Did representation questions ever become a problem? How did you decide who would be allowed to speak for a group?


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.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Basically I explained the process and what was going on. That was important because I had other people there. I said nobody can talk. We had observers you see, but nobody can talk, because this is between these two groups. I introduced the state person and the U.S. Attorney's person and I said if anybody had something to add, you can send a note up, but you can't talk. No one's going to interrupt, we've got certain ground rules and so on. I said the Indians are the complainants, and the other people have these list of issues, and so why don't we start with issue number one. Issue number one is the procedure for dealing with young people who are drunk and so on.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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. So we let the smaller group to begin to talk and the larger community group accepted the smaller group as their representative they let the small group go ahead and speak for them. In the meantime the families tried to file a lawsuit and go that route, so they weren't involved in this dialogue with the police chief, the city manager, and the small group, which called itself "el Comite"..





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Was there ever a case that you were involved in where you became the spokesperson? Perhaps the community group was either, one, not organized enough themselves to know what their interests were, or two, there just wasn't a leader there that could articulate their needs. Did you ever become a spokesperson?

Answer:
No. The closest thing to that was in San Diego on a housing problem with one of the staff members of the San Diego County Housing Authority. He was working with me down in this housing group right on the Mexican border. I went down there at there. He was concerned that the administration wasn't paying attention to that particular group, and so he advised them to contact me, and that kept him out of trouble. And so I went down there and began meeting with these folks, and he came down and was meeting with me, and we both became spokesmen for that particular group. Really, we were trying to get the administration to get off its duff and pay attention to these people's needs.







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