The Mail 3/25/15

Radio Waves
Again, Ed Ericson does a good job of unpeeling the onion at WYPR (“Why So Much P.R.?” Feature, March 10). His previous efforts were about how management thwarted a union drive (“WYPR Thwarts Union Effort,” Mobtown Beat, Nov. 12, 2014).
As a vocal critic of YPR, I was not surprised to read that general manager Anthony Brandon would spend some amount of station money on an anti-union law firm—Jackson Lewis. This time Ericson exposed another Tony Brandon caper. Of course, it’s a problem when underwriters determine the content of what is aired on WYPR.   

Brandon refused to answer City Paper's questions, as he is well aware of the internal turmoil caused by breaching of the wall between content and underwriting. The station receives money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so this quote was timely and telling: "'It's really inappropriate for a public radio station to sell itself to an underwriter like that,' says Joel Kaplan, who until recently was the ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).'"

Then there is the matter of the Community Advisory Board (CAB). By its name, it should be voicing the community's perspective to the station. Unfortunately, as I have observed, it is more of a management advisory board. Rather than urging the station to do a much better job of providing important and needed content, it performs functions as ascribed by Tony Brandon.


Brandon has refused to provide me with the amount paid to Jackson Lewis for its anti-union activities. I was hoping the CAB would get me such information.

I have been regularly attending the corporate board and the CAB meetings. I have tried repeatedly to convince the CAB to advocate for a more progressive perspective in local programming. For example, I have urged CAB members to promote programming dealing with the immense poverty in Baltimore. I also point out that one must link poverty with the massive amount of tax dollars that leave Baltimore to fund the Pentagon and its warmongering. I also speak in favor of programming that links the Pentagon with climate chaos. Its warmongering makes it the worst polluter in the world. I also advocate that the station highlight Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory military research contracts, including one on swarming drones, which total some $1 billion. As taxpayers, people in Baltimore should know how their taxes are being spent and the consequences.

Ericson's article closes with this thought: "[John] Hoey thinks a moment, and adds, 'I think there are a diversity of voices on YPR beyond just underwriters.'" As stated above, I seriously disagree.

I might be a fool but I foresee a WYPR with a union, a station that does not allow underwriters to interfere with content, and a bevy of voices on the air raising progressive issues for the betterment of the community. Is this a possibility with Tony Brandon as the general manager?

Max Obuszewski
Stoking Debate

First of all I would like to thank William Stokes (The Mail, March 18) for three things: 1) spelling my name right; 2) letting people know about Mumia-Abu Jamal; and 3) reminding people about the Revolutionary Communist Party.

However, if he had gotten everything right I could say, "My work here is finished!" But alas he did not. I read and reread both his letter and mine and he just did not get it.

First off let me talk about The Hebrew Israelite School of Universal Knowledge and the Hebrew Israelites. In the instance at Lexington Market, there was a multi-racial demonstration going on in support of Mumia-Abu Jamal. The Hebrew Israelites joined the demonstration, the men in the lead and the women walking a few feet behind the men, holding badly lettered signs saying, "All Power to the Black Man!" At first, everyone thought these folks were here to join the demonstration. They made it clear they weren't.

They were there to ask people who the first human beings were. Some people asked if they were willing to pass out fliers from the coalition to their friends. They said no, and once again said they were there to ask people who the first humans were. We told them and they left.

Now, to the point that Stokes says I'm a racist because I perceived the black community to be a political monolith. How absurd! I went on at great length to point a few different trends in the black community. I spoke of cultural nationalism and revolutionary internationalism in the discussion about the precursors to the Hebrew Israelites and the Black Panther Party. Then I juxtaposed the Hebrew Israelites' agenda with the Revolutionary Communist Party's Draft Constitution. I said this document called for a plebiscite to be held after the seizure of state power by the people. Only black people would be allowed to vote in this referendum. This obviously means that I do not look at the black community as a monolith, because calling on people to vote on an issue means that one would think there would be at least two opinions (if "abstain" is not on the ballot). As for me knowing how this referendum would be handled, all I can say is, time will tell. Got any ideas, Mr. Stokes?

I do think I know where Mr. Stokes got this idea that revolutionaries think the black community is a monolith. I first heard Rush Limbaugh air it. It goes like this: Liberals think the black community is a monolithic entity, but it isn't because there are black conservatives, and anyone who denies this is a racist. Now this is odd, coming from some one who is anti-affirmative action. Well, the black Republicans and conservatives picked up on this idea well then it took root. However no serious left-winger ever thought that. Sorry, Mr. Stokes.

Oh, and you accuse me of making an underhanded remark about religious groups and cults. No sir, it was not underhanded. It was sarcastic, snotty, and underhanded. Let's get things right. However, Stokes' frustration at the fact the First Amendment protects my right to be sarcastic and his right to incorrectly sum up my position smacks of merlot material—i.e., sour grapes! All I can say is, tough toenails!

Alan Barysh

I wasn't aware it had gone anywhere.

–“Pete Castro,” March 20

I was so excited to take my daughter to The Black Stallion. I loved that movie when it came out and love it now. I take my daughter to the Family features when I can.

–“Caroline Wiseman Brady,” March 19

Vindictive hit piece. Again. Brooke Hall & Justin Allen are two of the very finest people I know. We are lucky to have them & their intent is as pure as your racist charge is twisted. Of course Light City is going to help Baltimore artists. THAT is what Justin & Brooke DO. They've done it for hundreds of Baltimore artists including me.

–“Larry Cohen,” March 19

Who are the Baltimore artists it includes? This was my question when I heard Light City was approved. This is supposedly an art festival and, from what I can tell, the proposal included zero artists.

–“Cara Ober,” March 19

@Cara Ober first you get the shell corp, then you get the artists.

–“Mike000,” March 20

Baynard has this really bizarre situation at City Paper where he can give his personal opinions when he wants to and offer tidbits of journalism when convenient. I suggest that the editorial staff draw more clear lines between what is Journalism and what is Opinion on their pages because the lines have been incredibly obscured by his recent columns.

–“Aran Keating,” March 21

@Aran Keating I'm not sure how Baynard also reporting in a column is a problem. Since this reporting bolsters and adds to the concerns he expressed in the past, this seems like a fair way to do it. He expressed skepticism about Light City, he went and did some legwork and came back with more info about it. This is a reported piece that still stays within the context of his column. This isn't you know, a piece about Light City that ran in the news section of our paper that feigns "objectivity." Or are you saying columns should only be used to fire off speculation and opinions? It just seems really strange to take issue with a columnist going out and backing up his perspective with reporting especially when it is still clearly within the context of his column. Again, you'd have a point if this ran as hard news, but we didn't run it that way, even if it does have reported news elements to it.

–“brandonsoderberg,” March 21

are you kidding me? We still have sex slaves?

–“@bella_italiano6,” March 23

I don't know about you but wild mushrooms always seem to alter my judgement

–“@LordBaltimoron,” March 22

That's amazing. I'm in local 333 and we didn't sue or own International. Someone on their own behalf must have. Who gave you this information?

–“Eddie Wos,” March 20

Active 333 member right here. Definitely did not sue our international. Being fed wrong information here friends…. Again and again and again.

–“Heather Marie Tedore,” March 20

The lawsuit is a matter of public record, available on services like Pacer, and the blog post here quotes directly from it. We aren't being fed information from anyone but the Federal court system.

–“Baltimore City Paper,” March 20

Smh I took an oath as a union member to never tell our business to outside union members. However, I can say that people can bring charges upon other people and parties can sue another party for just about any reason. Most of the time suits like these are lost or just thrown out.

Again… I am an active member of local 333 and WE are NOT sueing our international.

–“Heather Marie Tedore,” March 20

They just print to fill space, not on truthfulness, LMAO!!!!!!

–“Pete Rosenbach,” March 20

and yes i am a member of local#333

–“Pete Rosenbach,” March 20

It's tactics to create confusion or to see how informed our local members are. I don't see any other reason for such nonsense .

–“Jay Haf,” March 21

It's rocky

–“Christopher Costello,” March 21