In a recent appearance on the Daily Show with John Stewart, former UN Ambassador John Bolton said, “George Bush was elected to do the will of those who put him there.” As anyone in a Democracy knows, when you’re elected, you’re elected to serve all of the citizens, not just your supporters.

Hal Espinosa, unfortunately, has worked using the John Bolton model for years. He has allowed the RMALA to infiltrate every level of our Local’s hierarchy, and we are far the worse for it. He has allowed the RMALA free reign over the film recording industry in Los Angeles, adversely affecting the livelihood of thousands.

Hal Espinosa’s incompetence and inaction allowed the formation of the GUILD, an illegal RMA splinter group, and New Era Scoring, a fi-core orchestra that is losing this Local and our federation valuable members. This is what Mr. Espinosa has wrought on our federation just in office at the Local 47!

You have also seen first hand the viciousness and unthinking abandon they use to attack anyone who dares speak the truth about our situation in Los Angeles and those most responsible.

Is this the ilk you want controlling our federation? If we’re to survive and flourish, it will not be Mr. Espinosa and his handler’s that will do it.

The bottom line is this:

If not, keep the president who has the Washington connections to move the Federation forward and a history of fighting the RMA’s power grabs. We need a strong leader with experience and the smarts to run our federation effectively. Tom Lee is that person. And he can actually write his own letters without the assistance of his handlers.

Please check the veracity of anything we have said, we do not fear the sunlight of examination, The personal attacks of Mr. Espinosa’s supporters (owners) have had only one purpose, to take the focus off their conduct and actions, and move it onto something, ANYTHING but them.

If they stay true to the pattern of previous Local 47 elections, they will save their most vile and heiness attacks for the very last moment before the Convention, leaving little time to respond, the equivalent of the typical sucker punch.

Don’t buy it, actions speak louder than words and their actions have been disastrous for our Local and Federation.

Our research has brought us to choose to support those we believe are more likely to work for the benefit of the entire federation and no special interest group. We are proud to support the following Candidates for the upcoming convention:

President – Tom Lee
Sec/Tres. – Sam Folio

Other candidates:
Barbara Owens
Erwin Price
Bob McGrew
Billy Linneman
Joe Parente
Vicki Smolick

Below you will find a letter from a long standing Local 47 member, successful casual musician and teacher, Harriett Katz.

Thank you for your indulgence and help us keep the Federation strong!




Local 47’s Financial Status

Local 47 is in the black. But can the Espinosa administration take credit for this? No.

The number of members—and the revenue from members’ dues—have decreased sharply under the Espinosa administration. A membership of more than 11,000 has dropped to 8,590. Leaving out inactive life members, who don’t pay dues, the total numbers of dues-paying members is down to 7,876. From fiscal year 2005 to 2006, membership dues dropped $109,809.

The Espinosa administration has failed to attract enough new members to offset resignations, and in fact rank-and-file members are leaving the union in droves, not surprising since the Espinosa administration has cut the scope of member services. Too many members have concluded, “The union does nothing for me.”

In contrast to membership dues, total work dues went up $118,452 from 2005 to 2006, despite the fact that Motion Picture/TV work dues went down $129,031. This drop, the result of runaway production, was offset by significant increases in work dues from Theater and from Casual Engagements (Live).

For theater, the administration was involved in negotiating the CBAs, but that’s simply business as usual. The other big hike in work dues stems from far more casuals being put through the union, now that leaders can be designated to pay into their own pension and health & welfare funds as well as making side musicians’ benefits contributions. The Espinosa administration takes credit for this, but in fact the change originated with the AFM. When I was on the Local 47 Executive Board at the end of 2002, AFM President Tom Lee met with us and discussed this coming change.

And once the Pension Fund adopted the change, it took Local 47 more than 2 years to develop a Single Engagement contract and get it adopted by our Health and Welfare Fund Board. The Espinosa administration points to the SELA contract with pride, and downplays how long it took them to get it done.

Local 47 played no role in generating most of the casuals jobs that are now being put through the union. An excellent referral service staffer was fired, and calls have shrunk. I stopped by the referral service office today, and I was shocked at how thin the gig book is. It used to be crammed.

This is because Local 47 still doesn’t have a referral service website, though the internet is now the main way that people look for live music. The Espinosa administration announced in 2003 that it would set up a referral service website, but thousands of dollars were wasted on a company in Boston that didn’t come through—and the Espinosa administration didn’t even have a contract with the company. In 2006 alone, Local 47 paid $12,835 to the Boston company—and received nothing.

The most unbelievable and distressing thing to me about Local 47’s financial status is that the Espinosa administration hasn’t planned an annual budget in years. This is no way to run a multi-million-dollar organization in the 21st century.

In solidarity,
Harriet Katz
Local 47 Member



DELEGATES: Below are just a few member comments to give you the flavor of the responses we’ve gotten from our members since Serena’s attack on the Committee and Local 47 member Charles Fernandez. They are the views of the particular members and do not necc. reflect the opinions of the committee.


Firstly, the charge of anonymity has been pretty well addressed. Second, the size of the “committee” is and should be unimportant. What counts is what the committee REPORTS and how many people resonate to it. I have not to date heard any substantive response to what the committee has reported over the years, so my belief in you guys remains strong. Why should any objective observer be any different? All the rest is just spin. Trust me, if you went ahead and answered the charge of the committee being a tiny conspiracy by publishing the complete list of what must be many, many email addresses of everyone who has ever contributed to this blog, your detractors would find some other charge to make. With their side, the charges are mandatory; the facts are optional. Don’t you see? The only charge that would be worth a spit would be that what you are reporting IS NOT TRUE. As long as what you report and what you opine continues to be unassailable, and you do it professionally and courteously, your credibility will be secure. Ask Matt Drudge.

You make a great case as to why your committee should remain anonymous and then turn right around and feel it necessary to somehow respond to the assertion that it’s something which only has value if it has a huge important crowd behind it. What matters is the crowd in front of it, we readers. The American Revolution only had Thomas Paine, but thank goodness his audience resonated to his message and not to the number of messengers. The rest is history. Now Phil Ayling, Serena Kay Williams, Hal Espinosa, and the rest of Sandy’s “people” and their wannabes somehow have to make a case that the AFM is being defrauded and manipulated by a committee consisting of one lone guy in L.A., so brilliant and clairvoyant that he signed on to hold Tom Lee’s water before Hal even entered the race, and powerful enough that he could both affect Serena’s health as well as get the entire San Francisco chapter to quit the RMA as a campaign stunt. Don’t be surprised if they try to work the Kennedy assassination into it, too.


Dear Committee,

In response to the letter from Ms. Williams we all received, I did respond to her directly and respectfully – about her unfair and untrue remarks; probably more politely than she deserved. How ironic it was that she raise the issue of how the Committee’s actions negatively affected her health. Of course I care about her health as a compassionate human being, but the irony is that she is criticizing the Committee (or Mr. Fernandez) for being concerned about the health of the union – and this in turn affects HER health? Perhaps she is more concerned about protecting the political health of the corrupt members of our board? For someone to seek sympathy for her personal tragedies is one thing, but for her to in the same letter, viciously attack and slander a member in good standing who has only sought fairness for the entire membership is not something we can merely attribute to her being a ‘puppet’ of the board. If this attack was not of her own opinion, then she should not have signed her name to the letter. By doing so, she is standing with the rest of them. It’s too bad our board does not understand the concept of ‘representative leadership’. They are supposed to represent ALL of the members, not just those who voted for them and not just those with whom they have cozy relationships. Sadly, these are the same values we will likely see practiced if Hal is lucky enough to become AFM President. Let’s hope that our national membership has all the facts before the election!

P.S. Charles Fernandez did NOT write this letter!


That letter is scandalous and you could justifiably sue her. Knowing you, you prob won’t. Thanks to your goodness and honesty we’re able to finally speak up without reprisals. Sorry you’ve become the target, but I guess it was inevitable.


Just for the record, I think the work you do is important for keeping the union honest. (I saw Hal hand the last meeting over to Phil A. to run so I know there are problems.)
You have my continued support.

Thank you.


some kind folks have been forwarding some of your wonderful work.
can i get on the list and receive your eletters directly ?
i was in the business for thirty years in hollywood, played first for
many big composers for years and then…
saundra finished me off !! she told my leaders that she couldn’t hire
me any more !!
so, needless to say, i’m happy to read that you are totally wise to her
and her personal service organization, the RMA. (i can get a better sound
than phil a. on oboe by putting my hand over the vacuum hose)
hope to hear from you, and thanks for doing what you are doing.


It has been suggested to me that Hal’s video on his site may have been recorded in the studios of Local 47. It was someone looking at the background who brought it to my attention. This would most likely be a violation of labor law because no union facilities are to be used for political purposes. I suppose he could have reimbursed the union for the cost but it would be interesting to hear him try to explain himself if this is true.

And, I was told that if you look on the last page of the PMG video game contract, it contains in small print words to the effect that this printing was done by union members or something of that nature. That is probably the same language that is on the RMA PR package regarding video games. Again, that would tie the RMA to the PMG.


I was a bit surprised to read Serena’s email attack. I had found her to be quite reasonable and helpful whenever I had dealings with her. But I am not surprised at all that Serena would be used in yet another attack against those 47 Members that are trying to make our Union work for all of us.

To be frank, I didn’t even finish reading Serena’s email.

Whatever. If this administration doesn’t begin to act in all Members’ interests we WILL be the orchestra on the Titanic.

This is some whack bovine fecal matter, period!


Please get a job and stop the letters……they are ridiculous and shows no intelligence.


Your relentless personal attacks on members and leaders of our union have gone unanswered for way too long. I applaud Serena for having the fortitude to speak up. It’s interesting to witness your reaction when finally held to account. And your role as employer sheds particular light on the motivation for your continuing efforts to undermine this local and it’s working members.



What is your name? and how many committe members do you have? Is it only one?


Enjoy the convention, Delegates, and please do the right thing for our Federation, don’t hand it over to the RMALA and their puppet, Hal Espinosa.


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