The Corporate faction shows its hand

UPDATE: Board meeting tonight, Jupiter hotel.  Details below.

I am Theresa Mitchell.  The following is my opinion.

KBOO has been broadcasting since 1968, and has had various Board constituents since that time.  The current Board includes what I  call the pro-corporate faction, consisting of Hadrian Micciche (appointed), Paula Small (elected if I recall correctly), and Rabia Yeaman (appointed).  I call them ‘pro-corporate’ because they supported the Station Manager Lynn Fitch in her nearly-successful attempt last April to fire every one of the Staff, and because they support the replacement of the KBOO Mission Statement and Policies with a corporate boilerplate ‘Board Policy Manual.’  They also get that appellation for their usage of sneering language towards the strong Left faction at KBOO, and for supporting Lynn when she hired a union-buster versus the Staff.  That’s standard fare for corporate America, and of course, it is wrong acting, and it is a big reason why we have KBOO, as an alternative.

Since the firing attempt, I have been convinced that a small faction desired to remake KBOO as a toothless and inoffensive boutique station.  If the Staff had been removed in its entirety, this change would already be well underway.  So, I have fought ruthlessly, because I know that in this Jim Crow secret police state we call America, we cannot afford to lose a strong island of dissent, no matter how small.  I think that despite the occasional comment to the effect that “radio is dead” from the same crowd that would bleach out KBOO, the fact is, really, radio is powerful.  For one thing, KBOO’s broadcasts direct people to books and websites they would not encounter through random browsing or via corporate-owned news.

This morning, for example, I listened to Fred Branfman, author of “Voices From the Plain of Jars,” on Veterans’ Voice, the only radio program in the area generated by antiwar vets.  He spoke of the unspeakable horror of the bombing of Laos, and of the twenty million slain by US imperialism since 1945.  It was powerful and left me shaking.  Nothing like that will ever be heard on a station tied to corporations or major corporate-owned political parties.  So, my assumption is that some of the people offended by such truth would like nothing better than to end principled dissent at KBOO–by silencing the station altogether, if necessary.  Really, once I realized that the Winter Pledge Drive had been cancelled to create a crisis, I knew the fight was on, and that the core of the opposition intended to destroy the station.  Ironically, this fiscally destructive faction is the one that continually asserts that KBOO is failing financially.

Here, then, is a communication from the core of the corporatists:

 I’m a Board member of the KBOO Foundation. I invite you to attend the next KBOO Board meeting, where we will be discussing:

1. A Board member soliciting people to engage in illegal behavior.

2. A Board member who had no authorization to spend Foundations funds, yet did so, and wastefully.

3. A Board member who seeks to toss out all of the work done by consultants to KBOO, paid for by a foundation grant, which, if this is done, will put every granting organization on notice that KBOO will likely make poor use of any additional funding. So much for grants to help pay for items called for in the KBOO Strategic Plan, such as the Media Center. That’s $35,000 wasted on consultants and how much wasted on an unrealizable Strategic Plan?

4. A report from the Finance Committee that the Board is neglecting its fiduciary responsibilities.

5. A report that KBOO is on track to lossing its broadcasting license for failure to have a Community Advisory Board, as the FCC and our By-laws require, and that this failure of KBOO to follow its By-laws has been reported to the state’s Attorney Generals office.

 Plus, you can witness the disruption of the Board’s business by a small number of disaffected members, should that happen again, as it did at our last meeting. In addition, you may see people supposedly seeking to protect KBOO values again engage in name-calling, belittling, as well as a general failure by members to carry out their responsibility to let each other know when some are doing harm to another person or a group of people with such behavior, as well as the failure of the Board to ask such people to stop that behavior or leave, all in violation of the “KBOO philosophy. 

 The meeting is Monday, June 24th at 6pm (arrive early as the meeting may be standing room only). KBOO is located at 20 SE 8th Avenue, Portland, OR 9721

 Please contact me if you would like to see the Board agenda and related supporting documents, as well as background information about current events at KBOO, and the long standing disfunction of the KBOO Board.

Hadrian Micciche
…………………………………………………………………………….

All of Hadrian’s charges are trumped up or exaggerated, as will be seen.

The first accusation refers to an attempt to discover an anonymous blogger.  If that’s illegal activity, then all journalists are criminals.

The second is the latest attempt to get rid of Board President SW Conser.  He got some legal counsel some months ago, not regarding the Union by the way, in his capacity as Board CEO.  The counsel was vital to KBOO, and the accusation is that only the full Board could have authorized it.  However, long-standing nonprofit precedent indicates this is not so.

Third: it isn’t just one Board member that wants to toss out the disgusting corporate Board Policy Manual.  The money was wasted as soon as it was granted, because KBOO is a people’s organization.

Fourth comes a diatribe by the Treasurer that hypocritically ignores the fiscal disaster of the corporate makeover (see above).

Regarding the fifth accusation, it is not true that KBOO does not have community “advisement.”  Hadrian is attempting to entangle the FCC by digging up an irrelevant and obscure provision relating to licensing.  Not only that, he has attempted to bring in State law enforcement, thus guaranteeing the further destruction of the budget, following on the Station Manager’s cancellation of the Drive. If he were sincerely concerned with legal compliance, of course, he could have first put any real problem on the Board agenda, so that enforcement could be avoided.  But he obviously wishes to destroy KBOO.   His diatribe above refers to the May Board meeting, in which he infuriated an already angry crowd of KBOO supporters, by arrogantly stating that they were only there by gracious permission– and then walking out, breaking quorum.  If KBOO won’t go corporate, then it can go away.

I encourage you to call Lynn Fitch, Station Manager for KBOO, at 503-231-8032, and ask her if she supports Hadrian’s multilateral attack on KBOO.

 

UPDATE:  The Board will be meeting tonight at the Jupiter Hotel (adjoining KBOO) ballroom “Dream Box.”

KRAB radio in Seattle was once a flourishing community radio station–one of Lorenzo Milam’s projects, just as KBOO was. In 1984, however, the KRAB Board decided to sell off its transmitter, deciding that it was impossible to raise enough funds for its operation. KRAB became a memory.  Information on the sellout is sketchy and incomplete, but it is clear that Hadrian Micciche was involved at KRAB at the time.  http://www.krab.fm/ProgramGuides/KRAB-Guide-xxx-1978-07.pdf  http://www.krab.fm/ProgramGuides/KRAB-Guide-xxx-1978-05.pdf  Hadrian and Paula have made statements at the Board to the effect that the KBOO Foundation is not obligated to have a transmitter ‘in order to fullfill our obligation as a media resource center.’

“…Tom Robbins’ unforgettable Sat. night show ‘Notes From the Underground’. KRAB’s free-form, ultra-eclectic format was a revelation, an education and an inspiration. Lorenzo deserves recognition as a pioneer of community radio nationwide, and a true hero in the greening of Puget Sound culture in particular…..”
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/reader_feedback/public/display.php?source_id=2018545217&source_name=mbase

Was Hadrian a part of the decision to sell?

Some may be unaware that it is possible for the Board to put the transmitter up for sale, effectively ending local community radio.  This Board, unfortunately, under the influence of Treasurer Paula Small and Hadrian, has given full executive authority to an Executive Director, as if KBOO were some for-profit retailer.  KBOO has even taken on a corporate boilerplate Board Policy Manual http://kboo.fm/sites/default/files/KBOO%20BPM.pdf  that forbids Board members from expressing dissenting views in public. The result has been a crash in Staff morale (after an attempted mass firing), a substantial (yet manageable) financial difficulty following the cancellation of the Winter Membership Drive, and the appearance of bitterly opposed factions.  It is clear, now, with Hadrian’s false charges outlined in the article above, and with his attempt to create fraudulent regulatory attention, that he wishes to destroy the Station.  Is this because he is not getting his way, or was it the plan all along?

KBOO members will indeed be attending tonight.  That’s not a bad thing–it’s the participatory paradigm that created KBOO as it is today.  I predict that Hadrian’s exaggerated and false accusations ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2013/06/423799.shtml ) will fall flat, and that KBOO will (of course) endure.  (I must trust to KBOO members for that, as I must be at work this evening.)  If the level of attendance feels rancorous to some, it will feel empowering to anyone who cares about moving forward with people-controlled media.

KBOO Board meeting packed

kpfa

KBOO has officially adopted a corporate Board Policy Manual, hired a corporate-style Executive Director with sweeping powers, and has been forced to accept a Staff Union.  The reasons given center on the ideas that KBOO “needs leadership,” and that there is a financial crisis.  But the financial crisis was brought on by the new Executive, by cancelling the Winter Pledge Drive.  Now these changes are being opposed.

Before the June 4th KBOO Board meeting, it was possible for some to say that ‘a very few friends of staffers have control.’  Now 74 people have appeared, 70 at least in opposition to the changes, and the Executive Power advocates must now become more shrill in their contention that the Left is unwanted at the Station–because that’s what they have left.  That, and the contention that really, there’s a silent majority out there somewhere that wants something at KBOO…that they alone can determine.

The meeting was the equivalent of an antiwar demonstration, in that there are dozens of people represented for each person actually present.  The intimidation factor makes that a certainty–it is psychologically difficult to actually take time to appear in person to make a complaint.  The Fitch faction can’t manage the equivalent, and they know it.  So now they want to pack the election with just-for-that-purpose members, buying in at the minimum level of economic participation.  “Get a membership for your kids….”  See links below.  (By the way, Lynn Fitch is just doing what she was hired to do.  But that’s the problem.)

Please go right now to kboo.fm, and sign up your entire family and friends for $10 and $20 memberships, and MAKE SURE THEY VOTE in the August Board elections!  And don’t be fooled by all the extra requirements for running for the Board.   They aren’t legally required. The official Bylaws, as registered with the State of Oregon, simply require that you be a member, and that you put in your statement/application by June 28th. 
Reminder:  Committee to Keep KBOO as KBOO meeting this Friday, 6 – 7:30pm, at the home of Bill and Johanna, 1615 SE 35th place, s. of Hawthorne

AN ANGRY, CONCERNED CROWD
Over seventy KBOO members and volunteers crowded into the KBOO Station June 3rd, to confront the KBOO Board about its management actions, technique and tone. An attempt to limit member discussion to ten minutes was pressured down. Quorum was repeatedly interrupted, as Board member Hadrian–loudly hooted at for his comment that the Members should be grateful, for being graciously allowed into a Board session–left in a huff (returning after an hour), and Treasurer Paula Small left within an hour. Ms. Small’s companion Kurt Lauer, a vocal pro-corporatization volunteer, also left early, saying he had heard all he needed to. Member Mark Sherman complained that his attempts to introduce agenda items for the evening’s meeting had been repeatedly rebuffed and ignored.

REVERSE COURSE!
Award-winning national poet Barbara LaMorticella, radio personality Joe Uris, and dozens of others, expressed the view that the Station had floated into dangerous waters. The attempt to get rid of Staff en masse by “Station Navigator” Lynn Fitch was often mentioned, and many expressed concern that the Winter Membership drive had been cancelled, with some saying the cancellation had been an attempt to manufacture an economic crisis. KBOO commenter/interviewer Per Fagereng said, regarding the comment against member funding that “we can’t keep milking that cow,” that, as a former dairy farmer, he knew that cows had to be milked twice per day to avoid discomfort and health problems!

FITCH TAKES THE HEAT
Many members lamented the top-down and heedless management style of Fitch, saying she was either unaware of, or more likely, hostile to the culture of the Station, blaming her for encouraging numerous snarky comments against the KBOO left/dissent community (i.e. “fruits, nuts and flakes,” “not just for communists anymore,” “tinfoil hats,” etc.). Lynn Fitch responded that she had not personally made the comments, saying that Staffer Justin had come up with a pejorative-listing comic t-shirt, and that Board Member Rabia had invented “Fruits, Nuts, and Flakes.” This explanation was met with jeers. Many speakers called for Fitch’s removal as Executive Director/Navigator. Ms. Fitch took notes during much of the comment, occasionally leaving the room, and left the meeting early, saying she would not quit.

DETERMINED MEMBERS
KBOO commentator/interviewer Linda Olsen/Osterland complained that the Station Navigator had arrogated the airwaves in violation of the station’s “dirty laundry” rules, taking hours of air time, to this point, with her views. Some commenters mentioned Fitch’s recent 15-minute broadcast, saying it was lacking in substance and embarrassing, and castigated Fitch for claiming she would take comments on her previous broadcasts– while actually only allowing written questions, from a friendly monitor. Olsen/Osterlund called for the board to rein in Fitch, noting that precedent had been set for volunteer programmers to begin taking their own views to the air. Numerous commenters questioned the majority of the Board’s inaction in the face of economic setbacks, particularly the loss of Membership Drive funds. This writer criticized the idea that Drive funds would be replaced by members joining at events, saying that had never happened in previous attempts. Former Treasurer Gene Bradley pointed out that the new Board Policy Manual was legally trumped by the requirements of the KBOO Bylaws as registered with the State of Oregon, and that additional and confusing requirements for persons running for the Board were not required, and should be listed as “optional.” Board member Michael Papadopolous agreed with that assessment, emphasizing that the Bylaws were to be heeded.

DISSENTING VIEWS
Portland internet commenter Ed Kraus, who in past years had been denied a program over his anti-Palestinian rhetoric, complained that the anti-Fitch crowd was hypocritical, and as bad as Rush Limbaugh in rejecting opposing views. He urged that Fitch “be given a chance.” Former Board member Keller Henry, arriving after two hours, pointed out that the crowd was mostly old and White and that, regarding Fitch’s leadership, “any” change would be worth a try. Board Member Hadrian, bizarrely, stood up and walked around the room with a clipboard,  attempting to get signatures to promote a $10 corporate Board training course.  Former Interim News Director Becky castigated current staffer Ani Haines, and volunteer Will Mustoe defended her.

NO ACTION TAKEN
Despite the size and determination of the attending members, the Board took no action to restrict or remove Fitch, to make up lost Drive funds, nor to address complaints about accessibility to the Board agenda, nor to restore the tried-and-true member funding emphasis of the Station. A list was taken to contact Members for a Special Membership Meeting. The meeting spilled onto the sidewalk outside the Station after adjournment.

OPINION
My overall impression of the event was that, first, the era of ignoring the determination of KBOO members, to move forward as a transparent and participatory institution, is beginning to end. There was no confusion among the vast majority of attendees, that the Station’s culture has been upended in order to force an unwanted and disastrous mutation, nor that there is any consideration for the will of the members among the perpetrators (chiefly Board members Paula, Hadrian, and Rabia, with their Navigator Lynn Fitch). Despite the “silent majority” posturing by this group, the will of the Members is clear. Effective action will now be taken to reverse these changes, and to revitalize KBOO in the right way. However, the fight has just begun.

IT GETS WORSE

It gets worse: there’s an effort to pack the Board election.  The idea is to buy $10 memberships for kids, and $20 memberships for Blue Oregon supporters, just to skew the results.  www.campaign4kboo.org/home/
http://www.blueoregon.com/2013/06/election-no-one-talking-about/

We have to counter this with our own campaign.  I’m signing up my sisters.  Lots of work ahead!