What are George Rebane’s responsibilities to MIM as a board member?

I did not intend to write more about this topic, but I notice that hard-right political blogger George Rebane and his like-minded political “merry pranksters” are attacking me like pitbulls in the blogosphere for daring to bring up community concern about George’s political activism (on his blog, in The Union and on the KVMR News Hour) while he sits on the “nonpartisan” Music in the Mountains board.

Do not “shoot the messenger.” I know I’m on solid ground about this rising tide of criticism, and so is MIM. I am not the first to bring this up — just the first to publicize it.

I have been receiving unsolicited emails from longtime MIM patrons/volunteers/performers/past staff members about this. I have all their names. Some examples:

“George Rebane is a liability on the MIM board,” one of them read bluntly.

“I could not believe they would bring him onto the Board considering his awful blog. High fives for publicizing it. The times call for standing up.”

There are also a wide number of comments in social media about this.

“Board members need to censor themselves because it reflects on the organization. The last thing a BOD member needs to do is piss off a donor(s).”

One of George’s screeds that drew attention at MIM was directed at Hilary Hodge, who loves MIM and sings in the choir. “The Liberal Mind: Hilary Hodge cannot connect the dots” is here.

To me this is not a free speech issue; it is a judgment issue. Besides “free speech,” a board member also has certain responsibilities to the organization he or she represents. If I were a board member, I would recognize this and I told MIM as much. Most would. George seems to be digging in his heels, and so do his friends.

I did not intend to “publicize” this issue, which I learned is already on the radar of MIM.

But I found it outlandish to be berated this weekend by a board member when our business had agreed to distribute hundreds of their holiday flyers for free — with our paid distribution companies in Sacramento, Reno and other markets. It is a cost to our business, and it was a lot of extra work, but we are longtime patrons and donors to MIM.

In short, George should know as a board member that’s not how you treat your volunteers. That’s not how you treat your performers either.

There is some precedent here. Fran Freedle voluntarily stepped down from the board of the Penn Valley Cultural Center, the ongoing effort to raise money for a performing arts center in Penn Valley. At the time, Fran was advocating for a State of Jefferson. That’s OK, but I suppose a decision was made that it could impact fundraising. It was the right call.

At this point, I’m hoping it is a teachable moment for George Rebane, MIM and its board. I wish you the best and will continue to support the wonderful music of MIM.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

12 thoughts on “What are George Rebane’s responsibilities to MIM as a board member?”

  1. I noticed all the gold plaques on the entrance to each of the offices in the new KVMR building,, declaring who had donated to get it built. The prime office for the general Manager/Executive Director, was donated by……George Rebane. Enough said.

  2. George Rebane’s blog continues to launch personal attacks against Hilary Hodge, who loves MIM and is a performer in the choir. An unmoderated comment calls Hilary a “sorry ass” liberal. Then Rebane links to his nasty column about her:

    “Good summation of the ridiculous musing of a sorry ass liberal. HH is truly nutty.
    Posted by: Todd Juvinall | 06 December 2016 at 10:07 AM

    George Rebane
    http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2016/04/the-liberal-mind-hilary-hodge-cant-connect-the-dots.html Posted by: George Rebane | 06 December 2016 at 11:15 AM”

    Unbelievable misogynist dialogue.

  3. George Rebane has become unhinged on his own blog.

    He’s been harassing me on his blog with lies and innuendo since I was working as the editor of The Union back in 2007. When I left the paper he had to run a “correction” on his blog that I was laid off as a cost cutting measure, not “dismissed.” I was offered a $60,000K severance.

    Since then, George has called me a “sleazebag,” made “fat jokes” and more.

    His latest rant reinforces what I wrote here: What are his responsibilities to MIM as a board member?

  4. Glad to see the executive director of Music in the Mountains — Mieko Elkins Hatano — “like” our magazine’s article on the Owl Grill & Saloon on Facebook!

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