How did you decide who would be at the negotiation table?


Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Now you talked yesterday about groups wanting to keep the extremists away from the table. But you disagree and think you really need to get them there?

Answer:
Yeah.

Question:
Revisiting that in light of this conversation, do you want to bring extremists to the table or do you keep it with the moderate group?

Answer:
My first beginning is to bring the extremists there and try to find the leverage point. But if I can't find the leverage point, then they're not going to participate.

Question:
Do they leave on their own?

Answer:
Some. Some of them, you have to say to the group that they represent, "This person obviously is not willing to become a part of the team or part of the solution. They're not prepared to build a response or a resolution. Are you prepared as a group? You all have to decide that. If you are, we will continue. If you're not, then we need to move on to something else." If you could bring them to the table, many of them, you can give the individual a way of seeing themselves as still having honor. You can use them as a decision maker. "We need you here, you're a very influential part of this community. You can make a difference." So you give them honor in this new role and many of them will again rise to that and see their identity shift while still having honor. They may not, and they may have to be left behind. But if you can bring them with you, it's all the better for everybody. Remember that they're still out here agitating the cause. Some people cannot visualize themselves as having any influence or honor outside the role they have. You're not going to get them to negotiate off of that. An example of that is someone who's been an authoritarian in the family. A mother or father. They can't learn that a different way still brings honor. They're too frightened of it and they're too intimidated by the possibility of losing influence and power. You're not going to negotiate honor away from them without replacing it with something that has honor. I think that's something we miss. I think we miss the reality that everyone needs to be honored, and if we don't provide that, then they're going to stay where they are.






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.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
When you have issues that are so large like racism or class economic issues, how do you incorporate that into the mediation or the resolution of the conflict?

Answer:
Well, the first thing, as you know, is that you've got to get people sitting down and talking. Getting them to the table is one of the most difficult things and it requires some skill. You develop skills by practice, and participation, and involvement in similar situations. You have to get them to realize it's all for the common good. You also have to be sure they have time to devote to the problem. This is awfully agonizing many times and so frustrating. A good deal of inner strength and inner faith is required to continue to work through the processes when they're telling you it's not going to work, that they're not going to change their position, that you're just going to muddy the water, and create some additional problems by getting involved. Don't let them deter you. You've just got to keep on begging them and insisting they've got to meet and sit down and talk. And it's the only way. You can't force them to do it, but you've got to have them realize that it's not going to go away.

Question:
"Them" means who?

Answer:
The groups that are involved, particularly the white power structure. I know the black people that have been coached and instructed to say certain things to me, to make me think things aren't that bad. But it's far greater and much more serious. They don't know that I've already done my homework in many areas and know a lot more about them and how they were elected and how they've been voting on issues and certain things.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

My recommendation was four to six representatives would be at the table for each side, no less than four, maybe six or eight would be an ideal number. For the members of your team, you need a chair person, a spokesperson, and somebody to take notes for you. Don't depend on notes from me or the other party, you need to keep your own notes. Also, there needs to be somebody that I can contact readily to notify when meetings will be a link to your team. That's the negotiating team. Observers are there, those who have an interest in what's going on and who need to know because they could have a role in making or breaking the agreement after it's been developed, after the negotiations are over. There may be a need for other persons, or representatives from other entities to have an understanding of what's going on here, because of the potential helpful role they might play later if they have an understanding. Resource people or technical assistance people are examples. In this case, I'm not sure whether there were observers or technical assistance persons, but they probably played both roles, these three outside agencies.

Question:
Did you let them choose who they thought would be best for those roles, or did you make suggestions?

Answer:
I probably would make recommendations. They would tell me, "it would be good if the North West Indian Fishers Commission had somebody here," but I'd try to get them in from the beginning so that nobody's joining in afterwards, which is always destructive to the process.

Question:
Did any of the parties ever want to include someone that you felt would create more tension or wouldn't help resolve the conflict?

Answer:
Not in this particular case, no. Others, yes.

Question:
Did you make an effort to make sure the negotiating team on each side was the same size?

Answer:
No. Who will participate is sorted out at the beginning. If you're willing to come to the table, it's whoever they determine they want to have, and vice versa.

Question:
Do you insist that the same people stay at the table the whole time to prevent changing of the guard?

Answer:
If at all possible. One of the points in the recommendations is giving priority and importance to this, whenever there's a meeting, you will be there. Of course that never is 100%, but I ask them to prioritize participation in this, because it is important.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then I had further complications. I had people there from the outside. The U.S. Attorney, a very liberal guy, had hired a young Indian woman who was the first female Indian person to get a law degree in Oregon. She was there. I had an Indian guy from the state who was part of the Alcohol Control Commission of the state. He was an Indian official with the state. He wanted a piece of the action.

Question:
And you decided that, you didn't leave that up to them?

Answer:
Well, it was both. Remember I was supposed to know everything there was to know about mediation. No, there has to be only one spokesman. If you want to advise, you can't do it openly. I said, " I'll call a recess if you want, then you can caucus with the Indian group. If they want you in their caucus you can advise them, but you can't interfere with the mediation process.

Question:
Which means only one person from each side at the table?

Answer:
No, five people from each side at the table. But I'm the mediator, I'm in control. I said, anybody from the Indian side can speak, ask questions and so on, but you shouldn't disagree with each other. Think that out beforehand. Don't openly start discussing among yourselves. I'm mediating between you and them. I told the other side the same thing. You've got questions, you better get it down before it starts. If things come up that you're not sure about, give me a signal, I'll call a recess. That's what caucuses are all about.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Well, if you've gotten them to the table, you've already overcome a lot of hostility. At the beginning usually, nobody wants to have anything to do with each other, period. And then as you begin to hang around there for awhile, it's a situation where you may be lucky. You get to the point where they'll send a representative to sit down at a table. So the two major parties elect spokespeople. Usually it's pretty difficult for the spokespeople to come right away. Because you've got to remember, if they've been elected as spokespeople, they perceive themselves as being important. And if someone's the President of the University, then he or she is important. So that's just a matter of fact. So, you try to pick a way in, getting your representatives to help you along, getting allies from your side. It is important to try to figure out who the movers and the shakers are -- who's going to get things going. So you try to identify who that person may be within the establishment's office, the President's office, or within the street, or the student body office. You've got to understand, a title doesn't necessarily make a person a key spokesperson. A mouthpiece is important and the same mouthpiece is even more important when you've got those people on hand, you need to identify them. Just so happens, you're going to find the same mouthpiece in the chancellor's office, or the President's office. Who? It may be the attorney.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

During any of the cases that you had worked on, did any of the parties ever insist on having the media present in order to sit down at the table?

Answer:
No. I can't remember anytime. They insisted on having person A, person B, attorney A, that kind of stuff, but later on, either through peer pressure or through agreeing that maybe that wasn't a good idea, they would settle.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was this a public meeting?

Answer:
Oh yeah, open public meeting, and it was packed. Bob Lamb (Regional Director) and myself, he's African-American, and I'm white and a mediator. We stood up from the audience side and recommended mediation and outlined the guidelines. This had been explained individually to some of the board members, but we outlined mediation, which included among other things, closed sessions. No contacts with media. The chief editor of the Oregon Journal was there, and he is the chair of the State Press Freedom, it's a professional industry organization. He objected. I had stated the guidelines and I said, "What option do we have? We do not mediate in public and we will not mediate in public. We will withdraw from the situation." It was put in just those terms. Public mediation is built to fail; it would not work. He did not press his objections. The board voted to go ahead with it. We began mediation in a motel, with the Black United Front as the lead party with the Ablino Minister Alliance, which is primarily African American clergy and the Urban League.

Question:
Was this with the whole board?

Answer:
It was the chair and at least one of those who were elected to reject the middle school proposal. The school superintendent and assistant superintendent were there of course. It just happened that the term of the previous superintendent had just ended, and the new one came in and began during all of this. He was black. A lot of hope was put in him to solve this dilemma. Everybody accepted the ground rules and so on, but one problem did arise on one occasion. The editor of a black weekly newspaper was in an observer status. The community coalition supported his involvement, and of course the school district objected to his involvement. He committed himself to keep the proceedings confidential, and I think he was admitted with this clear understanding, and accepted by the school district. I think he attended no more than two sessions. This was the most difficult mediation case I've ever had.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well once the chief of police identified a few people, and we met with those few, they formed a group. Then we knew who was taking a leadership role there. There were a couple of people who took on a leadership role. There was a mixed group, women as well as men, and young people as well as older people. So that formed el Comite. It was about nineteen to twenty people total.







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