Monthly Archives: July 2021

Dick Gregory public affairs & health


” . . . Again, these issues were know to all for decades. The debates in the Program Council at WBAI over Gary Null when he made 40-60% of the revenue never focused on whether those arguing it were simply incapable of crafting a sound that attracted 17,000 people an hour.
I suggest that people see the new documentary on Dick Gregory which SHOWTIME has.
I always admired and learned from him.  At one point I had all his records which I listened to again and again.
But I found the commentary on his interest in health issues fascinating. It reminded me of one of the telling comments in the WBAI Program Council when people would freak out over his attraction to a mass audience. 
Barbara Nimri Aziz simply said , “Don’t you undrestand how he makes people feel about themselves. he makes them feel good since he is directing his advicfe to make them live longer and take care of themselves. It’s obvious”
This is from wikipedia about Gregory’s health campaigning which I had totally forgotten about.

Vegetarianism and animal rights

Gregory became a vegetarian and fasting activist in 1965 “based on the philosophy of nonviolence practiced during the Civil Rights Movement.”[His 1973 book, Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet For Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ With Mother Nature, outlined how fasting and going vegetarian led to dramatic weight loss.[54] He developed a diet drink called “Bahamian Diet Nutritional Drink” and went on TV shows advocating his diet and to help the morbidly obese. He wrote the introduction to Viktoras Kulvinskas’ book Survival into the 21st Century.A talk he gave at Amherst College in 1986 inspired Tracye McQuirter to become a vegan activist.

In 1984, he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight-loss products. With this company, Gregory made efforts to improve the life expectancy of African Americans, which he believed was being hindered by poor nutrition and drug and alcohol abuse. In 1985, Gregory introduced the “Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet”, a powdered-diet mix. He launched the weight-loss powder at the Whole Life Expo in Boston under the slogan “It’s cool to be healthy”. The diet mix, if drunk three times a day, was said to provide rapid weight loss. Gregory received a multimillion-dollar distribution contract to retail the diet.[

In 1985, the Ethiopian government adopted, to reported success, Gregory’s formula to combat malnutrition during a period of famine in the country. Gregory’s clients included Muhammad Ali.

In 2014, Dick Gregory updated his original 4X formula, which was the basis for the Bahamian Diet and created his new and improved “Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health”.

In 2003, Gregory and Cornel West wrote letters on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Kentucky Fried Chicken‘s CEO, asking that the company improve its animal-handling procedures.[Gregory saw civil rights and animal rights as intrinsically linked, once stating, “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.”
I am personally less interested in these kinds of issues than others but that is MY PERSONAL PREFERNCE. I learned decdaes ago to spearate my personal preferences from the practical necessities of financing very fragile fiscal realities at Pacifica stations. . . . “

1999 Momentous Events


From ”

July 13, 1999


Explosive Pacifica Radio Memo Raises Storm(1999)

by Jeffrey St. Clair – Alexander Cockburn


” . . . Latest evidence of the Board’s bad faith comes in the form of an email, purportedly from Micheal Palmer, a real estate broker in Houston who is treasurer-elect on the governing board. The text of the memo follows. Palmer’s email to Pacifica national board chair Mary Frances Berry puts forward a plan to destroy grassroots opposition and raise money to pay for the voracious cash needs of the national superstructure by selling either KPFA, the network’s flagship station in the Bay Area, valued at around $70 million, or WBAI in New York, probably worth even more . . . .”

” . . . There are a couple puzzling features in the address panel of the email. Berry’s name middle name is incorrectly spelled, though Micheal is the proper spelling of Palmer’s first name. How can such an explosive memo be seeing the light of day instead of remaining locked in Mary Frances Berry’s safe? The truth is ironic and extraordinary. The IGC internet service provider did a trace and confirms that the email originated at Micheal Palmer’s email account. (Click here to read the IGC trace of the email’s origins.) But it was sent to the email address of Andrea Buffa, director of the San Francisco Media Alliance and one of the protesters on whom Pacifica manager Lynn Chadwick had conducted a citizen’s arrest for demonstrating outside the Pacifica national offices in Berkeley. Buffa was arraigned on July 13 directing the attention of the press to the text of the letter on CounterPunch’s website. (Click here to read press release from the Media Alliance.) It seems that Palmer in one of the most momentous Freudian slips in recent memory managed to direct his email to an active opponent of all the schemes being hatched by him and Berry. . . . “

” . . .

From: Palmer, Micheal @ Houston Galleria,
To: ‘Mary Francis Berry’, . . . “

From the email: ” . . . But seriously, I was under the impression there was support in the proper quarters, and a definite majority, for shutting down that unit and re-programming immediately. Has that changed? Is there consensus among the national staff that anything other than that is acceptable/bearable? I recall Cheryl saying that the national staff wanted to know with certitude that they supported 100% by the Board in whatever direction was taken; what direction is being taken?

As an update for you and Lynn I spoke with the only radio broker I know last week and his research shows $750,000-$1.25m for KPFB. There wo . . . “

” . . . This is the best radio market in history and while public companies may see a dilutive effect from a sale (due to the approximate 12 month repositioning effort needed), they would still be aggressive for such a signal. Private media companies would be the most aggressive in terms of price, which he thinks could be in the $65-75m range depen . . . “

” . . . the Finance Committee will undertake a close review of the Audigraphics data provided recently to determine what it is costing us per listener, per subscriber, per market, per hour of programming…in order give the Executive Director and the General Managers benchmarks for improvement. Even with that data my feeling is that a more beneficial disposition would be of the New York signal as there is a smaller subscriber base without the long and emotional history as the Bay Area, far more associated value, a similarly dysfunctional staff though far less effective and an overall better opportunity to redefine Pacifica going forward. It is simply the more strategic asset. . . .”

Then he wrote: ” . . . An afternoon panel discussion on the Pacifica crisis will be held Saturday, July 24 from 1-4 p.m. at the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society, 9550 Haskell Avenue in North Hills. Panelists include former Pacifica board president Peter Franck, fired Pacifica national programmer Larry Bensky, KPFK local advisory board chair and litigant David Adelson , and long-time KPFK programmer Roy Tuckman. Dr. Helen Caldicott will also address the issues via a pre-taped presentation. . . . “

From 1999

Please note, an email’s origin can be traced back.

From 2014, bad actors, history


Folks reveal their own bad intentions in their own writings:

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

by ERIC C. JACOBSON Tuesday, Apr. 08, 2014 at 2:07 PM
ECJLA@AOL.COM (310) 204-0677 PO Box 67674, Los Angeles, CA 90067 Excerpts follow:

” . . . A case in point is Carol Spooner. She was the lead plaintiff in one of the two main “listener lawsuits” that succeeded in “taking back Pacifica” during the last major crisis involving the Foundation at the turn of the 21st century

Ms. Spooner and her allies wrested control of Pacifica Foundation away from a self-perpetuating Board of opportunists who really were aiming to denature Pacifica’s heritage and essence, put it into service of what the late, great Alexander Cockburn called “the neo-liberal inferno” and remake Pacifica into a benign Democratic-establishment-friendly left-of-center version of National Public Radio. Ms. Spooner then spent the next half-decade immersed in enervating factional conflicts with others who competed for power within the new framework of democratic governance for Pacifica enshrined in complex bylaws adopted following the final seizure of Pacifica in 2002 from the “ancient regime”.

Ms. Spooner spelled-out the (burn-out driven) thinking of her and (presumably) her allies at KPFA (the Foundation’s Berkeley station) in a published article in 2012, found online here:

In it she (astonishingly) calls for the Pacifica Foundation to dissolve its 5 station union, transfer its valuable broadcast licenses to the governing bodies of its constituent stations, sell WBAI into the commercial marketplace and distribute the proceeds as “endowments” to the remaining 4 stations. Suffice it say this is a very radical and almost certainly legally untenable proposal (given the trust and fiduciary responsibilities of any Pacifica Board of Directors to maintain fidelity to the founders’ non-profit mission and the charitable nature of Pacifica’s acquisition of WBAI), and would come as a shock to the vast majority of the 80,000 listener-sponsors at the 5 stations. Most Pacifica station listener sponsors like the idea of Pacifica being a small but proud “national progressive radio network” and want to build that network up, not shatter it to pieces. . . .”

” . . . For example, Pacifica acquired its New York City station WBAI (in 1960) as a charitable gift from philanthropist Louis Schweitzer. Schweitzer’s stated purpose was “to liberate a single element of mass media technology on behalf of the public” and thereby enhance “the free marketplace of ideas.” . The law treats such charitable bequests as perpetual and although a court could permit subsequent stewards of such a donated property to divest themselves of it, under the “cy pres” doctrine, the most they could do is transfer it to another strictly non-profit organization equally devoted to the donor’s charitable purpose. In sum WBAI cannot legally be sold into the commercial marketplace in the unimaginable event a majority of Pacifica listener-sponsors voted to do so.

Yet in recent interviews Ms. Reese has recounted a stunning conversation she had on this subject with Dan Siegel, the Oakland, California lawyer who brought another of the lawsuits in the “take back Pacifica” mobilization of ~2000, and who has been a protagonist in Pacifica’s factional wars ever since (particularly those occurring at KPFA). In August of 2013 Mr. Siegel endorsed Ms. Spooner’s proposal although they differ on some “fine points”. See an exchange between Mr. Siegel and Ms. Spooner found here: .

And according to journalist Paul Derienzo found here ( ) Mr. Siegel told Ms. Reese that he (Siegel) would “sell WBAI to save KPFA”, the Berkeley station. The article also quotes former KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) member and Reese supporter Tracy Rosenberg . . .”

” . . . Although Mr. Siegel is no longer on the PNB (due to Bylaws provisions . . . Ms. Reese’s main antagonist on the PNB majority is Dan Siegel’s law partner Jose Fuentes, the member who made the motion for her termination at the very end of the March 13, 2013 telephonic Board meeting. Given the close relationship between Siegel and Fuentes, it is reasonable to assume that Fuentes and his colleagues in the Board majority are likely pursuing Ms. Spooner’s outlandish “game plan”

As to some of those: PDGG is seeking to restrain the Board majority from breaching Ms. Reese’s contract. And it is not seriously disputed by anyone that the Pacifica Foundat . . . “

” . . . The Board did not provide notice to its own members that Ms. Reese’s termination would be voted upon at the March 13th meeting, and took the vote with 4 members absent and without hea . . . “


by Kim Kaufman Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014 at 11:44 PM
“…3 out of the 4 current delegates to the PNB from KPFK, my home station here in Los Angeles, have evidently joined forces with like-minded cohorts from KPFA…”

One current PNB member, Lydia Brazon, is surely one of the architect’s of this plan going way back. She and Dan Siegel have long been allies and co-conspirators..

Thank you for this well written article.”

Carol Spooner supports Summer Reese

by Carol Spooner Saturday, Apr. 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

I strongly support Summer Reese in her position as Executive Director of Pacifica and in her efforts to preserve and protect the network and five Pacifica stations and their mission, and to prevent the total collapse of Pacifica into bankruptcy court, pay-off its debts, clean-up the corruption and financial mess, and rebuild.

I believe those Pacifica directors who voted to fire her without cause weeks after her contract was signed acted with gross abuse of their authority and have recklessly and/or intentionally placed Pacifica in grave peril. Some of them may just be acting out of cluelessness and factional malice. But others of them are not clueless, including Dan Siegel’s “SaveKPFA” allies at KPFA — Margy Wilkinson, Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Jose Luis Fuentes — and Lydia Brazon at KPFK and Cerene Roberts at WBAI. I’ve heard speculation and rumors about what their ultimate “end game” intentions may be, but whatever that is they are clearly attempting to force Pacifica into a position where desperate deals may have to be made that may not preserve and protect Pacifica’s mission.

It is true that in August 2012 I circulated the outlines of a plan for an “amicable divorce” at Pacifica — by doing a signal swap for WBAI (which is in the commercial band) with another station down the dial in the NYC area and using the cash generated to endow an independent Pacifica national programming service as well as five independent nonprofit radio stations set up by the local boards at the five signal areas. You can read it here:

I still think that may be the best way forward, but reasonable people can disagree about that. I know that Summer Reese disagrees.

What is not subject to reasonable disagreement is that firing the Executive Director, in breach of her contract, exposes Pacifica to serious risk of total collapse with little or no opportunity for an orderly resolution to its difficulties.

As a side note, it’s easy to get lost in the cast of characters who have been involved in Pacifica, so I don’t blame Eric Jacobson for his confusion and mistaken characterizations of me and my role at Pacifica. I served on the Pacifica National Board for 3 years — from January 2002 through January 2005 — first on the “interim” Pacifica Board for 2 years after our lawsuit was settled removing the old corporatizing board. During that time I chaired the committee that re-wrote the bylaws creating a democratic Pacifica with a voting membership. I then served for one year on the first elected board, after which I retired from any formal role at Pacifica. Since then I’ve sent out occasional email commentaries over the years, and have supported those candidates who I believed were best suited to ending the enervating factionalism and rebuilding Pacifica for the “beacon of the Left” that it should be and needs to be in these times. . . . “

Carol Spooner is a retired attorney living in Santa Rosa. She can be reached at

Feb. 2020-Some History for Beginners


Berkeleyside Newsletter

Feb. 2020: KPFA’s building in Berkeley set to be auctioned off for non-payment of taxes

The progressive radio station has not paid property taxes since December 2013 and owes $486,751. The Pacifica Foundation, which owns the station, is not revealing whether it has a rescue plan.

KPFA’s iconic building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way is set to be auctioned off March 20 because of the non-payment of taxes.

The progressive radio station has not paid property taxes on 1929 MLK Jr. Way since December 2013, and currently owes $486,751 to Alameda County. The Tax Assessor’s office has a contract with Bid4assets to sell off delinquent properties. The public auction will start at 8:30 a.m. March 20 and continue until March 23 at 3:30 p.m. The minimum bid is $486,853.

The station has until March 19 to pay the debt to stop the auction.

“We’re all freaking out about it,” said Christina Huggins, the chair of the KPFA local station board. “We’re all worried about it. It’s alarming.”

KPFA HQ in Berkeley. Photo: Siciliana Trevino
KPFA is currently located at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

The management of the Pacifica Foundation, the parent organization of KPFA, and four other radio stations around the country, did not respond to a request for comment. Huggins and other KPFA officials have been told to step back and not get involved with the tax bill, said Huggins.

She and others believe that the Pacifica Foundation has hired a Southern California law firm, Alpert Barr & Grant, to negotiate a settlement with the Alameda County Tax Collector. Berkeleyside’s call to Alpert Barr & Grant was not returned. Lydia Brazon, Pacifica’s new interim executive director, did not return Berkeleyside’s emails.

The enormous property tax bill is only the latest crisis for the progressive radio network that started in 1949. For many years there has been infighting among various factions at the Pacifica Foundation and inside KPFA, as well as between the foundation and radio station. There have been revolving executive directors and interim EDs at Pacifica Foundation — 19 since 2003 — and a changing cast of board members at KPFA. The internal politics are complex . . .”