Nov. 7, 2001 WBAI LAB Meeting at CHARRAS
By Frank Fitzgerald
Old school(?) building with zigzag ramp system out front up to entrance level, but no ramp at doorstep. Inside - worn, well used appearance. Hallway is carefully watched over by really cool giant paper mache(?) sculpture of sitting/watching black man in a fedora. Inside meeting room - large space painted black, soaking up light and gawd knows what else into walls and ceiling. Tried shooting a few digital photos and gave upon seeing results. (cheap camera)
(Note: yers truly not a "meeting" person... easily lost mit motions, friendly amendments, discussion in heavily accented english, lack of fresh air, sleep, etc. - apologies rendered for mistakes, omissions. Double check all statements before excoriating offenders. Hopefully, others will jump in here with corrections and additions.)
Various agenda items were announced. One was discussion of listing LAB minutes on the LAB website
Bob Daughtry hiring not legal(?)... there is/was union contract in place which calls for "consultation" w various folk (staff? LAB?) before hiring
Pre agreement(?) w Daughtry that Utrice would remain in programmatic manner
Certified letter was sent by LAB to BD about tonight's meeting, but because location was changed Bob might not know where meeting is... (no comment by anyone re the invention of the telyphone)
Andy Norris sent letter to Daughtry asking him to open communications w LAB
Errol Maitland said process re firing/hiring not being followed demonstrated hypocrisy of management... LAB (should? will?) not sit still and "let rights of listeners be trampled... especially when there is a contract..."
Mimi reads Concerned Friends motions/statements 1 and 2 (copies I have - which might not be up to date - to follow)
Errol on "democratization" reminds that he and Mimi are *elected* from staff; much negative stuff done in US with elections; "...first time I am speaking against democracy", "'democracy' must be narrowed", wants to substitute "equity" for word "democracy" in CF statement; he also wants at-large seats (on PNB?) for places that don't have Pacifica stations... like in the south
Mimi argues to leave "democracy" in because it speaks of the spirit of democracy; there is agreement; they decide to add "equity" to statement: "equity and democracy"
Panama Alba arrives late, leaves after about 30 minutes - speaks about LAB (or station) representing disenfranchised (prisoners, folk on welfare)
Comments were taken from the audience at various times; listener comments: Liz - not opposed to equity; important thing is power to recall LAB members who don't measure up Carolyn Birden - emphasized importance of recall and accountability Bob Lederer - reminds of PNB meeting in DC; demo (forget which one) in midtown
LAB member, Lee Kronick on exploratory committee on revising LAB bylaws, investigating democratization of LAB, have had 3 meetings; wanted to review, revise, approve and circulate to other LABs
Audience: Susan (works inside station?) - she went to one meeting (of this exploratory comm?), "no questions being asked", folks set in their opinions Larry Rhomstead(?) - intent: a draft to (PNB?) to change powers of station board Andrea - folks on comm *have* been asking questions at other meetings Unknown - LAB seats need to be assigned to groups... vote as (for?) group; some seats will be voted on by all listeners Paul - he(?) is committed to building in protective measures to ensure LAB as good as one we have now; discussed grandfathering in elected seats... first election: 25% elected seats, 75% remaining members
Errol - brings up vacancies on present LAB... have 16 members, can have 24; on agenda is item to fill 2 seats; wants LAB presence in DC at PNB meeting, calls for funds for transportation
More back and forth re draft (of CF statements?); can draft be presented to PNB? Voted on: 5 for, 1 against, 4 abstentions
LAB addresses seating 2 new members -
LAB member, Ray LaForest spoke re attacks on LAB on Internet; some individual in California wrote that LAB plan to appoint new members was "despicable", some have said LAB no different than PNB, he said this is untrue, mentioned a meeting where 2 CF members present withdrew their objection to seating the 2 new members.
LAB member, Marion Borenstein, commenting on one (Anne Emerman) or more LAB members who had already left the room had told her how they wanted to vote on Rasheeda Ismaeli Abu Bakr; MB said "We need Rasheeda's help on the LAB>"
Ray - biographies of nominees for wide distribution? (to be shared w LAB and listeners?)
Marion - 4 copies were circulated (to 4 members?)
LAB member, Andy Norris brought up 3 things they had agreed on: 1. these would be last 2 seated until new process of some sort devised 2. agreed to seat the 2 3. LAB members were supposed to get nominee's abbreviated bios (still didn't happen)
Errol - moves to seat Rasheeda
Mimi - brings up issue of 2 new members possibly being "ex-officio" with voting privileges
Back and forth about whether bylaws allow this, and what should be done
Ray - mentions the intention (agreement?) of LAB to make these 2 seats last appointed without a more open process; next time there would be an open call for applications and that nominee bios would be made public before any decision
Paul (in audience?) - 2 months ago he urged open call for appointment
Carolyn Birden - principles more important than details at this time
A number of audience folk emphasized that the objections have been to the LAB process and not with Rasheeda
A vote was called for; Andy Norris noted that these votes were usually done in executive session; it was agreed to go ahead with a public vote; all present voted to seat, except for abstentions by Andy and Anthony Mackall.
Earlier, after one of Errol's passionate speeches, some mention was made of the possibility of holding a public debate (of LAB members?) on the subject of elections so that people would say yes or no. Errol and others agreed this would be a good thing. This subject was revisited at the end of the meeting and a vote (by acclimation) approved such a plan.
The issue of posting minutes on the LAB website did not get discussed. The meeting adjourned.
Rasheeda was invited to introduce herself and say a few words. In a soft voice she spoke of her interest in education and the arts; she is an African born professor and holds art salons in her apartment; she is concerned about the quarreling she sees; she is concerned that there is little attention being paid to a vision for the future.
After the meeting I approached Errol and asked him if he has Internet access. He said he does, so I gave him a flyer urging the LAB to post minutes, etc. and individual statements and their bios on the LAB website. (I have been emailing this document to them at
firstname.lastname@example.org for the past 10 months with only one response [from Andy Norris].) The flyer also carries an invitation for the LAB to dialogue with listeners at the WBAI Issues forum. I pointed this out to Errol, telling him that if he has such strong feelings about his ideas re democracy and elections he should come to this online forum and present/sell his opinions to the listeners - that he didn't have to wait for a town hall type debate to be set up. He made it pretty clear there was little chance he would drop by, saying he was a "sound" guy, that he expresses himself best with sound. I said that this would mean the only way we were going to get to debate these ideas with him would then be on the telephone. He said that would be fine - for listeners to call him up. He did not give me his number. Hopefully, he will read this and let us know where to reach him. (I intend to email it to
email@example.com, close my eyes and cross my fingers - but I do not intend to hold my breath.)
I also approached Rasheeda, gave her a flyer and urged her to meet us online and discuss her ideas. After the meeting, I was told that 15 of the 17 LAB members have email.
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