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!

All out for the Board Meeting!

The KBOO Board will be meeting at the station–20 SE 8th, just South of Burnside, at 6PM, on Monday night, the Third of June, 2013.

See  posts below, for lots of details of the KBOO corporatization crisis.torch(picture is humor, not incitement.)

The Union voted 8-0 and is officially “in!”  It’s CWA Local 7901.  That’s just the start, though; and in a “reorganization” they can all be fired.

I will be attending the Board Meeting, Monday night.  I will ask to briefly address the Board.

I’ll intend to say something about, first, the unacceptable situation now that exists at KBOO, that the ED attempted to fire the entire Staff–how that causes an untenable and unworkable relationship between the intended victims and their aggressive Boss.  No one could feel comfortable after that.

Second, I want to address the fact that the budget is now set up for failure, due to a lack of understanding of KBOO’s unique financing. We depend primarily on member donations via member drives.  That’s how Lew Hill set up the whole concept of community radio way back in the Forties; that’s how we have survived post-bankster collapse.  The items in the Budget calling for massive member contributions at special events will not and can not work.  It’s been tried, and tried, and it has always failed.  Nor can we expect the business community to consistently fund us.  People join KBOO on air because they’re excited about being a part of what is on air.  And we need our experienced staff to facilitate that.

Third, I want to say where there are problems with participation, they are effectively and properly addressed via transparency and by generating a sense of excitement about shared projects.  It is not proper to betray democratic process, by adopting a restrictive corporate-generated BPM and delegating all power to a Director.  That is exactly the wrong direction to go.

We have to play catch-up, now, since a Member Drive was cancelled. We can easily double our 50,000+ listening audience in Cascadia, by advertising ourselves –not just with bumper stickers and yard signs and Web postings, but by once again making the effort to get volunteer broadcasters to say the call letters and frequencies, and to cross-promote, and to cross-promote con idiomas varios.

We have a fantastic product that produces fanatic loyalty in those who encounter it.  All we need is visibility, and we have the capacity to do that.  Those who say we are outmoded are defeatists who cannot see the future before their faces: we will spread nationwide even as Democracy Now! has done, and with some of the same methods.

see:

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/153708-kboo-staff-votes-to-join-communications-workers-union

KBOO: Solidarity breaks out

May 28th:  See Financial Analysis at bottom of post.           And:           towerVICTORY!  Well, a little.  Bullard Law is fired, per leaked email.  But the “Strategic Plan” has not been fully revealed, and other anti-union advisers are available.  Come to the Board Meeting Monday night, June 3rd, 6PM, at 20 SE 8th (unless venue is changed).

Here is the crisis at KBOO in a nutshell: a minority of Board members, using ideas from a Meyer Family Fund grant, have begun a “reorganization” of KBOO.  With Lynn Fitch, “Station Navigator/Manager/Executive Director,” as their autocrat, they seek to de-emphasize KBOO’s community identity, first by changing the entire staff via a mass firing, then by assuring the local business community that (as an ad says in Laurelhurst Theater) “KBOO isn’t just for communists anymore.”  The desired result is to clean out messy participatory structure, and clear the way to make KBOO more dependent on business grants, than on individual membership donations.  But–the individual member is the heart of community media.  KBOO is known for its kaleidoscopic variety,  and for its  hard-hitting dissent.  For this, we need our transparency, our members, and our integrity.

WHAT IS THE SITUATION NOW?

After a foiled April attempt by the Board Treasurer and the “Navigator” to lock out and fire all staff, the now-Unionized workforce is trying to get their usual work done under the sword of Damocles.  They must work with Lynn, knowing that she took covert steps to fire them all.  The Union representatives complain that their calls are not being returned…which is not surprising, because KBOO has hired the granddaddy of all union-busters to confound the proceedings.  After a series of exposes and agitations on Portland Indymedia, Lynn took two-and-a-half hours of air time to promote her view of the struggle.

Things Lynn Fitch said during the first KBOO “Naked, Raw and Exposed” show:

(compiled by an excellent journalist who shall go unnamed here.  Watch for references to the notorious anti-worker, union-busting firm Bullard.)
1:07 “I consulted with Sussman-Shanks to find out how I can legally
lay people off during a restructuring.”
“It’s a difficult thing to do, you want it to be well-thought out, you
want it to be thoughtful, you want it to be legal….. It also
protects the employer from a wrongful-termination lawsuit.”
“The Board are the only ones that can hire and or fire me, so I watch
out for their best interests.”

1:10 “When it became apparent that Sussman-Shanks did not have the
experience or qualifications for union negotiations or labor law,
Bullard Law was their recommendation….They set up an intitial
consultation.  That initial consultation included myself and three
members of the Board, including the Board President.”

1:15 “I did hire Bullard Law.  We have a retainer for them.  It’s not
for negotiation.  They were hired to help me fill out forms.”
“Our two lawyers, the Union’s lawyer and our lawyer, are talking to
each other.  And we voluntarily said now that we will recognize the
union.  I don’t sit idly by.  I’ve been taking in information,
listening to people…

And the union is still going to hold the election on May 30th.  We
aren’t going to fire our lawyer [Bullard law], we’re not spending any
more money on them, they’re on retainer.  Once we get to the election
part, then negotiations begin and I will negotiate with Madeline and
the lawyers step out.”

1:18 “Unless the union changes its mind, and doesn’t want to have the
election…that would involve a legal agreement that would come from
their lawyer to our lawyer.”
According to Madeline [CWA President], the statement Lynn made last night appears to
indicate that management is going back on their pledge of agreeing to
voluntary recognition.
The union lawyer DID contact the kboo management lawyer last week
saying that we accept the belated agreement by management to recognize
the union, so there is no need for an election.

Apparently the kboo management lawyer never replied.
It appears that management wants to force an election, despite
repeated offers by the union to allow them to voluntarily recognize
the union.

Also inaccurate:
1:20 “The job descriptions that staff have now are the ones that they
kind of developed for themselves during the staff collective time.”

1. There was never a staff collective, since it was never approved by
the Board.  The staff worked for two years to develop a proposal that
the Board would approve, but that never happened.  In the meantime,
the station kept running, with management tasks delegated between
different staffs.
2. No job descriptions of incumbent staff were re-written during that
period.  When the engineer was fired for cause in 2010, the Personnel
committee adjusted that job description to be a part-time interim
engineer job description.  When the Program Director resigned in 2011,
the Personnel committee also adjusted that job description to save the
station money and increase efficiency by hiring a part-time interim
person in that position as well.
…..

The left panel of the KBOO image below advertising the “Naked, Raw and Expsed” event shows the “Navigator” in an apparently friendly pose with the CWA President, who she has avoided.  The right panel of the image below shows Arlo Guthrie hugging Station Manager Lynn Fitch.  When Keeper activist Mark contacted Guthrie’s sister, this is how she responded:
“Thank you for the email. First, I can’t speak for Arlo but, I can say he is a member of the local 1000 traveling musicians union. Like any type of organization some are good and have done great things and some are bullies!”
“Lynn Fitch does not have permission to use Arlo’s name or likeness.”
“Thanks again,”

Annie Guthrie” arlo

At a May 4th informal Member meeting at Tabor Space in Portland, the Station Manager and the Board Treasurer  convinced many that the crisis is over.  Yet the crisis remains–because the Station Manager (“Executive Director, Navigator”) was given autocratic powers by a hapless Board decision.  Lynn says she will support the new Staff union–but at this point, she has no choice.   She has also said that she intends to move forward with changing programming and reducing staff…and she still has legal options to do so.
union buster

KBOO has always taken pride in being a participatory and transparent institution. So, for example, when there was a desire, in recent years, to re-examine programming, a careful and lengthy survey was undertaken. Volunteers and members were consulted, and some important and useful changes were made. Now another overhaul is in the works–and democratic participation is out the window.   Apparently, it’s messy and annoying.

WHY THE SECRECY?

I am writing to reveal a different, top-down process that is now being implemented, initially with the best of intentions, by a few Board members and their new Station Manager. These changes–merely hinted at during the May 4th 2013 member forum, are apparently so drastic, that it was first necessary to secretly arrange to fire all KBOO Staff!  The process was to have been completed BEFORE the May 4th meeting–a fait accompli.  The Station Manager (“Navigator”) admitted this in a Staff meeting, saying it would have been “fair” and that everyone would be allowed to re-compete for a job–against new applicants!  The plan was revealed when the Treasurer said, in a Board meeting, that check-signing arrangements were being altered.  Fired employees can’t sign checks, you see….and the current Staff is merely good at running a participatory station.  Which won’t do at all.

May 20th UPDATE:  Station Navigator Lynn Fitch revealed that the expensive Bullard union-busting specialists are still on the KBOO payroll and will remain so.  She avoided any explicit mention of her attempt in April to fire all KBOO Staff.  She painted her relations with the union as patient and reasonable–so you should hear the CWA president’s version of it:   http://kboo.fm/content/laborradioon051313 ….See Board minutes regarding the “ringleader” and the “strategic plan” below.  CWA spokesperson said Friday that KBOO management was “playing phone tag” regarding negotiations.  With the Bullard Law union-busters still on KBOO payroll, any delay may be viewed as tactical.  A reorganization appears to be in the works; this would mean a lockout, and a downsizing of community participation.

SOLIDARITY

KBOO has generally been careful when personnel changes were necessary, respecting the rights of workers. So it was a shock when the Board and Station Manager produced a document this March, stating that employees worked “at will” and thus could be fired at any time without cause. Sensing that drastic and unfavorable changes were coming to their workplace, and reacting to the loss of sick pay and sabbaticals that they had accumulated through years of work,  Staff organized. They presented their proposed CWA Local Union 7901 to the Station Manager (Lynn Fitch) during this April’s Membership Drive. They kept the action quiet, so that the Drive would be unaffected. They asked Ms. Fitch for a timely response. KBOO Staff were looking forward to continuing their enthusiastic and dedicated service–as Union members.  And, really, I thought that little would come of it–this is KBOO, right?–

KBOO: UNION BUSTER

Ms. Fitch responded by meeting with the union management arm of Paychex/HR Solutions–a $5 billion, union-unfriendly outfit.  And now, at least one check has been written on KBOO funds, for two thousand dollars–for lawyers at the Bullard union-busting firm– just to prevent the very thing that KBOO Public Affairs programmers have so long championed: dignity and democracy in the workplace!  The CWA Union representative has pointed out that, at the last Board meeting, Directors repeatedly called for actions that would violate the Labor Relations Act of 1935 and related statutes.

SQUANDERING MEMBER DONATIONS

Is this how we want KBOO member funds spent? Why in the world would KBOO, of all institutions in the world, want to fight unions?  The presence of a bargaining unit is not a threat to a transparent, participatory institution.  All the union wants is respect–and probably a very small raise, to cover union dues.

BANKRUPT? FAR FROM IT!

Ironically, it is cash flow that is being presented as the driving force behind this corporatization push. There has been some shortfall…Yet the Winter Membership Drive was cancelled, citing the $200,000 in reserves at KBOO as of the November 2012 Finance Committee report. That drive cancellation meant the loss of $50 to $70 thousand in revenue. The corporatization group says that “we can’t keep milking that cow.” Yet that is the very basis for community radio’s continued flourishing in the midst of crushing unemployment and recession: we get our money directly from members, in small contributions, and that cash-flow paradigm keeps KBOO healthy and honest. The recent Membership Drive came up $3K short, and that is being pointed to as well–but the $30K bequest that was offered KBOO was effectively turned down by the Station Manager (others arranged to keep it coming in).  So, what is going on? What are the true motivations here?  And why did Board Treasurer Paula Small try to scare the Members with the “$738,500+ needed” claim?  (That was a number from an annual budget…which we have been making every year.  Open the books, Paula! We probably only need that $70,000.)

WAS THE CRISIS CREATED INTENTIONALLY?

When the Congressional Republicans wanted to destroy the US Postal Service–to replace it with their corporate donors FEDEX and UPS–they added a disastrous 70year pension-funding obligation to the USPS’ duties.  Is this a similar scam?  Was the Winter Membership Drive spiked by the Station Navigator in order to create the $70,000 shortfall?  Because it certainly worked for that….

WE WANT OUR FUTURE BACK

In fact, KBOO had a bright future before these changes were pushed through. We had lost some audience for morning public affairs to KPOJ, which has now been wiped out by its own top-down corporate management; that audience is returning. Our substantial public affairs and journalism strength continue to draw audience, even in the Internet age. If we need to spend funds, it should be on expansion of our Internet and smartphone presence, not on crushing workers. The last thing this radio market needs is an NPR/OPB junior wannabe, even if we can get some grants that way.  There are many ways to raise more funds, starting with raising visibility, and thus expanding our audience and member base.  (Yard signs would work.)  KBOO is still too much an “in secret” in this area–let’s change that!

KBOOLEAKS…KEEP THEM COMING

Whereas I respect the desire to innovate and move forward, I feel that it is inappropriate and disastrous to secretly attempt to apply common capitalist business practices to our unique and (up til now) democratic institution.  That’s a move backward.  (My sources? Solid.  Confirmed. Confidential. Further confirmation in the May 4 Meeting transcript at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2013/05/423237.shtml )    …KBOO does not “compete with the business community” in staffing practices–KBOO was formed to do what its members want, not what the business community expects.  Our Staff proudly work long hours for minimal wages; they are a terrific “bargain” in labor output. They are needed for our style of broadcasting.  Now they are faced with a demoralizing workplace that looks at them as little better than a nuisance and a drain. Is that how we want things to be at KBOO?

IT IS NOT TOO LATE

We, as members, are not left without recourse. Some are now organizing aSpecial General Membership meeting (probably in July), which would have the power to rescind the terrifically expensive anti-union push, and restore transparency and participation to KBOO.  (Watch this space for details!)  We may have to move quickly on this; once the programming is gutted, the audience changes and members will leave en masse, in disgust.

KBOO Programming Charter:

“KBOO shall be a model of programming, filling needs that other media do not, providing programming to diverse communities and unserved or underserved groups. KBOO shall provide access and training to those communities.

KBOO’s news and public affairs programming shall place an emphasis on providing a forum for unpopular, controversial, or neglected perspectives on important local, national, and international issues, reflecting KBOO’s values of peace, justice, democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression, and social change.

KBOO’s arts, cultural, and music programming shall cover a wide spectrum of expression from traditional to experimental, and reflect the diverse cultures KBOO serves.

KBOO shall strive for spontaneity and programming excellence, both in content and technique.”

…………………………………………………….

New replacement for the KBOO Programming Charter:

In contrast- the Board minutes from November 26, 2012 listed the new KBOO 
Mission Statement as:

"Working together to transmit culture, news and music that matters."

The minutes add: 
"from the Mission Statement the programming charter is created".

 http://kboo.fm/bylaws

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2013/04/423008.shtml

…………………………………………………………………………Friday May 3rd update…………………………………………………………………..

 Here is an excerpt of the union-busting letter sent to KBOO workers.

TO:    All KBOO Employees
FROM:  Lyn Fitch, Executive Director
DATE:  April 26, 2013
RE:    NLRB ELECTION

…..

GET THE FACTS! [underlined]

“Whether CWA comes here to our workplace is a very important decision.  It could radically change the nature of your employment relationship with KBOO.

“We want to take this opportunity to remind all employees about KBOO’s position on unions.  KBOO has proudly and successfully carried out its responsibilities to our employees without the involvement of outside, third-party labor union representation–even while our programming and our values have historically supported social justice movements and workers [sic] rights.  Throughout our history, KBOO has strived to uphold the following guiding principles: 1. fairness, honesty, and respectful treatment; 2. direct, frank, and open communication, and 3. good working conditions, wages, and benefits for all employees. [like mass firings! –tm]

“KBOO is dedicated to continuously enhancing our relationship with our employees.  We respect your right to support or not support a union, but the KBOO Foundation does not agree that union representation is in the best interest of our employees or KBOO, at this critical point in our evolution.  To help you make your decision, we want to make sure that you know both sides of what it means (and does not mean) to join a union, and that you will make an informed decision about whether to sign a union authorization card or petition. [note the boilerplate here–authorization and petition is past.  tm]

“We’ll be giving you a lot of important information in the next few weeks to make sure you can make an informed decision on election-day.  All we ask is that you keep an open mind, and hear the full story of what it means (and does not mean) to have a union here before you make a decision on how to vote.

“We encourage you to raise any questions you may have about the election or its potential outcomes with your supervisor, or with me. [there are ten union-eligible employees and one workplace–tm]  We will do our best to provide you with the information you need as quickly as possible, within the strict legal guidelines of what we can and can’t say during this election process. [end letter–tm]

……………………………………………………………………………………….radio tower busted

Letter by national award-winning volunteer and ex-Staff member Bruce Silverman:

My name is Bruce Silverman.  I have been a volunteer at KBOO for 21 years, and I was on the staff as the Building Manager for 11 years, until I was terminated for the crime of working extra hours, off the clock, in order to get the job done for KBOO.

I’m going to try to be positive, and at the end I will propose actions we can take to resolve the problem.  The negative stuff does need to be said, however, to enable all of us to get a more full picture of what has been going on.  That has been a challenge, because of all the secrecy.

I think Lynn Fitch sincerely believes that the actions she has taken, and those she wants to take, will make a more effective organization.  I don’t doubt her sincerity in that regard.  This needs to be said, because there have been a few people in the past who truly wanted to kill KBOO off, and a couple of Lynn’s supporters may have that goal.  But not her.  In fact, she is striving for the goals that the Board directed her to attain.  So, to me, it is the Board that has blundered.

Lynn was paraphrased by Willamette Week as saying that KBOO has been losing money for years.  Yes!  Forty-nine years, actually, since May 30th, 1964, the day that the idea for this station was proposed.  KBOO is not for profit.  So what is KBOO for?  KBOO is for filling needs that other media don’t, especially to unserved and underserved groups.  KBOO is for training people in the skills of broadcasting and of journalism.  KBOO is for providing a forum for unpopular, controversial and neglected perspectives on such issues as peace, justice, democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression and social change.  KBOO is for exposing people to elements of culture and the arts that others fail to provide.

None of this is profitable.  Could we do a better job of making our work less unprofitable?  Yes.  The fact is, many, maybe most, of the goals that have been spelled out in the Strategic Plan and by the Finance Director, concerning better fiscal practices, have been embraced by the Staff.  It was the Staff, acting as collective management, that set up a schedule to meet the many deadlines, large and small, near-term and long-term, called for in the Strategic Plan.  What bothers me is that there has been the implication that these so-called hippies simply consider KBOO to be their toy to play with, that they are opposed to all programming changes, and that they are so anti-capitalist that they are comfortable with, even enjoy, being broke all the time.  Absolutely not.  This is the Staff that voluntarily increased the co-pay on their medical benefits.  This is the staff that volunteered to take a twelve-and-a-half percent cut in their hours, and thus in their pay, in order to balance the budget, even though the hours they’re paid for aren’t nearly enough to complete the work they are called on to do.  With the recently proposed mass firing, one might have lost her home to the mortgage lender, and another would surely have lost his crummy $600 apartment, the best he could afford.  Those concessions were not unanimous. One employee refused to cut even one minute from his pay, he feels he is too important.  You won’t be surprised to learn that he is the one opposed to the union.

We have always had collaborative thinking and decision-making  at KBOO, and it wouldn’t be KBOO any other way.  Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it’s messy.We can improve these processes.  But if we look at our own record, we find that almost every time, we come up with a better resolution, without the blunders we have seen in recent weeks, which have come because of failure, no, refusal to consult and collaborate with those who have relevant knowledge and experience.  Many of the good new ideas for programming, for business practices, for raising money and for spending it more prudently, have come from Staff members, and many of the rest have come from volunteers and members, but have gotten serious consideration because Staff have moved them forward.  To discount all this talent is so foolish.  Not that Lynn should have even considered “cleaning house,” but when she did, there were lots of Staff, board members, volunteers, members, and listeners who could have advised her that that would have been a violation of the National Labor Standards Act.  In fact, she could have asked that agency for free, or gone online, rather than spending thousands of dollars of member money with an anti-labor lawyer and with corporate consultants.  She says that lawyer wrote a book about labor-management issues.  So be it.  KBOO should be using the lawyer who most frequently opposes that one across the courtroom.  Either, if they are honest and experienced, can tell the client what the law says.  But for advice and counsel, KBOO should be hiring the other one.

I said I would propose solutions:

Re-establish the committees that include members of all stakeholder groups.  Go beyond that and tell people what challenges we have, large and small, and seriously ask people for their suggestions.  Re-establish the grievance procedure.  Return from “at-will” terminations to “for cause;” frankly, it doesn’t take much of a cause to fire an employee.  But until they deserve termination, the humane thing to do is assure a bit of stability.  Change the job description of the Station Manager, no Navigator, no, Executive Director, back to what it was.  (This name changing reminds me of when Exxon changed the name of the Valdez, and when Blackwater’s owner changed its name, when it became an embarrassment.  Are those the kinds of people we want to be associated with?)  Finally, I call on the Board to terminate Lynn Fitch’s appointment. Despite my defense of the Staff, I could live as well with a single Station Manager.  I acknowledge that the Chief Operating Officer makes final decisions.  But the work leading to good decisions must include everyone who has something to add.  And we need a manager whose first commitment is to the mission we have set out for ourselves all these years.  Instead of abandoning the ways of doing things that fit out values, we should be embracing and enhancing them.

We have had divisive commotions at KBOO before.  Once, it lasted many months.  The accusation against the organization was false, but the attackers worked the media well, and two successive membership drives were severely impacted.  The day after the contract is signed, I would like the Station Manager and the union leader to record an announcement saying that the issue is resolved, and that those who considered dropping their support of KBOO can now be confident that we are all back on the same team, working to fulfil KBOO’s mission.  This message should also be conveyed to any and all media that have covered this controversy. [end]

…………………………………………………………………………………..

The THREE YEAR PLAN

Lynn Fitch on Linked In:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lynn-fitch/23/a44/45b

(excerpt)
Marketing & Development Director
Food Alliance

“Nonprofit; 1-10 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry

“June 2009 – October 2010 (1 year 5 months) Portland, Oregon Area

* Designed a comprehensive three-year development plan, increased donors and corporate giving in 1 year
• Developed a national marketing campaign, to raise awareness about the value of Food Alliance certification
• Created a unique city-wide game, with trading cards, to teach consumers about food supply chains
• Produced a successful out-of-town fundraising event featuring Dr. Temple Grandin in Seattle, WA
* Conducted a board mapping exercise, identified key relationships and launched major donor campaign “
………………………………………………………….

Looks good, yes? How did that work out?

 http://sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2013/02/food-alliance-to-cease-operations.html

Date: Monday, February 11, 2013, 12:03pm PST
Food Alliance to cease operations, board to remain active

By Matthew Kish

Staff reporter

The Food Alliance, an organization that certifies sustainable food and agriculture, will cease operations on Friday.

“The Food Alliance is dependent upon grants and funding from the private sector as well as the public sector, both of which have changed drastically in the last several years” said Chair Jeff Picarello. “Most of the funding sources available to support sustainable agriculture in the state have dried up.”

The Portland-based nonprofit, which operates nationwide, lost roughly $58,000 in 2011, according to its latest tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service. It had nearly $790,000 in 2011 revenue. The Food Alliance lost more than $8,000 in 2010 on $833,000 in revenue.

Picarello said the organization’s board will continue to meet on a voluntary basis in order to consider requests to use the Food Alliance certification. The board will likely be reconfigured to meet the added workload.

The cease in operations means the Food Alliance will no longer have paid staff to make field visits and certify farmers as sustainable.

“The organization is not going away,” Picarello said. “The standards are not going way.”

The organization’s last day of operations will be this Friday, Feb. 15.

The Food Alliance was founded in 1994 when Oregon State University, Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture landed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to launch the program.

Last year it announced a program to certify nurseries as sustainable.

………………………………………………………………………………….

KBOO has a brilliant economic model that was developed to keep it close to its constituents.  By accepting small donations from listeners in “membership drives,” KBOO stays honest and suitably funded.  It’s a model that has brilliantly weathered the 2008 crash. Did you know that?  Or have you fallen for the “not just for communists” propaganda?  Here are the real figures:

Revenues FY 13 year to date–
Budget-  $437,610
Actual-   $436,771

we know that

Fall Pledge Drive made goal
End- of- year appeal letter exceeded goal
Spring Pledge Drive- has almost made goal- within $1000 or so
Underwriting- 41% over goal year to date (+11,280)
But–the Winter Pledge Drive was canceled.  Why?  The Station “Navigator” said it wasn’t needed.  Was this an attempt to create a crisis, to bring in a different, non-member based funding model?

PROBLEMS COMING

Possible Revenue shortfalls:

Board-led fund-raising
Budgeted-  $12,000
Actual ytd-   0  (So much for hobnobbing at the Golf course.)

Local business contribution (not Underwriting or Co-sponsorship)
Budgeted  18,750
Actual ytd-  0  (There’s still time for the biz-friendly geniuses to turn this around…)

Events-
budgeted events still to come June-Sept.
mainly KBOO birthday party and house parties   (where hopefully true KBOOters will step up)

anticipated revenue $50,000

It’s hard to guess what the total shortfall for this might be-
$25,000-$70,000?  Or, say, a missing Winter Drive?

Overruns to Expenses:

Professional services- so far this year $6932 over budget  –lawyers; some to deal with rogue members, and some to bust unions.  Probably doesn’t include the $25 retainer to the union-busters
Budgeted-25,352
Actual   18,420

……………………………………………………………………………….

It is in this context that I posted http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2013/05/423408.shtml  the information about Lynn Fitch’s failed three-year plan for Food Alliance–the one in which she “increased corporate giving.”   KBOO’s innovative model works brilliantly during hard times, because in hard times WE ARE NEEDED THE MORE and people tune in.  That is why we have survived since 2008 and are thriving, whereas KPOJ’s broadcasts and Food Alliance’s extension services are dead.  Now come the Saviors who would de-emphasize small donations, and turn to fickle corporations for large donations.

Please read the above facts carefully.  And ask yourself: Is it time to replace those lazy, granola-chomping, communist hippies with some real hard-headed, business-friendly, commanding personality types?

Or is that a load of crap?

Could it be that KBOO Staff is actually chock-full of dedicated, brilliant, award winning people, renowned internationally for their accomplishments?  That just about everything you’ve heard against them is a lie?

Please take action.  The Board Meeting is June 3rd, 7PM, 20 SE 8th.

Please sign this petition.  https://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-kboo-board-dump-bullard-law