How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and when to bring them together?


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.




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.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
You mentioned coaching. Did you coach everybody together, or did you coach some groups individually?

Answer:
In the initial contacts, part of that would occur with the individual groups, talking to them about what's going to happen. Certainly you have some rage, certainly you have some interest in sharing that feeling that you have. But what is it going to get you? You need to be very clear about what your concerns are and they need to be definable. They need to be stated in a way that they can be resolved. Saying you're angry at the administration because they're not responding to you, doesn't tell the administration anything and there's nothing they can do to respond to that. So coaching them to really clarify what their concern is. That's definable, something you can respond to. Not being treated fairly in student government is a valid concern, but what does that mean? You can't be elected because it's always at large, so you can't have representation at student government, that's specific. So I coached them in being prepared to sit at the table. I think that's always a big part of it. Not diminishing someone, is making sure they are prepared for what's going to happen. If you put somebody there and they're not ready, then they feel like they've been put down by the other parties that can talk more easily. The other party is more prepared with the response, then you haven't done them any favors. My coaching there would be getting them ready to come to the table and feel confident. The student had as much power at that table as the vice president of student affairs. There was no power and no rank. And that was part of my process, my responsibility. And everybody had to agree to that, the tenured faculty included. They had no more influence on the group than a student did.




Renaldo Rivera


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were you saying you meet with them separately, at times, to discuss the problems?

Answer:
Absolutely. We have to. If you do it only in a public setting first -- after you meet with the groups that are affected or effectively disenfranchised which you need to do to find out their concerns -- if you put them together directly with public officials immediately in some arena, all you've done is set up the dynamics of confrontation. So what will happen is that meeting wouldn't be depressurizing. It would be escalating and the officials who have been perceived as non-responsive, since they don't know how to relate to these communities, will, in fact, often times become more defensive. So it defeats the purpose to have a meeting such as that, unless you meet first with the law enforcement officials, and their command staffs, and the public officials involved to express the kinds of community concerns which they are aware of, but which they don't know how to go about addressing.

Question:
Are they receptive to those meetings?

Answer:
It takes a lot of listening on our part. It is similar to listening to the community groups and their concerns. It's the same mediation techniques you have to apply when you have these difficulties with some officials. You have to listen to their concerns a lot and you have to let them talk about the problems that they are facing and you have to let them talk about everything they've tried which may not have been very effective, possibly because it wasn't able to be received by the affected communities. You have to do an enormous amount of listening so that they feel heard and you can develop a relationship with them so that you can guide them into how they might want to think through the facilitation skills that they have in their meetings with affected community groups. We may be able to develop those skills in those individuals and maybe sometimes provide some walk-through training for them so they can handle and become more receptive to the kinds of intensity that affected communities may bring to these kinds of meetings. So they don't act defensively, so they can receive the information and understand that pressure groups are not just pressuring them but are pressuring them because they are the only people who could make a change. You have to predispose public officials and law enforcement in some cases to be able to open their viewpoints to realize that it's in everybody's interest to work through these changes together.






Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did you decide when to bring the parties together?

Answer:
Usually, as a result of the telephonic shuttle diplomacy we had made significant progress in a certain area and were ready to go on to another part. I would summarize and confirm that everybody was seeing the same thing at the same time in the same room, confirming what we have accomplished. Then I would lay the ground work for where are we going next, and begin the process of deciding how we approach that. We probably met face to face every month or so and frequently we set a tentative date for when they might be able to do it again. Because this is not a group you could get together on a week's notice.

Question:
So you're doing a whole bunch of telephone work in between?

Answer:
Yes.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How do you know when the parties are ready to come to the table for formal mediation?

Answer:
The most important thing, I think, is that they have a listing of issues and demands that can be the meat and potatoes for the mediation. An unproductive process, and maybe that's part of the conciliation approach, occurs in some communities when we get together a cross section of leaders, both officials and the community, to have some open forums. We've conducted open forums, but we wanted to have the forums lead to setting up more continuous and on going type of meetings. The problem of a general meeting -- it's good in some ways, it can ventilate, get the issues out in the open --- but most of the time it doesn't lead to anything concrete. The next stage is getting them into, "What do you want? What are the major issues and what do you want from that? What are your recommended remedies? What's going to be put on the table?"




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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."






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So my first job was to bring the Latinos and the African Americans together, and get them to agree that they ought to come together, in order to get at these people who were abusing them. I told them, "You may not like each other, but if you have that common thing, we can do something."



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you always operate by trying to get the parties to come together face to face?

Answer:
Yes. But sometimes that doesn't happen.

Question:
What do you do if you can't do that?

Answer:
Then I shuttle. It isn't really a good process because I don't have the goodies that Kissinger had. Kissinger didn't really do mediation, he just went over there and said, "I'll give you this if you agree." But it is more difficult. The easiest thing to do is to get two people together. You can read them better that way. But if somebody says, "I want you to go tell these people this," it's really hard to trust their intentions. Especially when the city, or so- called group A, is talking to group B through you and you really don't know what the response is going to be over there. Or how it is that they intend to talk to these folks. They can offer them the moon and these folks are going to say, "That ain't right. It ain't going to happen." And when you go back and tell them that they don't want it, they say, "Well, we tried everything, and they wouldn't go for it." And that's sort of an oversimplification of things, but I really prefer to sit down and talk to both parties.




Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were you moving from group to group?

Answer:
No. I dealt with the city of Signal Hill, which is in the Long Beach area, east Los Angeles. I worked with the various areas in Signal Hill -- the harbor area, various areas in the Latino community. The African Americans did their thing with the African American community and the Asian group did their thing with some of the Asian folks, and the Anglo types did something with the Anglo community. Also, we had to get involved with the law enforcement types because meeting with the chiefs and the sheriff is one thing, but meeting with members of the department is certainly another thing. Although the chief may say, "This is the way it is," you talk to the law enforcement guy out in the street and he'll give you a whole different picture.

Question:
So you talked with each racial group separately?

Answer:
Yes. Then in the end, we met together with Latinos, blacks and Asians, each representing their own group. I think that sort of approach is good for two reasons. One reason is that it speeds up what it is you're looking for, and it lessens the likelihood that someone will say, "That's not right!" because if that happens, then the process becomes unwieldy. But if you have the African American input, the Latino input, and the Asian input and you bring it to the table, then you can deal with that. So, that's the way it went.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Were the initial meetings during your intervention always private or did you bring them together to talk at the same time?

Answer:
No. They were always private and always apart until we got to the point that we started working on a series of issues, and in between we were simply going between one group and the other. And eventually we got them together, if my memory again serves me correctly, we had at least three meetings before we finally had a signature.




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.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I met with each group separately, and just asked them, What is it that you think SCLC is not doing? How do you think it should be done? Would you be willing to make a commitment to work harmoniously with any of the other groups? One by one, I got the two of them to meet. It was about three weeks before I could get all three groups to sit down and talk about it. When they sat down to talk about it, they found out their differences weren't that great, so they were all focused on JoAnn Little as they should have been.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you have this discussion with each group individually?

Answer:
Sometimes in groups or with individual members. A lot of times individuals can give me more information than when in a group setting. I talk to them individually and as a group to get a consensus. Always I ask, what do they think has to be done to resolve what's going on, and what role do they want to play. From this I try to get a community committee made up of all these elements. Once this committee decides to go somewhere and do something it will most likely be successful, because they have the okay of all these elements. That applies everywhere. Wherever you go there's different sectors of clubs or churches and they're all interrelated. The politicians may also be business persons, they have kids in school, they go to church, they belong to some clubs, their relatives might be in law enforcement. It's the same with everybody, in law enforcement the cops go to church and they have businesses, so it's all interrelated. You must have representation of the entire town, and if this committee decides to do one, two, and three, it likely will happen.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When did you know that it was the right time to bring them together?

Answer:
I brought them together once I have all these ground rules written out and everybody understands what's going to happen. Usually when I call a meeting I would have met with each one to see where they're coming from. How do they see this issue, what do they want, and are they going to be part of the process? Are they going to follow some of the rules that are going to be set? I don't like surprises, so before the meeting, I would find out the game plan for each person so I know where the pitfalls may be. A lot of times emotions are so high that things may get violent. If you bring them together too soon it's going to make matters worse.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I remember it's ironic, but they had issues back in '80, '81. We had set up an understanding between them and the Vietnamese fishermen and it kind of wasn't going the way it was planned. I had to come up with plan B which was I'll asked the leader of the Vietnamese shrimpers and the Grand Dragon if they wanted to meet one on one. With just me present and my colleague I had at the time. Each side said, "Yeah, we're not afraid of them." So I said, "Let's meet." We met in my hotel room. During the meeting the Dragon asked that I not take any notes. The Vietnamese brought two or three of his people but they stayed in the lobby and the Grand Dragon had somebody calling him like every fifteen minutes. But I did take notes.

Question:
Was his fear that you were going to report what he said?

Answer:
I don't know. But I guess he wanted to level with the guy, and he didn't want any notes. Yeah I guess he was a little heavy handed maybe, or it could be seen he was trying to exert concessions from the Vietnamese about selling their boats or limiting the number or boats there, but anyway, it was a good meeting. My purpose of bringing them together was if nothing else, they should know each other in person and also exchange phone numbers. If nothing else, they should at least be able to talk to each other. This had to be a private meeting. It went well. But later I'm in my office in Houston the next day, and the Grand Dragon calls me saying that his people didn't think he was doing enough on their behalf. Would I give him my notes so he could show he was doing something, that he had this meeting. So it was to his benefit that this happened and he wanted to show he had been meeting with the top Vietnamese guy. So I told him to go to the police station and I would phone my notes into the recorder at the police station and he could transcribe them. It happened but I worded my notes in a certain way that it was very positive. It still got to what the issues had been but also what the resolutions had been and the spirit of cooperation.




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.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
I know I'm asking picky questions, but I want to make sure I understand exactly what you're saying. At the beginning, how did you decide when and how you should meet with?

Answer:
Well really both of the initial meetings were with the Comite. Then every once in a while we would touch base with the chief of police. He wanted to know how things were coming along, and are the people saying anything particular that we ought to look at a little bit closer. We never gave him the true answers, we wanted to be a little hazy because I don't think he had to know exactly what they were saying. I figured that the assessment was going to show him that truth, and I didn't want him to believe that the people were ready to lower the boom on him just because he's the chief. He doesn't want to be blind-sided. The people were no way going in that direction at all, but he didn't know that. So you have to kind of sense, is something going to happen, are the people dissatisfied and something's going to occur again, not deaths, but mass demonstrations or something? Or are things moving along well enough to avoid any further hostile demonstrations? There was always fear that in demonstrations someone would get hurt. You always have that. So we wanted to avoid those, if we could.

Question:
Did the two the chief and el Comite ever meet together?

Answer:
On occasions they would meet, but I think that only happened three times. The first time they weren't interested in having a lot of dialogue; they just wanted to find out how the assessment was coming along. They didn't want to hear it just from us, but from the chief directly.

Question:
So when you said there were only three meetings, does that count the ones that you were talking about earlier?

Answer:
No, those were at the beginning. I mean after El Comite was formed, because it took time to form, they had about three meetings after that with the chief. And of course after the assessment was presented, they met at that time too. It was presented not only with the city council and the chief and so on, but it was presented like an open forum community meeting. The assessment was then presented from the team officially and in public, so that helped out a lot.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
One of the things that strikes me as interesting about this story is that it's similar to ones we've heard a couple times already from other people, but those people were very quick to move the community group and the police chief into ongoing dialogue, whereas you did much more work by keeping them apart. Why did you choose to do it that way, rather than bringing them together?

Answer:
I didn't feel that getting them together was necessary, given what they were doing, and given that the assessment was going on. There wasn't a real reason for them to meet with the chief at all. And the chief was being cooperative with them. I think if anybody from El Comite would call the chief, he would answer whatever questions they chose. There weren't twenty people there and the chief and his staff here sitting at the table and arguing back and forth and discussing things back and forth. We never got to the point. That hostility was lessened to such a degree that there was no point for me to bring them together at all. There was no hostile attitudes. Now had there been something, I probably would have had to think this through and say we have to get together, because our dialogue or our communication is falling apart, so we'd better meet, so we can clarify this. There was nothing to clarify, there was nothing falling apart, they got along fine. If there was a need for them to meet, they could've done it on their own; they didn't need me. If I recall correctly, the chairman of El Comite did say he had talked to the chief one time, I think it was about a meeting location. It wasn't even about the incident, because the incident began to die out, and El Comite took on other objectives. The incident then became the property of the family to file the suit. But El Comite was there to provide assistance to the family, if they so desired. I don't think they requested help, they felt they could proceed on their own.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you decide when to hold separate meetings and then when was the right time to bring the majority and the minority communities together?

Answer:
The timing was important on that. In this situation, you just happened to have people who, on the majority community side, weren't hostile to meeting, who didn't object to meeting with the minority community. So it was a really easy task to bring them together. There was some grumbling from some of the militant Indian individuals, but for the most part, that was overcome by somebody in the group saying, "Look, we have nothing to lose and we've been trying to address these things for a long time. You simply picked the time and after you've discussed everything with one side, then you picked the time to meet with the other. There were small meetings with both sides outside of mediation. One thing that you want to do, depending on the situation, is to make sure that one group can vent their hostilities among themselves. For example, if you have a bunch of militant people on one side, and they want to get up and give a speech, a talk, anything else, let them talk to themselves and let them cool off, and then have a joint meeting.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

After a certain discussion with the President, I decided not to bring them together. The reason was because no matter how well it was intended ,and how good it sounded, and how much people wanted to get to the bottom of this, I also knew that certain people held grudges that would prevent it from working. You never knew who held the grudge against who. And after all the handshakes and everything else, sometimes it just wasn't good. And I knew in this situation, the poor athletes being on scholarship and everything else, weren't in the position to stand on equal ground. At least I didn't think so. So we never were going to sit down in the President's office. If there was anybody sitting down in the President's office, it was going to be me. In these types of cases I handled the conflict through on-going shuttle diplomacy.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Oh. By shuttling you can keep personalities down and out. You have the benefit of not having somebody on the opposite side really be stung by the anger and hostility that might be coming out when you're going across the table.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you ask those questions in group session or do you ask before the group session when you're meeting individually?

Answer:
Individually, because that's part of the setting and setting the mode. I would talk about expectations and ground rules, and it helps them understand that I really do have a plan. That's part of the confidence. They would've been thinking of it ahead of time, and in the group they're prepared for that. But everybody buys into it at one time. We'd go back to the issues, we'd develop the issues again, and all of us validate and affirm these are the ones that we're going to deal with first, and there may be some that are inappropriate. They're great issues but they're not appropriate for this context. And they need to be referred to somebody else. That happens individually, but then it happens again when the group's together. We start working on ways of responding to those things.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Typically, when I approach a new mediation case, before I even bring the parties together, I try to find out what the specific needs and interests of each party are, what is it that they hope to get out of this, and why. This way, I have some sense of where the common denominators are and where we're going to have some problems before we actually bring them together. So I do a lot of ground work with the parties before I ever get them to the table. I'm not necessarily referring to this particular case, but I don't like bringing parties to the table without knowing what's going to happen. I hate surprises. So if I don't think that there's at least some area where they're going to be able to reach some agreement, or some understanding, I typically keep them apart. If anything, I do shuttle diplomacy because I don't want this first experience of actually eyeballing each other to be one of further conflict and disappointment and failure.





Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you have these meetings mostly with individuals, or did you try to get a group together?

Answer:
It really depended. I remember several situations where I started with a community meeting and many where I started with individual meetings. It really depended on the situation. With the university, I had individual meetings with the administrators and group meetings with students. But a lot of times where there was a major incident, it would start with a community meeting. I would've had to talk to community leaders to get that community meeting together. But usually that was on the phone and I would make contact with them when I got there. They would've put the meeting together.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

At this point we felt that it was time to go meet with the Director of Corrections. This is what we then felt was a mediation, where we had to sit down with the director and get him to agree to what we felt had to be done because of the problems he had. Also, we discussed how we felt it ought to be done. Basically, what ought to be done and how it should be done. So he said, "Fine, let's sit down." So he and his assistant director sat down with us, and it was like "good cop, bad cop". The director was the good cop and the assistant director was the bad cop. The assistant director pulled out all sorts of good questions that were intended to knock us back. But the director would be the guy that said, "Well wait a minute, Joe, hold on. Let's listen to this thing a little more and see what happens." So finally he said, "Fine, I think it's something that's workable."



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We got them to agree to get together. Also, we got them to agree not to go at each other physically.



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did you decide when to bring the group together?

Answer:
By the time I came to Denver, the community groups had on their agenda, issues such as, of course, more hiring of minorities. Since the colleges and universities were also involved, scholarships were also on the table. The idea of mentoring and the counseling was also on the table. Internships became a key issue. Another benefit was that this was the first time that this many organizations had gotten together under one umbrella and had been successful at staying together because of the focus and the common interests.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So first you do this preliminary work with either side to kind of soften them up?

Answer:
Yes, oh yes. You've got to move between each, yes. But sometimes you don't even have that luck. You have to go to them and say, "Listen Frank Ford, you have to meet today." He's the county attorney up where I am working now. I said, "We don't have the time to wait until I'm able to meet with the mayor or the sheriff and everybody. With one phone call from you, you can have the people together."

Question:
Why wouldn't you have the time?

Answer:
Because sometimes, like right now, the urgency in Putnam County is to get the building permits in order to start building before the cold weather sets in and the rainy season starts. That's in October, November, and December. They can get an awful lot done this time of year in the absence of the rain and mud.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I then met with the community group, and they came back with their response, but I brought them together again, and I went to the police agencies and got their response. Finally, I brought both sides together, and I shared the paper with the attorneys and the lawyer for the community and the community leaders.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How do you know when to bring the sides together?

Answer:
When they're ready. Well, we have a basic understanding that they should meet. They decide if they would want to meet. They obviously don't decide then and there, especially the authorities. In a city that had police problems with a black community, I talked to the chief and asked if he would be willing to meet with them. We discussed the issues he was concerned about and what was happening. Would he want to meet with them at some point? He said, "No way, they came to my office last week screaming and hollering, and would not let me talk."




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Now why did you bring this group together but you didn't bring the group in the first shooting case you talked about together?

Answer:
I think over in Salt Lake it was quicker, and there was more hostility. They were really angry, and they were demonstrating in front of the police department. Also, I thought that if there was a way to bring them to the table right away, it would help. When we first brought them to the table, it wasn't mediation, it was just a matter of bringing them to the table so they could air out their differences. Then an outgrowth of that is when the actual mediation started. I suggested that we try to work out a solution, perhaps we can mediate this. But I don't like to use the word "mediation" because sometimes that's foreign. It's better to say, "Well, let's work out the problem," or, "Maybe there is a way to work it out". I prefer to use those terms, rather than "mediation." That's how it happened there. Since the press had played it up quite a bit, I thought it was too aggravated to use conciliation. It was building up, and if I could bring them to the table quickly, I could maybe lessen that anger that was there. Remember in Salt Lake City, you have a whole west side or southwest side that's all Hispanic. They have all kinds of problems, in fact they still have gang problems in that area. We wanted to lessen that anger quickly. And it's a bigger population than the other case was. The other case was a little more spread out. Over there it is a little more contained. I thought the hostility was greater there.

Question:
You thought the potential for violence was also greater?

Answer:
Oh, yeah.

Question:
Is there a general rule that you had during your practice, for example, is it true, to say that if a situation seemed like violence was imminent, or the hostility was greater, that in those situations you would bring people to the table more quickly?

Answer:
I don't know whether it's a general rule, it's just how I feel the situation is, how I understand it at that time.

Question:
What factors do you consider to be especially important?

Answer:
Well, I guess if we break it out point by point, there is the hostility which includes anger, what are they saying, what are they doing, all of that relates to how angry the community is. Also, in working with the police, what are they saying, and how are they acting, because they become fearful themselves, to some degree. They become more on the alert, and then they might do something that might create another situation. So I guess what comes to mind is how the community is acting, and how are the police are acting. Also what is being said in the press, are they picking up something that's adding to it, or trying to bring the focus down on it. In Salt Lake I thought that more was being said, and there was more activity, and there was a more hostile atmosphere. The whole east side was really angry.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you always meet separately with the groups or did you ever run them together at the same location?

Answer:
No. This was not table mediation, this was street mediation. Street mediation is when you move between the parties, because to bring them together would reap no benefits at all. Their situation was too volatile, they were too far apart. There were times when the ministers did meet with the mayor; after all, he couldn't refuse to meet with them. They're great citizens of the city, right? I didn't bring them there, but if they had something they wanted to say to the mayor, they'd call down there and tell the mayor's executive that they wanted to see the mayor and they'd see the mayor. And I'd go, but I never arranged a meeting between them and the mayor.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then we had meetings with officials from the company. Then we had the first joint meeting after some basic explanation of what mediation is and so on. Because this was a coalition which consisted of top leaders and executives from around the country, we ended up doing a lot of telephoning, discussion, negotiation, and exploration of options in between face-to- face meetings.






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