Tell me about your meetings with the parties when you were helping them to resolve their differences.


Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Clearly, we had to work the ethnicity out of it first, then the stature of the organization, how long they'd been in existence, because they were non-profit and volunteer groups. We were also interested in the type of leadership that they brought to the table.

Question:
You just said something very interesting, "You had to work the ethnicity out of it." How do you do that?

Answer:
Very carefully. First of all, by trying to bring equity to the table in terms of numbers -- numbers of the organizations. And one of the things that happened here and it happened in other cities, is bringing back to the table individuals who did not currently have a title with the organization, but had held a title before and were highly respected. We asked them to come to the table and be sort of senior, elder spokespeople and bring unity, and that worked very well.

Question:
Did you try to get equal numbers of each race, or did you try to do something proportionately?

Answer:
I think proportionate to the organizations who actually signed to be members of the coalition.

Question:
And this was open to anybody who wanted to be included?

Answer:
Correct.

Question:
So, what did you do when you realized that there were various agendas going on? How did you handle that situation? What were you able to do, specifically, to either address those or diffuse some of those variations?

Answer:
A lot of the effort was to find the commonality as to what the groups were seeking. A lot of that. And another one is, as I mentioned to you, even more difficult was to try to determine why people were actually at the table other than our own CRS encouragement. One of the things that played a significant role was the response that we were able to get from the media. Again, on the one side you had thirty some odd minority organizations, and on the other hand, you had thirty some odd media organizations, most of them being radio stations at the time. So all of a sudden, there was some equity in numbers. Then all of a sudden, there appeared to be some equity at the table because of the individuals who came to the table. They varied from meeting to meeting, but came to the table, brought in a lot of stature, some previous relationships, some acknowledgment that they indeed represented the community.

Question:
Previous relationships between whom?

Answer:
Between individuals who had headed the minority organizations, who were known, who had worked with the media on community organizations. Although we didn't call them that at the time, such as health fairs, for example. To the best of my recollection, the media didn't participate with the community at all. But nevertheless, there were relationships. Some of them created by the fact that someone had even gone to school together or had been together with someone in other organizations.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So how many people all together were around the table?

Answer:
We also agreed that not everybody would sit at the table. Some of the 32 would participate as observers behind the table, but if they wanted to speak, they could move up to the table. That gave us workable numbers at the table. We then conducted the elections which were absolutely wonderful. The greatest leadership qualities came out in some of these cellblocks. Young men encouraging their fellow inmates to participate, "This is your chance to have a word, a say on how this place in run,” they implored. We found that the prison residents wanted more then anything else, to get out of the box, and this election would give them the chance to get out of their cells. Also, they want to confront "the man." They were going to sit across the table. They were going to elect their representatives, they were going to caucus, set up agendas. They all finally came together when we had everything set. They had the elections, paper ballots, the whole bit. It worked. The place was just running like a top at this point. There was a high level of anticipation and then the group started working on their agendas.

Question:
All the groups together?

Answer:
No, they insisted on doing it separately. There was no trust between them. You maybe could bring the Indians and the Hispanics together, but every group insisted on working on their own.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you contribute to the agendas, or did you just record what they tell you?

Answer:
No, we took what they said I took their agenda items and then I rewrote and organized it for clarity. I started with some simple, easy to resolve issues including those where I knew the inmates would win. Censorship matters, food issues, creature comfort matters. I put some of the heavy duty ones further down. I wanted them to see they could reach agreement on some issues. Pretty standard text. Along the way, the Italian American group could not come up with anything meaningful for its portion of the agenda. They wanted sick leave for the work program. That was their issue, sick leave. That’s all they could think. Their leader said, "We really don’t have anything here,” and during the course of the mediation, the Italian Americans acknowledged they weren’t a culture group. They had no issues and they were beginning to feel awkward. It didn’t really manifest itself until later at the table when they basically said, "We’re dissolving, because we have no reason to be here.” While listening to others at the table, they came to understand and appreciate the plight of the racial minority groups, and they didn’t want to be there.

Question:
Now are you saying you created a black agenda and a white agenda?

Answer:
No, no. I merged all of the agenda items, but the cultural items were often grouped.

Question:
So how do you decide who’s issues go above who’s? Did that ever become an issue?

Answer:
No it didn’t. I started off with easy ones to resolve and then moved along. Those were mostly creature comforts proposed by the general population. So now we come to the table. We start talking about some of the creature comfort issues. One of the first issues, for example, was censorship of the newspaper. They had a very credible newspaper. Censorship actually violated the state law. So at the first session, the deputy, the assistant commissioner, and the assistant superintendent agreed this was something we could work out. Censorship of mail was an issue. The administration agreed, "We don’t have to open all incoming mail. We don’t have to read every outgoing letter.” Delivery of books and magazines brought by visitors; it would sometimes take 48 hours to get the package to the residents. "We can do better,” the administrators agreed. We were making progress. Even though these were relatively minor issues, they began to build credibility into the process. These were agenda items from the white residents, but that was okay. The inmates of color were at first untrusting of the process and were laying back, waiting to see what was going to happen. The Indians were sitting there saying, "Our only issue is that we want a reservation in the prison.” That was the last agenda item because I knew where that was headed. With each issue, the inmates were articulating their case and doing it well. Then they got to the problem of hair in the food. This was a wonderful story. This was at a time when a lot of guys were wearing long hair and that included servers on the food line. The resident negotiators were complaining bitterly and the corrections officers and administrators were sitting there contributing little. One of them says, "Yeah, we noticed the problem but we don’t know what to do about it.” An inmate leader reached into his pocket, took out a hairnet, and dropped it on the table. "Would you wear that?” a corrections officer asked. The inmate reached over, picked up the hair net, removed the cellophane wrapper and placed on his head. . Nothing else was said. He wore the hair net all morning. The matter was resolved. Canteen items was an issue. What can be sold in the canteen? And then how is the money spent? Money from the canteen went to a social fund. Some of the profits from the canteen went back to the inmates, and they didn’t trust how it was being used. We were fortunate because the husband of the head of the St. Cloud’s Human Relations Commission managed canteens for the VA hospital. So he came in as a consultant and would review the operations and confirm that everything was on the up and up. What could be sold in the canteen? Hispanic residents wanted salsa. "Well, we can’t allow salsa in the canteen because that’s a weapon,” an officer said. "You can throw that in somebody’s eyes and blind them." "Well, you let us carry our Zippo lighters and you let us buy lighter fluid,” was the response, "and you give us these cans of varnish spray for the arts and crafts shop. You think that’s not a weapon?" "Ok you can have salsa and other foods." Playboy magazine was an issue in the canteen. The rugs in the cells. The doors wouldn’t close properly if the rugs weren’t set back properly, so they had removed all floor coverings and that created a fuss. They resolved that issue, but it was not included in the written agreement; nobody wanted the public knowing that they were negotiating over rugs for the cells. As we solved each issue, I’d write it up, bring it back the next time for everyone to approve.

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.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Well, once again going back to the University, tell me about the dynamics at the table?

Answer:
I was the facilitator. They each had an opportunity to express their opinions about what we needed to be dealing with, as far as bringing the issues out to the table, and then validating that with everybody, because we couldn't deal with everything. Prioritizing those issues and building a consensus around the table about what issues we were going to deal with, so from the very beginning I was teaching them what I do. The next time an issue came up, they had been through the process and I had basically facilitated, but coached and modeled that behavior as we went along. The main thing is keeping the environment safe for everybody, so that nobody was diminished and that was always one of my ground rules. They were obviously able to create other ground rules that they felt like were important once we validated the issues and began hammering out responses to it. In terms of faculty, one of the responses was that the research division was going to do a statistical analysis of grading practices and that was going to become a matter of record. There was an ongoing task force that established its membership. They identified how the members would be selected each time, and how complaints would be channeled into that. For example one of the biggest concerns the students had was, "I'm the only minority student in that classroom, how can I possibly file a complaint that my teacher has control of my grades?" So they built in some safeguards for them. The same thing went for any kind of complaint in housing. Building in safeguards, we developed a brochure about race relations and anti-discrimination policy and procedure on campus. The fraternal system was looked at and the whole process for evaluating their documents that they have to have on campus, organizing documents or whatever they have. A process was put into place to review and look at that for complaints and charters. There were some specific steps for the student government to bring in minorities into representation under the student government. More multi-ethnic activities were generated out of that.

Question:
Was that all done by the group working as a whole, or did you break into test groups?

Answer:
No, we did it together and the group stayed together. We had about 20 people, and almost always, everybody was involved.

Question:
How often did you meet?

Answer:
I want to say once a month, once we got going. I was up there probably once a week at the beginning and then once every couple of weeks as we began to settle in. Then just based on scheduling and everything, about once a month, we had a set meeting, like the 4th Tuesday of every month.

Question:
How long did this last?

Answer:
I was up there over a year. In and out.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
We had the document. Once we began writing it up, we spent time clarifying the issues that we were going to deal with, and then took them one by one to develop a response or a remedy. Part of the technique there was that each time at the end of a meeting, I had drafted what we had done as far as issues and remedy. I brought that back to the table at the next meeting with the draft working paper and that's where we started each time. The problem with not having something like that is that you keep backing up. If you don't keep a consistent group, you have to start all over again. So the consistency was critical, and we did have consistency. Each group had an alternate that was available, who came to all the meetings. That was part of the reason for having more than one representative. So that we had the consistency and could keep moving forward. Once we had all of these issues addressed and some remedy proposed, we checked a couple of things, institutionally or legally. We would have to check to see if they were viable. If they were legitimate, within the context of either policy or law or whatever. Once we had all those things cleared up, and everybody agreed, we had a document. We got everybody to sign off one, and then I was finished. They were just beginning, but my role was finished. I went back a couple of times just as a kind of a courtesy, but also it's fun to go back and work with the group on a issue or something, or an educational thing. I went back one time and did one of the trainings that they had proposed in the document for the students or for the faculty. I think I did a faculty training on multi-culturalism or something like that. So it is that kind of interaction. I was in town for other things with other issues in Stillwater but from then on, it was really theirs.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What do you do when you get the parties to the table and they reach an impasse, and just can't go forward?

Answer:
I can think of only one case where we actually got to mediation and that happened. It was a court-requested or court-ordered mediation. And it was after days of work. I did what I usually do: I usually start with what I would call shuttle diplomacy I hedge my bets. I like to know what the parties are going to say when they come to the table before they come to the table. So I do a lot of work with the parties individually before I actually bring them to the table. In this case, they were in the same building, but in separate rooms. It became very, very clear that we were not going to get anywhere. So I ended up just telling the court, "Your honor, I'm sorry, I tried, but it's not going to happen here," without saying whose fault it was. You know, I had my own perception, and I thought, quite frankly, that one of the parties was probably foolish, because they could have gotten some gains and they ultimately lost. I think they could have negotiated some gains out of this. So in that case, I didn't have a clue of how to get past the impasse. But that's the only one I can think of where parties agreed to mediate, but where they didn't reach at least some agreement. There was another one that wasn't court-ordered, but which had been in court, and it included some hiring and affirmative action-type provisions. The parties reached agreement on most of the pieces, but not all of them. In this case, I think that part of the reason they couldn't agree on all of it was that one of the parties was given false expectations by their attorney. The way we left it in the agreement was that we stated the areas in which they agreed, and the rest went back to the court and the judge would issue a ruling. In each case, what the judge ruled was what the other party had offered in the first place. So, unfortunately for the other party the minority party in this case they really didn't get anything more than they might have gotten if they had continued to mediate and reach a settlement that way. One of the things that I always do at the beginning of a mediation session, is get the parties to agree on what to do if there is partial but not full agreement. If there are ten issues, for example, and they can only reach agreement on seven, does that mean they go ahead and sign an agreement on those seven, and leave the other three hanging? Or, if we don't reach agreement on everything, then do we throw it all out and say that there's no agreement, period? I think you want to get that understanding before they start. It's much better than getting half-way through the mediation, only to have one party suddenly say, "I'm sorry, if we don't get such-and-such, then all bets are off." So getting an assurance from both parties that partial agreements are acceptable is one of the ways of avoiding a major disaster. Sometimes, just pointing out how much agreement they've already reached then becomes an incentive for continuing the discussions. I can think of another case in which there was huge mistrust and even hostility between the parties. Some of the issues were complicated enough that it would require, or certainly benefit from, some outside expertise. So in that case, what we did was have each of the parties recommend a consultant who could provide expertise, and then we picked a third person within that field of expertise. So we had those three consultants or experts meet, and come up with some proposed approaches to dealing with the issues in contention. They did that successfully, and then they were able to sell those ideas to the parties, because they had credibility. So that enabled us to get them to agree to some approaches, and that would have been very difficult had we brought in only one consultant. If we'd had only one "expert," both parties would have said, "Is that consultant on their side, or is she on our side?" So having a panel of three worked very well in that particular instance. It was expensive for CRS, because CRS doesn't have those kinds of resources. But we did it in that particular case, and they did ultimately reach an agreement. So that's another approach to get past an impasse.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk a little bit more about the issue of power disparity between the parties, and CRS's role as a neutral. Even though you say you are a neutral, you also, in a sense, try to empower the low-power group, do you not? How do you balance that?

Answer:
If you mean how do I justify that, let's start with that piece first. Very easily, because I don't think I can do an effective job of mediating between two parties if there isn't some balance there. So unless I help bring about that balance, mediation won't work. Of course, you can't necessarily assume that because one side is a minority community that it's the powerless community. That's another issue. But let's assume that, in fact, there is a power imbalance. Unless I can help balance that, and empower each party to effectively participate at the mediation table, we're not going to have an effective, successful mediation. So I explain that to the institution and I offer pre- mediation training to both sides. I also use that as a way to help each of the parties identify what their interests and concerns are, and what they hope to get out of this process. Sometimes, that's particularly important for the institution, because they often start out from the perspective of, "Okay, how much do they want, and how much of that are we going to give them?" They rarely think in terms of, "What do we want, and how much of that are we going to get?" The reality is that they usually do want something from the community, so this helps them become aware of that. This is another trust-building mechanism as well because I'm acknowledging that, "You need things too! What is it that you want? What is it that you're looking for?" I want to make sure that both sides are heard and that we can talk about how each side's needs can be met. I also let the institution know that it's in their best interests to have a well-trained, capable party on the other side because it will be easier to deal with and negotiate with them if they are capable. Part of what the institution is afraid of is that they will have a group of ranting, raving maniacs on the other side that they can't communicate with. So part of what I'm providing is some security, some format which is reasonable from their perspective. I may say to the institution, "Now, you understand that party A is angry and they're going to need to express that. But trust me, we're going to get beyond that, and get to problem- solving." So I lay the groundwork for there being some anger. I hate to call it "venting," because to me "venting" sounds too patronizing. I don't want to be allowed an opportunity to vent; I want to be allowed an opportunity to be heard. So, even though the term "venting" might apply, I avoid that word because it does sound patronizing to me. It has undercurrents of, "They're just spouting off, and they really have nothing to say." In most cases they have a lot to say, but they've never been allowed to say it and be heard before. Once both parties understand this process and it's really part of the ground rules or at least the "ground expectations" that's going to make the process much more effective. If I explain this to the institution, they'll understand that. They also understand that it's going to take less time to train a police department to come to the table as a team than it does the community (with a police department, it's easy, they just look to the chief if the chief says it's okay, it's okay, even though they're there as a team.) In terms of a community, they require a lot more ground rules, a lot more preparation, in terms of how they're going to operate at the table. If there isn't a clear leader, sometimes, I try to split up the leadership role. I try to have different people on the community team take responsibility for leading negotiations around certain issues, so that everyone is head-honcho for a while. But doing that, and helping them to identify their interests and needs, is going to take longer than it does with a police department or a school district. But the institution recognizes that when they're at the table, their time is going to be better-spent and there'll be less time wasted if we do it this way. So they're not worried about the time the fact that I might spend three times as much time with the community as I do with the institution. They understand that it all helps to lay better groundwork for the process at the table. The other thing that I have found and at first, I was surprised, but I've gotten now to where I almost expect it is that when I have those initial meetings with the community, I get a lot of that venting. I hear a lot of the anger. To some extent, it is almost directed at me. But I know it isn't really it's just that I happen to be there at the time, and they're saying, "Well, you're an official, so why can't you fix it?" I can see that there are some very angry, frustrated people there, and I usually say, "Look, I hear the anger, but I want to make sure that you can express that anger to the institution and help them understand why you're angry." Then, when we get to the table, all of that anger has already dissipated to some extent. I can recall at least one case where I actually called a caucus because the community was so calm, and said, "Wait a minute. You were chewing my butt yesterday and you were ranting and raving. What's going on here?" I almost had to remind them of the points that they wanted to bring to the table. Now that they were actually at the table and communicating that was such a big achievement already that the rest of their issues almost didn't matter anymore. My concern wasn't to advocate for the community, but if those issues weren't brought to the table, that would undermine the effectiveness of any agreement. So I thought it was important for an effective agreement to make sure that all of that was on the table. The preparation I did with them was important too. It gave them some confidence at the table they knew they were prepared, they had an agenda, they knew who was going to cover what, and they trusted me and the process, at least to some extent. The same was true for the institution: they knew that I was going to control the process, they trusted me to keep the discussions on track. That's empowering for both sides. The fact that they really are talking to each other as equals is very, very important for making that process work.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you set the ground rules before you get to the table, or is that something that you do once you get to the table?

Answer:
I do a little bit of both. Some I will set rules beforehand, but then I will ask at the table if they have any more that they'd like to add. But the parties are relying on me to control the process. They really want that. Usually, these groups have encountered each other before and gotten absolutely nowhere, and both think it's because the other side was out of control. So an important piece of what I'm providing here, aside from any mediation skills, and my help identifying interests and the kind of things that you and I might talk about, is that I make sure that the process is not going to get out of control. "Trust me. They're not going to be able to roll you over. I'm in control." And I try to demonstrate that from very early on. That's probably just my style. I know there are other mediators who are much more easy-going, kind of laissez-fare from the beginning. I start fairly controlling; I hold the reins fairly tightly. As I see that progress is being made, I loosen up. It can get to the point where they almost don't need me anymore, and that's fine. It's almost like being a classroom teacher which I've never been, by the way but if you don't take control at the beginning, then it's going to be very difficult to get it later. So I start off controlling.

Question:
How do you do that?

Answer:
Oh, just things like not letting somebody interrupt, making sure that if one side has spent some time speaking, then the other side has a chance to respond to that, designating where people are going to sit, and then enforcing the ground rules.

Question:
And what are the basic ground rules?

Answer:
The most important ones are: confidentiality, not interrupting, focusing on the issues, no name-calling, that kind of thing. Also, if somebody says something that is either very esoteric, or something where I am really not sure that the other side knows what was just being said, I'll play the dummy. I'll ask questions, so everyone understands what is going on. To some extent you can see that you need to do that by watching body language. You can tell when people are confused or angry. Also, if the community starts making accusations that "so-and-so is racist," rather than just leaving it at that, I'll ask, "Well, can you explain what kinds of things they do that you see as racist?" So, we immediately get beyond the labeling to the problem-solving. Or, if the institution starts talking about their budget restrictions or throwing around the alphabet soup and so-on, if I even slightly believe that they're blowing smoke, I'll make them define it or explain it. "What does that have to do with the discipline policy? Why is there a connection there? What would you then need to be able to deal with that?" So they don't just throw out a lot of regulations and guidelines and procedures without explaining why that's important. I do this so we keep getting back to the problem we're trying to solve, and get away from who's right and who's wrong.

Question:
Is there any conflict between allowing the parties to tell their stories with the emotions that are behind those stories and maintaining control?

Answer:
No, because I tell both parties that that's going to happen, and try to explain that we need to start with that, because we're not going to get anywhere if people feel like they're being stifled. But that's just the initial groundwork, and we're going to get beyond that. But this piece needs to happen in order to get to the problem-solving stage. I can't think of an example where people didn't understand that.

Question:
Do you put any time limits on that sort of activity?

Answer:
Not really, no. I might be controlling in terms of the process, but as long as I think it's being productive and it's contributing to better understanding, I allow it to happen. Again, it makes a big difference, I think, if the institution is prepared for some of the things that might be brought up by the community side. One of the things that institutions find frustrating is repetition. So particularly during the story-telling part, I try to prepare the institution for why it's important for John as well as Juanita and Lucille to each tell their stories. I explain that they each have slightly different perspectives and, "Even though it might sound redundant to you, it's important for each of them to give his or her perspective, because each of them needs to be part of the solution. So I understand that it might be a little frustrating to you, but bear with me and allow them to do that, because that will make them much better participants and problem-solvers when we get to that stage." As long as people understand why we are doing this, and they expect it, and know that it's going to get beyond that, they'll deal with it. Also, if I spend a lot of time with the parties before we get to the table, so they sometimes don't feel the need to be so repetitive at the table. That helps too.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You had an impasse at one point in this mediation. Tell us about how you respond to impasses.

Answer:
Well, when they come up and we are not expecting it, we all look at each other and everybody's face is saying, "This is not working. We're not making any progress here. Why is this issue so difficult?" We keep attempting to see what other options we can come up with. Typically when you reach an impasse, and there's no give and take by either party, we like to call a caucus and see if we can get any more information as to what are the particulars and what are the positions and concerns of either party with regards to the issue we are stuck on. In the caucus, I try to clarify where people are on the issues, and why. For the institution we knew that they had made a commitment and they made every effort to alter that commitment, but they could not. It was just something they didn't have control of. At least that was their sense of it. From the Ohlone's position, there was no way that those remains should stay in the Institutions and unburied. "They are disrespecting our people, and our people are yearning to be turned to the soil. They've had them long enough."

Question:
This was told to you in caucus?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
Was it told to them at the table?

Answer:
I think it was shared somewhat. But those are the kinds of things they were saying, "Will you relay that to them? They need to understand why you feel this way. Will you relate it to them?" Actually trying to bridge what they would share with us in caucus, we would try to say, "Okay, we understand your point, why didn't you say that at the table? Let's bring that to the table and see if that will help us, so we're able to get more information and get an agreement that more information should be shared as to why you feel the way you do."

Question:
They were reluctant originally to share at the table?

Answer:
They did not share all that information at the table.

Question:
Is that typical in the mediations you do, that the parties hold back?

Answer:
I think it depends. With the Native Americans, there is a subtle respect at the table that they show differently in the caucuses. And sometimes you need to flush it out or get permission to speak for them at the table to bring out some of those more intimate details, because I think there is a pride of their behavior with respect to the other party. So, for those reasons, we had to work a little differently. In other cases where you reach impasse -- Vermont McKinney (CRS mediator) and I had a real interesting case. Do you want to finish this one? Cause you can have me jumping all over the place.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you bring that to their attention?

Answer:
Oh yeah. I pulled all those ideas together. Actually, when we got to the table, I sat at the head of the table and I framed the mediation process right then and there, and opened the door to the key spokesman of the Koreans to start them off. Then the mayor responded.

Question:
The mayor was comfortable with you at the head of table?

Answer:
Yeah, he didn't want to be there at all, but he didn't want to be in the middle of it either. He wanted somebody else to be at the head of it. So I could see the politics that he was playing. What amazed me at the table was that the Koreans, I thought, didn't raise all the issues. I had to remind them of some of the other issues. I had to say, "Aren't you going to talk about this issue?" I knew they weren't going to have that many opportunities. If you didn't get it on the table, then they're going to want to come back. It behooved everybody, I thought. I didn't want to be an advocate, but I certainly didn't want to leave the table without their issues being addressed. Otherwise we might have to revisit this whole scenario again.

Question:
Were you able to do this without appearing to be an advocate? Or were you an advocate? Was that okay?

Answer:
I don't think I appeared to be an advocate because I didn't speak for them. I basically reminded them that we had an agenda and there were issues that "you" wanted to bring up. "If you don't talk about it now, you won't have a chance." That type of approach. I don't think anybody perceived me as being an advocate. We didn't get a written agreement. It was more of a conciliation. They had to hear from the mayor exactly what powers he had and what his intentions were, and what he could and could not do. The mayor, as politically as he could, said, "We're not the vehicle for relieving you of your problems. The proper vehicle is the federal government. We have the Federal Emergency Management Agency here that will be looking at all those issues, and looking at what your damages are and trying to rectify with you. He didn't say they were loans, he said, "They're the vehicle." I looked at the Korean community and they go, 'You don't do that?" We had told them all along that there were these different ways of doing that, but until they heard it from the mayor, they weren't going to accept it. They thought the city had some obligation too. The city did tell them what they could do and what they were working on, and what kind of business support they were going to give and so forth. They needed to hear all that. So that was a point of clarification.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Sitting down and meeting with them, especially with the gang-type kids. Going into the African American community, I needed to go to this old abandoned outdoor shopping mall that had had its heyday from World War II until about 1970 or so. It was right near a park, and the kids began hanging around there -- the Latinos, especially. I'm not saying that the African American kids didn't hang around parks, but the Latinos' turf was really the parks. So it was going out there and meeting with these guys. Now, I wasn't about to go out there and meet with these kids on my own immediately, because it would've taken years to get any kind of relationship going. So I got together with the gang workers, and they would then take me to these guys and say, "Hey, this guy's doing this. He wants to work with you because he understands this is happening. Tell him about it." Pretty soon, the whole problem was boiled down to cops. Cops, cops, cops. So I said, "Well, I'm going to see what we can do about that."



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When you were able to bring the parties together, how did you decide where to convene the meetings? How important was choosing the right place?

Answer:
You're asking someone that believes very highly that the place of negotiations has to be conducive for negotiations first. I will go out of my way to seek funding, sometimes including our own, for a hotel room, a hotel conference room, as an example. It has to be comfortable in terms of lighting and seating. Certainly heating and/or air conditioning and drinks, and a meal ought to be served to set the stage for negotiations. Sometimes, with the type of work and in the communities that we work in this is not possible. You're talking to someone who will give anything for a good setting in order to get the negotiations going. I think it's very important. We at CRS of course look for a lot of so-called neutral places. We found a hotel that has a conference room in it to be neutral, and particularly today community centers have those types of facilities. We also found at least through 1995, that the community groups do not hesitate to go to a corporate or school setting that has a nice conference room like this.

Question:
Were the larger corporations ever willing to meet on the community turf? Let's say for instance, the community agency had a nice conference room and all of those different dynamics that you just mentioned, was the majority group willing to meet on their turf?

Answer:
Well, let's go back to my first example. As an example, the media people had all kinds of conference rooms and even the ability to serve a light lunch, or certainly coffee and donuts. But we wound up meeting at the Auraria Community Center, a large community center because the community group insisted on it at that time. And that has changed dramatically. The minority leaders now feel more comfortable going anywhere at any time and it is CRS who looks for the neutrality and whether the parties are ready to meet them in certain places.

Question:
So I gather you didn't often go to, if it was a police case, police headquarters, or a school case, school headquarters. You tried to find a neutral place.

Answer:
Particularly police stations. We stayed away from police stations. Just the very nature of police stations in the smaller community, the jail is usually in the same building, and so we generally stayed out of them. School settings normally have some type of conference room or classroom. But we generally used community centers and churches also.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you do that?

Answer:
I explained the negotiation process and explained that in order to get into mediation they would really need to decide one, two, three, four, five, what they wanted. What did they want to ask of the other party and what kind of solutions did they want to ask for, what remedies for the problems? This was a slow, slow process. When it seemed their problem was getting defined and a remedy suggested, I would try to phrase it clearly and ask, "Is this correct, is this what you're saying?" The act of getting it on paper and reading it back seemed to help. In fact I don't know when we would've gotten it underway if I had not done that.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
In the joint sessions did you do something to try to get parties to listen attentively to each other and talk civilly to each other?

Answer:
If I felt that somebody was really not participating, if somebody was overtly making obstacles, I would try to correct that on the site gently, but as firmly as necessary. If that wasn't working, we'd go into a caucus on the subject. Folks were pretty well engaged with each other and with the point. Of course I think a common problem all mediators face is sticking to the agenda and dealing with one issue at a time. I had no hesitation on insisting that we had agreed to an agenda and problem statements, it had been agreed to and I would insist we take up one thing at a time.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In this meeting with FMCS people, one of their guys described what they called a "relations by objectives" approach to dispute resolution. I think it was a fascinating program. I expressed a lot of interest in it and was able to sit in on one of their sessions, a quite ambitious undertaking that took a couple of days. It was an in depth approach to trying to deal with problems between two parties before they reach crisis stage. It was used to address a whole range of ongoing problems and try to establish relations that would be better for the future. The sessions I attended were in the Claremont (CA) area, and involved the middle and top managers of a steel plant, the union guys, the foreman and the works. Actually a whole lot of people are essentially doing this in one form or another now, but it was new to us at the time. The basic pattern is get all the folks together, get a lot of technical help, and you break into smaller groups at some point which are equally representing both sides. You run down all of the problems that anybody sees and feels and then you ask the questions consecutively on each side. What do you think these other guys should do about this problem? What do you think you should do about it? Then you go to the other side and you ask them the same questions. It was good to start with, and then of course you get this whole list laundry list of problems, recommendations and so on, and you work your staff like crazy to consolidate something and get it together and you try to come out with a comprehensive program. Not just a program but time tables, responsibilities for implementation, the works! Very hard boiled, very realistic. I encouraged somebody up the line about this-- I think it was Gil Pompa. at some point- to look this over very carefully and see if it might have usefulness to CRS. At one of our staff meetings I made a presentation on all this and my pitch for our applying it in special situations. I suggested that we call it "Joint Problem Solving." It never became a big thing throughout the agency as a whole, but lo and behold, later on, in this region we did do a substantial job with a high school using this approach. We went in and did just that kind of a program. This was a high school with a multi ethnic student body and with a whole bunch of problems including a deteriorating building. The school had a very progressive open black principal, a terrific guy, who was willing to accept the help of an agency like ours. We went in and discussed the whole idea. We had some good sessions with him. He sat down with us and it was decided, "Yes, let's give this approach a try" with the students, faculty, parents, administration and counselors at this high school. We took some pretty careful consideration of how we would do this, but essentially we followed those same procedures. In this case the problem identification was done on a segregated basis. The black students, Chicano students and so on in the first go around in the first day met together to identify their problems. Then of course we mixed it up the next day and to ask the questions and so on what should we do, what should you do. We got some parent involvement-- not quite as good as we wanted-- but some pretty fair parent involvement and came up with a specific overall program which presumably the school would go on to implement.



Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So you never go into caucus and say, "You better drop that one because it's never going to be solved?"

Answer:
Oh, well I might go into caucus and give some advice. Or say, this particular issue that you've raised is going to be pretty difficult to get an agreement on and I would make some recommendation.

Question:
I'm wondering if you would advise parties saying, "I just don't think the other side would accept that?"

Answer:
Oh, well I might say that. Meeting with parties in private caucus can be risky because presumably, they need to be consulting among themselves and really digging down and exposing their best thinking to each other. And for the mediator to be there and then leave and go over to the other caucus, at least the thought passes through the minds of most people, "What's he going to tell them that he's just heard? To what extent? How's he going to help them? Or maybe he won't?" That is I think a fairly risky area.

Question:
So I gather you don't caucus much?

Answer:
Not much. And it may be to test something out. I may go in and say, "What do you think about doing this?" I might go back and ask the same question to the other caucus and get their response and get back together and ask if they would be willing to try this based on what they've told me.

Question:
What would make you decide that it's time to do that?

Answer:
I don't know. Some perception of an idea that arose in the need for some fresh ideas.

Question:
But something that you couldn't bring up in joint session.

Answer:
Well, I mean if they were already in session I reflect on it. In other words, why would I withhold it until they were in private caucuses? I don't know, I guess you'd say trying to test the waters.

Question:
How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and then when to bring them together? Presumably at the beginning you are meeting separately with each party. How do you decide that it's time to bring them together?

Answer:
Well when I've met separately with them that's primarily for the assessment purposes from relation of ideas we'd mentioned. And once the recommendations have been made then that reflects the idea that we should move into mediation. In the Portland case that I mentioned earlier, we had been in continuing contact with the parties throughout that period of tension and we didn't make the recommendation for mediation until what might be a fairly late hour. We felt that mediation would be effective and that the parties would now, likely, be agreeable to mediation. And check it out individually with them and if they said yes, then we formally arrange it.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you meet with them separately?

Answer:
Yes. The first step was to meet with them individually and then, in that meeting to get a yea, or a nay, that they wanted to participate in mediation. Just because the judge referred it to mediation, the party can say "no," we want to go to trial. But that's not a smart move. So each of the parties agreed to give mediation a try. After each of the parties had said that, we got the attorneys representing each of the parties together, and sat down, and made up a list of what the issues were that we were going to address in mediation.

Question:
What were some of those issues, just generally?

Answer:
I'll just take it from the beginning, the recruitment process, which people are recruited. The allegation was that there was no way to attract minorities, or recruit minorities. Assignments, the argument was that assignments were made based on who you knew, as opposed to your skill level, and whites had almost all the good positions even though blacks needed these positions. Promotions, there were no blacks above the rank of sergeant. blacks were not given the opportunity to go to outside training. So we got with all the parties, they agreed to it, I then drafted out the ground rules that were going to guide the mediation and gave those to everybody. I got a tentative agreement from all of the parties, and then we set the date for the first get together. It was that first meeting that would be introductory, everybody was going to introduce themselves to everybody else, go over your ground rules, and get everybody to sign them, as well as make any changes that are necessary, present the issues and put them on the table. What we ended up doing was putting them up on paper on the wall. We met at the city hall and everybody said that was fine. One of the things that was interesting was that all these people had been together on another occasion in the past, because these were the same groups of people who negotiated. You could leave the contract in the department, and everybody knew everybody else. They knew each other real well. Actually Fred and I were the outcasts. The first meeting when everybody was together, we went over the ground rules, everybody signed off on them, we went over the issues, and then we decided that we needed to set up a schedule. When we were going to meet and what the process was going to be like. I explained what the process should look like. They said fine, we'll go with that. So we instituted a process about how the whole thing is going to flow and we set up a schedule. Basically the schedule was that we would begin meeting the following week, we'd start meeting in the afternoon, or late afternoon. We would go until 9 o'clock or 8 o'clock, something like that. But we could go longer, if there was a consensus, or if we were on a roll and the mediators said we need to keep going. I'm consistent about this. The mediator is the final word, on the logistics, on the ground rules-- you know anything that has to do with the process.

Question:
So, they don't have any input into the process?

Answer:
They can have input, and input was solicited, but the final decision is made by the mediator; that's just the process. So when a mediator says you're done talking, you're done talking. When the mediator says they're taking a break okay. I think the first time we sat down, we went 9 days straight. This thing dragged on for 8 months, now we had 27 issues. My recollection is that we came together, I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday, it was 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It was the first session. I don't think we ended until 2 o'clock in the morning. We came back together the next morning at 8 o'clock and we went like this for 7 or 8 days of straight, constant hammering at this. There were a dozen people around the table and sometimes we went up to 16 to 18 people, and we just kept going on and on.

Question:
Was that a good thing, or a usual thing?

Answer:
I've never allowed mediation to go on like that. We'd get on a role, you know, and not that we wouldn't necessarily resolve something but they actually got serious about talking about whatever issue we were dealing with, and I was just lucky to stop it, cause it kept moving, and nobody said, "hey, let's quit." We took breaks. We'd go eat dinner or something, but they were just a strange group of people. We had one attorney die on us, about the 4th month into this thing. He had a heart attack at home one night after the sessions. When we took a break it was never more than a week and the way the process would work is that we would put on the table issue x to start with that day. We could move to any issue we wanted to just based on how we were proceeding on a particular issue but when we were done with that issue we would have a tentative agreement on that issue. And so we would stop and take a break once we hit an agreement on that. I would type up the tentative agreement. We would run off copies so that everybody had their own. We would sit there and read it, and everybody would go through it. Once they were satisfied with it we would pass it around. We would have five signatures on five different pieces of paper so that everybody had an original thing and then we'd set that aside. It was a very definitive kind of process, but when you're dealing with that number of issues and that number of people it seemed to be the only viable thing. And the funniest part of this whole thing was we were down to two issues I think, and they weren't even major issues, one of them had to do with a promotion and I don't remember what the other one was and we had been going. After these long grueling days people would just start getting nasty with each other and it was the FOP that said we're not moving on this. This is it. Take this or just trash the whole thing and we're ready to go to court tomorrow. So then everybody started to position themselves and it got tense. Freddy and I took a break and we talked about it, and we said forget it.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But you need to have one person out of all the key players who's convening the meeting, or do you convene the meeting?

Answer:
I need to be in charge of the process, the participants provide the input. At the beginning I convene the meeting or we do a co-convening. It depends on what's going to work. If it's bad that I associate myself with somebody that has a lot of negatives already, then I don't associate myself with that person too much, although that person is critical. So I try to find the safest person at the table, or the one that has the most positives and work with that person to do what we need to do. But in this other community last year, I chaired a committee of leadership, only because there was no agreement on who else would do it. Toward the latter part of the meeting I said, "This is the last time I'm doing this. You'll have to select somebody you all can agree with. This is your town, not my town. This is your case, your issue. You should care enough about your town that you're going to work together under some leadership here. I'm taking the first stage out, I won't be around forever." I was going to say also, out of these five or six people who are obvious leaders, some may be in the background. In this other town, we had police problems. It was a big town in Texas. I met with people I thought would be relevant parties in the community. Then I went to a county commissioner who was not involved but who knows everybody. First of all I introduced myself and explained what I'm doing. "Here's what we need to do, and am I dealing with the right people here?" I mentioned about six or seven players, "Are these the relevant people I need to meet with?" He says, "Yep, I think you got them all." I went through the original process but then I double checked myself. I'm going to spend time with these players, I need to know there's going to be productive time. If they're not the ones calling the shots, what am I wasting my time for? Let me go to the ones that are really in charge.




Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
In this case did you ever decide to meet with the parties separately?

Answer:
Yeah. Off and on. This probably went off and on over at least six months so there were times when I would have separate meetings. If there was an issue that we were still arguing over and it didn't seem to be moving anywhere, I would caucus. Sometimes I did it over breakfast to just look at other possibilities. Some of the other things I would do would be to use our resources in Washington and see what other school districts were doing around this particular problem. Or I was talking to other people or organizations that I knew, and this is where I said, "what if we were to try this?" That's where this fellow later on said he never knew about these ideas, we would just talk through the possibility. That would be the only time we met separately was when we were trying to find a solution.

Question:
And you felt that they could not say what they needed to say in the presence of the other party or you felt that you needed to give them some additional information privately?

Answer:
I guess it was a way to just test ideas without the other side being there. They didn't have to second-guess their response. If I say this am I going to be saying something that I'm later going to regret? So by throwing an idea on the table and talking it over, and then giving them more time to think about it, and I would have done that with the other side, by the time we sat down and talked about it together I would know that it was going to go somewhere.

Question:
And in this case, what where the cues that you looked for to say that it was time to caucus?

Answer:
Generally when we were at some sort of impasse and it just didn't seem to be going anywhere around the particular issue. We had so many issues that we were trying to resolve. Some issues were working okay, but then there was always this other piece hanging out there that we were having trouble finding a solution to. Usually it was around trying to find ways to find an answer.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Well, let me expand on that a little bit in terms of what you actually did in the meeting. Did you actually come up with the drafting of the agreement or did they come up with the agreement?

Answer:
No, you do that together. In any community they know who the scribes are. The scribes sit down and they write. So, you identify the person who can identify the scribes. And over here, well they figure that all of them are scribes, they just have to look around and grab somebody.

Question:
Beyond scribes, though, who's saying..? We know that one issue is education. Who's saying, "Well, I think we need to get six Indian teachers at the high school?"

Answer:
We don't deal with that. I do not deal with sitting at the table and talking about numbers. If you let people work together to make a decision about how many teachers they need, you put it together yourself. Along with the establishment and the minority community, you let them work out the details. This helps them because they get accustomed to working together. CRS mediators don't have the time and it's actually more beneficial for everyone involved. In this instance the Blue Sky Action Council is still in existence.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you diminish tension between very hostile parties?

Answer:
I don’t know. I guess there were a number of different techniques. One way would be to actually bring people into a forum where they could hear what the other person was saying, absent of the kind of rhetorical flourishes that would often-times take place in the other forum. So, in one situation in that midwestern city I mentioned earlier, the local militant, who was given to walking into the City Council chambers and completely disrupting the City Council meeting, but had to be escorted or carried out by the police – that, and activities like that, defined who he was in the minds of the white establishment, which created a certain amount of tension. So what we were offering was a different forum for him to be heard. The response was, "He’s going to act up.” "Well, you’ve got to trust us that he’s not going to take that particular stance.” And then that’s your job, as the intervener, to assure that that doesn’t happen, to a certain extent. So, often-times you’d hear things: "You never told me that before.” "You never gave me the chance to talk to you like that.” When you start hearing that dialogue, you can start pulling out. I mean, you can start literally pulling yourself out of the triad. They’re talking to each other; they’re now talking from the heart about what they didn’t say to each other, over all of these years that they could have been talking. "I didn’t know you felt this way.” "Well, you weren’t listening.” So, that’s one way. CBMs are another way – Confidence-Building Measures. It’s another way of doing it: "So, demonstrate to me that you’re serious about making some change, and then I’ll respond.” Typical in the international arena, but Confidence-Building Measures can also be demonstrated in local, domestic issues as well. So that’s another way of doing it. The classic building-block approach – the whole way you build trust.....

Question:
What do you do when you get to an impasse?

Answer:
I have a technique I use often-times in that kind of setting – I don’t know that everyone can do that, but this is what I like to do: I just stop in the middle of a situation, and I say, "Stop. What’s going on here? What’s going on?” "Well, what is going on? We’re not talking to each other.” So parties begin to stop and reflect. You get them to actually identify what’s happening and why it’s happening. That’s one way that I break an impasse. Obviously, forums and caucuses are another way to correcting and impasse – getting people away from the table, metaphorically speaking. Then you can really beat them up, in the caucus, in an evaluative way, that you wouldn’t dare do at the table.






Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was representation ever an issue? Who was going to be at the table and who wasn't?

Answer:
Clearly, we had to work the ethnicity out of it first, then the stature of the organization, how long they'd been in existence, because they were non-profit and volunteer groups. We were also interested in the type of leadership that they brought to the table.

Question:
You just said something very interesting, "You had to work the ethnicity out of it." How do you do that?

Answer:
Very carefully. First of all, by trying to bring equity to the table in terms of numbers -- numbers of the organizations. And one of the things that happened here and it happened in other cities, is bringing back to the table individuals who did not currently have a title with the organization, but had held a title before and were highly respected. We asked them to come to the table and be sort of senior, elder spokespeople and bring unity, and that worked very well.

Question:
Did you try to get equal numbers of each race, or did you try to do something proportionately?

Answer:
I think proportionate to the organizations who actually signed to be members of the coalition.

Question:
And this was open to anybody who wanted to be included?

Answer:
Correct.

Question:
So, what did you do when you realized that there were various agendas going on? How did you handle that situation? What were you able to do, specifically, to either address those or diffuse some of those variations?

Answer:
A lot of the effort was to find the commonality as to what the groups were seeking. A lot of that. And another one is, as I mentioned to you, even more difficult was to try to determine why people were actually at the table other than our own CRS encouragement. One of the things that played a significant role was the response that we were able to get from the media. Again, on the one side you had thirty some odd minority organizations, and on the other hand, you had thirty some odd media organizations, most of them being radio stations at the time. So all of a sudden, there was some equity in numbers. Then all of a sudden, there appeared to be some equity at the table because of the individuals who came to the table. They varied from meeting to meeting, but came to the table, brought in a lot of stature, some previous relationships, some acknowledgment that they indeed represented the community.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I try to bring little groups together and let them talk, and I listen. I mean you don't just sit there, you gotta listen to what people are saying. Then sometimes it's important to realize what's not being said. You just go on from that point. Once you get them together, that jump-starts the process. They'll suggest to you what steps you need to take. And then, we all start moving as one in that direction. Not the Justice Department, not Bob Ensley, but all of us. And we begin to pick up people along the way, you know, who are supportive. But keeping in mind that you only go as far as a community's going to permit you to go.



Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
The checklist you gave us yesterday suggests that you did try to get the feelings out on the table and deal with them directly. Is that so?

Answer:
Maybe not always in joint session, although I wouldn't rule that out totally. If it seems useful to me, at some point, at a joint session I might say to one party, "Are you aware how Gerald here feels, what his feelings are in the wake of what happened?"




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going back earlier in the process, after you've done your assessment, gone on-site and talked to all the parties, how do you decide when to bring them together and when to deal with them through shuttle diplomacy?

Answer:
Well, as I mentioned a moment ago, in one case we never did come together except to review the document which everybody had seen, and come face to face to sign the agreement. But that was rare. Shuttle diplomacy is very important and very useful, mainly in the get-ready stages. I don't think I would've forced a joint session unless I thought it would be useful. I wouldn't have pushed too hard for it, but mostly at some point you were able to get into it, otherwise it wasn't likely you were going to get a meaningful agreement. Within joint sessions, though, recesses and caucuses are an essential tool.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Later on there was a requested community meeting and it was, indeed, pretty hostile. It must have had about a hundred twenty-five people. The chief of police was there, the city manager was there, some of the consultant people were there, and I was there. At that time, the chief of police and I handled the meeting. We identified the people to speak, in an orderly fashion--if we could maintain an orderly fashion. It went along pretty well. There was a lot of name calling and so on. But after the meeting, the chief said that he wanted to talk to the smaller group, and to proceed accordingly, and to rapidly try to lessen the hostility that was occurring.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
A lot of times you do. A lot of times you want to have one side overcome their hostility or let it all hang out and then sometimes, it hangs out no matter who is there. You just have to be cool and let them talk; don't go in there and try to shut them up. Usually if you don't say anything, someone from their group will quiet the loud individual and that's more effective than if you do it yourself. When somebody's up there and they have the floor, the best thing you can do is let them speak. Most people, unless they have some real problem, will accept that you are a mediator.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going back to the meetings, how did you reduce tension? If you've got somebody up there screaming at the other side because they're so mad about all of these issues, that's likely to make people on the other side mad. What did you do to keep the meeting under control?

Answer:
Well, there were times, when needless to say, I had to exert some kind of authority. I had to -- from time to time and depending on the situation -- say, "Wait a minute, we're not having stuff like that." And most of the time I could reduce the tension by stepping in that way.

Question:
How do you make a judgment call about when to do that?

Answer:
Well, it depends on if somebody's threatening violence, and generally you can tell when that is going to happen. I remember one time in Oklahoma, the white establishment business council, came in and put their guns on the table in front of the council and the sheriff. How were we going to deal with that, because the sheriff wouldn't tell them to remove their guns." So, before things got started, I just got vehement. I didn't know if it was going to work; I suppose if they had said, "Shut up and get your black butt out of here," I would have left, but they didn't. I got up and I said, "Hold it! None of this!" I put on my best act like I was mad, my eyes got big as saucers. I was scared of them, but they didn't know I was scared. I was really scaring them! They said, "Oh. Yes sir. Yes sir." Boy, they went back out to their pick up trucks and got rid of those weapons. The minorities in this situation were Hispanics instead of Indian. That was the only time I ever saw anybody put their firearms on the table.













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