Did everyone want you involved? If not, what did you do about that?


Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Have you ever had a situation where the state police, or the authority does not want you involved?

Answer:
Oh, there are degrees of cooperation. Some is very superficial kind of cooperation, such as not having time to meet with you, they have to handle another issue, or they have to go out of town.

Question:
What do you do then?

Answer:
What do I do then? I work down. If I can't meet with person A, then I go to person B. In the case of say, a police chief, if there's a Community Relations Unit, and I know the officer there, I might go to that officer first, before going to the police chief. It's all according to what kind of rapport you have within that department or within that community. It's hard to generalize.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Yes exactly. She knew when I was coming into town, and she told all of them, "There's a guy from the government coming out here, and we're gonna really do a job on his butt when we get him in here. We're gonna expose this bird." So I was in my room, and a guy called up from downstairs, asking if he could come pick me up. I said, "Pick me up? Let me get some clothes on." And he said, "Alice wants you to meet with her." And I said, "Alice wants me to meet with her? Okay." I assumed we would sit down and talk at her headquarters. Well, when I got there, I saw all these cars parked everywhere, and I said, "Oh. Must be some kind of game or something going on." It didn't take me too much longer to find out that I was the game. I walked into the building and found myself in a gym full of people. There was an old lady sitting down at the table. She introduced herself, and she had this microphone and she wanted me to talk. I'm not scared, and if somebody asks me to talk, I can talk all day. She told me to talk to the people and tell them about myself, which I did, and we went into answering a few questions, and I just laid it out. I said, "I don't know what the situation is here. I don't have any idea, I just heard there's been an alleged suicide." She liked the fact the I used the word "alleged", because they were all very smart people. They were all weighing my words so that they would know whether or not I was coming in with the typical rhetoric that a lot of bureaucrats had come in and given them. If it had been that way, I would have been dismissed and thought of as somebody who had just come to placate the mayor, the City Manager, and the rest of them. She found out that I wasn't there to placate anybody and that I didn't know a lot about the situation. But I was going to learn more in the days ahead, meeting with the police chief and mayor and sheriff and going to the scene where the young man was hanged and everything else.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

And he said, "Alice wants you to meet with her." And I said, "Alice wants me to meet with her? Okay." I assumed we would sit down and talk at her headquarters. Well, when I got there, I saw all these cars parked everywhere, and I said, "Oh. Must be some kind of game or something going on." It didn't take me too much longer to find out that I was the game. I walked into the building and found myself in a gym full of people. There was an old lady sitting down at the table. She introduced herself, and she had this microphone and she wanted me to talk. I'm not scared, and if somebody asks me to talk, I can talk all day. She told me to talk to the people and tell them about myself, which I did, and we went into answering a few questions, and I just laid it out. I said, "I don't know what the situation is here. I don't have any idea, I just heard there's been an alleged suicide." She liked the fact the I used the word "alleged", because they were all very smart people. They were all weighing my words so that they would know whether or not I was coming in with the typical rhetoric that a lot of bureaucrats had come in and given them. If it had been that way, I would have been dismissed and thought of as somebody who had just come to placate the mayor, the City Manager, and the rest of them. She found out that I wasn't there to placate anybody and that I didn't know a lot about the situation. But I was going to learn more in the days ahead, meeting with the police chief and mayor and sheriff and going to the scene where the young man was hanged and everything else. After I got through with the meeting, I went back home and then the next day I had the meetings with those officials. Then I began to meet periodically with Alice. I established a relationship with her because she figured out that I wasn't a liar, and did not cater to the police chief or the mayor in the sense that I was working for them. One message you have to convey to minority communities in situations like that, is that you're not working for the establishment.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well I was up on the Pine Ridge reservation and an Indian fellow, who was with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, pulled his gun and stuck it up my nose.

Question:
And said...

Answer:
And said, "Get off the reservation. Didn't I tell you to get off of the reservation before?" He didn't know who I was, you know, and I guess he didn't give a darn. But that's what he did.

Question:
What did you do?

Answer:
Backed off of him, walked away, and then got lost in the crowd. Then I told the superintendent, "You've got men sticking guns in people's faces." And he did go over and address the issue. And that was it.

Question:
And you were able to stay?

Answer:
Oh I was going to stay, anyway. Because you see, he had no jurisdiction whatsoever to keep us off of the reservation. The superintendent absolutely knew that. His job would have been in jeopardy if that had happened. So whatever he told that fella, it was enough to cool things down. And that was the end of that.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So when you were making that initial telephone assessment as to whether CRS should get involved, was one of your criteria whether or not you thought they’d be amenable to talks, or was that something that was left for later?

Answer:
Well, you’d get some of that. If you got into a conversation with people on the phone, you might ask, "Is this something that you think you’d like to get resolved? What do you see happening? What do you want to do with this?” You may not ask them about whether or not they want to get it resolved; you might ask, "What do you see as an outcome? What would you like to see happen in this particular situation?” Depending upon what they would say, that would give you some clues as to their willingness to sit down and talk.

Question:
And if you had the feeling that they probably wouldn’t, would that be a reason for you not to get involved?

Answer:
Not necessarily. It certainly would make your job a lot harder, but what CRS would do is that they would change the nature of the intervention. So if the intervention was initially thought of as being a conciliation or a mediation that would bring both sides together, and one side or the other (particularly the establishment side) decided that they didn’t want that to happen, you could still go in, but you wouldn’t be doing that; you’d be doing something else. Maybe trying to reduce the level of violence, or doing some kind of evaluative work with the minority.......it tended to get CRS people in trouble when they did that, because the other side always knew when you were in town, and you’d have to sort of answer to the question: "I thought we told you we weren’t interested.” "Yeah, but I’m here doing something else.” And you don’t want to push it to the point where you’re saying, "I’m the federal government, and I can go anywhere I want.” You don’t want to do that.

Question:
Did you ever try to sort of surprise them?

Answer:
Sometimes. Sometimes it would require people to actually see you and talk to you, and they thought about things a little differently, like, "Okay, now that you’re here, I’d like to hear what you have to say...” or, "What have you found out?” would be often-times the question. "So what have you found out?” Well, that’s a wedge that you could exploit.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Probably the only real resistence was from the President from the administration, through the President. After that hurdle is crossed and of course the President buys into it, then you pretty much have carte blanc with the institution, like the faculty. The faculty needed to be sold a little bit, because they were concerned about things like, was this process going to give the students too much power? Was it going to reflect negatively on the faculty? So there was some kind of territorialism there, in that sense.



Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What do you do when you can't break that barrier and someone says they don't want you in this case, or one of the parties says we just don't want to deal with you." Have you had that experience?

Answer:
I think the hardest thing is less that they are verbalizing that they don't want you in and more the other battle where you can see that they don't want you in and they want to put you off. I think that's the more frequent thing. They will say, "We can handle this," or, "It was an isolated incident." The techniques that I always use are that I don't like to allow them to make a decision for us. I don't want to give them the opportunity of "Yes, you can come in," or "No, you can't come in." I try to put it in a way, "Related to this incident, I'm going to be in your community talking to some people and I'd like to meet with you." So basically, it's not, "Well I can refuse you," as much as you don't give them an opportunity to say "No." But then in the meetings with them, often their reluctance level goes up and down the scale. We try to get as much movement as we can from them and that's why I say in some situations we'll get a conciliation approach rather than a mediation approach.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

If you don't, you say, "Chief, I want to sit down with you about this incident. I am going to be in the city tomorrow. How's your schedule?" It's harder for them to say, "No, I don't want to meet with you." Often the chief will say, "What do you want to talk about?" You indicate you want to talk about "how you feel about what's happening, to get your point of view." So you put him at ease and you make it more difficult for the chief not to want to set up a meeting. So that's getting to first base, or half way to first. You're not out of the ball game.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you ever have access problems getting into a case, the parties don't want you there?

Answer:
Yeah, I've got one I just blew. It wasn't necessarily me, but it was blown. I've gone out to a situation where there was a series of altercations at school. Many of the African- American parents were concerned that the school was not properly reprimanding both racial parties. The school where students had been arrested did seem very biased. Even the incident that provoked the violence had overtones of racial bias for one side over another. So, we went out and heard the complainant side and met with all the parents of the children involved. Then we went and met with the institution, and told them what we felt, that mediation would be a viable way to get through this. The institution absolutely refused because they'd had learned of a pending million dollar suit against them. I said, that doesn't pre-empt mediation. You may have this suit, but there are some things that I think we can still negotiate. The institution said to me, straight out, that they totally distrust the parties, and anything in mediation would not be kept confidential and would be used in discovery for the lawsuit. There would be no way that they were going to participate in mediation. What do you do with that?

Question:
What did you do with it?

Answer:
Well what I did was, I said, "If there is this level of distrust, I'll see you either now or I will see you later. Because regardless of what you do, whether you go to court and win or lose, the problem you have at your school site and the relationship you have with the African-American community is not going to be resolved by the courts, so if you feel that the parties cannot be trusted, we can very well wait until that lawsuit it over. But you know, you're not going to solve the problem until you sit down and get some agreement, as to what and how you properly carry out your policies and processes with all students. Until that's worked out, you're going to have to sit down at the table at some point, sooner or later. It's your call. I can't tell you that you have to sit down now."I thoroughly believe that they can wait out the legal process, but the law does not put the community back together. The law does not give the parties a process to really put to rest the anxiety and issues that divide them. So I figure, I will be there sooner or later.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

As you were preparing, were you working with the Mayor's people to encourage them to meet?

Answer:
We had already passed on the request and explained to them what they wanted to do, but we were getting no response. The mayor had a Korean worker on his staff, and she was our liaison for a lot of our pre-negotiations with the mayor. She was a key person who really helped us into the Korean community from the very beginning.

Question:
But the mayor wouldn't move on it?

Answer:
He just didn't feel that he wanted to face that animosity and the blame and the anger. He didn't think there was going to be any real benefit from it. That was his position at the time.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you ever get asked not to come in?

Answer:
I'm sure somebody has told me that (laughing). The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) calls me sometimes, I work with the BIA on Native-American issues. They'll call me sometimes and say, Steve we've got these two tribes and two contingents of families that are vying for the leadership of this tribe. It's gotten really violent, we've had shootings over tribal governance, housing, employment, and other kind of stuff. One place, was the Roundtable Rancheria. I went into Roundtable right after they had a shooting. The entrenchment and the level of tension between the two tribal factions was heavy. They told me over the phone, "We don't want you in here. You're just another government agency." I try to explain that we're not the BIA, because some of the tribes have a total dislike for the BIA. When I explain I'm with the Department of Justice, that I'm a federal mediator and that I've come to help resolve their disputes, sometimes they let you in, and sometimes they don't. And that's fine. I mean, if they don't want you in, they don't want you in. I don't think I could expect to force myself into every situation.






Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Most of the time universities are somewhat reluctant to invite CRS or any federal agency, especially the Justice Department, onto their campus. I know we've had continuing problems with one of the universities here. Harvard has really kept us at arm's length with a lot of the problems that they've had in the law school and other racial problems. We haven't had problems in some places, but across the country higher education is a harder entry problem for us. I think the chancellor was interested in CRS because he had had a contentious meeting with the students and the paper reported that there were racial problems. That is what precipitated my call to him.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

we went to Miami, the 1972 Republican and Democratic Convention. We weren't invited. We went because we felt we could help. So we went down there and that's when we got in a horrible situation with that preacher that was in Nixon's outfit. To his credit, the director of CRS refused to abide by Nixon's request -- actually, I don't know if it was a request or order -- that we do spy work for them. You know, "spy on these people and then give the information directly to me." He refused, even with Nixon's people there, so that was to his glory, I think. But as a result, in 1973, we got chopped by more than half. I think there's a correlation.



Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Was there a time when one party to a conflict asked you to intervene but the other side didn't want you to come in?

Answer:
Oh, sure, on conciliation as well as mediation cases, though it's not even a prospect for mediation unless both parties show some interest or willingness. Let me back up and amend that. On conciliation cases, CRS didn't have to stay out of a community just because one party didn't want us to come in. If we felt there was a tension scene that needed attention, we would do some kind of advance assessment over the phone by talking to as many people as possible to get some feel for the situation. And if that assessment indicated that we really ought to make more effort on-site, the regional director or whoever else was supervising the scene would say "go," and we would go.

Question:
How would you deal with the party that didn't want you there?

Answer:
I don't recall being refused entrance, but there must have been a few times somebody said no dice, "I really don't want to spend any time with you." Mostly I remember that there would be reluctance about taking any other step beyond us getting in the door. The plus factor in being in the Department of Justice was that it helps you get in the door with a sheriff or a police chief who might otherwise have said, "Who are you?" So we would get in, whether some of the steps we wanted to have taken would happen or not. A bit of persuasion sometimes helps, and of course, if the situation was pretty volatile, most conscientious and intelligent officials are going to want all the help they can get. They're going to want something defused if possible. They may not have, at the outset, any great interest in rectifying some of the causes of the action, but CRS would attempt to help them to see some of those underlying factors and hopefully to address them. In fact we would have no hesitation in pointing out, "Look you know, you can't just paper this over. We're not just here to quiet the situation, we hope that you have an interest in preventing and correcting the problem or some of the sources of the problems."




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Now if you said, "can we help?" and they said "no, we don't need help" did you drop it there?

Answer:
We might have said, "Are you sure? Let's talk about that." We would have explained what our legal duties are, and what we're not. It's very important to define the agency in its role. It might be that some group would say, "Well no thanks," but I hardly recall any situation like that. There must have been some here and there, but then you know the next question is, "is that group fully representative of the community and are there other folks whom we might probe a little further?" But if there's a clear cut group, for example, the NAACP branch, I don't think we really want to go around them. But we might want to get an assessment from the establishment- types of how serious that scene is. We have a duty to do that. As we read the act, it does place a legal duty on the agency to do its best to help in a situation. You don't have to wait for an invitation from anybody.

Question:
If you were in a situation where one person or one group didn't want you to come in but you still felt like it was important, what would you do?

Answer:
I think this would not be an individual decision. This would be in consultation with the regional director and maybe with Washington.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever get involved in a case where one of the major parties didn't want you involved?

Answer:
Oh yeah, sure. Sometimes they can keep you out. If they're smart, they'll use political pressure to keep you out. They'll call their congressman; they'll threaten to sue you. If they're really adamant on keeping you out, they can keep you out. (Our mandate was very broad. We didn't need anybody's permission to go in.) That didn't happen very often, but it did happen.

Question:
Can you give me an example of a case where somebody didn't want you in and you still went in?

Answer:
I had a situation in Nevada, three, four years after I came in. The state prison there was a real hell hole. At least it was at that time. They had violence. There were some black inmates who had destroyed some things in the shop that the Indian inmates had done, and at lunch time some Indian inmates killed a couple of blacks. So I didn't call up the governor and ask "Can we come in?" I called up the governor and said "We're going in." And I went in. We're in the meeting in the governor's office and they knew they were vulnerable. Fortunately I'd done some homework. I didn't know a lot about prisons, but the bureau of prisons had done an audit on Nevada's prisons two years before that and I got a copy of it. I read it on the plane and I sat down with the governor and the head of corrections. "What do we do, Julian?" "I'm not an expert on prisons." "Yeah, but you're here." "Well first thing I'd do is transfer the warden." It was clear to me that he had lost control. They agreed with me and transferred the warden. Then I said, "You have to bring in an experienced warden. Secondly, here's the report on your audit. Everything's wrong. You don't have an intake process, one of the basic things with prisons is that you separate prisoners. You can't stick all the prisoners together because they're all kinds of different groups. Some people are crazy. You don't put the big strong stud in the cell with the little kid because he's going to rape him. Control is the thing in prisons. You're just putting everybody together, so you get a lot of violence. Also, your food is terrible." Prison food is terrible, but their food was really terrible. There's a real question here, people are stealing, prisoners as well as guards. Food is being siphoned off somewhere. You really got to take a look. That is a big thing in prisons. They also had no programs, they had no education, there was nothing for the prisoners to do in this maximum security prison. So I just went down the list, anything you do is going to be an improvement and you've got to do it right away. Somehow you've got to communicate to the prisoners that you're going to do this. So they have some hope. You got to start training guards. You've got some brutal guards here. The guards who permitted those killings to happen, don't defend them. Jettison them. You've got something here that the civil rights division can come in on, and you're going to have some heads roll. Don't try to protect them. They really did some stupid things.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I've been asked to stay, for example, at a reservation once. It was the agency of the opposition leaders that felt that our presence there was hindering what he wanted to do. But according to the opposition what had been happening was a lot of violence and criminal acts committed against the opposition, so they felt that our presence would maybe stabilize the situation and curb those violent acts against them. So the leader of the opposition felt that our presence there was right. We told the leader we were trying to help, and we'd be consulting with him on a regular basis so he would know what we were doing, and how our presence there would be benefiting everybody. We kind of left it at that. I wouldn't have agreed if we'd been insistent and some definitive action had been taken to remove us from there. Then we would have him talk to our authorities and see what was the best thing to do. And it might have been that it was those particular CRS people there that he didn't like. We could send another team. But no, it went well, perhaps maybe he engaged in other activities that were more pressing to him.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
If you didn't get the cooperation from the key individual, are you saying that you would back off?

Answer:
Well, I would have to use judgment on that, as to what the community is saying or what's happening. If nothing is happening to a great degree, then I'd back off. If there was a lot happening, and there was a lot of interest and a lot of concern, a lot of hostility, then I would be forced to move forward on another avenue.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Can you recall any specific time when one of the parties or neither of the parties wanted you to get involved?

Answer:
Oh that happened a lot.

Question:
And how did you handle that situation?

Answer:
Well, sometimes, you go to the other party and deal with that party and work with them until the other party decides to come around. Sometimes they will eventually come around and say, "Okay, this guy's already working with you on this, and he evidently must be on your side," or something like that. But the only thing you can really do is demonstrate to them, the best you can, that you are basically neutral, as neutral as you can be. And it usually just comes together. Sometimes they'll walk away and say, "We don't want to be bothered with this individual." I don't think there was ever a time where any of us, and I say "us" in this situation, because this is kind of universal, it dealt with everybody, for the most part, we never concened ourselves with people who didn't want us.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you ever go in when nobody wanted you?

Answer:
Yes, we did. After all, you know, we were a part of the Justice Department so we could do what we wanted. On those rare occasions where that happened, there might have been more groups or individuals who didn't want you there, but they didn't express it. So they sort of went along with things. It was pretty much like somebody saying, "The FBI's coming. Nobody turns down the Justice Department. They don't say, "We don't want you here." Very few people will do that. But the times when that happened, you found that you just went in anyway and determined whether or not there was a role for you to play. And if there was a role for you to play, you began to play it.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How often were you meeting?

Answer:
Every other week. We had a problem which almost capsized mediation very early in the process. Residents got a hold of a confidential memo that said in two weeks, construction of a new dining room was to begin as the first step of the reorganization. This was in total violation of our agreement. I had assured the inmates that this wouldn’t happen. I phoned and called the deputy director who said, "No, this shouldn’t be happening. I didn’t know that they were going to head that way, but I guess they plan to.” I then phoned the commissioner and said, "It looks like we are going to have to stop mediation. What I’d like to do is meet with you and the support team to the inmates.” I rented a room at the Holiday Inn for the next morning and we met there at eight o’clock. The BBDCO support group from Minneapolis was there. The lawyer for the Hispanics was there, about seven of us. We met with the commissioner and we told him what had happened. He was furious. Now I’ll tell you what was going on. The deputy commissioner was an alcoholic. I suspected something when I saw him dancing with a young blonde one night at the tower of the St. Paul Hilton, where I used to stay when I was in St. Paul. I foolishly said hello to him, and he didn’t even acknowledge me. I figured something was going on. He’d been on health leave a few times. The Commissioners said, "I’m going to fire him and I’m going to remove the superintendent too." As we left he said, "I want mediation to continue, so I’m going to remove them. I’m going to appoint Orville Pung acting deputy and his only job is going to be to supervise this. I’m going to remove the superintendent and who else do you recommend go?" I said, "Don’t remove the superintendent." Let Orville Pung decide that one. There I was giving him advice, which seemed to be appropriate at the time. He was so angry he was going to fire half of them. Orville Pung came in and we continued mediation without a problem. The mediator was finally controlling the process. Pung, incidentally, went on to become Commissioner of Corrections.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There was one point when BBDCO complained that they were being harassed, people were being put in lock up. They refused to come to the table for a while.

Question:
And did you proceed without them?

Answer:
We did on some issues, with their concurrence. I suggested they send an observer in the room to sit and watch without participating. I don’t remember if they did, but I would not have proceeded without consent. There was also one incident when a white inmate got so ticked off that he verbally abused one of the guards. "You don’t know what it’s like, you s.o.b.” The officers all walked out and we had to wait a half-hour until they came back. There was a continuing problem at the institution that cut across mediation. The attorneys from the university could be discourteous and abrasive with the staff when they came to meet with residents. The officers disliked them. One of the attorneys caught me one day and said, "We are having trouble gaining entry. They hold us up till the superintendent is here or his associate is here. Then, they hold us up at the gate, then they don’t escort us downstairs and we are losing an hour every time we visit. We aren’t going to stand for this.” I asked them if they had talked to the superintendent about it?" "We shouldn’t have to talk to the superintendent," they said, but they agreed to do so and I said I would work with them to get the matter resolved.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

For the record, -- Russell Means doesn’t tell it this way in his book, he says AIM communicated directly with the FBI Chief Trimbach the stories I heard was that Terronez and Martinez, both Mexican Americans who could be confused for Native Americans, and Sarver came out of Wounded Knee to the FBI officials up the road with AIM’s list of demands. The FBI chief immediately placed them under house arrest, notwithstanding their Justice Department credentials, the same as the FBI carries. It took a day until John could get through to Washington and get released. But they brought up the list of demands and thus started a saga, 73 days at Wounded Knee.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You're giving people an opportunity to rise to a higher level and when they see that and they trust that you can take them there, most of the time people will go with you. Now here's the thing that I was beginning to sense the last 3 or 4 years I was doing this work with Justice. Of the people who did not want to rise to that -- or as I just described it, didn't want to come to the table in good faith, there were two different profiles. One was coming from the establishment perspective, saying, "My influence is going to be diminished if this process is put in place because when a broader base of people is in power then individual power is diminished,” if it's an authoritarian kind of power. So, those people are intimidated and threatened by what we do. There were minority people whose power was based in the fight, and if the group begins to rise to a higher level with everyone really working toward the best interest of everyone else, those individual powers will be diminished and they would try to sever ties. So, that became an interesting phenomenon to me in the last 3 or 4 years, seeing that as more and more mediation or conflict resolution or consensus-building or multi-culturalism became a part of the fiber. These individuals began to say, "I'm losing control, I'm losing influence, I'm losing power," and there began to be a push to keep the thing from working. My response to that was usually to go with the group, whatever group they were a part of, and talk about that in private and say without naming any names that there seems to be some sabotage going on. "Can you help with that? Are you interested in helping with that? Because either that person's going to pull the group away or the group will have to move away from that person.” But, I never tried to engage those people. I would try to bring them to the table, I tried to get them in the midst of it and hold them to their higher words.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

He was willing to work with me. So then I went to the city council and presented my so-called plan to them, and explained that I had an agreement on the part of the police chief and that I had community folks helping me. They agreed to hear me out,



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did all the parties want you to become involved? Did they welcome your expertise in that area?

Answer:
To the best of my recollection, there was very little resistance, which I found surprising, particularly from the media side. All of my expertise at the time was with the printed media, and not with the electronic media, and the concentration here in Denver was on the electronic media.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Was there ever a time where none of the major parties wanted you to become involved?

Answer:
A lot of times. Yes. Generally, it was the so-called majority. Because the majority community, school as an example, or a law enforcement agency, they're in control, they have the resources, and they have a goal. They see the disputes as something they can handle, even though in a lot of cases we eventually find out that they haven't been handling it for a long time. But in their minds, they think that they've been handling it and they've been handling it correctly. And as long as they have that attitude, they don't allow anyone else to come in. The other is the aura that exists in many of these groups, but particularly for public agencies that would deal with the idea that an outsider is coming in without them first identifying the outsider and paying for those services. It's just not existent in their day to day work, but in the way that they work and the way that they think. So we have to work our way in, really wiggle our way into a trust level and the fact that we are able to actually help them out.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What did you do to get the reluctant party involved?

Answer:
A couple or three visits and lengthy discussions.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were members of both key parties always willing to meet with you when you designated a time and place?

Answer:
We would work out a time and place mutually. They were busy folks, working folks, so we had to work around their schedules and mine.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What did you do to gain access to the homeowners since they were distrustful of you?

Answer:
Excellent question. Well, they wanted to do something about these Indians who were trespassing on their private property. "We've called the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, and at first they would come out in response to our calls, and since then, they've refused to come out. They say they don't know what the law is relating to this." Which is, I think, an honest answer. This is a Twilight Zone in that area, where a law was to be made. And of course, nobody's ever heard of that 1911 decision. But there was a major problem.

Question:
So with you being from the Department of Justice, do you think the homeowners thought that you had the answer?

Answer:
Well, I probably represented some kind of an authority to them. They may have thought that I might be able to do something about these people, because the federal government has a special responsibility for Indian Welfare.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did they welcome your presence?

Answer:
I think so. I always go self-interest. It was in their self-interest to know what I was up to. My position with those kind of groups is that they can let me know as much as they want to let me know so that I can help. I tell them, "If you're intent on committing a crime or being involved in criminal activity, I have to report that to law enforcement. So if you're going to do that, don't tell me. However, tell me enough so that I can help." So we have an understanding.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So they asked us to help because they were going to have some demonstrations and picketing. The Hispanic lawyer showed up and he didn't want to work with us, he didn't want us involved. I sat down with him, said, "Look, you don't like the present administration, and there's some things I don't like about the administration myself. The political winds in Washington change every four years. It goes in one direction, then another, and yet the people are still here. You're still here and I'm still here, so why don't you and I work together to help these people here the best that we can help them in this current situation? Let the administration do whatever, I know you have strong feelings about that, but let's think about these people here. Let's see how you can help them and I can help them and maybe we can help them even more if we both work together." So we did that and they and the D.A. finally worked a deal where they got a new prosecutor.



Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Would you start by telling us how you became involved, what types of things you did, how they came?

Answer:
I had read about the case for some time in the local newspaper and there was something in the articles that gave me the indication that the judge handling the case was trying to find a way to mediate it. The words were not in the article, but there was a clear indication that he wanted to find a way short of going to trial to resolve it. So I called the judge's clerk, we don't call the judge directly, but it's really a way of testing to see whether the judge was open. That way also you didn't jeopardize the judge by talking to somebody about the case without the parties being present. I called up the judge's clerk and told the clerk about CRS and asked him to share with the judge on the case the service of CRS. It seemed like less than a day when I received a call from the judge and we spoke more about it. He invited me down to the city to meet with him and with the parties' attorneys. He had made up his mind by the time I got there that he was going to appoint me to the case. So, even though there was some reluctance upon the part of the attorney for the school board about my being involved as a mediator in the case, the judge had made up his mind and he just announced that he wanted the parties to meet with me to try to mediate the case. So after we introduced ourselves, I explained to the attorneys of the parties about CRS and how we operate and about our ground rules. Then I set up a time to meet up with the parties separately at a different time.

Question:
How did you overcome the school board attorney's resistance?

Answer:
Got rid of him.

Question:
How so?

Answer:
There are times that attorneys can be very helpful in a case. At other times they can be more interested in protecting their own turf rather than working for the interest of their parties and it became clear after a while that was the case here. There were indications from the school board that they wanted to work this thing out. The attorney was being very obstinate about it and pretty hard-nosed and he'd say, "No, you should not do this." I asked the school board to select some representatives for the school district and they selected a school board member who was an attorney so that it didn't become necessary for the school board's original attorney to be involved in the mediation. This got the school board involved with a lawyer who could represent the interest of the school district and who was also a prominent lawyer in the city.

Question:
And that was okay that this new representative would replace the old one?

Answer:
No, I don't think anybody knew that's how it happened.

Question:
Well, how did the lawyer know that he was no longer part of the process?




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Have you ever run into a situation where some key person, the police chief or the school superintendent, or a really key person doesn't want you involved?

Answer:
The only one that I felt didn't want us involved was the one in with the small town school conflict. The superintendent was talkative, because he knew me from before, but he wasn't willing to yield anything. He wasn't willing to set up meetings of any type. He didn't think it was necessary. He had teachers that did basically what we do. Therefore he was willing to meet and willing to talk, but beyond that, that was it.

Question:
So he was willing to meet with you, but not do a general meeting?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
Did you try at all to work around him, or did you just try to work with him?

Answer:
Well I had identified the individual that was protesting most of the time, and he didn't have a strong following. He had a following, but not a strong following. He didn't involve the other organizations that existed in the community; they weren't interested. So it was just him against the superintendent, and we were never able to get them together. However, things did change later for a particular school. They changed the school principal, and they brought in more communication gear like computers.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

He was reluctant, as most city officials are about the Justice Department coming in. On the other hand, it's a situation where if they can find somebody else to blame, a scapegoat, they welcome you to come on in. So light bulbs go on in their heads, and they start saying, "Scapegoat! Come on up!"



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

that's how you tried to figure out what you were going to do when you knew that, clearly, somebody didn't want you around. You tried to determine whether or not you were going to be playing the enemy, or playing the friend. And then a lot of times, some of the foes came around and decide to work with you after all. Often the foes came around. I know in my situation, I had lots of foes who came around because they came to the conclusion that the work you might have been doing at the time was something that they could buy into, or something that they perceived as worth while. You had to let that happen. You couldn't go in forcing yourself on anybody. I don't care who you were with, whether you were with Justice Department, FBI, anybody. People know when you are a phony. Lots of these people out in the field who are fighting for an issue are more sophisticated than you are, or as sophisticated. So you never go in with the idea that since you are a trained mediator, that you're going to be able to snow somebody about your level of expertise or competence or anything else. The key to all of this is being yourself. People will see that, for the most part. And when they do see that, they're more willing to trust you. But when you go in and try to let them think that you have some special knowledge, which you may have, it won't work. They're going to have to conclude that you have that special knowledge on their own. You can't convey the message to them that, "Oh. I'm special." Because all that does is turn them off.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Does it take a long time for you to realize that, or is that something that you know going in?

Answer:
I'm not a moron! Let me tell you why I'm saying that. It's a people thing. And by that I mean, forget all your skills, your education and everything else. You are a person. You know when you're hurt, you know when you're embarrassed, you know all of those things without any education. So you have to find out what's in your heart; what's in there counts. And you rely on that, you rely on yourself, and then you rely on your God-given ability to work with people and understand people. Then basically you have it made, because those are the roots. Forget about mediation now, we're talking about people. Whether we're mediators or not, I'm saying, be a "people person" and you'll be able cut through all the rest of that.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Go back to what you just said about the woman in the housing authority, where you came into a meeting for 4 months. That sounds interesting. Tell me about what was going on in that case.

Answer:
There were allegations of the housing authority not responding to tenants, and Tulsa became one of the prime targets of the housing authority investigation. The housing authority was siphoning money and spending it on other stuff, so the housing was falling apart. The minority groups living in the communities had complained to us because by then some of the players knew me and asked if I would come in. But the housing people didn't know me and, people who lived in the housing areas didn't know me. Too often, people come in and do their little deal and say their little speech and they leave. They figured that's what I was going to do, so they weren't going to spend any time with me. Nor were they going to give me any time. They let me say my little spiel, but that was about all. I just kept coming back. What we were looking at there was the housing authority's anti-discrimination policies that were a federal law. Unfortunately, they were so but was so complex that nobody could interpret them without an attorney. So we were looking at a way of redrafting those into common language. As far as the really imbedded stuff with the corruption, I really didn't have any authority to deal with that. But from my perspective, there were people in the community who were beginning to deal with that. There were people who were getting board members elected who wanted to deal with that. There were 2 groups at the establishment level. One was siphoning money, and the other one was saying, "That's not right,” and they were beginning to act on that. So we focused in on the discrimination policy and on getting the community a form of redress. Again, the housing authority didn't want any public light shining on them, so they wanted to cooperate. We had to work some with HUD. I wasn't even sure we would have permission to rewrite the document, but that didn't seem to be a problem. It makes you wonder why somebody didn't do it before...




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

People who are not people of good will are generally hiding something. They really did need to be investigated, so it's just as well that we moved out. It's just as well we get on out of there and let whoever needs to come in, get in there and investigate. That was always a big dilemma for me. Will my involvement be more helpful to the parties than if they went through law enforcement or court action? Is the outcome going to be significant enough to them that it's worth this kind of intervention, or is it going to short-change them? You cannot always answer that, but that was always a question in my mind. If I convince them to move in this direction, am I taking away from their right to some other action? That was always something I would try to consider.



Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So it sounds like most parties, or all the parties, were interested in becoming involved in working out some of the differences.

Answer:
Right.







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by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado