What might a contingency plan include?


Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
But once you go into a city and establish some sort of structure, such as the one you were talking about yesterday, does that tend to improve things over the long term?

Answer:
I don’t know for sure. I am sure it does in some places. That’s why I suggest we try to get a grant to look at some of that. I mean I could think of some good things that have happened, where you have a police-community conflict, where you get a significant level of response from the establishment, from the mayor’s office basically, and police commissioner, depending on the structure, and the aggrieved community. Then you come together and you set up some mechanisms to address the issues. People exchange phone numbers so that anybody can contact anybody in an emergency, so when there’s a problem you can get to the leadership on the streets. Whether it’s the police leadership or the community leadership. You have monthly meetings of the leadership to discuss issues. You have improved training, you review the police firearms policy and you make changes in it. You do human rights training, human relations for whatever that’s worth sometimes it’s worth a lot, sometimes less. You build this into the orientation for new police officers. You address personnel complaints about assignments, hiring, and promotions. So these things would be written in. You come up with an agreement with half a dozen components to it, whether it was formal or informal mediation. You’ve involved the business leadership, perhaps, or other socially concerned business leaders, civic leaders, the black community, the white community, whoever the parties are. I don’t know how enduring those have been in places over the years. It takes some enlightenment.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
When you were moving to leave a case, what sort of structures, if any, did you try to set up to continue the work that you were doing after you were gone?

Answer:
Depending on the nature of the case, we’d try to set up some structure. For example, one or committees might be set up in the community that would continue in force long after CRS was gone. In the case of a police-community conflict, it might a leadership committee that would meet monthly to keep communications open and to address any alleged violations of agreements that had been reached. CRS was unable to enforce these agreements so we would set up local "enforcement mechanisms” to do that. If someone came back to us, we might re-enter, but usually, if you had success in the case, there was some mechanism locally. I don't mean a formal mediated agreement, it just could be a negotiated agreement that the parties were going to do certain things.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
This was the same group that you had constituted?

Answer:
Part of that group became the first task force. Then they had in place the criteria for replacing themselves over time. Because the students would have to rotate. But they put in the document, ways for the group to replace itself as time passed. We did the brochure out of the group. We had it designed and printed up out of that process.

Question:
And what is the task force's purpose?

Answer:
There was one overwhelming interest that came up. That was the minority students' lack of anonymity when they needed it, when they felt they were being discriminated against. So part of it was to create a buffer between them and the complaint in the classroom or housing or whatever. So that they had a place to go to deal with the problem, and then that group became part of their voice. Obviously they'd still be identified, but here's this task force group looking at it, so that the faculty member or housing authority or whatever is not just dealing with this student, they're dealing with this task force. And the task force is made up of a cross section of the university, who says discrimination is not appropriate. So it gave them some buffer against the majority because you can't create an environment where they can be anonymous, when there's so few. So how do you create a place where they can be safe? So that was the purpose. The other was to try to be pro-active. Looking at additional ways where we are not meeting the needs of our students, where we are not encouraging minorities to stay here, and be a part of the campus. They looked at things dealing with handicap access, housing, the systemic kinds of things that affect students. The different programs that the university has, why are there no minorities in this particular program? They had the two goals, as I remember. One was to create this safety net for the individual, and the other was to be pro-active in proposing and recommending change for the institution to continue to do that. I think they called themselves the multi-cultural action team. They wanted to be sure that "action” was a part of their title.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There was an agreement reached that number one, the police would have such a simple thing as a minority person on call, both African American as well as a Spanish speaking Hispanic on Saturdays and Sundays in the event there was that kind of need. Beforehand, if a man who couldn't speak English was arrested, too bad. "We haven't got that kind of capability," they'd say. "We'll wait until Monday or get your attorney." But this way they could provide that kind of service. Another item was to get training for the police officers in human relations. Not provided by us, but by someone like the L.A. County Human Relations Commission. It worked out with the city administrator and members of these groups, that they might be able to develop employment opportunities, not only for the adults, but also for the kids. Especially during the summer, because this is when these kids get into all sorts of hassles. It was a written agreement and they lived up to it.



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What were the terms, generally, of the agreement? I'm sure you don't remember this exactly, but what were some of them?

Answer:
Like I said, the one thing that sticks out to me was that it was a five-year program; we also said publicly that it was a one million dollar program.

Question:
What was the money going to be used for?

Answer:
One thing the money would be used for was scholarships.

Question:
Scholarships for minorities?

Answer:
Scholarships at universities, in this case, in the state of Colorado. Not only in the state of Colorado, but in the other four cities where McGraw Hill also had television stations. There were also hiring goals over a five-year period. One of the points of agreement was that each of the stations would hire a minority manager that would work as a liaison with the minority community to manage minority programs and air time. At the time, there was a popular show called "Talking Heads" which was a talk show. This show gave minorities experience in the media. Not only before the camera, or before the microphone, but also behind, working the cameras and doing the writing.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I always build in a monitoring mechanism for any of these things that get written up in the mediation agreements. Who's going to test this thing? Who's going to enforce it? Who's going to be sincere enough to see that the garbage trucks are rolling over to Blue Sky? Who's going to be looking at recruiting Indian teachers for the school district? Who's going to be the one to try to recruit Indian policemen and jailers? Are you going to find some? How do you identify those? Then, underneath all of that, in monitoring mechanisms, in order to have a full-fledged working, sincere, and functional mediation agreement, you're going to make sure that you have tentacles coming out of that agreement that will address work issues. What I mean by that is you put together a committee. Let's say you are looking at recruiting Indian teachers. You address all this stuff in the agreement. Subsections, headings and so forth. So when you got the agreement finished, you have all of the other mechanisms put together to address and speak to each issue or concern.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The last issue, and we were saving this one, was the Inmate/Staff Advisory Council, ISAC, that would be established to deal with future problems on any matters unresolved from our agenda. ISAC would be there, and the question was who would be represented. Everybody agreed the culture groups should have representation. Nobody felt they shouldn’t have special representation. Every cell block plus culture groups. That’s when the Italian leader said, not the Italians. He understood. He'd grown some in that process and there was a lot of that kind of transformation. An angry Hispanic inmate said to Charlie Davenport, the associate director who was viewed as compassionate and a friend of the inmate, "You don't even know my birthday. You don't care about me. You deserted me, you took a promotion to be associate director. You used to handle programs, now you're associate director. You deserted me. You don't care about me. You don't even know my birthday." That was a stinger. People saw how they were seen. So they set up ISAC, and the big controversy was if there is a reorganization of the institution, will they still permit the inmate groups to come together in culture groups? The answer was yes. The administration yielded on that critical issue. That was a big concession, but it also was the last issue.





Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then we helped analyze with them what some of those things were that they could be doing to address that. Which was the better path? After many meetings everybody had a role to play in the creation of the Mayor's Task Force 2000, and we gave them technical assistance in that. Also discussing with them that if they were to focus on the future, that they could be better able to handle the present. They would then have a plan how they're going to reach that future and then they could withstand whoever came in and out, and whoever had other agendas and the city was not focusing on where they wanted to be. And they would decide where that place was, and how they're going to get there. It would be essential that before they decided where they wanted to be that they should discover where they were. And once they discovered where they were, and everybody understood where they were, then they could shed more light on where they needed to be and how they're going to get there. Through a lot of meetings and a lot of private discussions they did that and formed the Mayor's Task Force 2000, formed of all the elements in the community. There's always consequences for doing something, and consequences for not doing anything. So there were pretties, and as you know the mayor's African American, and the head of the chamber of commerce is African American, the board president who had been there twenty years is African American, or he just resigned, the head of one of the major employers, the hospital. Two of the city council members are African American. A lot of people they themselves credit that as to why the town was able to cope with a lot of things. Other communities are not composed like that, and may not have been able to handle it as well. Fifty percent of the population is black or about that much out of 8,000. This incident happened in the county. When we were discussing and I asked him what area are you going to cover because it was in Jasper, and we talked about creating a vehicle to take them into the future, but this vehicle would be Jasper owned and operated, they would decide where they would go, who was going to be in it, how the vehicle is going to be shaped, and how they were going to get there. The mayor and others felt that although it may be a Jasper vehicle that it would be inclusive of the areas outside of Jasper too, like the creek area where the killing occurred. Critics on both sides said that it wasn't going to work, it would be a white wash, they were going to hide things, and there's no problem. Yeah we've got problems, we're not perfect, but things are okay. Things have happened here, and there have been other incidents that have just been kept covered up and we have longstanding issues. We kind of agreed with them that the creating of a vehicle in a public manner through community dialogues and small town hall meetings they could discover where they were. All of those meetings were public and the way they organized the task force is it's composed of different committees. The task was to do a self examination of the law enforcement, of the education system, and of the business community. These committees are composed of representatives of the whole, but with representatives of those entities and the committee was going to take a self look, so then they organized these meetings. I had sketched out a skeleton of an organization but they even did me better. They got really sophisticated and came back with an official organization structure that really was great because it covered everybody. And everybody participating in the process of this self look. That's recommendable to any community, to take a self look of all facets of the community, and based on that self look come up with a plan. It's not like me looking at you and pointing out your faults, but together let's see what we can do better here. That was published in the newspaper, the results and the finding of all those meetings. So they proved wrong those that felt it was going to be covered up, because it was very obvious what happened right there in the paper.






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