station’s broadcast transmitter room and installing equipment for remote control of programming – all without notifying manager Riddle.

Meanwhile, Aaron has imposed a gag rule threatening any programmer who ...CLICK HERE FOR MORE...

WBAI Gen. Mgr. Tony Riddle Fired,

Replaced by Pacifica CFO

Former GM Tony Riddle
Pacifica Interium Exec. Dir. Grace Aaron
Former WBAI GM Tony Riddle
Interium Exec. Dir. Grace Aaron

Pacifica has now made its move on WBAI, firing General Manager Tony Riddle.

By Informed source

This article was originally posted by an annonymous source on the Indy Media Website. The link is below

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2009/05/105164.html


May 04, 2009 11:09PM EDT

Pacifica has now made its move on WBAI. Interim Executive Director Grace Aaron, based in Los Angeles, has removed Tony Riddle as WBAI General Manager. She is replacing him with Pacifica's Interim Chief Financial Officer, LaVarn Williams, based in Berkeley. Is WBAI Program Director Bernard White next to be axed?

Keywords:
From: Grace Aaron
To: Servebai@yahoo.com
Cc: Ricardo de Anda ; lavarn@pacifica.org;
PNB ; Ahmad Anderson
Sent: Mon, 4 May 2009 11:57 am
Subject: National Development Director Offer
Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Tony,

First of all, I would like to inform you that I am sending LaVarn Williams to New York. She will be arriving at WBAI some time tomorrow. At my request, she will be taking on the role of acting General Manager.

I would also like to set out my offer to you on your continued employment with Pacifica:
* You will be reassigned from your current position as station manager of WBAI to the national office as Development Director.
* Your salary and benefits will remain the same.
* You will work out of your home until further notice, and will report to me as your immediate supervisor.
* Your work will primarily entail helping devise and implement strategies for fund-raising, both at the local and national levels. You will also be part of the executive team, and will be tasked by me with resolving issues which may arise from time to time.

I would very much like a response from you by tomorrow (Tuesday, May 5, 2009) evening, and preferably by Tuesday morning, as I intend to change the management at the Station by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, as mentioned above. If you accept this offer, I will immediately begin working with you to set up a much needed formal development effort at Pacifica.

Thank you for considering this offer. I hope you agree to taking on these duties at the national office, as I hope to be able to continue working with you.

In Peace,
Grace Aaron
Chair of the Pacifica National Board
Interim Executive Director of
The Pacifica Foundation
phone: (310) 286 - 1011
cell: (310) 402-4087

Tune in to Local Board Report to the Listener:

Sat., May 2, 4-6 PM

Click HERE to listen to Hour 1

Click HERE to listen to Hour 2 (available at archive-find All Mixed Up and play first hour)

This will include a range of WBAI Local Station Board members giving their reports on the board's activities. Listener call-ins will be taken at 212-209-2900 -- call in with your outrage at the attempted coup and your questions.

ALL OUT TO BAI WED:

WBAI'S BERNARD WHITE & TONY RIDDLE TO BE FIRED

URGENT!! SEE ACTION STEPS BELOW.

All Out Wednesday to WBAI - 4:30 - 6:30 PM - 120 Wall St., south of Water St. -

2,3,4,5 trains to Wall St.

Join Pam Africa of MOVE and other community activists and WBAI producers


Reports from Berkeley, CA where the Pacifica National Board met this weekend are that the Interim Executive Director, Grace Aaron, has sanctioned the decision taken by the WBAI Local Station Board last Monday at its hastily called "executive session" to fire General Manager Tony Riddle and Program Director Bernard White. This means that Riddle and White can be removed at any time. Protest now may help stay the hand of the Interim Executive Director.

These actions follow the GM's and PD's vocal and written protest about the recently revealed attempt to hijack the station by changing the locks on the station's broadcast transmitter room and install equipment for remote control of the station's programming.

Neither man received the annual evaluation which is required by the bylaws and for which preparation had begun through the local board's Management Evaaluation Committee. No data was requested of the staff whom they dirrect, nor were the men presented with any findings, goals or opportunity to respond.

Riddle has served as General Manager for about 13 months and White is in the process of returning to work following major surgery.

Because the threat is so great that Bernard White, Tony Riddle and other staff will be removed and stopping these firings is essential we will:

  • - Gather at the station (120 Wall St., south of Water St.) on Wednesday April 29 from 4:30 - 6:30 - - M and put together a response team.
    - We will begin planning our campaign to protect WBAI and fight back.
    - We will have membership forms on hand
    (bring your checkbooks).
  • - Email Grace Aaron and the Pacifica National Board at pnb@pacifica.org or call the National Office at (510) 849-2590. Express your strong protest! Hands off WBAI management. Protect local control!
  • - If necessary we will petition to demand the return of any person that has been removed by them

WHOSE STATION? OUR STATION!

 

Click HERE to read more....

ALL OUT FOR WBAI - Monday April 13

Pacifica's National Board Chair and INTERIM Executive Director, Grace Aaron, is in town from L.A. to execute her plan to takeover WBAI and drastically change programming in violation of existing Pacifica rules - days after secretly ordering the locks changed on the transmitter and equipment installed for remote control broadcasting, without notifying WBAI's General Manager. Express your outrage!
Acting Pacifica ED
IMPORTANT ACTIONS THAT THE WBAI COMMUNITY MUST TAKE:
Acting Ex. Dir. Grace Aaron

A)  Turn out in large numbers for a Town Hall Forum -- controlled by the current majority of the Local Station Board -- on Mon., April 13 from 7:00-9:30 PM. Be vocal about your views!

B)  CANCELLED Turn out for the Local Station Board meeting on Wed., April 15 at 7:00 PM.

The meeting of Wednesday April 15: WBAI Local Station Board was CANCELED at the last minute. It was to meet at the Fortune Academy Castle at 630 Riverside Drive and 140th Street in Manhattan. HOWEVER: please keep up the pressure via e-mail, see part C directly below.

C) Continue to send the Interim Executive Director, Grace Aaron, and the entire Pacifica National Board, e-mails at pnb@pacifica.org.
Emails to Aaron need to include the following:

    * importance of local autonomy of WBAI.
    * hands off local management -- General Manager Tony Riddle and Program Director Bernard White.
    * support for WBAI Programming
    * demand that Aaron agree to the independent community meeting open to the public called for by CEMOTAP (the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People) and the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition. (Aaron has so far rejected such a meeting.)

Recent developments have also revealed that the ListProg/ACE/Independents, who now have the majority on the Local Station Board, support the takeover of WBAI.
Therefore, we must keep the pressure on and let the Local Station Board and the National Office know that we are committed to WBAI!   Those opposed to WBAI's current direction are hell-bent on taking over the station and making extremely drastic changes to the station.   The four primary ways for them to do it are:

a)  taking over the transmitter
b)  selling or swapping the signal
c)  making drastic changes to programming
d) firing the management and other key personnel.
We have very strong reason to believe that Aaron plans to make drastic changes to programming and management.   Justice and Unity believes that any programming changes should be made locally by the Program Director and the General Manager in consultation with the Program Council.

A WORD ABOUT FINANCES:

Yes, WBAI is facing extreme financial difficulty during these turbulent economic times.  But the opposition  on the Board seeks to exploit people's hardships by saying declining revenue means declining listenership and interest.   And they are using this as a reason to take the station over.

Justice and Unity believes the WBAI listenership is invaluable, and that there is no justification for relinquishing community control.   The airwaves belong to us.  This is our station!   And we must come up with creative and more innovative ways to resolve the financial difficulties that the station is facing.   With your support, we will.  
WHOSE STATION? OUR STATION!

For more information, go to http://www.justiceunity.org or call 212-591-2111.
For a downloadable flyer with background information, click HERE.

 

Come to/call WBAI:

Tell Pacifica Interim Exec. Dir. -No Takeover!

Wed., Apr. 8
WHOSE STATION? OUR STATION!
Wed., Apr. 8
8:00 - 10:00 AM - come to meet and greet Interim E.D.
3:00 - 6:00 PM - come to meet and greet Interim E.D.
7:00 - 9:00 PM - attend public meeting of Local Station Board Finance Committee
9:00 - 11:00 PM - listen & call in to Local Station Board Report on air (212-209-2900)

We encourage those planning to attend to RSVP if you can at info@justiceunity.org.
WBAI is at 120 Wall St. Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, J, or M trains to Wall Street. Walk down hill past Water Street; building is at corner of South St.
Bring a photo I.D. for building security.

This Wed. is an important day to MOBILIZE for the struggle to maintain WBAI's local autonomy and oppose the planned lockdown of WBAI's transmitter. Several things are coincidentally happening at different times -- all of which you can participate in to make your voice heard about the station you cherish.

Sometime that day, Grace Aaron, the Pacifica Interim Executive Director and Pacifica National Board Chair from L.A., will arrive at the station with an entourage of 3 other staff (the illegally anointed Interim Chief Financial Officer, LaVarn Williams, from Berkeley, and two staff members from the L.A. station). Citing BAI's financial crisis, Aaron claims they are on a mission "to assess what is needed at the station" and "to roll up our sleeves, fix what needs fixing, wipe out any backlogs such as in mailing out premiums, repair equipment, enhance the website and give a boost to WBAI." But her recent stealth move to change the locks on WBAI's transmitter without notifying the WBAI General Manager suggests another agenda at work -- especially hard on the heels of the idea she put forth to put WBAI into "internal receivership" -- i.e., control by the Pacifica National Office.

This is your station, and you have a right to come in and speak directly to the person claiming the authority to dictate how it should be run. (CLICK HERE to read more...)

Flash: Coup at WBAI Radio (99.5 FM)
Pacifica National Orders Locks Changed on WBAI Transmitter
Protest Attack on Local Control of WBAI Programming!

April 5, 2009

The Pacifica Foundation, which holds the license for peace-and-justice WBAI and four other community radio stations, has ordered the locks changed on the WBAI transmitter at the Empire State Building -- a blatant move to seize control of local programming. The action was ordered by Grace Aaron, the Los Angeles-based Chair of the Pacifica National Board, who doubles as the Foundation’s Interim Executive Director in the absence of a permanent E.D.

This is extremely serious -- it allows the new national controllers of Pacifica to directly program the station from any location. During the 1999 Pacifica coup at KPFA in Berkeley, programming was remotely piped in from Houston. It also evokes memories of Pacifica’s 2000 “Christmas Coup” when it changed the locks on WBAI’s studios and fired managers and staff. Also ominous is that this new step comes 3 weeks after the Pacifica National Board rejected a motion by Nia Bediako, Justice & Unity's sole representative on that board, to publicly discuss Aaron's idea of putting WBAI into "internal receivership"--i.e., a National Office takeover of the station. (Read More...)

story

SPRING COUP AT WBAI - PACIFICA ORDERS CHANGE OF LOCKS AT WBAI TRANSMITTER

Email the Pacifica National Board to Protest!

April 2, 2009

The following was circulated by WBAI's General Manager, Tony Riddle, late last night, to the WBAI staff and the Pacifica National Board and its Chair, Grace Aaron (who is based in Los Angeles). In the absence of a permanent Executive Director, Aaron doubles as Interim Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, which holds the license for WBAI and four other stations. The opening sentence of Mr. Riddle's email is: "It has been brought to my attention that you have issued an order today to change the locks on the WBAI transmitter room in the Empire State Building tomorrow." We are urgently attempting to learn more about the situation.

This is extremely serious -- it allows the new national controllers of Pacifica to directly program the station from any location at any time. We remember vividly that during the 1999 Pacifica coup at sister station KPFA in Berkeley, programming was remotely piped in from Houston.

Also ominous is... Click HERE to read more

Stop Proposed National Network Takeover

Help WBAI Survive – Become a Member ASAP!

March 14, 2009

For nearly five decades, WBAI Radio (99.5 FM) has been a vital platform for the communities and movements of the oppressed that are shut out by corporate media. You can hear the voices of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Malcolm X, women fighting political brutality, and the music of Odetta and Nina Simone, just to cite a few examples. Now the station and its parent, the five-station Pacifica Network, are in the midst of a financial and political crisis. WBAI has rent and utility costs five times those of any other station. But more so than the other stations, WBAI has – for various reasons -- not been meeting its fundraising goals in several recent drives, leading to staff layoffs that have undermined the station’s functioning.

Recently a new majority on the Pacifica National Board has seized on these financial problems as an excuse to discuss cracking down on WBAI—or worse. The board’s four Houston members have called for WBAI to be sold outright or swapped for a smaller station. And Grace Aaron, the Los Angeles-based board chair, now also the acting Executive Director, has suggested putting WBAI into “internal receivership” (taking over the management of the station) and ... Click HERE to read more
 

Alert Regarding Proposal to put WBAI into "Internal Receivership"

March 9, 2009

For a while now, members of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) have been focusing their concerns about the Pacifica Foundation's financial problems on WBAI, which has fixed space-related expenses almost twice that of the other four stations combined. More so than other stations, WBAI has not been meeting its pledge goals in recent drives. The focus on WBAI has recently been sharpened by our station's $150,000+ shortfall in the February pledge drive. Last night, on the public conference call of the PNB, it came out that Grace Aaron, the new (as of January) board chair from Los Angeles station KPFK - who is also the acting Executive Director because that position is still vacant - is now floating the idea of putting WBAI into "internal receivership" (i.e., taking control and management away from the local station) and running the programming out of the Pacifica National Office. No decision has been made public - yet.

When WBAI listener representative Nia Bediako (of the Justice & Unity Campaign) insisted that Aaron's proposal must be discussed in public session, Aaron said it could only be discussed in executive session because it involved "confidential advice of counsel." Nia argued passionately that ... Click HERE to read more.
 

Stop the Attempted Purge of WBAI Program Director Bernard White

Support Anti-Racist Programming

Come to the WBAI Local Station Board Meeting
Wed., Sept. 17 at 7:00 PM
583 Riverside Drive

The current WBAI Local Station Board majority, led by its chair Mitch Cohen, is proposing to eliminate the position of Program Director, currently held by progressive African-American Bernard White. Using the station's very real budget crisis as an excuse, they are seeking to blatantly purge a person who has been key to maintaining programming serving communities of color and covering many activist movements. These same people have been viciously maligning and attempting to remove Bernard for years. This is just one of their "budget" proposals to remove or penalize persons in positions around the Pacifica Network whom they oppose politically.

Come support the board members from the WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign as they fight to defeat these retrograde actions! Anyone from the public may speak for 2 minutes during the meeting.

The meeting will be held at in an uptown Manhattan location. ACE WBAI LSB member Carolyn Birden announced an incorrect uptown address on air, but Board Chair Mitch Cohen posted another at 11:26 PM on Tuesday 9-17-08 on the Elections and LSB List-serv (less than 24 hours before the meeting) . Cohen said the address to take as "gospel" is:

Broadway Housing Communities (at the Dorothy Day Houses)
583 Riverside Drive
between 135th & 136th Street
Manhattan.

The #1 train to 137 St. (City College) stops just 1-1/2 blocks away.

The Brooklyn location is definitely cancelled.

For directions to the meeting from any NY bourough go to http://hopstop.com/ For more about the meeting location, check www.wbai.org. The correct address still was not posted as of 12:17pm on the wbai.org site, it definitely isn't the listed Brooklyn address.

For more information, go to the WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign website at www.justiceunity.org

For a downloadable flyer of the above text, right click HERE and help distribute copies! Read the next article to learn how to fight back.

 

Support The WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign
KEEP WBAI RADIO STRONG * BECOME A WBAI MEMBER!

If you want radio station WBAI (99.5 FM) to remain a powerful and progressive tool for disenfranchised communities of color, BECOME INVOLVED IN THE WBAI JUSTICE AND UNITY CAMPAIGN.

For years, WBAI has offered a powerful array of programs unavailable on either corporate or "public" radio or TV - challenging the powers-that-be. Besides multicultural music not heard elsewhere, there are programs that give voice to the issues and fightbacks of every peace and justice movement in the tri-state area. And after years of struggle, there are activist programs by and for African-American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Arab, Indigenous, immigrant and working-class communities. However, a small but determined faction known at different times as List Prog/ACE/Independents - now the majority on the station's governing board - is trying to turn back this progress, using false allegations and racist stereotypes to try to gain support.

The WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign is a multi-racial coalition of activists that stands for maintaining and expanding progressive, activist, anti-racist programming at WBAI and throughout the 5-station Pacifica Network....(for more, click HERE.)

WBAI Board Turnover in Dirty Election

In a demonstration of the corrupting influence of money in elections, WBAI's local governing board shifted hands on April 23 and is no longer a majority-people-of-color and women board but is now 58% male and 63% white. On the new board, the Justice & Unity Campaign -- a multiracial activist coalition that fights to keep WBAI community-connected and anti-racist -- has switched from a 13-11 majority to a 14-10 minority, and has lost two of the three WBAI seats its members held on the Pacifica National Board. (In this election, Justice & Unity won 4 of the 9 listener seats and 1 of the 3 staff seats.)

Under their third name since 2003, the grassroots-sounding Association for Community Elections (ACE) led by multi-millionaire former marketing executive and station board member Stephen Brown produced an expensive mailer.... Click HERE to read more

 

WBAI Radio Update

The first issue of "WBAI Radio Update," containing the article above and the four below, is downloadable by clicking HERE. Please help us distribute these copies in your community, or email us at info@justiceunity.org if you would like additional copies.

Open Letter to the WBAI and Pacifica Communities
on the Tainted WBAI Local Board Election

March 28, 2008

We are the 8 listener candidates for the WBAI Local Station Board from the Justice & Unity Campaign. We believe that owing to a devastating combination of outrageous violations of the fair-campaign rules by one group of candidates and serious mismanagement and errors by the Local and National Election Supervisors, the integrity of this election has been fatally compromised. The list of inappropriate actions is extremely long, and this letter can only mention the most egregious. As community activists who have actively spoken out against election irregularities and corruption in government elections, we find it even more unacceptable that such improprieties could occur in the elections of a community radio station that is supposed to be progressive.

For the vote count scheduled for this Monday, March 31, we insist that ALL ballots of eligible voters be counted -- contrary to the position of the plaintiffs who have sued Pacifica. Ultimately, however, the serious violations and tainting of the electoral process argue for reballoting to occur, at the expense of the group operating under the name ACE (Alliance for Community Elections), the candidate-endorsing organization whose adjudged misconduct in their private mailing to WBAI members led to the lion's share of the problems with the election.

Issues covered inside -- for continuation, click HERE:

1. Severe Violations by ACE of Fair Campaign Rules
2. Serious Errors in Ballot Handling and Processing
3. Voter Disenfranchisement Owing to Mismanaged Delivery of Ballots
4. Lawsuit Against Pacifica Is Based on Deception and Seeks Disenfranchisement
5. Urgently Needed Remedies

 

Letter From 5 LSB Members Denouncing the Sham "LSB"

The following letter was sent on Jan. 13, 2008 to the Pacifica National Board by five members of the WBAI Local Station Board (LSB). The appendix is the legal opinion from Pacifica's Interim Executive Director and Legal Counsel, Dan Siegel.

******************************

We, the undersigned WBAI LSB members whose terms are due to expire in 2009 want to set the record straight on what has occurred regarding a group of LSB members who are now claiming to constitute the "legitimate" WBAI LSB. We denounce the attempt of 7 other LSB members to establish an illegitimate 12-member board of WBAI, when the bylaws explicitly state that the Local Station Boards are to consist of 24 members... CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

 

Help Keep WBAI Solvent and Anti-Racist

The national trend of declining listener revenue that affects all of community radio has collided with rising costs and has hit WBAI hard. This trend is not unique to WBAI: a report last year by Audience 2010 projected a $30-60 million drop in public radio revenue. The financial impact of 9/11 and rising NYC poverty and unemployment rates make it very difficult for listeners to be as generous as they would like. And when the board's opposing bloc speaks of WBAI's debt to the national office, what they don't tell you is that WBAI faces a financial burden unmatched by any other Pacifica station. WBAI's operational cost (transmitter rent, studio rent and utilities) is $736,000 a year -- no other station's exceeds $146,000.

Pacifica tower rent & utilities
The Justice & Unity board majority has scrutinized management's proposed budgets and corrected errors and excesses, producing more accurate and economical budgets. We'll work with the incoming permanent manager to launch a major capital campaign so the station can purchase its own facility. We're working with the Pacifica National Board to bring in a professional to raise funds off-air. We'll also build on our Board's past successes and help the station hold more community fundraising events, run ads in diverse publications, and create a Pacifica record label.

Justice & Unity recognizes that racism is not dead, or even asleep, and remains committed to ensuring that WBAI maintains and expands its progressive, activist, anti-racist programming, and to advancing affirmative action throughout Pacifica. Some opposition board members are against this, and have even campaigned to fire progressive Program Director Bernard White and to purge other anti-racist programmers by disseminating vitriolic, unsubstantiated allegations against them. To stand up against this opposition and protect WBAI's legacy as a powerful tool for oppressed communities, Justice & Unity needs a stronger board majority.

Don't Be Fooled!  Most of the "independent" candidates are joined with the same hostile bloc that for years has undermined WBAI, demoralizing listeners and staff with unsubstantiated allegations. (More details at http://www.justiceunity.org/index.html#Pacifica.) Justice & Unity candidates have varied backgrounds but shared values supporting racial, gender, and class justice.

 

 
 

WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign Dissects
Steve Brown's Karl Rove-Style Accusations
and Racial Code Language Against Opponents:

Alliance for Community Elections (ACE) Seeks to Reverse Decades of Progress
Toward An Activist and Anti-Racist Focus at WBAI

Table of Contents:

1. Steve Brown's Attacks Latest in Decades-Long Struggle at WBAI Over Inclusion of Working Class Communities of Color
2. Brown Falsely Claims Bernard White Instituted "Anti-White" Programs
3. Brown Offers Racially Homogenous Station in Boulder, Colorado as Model
4. Brown Uses False Charges to Evoke Racist Imagery of Alleged Violence by Black People at WBAI
5. Brown Makes Nonstop Defamatory Attacks on Bernard White
6. Core of the Issue: Brown Seeks to Turn Back the Clock at WBAI
7. Brown's ACE Allies Join in Vilifying Bernard White and Calling for Drastic Programming Changes
8. Brown Calls for a Purge of Opponents at WBAI
9. Final Note

Introduction (read article)

 

Help Keep WBAI An Activist and Anti-Racist Station

Since the victory over the 2000-02 nationally-instigated coup at WBAI, Pacifica has been in fierce struggles over maintaining inclusion of working-class and disenfranchised communities and an activist focus. A loose coalition of listeners and staff defeated racial/gender-based affirmative action for Pacifica's boards. Now some in this group at WBAI, including board members, seek to reverse the incorporation of hard-hitting (allegedly "anti-white") programs by and for communities of color - particularly the Black community. Several board members endorsed by ACE (Alliance for Community Elections, essentially the group formerly known as "List-Prog") have campaigned to fire progressive Program Director Bernard White and purge anti-racist programmers. ACE-endorsed re-election candidates Paul DeRienzo and Carolyn Birden have called for conservative hosts on WBAI.

Some of these board members have also tried to slash the budget and thus the skeletal paid staff, attacked the staff's union rights, and opposed holding board members accountable for racist and sexist conduct. Two re-election candidates endorsed by ACE have repeatedly made particularly outrageous statements:

  • Steve Brown (a multi-millionaire and former marketing executive) has waged a long-running vicious public email campaign attacking Black progressive WBAI staff and their supporters in racist, vitriolic terms. Brown has singled out Bernard White for extreme abuse, using false charges and calls for violence (such as "you should have been at her side whacking Bernard with a baseball bat"). The board voted to disassociate itself from these attacks. (For details, go to http://www.justiceunity.org/steve-brown-disassociates.html )
  • Paul DeRienzo (a strong supporter of the WBAI "Christmas Coup") was suspended by the board after a series of what the board deemed "racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and personal attacks" on colleagues at meetings. (For details on these attacks and background on DeRienzo's history, go to http://www.justiceunity.org/news/derienzosuspended.html and http://www.justiceunity.org/news/derienzobackground2.html )

The Local Station Board must continue WBAI's legacy as the place where the voices of ALL the voiceless can be heard and where racism is firmly opposed. Help us move these struggles forward by supporting the Justice & Unity slate!

 

For earlier developments, go to the News section.

 

For more information or to help the campaign: email info@justiceunity.com

or call 212-591-2111.

JOIN THE (low-traffic) EMAIL LIST OF THE WBAI JUSTICE & UNITY CAMPAIGN:
Send an email to: info@justiceunity.com or to join our email list for campaign updates (announcements only, no discussion, very low traffic), Click HERE.

Other Ways to Support Justice & Unity

We encourage everyone who cares about WBAI to get involved in our ongoing efforts to do outreach and fundraising for the station, and to join the work of the various board committees. If you are interested in participating in any activity, or in joining our low-traffic email list, please contact Justice & Unity at info@justiceunity.com or 212-591-2111.

Please help us defray costs of the campaign. Send checks payable to "Justice & Unity Campaign" to: Ray Laforest, 113 W. 117th St., 2d Floor, New York, NY 10026.