FB 27AB (Tape A)
Sub: David E. Randolph
Int: "Button Project"
I: ...... how well the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has helped blacks take part
in Florida politics. Now uh, what year did you first register to vote?
D: Uh, I registered initially in 19..... I believe it was 63 in Gary, Indiana.
At that time I was a serviceman and uh, I voted by absentee ballot.
I: I see. Now um, what year were you first eligible to register to vote?
D: At that time I believe the legal voting age was twenty-one and so that
should have put me...... I guess around '58, '59.
I: Uh, how were you registered--by local registration board, federal examiner?
D: Uh, it was by local, uh, local _board.
I: Did the local registrars ever turn you down when you tried to register?
D: No. In fact, they were most helpful.
I: Have voter registration drives been held in the district in which you hold
D: Uh, yes. In fact, I 'm a member of the Delray Beach Civic Association and
Organization uh, which is designed to uh, upgrade uh, people in the community
by.... by health, education, welfare, and general community standards. And)
uh, this organization,uh, under my urging, got together and we decided to
put on a voter registration drive. And it's done over one weekend, uh, Friday
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: and Saturday and we registered uh, something like uh, 350 black voters.
Uh, it was a..... I think we possibly could have registered more had we
had the liberty of a mobile type,uh, registration-type procedure.
I: Mmm hmm.
D: Uh, but these were all stationary in various businesses uh, in the black
community. And I felt, for that weekend, that we were quite successful
and uh, I know the Civic League is also planning another. And I have talked
to the chairperson of the Civic League and uh, we're going to provide some
of the people that we already havethat are qualified to do this particular
type of work to them and so maybe next time the drive will.... will be quite
I: Um, now) you just named one other organization that's held a drive. Are there
any others local or national that have been in the area?
D: Well, as I said, the Civic League) which has been uh, uh, moreso the spearheading
development in the community. Uh, I don't know of really any others that have
..... have really pushed voter registration uh..... locally. Other organizations
outside of the local area have come in and ya know tried to push it. I know
uh, the county has put on uh, on a couple where they've had the mobile vans
down for... for registration. Now how successful these were, I do not know.
I: Um, now these voter registration drives, when- have they been held?
D: You said when or where?
I: Yeah, like when? Yearly?
D: Oh. Well, no it's not.... it's not been an established uhlschedule uhlbut
generally I think the trend has been uh, to hold them uh, sufficiently in
advance of an election, of a coming election. I know the one that we held
was..... oh I guess it was about six months prior to the general election
here locally and uh, the important thing that I think in holding these drives
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: is when you get people registered, make sure you know where they live and
this kind of thing so at election time that you can assist in getting them....
getting them out to the pole to vote, Because just to get a person registered
doesn't mean anything unless they actually go to the pole and exercise that
I: Mmm hmm.
D: And uh, this has been something that the Civic League and also the Delray Civic
Association have been trying to do. Uh, in as much as)uh, we get cars and
get uhypolo workers and uh, and y know uh, people to drive the cars and go
around to the people and actually try to get them out to the pols to vote.
We found that uh, the ....... We could get more people out to vote if we
concentrated our effort in the evening hours because most of the people are
working people and they get off at FOO0, 5:30-in the evening and Ta have
se:c-r. (y' l)|
to..... between 5r30 and,say -700 get them to the pol's. And uh, well generally,
the average housewife is right in the middle of supper then so you have to
keep urging them to....... Well, it's important that you get out to vote. So,
,ya know, let us pick you up at..... if it's -6-3 and get you to the polps.
And it's been.... it's been working fairly.... fairly good.
I: Well I guess you've gone over how successful these voter registration drives have been.
Um, well are there anything which prevent blacks from registering to vote in
D: Not to my knowledge.
I: Now um, I have something"that I'd like you to rate and please comment on and
if you'd like to just call out the individual categories. These are how
important ,u--l lfWk each of the following items are in preventing blacks from
D: Well number one, economic dependence on white..... onn whites. I think uh......
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: I would rate that fairly important.
I: Why is that?
D: Well, in this area there's little or no industry. Uh, most of the blacks in
this area uh, well I'd say...... a good percentage of the blacks in this area
are either migrant farm laborers, or maids and are lawn-maintenance type
of personneland uh, so they are economically dependent uh, upon whites. Uh,
because if we had some black industry in the area, in which there's none,
uh we have a few black businesses but the employment rate is.... is nil$ as
far as percentages are concerned. So, we as blacks are.... are basically
dependent upon the whites for our li~ihood and for our economic structure.
So, this is why I... I would rate this as fairly important in..... Iell, not
really in preventing blacks from uh, from voting but uh, let's take for example,
on the other hand, if blacks owned a lot of the businesses in the communityuh,
it... it... it would help. It would help your situation. I'm a businessman
myself so I'm free and at liberty to go and basically do as I please. I'm
not totally dependent.... dependent upon whites for my economic uh, well-being.
And so, this helps me. If I..... If I were say working for uh, a white firm
there would be virtually no way I could hold a job as a councilman in the
city of Delray. Because the requirements for this job are .... are really
mean. And by mean, I mean that, uh, some of the requirements to do things,
you must.... ya know you must be at liberty to go uh, at will. And if you
can't do this, you can't hold that job. You must also have uh, a fairly decent
uh, eco..... you must be in a fairly good economic steaddle.... uh, financial)
uh)because I'm called out to meetings uh, many announced and unannounced all
times of day and.... and night. And uh, and so you've got to be really sort s
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: self-employed to do this particular type of thing.
D: Uhfear of physical violence from whites, uh, I don't think that's important
at all because uh, I must commend the community of Delray by saying it's....
it's one of the most common sense type communities as far as black-white
relationship that I've been in a long time. They have no problems here. I'd
say little or no problems. Uh, problems that are created here are created by
uh, people who want to create these type of problems. Uh, and as we get further
inI'll... I'll explain that remark.
I: Wanna mark it down sa ei___ ?
D: Uh, complicated registration forms. I don't think that's important at all
because uh, even in ..... in going down to register uh....., ell let's say
..... let's say at this c- When we were registering uhpeople for
example, at my business place and myself and,I believe my wife were the uh,
were the uh.... what do you call it? What do you call~it when you.... when
you are given the authority to register people to vote? Try to think of the.....
I: Registrars all I can think of.
D: Yeah well registrars at the... at the store. And there are some people uh, who
came that.... that basically could not sign their names. But I think a
good uh registrar uh in his fair explanation of what the forms are, they
have no problems. Have no problems at all. So, I ... I don't think that
this is an important factor. Poor registration hours. Uh, I really don't
think this is a factor at all. I.... I think that if a person really wants
to register to vote uh, it's ..... it's of little or no consequence for
them to get out and do this. The thing is to get.... to help inform people
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: as to how important it is to vote. Uh, back in the...in the days)I guess,
following '64 and the Civil Rights and a few otherethings)uh, I don't think
the interest was there among uh, the average white person to get out and
register to vote because we always had to kill the old c-ai tha t
you know I'm just one person and my vote is not gonna count' But if everyone
in the world thought this way)you would.... you would basically elect no one.
And uh, our predemocratic society would no longer be free. Registration
not held often enough. Uh....... I think uh, that this is really not a factor
and it's not important because I think uh, let's see, that the books are...
are open uh, but I think to get people to vote, you have to get the books close
to them...uh, by putting efi in the community. I know there's a couple of
places here uh that are..... are standard registration areas and that's like
the city hall which is almost centered in the community. Uh the South County
uh, Palm Beach County uh, court uh..... South Palm Beach County uh annex,
courthouse annex which is located right out here on ..... on Pinehurst. Uh)it's
..... it's all within arki-nda-.... within a short reach of the average person
that wanted to register to vote. But the thing is is the education process.
If you get e~i educated to vote, then fine, you can probably get some of them
out to.... to do it.
I: There's one other point there that I didn't write down, it's um, re-registration
D: Re-registration effects?
I: Mmm hmmm.
D: Uh, how o _I ,--______. ?
I: Well in um some areas, if you haxi't voted within a certain amount years, two
or three years, you have to register again and they were assuming that since
um, maybe blacks hadn't regist..... hadn't voted that they would have to
FB 27AB (tape A)
I: register again and it would be even harder the second time to get them to
D: I don't.... I don't really think so. I .... I .. I think that uh, ypo.r thing li-C_
j- again and I.... and I hate to keep carping on this educational uh, fact,
but it.... but it is. It's a true life fact that to get a person to vote
initially is to educate him as to the importance of -exeerising his right to
vote. So if you do not.... If someone doesn't take the interest to go to
this person or ... or put out and it's almost uh, I don't I don't type-
education. You can put out all the leaflets, all the pamphlets that you want.
Many of the people)when they receive them will take it as another piece of
unwanted mail, discard it into the trash uh recepticle and .... and there
goes your opportunity. But, if you get to those.... these people and eye-
ball to eyeball contact like many of the organizations are trying to do. Go
to em and talk to them and tell them about the importance of getting out to
vote. I've found that uhhh)for example here in Delray, if you have, uh, a
black candidate that's running/your percentage of voting is much much higher.
Well it should stay this way whether you have a black candidate or a white
candidate because afte/all, these are the people who are governing you So,
uh, it's uh,..... it's one of the most awesome tasks uh that I've ever seen
to get people interested in voting...... Iell first to get em registered and
the second thing is to generate that interest, getting em out to the poll
no matter what the.... what the issue may be. AndluhI think,uh,it's real
important to do these. And without these organizations, without the people
who uh, has this interest in.... in the people who are in the community, you'd
never get in the top list. So your civic leagues uh, uh, and I... I always
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: think that the ministers can help because they have groups with the greatest
concentration of people within the community and generally if a minister
say something, it rings a bell, it sticks with members of its congregation.
And this is why I've been working as closely as I possibly could with
ministers. I... I don't want to throw politics into the church but I do
think that the minister really uh has the grip on the people if he'll only
use it. And we have two or three real enterprising ministers uh in the
community who will... will... will attempt just this. To get that congregation
out to register, second thing is to get em out to vote. But not only when
there's a black candidate or a black issue involved but when there's any
issue involved, we should get the people out to vote.
I: Mmmm hmmm.
D: So it's a..... It's a big job. And I think I've just about covered the... the
next one) indifferences of blacks to voting.
I: Mmm hmmm.
D: Uh, and it's ....... I think uh, ............. I would say uh, that it has
no bearing. It's not important and so and I must say this from knowing the
community and I've only been here now for about six..... six years but uh,
it's a.... it's a really sensible community and so we don't have.... we have
little or no problems here.
I: Now there's another last one that I forgot to put down. Um it's a drawing
of district lines. Has this hindered blacks?
D: No because uh, Delray is uh, is at large.
I: Mmm hmmm.
D: And uh, I think I would.... I think I would fight any attempt to district
delegates. I really would.
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: I think it should remain at large. Uh, I think that uh, no matter where
a person lives, he's qualified to hold an office then let the voters
decide whether he's ....... whether he's qualified. I don't want to
say that just because this is a black community and this is district number
so-and-so that we must have a black represent us. Uh, I think that it
should be thrown to the entire community to decide who's the best qualified
to govern the city.
I: Mmmm hmmm. .Aright. Two more
of these afterwards so. Now the um, following section um, the questions
are asked to gather information on your campaign. Were you able to campaign
freely? Were you threatened in any way in your campaign?
D: No way. I.... I had a real, real good uh, campaign time as I like to call
it. I was encouraged first and foremost by uh, several members in the
community, black leaders and also I was encouraged by many whites to run.
And uh, so I... I... I can dispell any ... any part of rumors there that
uh, ya know uh, that may come up. Because uh, I say as.... as many.... there
was as many whites as there were blacks encouraging me to run for office,
I: Mmm hmm. Uh, were you handicapped by a lack of campaign money?
D: No)not really because uh, I limited my campaign contributions to a maximum
of $25.00. I didn't.... I felt that I wouldn't have to garner uh, a great
deal of money to win an election. I didn't want it that way. I wanted to
spend a minimum uh, on ... on the election, on my campaign. And this
I did. I think uh, my total spending for the both the primary and ... and
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: general was something in the neighborhood of $700.00. And uh, I thought
it was..... /.nd although I didn't rate low, I was very very close to the
..... uh, to the low spender. I think one other person was lower than I
was as far as spending was concerned.
I: O.K. why would did you decide to run for office?
D: (chuckle) Well, I never had really any desire to run for a public office
prior to my final decision to run. Uh, I thought thatuh, with the work
that I was doing in the community that I didn't necessarily have to be
an elected official to continue this work and I'm.... I was civic-minded
since the day I hit this uh, particular area. I was able to see some of
the things that I thought needed... needed upgrading as far as the community
was concerned and I immediately started in uh, to work on this. I was one
of the organiz..... organizers of the Delray Beach Civic Associationand uh,
it was just that the.community was sort of stale-mated. Uh, they actively
involved in some areas but involvement was... was not handled the way that
I thought it could be best handled to get some of the end products that
they wanted. Uh, we had uh...... I won't say radicals, but we had people
that was.... were..... was doing in the.... in the way that uh, that was
not generally acceptable to whites. To get something donejyou don't scream
and holler at anyone. You go in with a logical uh, intelligent approach,
uh, you hold fast, you don't have to raise your voice to get anything done.
Uh, but if you go in there with a logical and intelligent O; ))It.C'-generally
whites will accept you. Uh, I could.... I could fcsesay that if you came
to me wanting something done, if you came with a logical and intelligent
j P 1' i you would be far better in getting it done than if you came to me
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: with the arrogant uh, outlook-type approach because you would turn me
off as soon as you came in and I think this is what was happening uh, in
this community. Uh, because although the leaders did a lot, but the
...... the.... the approach was not__
I: Mmm hmmm. So, actually um, this was..... Aas it your own decision
before somebody had approached you or.0. 7
D: No, no. No, no. I had no idea of running for public office but I was
approached uh, uh, by several people in the community and also several
whites uh, who asked me to consider to run.
I: Were they politically active or just concerned?
D: Just.... just concerned)I think.
I: O.K. Um, what.... what party do you belong to?
I: Um what were the two or three most important issues in which you campaigned?
And uh, let me just ask you um, have you run for more than one campaign?
I: O.K. so, just specifically one.
D: First time around I was.elected. O.K.......... to answer...... to answer
that question on .... on my particular platform uh, I've always,uh,liked
a small place, a small community and Delray fitted that bill as far as
I was concerned in my decision to settle in a small place. I was born and
raised in Hillsborough County, lived in Tampa ya know all my uh, uh, childhood
and young-adult life before going to college and I just never really liked
a big city uh, particularly when it comes to raising kids. And so, my
wife is from this area. She was born and raised here. So, when I was
in the service we'd come home on leave and we would uh, always visit....
visit both parents in Tampa and here in Delray. And so, I... I just became
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: attached to Delray. It was a seemed like a small nice community that had
a lot of greenery and uh, so one of my uh, platform uh, issues was based
on keeping density as low as possible. The other one was uh, to improve
what uh, I had felt that was to improve ,dw enforcement in the area. To
take a good look at law enforcement and see where you could... we could help
by better equipment uh, better-educated policeman)both from the ranking
file and also from the uh, the heads of.., of ... of the department. And
much of this we've been able to do) and I'm real)real happy of... of that uh,
because we haveluh, one of the uh, best police chiefs,I think now in the
country. He was rated uh, in the top ten on.... he was in uh, I believe
his last duty station somewhere out in I believe Wisconsin. So, we have
him now as a chief.... as a chief and uh, uh, he's doing a .... a tremendous
job here in... in the city. But those were the two major issues, density
and uh, and law enforcement.,
I: Mmm hmm. Well do you think these issues were the main problems facing
the blacks at the time you campaigned?
D: Uh, not density as far as the blacks were concerned but law enforcement uh,
was definitely one. Uh, also upgrading, general upgrading of the community/
uh, uh it's envirdment such as streets uh, sidewalks uh, sewage, and this
kind( thing. It just a general uh, problem areas that effect any community)
and uh, we-afe sort of working on this. For example, .eV-n, before I came
here I think there was an effort to get some traffic lights in the community
because uh, uh, we had uh, I guess something like f4eeen or 18,000 blacks
in the community and we had one traffic light and uh, in the..... well, what
I.... I call the uh, central business district for black businesses, was....
is located right on the state road. There was no way to curtail the uh,
or to reduce the speed, uh the accident rate and this kinda thing. So,
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: that was one of the first things that I worked onto gather a few traffic
lights for the community. And uh, we made several attemp.... attempts
and all of them were denied. The last attempt.thiat we made, which was
also denied, but we were successful in getting the county government to
see that although there's a manual that says that you do not rate traffic
lights because of... of statistics, uh, there was a human element involved)
and this is how we won the traffic lights based on the human element at
this site. So, it's the approach and uh, and the pattern of approach
and inigetting things done. And referring back to you don't go up and
scream and holler at em, you go ip and present it to-ef logically and intellectually,
and generally you'll get it.
I: And so that um, housing and the traffic system and sewage were main
problems facing blacks?
I: O.K. Um, now the next section um, the questions are asked to determine,
some of the conditions which have enabled blacks to win office in Florida.
And as you say before, you were elected at large. True?
D: Yes, I was elected at-large.
I: O.K. um, these following questions refer to district. Well, we'll just
keep it at-large.
I: How many people are in Delray?
D: In Delray? Right now it's estimated some.... somewhere between twenty-eight
I: O.K. Uh now, what percentage of this was black?
D: Uh, I'd say about 42, 43 per cent of that total are black.
FB 27AB (tape A)
I: O.K. And about what percentage of the blacks are voting age in your
district or in the .... in the area are registered to vote?
D: Uh...... I'd say probably somewhere in the 18, 19, maybe 20 per cent
I: Now about what percentage of the blacks who are registered to vote, do
you estimate actually voted when you were elected?
D: About 50 per cent of those registered voted. Because we had a... another
strong black candidate who was.... who was running so this... this made
the community interest a little more... a little.harr-ier than it.... I think
normally would have been.
I: Mmmm hmmm. I see. Do you uh, believe that you got any votes from whites?
D: Most definitely. I uh, .... I carried the white community whereas, I.... I
lost both in the primary and the general to the black cand.... the other
black candidate. Because he was born and raised here uh, he had been very
active in) h, in civic and community law. He was a minister, a young
minister in the community and I was just a ... a transplant of actually
i-T about four and half of five year uh, but background-wise, I think I
had him because I was a former servicemanjuh, when I got out of the service
I was a field raid officer in the rank of major and I think this helped uh,
because I was..... I think I had him because...... education-wise he didn't
possess a college degree but I did. Uh, and I don't think that's real
important but I do think it was a factor in the whites turning to me. The
second thing was that uh, I was I think uh, the whites classified me
more as a liberal than himself. Uh, he was more..... I think they classified
him more as the ..... the radical uh, although I don't think he's uh,
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: purely radical but uh, I took a more liberal approach to problems than I
think he would have and uh, I guess the other thing was ..... was the issues
themselves. I think he ran strongly on law-and-order and I was not
so strong on law-and-order although it was one of my... my uh, campaign
platforms. But I dealt more in... in density and things that would
actually improve the.... well, not improve but not allow the community
to become a concrete jungle.
D: Y know and a lot of condominiums all over the place and everything uh,
because uh, as I said, I just wanted to see the community have some green
space and you can't do it by building condominiums completely over the
I: Yeah. Um, just to backtrack a little bit um, you have a.... you had a
primary and a gen.... and you had a general election.
D: Yes. Yes.
I: Now in the primaryum, what percentage of the blacks voted?
D: It wasloh, it was very low. It was not uh, not.... real.... a real great
percentage of because I'm trying to think of some of the figures now. Uh,
for example, I think there was a tabke of..... I think one of the larger
precincts I think there was a total of around uh, probably seven or 800
people that voted in... in one of our larger precincts in.the... in the
black communityjand uh, I think uh, overall in the primary, he beat
me by something like less than 100 ..... 100 votes. And then in the
general I'm..... I closed the ..... the gap. And I think he beat me
something like,uh forty votes overall. But uh, again, uh, I don't think....
FB 27AB (Tape A)
D: I don't think the voters themselves was looking at the qualification of
the men running. I think they were moreso looking at the hometown, well
what call the hometown uh, uh boy because he was born and raised here,
I: ,Um, now about the white vote. About what percentage of your total vote
came from whites?
D: Uh, I'd say something like sixty-forty. About 60 per cent uh, as opposed
to 40 per cent of the.... of the.... of the black.
D: During uh...... .his is in the general, what about in the primary?
I: No, this was...... this was in... in really both because uh, had the
whites not voted for me like they did, I would not have been elected. Uh,
that's a ..... that's a knowAfact when you look at the a know.... look
at the total results of the..... of both the primary and the general. I
ran very strong in the breech:...... in the beach precincti uh which oh,
I guess uh has over...... around 900 to 1000 voters and that's one precinct.
And uh a person who can't carry the beach precinct can just about forget 40
being elected unless he's heavy in all the other precincts in town.
I: O.K. so uh, how many opponents did you have?
D: Well, there was two officers. Uh, one of the incumbents was seeking re....
re-elec..... re-election and this was one of the council, we only had one
on council, uh but she was very strong. Uh, she's been vice-mayor and all,
and uh it was almost common knowledge that she was going to win her seat
back. The other uh seat was vacated by a black, the first black to be
elected in the ...... in the community and he'd served on council for
six years then decided not to..... uh to seek re-election and so that
left uh, myself and the other candidate basically after that seat. And
FB 27AB (tape A) -17-
D: uh, I was uh, fortunate enough to win it.
I: The other candidate was black also?
I: O.K. and this.... the incumbent was a woman, did you say or.....
I: A white woman.
D: Yeah, well see the mayor and two coudilm..... uh council members are elected
on odd years I believe and two council members on even years. So, it was
a year for the mayor and two council members that I..... that I.... that I
went in under.
(tape cuts off and side one still has tape left but not recording)
(Begin side 2)
I: Um, what percentage of the total vote did you get?
D: Of the total vote?
D: I ran uh..... I guess ran second ....... uh, and I think overall I was about
40...... 47 per cent of the total registered voters in the community that
turned out to the polys in the general elections. I don't remember what it
was in the primary. Uh....... I think I probably picked up ..... I guess
something in the neighborhood of about 50 to 51 per cent of the total votes.
I: And this is in the general election you're talking about?
I: Well who was your opponent in the general election?
D: In the general election? Well, my opponent uh, I think wasI uh, well, at.....
I I I -I
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: at--large with two seats open and there was four candidates going for the
..... uh, for the... for the two seats. In the general election uh, I
would have to say that my opponent was the other black that was running.
I: Mmm hmmm.
D: Because this was basically the way that the uh, election was.., was built
up. That uh, the Reverend Taylor and myself was after the one seat and
Mrs. Crevalls uh and the other candidate was after the.... after the second
seat. And so, I would have to say that ..... that my opponent was uh, the
Reverend Tayor who was also black.
I: Now this next section the questions are asked to determine how well black
officials in Florida have been able to benefit those they represent. In what
ways do you think you have helped blacks in your district by holding office?
D: Well, .... that'a.... (chuckle) That's a.... that's a QoAd good question.
Uh, I would have to say that because of my background, and I do have an
extensive background in administration, management, and uh, a fairly good
knowledge of a budget. And those are, I feel && the key and critical
areas in the total picture of a.... of the operation of a city. Uh, if
you know budgets uh, if you understand budgets) uh, if you know administration
and management, I think you have the key to most of the problems that
will confront any council member. And since I'm..... and since my military
uh, experience...... was along these lines, I felt thattr I'm.... ya knowl
I'm better equipped uh to help the.., the black community. Uh, for example,
sewage has always been a problem in several areas in the black community.
And uh so I've been harping on this ever since I've been on council.
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: To get sewage for all of the city, to upgrade uh, uh, some of the.... some
of the real bad roads and.uh, byways in the community, uh to get,uh, adequate
drainage in the community. And these are things that.... that I stay
on... on... on everyday. Uh, for example, I went on council believing that
we needed a full-fledged city inspector, one guy to really bird dog the city.
Make sure that people who had dilapidated homes, people who uh, did not
keep their property well manicured, that this individual would ..... would
be a watchdog for these things. Because uhI live in the heart of the
black community and uh just because..... I always say just because you live
in the jungle,you don't necessarily have to be a monkey. And uh, this is
my approach to it. I feel that.... I want to see my community just as
clean as any other community in the city. And so, I think uh, not to
turn on the community, but I think that sufficient pressures should be kept
on all uh residents of a.... of a community to see that their property
is well-groomed, their houses are painted within economic bounds. Uh, uh,
you can live in a framed structure and uh, not paint it for twenty years
and ..... and look at what you got. But if you can throw a coat of paint
on it every five or six years and that you have a lawn out front uh, doesn't
necessarily have to be one that's uh,maintained by a .... a maintenance many,
you can do it yourself. Uh, I do my lawn myself and uh, I work on it
continuously because I want to have uh, a fairly decent-looking home enviro-
ment. Some people could care less because they're in rental properties.
But I say put the pressure on the owner and if uh, you put sufficient pressure
on the owner, that means that he's gonna in turn have to put pressure on
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: the tennant to keep his... his property looking .... looking good. Then if
it's.... if it's not kept or well-manicured and this kinda thing then
get rid of that tennant.
I: Have you had success with this drive?
D: Somewhat. Uh, I think that the city is improving quite a bit because when
I went on council.-yoU were having.... he city is real fortunate in as
much as we were providing I think one.... one trash pick-up at roadside about
every three or four weeks but now we've gone to once a week and it's... it's
helping the appearance of the city. In other words, if youth trimmed your
coconut palms and threw the ... the fronds out front, it's a big difference
of it laying there for three weeks as opposed to one week. And uh, these
are things that ...... that help any community. When... when you can... when
you can clean up that community once a week uh, ya know have pick-ups once
a week and uh, encourage the residents not to throw things out at these
pick-up points uh)say prior to twenty-four hours before pick-up or forty-
eight hours before pick-up. Because if you.... if... if the pick-up in
my area is on Friday and I come and clean my yard on Saturday, then that's
a whole week it's just gotta stay in the streets. And uh, so these are
things that uh, we are trying to get the people in the community to see.
That we're our... our own worst enemy because if it's cleaned up on Friday
and then we throw paper and trash out in the community, it's not hurting
anybody but ourselves because we have live there. And so, these are things
that we're.... we're pressing for. Uh, we have got actively involved into)
uh, the schools since most of the kids in Delray have to be bussed.... bussed
to adjoining communities. Uh, most.... Oell, a majority of the kids I would
B 27AB (tape A)
D: think in Delray has to be bussed to Boca which is some eight miles to
the south of us. And uh, I think organizations like the Civic Association
must keep watch on the schools and see that .... that our kids are treated fairly.
Uh, see that uh, that .... that if they're due beyond-&a-roll, then they
may-be-e*-a-rollarfd help them to maintain an attitude that although
you're bussed in this community, you want to carry that image that Delray
kids are just as good as the kids at Boca. That we know how to conduct
ourselves as well as the kids in Boca. Uh, we don't want to do anything
that uh, will .... will cause others to say wellthe kids from Delray are
radicals and this kindda thing. We want to put em down there with... with
a couple goals in mind. First and foremost, is your.....your educational
experience and then get yourself a good education. Uh, the federal government
has said that you would be bussed so don't hold that against the people
in Boca. Uh, go down and... and do your best while you're a guest -^
Lr .e..JrLi if I may use this term. Do the best you can. Keep up that
image that we feel that you should keep up. .-a know? Don't go down and
cause problems unnecessarily. So, we work very hard along these lines
to try to keep these uh, images of their city for em
I: 94K. What, if anything, has prevented you from doing a better jobjespecially
in regard to benefit.... benefitting blacks in your area.
D: Nothing. Nothing. Uh, other than uh, uh, uh, (chuckle) I'll say time.
That's ..... that's it. Because I think that uh, I could do almost anything
that I set out to do.
I: That's very good.
D: I really do. And I think that the only thing that would prohibit me from
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: doing it is.. is.. is really time and uh, like I said I work somewhere
in the.... in the neighborhood of ten to twelve hours a day at my regular
job and I manage uh, I manage a family-owned business. But uh, since
it is family-owned I'm a liberty to do more than if I was working for
somebody else. Like if there's a meeting I want to attend at -:OO in
the day and although my break uh, I've had my break if I wanna attend
that meeting I can go. And this is.... this is one of the benefits that
I have uh that I think that a lot of other people would not have had
they been elected) uh, to council. For example, the Reverend Taylor who
was running against me. Now he's.... he's also in..... e's self-employed
and I think he may have been able to do it. But the average guy working
foruh, another individual could not be a good council member if that employee.....
that employer would not allow him to do some of the things that I can do
now because of a family-owned business. You have to be at liberty to go
and do. Uh, for example, I'm I'm I'm I'm the vice-president of the Palm
Beach County Municipal League uh, which is a league comprising all thirty-seven
municipalitiesuh, in Palm Beach County. Anduh, I'm a member of the) uh,
of the West Palm Beach Urban Area Transportation Study uh, uh, Committee.
All of these are side effects to ... to being a council member. But I
feel that if I'm going to be a good council member, then my exposure has
to.... has to be... has to be increased. I've got to get out and know
what's going on other places so that I can..... I can be better equipped
to do my job on a local basis. So, these I do. I try to get involved in
as many things as I possibly can...... time permitting.
I: It helps yodo .' ,. -\_5. .
D: It certainly does.
FB 27AB (tape A)
I: Now another rater. Now these are to rate how important you think the
following items are in preventing you from doing a better job benefitting
blacks and uh, as you said there's nothing so, if you just go down the
D: Q wK. Number one; Office has no real authority. And if you're speaking
of my office as a council member, right? Well, this office has real
authority as far as I'm concerned. Uh, by my ability uh, to present myself
and the problems of the community to other council members, to sell them
on it in council member..... uh at council meetings. Not behind closed
doors and these kind of things. To present a logical approach to the
problem and get the other council members to see DGK. there is a need
that we authorize this or that we consider this. Now, I don't think
that I would get everything that I want. I don't think anybody's gonna
do this, black or white, but if you get the majority of eem then the
majority is better than zero orzip.
I: Of. so that's not important at all.
D: Uh, let's see office has no real authority. No, that's not.... not important.
I: Whether you're outvoted by the white officials, white council members?
D: Uh, no I don't think so. I uh, I've found myself since I've been on
council having the swaying vote in many many key issues uh, uh, because
there was two council members for and two against anduh, I being right
in the middle of the swaying vote. So, the decision ma... making process,
much of it rests with me and,uh, it's just the way that many issues are
structured. That it could go either way with me having the deciding vote
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: so I study the problem very2very carefully. Uh, I have to be in a
position to make a good sound decision and I know many times that uh,
nol matter what decision you make, some people are gonna be with you
and some are gonna be against you. But you have to make that decision
based on your knowledge of the problem' based on your study of the problem,
and your uh.... based on your believe n-what you're doing.
I: Q.K.' Now is there the problem that is typical of the black community.
Do ever find that the white officials are just overwhelming you? Say,
D: No, no, no, no. No, in no way. No way here in Delray. I think we have
uh, one of the most logical-thinking councils anywhere in the state of
Florida. I must say that without reservation.
I: That's another not important?
D: That's another not important.
D: Not enough revenue available. (chuckle) Well this.... this is always a
problem because I don't think that any municipality has excess revenue
that they can do things that)uh, that everybody wants done. Uh, but
I..... I think it's.... I think it's also not important because we.... we
have a real fine uh, city manager, he's a very logical-thinking person uh,
and he has a tendency to listen. Uh, the council,uh, listens,uh, very
well. I don't think that ..... that uh..... that this is really a factor
because we make due with what rev.... revenue we have available and I
think they.... that they do a realreal good job because uh, I guess
the-year about uh, oh I guess a year, a year and a half ago uh, the city
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: just completed the southwest drainage pro..... uh, project. And that was
something like uh, oh I guess uh, well over two million dollars and all
of that went right into the black community to benefit -that uh, the residents
in that.... in that community. And at that time I was not on council when
it was initiated but I was on council when it was completed. Uh, and I think....
I think they... they really use a ... a common sense uh approach... approach
to uh, the ya know adequate use of finances available to do the job.
-O.K. Unfamiliar#fity..... uh, unfamiliar with administrative duties. Uh,
as I said before, I think I have an administrative background that was not
limiting under any circumstances and in performing well as a councilor...
as a councilman.
I: ap. Another not important?
D: Mmm hmm. Uh, lack of cooperation from whites. I think uh, they've been
most generous in cooperating uh, with me and in anything I've attempted
to do. For example, when I was working so diligently trying to get the
traffic lights for the community. Uh, when I presented my case to the
council they passed a resolute supporting my efforts. And I think this
resolution had great bearing on the.... on the *ind--of government7 Yelping
us to... to get these traffic lights. Things of this nature. Uh, community
development uh, grant funds which would benefit mostly uh, the underprivileged
and most of this is in the black community. They have worked just as hard
as I have to see that Delray uh, could obtain uh, uh, a certain amount of
these funds touh, rid the community of blight and help uh, build a thing
like a neighborhood center which is badly needed uh, right in the middle
of the black community. Not only for blacks but for the entire community.
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: I wanted to see something that's uh, although it may have been put in
the middle of ... of the black community, something that was... that every
citizen in Delray would be happy to use. Uh, I want to... to keep working
so that uh, so that the average white would not have any reser.... reservation5
about coming into the black community, attending a function, and enjoying
themselves. And uh, we were thinking on something for a neighborhood center
or a community center something in the half million dollar category. Something
that would've provided a realreal fine facility. Something that you could
uh, have the .... the cultural arts uh, uh, exhibits and these kind things.
Something that the whole community, the whole community of Delray could
be proud of and utilized to it/s best advantage. So, uh, uh, this item
uh, we put to/uh, uh, put to a referendum. And I must say that it was of...
of the five items that you had on which only one passed was a half million
dollars..... uh six hundred thousand dollars for streets and sidewalk bond
issue passed. The other four failed. And of the other four that failed,
the community center that we were trying to get in the community failed
by a difference of 127 votes. Now, I.. I've... I've always said that
had the black community turned out in sufficient number to the polys, we
would've had that authorization to go ahead with this. So, since we
didn't get it, I didn't drop it. I decided that we could .... if we didn't
get it this way we could go with other ways. Uh, so the community development
block grant program is the next objective that I have to getting this
center built which is badly needed. Uh, right now we joined in... we
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: enjoined the county. Uh, first the city was going to go it alone and.
try to gather the necessary funds under the comr.... community development
block grant program to get this center built and to upgrade housing in
the... in the community and remove some of the blight in the community.
But we found that the county, and most of this was from my doing, I happened
to be at the county on a .... on another uh, at the board of county commissioners
meeting on another subject and uh it was brought up at that time by one of
the commissioners that the county did not possess the two hundred thousand/
uhpopulation count that it needed to qualify as an urban county for community
development block grant program. So, based on the 1970 censusluh, the
city of Delray at that time I think cleared aboutuh, 19,000 uhlpopulation
count. Riviera Beach carried a little higher. And they needed those
two communities to include Lake Worth to get above 200,000 to apply as
an urban county. So, at that meeting the county said they couldn't see
why these communities had not enjoined them uh, shouldn't, uh join them.
And uh, so, I uh came back to our uhcity manager and asked him to hold
a council and see if.... if our council was agreeable to enjoining the county
to pull our population count in to see if we could the county above 200,000.
Well we did get a majority vote on it and so we enjoined the county and then
Riviera Beach II think also enjoined them and Lake Worth and so this put
the county above 200,000. And so we could no longer go it... go it alone
but we were going in with the county. So, uh, the community development
block grant application as submitted by the county has been approved by
the regional office in Jacksonville and is now at the federal level waiting
their approval. So, if that approval comes back the county will get some-
where in the neighborhood of uh, about 1.2 million dollars and so hopefully
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: Delray will get its fair share of it so that we can do some of the things
that we need to do within the community.
C Q.. -.L
I: Well that.... how .it related to the next question, lack of cooperation
D: Well uh, this a.... a process where that the average black and I'm saying
the average black, not your.... not your leaders or your possible leaders,
uh, you have to get em off dead-center to get things accomplished. The
average black can sort of have a careless attitude as how things are going
downtown. Uh, he will complain within the community, he will complain
to himself, he will complain to others but the complaints have to be
garnered and taken downtown uh, to get things done. And this is something
that I've been doing now for the last year and a half, trying to get
the average black more interested into local self-government. It's a.... it's
a hard thing because)uh, I think that when I look out into the audience at
council meetings, the blacks that are down there are generally the same
blacks that are there every week. But I'm trying to generate the interest
to get more down to get involved in local self-government. Because this
is the .... the greatest opportunity for a citizen to be a part of government,
to be a close knit part because when you get at the county level you're ...
you're away from the community. When you're at the state level how many
citizens do you know that really goes up to Tallahassee to uh, be involved
in leg... in the legislative process. So, I try to tell them along these
lines, that you are right here where government is going on. So, you
have a \I\LC 'i I so why not come down and listen in and join in
uhbecause no matter what your educational level is, X lot of blacks
will tell me, And I tell them well come down and see how local self-government
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: operates. Said well, I'm... I'm not a good spokesman. You don't need
to be because if you have a problem come down and present it not matter
whether your educational background uh, says that you are an explicit
speaker or you're just a run-of-the-mill speaker, I.think they'll get
the point. Even if you split verbs or even if you get crossed up on
certain ways of presenting yourself. So come down and try it. And uh,
we're getting more and more uh but it's a continuous process. You can't
do it this week and drop it next week. You have to stay on them and stay
onl them uh and uh and get them to be a part of local self-government.
Uh, we have uh, uh, several community leaders who uh, are really getting
involved. Uh, since I've been on... on ... on council, I've gotten a black
from this area nominated and is now a member of the manpower board which
is a key and important board as far as funding is concerned manpower-wise.
Uh, most of the manpower money was staying north. Well, we needed some
help in the south county area. So, this guy now represents the south county
area and he was my campaign manager at the time and he.... he did a... such
a fabulous job, I asked him to.... to please be available to uh, to accept
appointment to some of these boards. And he's the dean of boys down at
Boca School and uh, so when the manpower appointment came by I considered
he among two others and Joggs basically eliminated the two others so I
had to go to the principal... his principal uh, to ask if if he could uh
contend with this individual making some day-time meetings in West Palm
Beach and this kind thing. He... he was agreeable. And so this guy
is on the board now and he is doing a tremendous job. And and you're... and
we're seeing some results of his sitting on that board. But could you imagine
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: if this guy had not been on the board whether the south county area which
we are a part would've been thought of. No, I doubt very seriously because
when it comes to a point of handing out money you almost want to uh, look
after your area. You... you want to see that your particular area is
represented with funds. So, we needed some help in this area. Like I said,
I'm on the... I'm on the transportation uhboard and so I can look out
for the south county area... uh, because if I wasn't on the board there
would be basically be no one to look after the south county board. One of
the commissioners who was just elected to the uh, to the uh, county....
the board of county commissioners, Commissioner Medalin )Yjh, he went
in and he said that he would do as much as he could for the economically
deprived and he's doing a good job because when he receives notification
that he can make an appointment from his district, generally he calls me
and asks me if I have anyone that I'd like to consider. All the time the
people do not get these jobs but at least it's a step in the right direction
because he calls me and asks me if I know of someone that I... that I
I: Well now, for lack of cooperation, generally you'd rate it not important?
D: Well, I'd rate it not important. Really.
I: 0~Jl. Now um, so what about state officials with the problems?
D: Well, no other than... than.... than council-wise uh, myself personally, no.
But council-wise, we had.... the last legislative delegation we had from
the..... from this area, we were quite successful in getting some of the
things done for the city that we wanted them to do. For example, uh,
the city of Delray is laden with what we call county pockets uh within our
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: ..... our reserved area there are a lot of pockets that are basically in
the city but not controlled by the city because it's a county pocket and
we're getting a lot of those eliminated and this is gonna help us. So,
I... I'd say.... I'd say it's not important.
I: QOR. and federal officials?
D: Federal officials well, (chuckle) we have uh, ......... Paul Rodgers to
represent us and he is.... he's very good. We've gotten a lot of help
from him. He's down in the area quite often and when we have a problem
we see him or we call him and uh, so he's... he's good. < :i '' ic
I: That's not really......
D: Not really important.
I: (chuckle) Well, at least you're consistent anyway.
D: Like I say, we're... we're realY fortunate in this area. We really are.
I: I might move down, it sounds great. (laughter)
D: I'll tell ya. I'll tell ya.
I: ,6;K Has criticism or lack of support from the black community hindered
you in holding office? That is, do some blacks not cooperate$ wi\ you
because they believe you are only a token in government anahave no real
D: No. Because I think there was a great deal of reservation when I first
went on council from the blacks in the community. It was sort of "I'm
wondering if he's gonna be able to do the job. I'm wondering if he's gonna
.uh~-be able to get in there with his approach". Ya know with the low
keylliberal-type approach. Whether he's gonna be able to accomplish some
of the things that he said in his... in his .... in yb know his platform
and other community and civic work that I was doing. But, after the first
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: year I think there is a really earned uh.... earned uh.... a ... a ... a
pretty good title that I can get the job done. Uh, I know numerous
blacks who have come down to council on... on critical issues that
involve blacks and the way that I presented the problem and the way that
the vote turned out, I think I have gained their confidence that I can
do the job uh, uh, ya' know as required. I'd like to quote you just...
D: Uh, the community child care center uh, had .....had leased some property
from the city to buildluh, a child care center within the black community,
but because of funding they could not do it. So they locatedluh a resident
which would be of size to handle the thirty-five to forty kids that they
were handling at that time. But this resident happened to be/uh, in the
southeast area of the city and it happened to be in a white community.
So the whites had some reservation as to bringing these minority kids Tike
uh, Mexican-American yd.know-into the community. Whether it was going
to lower property values and this kinda thing yg know. And this was a
.geud-awful fight)uh and it was presented in such a manner that I think
we dispelled all of this. And this has turned out to be one of the
prettiest little pieces of property in that community. The Jaycees and
everyone pitched and .... and helped. And so now there's no kids running
in the road like they said, no kids getting run over by cars and this
kind of thing. And it's.... and it's worked beautifully. We ha 't had
one complaint from council as to this... this activity being in this... in
FB 27AB (tape A)
D: this... in this community. I think they have earned their place in that
community. So, I'm real proud of that.
I: Do you feel that white officials treat you differently from other officials?
That/sI is, do they consider you the spokesman for the blacks and you're
only able to make certain issues pertaining to blacks?
D: No. Because when I was running for council I made it perfectly clear
to all residents of this communityJ, think, that if I were elected I
would be a councilman for all the elect. I don't want to, ,w didn't want
to at that time, and I still don't want to be considered as the councilman
that represents the black community. And... and I get real appalled when
people say that I am ya know the black representative on council. I'm
not. I'm a council member just like anybody else is there, I'll fight
just as hard for the black community as I will for the southeast, or the
northeast area, or the beach. So, I don't..... Running at-large means
that I'm a... I'm an at-large council member and this is the way I see it.
So, I want no one to say that/ y know even though I live in the black
community, that I'm the one that represents the blacks. I want to be....
I want to be so deversified that when people see me they'll see me as
councilman, not as a black councilman.
I: ............ (End of side two and end of tape A)
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: ..... you repeat the question again?
I: Yes. What services have you provided blacks in your district that they
did not have before you took office? Could you please give some examples
D: OK. Number one, we spoke of the traffic uh, light situation in the
community where we needed it for the safety and welfare of people living
in the community. Uh, those are now being installed and I think prior to
the end of this month they will be fully functioning. Uh, we had initially
started to gather one on the state road uh, but we said why go for one,
let's go for two. Because uh, the .... the one traffic light that we
had was on the state road and it was on the corner of 5th and Atlantic
and we needed with 1-95, the Turnpike, 441, and these major arteries
leading into Delray, we felt that we needed uh, someway to slow the... the
traffic down especially through the residential and the uh and the black
business district. So now we have two being installed,one at 8th and one
at 10th. This is something that the citizens of the community want... wanted.
This is one thing that they urged me to fight for for them and come up
with traffic lights. And it was.... oh, it was a heck of a battle but we
won it. So, I feel that I was an integral part in getting the traffic lights
for the community in which they so really wanted. The other thing was street
sidewalks and uh, is really a problem in the community. So I was.... I think
I was instrumental -enough in getting the uh... the uh, bond issue for
streets and sidewalks to go to referendum at the last general election. And
fortunately, it was the only one that passed. So, the bondsuh, the mayorr
S"I believejup in New York now signing the... signing the bonds so we'll
have a council workshop on how we're goint to utilize this.... the $600,000.00
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: So, it's going to be uh, uh, an effort on my part to see that the greater
percentage of this $600,000.00 come into the black community to help upgrade
some of the streets uh, some of the sidewalks that are presently in) have'i
been in since early 1930s. I've had uh....... Xe' get some paved alley-
ways in the community which are dearly needed. For example, behinM my
place the alleyway doesn't go all the way through. If we had a fire that
say)the street was blocked off and the fire engine would have to come
in the back, we'd be stranded. Because the alleyway is just not.... the
side street that runs past my house if virtually) uh, uh, a dirt road.
And although I'm not gonna fight to get that road paved as such out of
the $600,000.00 because I really .... I'd like to see some of the other
areas paved. Uh, I don't want anybody say "W1ell because he lives in this
area he fought to have .... to have that road paved because there are
other places in the community that need it just as well as the people who
live just in my \n icw.-.-. So I'm going to... I'm going to see
how much of this $600,000.00 I can get to come into the black community. I
know that much of it needed.... needs to be in other areas of the city,
uh, in the white areas. And uh, I won't.... I won't fight that at all. I'll
assist in trying to get some of those streets uh, upgraded. But generally
speaking, theuh, roadways in the black community are the worst in the city
and uh, so therefore, I think,uh, not because I'm black but because there's a
need for it, that I will press to get the majority of this money into the
.... into the black community to get some of these things taken care of.
I: Now I have another questionnaire. Please rate how effective you think you've
been in each of the following service areas in terms of benefitting the
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: OA<. Number one, as I mentioned previously, police protection. I think that
uh, that with uh, the new structuring of the police department and uh, the
city of Delray\ I think has had as many blacks on it's police force as any-
where in the $outhCounty. Uh I don't know the total number uh, but I
can venture out and say there's possibly ten. .But we do have one in which
I'm very proud of and although I had nothing to do with her decision in
to becoming a police officer, we do have a black female and she's doing
an excellent job. Uh, we have one of the finest police chiefs in the country
as I said. Uh, he was rated in the top ten. Uh, so I think our police
protection is very good. Uh, it leaves room for improvement as in any
other function within the city. But there.... 'ince I've been on council,
I know uh, there has been a great deal of improvement in.... in police
protection. In fact, out..... our crime rate here in the city uh, at the
last estimate had dropped something like... I think the chief said something
like 14 per cent. Uh, no I'm not.... I'm sorry, four.... uh around 4 per cent.
So, it's not going up, it's coming down. Uh, since he's been here he's
formulated attack squads. Police officers who are in serene clothes driving
unmarked police cars who are patrolling the city throughout. Uh, it's made
up both black and white officers and they're doing a tremendous job in ... in
cutting the dope traffic, the prostitution, and everything within the city.
He's made uh, interventions into the city that's been helpful uh, uh, through-
out in in providing adequate police protection to all the citizens. So, I
say that uh, that uh, because of the interest that was .-______
that was basically started by myself, uh, we've been able.... we've been
able to really upgrade police protection. For example, when the,uh, the
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: former police chief uh, retired it left an opening for a police chief. You
wanna shut that down? (noise stops in the background) O.K. it left an
opening for a police chief. ,Alright, the city manager appointed himself
as \ -- police chief. Well, I didn't agree with him. Anduh, so we
started a.... a heck of a rally to come up with a good police chief as
soon as possible. Even uh, so to the extent that I had several conversations
with him and then the last one I had I was not satisfied because I felt he
was sort of dragging his feet in coming up with a good police chief. And uh,
so myself and the council woman decided that we would go and check with
the state attorneyjuh, general's office in West Palm Beach uh, to see if
he was legally right. And so, when e took his interest, he decided to
uh, appoint a chief. So we... we had a chief come in just very shortly after
that. So I felt that this was a step in the right direction in getting a
good police protection. Uh, the blacks in the community had charged that
uh, thatehe was the former chief had his prejudice against blacks and that
the.... the.... department was) prior to that time was based on racial
prejudice, uh, that if you were racially prejudiced you could easily become1
uh, a member of the police department. But uh, since that time, we have
a black.... two black lieutenants. One who is the key administrative officer
to the /ti uh, who happened to graduate from the same college that
I did, Florida A&M University. Uh, we have uh, a couple of black lieutenants,
and so things have progressed. We have'no derogatory comments uh, against
police protection uh, I'd say in the last eight to nine months. So this
is a step in the right direction. 'And I think it was basically brought on
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: although I don't want to take full credit for it, I do take some credit
for it. Because I... I say-it in my... in my campaign platform that I
would see thatluh, the heads in the department were... were uh, will ser-ve
yoe to determine that they were doing adequate jobs and if not, we would
see if we could 't dismiss them for better trained people so that all the
citizens in Delray could have a fair chance~ at a good life here in Delray.
So police protection I rate as very effective.
D: Streets and roads, I think I've covered thisluh, in the $600,000.00 bond
issue so it's left to be that I think up to me and other citizens in the
black community to get behind council and see that the $600,000.00 is used
to it4s best advantage to upgrade streets and roads in the community. And
I think we'll be effective in doing this so I'm going to rate this very
D: Housing is a problem as in most communities where you have pretty good
black populus. Right now uh the city in conjunction with the community
development block grant form application is going through and surveying
these houses. I was astonished to find that we had some 200 homes in
the black community who did not have hot water. And so this is a health
hazard and so we're getting these homes weeded out. We're getting some
of them condemned where we can find places for uh the tenants to go but
this has to be a slow process. We can't go in and and just condemn homes
at random and give people thirty or ninety uh, thirty or sixty days to get
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: out of these homes with no way.... no place to go. So housing uh, I think
uh, I've been somewhat effective in ... in helping to ... to get thisu,.-Gu-- .
D: Welfare? (chuckle) Not very effective. Uh, I don't think here because uh,
although we've made many attempts to improve welfare uh of the citizens
particularly in the black community, that's an extremely slow process. Uh/
because just overnight, you just don't change things like this. This has
to be accomplished through the education'process that... that I have really
been pushing blacks. And I said that the best way to improve your standing
within the community is get yourself an education. So we are pushing
this very hard. But as you know, it's uh, it's an individual effort and
the only thing that you can do is council" m, uh, try to guide them in
the right direction. But many times it's left up to the person as to
what steps, what route, or what pattern they wanna take. So I'd rate
this as uh, as not effective also.
I: Of, .
D: Parks and uh, and recreation. Uh, I stand to take a great deal of credit
in grading this since I've been on council. We have an area which is called
uh, the T--(r\ own Recreational Complex. When I came on council uh,
they had an old World War II army barracks that they were using as the uh1
recreational complex uh located in this entire environment for kids to uh,
have their recreational process, uh dances, and this kind thing. And
it was unsafe, it was unsightly, it was not a structure that I t-houht should
have been in the black community or any community or any segment of the
community here in the city. So, we pressed uh with all efforts to get
it torn down and it was torn down, it was excavated, and uh.... and so
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: we left it as a blank piece of land. T-hat this is where you want the
new center to go and I think when... when that's built I think it's gonna
be something that the whole city of Delray Beach can be proud of. Just
as proud as we are of our civic center which I think is a very good center.
Uh, we are going to make uh, a park area out of it. Right now there was
one uh, baseball softball field out there and right now.... Yell, as a result
of some of the efforts that I applied to coming up with better recreational
complexes in the black community and elsewhere in the communityuh, we
have uh an official little league softball field now and uh, yet to be
completed there is the lighting and that's about $34,000.00 so we didn't
have the money in this years budget but that's something that I'm going to
press for in next years budget that we get the... the funding available
so that we can light that field so that we can havejuhllittle league official
tournaments uh in that community, uh, for all the city. We're going up
now with uh what we call the southwest uh fourth avenue recreational complex
and this is located in the southwest section of the city. And it's located
in the white community but I'm just as adamant about getting that completed
as I am luh, the one at --ngtown.
I: Mm hm.
D: So uh, I think that we're..... we're doing a good job there and I would
have... I would have to rate that as very effective. Uh, water, sewage, and
garbage, I think I've covered the garbage aspect. I think that we have
one of the best systems now in as much as we're getting it once a week. And
I was instrumental in helping along with this since I was on council. Sewage,
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: uh, we had to have this as a joint effort between the city of Delray Beach
and the city of Boynton Beach who are our neighbors to the north because
Delray didn't have sufficient uh, populk4t-in, neither did Boyton, to qualify
for a nine hr\\- Aco\' grant from the federal government. So we enjoined
each other, we applied for the grant and we were approved. So now the two
councils, five members from each council, make up the uh, the board and we're
working now to ..... to _I_\r a sewage treatment plant that would
serve all of the city.... all of the cities involved uh Delray and Boyton and
then Satellite communities with adequate sewage. Uh this .... this plant
will cost approximately nine million dollars and will be built out to the
west on Congress Avenue on a thirty-four acre track of land that's presently
owned by the city of .... of Delray Beach but we're gonna ask Boy'ton to buy
half..... half of this so it'll be a joint effort. So we're in negotiation
now as to what price we're gonna settle on. So I think that's also very
effective. Helping hospitals. Initially in my campaign plight I had
i~hr _\_c_ I had to build a hospital in the Delray Beach area. But people
who advised me in my campaign says no. Says don't use that as a campaign
issue because you have the which is located to the south of
you which is very close that's located right on the.... the Delray-Boyton
boundary and uh uh the hospital in Boca, you have uh, John Kennedy Hospital
on the t _i so all of these hospitalstwithin a close realm
of this city. So, they saidlyou don't really need a hospital now because
of the expenditure.... the great expenditure of funds uh, we're ... we're
having adequate hospital care because of the... y4 know with the surrounding
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: hospitals. So I backed off of that one and this maybe uh, uh, depending
on how things are going, it may be an issue of mine in the future. But in
talking with hospital officials or hospital boards/l find that during the
off-season many of the hospitals shut down a wing because all of the beds
are not filled. So you can see there that hospitals are not really... really,
really necessary. A hospital in Delray per say. So I would rate that
as real..... well really not effective because you really don't need it.
I: Not applicable then?
D: Right. Education, I've touched on it uh somewhat uh,because it's still a
matter of... of getting people to get the education, uh, that they need. I...
I speak to many of the... of the juniors and seniors in high school and told
them about many of the grants that's available, the scholarships that are
available. Many of them are taking advantage it uh, many of them are going
into the service. Well I have no objection to the service but I do think
that they should get a college education prior to going in the service and
use the benefits that they'll ar-r-ve from the service to get an education
later. So, I'd say that was somewhat effective as far as education. Now,
when I came on council uh, we had uh one of the best fire departments in
the uh, in the .... in the south..... now I'd say in the southern district
of the county. Uh, we had a very fine fire department. We had both black
and white firemen. So I saw no reason at that time to attack the fire
department in what they were doing. But I feel that I should keep a watchful
eye on it. I hadn't had any complaints that.... where a black has desired
to become a fireman, went down and applied, and didn't get the job if he
FB 27AB (Tape B)
D: passed the test. So I see no reason to attack the fire department. We have
good coverage. One of our things that we're thinking about now is coming
up with a piece of property on the beach area to replace the small fire
uh, uh, station that we have there. To come up with a more sophisticated uh,
fire station because there are a few condominiums in that area and uh we
have a... we have one of the .... the high-rise type fire pieces of equipment
in the city and so uh, we feel that we are adequately protected with fire
but I feel that that piece of equipment should(by right really be stationed
on the beach side because to cross over uh, to the beach side, cross the
intercoastal, there's two bridges and should something happened to those
bridges simultaneously)one of condominiums.... there was a fire in one
of the condominium, probably get the over there. So it's a
problem and so this is something we'-1i watch. So I'll say somewhat effective
but there's room for improvement. Could you shut the tape..... (tape cuts off)
I: Have you received federal funds from your district? And if so, can you
please list some of them and um, the amounts if possible?
D: Well, most of the federal funds that we wittd receive have been in the area
of federal revenue sharing funds and uh, most of this basically has gone
for capital improvements uhwithin the city and all areas of the city has
benefitted from these funds. And so as far as ... as I know off hand, uh,
and I can't say what the..... what they annual allotments have been to
to uh, to theuh city because I have to check into it but I do know that
we have used most of the federal revenue sharing funds for capital improvement.
However, with the..... with the housing problems and what have youuh, there
is authority to use some of the federal revenue sharing funds for uh social
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: ... uh social improvement for the poor and the aged. Well in... in looking
back just the other day on our utilization of these federal funds, uh, I
don't see where and I say in the last three or four years which is as far
as I went back, that... that any allocation of funds has been made to these...
to this area. But I do feel that uh, during the next trip around that I'm
going to see that some of the funds are allocated for this purpose. Although
it may not be used, there may not be a need to use it, uh, but y know in
... in bulk money what I'm talking about something in the neighborhood of
I would think.... something in the neighborhood of about $10,000.00 allocated
for this purpose so that when little problems come by, the city could help
along this... along this line. Uh, we've gotten other federal grants but uh,
but they've been along the uh general lines of uh federal revenue sharing. I
think that if we get the community development money, then I think this would....
would be a step in the right direction as far as helping blacks because
uh, the area in which these funds would.., would be used really in the...in
the .... I'd say the low income or or socially deprived areas. And uh, so
that would basically channel right through the minority uh section of the
community, both blacks and the spanish speaking people uh who live in these
areas who.... which are... which are substandard or subpar to other areas
of the community. So, we're looking forward uh,.with great expectations
of coming up with some community block grant money.
I: Now do you as an elected official or a part of a local community been able
to bring industry or retail stores into your area?
D: Well, (chuckle) yeah, I would think so. Uh, the Delray Beach Mall uh, which
was just recently openeduh,was one of the ..... one the areas in which uh,
I'd say have come into the.... to the area which would help with jobs and
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: this kinda thing. But as far as industry is concerned within the area uh,
I think it's a general condesus of opinion with the locally-elected officials
that we don't want this area highly industrialized. But we have things
like the Rinker concrete plant and uh and necessaryuh, industry. But as
far as full-fledged industries, say(maybe factories or these things, we
do not basically want to let them into the area. We realize thatuh,
bringing industry in the area would also provide for additional jgbs but
with the present economy, I don't think that too many people are gonna
venture out into new industry now in any area of..... particularly south
Florida. So I would think that uh, that as far as Delray is concerned, I'm
not going to press for industry in the area because like I said, I wanna keep
Delray the small quaint city that it is. I wanna see a lot of greeneryand
if you bring industry uhin... in mass into the area we're gonna.... we're
gonna tear up our density, we're going to add pollution to this community,
and I don't think that we want it.
I: Have you been able to see that blacks are hired fairly in local government?
D: Yes, I think so. Because when the jobs are available uh, I think that uh,
that/ blacks who want to apply, I think they've been given a fair shake
at their job based on their qualification and the like. Uh, we don't
have that many blacks in... in uh...... ell, ybu only have in local government
uh, I'm the really elected official but as far as ....as other facets of
local government uh, we take boards, committees, and this kind of things,
blacks have a fair representation on these boards. Uh, the housing board
of appeal and adjustment, blacks are represented there. On a community
appearance board we have blacks. Uh, on other boards in the city we
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: have a fair representation of blacks. So uh, many of these are by.... by
appointments from the city that I... that I have provided the names as
to people who!uh, were willing to take the job and I would like to see
in the job. So, I can think of no... of no time that I"ve recommended a
black for any board and a commission in the city that uh, that they have
not. For example, one of the key boards in the city that if it gets off
the ground and this is uh, uh public uh reallyuh, they call it'Operk'which
has to do with labor relations. That was gonna be a three-member board
and uh, I got a black on that board. But right now the board has not
gone because uh, we uh, we don't know which..... really which way we're
gonna.... gonna go on this thing because labor relationSis.... uh, it's
a highly controversial area and we don't which way we're ..... we're going
to turn. Uh, we want to have our own local'perk here in the city but
we're ... we're experiencing a great deal of problems both from the... from
state because we didn't want to follow their ordinance uh, so we went out
on a.... on a limb anduh, and uh, made our own ordinance, we constructed
our own ordinance. And this uh, we felt that maybe was not a wise move
because the city of Lakeland was battling uh the state uh,\'perk' uh, in court
and they had spent uh, I guess in about nine or ten months somewhere around
$60,000.00 in \ .\ K -V, So we really don't want to spend
this kind of money so we backed off and uh, and tailored our ordinance to
the... to the state ordinance. So right now we're waiting on a decision on
that. And so if this gets off the ground then this board will become
effective in this city and uh, it's represented. So, I see from no boards
or commissions in the city that does not have black representation on it.
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: Even the charter l: r. board has black representation on it. So, we
have not uh, we have not left blacks out or given a feeling that we didn't
want em on the boards and commission in any boards or commissions within
I: Now I believe we've touched on the subject and if you'd like to explain
further or we can just pass it over, but has federal revenue sharing helped
your district or not?
D: I think it has because uh, much of the money that we have used to upgrade
the uh, the various parks and recreational uh areauh, the drainage and
this particular type of problem;ih, has been uh through basically out
of revenue sharing and the like and uh so I think a good-view ui ~1-Z
of federal revenue sharing has been a pretty good likes. So I see no... no
... no vast problem that..... I think we could do more and I'm .... I'm
going to have a special watchful eye on it and uh see that the revenue sharing
funds are used to the best advantage of all the city and particularly with....
particular emphasis on.... on some of the areas that are.... that are deprived.
And uh, so that would fall in the category of your minority cr-L ,
blacks uh, mexican-americans, and what have you and we have a fairly good
mexican-american uh population here because of the migrant labor forces that's
in this area.
I: Have there been any black protests, sit-ins, boycotts, or riots in this
city in the last ten years?
D: Uh, not within.... within our city as such. Uh, the last uh what I like to
call as a...a disturbance was actually at the local.... at the high school
down in Boca where I think the blacks who were bussed in came into the school
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: area uh one morning and uh some derogatory terms were... had been painted
on the building and uh that caused fights but I don't uh.... I don't like
to consider it as a riot. I think this is something that uh..... that
teenagers will do when ..... when they dlisoCcrLe I don't necessarily
uh, see it as a riot. I think it was.... it was utter distress to me that
the blacks reacted to something like this. And I told many of them that
when you.... on pop judgement when you react to things like this uh, it uh,
it shows that you're not thinking. Because I said that the logical thing
to do is when you came in and saw these things on the walls that uh one
of the most killing ways to prevent this from happening again is ask the
principal to see if you can get us some paint and let us go out and paint
it off, y4 know. So these are.... these are ways that I feel.....
D: Yeah. (chuckle) But we were instrumental in.... in helping to uh, in fact,
I worked quite hard at this uh I was..... In fact, I was at the Kiwanis meeting
the morning that it.... that it happened. They tried to get a hold of me
to go down and see if I could helpuh get the blacks cooled down but I was
at Kiwanis meeting and didn't get the uh.... a notice until it was all... all
And uh the -.goal police department I guess was the ones that
...... that broke it up. But there again, the Boca police department doesn't
have one black on it4s ranking..... well ranking file or it's head .... head
of department. So you can see why we're so.... so far ahead of em. To...
as a cooling off process I uh.... I got with our chief of police and also
the chief of police in Boca Raton and urged that we send some of our black
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: police officers down to be on the campus in uniforms that the kids could relate
to and help cool it down which we did and we haven't had anymore problems with
I: Now the following questions are asked to enable an assessment to black politics
in Florida, ,Overy general i.paessrnm.
D: Mm hm.
I: ) ___so What is your opinion of Governor Ruben Askew. That is,
do you think he's been favorable in attitude and policies towards blacks in
Florida or not?
D: I have to give him a nod on that uh, with his appointments uh, particularly
recent appointment of the .... of the black judge. Uh, I like Askew as a governor.
Uh, I think he's.... I think he's one of our fairest and I think that uh, that
uh, that he's a man of great intellect and I think he's a .... a man that could
be as fair as any governor that we've had. Uh, I like uh, uh, his financial
disclosure uh, effort. I do think there should be an open policy as far as
elected officials are concerned touh, dispelluh, any doubts as to what elected
officials are doing behind closed doors as far as their finances, as far as
getting into.... getting involved into uh, vne- %-red-type activities that
uh, lead to things like the burning incident now and uh, uh Floyd Christian and
other uh, uh, high level officials in the state that we have uh, been indicted.
However, I think that Askew's full disclosure of his finances is a step in
the right direction although, many local officials uh, here and around the state,
don'ttuh, particularly agree with this. Uh, they think it's an invasion of
privacy. Uh, I feel that if I'm a public server the public should know uh,
uh, much of what I'm doing. And right now with the financial disclosure, I think
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: it's too watered down. Uh, I think it.... if it's gonna be law but I think
it should be uh, an openo-door policy for all elected officials and uh, and
those that are not elected who.... who must..... who falls within the category
of the... of the bounds of the law uh, that we should say/ y know that this
is our networkluh, this is what we're uh, what we.... what we're doing. Because
I think uh, uh, the citizens of.... around the country have lost some respect for....
for their leaders and I don't wanAo see this under any circumstances. I want
uh, I want people to believe in and believe that I'm honest and I want toI uh,
I want to show them that I P~ -. and I know of no better way than uh, uh,
disclose my.... my.... my financial pr ntat uh, which is not much but uh, if ....
if it has to be disclosed, then fine, let's disclose it. But I think that Askew is
uh, uh, Governor Askew is a fair governor.
I: What is your opinion of other state officials and state representatives?
D: Well generally speaking, I can say that uh, that most of our state officials until
it's proven that uh, they are involved in wrong doings o doing a fair job
around the state. Uh, I know many of the people who represent us in this
area uh, are very amenable to many of the things that we're doing. When we
go to them with problems theyuh, very few of them have not agreed with them
that it is a problem. Uh, Bill Jenk-i4s-wholuh, is with the Florida House of
Representatives uh, has been most helpful to us on most 'n that we
wanted to do. And so I can't uh, I can't say that they have not helped us.
Uh, I'm I'm I'm sure there's room for improvement in all of us. But it's... it's
... it's... it's local officials whho (--'c state officials uh, do not do
things to help benefit their areas are c' -io i because we have to let
them know our resolutions by letters and by other means, telephones or what have
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: you, uh, how we want them to react to certain things that they're involved
and to help us. I know all of the time they may not agree with us but we have
to let them know uh, uh, what we are thinking so that they know how the people
in Delray or the people in Bo3ton or the people in Boca feel about certain things
that they're working on. Uh, I think we would never have gotten uh,the .... the
state legislators to uh, vote to help us in annexing the county pockets or helping
us to dispell some of the problems that we had in the county pockets t-iat we
hadn't let the legislative delegation that comes in this area know how we felt
about it. So, I think when you work closely with them, you get good results.
But it's when you sit back and allow them to go uh, uh, un.... unwatched is
when you get into problems. And so I think theyluh.... they react uh, to peer
pressure just as well as we have to. And by peer pressure I mean, the pressures
from the uh, the communities to which they... they represent. So you've got
to keep a watchful eye on em to get things done.
I: Do you think that wom-e-n' holding office in Florida has been worth the effort?
D: (chuckle) That's a good question.
I: Mm hm.
D: Uh, would you like t Cc< attack this on a local level or a state level?
I: Um, local; r>s & .
D: O.K. Local. I've many times uh, because of my involvement in local uh, in self-
government, uh, I become dejected because many times uh, I don't spend as much
time with my family as ,3 did before I was elected. But you.... you fall in
the.... in1u for just a short period of time and then when you see some
of the results at some of the efforts that you have put forward, it .... it J.--
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: ..... ~-t ad-ythe-et-yea. It says well, maybe the things that I've
been doing is worthwhile. Uh, I'd say a couple of times that yo know, boy
I...I don't know, I'm gonna think about running next time. But I know deep
down within me that unless health or some other reason prevents me from running
again that I'm going to run. Because I feel that uh, I have helped uh the city
and I feel that uh, that I'm in a position to help. I feel that uh, that although
there may be others just as well qualified as I am, and I'm speaking of blacks now,
that they would be haul pressed to beat me in fact if I ran again. Becauseuh,
when I go at thing, I go at it whole heart. I...I..I don't like to say well,
I'll attack just 75 per cent of it and leave the other 25 per cent lay dormant.
No, I won't attack it that way. I'll attack in full force and uh, with all
the energy and effort that I... that I can muster. So uh, it gets to be a problem
thatluh, your family don't see you many times uh, like they'd like to. Many times
you'd like to take you family out on a weekend but uh, you have things to .....
to study, you have things to do, you have things to see, and I usually try to
involve my family like if there's a zoning problem uh that I have not gone out
and and and looked at the area myself personally, I'll take the family out for
a ride on the weekend and we'll go see a lot of these things and they learn to
appreciate some of the problems that I'm faced with and they learn how to support
me a little ... a little better. So, you have to..... you have to use tact
in this because uh, you don't want your family to become dejected in what you're
doing. Because there is no way and I stated this publicly, there's no way that
I could do what I'm doing now if I didn't have a good wife who was backing me,
a good wife who knows the business and doesn't mind staying there the extra hours
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: when I have to be away.
1: /1 (chuckle)
I: Um..... the following questions are asked to compile an overall group profile
of black elected officials in Florida. No individual answers will be recorded.
Type of office held on this commission ?
D: Yes. We call it council members of council in here.
I: Uh, date first elected?
D: Uh, December, '73.
I: And date you took office?
D: January, '74.
I: Number of times that you've run for office?
D: This is my first.
I; Um, your age?
D: I'm 39.
I: Your occupation before election?
D: Uh, -&4+idL manager in grocery.... grocery store.
I: What is.....
D: It's a family-owned business.
I: Your father's occupation?
D: Uh, my father uh, is in Tampa and he's retired, railroad.
I: He was in the railroad business?
D: Yes. He was a railroad worker for some thirty-seven years.
I: Now the um, education?
D: Uh, I have a college degree.
FB 27AB (tape B)
I: Uh, salary received from your elected position?
D: Uh, we're paid $200.00 a month.
I: Were you active in the Civil Rights Movement ofI ul'60 to '66?
D: Not as much as I should have beenguh, I guess becausepuh, I was in the service
at the time and y4 know there are certain..... there are certain things you
can and certain things you can't do in the service while w ewee -etr uniform .
I: Mm hm.
D: So I say that the service uh, elim.... uh, prohibited me from doing as much
as I would have been doinglI guess if I'd been on the outside.
I: Mm hm.
D: And particularly being a commission officer.
I: Oh well. (chuckle) Church to which you belong?
D: Uh, I'm,uh, a member of the uh, Greater o ,-v QOI- Baptist Church here in Delray.
So, I'm Baptist __
I: Um, are you an official in the church?
D: Um, no I'm not.
I: Are there ether community organizations or activities that you are involved in?
D: Uh, yes.
I: Do you wanna list em? (Chuckle)
D: Yeah Kiwanis International. Uh, I'm a ...... a member of the.... a board member
of the..... a board member and uh, and vice-president of the Palm Beach County
Municipal League, and a board member of the West Palm Beach Urban Area Transportation
FB 27AB (tape B)
I: (chuckle) O.K.
D: I'm also a member and an officer to the Delray Beach Civic Association. Uh, I'm
a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and an officer.
I: or something? (chuckle)
D: Yeah. That's K-E-Psi uh, a Y with a..... Yeah K-E-Psi, that's uh, good. Uh,
I'm a member of ........ let's see trying to think of the .p'ro''i title for
it. The Young Men's Progressive Club of Delray and an officer in that organization.
This is an organization that we uh, uh, thought of to help upgrade the uh, the
young men in the community, try to give them something to look forward to
and try to help them with their morals and health, education, and welfare. And
uh, I guess that's about it. I'm a member of a few other organizations but uh.....
I: ot'ty that's enough. Uh, you also talked about this a little. What effects
have running......... for and holding office had on you personally and on your
D: I... I'm sorry, I didn't catch it.
I: What effects have running for and holding office had on you personally and
on your family?
D: Well, like I said, that it's something that your family have to give you the
support because if you don't __, if you don't get that support uh,
it could make life very miserable for y4 because uh, it's a.... it's sort of a
change of... of ... of lifestyle. Uh, you.... suddenly you go from a person
who is just a person in the community to a person of extreme importance to the...
in the public eye. Uh, because many people come to you with problems that they
feel just because you're an elected official, you should be able to help them with.
And so I do a lot of .... of help within the community uh, uh, with people who
FB 27AB (tape B)
D: have problems that may or may not involve uh.............
End of tape and end of interview..........