A History of "Pacifica's" new chairman
Forwarded from the list at: http://savewbai.tao.ca
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF AS FORMER L.A. COUNCILMAN ROBERT FARRELL IS ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD AMID RENEWED CHARGES OF "CONFLICT OF INTEREST"
by Stan Ginsburg
For years, headlines in both major Los Angeles daily newspapers screamed "conflict of interest" as then City Councilman Bob Farrell navigated a perilous obstacle course of investigations for fraud, mismanagement, and ethics violations that resulted in multiple recall campaigns. Twice targeted for recall by his neighbors in the 8th district (one of LA's poorest and 85% Black), Farrell never once in 17 years found himself free of controversy as he repeatedly attempted to line his pockets at the expense of the city's taxpayers and his resentful constituents.
The parallels between Bob Farrell's destructive time on Pacifica's National Board and his track record as a Los Angeles City Councilman serve as a model to study in order to help understand the hemorrhaging of financial and human resources, as well as the deteriorating spirit now afflicting the Pacifica Network. Farrell's studied charm and soft-spoken "management style" belie the opportunism and duplicity that has characterized his political career.
"It's like similar attacks in the past on other black members of the City Council," maintained Farrell during his first recall fight, even though the campaign against him was being spearheaded by a retired and disabled African-American police officer residing in Farrell's district. To this day, Farrell holds the dubious distinction of being the only Councilman in LA history to be the subject of not one, but two recall campaigns.
After his first brush with recall in 1978 (only four years after being elected), he found himself targeted for a second recall attempt in 1987. This time, an LA Herald Examiner investigation found that Farrell, who was then chairing the City Council's grants committee, helped arrange for a tiny social services agency [the Improvement Association of the 8th District] run by his ex-wife to acquire - for free - a building and a parking lot valued at $225,000 from Security Pacific Bank. This was in spite of the fact that the Bank had initially offered to donate the same properties to the City at no charge. Farrell next moved his field offices and staff into the donated building and began billing the City $28,800 a year ($2400/month) to rent the properties from his [now] ex-wife's agency. The Improvement Association even continued to charge the City $400/month for 21 months after selling the property to a private developer.
The leader of the second Farrell recall campaign, Kerman Maddox, an African-American and former aide to both Maxine Waters and Mayor Tom Bradley, called the conflict-of-interest disclosures, "one more justification for the recall." Johnnie Cochran Jr., Farrell's lawyer and spokesman, countered that his client, "has done nothing wrong."
On Dec. 21, 1987, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner reported that the "social services agency [the Improvement Association of the 8th District] run by Farrell's ex-wife failed this year to provide the feeding and tutorial services it promised when receiving two federally funded contracts." Two weeks later, on January 7, 1988, the Los Angeles Times reported that, the District Attorney's office was reviewing Farrell's activities, "to determine if the councilman violated disclosure laws by steering more than $350,000 in real estate gifts, city rental payments, campaign contributions and a government grant to his now former wife's agency."
In another disclosure, the Herald reported that, "the financial support began when Farrell was still married . and has continued into a period in which his personal financial support of their child has remained unresolved." The same investigation found that, "The couple's divorce ended with no court ordered .financial obligations to his ex-wife or their child even though she sought both alimony and child support."
Now compare Farrell's history as a city councilman to his history as a Pacifica board member.
1. He gave his word to the KPFK Local Advisory Board that if they elected him he would oppose any by laws changes.
2. After being sworn in February of 1999 his first act was to vote in favor of bylaws changes, which disenfranchised the Local Advisory Boards and made the PNB an unaccountable, self- selecting body.
3. The KPFK LAB then voted in May of 2000 to remove Farrell from the board, but he and his cronies ignored this vote.
4. He supported sending armed guards into KPFA (Pacifica's Bay Area flagship station) in the summer of 1999 to support the lockout of the stations employees protesting the proposed sale of the station.
5. He publicly supported moving Pacifica's operations (and financial records from all 5 stations) to Washington D.C., where, as he put it, "the movers and shakers are."
6. If approved, the bylaw changes would also provide Farrell with something he could take to the bank - article 3.16, which states: "Compensation...A Director shall be entitled to receive reasonable compensation for services rendered to the Foundation in a professional capacity." (For 50 years Pacifica directors have served unpaid out of a sense of community service. But with these bylaw changes, Farrell and the rest of his board, would be free to co-mingle their own financial interests with their with their duties as Directors of the Pacifica Foundation.)
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Proposed by-laws revisions by John Murdock to Pacifica Board of Directors For Years The Headlines Screamed "Conflict Of Interest!"
Robert Farrell, City Councilman, Los Angeles 8th District (one of LA's poorest): 1974-1991 The only Councilman in LA history to be the target of 2 recall campaign: 1978 and 1988
June 18, 1978, Los Angeles Times - "The City Councilman has been approached on many occasions about the deteriorating conditions in the 8th district, which is 85% black," said Dennis Hale Jr., a retired black police officer on disability, who has spearheaded the recall drive." - Farrell said of the recall campaign, "It's like similar attacks in the past on other black members of the City Council"
Dec. 21, 1987, Los Angeles Herald Examiner - "A social services agency run by Farrell's ex-wife [the Improvement Association of the 8th District] failed this year to provide the feeding and tutorial services it promised when receiving two federally funded contracts.." - "Farrell currently chairs the LA City Council's grants committee, a panel that is supposed to ensure the city's grant money is well spent and whose members have been particularly sensitive to the scarcity of funds.." - "Farrell also helped arrange for his ex-wife's agency to acquire - for free - a building and a parking lot valued at $225,000 from Security Pacific Bank. The Bank initially offered to donate the same properties to the City [for free]. Later, Farrell had the city lease the properties [from his wife] for the use of his council staff at $28,800 a year!" - "Farrell has refused to discuss his dealings. referring questions to attorney Johnnie Cochran."
Dec 5, 1987, Los Angeles Herald Examiner - "The Examiner disclosed yesterday the Improvement Association of the 8th District. continued to charge the City $400 a month rent for a parking lot even though the group sold the property to a private developer 21 months ago."
Dec 17, 1987, Los Angeles Herald Examiner - "The Examiner has reported that the financial support began when Farrell was still married . and has continued into a period in which his personal financial support of their child has remained unresolved." - Kerman Maddox, former aide to Mayor Bradley and leader of the [2nd] recall campaign, called the disclosures, "one more justification for the recall." - "Johnnie Cochran Jr., Farrell's lawyer and spokesman .said his client .'has done nothing wrong'"
Jan 7, 1988, Los Angeles Times, - "The district Attorneys office is reviewing Farrell's activities to determine if the councilman violated disclosure laws by steering more than $400,000 in real estate gifts, city rental payments, campaign contributions and a government grant to a small social services agency run by Essiebea Farrell, his former wife." - "Last week Farrell used city funds to send constituents 3961 letters that defended .his ex wife's agency, and City statistics show that Farrell sends far more mail at city expense that any of his 14 colleagues." Jan 16, 1988, Los Angeles Herald Examiner - "Officially separated since April 23, 1984. the couple's divorce ended with no court ordered .financial obligations to his [Farrell's] ex-wife or their child even though she sought both alimony and child support."
Aug 13, 1978, Los Angeles Times - In response to complaints by residents that a proposed two-acre park would, "displace 16 families, some of whom had been in the neighborhood for 30 years. Farrell contended that the elderly residents who would be displaced 'have lived their lives and we have to look to the future..'"
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