SF Radio Host: Okay to Meet Government Employees With a Loaded Shotgun
I sent this letter to the California Air Resources Board, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Census Bureau
Jack Broadbent, APCO
Bay Area AQMD
San Francisco, CA
On February 8, 2010 a caller to the Brian Sussman show on KSFO bragged about how he met a California Air Resources Board employee at his door with a loaded shotgun. Instead of the host condemning the suggestion of violence toward a government worker, Sussman supported the caller’s action.
This is not an isolated incident. Sussman has a history of his own violent rhetoric as well as agreeing with callers suggestions of violence toward government workers (audio link). He also agrees with callers suggesting violence toward innocents in their houses of worship. (audio link).
Sussman disagrees with the concept of Spare the Air days (or nights) and believes it is a "ridiculous law". He says that "the science behind declaring these spare the air nights is absolutely full of holes". (audio link) He has a right to his opinion on the law, he can even attempt to disprove the science, but it is irresponsible to agree with the actions of a caller who answers the door to a government employee with a loaded shotgun.
Right now you are supporting his show by advertising on KSFO. I would like you to pull your ads from the show. I would also suggest that you request a written and verbal statement from Sussman that people should not threaten government and Resources Board employees with guns when they come to their door. This statement should be on the KSFO website and his personal sites.
I want to emphasize that if you withdraw your ads you aren’t limiting his free speech, just removing your support of it. As a government entity you might be sensitive to claims of censorship. Pulling your PSAs (or paid ads) because of their suggestions of violence toward your workers is not censorship, it is showing respect for the lives of your employees.
I understand you can’t listen to all the shows you advertise on – no one can. Perhaps you don’t realize you are advertising on this show. Other advertisers I have contacted in the past were not aware that their ads were running on this station and this program, they were put in a package via KGO (KSFO’s parent company) or via an ABC statewide buy. To confirm your ads have run on KSFO here is a live read ad run Jan 25th at 6:10 pm. (audio link). There was also a digital insert on the podcast feed on January 26th at 6:25 pm.
You may be tempted to debate Sussman on his show on the issue of the science. If you go that route please be advised that he will not play fair with your scientists. Most likely he will get into a shouting match with them and insult them after they have left the show. Your ads and PSAs are mocked and contradicted on the show, he uses them to tee off on your science and push his upcoming book.
Unlike a peer reviewed journal or even a decent newspaper, Sussman has no obligation or requirement to either tell the truth or correct his inaccurate or misinterpreted information. This is why I suggest getting written corrective statements and apologies from Sussman.
But it is the suggestions of violence that is the most troubling. As your employees and the Census Bureau employees spread out across the country to knock on doors to do their jobs they shouldn’t have to fear for their lives because talk radio hosts have inflamed their listeners in hating the government.
Ignoring this kind of violent rhetoric doesn’t make it go away.
San Francisco, CA
P.S. I have multiple instances of Sussman actively mocking your program dating back to 2006 and suggesting non-compliance. (link) (link) (link) If you want any more clips or more audio for context I can easily provide it.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Outreach & Incentives – Jack M. Colbourn
Deputy APCO – Jeffrey McKay.
Legal (District Counsel) – Brian Bunger
Technical Services – Gary Kendall
Planning and Research – Henry Hilken
Michael C. Cook, Census Bureau
Verna Ruiz, California Air Resources Board, Enforcement Program
Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle
Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle
Transcript on KSFO Feb, 8 2010 7:48 pm Brian Sussman Show.
Brian Sussman: Let’s go next to CARB out of control. This Paul in Belmont. Paul thanks for being with us.
Paul in Belmont: Hey Suss, how you doing buddy?
Brian Sussman: I’m doing okay man. Glad you checked in tonight
PiB: Yeah, I check in with you all the time. Just real quick, eh we had a fire in our fireplace and we had the Resource Board come and banging on our door.
BS: Okay now, you know why I’m amazed by this?
PiB: I keep a loaded shotgun by my front door. They went flying down the driveway
BS: Paul I’ve heard that they are making these calls, but I haven’t heard from anyone who received the knock at the door.
BS: So you just you just had the gun in hand, just kind of holding it upright.
PiB: It’s always right there at the front door and they said, "You can’t have a fire on." And I said, "Well, we are only heating one room to save gas. What’s wrong with that?"
BS: And that should be perfectly legal.
PiB: It should be perfectly legal. We are only doing it in one room. It’s not like we have a big ol’ pot belly.
BS: According to, you know even as I read the laws that should be perfectly fine. But these people are actually driving around in their little hybrids looking for guys like you and they met up with you and Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson as well. Appreciate you being there Paul on KSFO. It’s the Sussman show, we’re live and local, KSFO.