III. Rebuttals to Other Side of the Coin Guy by Committee Members


3 reasons:

1. Cajun dinner, 5:30 pm, prepared by the Freelance Musicians Association.

2. Quorum Controversy

As usual, it’s essential to be at the Local 47 meeting this Monday evening, April 23. The major topic sounds boring—what size the quorum for a general meeting should be.

But nothing could be more undemocratic than the bylaw proposal to be voted on: to increase the number of members needed for a quorum to 170.

If this mean-spirited proposal passes, 170 is such a high number that there would hardly ever be a general meeting again. And that’s the reason for the proposal—to lock out the membership from having any say in the running of our union.

Brief quorum history:
As more and more members moved farther from the Hollywood area, and as the traffic hassle increased, the trend was always to lower the quorum size in order to have membership meetings.
1. In the good old days, 300 or 350 (I’m not sure exactly)
2. When that became too high, quorum was lowered, eventually to 100
3. A few years ago, quorum was lowered to 50
When the quorum was 50, there were many excellent membership meetings.

But one time when there wasn’t a quorum, the Executive Board went ahead and increased the quorum to 100. Why? Had more members moved back closer to Hollywood? Had driving conditions improved? No. The reason was to make it harder to have membership meetings. The Executive Board said they “knew best.”

For the next 2 years, with the quorum at 100, there was not one membership meeting. The Espinosa Administration used those 2 years to dismantle live and casual members services and fire the employees most valuable to members, those except the recording musicians, that is.

Then, a year ago last January, with an impressive turnout by the membership, we succeeded in lowering the quorum back to 50. 50 is the magic number that gets us a quorum these days. Whenever the quorum is higher than that, we don’t have consistent meetings.

So now the powers that be want to hike the quorum to 170. Some people just can’t stand to lose. This is an outrageously blatant attempt to disenfranchise us. Come to the meeting and show our power.



In the runup to this Monday’s meeting, which will frankly decide whether our Local will be owned by the Local 47 rank and file members or the RMALA, we wanted to remind our colleagues of the mentality we are trying to fight against when dealing with those who believe anyone not in the “elite” are amateurs and not worthy of consideration.

Hear is OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN GUY’S recent email.

who are you?? Do you have a name besides “the committee”?? You are misinformed, misinforming,
you cowardly attack those trying to make a living and those representing us and make a myriad of
false accusations at people who have names…individuals with names…not simply institutions, yet
you have never attached a name to any of your attacks. If there is a “recording elite” it is largely
because the AFM has done nothing to preserve any of the music industry, including recording, as it is
run by primarily inept and failed musicians with no business skill, savvy, or even a desire to engage
people in the industry who are trying to get the simplest of information from them, such as rates. So
the industry has come down to a few survivors. The AFM has bungled and destroyed our business for
years. We have watched every major market fall, and now we are watching them try to whittle away
Los Angeles, which you seem to be eager to assist them with.
The RMA is not the enemy of the working musician-you are. Your petty jealousies vented through
this pathetic excuse for a faceless organization that can level anonymous attacks at whosoever it
chooses while never stepping forward with a face or name to back up your cowardly and
unsubstantiated accusations is what is going to turn what once was a lucrative industry for many into
a hobby for a few.
I do not trust your motives at all. I would have a better idea of what you were after if I knew who you
were. The RMA is not exclusive, and anyone in the AFM is free to join at whatever level you choose.
They are trying to prevent the wholesale destruction of what has been and should remain a lucrative
market for many.
No one is trying to exclude you, whoever you happen to be. Fact is there have always been and will
always be first calls for everything; writers, players, copyists, orchestrators, and attacking those who
work and trying to whittle down the contracts is not going to change that. You think by decreasing
the value of the market you will suddenly have a chance at getting more work?? You are a fool if you
do. Have you ever thought that the recording elite are the recording elite because they are the
professional elite, and do the best job of anyone available?? People do not survive in this biz for
years by being mediocre, unlike the union officials who draw six figure salaries in New York, at your
and my expense. They are there because they repeatedly withstand the heat, musically and
professionally, and that is a fact of life. People come and go all the time; new faces in, old faces out.
It is not a gentle or forgiving business. You have to persevere, produce, and cope, and you have to
do it all smiling. In the height of this industry’s hey day there were musicians who quit, became drug
addicts and alcoholics and even took their own lives because of the pressure of what we do and the
frustration and stress that it can cause. And this was at a time when there was ample work; no
computers, no synthesizers, no Seattle or Salt Lake, limited overseas competition and no fiber optics
making file sharing a possibility between cities or continents. Television was flourishing as was
record dates. Even then it was hard. But people did not attack their own contracts and the contracts
of those trying to protect us as they do now. Calling a group of players “elite” and attacking them
and the RMA may help you vent but it does not further the cause of recorded music in Los Angeles,
which if we think as a unit we may still be able to save. We all have our horror stories in this
business, but demonizing a segment of our industry, especially the recording musicians who are
essentially keeping this union afloat, serves no purpose except perhaps to make yourself feel a little
more powerful, like a civil servant denying rightful access to someone simply because he can,
because it is the only power he can wield in his pathetic life. It is petty, vain and spiteful, and filled
with untruth and deception. Movies make TONS of money. The issue is how to maintain our fair
share of the profit, not how to undo those who still are managing to work under existing contracts.
Stop attacking each other-start pointing fingers at New York, and find a way to make our local more
independent and responsive to the needs of the musicians in Los Angeles.


III. Rebuttals to Other Side of the Coin Guy by Committee Members

The above letter elicited comments from a number of the COMMITTEE members and others who have seen this email, Below you will find their comments.
In response to “Amen”
You’re preaching to yourself. Stop believing you’re walking on water. You are about to be displaced yourself.
The arrogance of some people, not all musicians but individuals who can’t see beyond their nose. All the musicians in LA could be replaced tomorrow and no one would even notice except those who were displaced. Life would still go on. That is exactly what has been going on in Los Angeles over the past twenty years.

This has nothing to do with first call players. This is all about positioning and removing competition. Containment by a few to prosper. If there are persons out there that truly believe that they are the best the studios have they are misleading themselves. These same people want to monopolize what’s left as if they haven’t done enough damage as it is. And at what cost?

These same people are trying to lay blame on one person, Tom Lee. Look a little deeper and see that while you were taking your checks to the bank there have been hundreds of professional studio musicians getting displaced. Not because of Tom Lee. It is you who don’t understand and are caught up in your own ignorance. Continue patting yourself on the back for being one of those irreplaceable studio musicians, the very group whose greed has hastened the demise of Los Angeles in the last twenty-five years. Or is it only now you speak out when the damage has been done? It has finally eroded to your doorstep. Keep listening to the RMA. Everything they say is the truth or what you believe is the truth? You might yet be replaced by another equally talented musician or better. Wake up. You are fooling yourself.


You know as well as we do it is the outrageous business practices of the RMALA and their contractors who created the situation where employers searched for other places to go to save money and hassle. The AFM had nothing to do with the greed and selfishness of the RMALA elites and the quadruple and triple scales charged for years, much less the contractor practices of booking the major rooms in town, taking them out of commission, canceling all except one at the last minute, or overbooking
players on purpose, then canceling all but those that are needed at the last minute (72 hours before).

Of course, now that those practices have driven most of the work away you want to blame forces outside Los Angeles, like the AFM and Tom Lee?
That’s rich.

If you were not aware of the practices above, you’ve been kept in the dark as well. Of course, that hasn’t been done so much lately because they can’t get away with that anymore, there isn’t enough WORK TO DO THAT!

The RMALA and your contractors have been the authors and finishers of the fate of recording in Los Angeles. Now that we all have to reap what you have sown, you try to hand it off? Pathetic.

Look deep… you know we speak the truth. If you don’t, that’s your choice.


I have been thinking that it has been shown by the RMA’s participation in the recent past ,that unless “THEY ‘show up to vote at every meeting, the other 98% of the membership will force the elected leadership to “equally represent all members” by getting the quorum to a level that will represent the rank and file. They (RMA) lost temporary control of their monopoly when an unprecedented effort was made (after two years without a quorum) by other than that most powerful minority in our union , to demand that the “services be reinstated” to serve the 98%. (That of course being the CD Promotions, Studio 47, and the Network , which is now little more than a joke.) It is blatantly obvious that the union leadership is only interested in furthering the cause of whoever gives them the votes.,,,not equal representation… as is required by law. I will quote Hal’s own words to me….”Well, when you (the collective) are here and you have the votes, I have to do what you say ….and when the RMA is here and has the votes, I have to do what they say”. Where is leadership here? There is none.

The RMA has a fantasy lifestyle that some of them have been able to support, as the ultimate freelance group. To suggest that it is proper for those myopic 2% have control over the 98% is a ridiculous argument. The charts and grafts proffered by them to justify their position does not take into account that the Locals they are comparing themselves to don’t have a core group such as themselves that can commandeer the whole local for their own ends. The law calls for equal represent ion. We do not have this in spirit or in fact by Hal and team.

Yes, the world is tougher. Not just for us but for many other “manufacturing industries”, What we need is real leadership and a vision for the future in our profession and participation. Hal and team are short term prospectors…not long term leaders



Interesting words from Chris Tedesco. I can’t believe it has been 12 years
since the Seattle Symphony went non-union. How can we compete? We all know the reason the work has left is because of special payments. Yeah, they’re great but at what cost? A few of us can live off the work that’s left & Special Payments, but what about the rest? Let’s face it, something has to be done. This situation is not working itself out, it’s been 12 years!

Lose your vote and be misled
Or regain the integrity of being a professional recording musician

Does the RMA deserve your vote?
Is the RMA removing your vote?

Why don’t you ask the officers of the RMA yourself?

Ask if in 2002 the RMA initiated an increase in wages of recording musician’s to qualify to vote on national contracts.
Did in 2005 RMA again initiate to increase the amount of wages of recording musician’s wages to qualify to vote on National contracts again?

While there are many musicians working in the field of motion picture and television in Canada, New York, Nashville, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Is the RMA in Los Angeles attempting to represent only themselves while slowly taking the work from all the other RMA recording musicians? The more they remain in control, the Los Angeles RMA are not just taking all future opportunities away from Los Angeles musicians but everywhere.
Through RMA’s own greed and insecurity are they trying to change what the AFM stands for and create a system for themselves? Ask them. Are they trying to mislead you to turn on the AFM?

All we need is the RMA to select an incompetent replacement for our AFM leadership. Someone who responds to the RMA like putty. This would remove any hope for professional musicians in the recording field to ever establish a career as a recording musician if the RMA is to succeed. There will be no future until musicians become aware of the circumstances that have taken over our own Los Angeles Union while the local’s leadership stands by and allows it to happen.

Why don’t you ask Local 47 elected officials what’s going on? See if they can give you a direct answer to any of your questions. Or do they respond using the RMA’s party line statements to further confuse the membership to turn on our AFM so they can allow the take over to continue. Ask yourself what are their gains?


How is the RMA representing professional musicians? POORLY
Unless you’re one of those RMA musicians in Los Angeles on the “LIST”. Don’t hold your breath if you think your going to record in this town any time soon. To get their agenda they are misleading the rest of LA’s finest into believing RMA’s cause is in their best interest.

Maybe a letter should be sent to Los Angeles Production studios. So they could learn that they are being short changed because of a few musicians trying to control their industry,… giving them fewer options for their productions. Why should Sony, Paramount, Warner’s, Production Studios be short changed by being forced to take what they’re given. Unless they’re also being mislead by the very contractors who work for them.

Allow competition back into the work place and get rid of the entitled complacent people who fill those positions. Lets get back to serving our industry with professional musicians. Not whom the RMA Los Angeles stick’s you with.

A Pattern Of Behavior.

International Professionals want Leadership to represent them. Don’t be short changed by what professional musicians in Los Angeles have had to struggle with. Leadership anticipates and prepares for change not someone who only struggles to get through the present.

Maybe the membership of Local 47 should stop paying membership dues and work dues. Our President’s behavior elicits this. Maybe he would see what it’s like to work these days. Maybe the clarity would return to how much money our professional musicians mean to this Local. That may put him in touch with reality again.

This may not mean much to most members but if they would find the time they would uncover a behavior that has been going on since taking office.

So he’s off to run for International President. Maybe the entire International both Canada and the United States should stop paying their union membership dues in protest to what will happen if he takes office.

To the International Musicians, let the AFM hear your voice before the RMA takes it over.

Leave a Reply