October 29, 2019: Report on New Petition

Message from Arthur Schwartz & Mimi on Arthur’s Behalf,

Today (October 29, 2019) our attorney, Arthur Schwartz, filed an expited motion to add 8 PNB Directors as Petitioners. He did so because he had some concern about standing (a legal term involving who can sue about what, i.e. who has an actual stake and is harmed by a challenged behavior).  Pacifica opposed the motion and the judge set a hearing for November 6, and extended the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) till November 6, which is mostly relevant to the paid staff.

Schwartz suspects that the judge may issue a decision on or around November 6.

Schwartz noted that the PNB faction (that is, Vernile’s faction) brought into the discussion Vernile’s “proposal” for “rehabilitating WBAI and the network” without any perceivable reason.

This “plan” was discussed last week by a coalition of listeners, local station board members and producers who met to devise a fightback to this illegal takeover of our station. It is believed that Vernile’s strategy of bringing this before the judge is meant to rationalize and validate their takeover.  Schwartz is concerned that by raising “Pacifica Across America” (PAA) as “the plan” — whether sanctioned by the PNB or not — throws the judge and everyone else into confusion. That is, suddenly Pacifica — through Vernile’s proposal of PAA as his “plan” — is offering to the the judge and others his brave new vision to “rebuild WBAI”.

Our lawyer has requested (and we already came to the conclusion) that we begin to dissect the fallacy of Pacifica Across America, the non-community based, centralized programming chosen by a limited number of hand-picked directors as the way WBAI 99.5 FM should go.

Also we can procedurally as well as substantively clarify how Vernile’s conceptualization was not within the scope of his official duties. It is not the Pacifica Interim Executive Director’s job to completely usurp local determination. Besides, despite his indicating otherwise, Vernile never presented “the plan” to the PNB for vetting and/or approval.

This rogue faction of the PNB — headed by Vernile — has also brought a law-suit to change completely the Pacifica By-Laws — changing — among other things – the number of Directors to a small number of APPOINTED (not elected, as is present practice) people.

We have to quickly get on the horn and speak with those proposed directors, who Vernile hopes — with a change in the bylaws — would be offered some role in programming decisions for our station.  The people in question have been profiled and their names, images, and bios were circulated to insinuate that they have accepted such a role.  To date two of the women have been contacted and deny their acceptance of this plan.  And while we need to speak with all the proposed new “program directors”, we also must repudiate both the vision of PAA and the usurpation of local control.

More work to do – but it must be done.  If you are particularly interested on working on this analysis of what’s wrong with PAA and “the plan” for WBAI please respond by email (info@wbaifightback.org) or attend a community-producer meeting Wednesday night (10/30) 6pm at DC 37 – 125 Barclay Street in lower Manhattan.

Mimi on behalf of Arthur

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