People Post is a space for opinion pieces, letters to the editor and guest submissions from members of the Long Beach community. The following is an op-ed submitted by Ashley Aguirre who is president of Long Beach Community TV & Media Corporation dba Long Beach Public Media, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Long Beach Post.
For the last year or so, the Board of Directors at Long Beach Community and Television Media Corporation (LBCTMC), has chosen to remain fairly quiet in response to articles published in the Long Beach Post by Jason Ruiz and an op-ed written by former Director, Kenneth Roth, regarding lawsuits related to 99.1 KLBP, a forthcoming radio station in Long Beach.
At the time, we felt it best not to engage until we had some real legal clarity. Neither myself, nor the members of our Board, were looking to start a battle over “he said/she said,” especially when we had more pressing things to worry about like meeting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deadlines.
I know the process to get our station up and running has been slow, but when you’re talking about building a powerful media tool in your community that has the potential to last well beyond your lifetime, there’s no room for shortcuts. As soon as I learned of unauthorized changes made to our FCC account, I alerted the legal department at the FCC and made them privy to then pending litigation. As a result, we had to temporarily hit pause on the project until things were cleared up in court.
In the last 18 months, we’ve been fortunate enough to have had several legal professionals who specialize in the areas of criminal, non-profit, corporate, media and FCC law all volunteer their time to our organization. Each of those advisors had assured us that we’d prevail—and that we did—not once, but twice after the two meritless civil suits were dismissed. In the later suit, dismissed in October, the Superior Court of Los Angeles ruled that the plaintiff, Mr. Kenneth Roth, had no standing to bring a case against the various directors of LBCTMC.
My focus as President of LBCTMC has been to solve internal challenges and ensure that we never again find ourselves in a situation where so much power within our organization can be entirely consolidated by one individual. It’s been a good reminder and lesson that one individual doesn’t make an organization—especially when your organization’s mission is to advocate for and advance community access to public media.
My approach to everything I do is to create sustainable models for long-term success versus quick fixes. If we’re going to build a radio station in Long Beach, we’re going to do it the right way by being transparent, following proper legal procedures, and adhering to FCC guidelines.
So what does all this mean for the future of public radio in Long Beach? It means we’re more prepared to go on-air than we were a year ago. In many ways, you could say that the litigation was a blessing in disguise. Not only did it help further our case when we requested and were granted an 18-month extension on our permit to construct a station, but it bought us some much needed time to fix some of those internal challenges.
During that time, our Board underwent training with a non-profit lawyer, signed board commitments, put conflict of interest policies in place, and revised a set of bylaws that were altered by previous leadership without real legal input and without cause. We did all this while still managing to make some huge strides toward making this vision of public radio a reality.
In the last year we’ve acquired enough equipment to operate two studios, organized a programming committee and held our first training workshops. The most important of our successes to date will be revealed this weekend when we unveil the plans for our permanent studios during our State of the Station taking place this Saturday, Feb. 3rd at noon At the Top located at 201 Pine Ave.
I’m pretty tired of hearing about lawsuits, which is why I’ve chosen to publish this now as a matter of public record. I’m ready to move on. Our community is ready to move on.
I invite you to look through the legal documents presented here and make of them what you will. That’s if you care about that sort of thing. Neither myself, nor our Board members have interest in saying anything else regarding the aforementioned legal matters as the documents speak for themselves…
We’ve got a radio station to build.
Ashley Aguirre is President of Long Beach Community TV & Media Corporation dba Long Beach Public Media, a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, which is the permittee of 99.1 KLPB-LP, a low-power FM radio station authorized and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission to operate its non-commercial broadcast station on an assigned frequency of 99.1 MHz. KLBP will begin its on-air broadcast late 2018.
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