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  • Mediator Interview Topic - How did you control rumors?
    Moore is still on death row and he s been there about 20 years or more now Roosevelt Green had his mother come out there dressed as if she was going to a cocktail party A sheriff was hurt by the people making the accusation that he had allowed vigilantes to come in and lynch Roosevelt Green Question How did that rumor get started Answer I don t know All I know is that I got a call from a black councilwoman up there She called me and told me that I d better get up there I only live 22 miles away and they were holding a mass meeting at this church talking about how the sheriff allowed these vigilantes to go in there how he knew where the body was and how they had poured lime into the well This is the kind of thing you have to be very careful with and the media didn t give it that much attention We were able to nip it before the media got a hold of it and sensationalized it Nobody would benefit from it being plausible because it would have caused a lot of damage It would ve damaged the credibility of the sheriff After the fugitive was found in New York it would ve created a lot of doubt in the credibility of a lot of the black leaders up there who were involved In a crisis situation one of the first things you do is take into account what rumors will do to you In large cities we always set up a rumor control center That s the first thing we do because of the people The most notorious people for spreading the rumors are the wives of white law enforcement officials They re the world s worst The officers go home and talk about it and then their wives get on the phone The first thing you know we have all these wild rumors going So that s why it s extremely important to set up a rumor control center and check it out and verify it and get back to the person who s calling Question So in a small community how do you separate the issues from the rumors Answer First of all you have to get credible people You call so and so they ll tell you there are certain people in every community that both black and white feel comfortable talking to That s the only way to do it because you cannot do it yourself you don t live there You re not familiar with anyone there You have to get people that are respected who are honest You let that rest with the community don t try to take on that burden yourself because you can t win Manuel Salinas Full Interview Topic Top Later on of course to talk about conciliation they would have demonstrations say in Sioux Falls and they would call us say Hey we re

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1980.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - What cultural or racial factors influenced the process?
    I started putting stuff on the white board If you have regulations what are your objectives What is it you are trying to accomplish And they were like this she linked her fingers together they absolutely agreed So once they agreed on that it was just a matter of determining what kind of policies each side needed to bring those objectives about Both sides gave a little and at the end of a very long day the people at the table reached an agreement That s the good news The bad news is that when it went back to the tribe the tribe didn t buy it because they said it was encroaching too much on their sovereignty Another case in the same state ended the same way It involved a similar kind of negotiation The parties reached an agreement at the end of the day but in that case it was the state that blocked the agreement The negotiators went back to their superiors who threw out the agreement again on issues of sovereignty So there was no agreement But to me it proves a point You have to cut through and disregard the identity issues well you can t ignore these issues totally because they are there But the mistake that we usually make in most discussions is that we make racism or sovereignty the issue and that is not the issue The issue is How can we get past that to provide effective law enforcement How can we get past that to provide good stewardship of our natural resources But the history of feeling attacked and encroached upon and the perception that they are just trying to whittle away at what we have piece by piece prevents people from focusing on the real issues On the other hand there is the concern that the state should not give those people special rights and recognition These feelings are so strong that it is very difficult to come from a different perspective But I am absolutely convinced if they could just throw out that orange and deal with the flavoring and the beverage there would be much more common ground Question When you succeed in getting them to do that what is the long term result in terms of identity and symbolic issues and race relations If they can cut through those things to resolve this incident does it have a long term effect on other incidents Answer Well I think it would if it worked at all but as I said in the two examples that I gave you it didn t work The people at the table were able to reframe the problem but their superiors were not willing to do that and the agreements were thrown out for political reasons It was seen as giving too much or losing too much in terms of sovereignty and jurisdiction and control So neither agreement held up I do believe that had it held up it could have provided a good model a good precedent for how we can get cooperative agreements on issues like this In fact there are other states where there is less mistrust between state and tribe and where in fact we do have better cooperative relationships If you could either just not mention sovereignty or acknowledge that each of them has sovereignty and that the two separate governments of two sovereign states are reaching an agreement I think it would be doable But there is so much tension and mistrust in this particular setting that it is difficult to make that happen Question What about other settings though Such as for instance the principal who was accused of being racist where you were able to reframe it in terms of discipline policy and hiring and that type of thing Would that have affected the long term relationship on race relations in the schools Answer It would because the potential triggering incidents are less common so the bomb is less likely to go off Now there is a precedent of communication There is a mechanism and an expectation that people will address and deal with problems before they get to the point of explosion So it is the redress side that s handled more effectively Once there is a precedent for communication it makes a big difference Probably one of the most positive examples of that is the same tax day facilitation There were anywhere from 75 to 100 people in that room and at least as many when I went back for a second meeting But out of those meetings came a sort of community board which included Hispanic and Anglo participants including law enforcement people They formed this board and I trained them in three days I gave them three days of basic mediation training I remember one of the members of the group said Gee you know Silke I think this is the first time somebody has come and said I m from the Federal Government and I m here to help you and then actually done it I thought that was a huge compliment at the time That board still exists today and is still dealing with problems involving the police and community relations But they also began to look at other sources of tension within the community This community started out as very mistrustful There were a lot of accusations about how Hispanics were being treated by the law enforcement system But now the leader of that system is working with that Hispanic community to deal with education issues in the community purely because people are talking to each other now And they pay me to do that It s great Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top Now in another case I m just trying to give you all the dynamics of this I had a case where a police department collaborated with the INS to do a series of sweeps in a community on undocumented immigrants They had done so many sweeps that they unknowingly swept in Mexican American citizens maybe 35 or 40 of them They then faced a 35 000 000 suit I met with both parties and I could have taken them to the table but I told the Latino leadership I m going to remove myself from the mediation because this type of violation is going to occur again until you get some kind of principle in law that prevents it I think you have something to get the attention of the institutions If you mediate this situation there won t be any standard by which to terminate this kind of discrimination and I think something needs to be put on the books I left them with that You know you mediate an agreement and that town has the agreement but they were in the position to really put something in the legal system in the courts that could sustain some guidance when dealing with undocumented immigrants and sweeps that effect U S citizens At 35 million I thought they would get the attention of a lot of cities and a lot of agencies and I thought it was important to let the case go forward Little did I know that they would settle this case for a meager 400 000 For me I said We could have mediated that I didn t know where the lawyers were coming from Again it s a judgment call that a mediator makes and I didn t want to get in the way of something that I thought was very precedent setting for the Nation and for their community Those are the kinds of judgments a mediator can get into A year later the New Jersey State Police publicly admitted to profiling against African Americans Question So in that case you decide to withdraw even though they were ready and willing to go forward with mediation Answer Yeah It wasn t exactly there but I felt I had a good chance Who knows Bob Ensley Full Interview Topic Top I didn t move so I got hauled over to the courthouse So the sheriff had heard about it and said We let you come here to see what you could do about those commune people out there You don t have anything else in this county to talk about I didn t know anything about who they were talking about I said I came here to see about those people who have been beaten in this jail These are people who have been beaten and denied bond and the speedy process That isn t any of your business Boy I said Well I m going to make it some of my business If I don t somebody else will be here to see about it And so here comes this justice of the peace He said You got some nerve Boy coming down here talking to us white people like that You don t know where you are and I ll I said You re going to do what You re used to talking to blacks from this area in the manner that you re trying to talk to me If you come out here and attempt to do anything to me I m going to defend myself any way I know how I can assure you that you will not be victorious Are you understanding what I m saying So this big bully says I won t let no n r talk to me like that I said You go to hell I was scared to death I got in my car and I knew it was time to go I went across the street and got in my car When I looked around there were two cars following me on that rural road so I stepped on it and got across the county line from Sumter County I drove right up past Andersonville Cemetery and I stopped my car and went to the trunk like I was going to get something out They stopped when I opened my trunk I stood right by my trunk as if I had a shotgun or something I didn t have anything in there but maybe a jack or something They sent word to me that I better not show my black self in that county again and what they were going to do to me I said okay Julian Klugman Full Interview Topic Top The Koreans had bought out the black tavern owners There were very few Jewish owners of buildings anymore since the Watts riots The Jews got burned out in 1965 and they left The Koreans came in and they had bought up over half the taverns liquor stores and little grocery stores It took me a while to understand Koreans Koreans do not fit the Asian stereotype In many ways they re aggressive They re the bottom of the social ladder for some Asians Korea s become industrialized in the last fifteen years Before that it was mainly agricultural So the Koreans came into L A There are three hundred thousand Koreans in L A and about thirty percent of them have a college education Some Koreans are very blunt they re like the Israelis They are very direct They became shopkeepers They didn t hire blacks because they are family run institutions They moved in and bought shops in black areas To run a liquor shop in a poor area black or not you re going to have protection You re talking about central L A where at that time there were more murders than anywhere else in the world You re talking about drugs and gang warfare it s a dangerous place Here is where they have their shops I don t think some black customers like them very much and I don t think some Koreans like the black customers very much It took me five years to get into the Korean community being very patient Once you re in you re in They trust you but it takes a long time They had a dozen robberies of Korean stores by blacks There was an incident that was the turning point though A fifteen year old black girl went in with her girlfriend to a store and she got a couple cans of soda She got into a fight with the older Korean shopkeeper and the shopkeeper killed her The woman claimed she wasn t paying Fortunately or unfortunately there was a TV camera there What happened was that the girl came in she got cans of soda and she had money in her hand She came up to pay and there was a misunderstanding They started shouting at each other and the girl threw the cans She did push the woman but she wasn t trying to steal the soda She turned her back and she started walking out and the woman took a gun and blew her head off It went to a jury and the judicial system assigned the case to a new judge who was a white woman This was her first case Nobody else wanted the case so they gave it to her They found the woman guilty of manslaughter and the judge gave her probation She never spent a day in jail They left and went back to Korea There had been a black and Korean merchant group using my problem solving approach I don t believe in just dialogue but the human rights commission set up a dialogue group I got the leader of CALPAC California Association of Taverns and Package Liquor Stores a black woman who was a real visionary My idea was to get together with KAGRO Korean American Grocers Association I got the two groups together and I wanted them to sponsor a program for training I got them to co sponsor a project for two things First we were going to set up a complaint system so black customers could register complaints and there would be a system to deal with the Korean merchants who were really doing things wrong The other thing was that we would train The woman who headed CALPAC was running two stores She knew how to do it and she had a lot to teach the Koreans And the Koreans had a lot to learn about how you deal with customers I spent over two years trying to do a whole series of meetings and we couldn t pull it off There was a lot of resistance from the black community but this woman really was a leader She was pulling her group along But behind the scenes she was paying the price for it There was a lot of anti Korean sentiment The other thing was that the Human Rights Commission was undercutting the project Question How so Were they doing something specific Answer They had a Korean black dialogue and the Koreans tend to respond to where they see the power is and I couldn t produce the money If I could have produced the foundation money to fund this we could have done it but I could not pull it off it was too risky The county through the Human Rights Commission had this other thing going and they saw what I was trying to do I could not do it through the county So I had to set it up as a separate thing and they saw it as competition But anyway this trial had happened a year before which had a tremendous amount of publicity We tried to work on that hostility between blacks and Koreans but when that trial happened that killed it The feeling of the black community was so strong because much of the Korean community would not acknowledge that there was anything wrong They came to the defense of the merchant It s true that it was dangerous to be a Korean merchant in a poor black or Hispanic community But the woman had no right to kill this girl They caught her in the lie and they had it on tape The Korean community did not write her off they tended to defend her That just killed my effort So it was the combination of the LAPD actions and the buildup of tension in the black community after the Rodney King trial the fluid situation the Korean black thing When the riot came every Asian store got targeted It wasn t just Koreans they went after Unlike the later trials we only had three hours notice Later we had more notice Nobody could believe the jury let them go Maybe we should have known better Also there was a vacuum of leadership in the LAPD which became very obvious I was on a plane when it started As we were coming over LAX at about 6 00 pm the plane was diverted Usually they come over direct but we diverted we went further South The pilot came on and said there were reports of rifle firing That was the first day that was April 29 I got a rental car and drove downtown and I set up a temporary command post at City Hall I knew a woman in City Hall and she let us into her offices By that time at Parker Police Center windows were broken and there were police cars burning it was out of control And of course the next day it got out to the Valley and it wasn t black anymore it was Hispanic First day was black and there were some white politicos involved but the second day became Hispanic Unlike the Watts riots within two days it was over a third of the city it was even out in Hollywood Somebody broke the windows of the sex store on Hollywood Blvd You have to remember by this time L A had 300 000 El Salvadorans and 100 000 Nicaraguans

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1990.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Were you able to detect when an internal conflict existed within a party that was inhibiting progress?
    the time because it s amazing I talk about it in terms of how we can trust kids and when they give their word they mean it When problems occur we ve got to figure out ways to really empower students to be a part of the solution What I told this principal was Do you know the players do you know the real players that were involved in this altercation She said Yes between the counselors and security we know who the players are I said Okay bring them in one by one Tell them you need their help Tell them I want to make sure that we bring this school back together and I need your help Will you help me You re the principal of the school And she said Oh yeah just bring them in one by one I said Yes see if you can get them to support you What happens if they don t she asked Keep them on suspension So I called her that evening and she said Steve every one of them gave their word It s amazing these are great kids I said Yeah they are Have you never met them before She said Now what do I do I said Ok they re keeping their word they re helping to keep things calm She said Yeah they are but I don t think I can just leave it like this I said Now that they ve made a commitment to you you can bring them together as a group So bring the Samoan kids in Remind them they ve already made their commitment that they ve individually given their word so that peer pressure doesn t take them to another level Then talk to them about how we need you all to control not only yourselves as individuals but also others to help diffuse the tension here Then bring in the other group and do the same thing So she talked to them and she said They all agree we re all on the same page Things are still okay I said You still have some kids on suspension Well they re coming in she said they re giving me their word I said Ok you re moving along Now you need to decide when but at some point we can bring them together and we can get them to figure out what the issues are and to problem solve it and come to some solution on this Are you comfortable with that This is about a week into it She says Well they ve kept their word so far and I ve gotten to know them and I know the leadership pretty well and they really are working with me I said Then you re ready bring them together Let s go So I did it all on the phone over a series of a week She and a couple of counselors worked through that whole process with the kids We did it by phone There s just no way I could have been there Question Thinking of communities where you go in unknown as opposed to those that you know so well after all these years how do you identify the underlying issues in a conflict when you intervene Answer I m trying to get a good example of that I m sure I made a lot of faux pas on a lot of the Native American stuff But you re thrown in You have BIA to call and you talk to them over the phone and you say let s see if we can come to the table and you get a commitment from both parties and your land on the reservation Now you re meeting with them You have somebody arranging for one group and somebody arranging for the other group and you re going in cold Usually I m flying to some place and then drive forever to some rural reservation It s not something where I can go in warm myself up and really build a relationship before and come back and forth several times to conduct a mediation It s almost like we ve talked on the phone and we re ready to go We re almost there but I want to meet with you alone first before we actually try to see if we can get to the table Maybe not today but maybe tomorrow certainly not more than a day or two So I ll sit on the reservation for a couple days and see whether we can get this thing to move That s about as cold as I ve gotten Question Do you find the issues that brought you in are the most important ones you have to deal with Answer I think the issues that they convey to me usually are key issues but oftentimes nuances come in that nobody shared and you don t learn about those until you come on site It only comes through in your private meetings with the parties and your discussions with individuals Then in a couple of cases I ve had sheriffs escort me for my personal safety and to give me some background Then they tell me Do you realize what had taken place here What s the history of this tribe What the families are like These guys are felons And all these things come out when you re just dropped in there and you re on the site So it s really just becoming a sponge To me it s like you re going through the setting and you sit down with people and you try to observe and absorb as much as you can You re just probing you re reading peoples behaviors you re reading their styles their trust levels and you re hearing the messages Then you go to the other side and they re talking about the same issues but it looks like a whole different world As the mediator you re kind of stifled because you have these broad differences of views on the same relative issue in history of these parties So it becomes valuable to get other peoples views For example when the sheriff as an outsider says Well this is the way I see it I m hearing from different people in the area to kind of get a flavor for what the parties may be withholding and the way they slanted things versus the other party The perspectives of somebody neutral who may have seen the same history and experiences and seen the tensions arise between the parties are invaluable I just feel like I m a sponge and I m trying to find some sense of the truth there somewhere because I m not going to get it from the parties I know it because they re coming in from such biased perspectives I often use what I call the Forced Field Analysis where you look at the issues and you look at them by rank order and you kind of line the issues up juxtaposed to each other by rank Then you really take to heart the opinions of those people that you felt were neutral and very objective about the disputed issues to try to see if you can bleed some truth and logic into the sequence and the viewpoints of the parties positions So that s the way I approach it It s very intuitive but at the same time I m relying on as many of the neutral perspectives that I can get because I think that objectivity lends some credence to some of the very biased views of people involved in the conflict That s the best I can do in those kinds of cold situations Sometimes you need time to bleed out the truth by getting to more levels in depth levels Too often we just don t have the time to do that so I have to take that intuitive position and then attempt to work through it When you get to the table the biases work themselves out When somebody makes a demand or an allegation about an injustice the other side could counter it The truth kind of works its way out just by saying I don t understand how you can make that allegation because I see it this way Can you see the other person s point of view Does it sound the same There is some miscommunication here and I want to see how we can sort this out Can anybody state that again or reframe this so I can get it I ll play dumb and bleed it out until they shake loose and we get some concurrence or interpretation of what in fact took place and can begin to find a solution I think it s a very intuitive process I think it s important to find other neutrals Question How do you identify them neutrals Answer Well in any of these groups that we work with there s a range of personalities on any side You have the adamant positions they re wrong I m right I m going to get my piece Then you have the hangers on who don t see it at the same level of compassion and anger and they tend to be more objective I look for these people because they are very important in preparing for the mediation process In our mediations we usually have 5 to 7 people on either side If you diagram the personalities that sit at the table I kind of hone in on who I can depend on in really being my aides and will assist me who are the ones that are basically just position bargainers and which are the ones that I can count on really giving me a more objective insight So working with the personalities and the positions of the parties themselves is important in knowing who to go to who to ask questions who to diagnose the problems and issues with and who might give you a possible solution etc Even within the parties you can find diverse views and position to help the mediation process Question When you come into a case does your own race or ethnicity play a role Answer Well being of Asian ancestry I think it has really been an asset in a lot of ways I ll tell you why With Native Americans they respect Asians because we have a strong family values and a high regard for education When I talk to Native Americans they say Oh your people believe in family and elders They hold a high respect and reverence for families and elders There s a click there They can identify with that When I work with Latino community they tend to be more passive and they tend to have strong family convictions and they respect that of the Asian population When I work with African American communities I used to live in South Central often I fall into Black dialect very naturally When I tell them I grew up in South Central and where I grew up and what church I went to and all that it takes a lot of tension and distrust out of the relationship Asian Americans are accepted as minorities that have experienced prejudice and that opens doors for me in race related mediation When I work with Asians they probably distrust me the most I remember one case when I was dealing with African Americans and Koreans I met with a former African American Vietnam Veteran and he looked at me like What are you doing here So I explained that I was with CRS and I m a federal mediator and I ve read about the dispute you have here and understand there are several complaints with regards to this Korean swap meet Really my role is to try and bring you and the owner of the swap meet together and see if we can come to some resolution other than violence Then I started talking about where I grew up what things I had experienced when I was young and I said If you have any discomfort with me as an Asian American that s no problem we can always get you another mediator He says No you re okay with me And I remember at the table one of the things I did on that particular case knowing that both Koreans and African Americans value religion and have very strong Christian ethic in both communities I naturally picked a neutral church in the community to be the place for our mediation It really took the thunder out of a great deal of the animosity But at the table we had a big language problem The Koreans has such strong accents I couldn t understand them The African Americans couldn t understand them We had one African American who worked in the swap meet who was our translator It was just amazing The candor of the discussions and the open realizations that African Americans went through and that Koreans went through and their thankfulness that they shared their real feelings as people about why Koreans followed African Americans around in stores why the Koreans look angry and then now to smile and other nuances that they didn t understand What one culture felt was a better alternative to a real demeaning and discourteousness act was found to be a taboo or idiotic thing to do in another culture I had an easel and I wrote the agreements that they came up with I wrote them out because we knew language was a real barrier so we wrote out everything that they concurred on Then I went and asked the Korean community if they understood each issue and proposed resolution and would ask Are there any questions I went through tediously pointing out exactly what the exchange was what the agreement was piece by piece But I think race has not been a problem for me because I grew up in a multi racial community and I think I have strong interpersonal skills and for that reason it hasn t really come up In particular communities often say we like your people because I know they are really looking at me as a cultural person Question Do you help parties prioritize their issues Answer Do I help them prioritize their issues or do I take their issues and put them in priority order Question Help put them in priority order How ever you want to define it Help them prepare to come to the table Answer What I think I really do is I listen to them and I take their priorities as they give them to me as I see them I analyze them against the other parties priority issues and then when I write the issues down I try to manipulate them so we work from the easiest to the hardest At that point I share the issue with each of the parties one at a time and gain their concurrence The parties are also given a chance to add or delete issues I generally do that all the time because I want them invested in the process before we get to the real hard ones I ve had situations where I ve put hard ones on the front end and we couldn t get through them and there wasn t enough good will established to get through that issue I ve always found if I put the easiest issues up front that by the time we hit the lower issues they are either never going to get there or they would feel that they ve invested so much that they would work through the more difficult So I ve always used that approach Question What about issues that maybe they couch as non negotiable or that you think to be non workable Would you help them to reframe them Answer I ll give you one story I do a lot of Native American stuff I guess I was working with the Irvine Corporation on the Newport Channel Island Development Project I was working with the Gabrielleno Indians and we had a whole agenda of issues Right off the bat the Native Americans looked at this particular mound and said This is a sacred mound and you shouldn t build here The developer looked at the Native Americans and said Wait a minute That s not negotiable That s why we re here Period This is a million dollar operation and the only reason we are building here is because of this view looking over the Bay to Catalina This is not negotiable Now what do I do So I look at the Native Americans and say What do you think They got it It s not negotiable They had a whole list of stuff so they dismissed it It s not for me to say Well why don t you negotiate half of that mound I understood exactly what they were saying The other thing that I need to convey to you about negotiation in these kinds of cases is there is law behind mediations for historical sites and Native American repatriation The law says that when remains are found that they need to call the Native American Heritage Commission and they need to call a coroner The coroner then makes the determination that these remains are Native American and calls the Native American Heritage Commission to determine who the most likely descendants are Then the most likely descendants have the right and must be consulted with in remedying any process in the treatment of remains That s what the law says but it s permissive law Its not shall but may So I know legally that the corporations technically could dismiss the Native Americans complaints so that s why if I was to try to press the developer I wouldn t do it because it s not for me to do but if the Native Americans feel they could press the developer they may more then likely hit a stone wall and lose cooperation on other matters Really the corporations are doing this somewhat at good will and for public relations purposes by and large They could comply with the law by doing very little I ve always felt that the law was too weak in that sense I guess there have been times when reframing caucusing or just clarifying what and why something is non negotiable has helped to move the parties Answer Did I ever finish that question about compromise and demonstrations That was the thing that stands out to me when I think about the Riverside situation How long did they need to protest to leverage the system to respond versus would the system respond differently if they didn t do a year of demonstrations Question How do you determine when working with a group how to influence leadership and the appropriateness of it as well Answer Yes I m a true believer that eventually we are going to have to get to the table if we are really going to make a change I think as soon as we move from anger and blame we re ready As long as we aren t so emotionally driven we can t do something constructive then we are ready to move progressively to some kind of dialogue on these issues Question How do you move the parties then toward the table when they are apparently more inclined to stay in protest mode Answer In many of my police excessive use of force cases I use the diagrams on where the parties are on the continuum of a traumatic incident and what the expected behaviors are that demonstrate shock denial anger and blame When you are emotionally driven and are venting you are in demonstrations and marches and so forth When you have accepted it you are ready to say what can I do to make a difference in the long run Particularly in excessive use of force cases I usually go Look I understand that we wish that our loved one Taisha Miller wasn t killed that she could still be with us But unfortunately we need to accept that she won t and that we can t bring her back But what do you really want to accomplish Inevitably communities will say We don t want it to happen again If you don t want it to happen again what do we need to do to make a real difference Do we need to put a system in place to make sure the police are trained right Do we need to look at these police officers and see that they are reprimanded properly All the possible issues that remedy that point When they are ready to discuss those the issues is after they come to that acceptance then they are willing to look at the possibilities of constructive prevention on these shootings Question So you use your chart to drive that point and it works for you Answer Yes Question What about the flip side of that Have you ever had a situation where you felt the government or responding party was coming to the table in bad faith and the protest really did need to continue Answer I think I ve been in situations where the institution was only willing to give up a minimum They had a position and they were willing to come to the table but they weren t really reflecting on that decision in any real constructive way and possibly more protests would have changed the attitudes that were possibly insincere or insensitive I think there have been situations where I ve seen that kind of behavior but its hard to assume continued protest would have changed the outcome If groups are going to sway bad faith negotiators it takes more than protest But that could happen in the opposite way too I ll give you an example I had a case where beatings took place on television just like Rodney King and the Hispanic community was very upset There were demonstrations and marches We finally got the Hispanic community to sit down with the county sheriffs The county sheriffs felt they were in for a shellacking Yet the community asked for nothing I thought we had a real open situation where the community could ask for a number of mechanisms and strategies to avoid that kind of beating poor police protocol and use of force Yet when I got the parties together I wasn t able to clear out the issues They knew what they wanted they said and I was trying to get them into the meeting But when they came to the table they just asked for an advisory committee to the sheriff s department as a mechanism for long term discussions They didn t want any precise preventions for that kind of act It really surprised me and kind of flabbergasted me because the institution was willing to give much more then what was asked That was the opposite of your hypothesis You can get it either way Prepared parties for mediation is so important Question When that happened did you work with the community to help them understand that they could be asking for more Answer You know I didn t know if I would overstep my bounds in that situation I thought it was incumbent among the community to decide what it wanted The opportunities were there They needed to say what they wanted and needed and I felt that if I prompted anything it would be perceived that I had lost my neutrality and I was pulling stuff on the table in front of the county sheriffs I felt they had a much stronger position then they recognized Question Could that be shared in preparing them to come to the table Answer I thought I was dealing with a fairly sophisticated group and I didn t think I needed to do that but it wasn t something I openly shared with them Question Then the sophistication of the group becomes an important factor in how much assistance you feel a need to provide Answer Yes We had university professors in that group and I thought they could champion and knew that community and I didn t feel that I needed to do much more with them but I guess they weren t street wise in that situation I thought they needed to get into some substantive kind of dialogue on possibilities That was my personal opinion It wasn t something that I conveyed because I didn t think it was my place to do that They got what they felt they wanted and it was concurred on by the participants It seemed to have worked I haven t had any problems in that community subsequently That s where a mediator doesn t own the agreement We bring a process and we facilitate it for them and they ve got to own it I just didn t think it was my place Now in another case I m just trying to give you all the dynamics of this I had a case where a police department collaborated with the INS to do a series of sweeps in a community on undocumented immigrants They had done so many sweeps that they unknowingly swept in Mexican American citizens maybe 35 or 40 of them They then faced a 35 000 000 suit I met with both parties and I could have taken them to the table but I told the Latino leadership I m going to remove myself from the mediation because this type of violation is going to occur again until you get some kind of principle in law that prevents it I think you have something to get the attention of the institutions If you mediate this situation there won t be any standard by which to terminate this kind of discrimination and I think something needs to be put on the books I left them with that You know you mediate an agreement and that town has the agreement but they were in the position to really put something in the legal system in the courts that could sustain some guidance when dealing with undocumented immigrants and sweeps that effect U S citizens At 35 million I thought they would get the attention of a lot of cities and a lot of agencies and I thought it was important to let the case go forward Little did I know that they would settle this case for a meager 400 000 For me I said We could have mediated that I didn t know where the lawyers were coming from Again it s a judgment call that a mediator makes and I didn t want to get in the way of something that I thought was very precedent setting for the Nation and for their community Those are the kinds of judgments a mediator can get into A year later the New Jersey State Police publicly admitted to profiling against African Americans Question So in that case you decide to withdraw even though they were ready and willing to go forward with mediation Answer Yeah It wasn t exactly there but I felt I had a good chance Who knows Question If you have a relatively unsophisticated group do you sometimes put them in touch with third parties like lawyers or activists who you think might be able to give them information that you feel you can t give them without compromising your position Answer Again I was brokering lawyers in that particular case These were lawyers who had already filed a 35 million dollar suit and they were the representatives of the parties and I was potentially going to mediate their lawyers and the INS and the city that would put the police in that position So those were the parties Again maybe it was a fault in the sense that I felt that the sophistication was there You had your lawyers you had your party you had your class action suit These lawyers would know the value of this case So again I thought it was a more sophisticated group and would take it and set that precedence but evidently they didn t see it or maybe the case wasn t as strong as they thought I think we have to look at what is our role and get out of the way sometimes for the sake of valuable principles that need to be set Sometimes mediation can be a compromise we need to get out of the way because what we do in mediation doesn t stand up in the courts and have the same precedence that sometimes the courts need that society needs I think we need to look at disputes from a variety of views Question Have you ever felt so strongly about an issue or situation that you felt you couldn t be impartial Answer No I tend to be a very reflective person I tend to be able to distance myself from my personal feelings and the issues so far in my career I know there s certain issues like excessive use of force that I have some biases opinions about I certainly do have biases and very strong convictions about what I feel to be repeated misjudgments You get to a point where you feel something more significant has to be done I m constantly talking to CRS people about what are some of these other mechanisms I do feel a sense of emotionalism but I don t let that cloud what I m doing with mediation Just because I have my biases and my emotional feelings that I should not lay my feelings on anybody else You get my drift I mean I do have very strong emotions about some issues of our school systems and what they don t give in terms of equity or quality education and yet I can t lay my judgments on the parties and their disputes in mediation I don t think my objectivity has been compromised so far Question Are there things that you do to manage the party s perceptions of your neutrality Answer Besides telling them I think it s very important to give equal time to demonstrate equal interest to facilitate and to not get caught up in judgments All of those kinds of things I think I have to manage to avoid getting caught up or being perceived as bias in any way I do a lot of pulling out ideas from people but letting them own it I try to stay out of it as much as possible I think that s the only answer I can give you Question Have you ever been accused of being partial not objective Answer Yeah Question How do you deal with that Answer Defensively I try to clarify where I was coming from If they claim that they felt I made a statement that seemed to be a biased or an advocacy position for one of the parties I explain what I said why I said it and why I don t think it was intended to be in that vain Usually that clarifies it It may sound defensive I don t know That s in the eye of the beholder and they haven t told me yet I think it s important that I justify and explain where it s coming from and feel free to say that if it s perceived as bias that s your perception of it but I don t think that I violated my neutrality Question How do you see your role in regard to the fairness of the settlement in terms of what you think to be fair Answer Well I don t get into that When we reach the final mediation I say Okay I m going to write this up I m going to send it to you I want you to look at the terms of the agreement and to make sure that you can live with it follow it do it and then we ll come together and sign it I m going to give you a couple of days to look at it then we ll reconvene So I want to be sure that we took time and let them have the last word and let them be able to look at it and conclude This works this works for me I can live up to it It s a good agreement Sometimes they say We need to come back together I say Fine let s come back together So I don t want anybody to feel jammed but I want them to look at it with the time and the opportunity to look at what are the consequences of this agreement are there things you don t want to happen can you live up to this agreement is it meaningful for you does it accomplish what you thought it needed to accomplish Then they will come to the signing and we will do that jointly I think that s the way I handle it We don t all have that luxury though Question Do you have techniques you use for reducing tensions between the parties Answer Sometimes they get hot and I have to watch the parties and see what level of tolerance one has of each group I read the behaviors and decide whether to ask them to calm down Sometimes I call for timeouts and ask for caucuses There have been times where I ve said Wait a minute we need to review why we re here and what tone and ground rules we ve agreed to abide by If I sense some discomfort by some of the people I ll say By the behavior of the individuals there seems to be a need to take some of that tone out of here or Could we take a time out At that time I can meet with individuals to draw out that person and speak to that person directly and say You know you re creating a level of hostility Do we want to move forward in working towards a solution We re not going to cut you out of getting your voice and what you want to accomplish but the tone is going to possibly harden the other side so it depends what you want to accomplish here Think about that as you convey your issues You could be passionate but don t get to the point where you re so aggressive that it harms the process I think those are the kinds of techniques that I have used Question How do you deal with parties if you sense they re only giving lip service at the table and aren t serious about making concessions or changes Answer Well one way is to go to the opposite party and say Did you hear that What did it mean to you What did you hear them say and whether you felt if that was a good suggestion and how do you feel about that And let them speak for themselves rather than me getting into it I may caucus and say They gave up a lot more than you gave up are you going to meet them half way or what I may caucus and say something like that But I think it s better if the parties hear it There have been times when I say What did you think about that and they say That sounds all right with me I go whoa what am I dealing with That

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2000.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - How did you deal with it?
    on one like that The Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA called us in that one saying there was a tribe that needed a constitution The two factions within the tribe could not convene peaceably in order to get one written and submit it to a vote And BIA couldn t force it yet BIA also couldn t discharge its legal responsibilities to deal with the tribe unless it had a duly constituted government They called us I then called the two sides I got names from BIA and made some phone calls and they said yeah come on down So there were two factions within this band We had an intensive all afternoon meeting with one side all evening with the other side then it was mostly done I think we came together the next morning with the elements of an agreement as to how to proceed to get a constitution written and acted on I left the next afternoon It doesn t always go all that smoothly but they got off the ground on that The jurisdiction question for CRS was raised internally because this was not a minority community vs the outside world or an establishment party so how do we get jurisdiction My rationale was that these minority communities are there by virtue of history and the establishment and they have serious residual problems which obviously emanated from the actions and policies of our dominant society Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top Question Was she initially part of the group Answer No she wasn t She came in later and she s not a minority person The group was trying to portray itself as inclusive so how can you be inclusive if you re going to throw her out Find ways of working with her She can contribute She s extremely smart She may upset the police chief the way she says things but look at the overall contribution that she s making You ll find that there are more pluses than there are negatives Just work on educating her as to what approaches she should take Will Reed Full Interview Topic Top Question So did you then try to mediate within the group or let them handle it Answer No no no They were going to handle it Time was fleeting and the issue was too hot for me to start doing any mediation Question Is that always how you handle internal conflicts Answer It just depends on the elements around and the factors that exist You re in a prison you have a warden who doesn t want you there in the first place you have all kinds of hostilities going on so you identify the main issue and all those things that are side issues You ve got to know you ve got to be able to judge what s important as well as the timing of all of this The fact that they were having squabbles amongst themselves sure it s important but

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2020.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you often enounter road blocks that might have prevented you from doing your job?
    Knee gas would be siphoned from our tanks We d get stuck on the road coming back Someone would have to go out and rescue them So we put a can gas in the trunk as a security measure Or I d come out and go to the staff meeting which they d have every morning and someone would show me a picture This is Crazy Al Is he in there He s wanted on felony charges in three states Yeah he was in there and they knew he was in there because they must have had informers inside Wounded Knee and strong spy glasses on the outside there They knew he was in there but they want me to say it I would only say I m not sure I had to make the point that they could not use CRS to extract information They weren t happy many of them weren t happy with us Although some of them such as Wayne Colburn the head of the marshals understood what we were doing and appreciated it Still they gave us a hard time coming in they gave our people a hard time Mark Lane was there as one

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2055.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - What brought the parties to the table?
    going to trust that they mean it Let s see what happens One of the biggest factors is what could it hurt to try It won t cost you anything the government s paying me You ve tried and tried and tried So the cost factor what s it going to cost you if you do this Give me a couple of months you could still do anything you want after that But is it worth one more try Again most people say Yes it s worth one more On the other side Could it be better Not that you re bad not that you re the worst people in the whole world not that you ve done everything wrong but could you at least see that the relationships between these two groups of people could be better Sure they could be better Okay then let s see what we could do So you re taking people at the pragmatic level They have low expectations but let s see if we can make things better Again I m dancing them into a more intricate kind of process that has long term benefit Nancy Ferrell Full Interview Topic Top Question We talked yesterday about the theory we developed based on talks with a lot of people about what we call intractable or resolution resistant conflicts We came to the conclusion that conflicts were more resolution resistant if they involved very high stakes and distributional kinds of questions They were also more resistant if they involved fundamental moral differences or what we call domination conflicts pecking order conflicts or identity conflicts All of these tend to be involved in race issues I threw this out at you yesterday and you said that the factor we hadn t been thinking about was the need for relationship If there was a need for relationship between people then they would be willing to negotiate on those things Are there other factors we re not thinking about Answer Another factor is the party s or the individual s ability to look beyond their current power position If they can t perceive themselves in an honorable way beyond this entrenched position then the issue s not negotiable That s why I always ask What is in your interest If I can t help them identify an interest that serves their needs beyond this entrenched position it won t work I can explain to them You have the power to direct authoritarian decision making on this plan but what is it getting you What might happen if you re willing to move in a different direction Is it worth that If they say it s not worth that then I ll tell these people what to do If they don t do that they re out of here they re not going to negotiate Again at that point I m not looking for them to understand the other party s interest I m looking for something to catch

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2060.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - How did you provide a "safe space" for discussions?
    somebody on then you stop that You say remember we re talking about how you feel If you let one of them diminish or take the other one on then the environment is not safe anymore Once the group realizes that you are going to manage that then they feel safe and they respond to it That s power If you let one party overpower the others you can t have mediation That technique was part of it It was again a delicate balance because you as the mediator can t put anybody down either And that s where the ground rules come in I establish ground rules like we diminish no one everyone s opinion is respected no name calling no use of profanity Then whatever those ground rules are when someone violates that and starts cussing at Joe I can say Susie remember you agreed that you wouldn t use profanity you agreed that you wouldn t call names and I m going to have to ask you to honor that I m not the bad person or the parent I m the one that reminds them of what they ve agreed to and it feels a whole lot different then if I m going around and pointing fingers If that doesn t work then I caucus with them If a caucus doesn t work I ask the other party if they want to continue but I won t allow it to get out of hand I think I ve violated the confidence that people had that I was going to keep it safe Police chiefs seem to be especially concerned about it They don t want to come to some meeting and let people chew them up and my assurance to them is I m not going to let that happen People may vent their feelings or their frustrations and they need to do that but it won t be personal But if I violated that then I violated my trust Those were the kinds of steps that I used to honor that The most important thing is that they buy into some behavioral ground rules that I can call them back to Question Do you suggest these ground rules before you start or do you develop them with the parties Answer I develop them with the parties Diminish no one was always one that I used for myself and for them Generally they would come up with something similar but if they didn t I would add that I let them develop the ground rules I would ask What s it going to take to make this successful Then I list what they have come up with Every meeting I bring them back and put them up in some fashion Nancy Farrell Full Interview Topic Top Question How much do you read when you re trying to delve into this with these groups Do you let them explore on their own or do you ask them

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2090.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - How did you identify community resources to help resolve the conflict? How did you use them?
    to be in front of television cameras So that told me that the only question we had to resolve ultimately would be the openness of mediation to the press I had the good fortune some weeks earlier to meet a women named Gwen Davis who ran the Antioch Minneapolis Communiversity an affiliate of my alma mater Antioch college in Yellow Springs Ohio We coincidentally met on an airplane I remembered that she had told me that her husband Syl worked with prisoners I called Syl from St Cloud told him what I was doing there and he came out to the institution with Raymond Johnson an ex offender who regularly worked with the BBDCO Question And were they black Answer Yes They were also teaching courses at St Cloud When they agreed to support the mediation effort it gave CRS credibility with the inmates Eventually the black inmates agreed to come to the table There were conditions but basically everyone finally agreed to come to the table I also enlisted the help of T Williams the Ombudsman for Corrections Edward Howden Full Interview Topic Top Question In the joint sessions did you do something to try to get parties to listen attentively to each other and talk civilly to each other Answer If I felt that somebody was really not participating if somebody was overtly making obstacles I would try to correct that on the site gently but as firmly as necessary If that wasn t working we d go into a caucus on the subject Folks were pretty well engaged with each other and with the point Of course I think a common problem all mediators face is sticking to the agenda and dealing with one issue at a time I had no hesitation on insisting that we had agreed to an agenda and problem statements it had been agreed to and I would insist we take up one thing at a time I thought of a couple of other cases where I had some community resources I seem to be only talking about Native American cases but there were a few others I thought of two examples One was a tribal hassle In Arizona there were serious difficulties between two main factions to the point where an election was in serious contest or they needed to have another election It didn t look like it could come off without violence I think BIA called on us to see if we could be of any help We went down and talked with an Interior Department attorney who was helping BIA on this and who analyzed the scene for us This is before we got out to the reservation at all I m not clear on detail but the resources aspect was how to pull this off BIA will not supervise a tribal election We didn t see that we could directly do that and so somewhere in the course of the discussion somebody got the bright idea Hey what

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2100.shtml (2016-02-13)
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