Did key issues ever involve factual disagreements? How did you deal with such problems?


Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There was still a lot of venting, and there were a lot of wish lists as to what should come out of it. There was definitely a misconception on the part of the minority community as to the nature of the media itself. The media was certainly seen as providing a service and not seen as a business. This was one of the issues that were clarified through this series of meetings -- that the media, first and foremost, was a business, and even though the editorial side of the media deals with the public, there is the business side, without which the media couldn't exist.



Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Now in this particular case, mentioning that, did you feel that the conflict became defined a little bit differently as time went on?

Answer:
No it was the same. There were clear issues. That's the one good thing about that situation was that the issues were pretty clear and definitive and the numbers were there. The data was existed.

Question:
So there weren't any factual discrepancies?

Answer:
No there were a lot of discrepancies because people would express their position on an issue and over a period of time they came to distort the issue.

Question:
For example?

Answer:
They'd make statements like a black has never held a position above Sergeant. Well that's not true and the city could show that in fact they'd had an assistant chief who was black. They'd had a black captain. They'd had a black major. They had a bunch of black lieutenants. Over the history of the department they'd had these but what had happened is that the black officers just kept saying nobody has been above a Sergeant. And all of a sudden that becomes the truth for them and it wasn't the truth. Factually that wasn't the truth, but for the black officers that was real-- it had just materialized to that point. I could just cite that for a whole bunch of different issues from the cities perspective, from the FOP's perspective, and from the black's perspective. This is just human nature. We allow things to become something that they're not because of the emphasis that we place on it.

Question:
Now once the facts were actually given and provided did the other side accept those as facts?

Answer:
Well let's just take the one we were just talking about. As I recall the response was something to the effect of well, yeah we forgot about that, but that was 30 years ago. We're talking about today. And that happened with those kinds of issues. People reluctantly understand that the historical data is there because it's on paper and people can prove it. But because they've made that an issue and they've stated their position, somehow there's got to be some face saving taking place here and so we change the focus to today. That's what we're talking about. And that way everybody has saved face all the way around the table. And that happens a lot and it happened a lot in this case.

Question:
So they didn't lose any of their validity?

Answer:
Their perspective, was "well we showed you." It's incredible to me how childish adults can be. I don't know why because I see it repeatedly day after day but it has a whole "one-upsmanship." Well we showed you that you were wrong. Yeah you did but you had to go back thirty years to do it. It has that whole attitude. So everybody feels that they've made their point and now we just have to figure out how to get it down on paper. That's the trick. <






Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was working with Larry Myers of the Native American Heritage Commission for the state of California. He joined me, and we decided that we would work this particular case jointly.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

My discussions with one of the tribal members, and then Larry's discussions with the institution. Since we had worked closely together anyway, we shared information and found that they were talking to different people about the same issue. That's when I decided to do this jointly with the Native American Heritage Commission, mainly Larry Myers, the executive director.





Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you find that there was much discrepancy or difference between what you thought to be the issue and other underlying issues, and what the people revealed?

Answer:
I don't think a great deal of difference. There were some questions of fact that got straightened out with the assistance of the hydrologist. So the concerns and fears of the tribe eventually became somewhat eased. Both parties listened to the hydrologist and others as to how they could enhance the flow of the spring. As a layman, I was fascinated to begin learning about this. There were cottonwood trees and other growth in an area surrounding the spring, and the water experts pointed out if you cut that growth down, the spring might yield more. Somebody had the bright idea to put in a small herd of goats and let them eat up the vegetation.

Question:
Was there any question about the credibility of the hydrologist? Did anybody think he was working for one side or against another side, or did they trust you to find an impartial expert?

Answer:
I think maybe one or the other party asked me to suggest where we could find an expert. The suggestion may have come from the tribe or from the enclave community. Once the two men came up there, though, I don't recall there was any question of their credentials.







Copyright © 2000-2007
by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado