Did anyone ever ask you to become an advocate or to tilt the table in their favor? How did you respond?

Renaldo Rivera

 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you ever find that either party asks you to do things that you're not able to do?

Sure. People would like us to get the other side to do what the first side wants to do anyway. If you're in the aggrieved community, they want their agenda to be pushed to the exclusion of whatever the constraints might be in officials, and officials would like, sometimes, for us to be their representatives to get the community to follow a particular channel. Our role is to work impartially with all of the affected parties and come up with some resolutions or solutions that they can agree to, to work together. One of the difficult parts for us is simply maintaining that impartially while you are also trying to level the playing field, but maintaining that impartially. It is very easy to be perceived as being part of one side or the other.

Stephen Thom

 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When you respond to volatile situations, are you ever asked to do things that you can't do?

Yeah. They want me to go get the mayor. They expect us to, and in most mediations they want to get their point of view across and they want us to be an advocate for them. We have to explain to them why that's inappropriate for us to do, and what our role is. "Our role is to try and bring both of you together and to work with you to see how you can come up to some kind of agreement to resolve your issue. We're not going to take your issue and fight it for you, that's not our role. What information you share with me, sometimes I share with the other side, and if there's something you don't want me to, you need to tell me, because that's a big part of bringing you both together to resolve it. You guys own the problem."

Efrain Martinez

 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Before we helped to negotiate, they didn't have that. People don't know the history of all that. I myself go to Tejano Day and have never seen more Tejanos, Mexicans, and Hispanics gathered in one place outside of Mexico City or L.A. But they're doing great, they had some glitches a few years ago, but they worked them out themselves. They wanted to give me a lifetime membership and give me some special tickets up front to see the rodeo and I had to turn all that down. So when I retire maybe I'll buy a membership to the committee.

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