Title: James R. Ford
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Title: James R. Ford
Series Title: James R. Ford
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FB 34A

Subject: James R. Ford

Interviewer: "Button Project"

Place: Tallahassee



I: We get our a n5 from the Oral History Project, at the University

of Florida, and what they'll do is, they'll type up a transcript

of this interview, and they'll send it to you, and if you wish

to make this part of the Oral History Project, you can edit the

transcript, sign a release form, and send it back, and then they'll

put it on the shelves for future use, but that's only with your

written approval, that they'll do that.

F: Okay.

I: Okay, the first section of questions are trying to determine how

well the yoting rights haened in 1965, /hat's how^ blacks take

part inApolitics. What was the first year that you registered to


F: I really don't remember, but I have registered to vote long, long
Act, at s ^ before the voting act, the Moting rights passed -&Wa-s i-n4ative.

I; Would, did you register to vote when you were first eligible, or...

F: Basically, the opportunity to register to vote in Leoi County
V CA fCaltU ti
4hd neverAbeen oyx issue so I can't, in responding to that aspects
W4 i4t I
of the voting rights act,Ai4E! probably) is Jg momentum 4? other

places, and the attention being called to it, through the media,

and through many other things, certainly, and of course voter

registration drives that have been put on here by the Tallahassee

Voter's League, has helped tremendously in getting more blacks

FB 34A

registered to vote. CertainlyA I would assume that there was

a certain degree of timidity on the part of blacks in the earliest

part of it, because, first of all, it was a new experience, it

hadn't been proven to them that they had any successes, or that it

made a heck of a lot of difference in elections, so, many of them,
cre raviL in
and we still have some blacks now, whoAetren-t very intelligent

on my part, still communities and not

get elected to exercise the right to do so, though it's.....

I: So, you were never personally turned et-+?

F: No, I, I'm not knowledgeable that that has occurred.

I: The, you mentioned what the Tallahassee League of Voters, of the

registration Qae-, was there any other registrationWA that took place?

F: Not by the supervisor of elections. They just, stayed at city hall. or

at the courthouse, but no one ever contributed anyone rom i )e 'CIeSri ,

I: When did this registration drive take place, how many months agod-d

F: Most of i-~a I would assume,Atakent+ place, there's been more

active involvement in the past five or six years.

I; And they've been fairly successful?
Fcurl/ \h\/^~sv -'iAes4e
F: They've been ve- successful. 4 what has happened i l.- books;

registration books have been taken out into the various communities

so that they're more convenient to the people, and they didn't have

to come down to City Hall, or to the Leon County Courthouse. We
a V14 kl'cL
feel that eaee you vote, once you register, you are a registrants

for either the city or the county, and _oQ a registration.

I: Are there any things that have prevented blacks from registering

to vote in this district, either now4 or in the past?

F: I'm not certain, but I know that there are none now, I could not

FB 34A

respond to the past accurately. I would assume perhaps that the

biggest thing in the past may have been fear of what would occur,

but then, I know of no overt act that prohibited it. There may
have been fears because they workedjust like in Geaton County.

There really isn't anything that I know that, just overtly)prevents

blacks from registering over there, but the fear of losing their
or v'Ieous
of thing rather than what happens at the City Hall, County Courthouse.

I: Some of these things4appear r1e l''oS yo Vu, T' Sue. Did you

look over that list and check the appropriate columns as far as
i f preve.Kn-h'k -P 4-0
what you think are important,-a4-aa-mablacks5egister_ votef, and

what you percieve, what people in this area perceive as being

important, and could you comment on each one?

F: Well, the first one, I think, is very important, that's economic

dependence on whites. Fear of physical violence from whites, I

don't think is important, I believe it carries a zero. Complicated

registration forms, I don't think that that is one .either.

Poor registration hours, I don't think is important, you can register

any hour of the day. It's normal business and I think that maybe,

I'm not a good example of it, but I think that there's just some

things that, if they mean anything to you, you're supposed to put

something in the kitty,Ahours are from eight to five, or whatever

they are, and other citizens will be here, I don't think the black

citizens should be given any preferential treatment. So, I would
have to e-og n also respond to that. Registration is not held

often enough; registration is a continuous process Aany day that

you go in there, so that's not a, you can register any day, except

FB 34A

the days it's closed prior to the election, obviously. So, in-
difference of blacks to voting in -Le County, we don't have any

problems, so I would have to) ere a.oin consider it not

important. Now that's the way I view all those questions. The

first one I think isf,,important.

I: How about, are there any problems here of re-registration

procedures, some places, if you haven't voted in a two year time

period, they drop you from the roll. Has that been a problem, as

far as registration?

F: No, as far as I can determine, ,o, but the registration rolls are

purged periodically, and they should be because in our city, in

order to have any semblance of validity to the voter registration

rolls, we are governmentally and educationallyAcity totally, and

we have a lot of people who come in, a lot of people who leave.

So names, addresses of people on the rolls, that should be purged

periodically, and an individual who doesn't exercise his vote in

one or two year's period, in my opinion, doesn't want to vote.

I mean, there's no point in pussyfooting around with an issue,

either you want to be a citizen or you don't.

I: Has there been any problem with the drawing of district lines,

F: Initially, way back from looking at some lines, and I've since

learned that that really wasn't the motive, the motive was another

motive, but it did, it did in effect, do the same thing, .n

individual was protecting, was protecting for tax purposes something,

and had zero to do with voting. See, because some of the land

was owned by some influential landlords and some various other

things, and it, when we really got down to the nitty-gritty part

FB 34A 5

of it, they weren't i, .. out as much as they were qe frqnUcr'i

someeconomic aspect of it.

I: I'd like to ask you some questions about your election campaigns.

F: Sure.
Uk vj"e 1 I
I: Z4Sa-r-e you able to campaign freely? Threatened n any way4your


F: Never.

I: Were you handicapped by a lack of money, campaign money, in either

of your elections? C e o i J t 1vi .
\et e rcieo ii '14ii;
F: Not really. The first one, prelim-in ry respon ,Athe first time
I felt so, because I had no idea of what, what it should be, ertd
vJe f
what it should not be. We found, I found that,Alooking at it

by virtue of the fact that I won with little funds we've

indicated that more funds, perhaps, wouldn't have done much

better, you know. I can't equate it in that respect, but, when

I won the primary, going into the run-off, we were broke, and (Ce c k<)

obviously now is the time when we needed the funds more than we

needed them in the primary. So, from my campaign treasurer., and ~e people
-ho hi rj r
-he worked real hard with me, we just worked hard physically.

But it was at stark determination, I think then, and the_ not

depending on the media to tell the story as much as getting out

aefrr physically, everywhere, I think that's the difference, frankly,

and I think it was a good thing. I think on the other hand, had

I had more money, I could have lost the election by depending on

television or some other media-to do some things that I would not

have k-n.. .rha.T thpy wr dring, by virtue of the fact that I couldn't

afford to do them any other way. And these were alternatives.

It meant, see, we campaigned here in December and January, it's

FB 34A 6

/ou'VC 3 of
the coldest time of the year, and when you .e a to go out and

physically walk the street and meet everybody election, and

everybody, all the employees going into the House, and

t sanitation workers,Ayou've got to be out there seven, six-

thirty, seven o'clock, and you've got to try to meet two or three

of those things, it makes a difference, but it makes a difference

to'the individual too if they see you out there in the cold, they

say at least he's concerned, you know, so it's different kinds of

I: I keep interupting, every time you take......

F: No, go right ahead, I can adjust to that.

I: Okay, why did you decide to run for office?

F: That's a long story. I had, I had... I never had any political

ambitions, once upon a time, I thought about 4e mnis'v but I

never had any use nor any ambitions to get into politics. I was

invited to Father Brooks church, that's St. Michael, my old A e( d5

church over here -Tre 'lov) A&M UNiversity, and at that time

there was a group of FSU students, and a couple of interested

whites who were forming a coalition between the blacks and whites

as related to putting two of the present, two of the commissioners,

at that time on the commission, to get rid of them. And I was

invited to the meeting, and I had been approached by an individual

who later became, not an op0onc^, but a person who was in the

opposition to be on some philosophical issues today. Anyway, this
&J- !- ou,90t
lady had invited me to come, CoIjU she 5 rtJA to come. Not to be a

candidate, not anything, but they were trying to get people in there

to listen to the cause. At that particular time, I carried with

me the person who ended up being my campaign manager, because he

FB 34A

is very influential deacon in one of the churches across town, and

a very good friend, and a coworker with me in the school system.

He was an administrators and so was I, on the school administration

for twenty-three years. SoW-no, I've been in education twenty-three

years, .eein-n administrator ten of those years. I want to correct

that, because I taught vocational and o(ecr courses. We

went to the meeting and I'm sure you know Reverend Goodqnor you've
heard of Reverend Gooden, Reverend Goodois an individual here,Abeen

very vocal in the militant side of equal rights, and soA F that
aUu- ort or
particular time, Reverend Goodeltook the A and liberty of saying

that he represented in the, in assessing the strengths, .e pointed

out to the whites, when they were talking about the candidates) that

the blacks already had their candidate, and they were all ready to

go. And nobody would name who their candidates were, and nobody

would do anything, purely at the meeting, as I sat there, but it

was until that occurred that I didn't respond. I sat through the

whole thing and they were pointing out, and the whites themselves

were, we need to be together, because we have got a month now to

do this thing, and you know, they'll go over to south city, ye--l44

just take care of that south city. We're going to have to go over

there in a month and re-educate these people to do this and tb do

that, and if you all will commit to one of our candidates,Awe're

going to see if we can't get these two candidates elected. Well4

now, I sat4 and I listened to that whole bunch of strategy, qualifying

time hasn't even, it's just begun, and I didn't want to put a pin

in their balloons, but I, at that particular time, when I made the
statements that I made to them, I had zero intention -i- becoming

involved politically, one way orAnother, they drove me into it,

FB 34A

and I'll tell you why, how it happened. They really triggered it.

I got up, and said, "I'm James R. Ford, I reside at 2029 Nort4A Yerid;(n

Road, and as most of you can see by looking at me, I'm black. No

one, no place, anytime since I've lived in this city has ever asked

my opinion of who represented me, nor do anyone represent me that

I don't choose to. So I cannot understand how the good Reverend,

at this particular time, can attest to the fact that a candidate

that represents black has been chosen. I'm not knowledgable of

that. But I do, I would like to bring to your information,Afor

your information, several factors that I listenedA as an outsider

and disinterested party, to your, to the techniques that you're

talking about. Now I said, let's recap one or two things. I've

lived in Tallahassee, I'm a native Tallahasseef. .And my great-

great-grandfather used to be Coh5sble in Lee County. So I do
Swore5 ifl oC *40
know a little bit about the Tolkw4aw and me-ays a3 thiscounty. Now,

you have openly said at this meeting tonight the following: that

the blacks don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting any

votes out of south city or should they go over there. That's,

those are your statements, not mine. How in the heck do you think

in four weeks you're going to change what's been embedded for

generations, if you can't go over there to solicit their votes now,

how do you propose that they're going to vote when they go to the

polls? So any blacks kfe-t fall for that's. e-stupid. Number twoj

you have also assumed that the two black, that the black and the

white candidate, Act 4cr' noarat o 1i0oy ,-a put together is

the only people who is going to be in the race to split up all the

votes over there that you're talking about. You don't have the

slightest idea right now whether somebody -s, other than you,

FB 34A

sitting in this meeting who plans to run for this,Ajob. And I s5a l-
lD you -t you +hlinl adboA
would suggestAvery seriously -4hatyet-ou b k what you're embarking
on. becausee the plans, as I see them are doomed to fail." So
obviously, youae"Couli heaur A 12V)A at this point. Because I
,abWov +Fe b +How-t
don't think it dcamed otvjhctfTthis little group here now is not the

only people who are going to qualify. And we might have five blacks
in there, not me, and if he's got one there, I might not choose

that individual, ou see. So now, you've got it split up.*

That was the first meeting, they scheduled another one, I still had

made no commitments. one way or another, but when I got ready to

leave, everybody wanted to know, was I a candidate. And my wife
dld tuCtut 4e e hled',Vij.
had got an invitations and she was there too, A And Hermanveas back

had never, now this had started his wheels to turn. What am
SaaS a c4d4q7dfd/<
pulling off, so when we got ready to leave, everybody asked meAag~a-
or if I were a candidate, I said, "P/ssibly." And I really did it t'o

heckle. I did it for the hell of it. And I had zero intention,
one way or another, I hadn't even given it any concern, but as I
walked from the church to the car to come back across town, my wife

stopped me and asked me,what was I inferring? and Herman asked me,
what's goingon, wh~y didn't you tell me you were going, you were
a candidate? Well now, I hadn't given it any thought of becoming

a candidate, one way orAg(other, so I said toA1bs, I said, "If I

-were a big enough' damn fool to run, would you be my campaign manager?"
He said, "If you're a big enough damn fool to run,.yes." He said,

"I'll tell you what, why don't we go down to the bus station and have

a sandwich, I'm hungry." ItA-s eleven o'clock at night, and let's

just talk about the possibilities, you know, kick it around. I said,
yeah o my wife saidA going on home ouet going r i.
yeah. so my wife said, "P*P going on home, Ia going in r"

FB 34A 10

So I said, "You take the carA I'll catch a rideAhome9 So that's,4 e's

really how it started. No, no plans, no nothing, we went down

there and we talked about all the good people we thought we could
yv knovJ, 445i
push in-to run. I still hadn't made any committmentsA was all
(ctlLckleJ "6f evemrboc c t
in jest. In fact, it stayed three days in jest.A Xo in the meantime,
I went back to the:-no,,in the meantime, I decided that I would

run, I didn't know that there were no qualifications* or no

qualifying FPeC and all this, and I didi'L Li;k o+hr" public F('5,

that ten percent of the salary was what the qualifying fee was, so

the SQIdct,5 commission was three thousand dollars, I went to the

credit union, and withdrew my three hundred dollars, and I went down
Collec, mie apvd
to city hall ntd qualifieh.. I qualified, the manq/ p- asked me for

three hundred dollars, I never gave it to him.A I kept standing

there like an ignoramus waiting for him to ask for it. But he

didn't4 and I didn't, so they gave me a copy of the codes and

everything, they were very, very nice, I think. There was nothing
40f +he- 3 JccIK
that I could request,Ainformation or data, that they didn't.-gr
a f"... In fact, I had-est experienced no real negative problems
~ r f g1-
in my, as it relates to anything, for the political Bp. Except,
and this was on a bribe basis, that when we qualified, when everybody

jot qualified in it, and. -rg we went back to the meeting, there was

and elderly man named marcy, who decided that I should pull out

because I didn't have a chance of winning, and he had a chance of

winning, and we could get rid of these two SOB's on the commission.

That was the objective to be done. Well, my second meeting down

there with them, I decided to tell them full point blank, I said,

FB 34A

"Obviously I cannot count on anyone in this coalition to support

my campaign, but I have announced that I am going to rune and I_

have no intentions of compromising, nor do I have any intentions

of withdrawing. So if you all want to run your two candidates,

there you are, it's open season." So he did run, /nd I think

he got something like two hundred votes. I beat my opponent in

the primary, but I did not have a of votes. So now,

I've got to go and try to pick up all those other votes. Because

you have to have a of votes to win. And I think we had

something like six or eight people in'the primary that I was in.

But, needless to say, I won it, and I won it by a good margin, he pleIC

e re e -mo ,nd I've-tried to do my best to show my appreciation

by being concerned about their welfare.

I: Which political organization, ,which party do you belong to?

F: Democrat. But we are non-partisan.

I: Did, so you didn't recieve....

F: And we are at large.
I: And you didn't recieve,Ayou don't recieve any assistance from....
F: Hri kw.
I;Or.Wivbae were the two or three, most important issues on which you

F: I really didn't campaign Jfn issues. I campaigned on the fact that

I had better ideas and could do it better. That was all.

I: And your second campaign?

F: Second campaign, I didn't have to run. But I was on the polls until

three minutes of, the registration qualifyingA rather. Three

minutes before qualifying date, same person who talked me into

going to church had another candidate there to run against me because

she was opposed to anybody running o-n e- ~ which is fine,

FB 34A

philosophically, it makes no difference. But, eight o'clock the

the next morning, for some strange reason, he withdrew, so I was

I: What were the, what do feel are the main issues facing blacks in

the community?

F: Right now? Housing, job opportunities, employment, you know.
j-o5 beca5-s6
I guess we just sing that same song and danceAabout anything, -+i-

that's what it is, I mean, if you -they got a good job, and they

got a good house, there isn't aIy4- g else I can think about ~'4s
commian 1big thing, you know.
tfo c&+tevlrfih
I: On this next section, I'm going to ask you questions about, Wme

Some of the factors t -esa on1d0diov thatAblacks that win office,
you're elected
.and es-~c &s k at large, you say. What percentage of blacks
of voting age4 in your history, or at the, at large history, are

registered to vote?

F: I would assume perhaps seventy percent.

I: Is that comparable to the white eligible population that's registered?

F: That would be difficult for me to say, but perhaps not.

I: Would it be higher or lower?

F: Perhaps lower.

I: About what percentage of blacks who are registered to vote, do you

estimate, actually voted when you ran?

F: Forty or fifty percent. yoe

I: In both elections? Do you feel you got any white votesiA/rom

white voters??

F: Do I feelA the majority of my votes in office is, have been white.

I would say that sixty five or seventy percent of my votes have

been white.


FB 34A'

I:~ lt I ^ v f l f)Y
I: InAthat first election -ihat you had, how many white opp onfAblack

F p:onem dSid you ohg yI mem r?
F: I didn't have a black oopnV in my group, he was in another group.
-4k erc
And I think -t was six, six of us in it, I think, 4g% I would have to

really look at that. Kind of vague to me now, but there were at

least that many.

I: And what percentage of the vote did you get, do you remember? In

the primary, and then in general?

F: In the primary, I think in the primary, it was something like

forty-two percent, or something. Between thirty and forty-two

percent, something like that. But see, it was,....

I: You were the largest vote getter then?

F: Yes.

I: In the run-off election.

F: In the run-off election, I won.

I: By, what was your.....

F: I think it was differentiac ajnd os5I;st it was something like

eighteen or nineteen hundred votes.

I: P&rc&n-[j \AliSuh

F: Well, you mean of: total/lpotential votes.?

I: No, the percentage that you got in the general election.

F: In the general? Oh, I think it was fifty-three or"ni -

I: In this next section, we're going to ask you questions to try to
FlornJ kh v been able +o
determine how well black O 'cid0(' 1 (VI uppJer.- 4-,--a-hy of eany-

benefit4X those people they represent. In what ways do you think

that you helped blacks in your district by holding office?

F: Well, let me address myself to that question typically. One, two

FB 34A

three. I never campaigned, nor do I subscribe to the premise of

helping any specific group. That's not the, that's not the duty of

a public official, I wouldn't give a rap who he is. And I think
any public official who subscribes to that premise,Ahe, black or

white, is a disgrace to the office. So, that is a very personal

opinion, and I think that I would like to feel that when I elect

anybody, that he is concerned about the total welfare of the people

that he serves. Now, I want to address that question from that

position. That, obviously, there were some situations that should

have been rectified, that should have been corrected, that should

have been brought to the attention of the city commission and -*r

council, and something positive and m ASJ done about it. Those

situations, many of those situations have been rectified, like

sewer, like street lights, like sidewalks, like paved streets, like

running water, like parks and recreation, and like being on boards,

advisory boards, and examining those as they relate to the city, and
anW eVTllide&iv
hospital boards ,many of the decision making or the eif- rung

bodies of the city. And there is another way of making a contribution.

There is a certain degree of things that prevent things from

happening to a group of people by virtue that you are there. That

they aren't going to happen, that could happen if you were not

knowledable of the plans for them to occur. So that would probably

be indirect.

I: Can you give some examples of some of those indirect things?

F: Well, if we were contemplating, I'll give you an example of one

that I killed. There was a ten percent tax, if you want to call it,

or whatever, to be on, ~- --- cLOS h boarf, all kinds of

oil, presently, you know. ASout two or three years ago,Ahell if

B 34A 15

if you're going to do that to kerosene, and various other things,

those affect more definitely blacks, who heat with it. You know,

they don't have electric heat, they don't have things, and they
presently the laws ,not cover some of these kinds of fuels.
a c T0r. 0kCv ^jhel were -'ViCkrj abo'
So obviously, that couldAthe same thingAte done, .adAf^L~sb
Srv 4, h s 1'9 a k)n 4- 1 j7 stuck in {c axC YnoiJo.
*~s5, Set4w)r tp[ Oi Av ,because basically, the people who
are hurt by that are basically going to be blacks who couldn't

afford to do it, the sewer wasn't there those years when the

city did everything for free. All you had to do was live in the
+h-re and "hC
city, the line went down 4~a, taps were made, you just paid

twenty five dollars. Now, we run the sewer in the black neighborhoods,
o uh, uh rA "idv-r90 c-eJ Pi'fh
you're supposed to put.a two hundred fifty dollars forA--al- m -
A-eorn Iteufls ano
ollar sA charge, plus a hundred and twenty .five dollars -fppi, fee,4you

can see who's being, how it is. 14@et people yet paid

city taxes, +-ay everything else, to pay for the others that are
there, so obviously, that's OUV issue lAcI ii's bech an^, and

of course, I'm goingA~s that i$SSLe In fact, I had stalled it

for four and a half years,so...

I: What, if anything, has prevented you from doing a better jobl)
/specially in regard toAblacks?
F: Lack of communication, and I want to put some of the burden back

where it belongs, lack of communication of black leadership.

Bringing up positive approaches of sed sorlb. solving a problem.
Making one aware of a problem in a positive manner rather than in
a negative, demanding, and dcrgt manner, which there's such

a thing as tuning somebody out, and some of them have succeeded in

tuning me out on some issues. Lack of recognizing that you've got

to put something in if you want something back. For an instance,

FB 34A

the reason we have some streets in black communities not being
paved, they want to move a damn Sou&e one inch for property for

the sidewalk and the street to be widened, and it's substandard.

Do you follow what I'm saying? Or you get four people on it who

don't want to do nothing, and won't. So, the street doesn't get

paved. Two blocksof it you got paved, up to two blocks, and you

end up here with a dead street. Now, you don't expect to watch

downtown, to go down there and they're all going to say, we're

going to condemn it and spend taxpayer's money to pave two blocks

of 4 black neighborhood that they don't have any, the peoplenhardly

going to go down there and vote for them in the first place, you

know, I mean, you've got to look at your situationApositive and

realistically. One thing that we can't look at every issue that

affects a group or f affects people based on it's racial, what

happens racially in it, you've got to look at it, there are many,

many other factors that lead to decisions that are made, that no

one ever thought about, whether it had, whether it hurt a handful

of blacks, or whether it hurt a handful of whites, for that matter.

/4ihe point probably, Awe-re the problem has come up whether itfwa?

politically practical, whether it's economically the thing you had

to do, many decisions that we make now, that we know that we don't

have any choices. They are economic decisions that are brought about

because of the environmental thingsAwe have to do, and many other

things that the only damn place that you can dig this ditch might

.happen to have to go through a black neighborhood. The hills, and

everything goes there, that's the property they end up buying, now

where the hell are you going to run it? You say it's a racial issue;

IT j, /t'Is a issue. It says nowt that, look, you've got a problem,

FB 34A

you've got to solve it, these people are affected. How do you
S ctyd C K'u I
want to compensate -he1 tA iWhat are you going to do, it's

going to be misunderstood. And gets to be things that that issue

had nothing to do with it. The same issue would have been true

if it had been whites living there, but the probability of whites

having been living there in the first place^ because they have

enough money to make sure and they have enough knowledgeAto buy

a A UYL piece of property and build on it. They're subject to

flooding, or they're subject to any areaAwhose best use might end

up being for a drain. So, you get back into an. economic

I: So, to b~ai it up, has criticism or lack of support from the

black community i Vcde/ed \0V I i i' and your holding office,

F: Ask that question again.

I: Okay. Has criticism or lack of support from the black community

hindered you in holding office? ,

F: No, no. I can appreciate havingAa greater degree of input from
the community than I get, and here again, it's, every issue has

two sides, I have an obligation to keep them better informed than

perhaps I do, because the newspaper and the media, first of all,

cannot and then afterwards, do not cater to much of the positive

things that, and not justAcommision do, but most governmental bodies,

they tend to play up very heavily. the things that youA become

controversial in nature. Because they say on newspapers, and we

recognize that, no criticism of them, but I guess you've got, you've

got to keep it, just like the kid who makes A's in school is never

going to get in the newspaper. aste the guy who can run, and

I'm not criticizing that, I think it's good. He might not could

FB 34A

make two X's on a piece of paper, but he can run down a field and

score for the team, he's going to make the press. 4-trhin-k jt's

good. I thing that both parts need to be there, but you have to

recognize the fact that they are all contributing factors to

improve the general lifestyle. Second thing, the second part of
it, unless a politician, or a commissioner has got some staffed

personnel to do some of it, he simply can't do it. It's really

an impossible job, because somebody has to put it together and

disseminate it. And at the local level, there's no such agency,

and yet at the local level, that is the point where the John Q.
Public experiences the greatest impact of his)ofhisA to government.

If Washington do something, it's the commission who catches hell

about it. 44ih the prices that he's going to put on fuel oil, the

commission's going to catch hell about -~i-t enl bi(( it's

the commission going to catch hell about the environmental irregulations,

it's going to be the commission who's going to catch hell about

everything that comes down ti? lack of money, the lack of funding.

You name it, and it's going to be on our backs. Why can't you

fund this, why can't you do what you did last year? And all.of

this must be done, and give a five percent across the board and

escalation on every item that you buy from Gem clips, to supplies,

and equipment, and generators for the power system, power plant.

And we never know, right now the worst thing in the world, we're

probably the poorest oriented business, and if business had to

operate like we are operating now, they'd probably go bankrupt, and

if a bank were to do itA they'd be closed. But every time we

sign a contract on a bid, we sq rmeaftE. and sew just this city,

every city in the state is signing open-end contracts to vendors

FB 34A

because they are subject to escalation clauses at the time

delivered, but which we do not know what to encumber. And we

do not know, nor does the auditor, can he tell you specifically

what the hell you have. You, you follow what I'm saying? So

it's a, at best, it is a very, very time consuming kind of thing

now, and ever after. There was a time when it was a very simple

thing to do, when the towns were smaller, when:,there were fewer

regulations, -. nobody was thinking about the environment, nobody

was thinking about all the other things, it was very easy to set

up and make some decisions, all you had to do was tell the police

chief, if anybody comes and breaks a law, put them in jail. Pave

a few streets, and one or two other things, and you were a good

man. That ain't the game any more. The game is trying to figure

how you can get your share of the monies that are allocated to match

all the other things you've got to do. And in order to do that,

you've got to spend ninety percent of your time qualifying and

getting consultants to give you the information that you already

know better than the consultants do. But, what it <. But you've

got to pay him because the government in Washington, and L HUD,

and everybody else ain't going to take your word, they've got to

get the word from R.W. Beck and(Co that you've got to pay half

of the grant9 /o tell you. SoA sometimes I look at the whole

mess, and I see, I understand why John Q. Public, the taxpayer,

gets mad asAhell, because I do.

I: This is similar to that other...



FB 34A 20


VA/ha. J rnCccilj
F: ...have not experience the myriad of problems,Aas it related to

these two factors, as the key, would perhaps, as many other cities.

We, until Commonwealth folded up, we didn't have a high degree of

unemployment, and a lot of the problems that are there, that now

that would be basic problems, were in some degree, not really

important issues, you know, not the major ones. Are you running


I: Yeah, we've got it oing.
+o respofn
F: Okay. So -he-re poins to your questions here...thank you. I

would have to say, to number one, not, office has no real authority,

and I would have to get a clarification from you, because, we are

a policy-makingbody in the city of Tallahassee, we have a manage
ToVYI, o-p
of commission of formal government, and the charter expressely

prohibits the commission from becoming involved directly into the

affairs as relates to giving orders to4employeel of the city. That

is expressely prohibited. So in that respect, you probably could

say that there is a lack of authority. But there is not a lack

of authority from the standpoint that you do tell the manager or

the auditor in whatever you want done, and of course, we

haven't had any problems with them not trying to comply with the

instructions given them. So, it would be a matter of interpretation,

of a matter of how you want to equate what authority means.

I: Some people feel encumbered by the straight la1 s placed on them

by the state pmF 5 sAK 4h a, + .
2 oro0-1y
F: As it relates to helping blacks per seA in that regard, I would, I

don't see any regulations there that do, I see-the kinds of things

that I see that come up that prohibits us from doing some things,

FB 34A

or the kinds z things, the laws that the state from time to time

pass. Which affects -eiy or the federal government, which affects
cities without taking into account how the city is doing financially,

live up to this obligation to .implement this thing. Okay,A say

we're going to give, let's assume that they're going to do all this
|ikE crTA
for the, for the 4A unds. But that's not a good example,

because you don't imgine-that totally. in fis. rgcard 5fer havy any ki-.

But forms that you've got to get that you've got to have a match.

That's fine to give me ( but if I don't have the quarter, I
can't very well get the 5, and when I put up -tks quarter to

get your )over here, I have taken that quarter from something

else that that quarter should have been doing for somebody else

that was already earmarked doiJ But because I'm going to get

( from you, I'm not going to do the other thing now, I'm going
to postpone itp and hope through some act of Providence that I

can do it otherwise. And that's what cities have been jockeying

and doing to the point for the federal dollar and for the state

dollar, to the point that they have allowed themselves to get into

a dependency bag, I guess I could call it, where you aren't in a

position now to do the things ybu needed to, that you were doing

on your own, because you have committed the three to five years
You'c V i C"
and most things that i --*.kb bout now .re not short-term

commitmdentsA So you've got the money tied up, and if your budgets

are like Tallahassee's, we operate on an anticipated budget because

we have not collected the money from the utility bills, and if
aI anC d nrrCd -to
we have a good summer, good hot,ANe use the air conditioning/ And

all this,AP good. But then the energy of re so-called, quote,

energy conservation thing that I preached heavily against, and the

FB 34A

conservation, and a lot of people would like to hang me for it,

but I've never.-an organization the size of the city of Tallahassee,

depends upon it's utility system to supply streets, recreation,

salaries, and everything else, cannot go outside and tell the

people to not use the one thing that produces the revenue and at

the same time have escalation and pay high salaries toA* employees,

and keep the economy of the community going. It's a damn impossible

thing, and anybody who thinks that that can be done is wrong. I

preached it to them, when it started at Christmas, and Christmas

before (IS we talked about "Don't burn the lights, don't

do this, and do it." What good has it done andi.we really proved

that we have an energy shortage? No. Two days after the whole
o0 effe- Cf- J /..-
thing went outA you could buy all the fuel you wanted,gas stations
1h w-rere A )
could get all the gas at the price that you wanted,4you can buy if

all now# if you can afford to pay t~iese high prices. So it was a
matter of a, as far as I i=t1d see at that time, it has cost the

city, in that people now have been conditioned to do something, to

cut back, to conserve, beyond the point that they need to do simply.

because they were going to do this anyway because they don't have

the money to buy at the escalated price. So what did it do? It

drove the actual prices of a commodity higher, and it's going to

drive it higher this summer. Because we're going to have to raise

the rates to cover up the lack.of use. Are you following what I'm

saying?AF:So, who benefited? Who was the loser? Everybody. It

doesn't make sense. 4? I would admit perhaps, in some areas,

that this may have been a legitimate thing. But to us, the net

result had not been a positive one. And it's going to be a spell

before we dig out from under the effects of it.

FB 34A







hoi h U

On these others...

Oh, the other questions there, I'm sorry, I guess I talk too long

on some things. Outvoted by white officials. Well, now, that's

an interesting one, because that's not any, not really been true.

I have been the person, basically, who perhaps has been the deciding

factor on votes, and I have not, on things that have affected blacks,

and per se, they, my colleagues have not been negative, so I cannot

say that that has been anissue. Unfair with administrative duties.

What do you have reference to there?

I assume the question refers to....

Elected gLY/or?

Right tha yo- .....

Well, that would not be applicable to us, I don't think. Lack of

cooperation from whites. I've had excellent cooperation, so I

can't, that would be of no consequence. Lack of cooperation from

blacks. Basically, they have been cooperative. Cooperative as it

relates to, if I request from them, and go out and make a request
that I want some names for appointments that you would like, a. d

various other things/ they would do it,-and of course, when I go

out and solicit something, they are cooperative, but I'mAn my

first statements, I was talking about the personal pride and

ingenuity of a group of people to a prize, or to irod or to write

at .the CoII OrY or to keep me informed on what it is that they feel,or

or what they want. I don't always have that, that information.

Lack of cooperation from state officials. We're right here where

the capital is, and I have to admit that any information or anything

that we really want, we can getAwith no problem. The only lack of
here 11
cooperation might be if you were over 4 jobi4t for some, for

FB 34A

the league of citiesW /rnd they- -.ABut, here again, I don't know NwheChr

7 you can consider that cooperation, they're trying to do their
jobf just like we are. So, if I'm interpreting cooperation as

meaning a sincere desire to respond to something, a difference of

opinion in cooperation, is two different things, I mean, I might

not agree with you, I might not agree with anything you stand for*

here this evening with this, but I'm cooperating to give it. So

you see. So I'm trying to figure what the definition is implying.

I: And how about black cooperation with federal officials?
flO, eoe ov4-J-[IVc sloer 4 am
F: We don't)Ahave too much problem w+ti- that. They're s4-w-as hell.

And1w\e going to consider delaying as.non-cooperation, then I'd

say ye4~, But if we, but not knowing why, and this is important too.

The blacks could say, well, say some various other things about why

I haven't done something in X number of times,, Pait of time.

You see, the first thing to learn in any situation is when to do

what. Any good kid knows when to ask his mother or his father

something he wants to do when he knows the answer's going to be

yes, and when he knows the answer's going to be no. That's a mark

of intelligence, and the same mark of intelligence needs to

prevail in any administrative positions; arrd know when to make a

request for funds, and when not to make a request for funds. That's

if you want the funds. You see. And I always have this fear ft-er,

that you never want an agency or anything to ever have to say no.

And maybe I've got a hang-up about it. They would -ask why Y)~0\

I've got a hundred percent batting average in five years. But the

point is, you've got to use the opportune moment to do some things.

They might be ever so good, but if you're going to fail in the

FB 34A

attempt toAn., it, it's a waste of your time and everybody else's

time. And you've got to assess the possibilities, and when you
throw all that data together and you come up with "sI ", then it
better damn well .be 9aokr Because if it comes up a second time,

it's going to fail. There is something that, to look at that, to

look at out basic commission, we don't tend, if we have rejected

something, the probability of bringing it back is not going to

make it's chances of passage any better, because there's always

going to be a commissione.who's ahold of us,A 4", we handled that

last year.A I don't plan to do anything differently, and if he
gets an opportunity to say that first, he's going to ee-~g the

whole spectrum of the commission, it's going to be hard to get him

on a positive note. But see, if you've got a new, fresh approach

to the situation, they've not been exposed to too many things, and

we have a record of not turning down a n in And it's probably

one of our bad points, I'd say, because some things we should have

not done. But people have come to us, social'agents and everything

with good causes. And we've done them. To give you an example of ome)T'll
(U- CKcWIIC cf Lincolhi Nei^UoihooJ Ceht-er
JijC you4something, you take the L-ake-of Napl1ehood Center that is now,Awas
ilk skool LiVC7oln SBoo I oW
the old black h i "1- riL- -sti-l-i overAWall Street, I don't
v&4iher yot,'re -amf11a1v WAJI+h
knowA/ilE ~re' t that center or not. It's been renovated now,

and it's very nice, and it's beautiful, and it serves a beautiful

purpose, But you know, that's 1000 plus the federal funds we got,

city funds. When it started off, the city was supposed to only have

invested in it, only have served as the grantor, I reckon. For
Steel I
the grant. And it was Reverend-S~-tle and Father Brooks, OS P~0 nn ----

the Brooks Center that they were going to, the school board was

FB 34A

going to let them use it, and give it to them, ,_federal

funds, and all we had to do, wasi they had to have an agency through

which these funds could be dispersed, and the city was chosen, and

we accepted that. But that's not the bag we got in. -The the

school board turned and said it couldn't do it,AiJ had {-Faio1:land

and the school board couldn't get rid of land, so they swapped the

land out the city. So what we did, is swap the equivalent land
in front of Iyan High School for that land, which was, in a sense COuld
s. be considered wrong. After getting into that bag, j- spent about.oh,
e kit or ive Vnti iooa .
800,n nn r 00,000 dollars into the center in addition to federal

funds, one way or another.A fainting, where it left off, wasn't
"- Well h &HL, you're ronnrc. i p- "t,-.
,l'..amr paintA and so, we said don't hv go i ei. then the

landscaping, you've got to do that, and then the engineer,Alhey

left half of his stuff out,.4 'had not been done, and the money
av 4
has been ,Awe've gotten ourselves in a crack now that
o- A y0out
we've spent all this moneyA jrs\we got to go through with it. Plus

the cost of the property. I don't need to tell you what five acres

of property alon q Tennessee Street between the Capital City Bank

and the bottom of the hill is worth n today's market. But those

are situations where,AI do point- out that the commission has been
For in s t-fc, c e orne d |0ercci-t
considerate of most4facets, a.t las -it's funded l00OA The

0da On neighborhood recreation centers which at this particular
time, could have been a real politically ;unpopular position to

take, and an austere thing,Awe spent $600,000%q a4A 'vJ +Took s that

g into it, 0o we decided to go all the way, pool, =d kit and

kaboodle. There was a b. 'i';, and he wanted to cut it, and we decided

that, no, we weren't going to cut it, we made promises and we're

going to do it.

FB 34A

And that's totally black.

I:Uno you feel that white officials treat you differently than they

do other officials that they deal with? Do you feel like they

treat you as merely a spokesman for black causes, and y-e~r-e not....

F: I don't run into that because my, becauseAmy dealings* and the

positions that I have taken on the committee, on the commission,

have not placed me in the militant or the partial category. None

of the votes, nor anythingAI have done on the commission can be

attributed to have racial tones, they haveA they have "i as a basis

that I'm concerned about what's good for the city of Tallahassee,

and what has to be done to maintain that. The things that I think

the government's basic responsibility is to maintain a healthful,

clean environment, and one that, with a high degree of tranquility,

at least where the law enforcement, health and safety, is preserved.
Now all, many of these other things I do not feel is 0 responsibility

of the city government. There's se in me perhaps that I get
involVed in,4some social service aspects, I do not feel is directly

my responsibility. I feel that we have an obligation to facilitate,

or to aid and assist, but they are not our, not my dife-t to do

these responsibilities.

I: What services have you provided for blacks in your district that

they did not have before you took office?

F:- That probably, needs further clarification. When you say services

they did not have, are you talking about, we have to relate this
Wt e s ere, avC
to the masses, or es have to relate this toAcertain areas, like I

talked about initially, sewers, street lights, sidewalks, some other

things of this nature. NowA like the neighborhood center, the barn,

recreation center that's coming off the board now,
oard now,A things that

FB 34A

they did not have. But to relate them directly, to attribute them
100%Ato my being on the commission might not be exactly fair, I'm

only one vote on the commission, like everything else, and this is

something that, in most, in many of the questions\ it would come up

and any, with any black elected official, you've got to realize that

you're talking about either one or two votes, and it is never, unless

it's an unusual city, where that is the of votes. So you,

to take credit for the improvements solely to a community, or to

aj area, may not necessarily be true, because you've got to givej4

you've got to also take into account that, or at least feel that
the people that you're working for have a high degree,4sense of

moralityoda/ sense of his duties and responsibilities and obligations

to those people that he made campaign promises to. Therefore, for

me to assume that I moved things forwardA made all these improvements

for you, is not true. Any more than it's true that the mayor did

them. So, I would perhaps find it difficult to say anything other

than the fact that these things came about during the time that

I served, and I made sure that the other commissioners, I explained

it in such a manner the other commissioners could better understand

what the needs were.

I; Yeai that's mainly what we're after in this type of situation. Things

that may not have come to the attention of the commissioners...

F: Right, now, this, you see, the white commissioners are not going to

go out and try to dig up and find out what the situation is, for can

instance, I got a letter from the city manager today that was telling

me the status of the street that was supposed to have been, that

should be paved, nd the status of some homes out, they're very

nice homes, where the commonwealth went bankrupt and some of the

FB 34A

people just left4j, there and let the weeds grow up around !t, but

the people who bought houses in between these lots, and those lots

weren't being cut. Well, it just so happened that a, one lady who

knows me very well, is black, and this is an integrated neighborhood,

I mean, but, it wasn't done for blacks, it was done in-fact, I had

them go out in all the neighborhoods and look around and seethe
w5as -4qe \ie
houses that wena left that way, and see if i aw cut. And of

course, the bills would have to be sentAto the commonwealth, or
whoever the builderAthe developer is for it. We can't have people

living here, two house here, they've got nice lawns, and the

rattlesnakes, and moccasins are infecting the rest of the -e-s-er a r+-s or

Uninhabited places/ A ids wandering around no matter whose

neighborhood if5 i1.A/t's just hazardous. So, I would take credit

for, since I've beenthere, to better articulate what the needs

are to the other members of the commission. And of course, based

on their own sense of morality, they have always been always seen

things the way I saw them. So, I can't say that I have run into

that, I haven't had the typical kind of redneck situation that
NJ 0koi n
prevails in some areas. For an:.instance, I was helping wk with,

in fact, that's where we met, i nHIShiWhAomA Quincy that, the

president of that organization wanted me to find somebody in

District 9 over here, a black to serve on the Board of Directors.

And he also informed me at the same time that half the whites on

there said that they would resign if they got a black on it. Well,

I told him, "Now, you know, that's unfortunate. I admire your
a-ti-he- +0kc )
courage for coming over here asking me to find you, butAsame t=m~a

you are asking me to ask a friend to go over and serve where he knows

before he gets there that nobody wants him." But, I helped himA I

FB 34A

hd- 3iev gave him some names and everythingA I hope that they can become
educated. I have yet to look at a city that elected black officials

to it, in most cases, where the black official was not more sensitive

to the needs of the whole community, including whites, and in

most cases, less biased. They tend to be the less biased members

on the commission. Inherently, because there are some reasons for

that, obviously, some of them is that they understand the needs

of people a hell of a lot better because they've been the recipients

of some of the kinds of things the government has done, so they

have a better knowledge, a first hand knowledge of first of all,

what needs rectifying, second of all, hbw it can be subtly done.

I: In these specific areas, could you kip or rate how effective

yOU aVe bey particularly in, as they would affect blacks?

F: Now, we went to, the police, we had the man from the International

Association of Chiefs of Police to come downA do a study, and

implement a whole program, so our program of promotion, and program
all +4s I'S
ofAother stuff* now,Aone of these,_high level kinds of operations.A -;V

some of them likedA some of them disliked, obviously,Ayou're going

to have that any time you change some things, but promotion polic/ Utj Variott
nowb xre.
other thingsA done on a highly competitive and professional plane, and

as nothing to with race as it relates in it now. And, the chie-f

can't put in any of his pets es favorites -Ew some things anymore.

You know, all these kinds of things, that's been rectified. Streets

and roads, housing, as I mentioned earlier, housing is a problem.

We do have a Tallahassee Housing AuthorityAwe operate,Awfas it is

inadequate in that there are many, many people that we can't do our
Se hery e 4o P people
code enforcing, because we don't have any way putlfcin people

FB 34A

when we ralSe out, raise the houses. You know, you can't just go

down and take the bulldozers and push them out and say now, "Where

you going to go?" when you haven't provided anything else. Welfare,

we're not really involved in that. Employment, we haven't laid,
the city so far hasn't laid off anybody, but it j@a in any position
to hire anybjro.d either. But Tallahassee, because of the kind of

economy it has, it's rate of employment, unemployment would be less

than many places. However, we do have unemployment, a higher degree

than we had because the building trades are no longer what they
used to be, you know. They used to be, in Tallahassee,Awas building

everywhere. In fact, they-w-ee building with so much there, shat

you couldn't buy cement)if you wanted some, you couldn't buy it.

Lumber) /obody wanted to sell you anything, now they do. It's
g e o eny A a boa r of
gotten to the point now.t) t ven-+h citizens can buyAwood, and

you can get at some nails if you want. But roofing material,ol-

plywood,o'concrete, they just weren't interested in selling it to

you. (chutckle) e)R movJ, it caI J ob+\or do.

I: Parks and recreation, have there been any positive changes that you

can think'wO6- In any of these areas, is there anything that you

can point that perhaps you had an influence on?

F: Yel) i/n our recreation department, in all these areas that we have

been in, we have no, we have a total open-door policy. In all
ieaquce -tCcwt,
sense, in all parks, in all everything, and in all the "i
]e i" Keeoi t here
dnd everything else, we don't have any problemietere A o^er there
you CeCU
they.play. AndAjust take a tour in any of the parks, and you'll

see what s mean. Swimming pools is the same way, the only problem

is, we don't have many swimming pools) \JC onlv rot '-rbut we'll have

four next year. Water, sewage, and garbage, that's routine.

FB 34A

1ealoin 0TnhAd Iospital, we run Tallahassee more or less with no problem

there. Education, we really, depending on what you're saying,

whether you're talking about public information, which would be the
there you'd come, ifd
same, because, if we, ifAanything we are going to doAweLd come

in the utility bill, or it would be in a legal notice or something

like that, so we're not really in education to that &- Fire
ei eellUeq. we've o0of wie've
protection is en~.- I thinkAtfea perhaps 4sE got one of the

finest fire departments in the country, so... In fact, we go, we

go up in Georgia, and we go everywhere.

I: The local fire department?

F: Uh huh. They send for us. In fact, we were down there in oalkecr

County yesterday. Yesterday evening. One-of their sawmills and

things caught on fire down there, and the whole fire, the whole

fire protection they had was our fire department. We respond to

Panama City, we respond in Perry.

I: Kind of a long way.

F: Well, we've got a chief who is very dedicated, and we've got, IAthink 4hat

there' four cities in the country wi'ts got the same rating we've

got. So we're, we try not to get CYoWed but if we'd had
be, our
like we done, we would hkms lost 4r- rating, because there is no
6LL1 to a [Id
way we can dt.m-another two more fire stationsAthe equipment. But
right now for the area that we cover with what we've got, we're in

excellent shape. In fact, it's perhaps the fastest responding

agency we've got. If I were to pick up this phone now, there would

be a fire truck here in less than three minutes, and I would bet you.

Just aboutAin the city in five minutes from the time of the call,

there would be, the vehicle would be there. That's how well they

respond. Now, they are a group that we have never had one single

FB 34A

criticismjof by anybody at any time. It's the only agency we've
( itic Ie )
got in the city that we can say that about.A That may be bad, but
SA1A of
it's the truth. There's always complaints about the police ./ course

that's normal, I guess, in that area. So, that pretty well covers

Ii fC,(.. You asked me to rate how effective I think I have been in
this. I think)very effective in all these agencies, education,

you know, we haven't done anything in that area as such, but, all

these other areas, basically, have been something that I have been

very active l involved in.

I: Have you gotten federal funds for this, have you been inLke&ein- 1t iL

sa M federal funds?

F: Yes, the Tom Smith Water Treatment Facility, the newest addition

of some several million dollars. I was mayor at the timeA course

I had to deal with HUD in Atlanta for weeks and weeks, and in

Jacksonville, as it relates to funding for it, and the funding for

the LincolJNeighborhood Center, I was mayor too, at the time. All

the groundwork for that facility was during that period of time,

and the initial funding for the new generating plant, and' the final

funding, final construction for the new police headquarters, -o)

there are a lot of things that were involved in here that you can't

just directly take credit for, and as I said before, I think, and
(OCi~ii.'.-n- 5 a5nd A4heir
I tend to look at their___ accomplishment in the city of

TallahasseeAbased on a genuine interest on the part of the commission,

commissioners, to do what they think, in their opinion, is best

for the city of Tallahassee, and so far, we have had good commissions,

basically. We've had some that thought quite differently from me,

and I recognize this as a right, and that we weren't elected to be

rubber stamps to each other. We were elected to express opinions,

FB 34A

ideas, and the desires of the people that we served. And that

does not mean special interest,.it means, it means a sensitivity

to the needs of the public.

I: Have you been able to bring in any industry or retail stores?

F: I'm also a member of the Tallahassee Representative, and serve on

the board of the Tallahassee Area Chamber ofCommerce. The Chamber

of Commerce is involved in trying to get industry into Tallahassee

as well as doctors, and of course, we go on a blitz to recruit

doctors every year through the Chamber. Wi go on another blitz,

for instance, it was in Atlanta, I believe, or New Orleans this

year. We spend two or three days in some major city talking about

how great Tallahassee is. In other words, know your city, know

your capital, V d0o i~i1state. So, like Miami, Tampa,ASt. Petersburg,y

oawJ the larger "places where people might not really know what we're all

about, and this isApromotional campaign, not to get people to live

here, but just to, for people to know more about Tallahassee.

Brainpower, we thought one time we were going to get Sony, but
of 5sMe o t-egr--
MontgomeryA I think it was Montgomery, Alabama, gave them electrical
covvn o-+vit-'a
rates, they were preferential, and of course by'bond etvnecare- we
_ud' kditO,"v, 4cv -:"
couldn't do it) /e couldn't compete. aOus the fact, I

think they gave them property and tax reductions A they weasa'-Lt'o0-
to 00,d I011) 77 nican)
Qig -to charge them for4bAheg _~ / ve couldn't do that. So,

and besides, Tallahassee is a kind of peaceful, tranquil city that's

steeped in tradition that 4ee t want, in a large measure, certain

kinds of industry, and many people would not like to have any at

all. So, putting this all together, you have an unusual situation.

I: Have you been able to see that blacks are hired fairly in most

FB 34A

j- (ocal yoverrmeot? Nave you haJ irFlueyrmcc.
F: That is a questionable thing. I could not positively say that there
is none. I could say that every precaution has been made including

hiring. An equal opportunity person that gets $16,000 is black)

/o make sure that that is Je's presently hired,
---e -9 1WJ -
plus we have personnel directors,andA4whole personnel systemAhas

been instituted, whcih I was instrumental in doing, ~hat's what I

probably could take .a lot more credit for. But,.. ..

I; What was that one? (o

F: Personnel department. The city d-i1dnt hae- ono when dalt w sion,

jlot)Aa QdeapruYe4t, it was i-tnhto=e4 that ce the motions of
S): iwHtIEnploym.
hiring, you know, all those things. The records, files, all As>

1e e e 4ore things .
I: And now they have one that operates on a professional basis? Has

federal revenue sharing helped your district? Helped ?

F: Certainly. Oh, yes, that's why we're going to be able to vefb6 blwa
-/ 0Yo re-
bonds2 southh enter /hy we're going to pave so -4awt streets,

/hy we're going to try to improve some substandard housing, and
why we're going to be able to get rid of some of the blighted ones

that nobody's living in. Get the Mro\/e. to pay for code enforcement

to get somebody to have that, y. knoioJ.

I: Have there been any black protests, sit-ins, boycotts, drives in

your city in the last few years?

F: Oh, yes. The last ten years. Sure.

I: What were the issues?

F: In the last ten years....

I: Spet4'i black protests.
F: Well, they weren't against the city.

FB 34A

I: What were the issues?
F: Well, I'll have to try to think what the issues were. a were
4-ey're c8irv l 4e
issues and time of legislature. There were issues

against the Sheriff's Department, the last one, I think, was because,

was the trial for the five Quincy fellows who allegedly killed a
rocerie oUj- herc
deputy in Luke's, at Luke's wrcs -st' somewhere, and there have

been that kind of thing, there have not been issues that,they would
protest against City Hall pe~r se persDo I(( or anyf-ki vt like tI l.

I: And have these, what were the effects of these demonstrations, and

so forth? Did they effect you?

F: I don't think they've uk h ete oe Iai1i 4~is5 5 purely conjecture.

Possibly, but it would be difficult to measure it. I think they

had some positive effects, in some regards, and I think they had

some very definite negative ones 6tef some others. It would all

depend on the point of view of the individuals effected would use.

The amount of pressure to achieve the 'Ven goal is what could

make it a positive thing, but too much pressure in an area, or too

often, can negate it's effectiveness, and that's why I'm) fha fis v~hy V'r

responding to what you're saying, there was a point in time, where

every week or so there were threats of protests, either the
school board5-;btA hiring somebody or a policy or bussing, or, I'm

just using tSfs as examples) 0r unfair treatment, they felt that

somebody was getting in the courts. In that regard, if all those

things came about, or every week or so that you had one of these

kinds of things, their effectiveness is minimized. Unless you have

to use any kind of persuasion that deals with one's sense of

morality, the less it's attacked' heess frequently it t attacked,

the more positive the reaction to it's going to be. You know, if

FB 34A

0.lld i fiey care-
somebody came over hereAhabitually. aggravated me,A for instance,

we had two people who used to come the commission all the time ,ac

would have great ideas, soAwe'd see them walk in the door, adeeVJ ,

say, "There she is again." And she may have had the damn best

idea in the world, but nobody listened to her. They sat there,

but they didn't listen. Never get the illusion that somebody's

listening ti because they're looking at you. So, that's the

point4when you asked me the effectiveness of it, I jueSt/oecd
part of it. Bas a high degree of it turned me off. It turned
-4ey werc.
a lot of other people off. You know,Ain the streets, it was e.Inq

traffic, the point had been made, it was on television, it was

on all of the newspapers, what were you going to gain? The point

is, the whole point is that it is the freedom to express dissent

I: Jimbt like to ask you a couple of questions about assessment of

black politics in Florida in general. What's your opinion of the


F: My opinion of the governor? He's about the nicest governor we ever

had.... : T'vI relt'on i-" his pokii'oni i o~fice. F-O.K. He's about the nicest

governor that we have ever had. He hasn't disrupted nothing, he

hasn't changed basically# nothing, he hasn't done basically nothing.

So nobody can say nothing really bad about the man, he don't drink,

he don't smoke, and his children are adopted. So, i4,^ he's a

highly religious OLnd flor, individual, and I have a lot of respect

for the governor, but he hasn't shown me such a high degree of

positive leadership. I know he did a lot in the corporate income

41s& the corporate tax situation, but what happened to it, the taxes

end4f up coming back to the consumer, like I knew it was going to

FB 34A

happen. He taxed the corporation, they simply ran the price on
who use 4t+
to the people-4s* e product.
athde bl backs?
I: How about in regards to a or policy towards R-D se?
F: The governor? Well, now, I don't know whether you can give Yirma ukho(
Io .tl more credli't ,Yur
ar d ', -cnny you can give qovyg credit. It's difficult to

assess that kind of leadership, and then when you look at the
total thing, you've got to look at which blacks,, /hat caliber of
black. Did they echo the basic philosophy of blacks in the state,
or the district or the area that they came from? What are their

duties and responsibilities? And db those duties and responsibilities...


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