Title: Karl Weaver
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Title: Karl Weaver
Series Title: Karl Weaver
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Page 1-Beginning of Side 1

The subject interviewed is Karl Weaver. The interviewer is with the "Button

Project." No introduction was given.

I: What year did you first register to vote?

W: In 1958--'59. 1959.

I: Okay. And when were you first eligible to vote?

W: In 1959.

I: And eligible to register also in 1959?

W: Yes.

I: Okay. How did the local registration--did the local registrators ever

turn you down when you applied to register?

W: No. I never had any problem with that. I never had to.

I: Uh, have voter registration drives been held in the district in which

you hold office? Could you name a few for me? Of any groups of citizens

or--they'd put on a registration drive or?

W: Uh, the first registration drive that I was familiar with is one I conducted
myself in 1960 possibly. I think / was the year. In which the

our local newspaper carried an advertisement in there where we were

actively participating in getting registered to vote. That was under the

auspices of the North Broward Democratic Club. That was the name of our

group. The Northwest Voter's League has always put on a registration drive

pretty much yearly-ever since I've been in Pompano.

I': Hmmm. Were there any national organizations?

W: Not to my knowledge. I think on occasions, the NAACP may have asked that,

you know, people go out and register to vote, you know, through announcements

to church, but I don't-I'm not aware of any active organization in the


I: Okay. So you say it's from about 1960 on where there's been a pretty good

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W: Yes. Uh huh.

I: How successful were these drives?

W: In my terminology successful would be--a successful voter registration

would be 100 percent of the occupants in a city to register to vote. I

could say that.; in a sense, it was successful that you got a number of

people registered whereby that it made the politicians in the city--both

city and local government take notice of the community. And I think,

really, this is when some of the changes began, too.

I: Are there any things which prevent blacks from registering to vote here

in Pompano?

W-; At the present, no. I don't think there's anything that prohibits blacks

from registering. There's nothing to discourage them from registering.

In the past, ITd say there were some handicaps in registering, simply

because all of the polling places were located in Ft. Lauderdale. Many

of them was located completely out of the black community, and they was

held at an hour in which the black people really couldn't get out to

register to vote. It was during these voter registration campaigns that,

you know, we were able to get the booths into the community or get them

to hold open the registratrar's office on Saturdays so the working people

could come in and register.

I: Do they have night registration here in Pompano now? No?

W: Not to my knowledge. No. It's-I think it's pretty much a 9-5 proposition.

I: Okay. I just want you to check-some of these questions may not apply to

Pompano, but just put not important at the end. I want you to rate how

important you think each of the following items are in preventing blacks

to register to vote here in Pompano or in your district.

W: Will you repeat that question again?

I: Okay. How important do you think each of the following items are in

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preventing blacks from registering to vote here in Pompano, uh, economical?

W: Oh, I see what you mean. Okay.

I: Economic dependence on whites?

W: From preventing blacks to register--thatts unbelievable. I'd say the

first one would probably be fairly important. Uh, so you don't want me

to check them off?

I' Yes.

W: Just put a check by it. Okay.

I: That's right. What about pure physical violence?

W: I'd say it's not important.

I: Is complicated registration forms--is that---

W: I could say that's, uh--

I: You know, people have trouble reading the forms.

W: Yeah, I know. I really don't think that that's--I'd say-I wouldn't want

to rate it not important. I would say fairly important simply because

a lot of them still feel that, you know, you got to go take the literacy

test, and so forth. They're not really knowledgable that all you have to

do is go down there and really mainly just almost write your name. That's all.

I:: Do they have people here to help you?

W: Yes they do. Uh huh.

I: You've already commented on the poor __ .

W: Yeah. I think this is a--I'd say this is a-but uh, I'd say very important.

This has an effect in it.

I: What about registration not held often enough?

W: Well, I'd say that's not important because, you know, you register just

about any day that you want to other than when elections is in the process.

-I: Do they take your name off the polls here if you don't vote after two years?

W: Uh, they purge them regular, but not after two years. There's many people

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who've been on the books for years that didn't register, you know, didn't

vote at all, but they still maintained their residency. And even if they-

your name was purged from the books, all you had to do is go down and prove

that you had maintained your residence at that location even though you

didn't vote. And you were allowed to vote. Because I found people being

able to register and vote during my elections who had never voted, both

blacks and whites, you know, under the same category.

I: What about indifference of blacks to voting?

W: I think that's a very important because it's just that blacks don't vote

like they should. You know, and this is what's really keeping them, as far

as--well, I don't say that's not keeping them from registering to vote, but

this is one of the factors of them not being able to elect people to the,

you know, elected officials.

I: Do they have districting here in Pompano?

W: They have districting.

I: They do.

W: And this is used primarily against the black vote, yeah.

I: Sometimes they do--they can change it?

W: Yeah.

I: Okay.

W: They gerrymandered around and uh, if the population of blacks grows, they

may add white districts into that particular district in order to pretty

Much what you-have a neutralizing effect on the black vote.

I': That's pretty strange for this far down.

W: It has an effect, but then the way that the system of districting is set

up in Pompano whereby you only voting--you really voting citywide. So if

you get out and campaign even in other communities, you can really beat them.

I: Okay. The following questions are asked to gather information on the

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elected campaigns of black elected officials in Florida. Were you able to

campaign freely, that is, were you threatened in any way--your family?

W: No, I was pretty much free to campaign, you know, in-well, a couple of

times I knew a few things, I could--you could be interpreted as gestures

that you should stay here or there, but uh, you know, a few threats, you

know, a black cat on the door or something like that. But this

didn't bother me.

I: Nothing serious?

W: Nothing. No. No. No physical violence whatever.

I: Okay. Were you handicapped by lack of campaign money?

W:! I wouldn't say that I was handicapped by a lack of money. More so by than a

lack of--you know, the presence of restrictive type legislation which allows

you not to be able to do things until you had the money. Actually, what

I'm saying, I guess, is that I could have campaigned much freer. Like

you get your literature out quicker 'cause I could have gotten it

credited to me and put it in later, but, you know, the way they have it

set up, you've got to have your money in in a certain time. And that

you name people who've given you money. And this, I guess, was restrictive.

I: Okay. Why did you decide to run for office?

W: I don't think I answered that question probably like I should have.

I: No. WEll, that's fine.

W: If it's okay.

I: Why did you decide to run for office? Was it your own decision, selected

by a political party, group of concerned citizens or other?

W: I think it's pretty much my own decision. I've refrained from any kind

of party politics. I've identified myself with the democratic party, but

really, when it comes down to it, I'm pretty much my own man. I don't

follow the dictates of the republican or the democrats or anybody else.

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And I just decided that I wanted to serve the people of this community.

I felt that, you know, I could bridge the gap between the black and the

white community because I had pretty good relations with the white

community as well as the black community. And I feel like I could

amplify or pretty much clarify the black people's positions and their

desires in city hall. And this is why I decided to run.along with many

of the people in the black community urging me. They say, well, you

should run, after I decided I want to run, they encouraged me to run.

I: You did get a lot of support then?

W: Oh yeah. I had the citywide .

I: Did you receive any support from the democratic party in your campaign or-

W: No. No. I had--after I was elected, I had all kinds of democratic people

Sand so forth come by who say, you know, we really helped you. We pushed

you this and we got you to passing But

when you sit down and really analyze the votes you got, and analyze where

they come from, you could just about account for all of them. So, you


I: So they really didn't give you financial support?

W: No. No, and I've never received any money from, you know, per se democratic

party or you know, any party period, really.

I: What are the two or three most important issues on which you campaigned?

V: Three of the most important issues that I--

I: Oh, two or three.

W: Two or three, okay. I'll make it three.

I: Okay.

W: The main issue that I campaigned on was annexation--to annex particularly

areas west of Pompano city limits. This is the area which included, I'd

say, the majority of the black people. Because, actually, there's only a

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small minority of black people that live within the city limits of

Pompano Beach. And I felt, number one, annexing these areas into the city

would entitle us to a much larger black vote. It would entitle us to a

better bargaining position, you know, from a political standpoint.

I: Where did these people belong to-these people you wanted to annex within


W: The unincorporated areas surrounding Pompano Beach, and so didn't belong

to anybody. They was out in no man's land. And the main issue was that

I: the--now the reason that I wanted annexation-that I could,
municipal services, provide a lot of the services to those areas which

they needed--fire protection, police protection, water, sewage. All of

these things you can only get through a municipality but they didn't

have this, see. And they didn't have any voice and so this is my main

reason. And secondarily, I'd guess you'd say that it was so that we
could/political strength so that we could really get in there and

bargain for some of these things.

I: Was there other important issues?

W:.' I'd say the most second important issue was getting municipal services to

the black community which was presently in the city of Pompano Beach. I

don't remember exact figures as to what they were spending in the

northwest area, but it was peanuts compared to what they were spending in

the other areas of the city. And the black people were contributing a

sizable sum of money to the city's and were receiving absolutely

no service, and that's what it amounted to. And actually, we went so

far as to ask the federal investigation as well as the justice department

to look into the discriminatory practices of the city in trying to get

Smonies and services to the black community.

I: So these issues were also the main problems that were facing the blacks?

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W: These are the problems that were facing black people. And then I'd say

the most, and the third issue would have been zoning, uh, housing and

zoning. This is, uh, in the black community we just had a

multiplicity of zoning-industry lumped in with residential. A guy

build a house today and tomorrow a guy come and build a tar factory

j right next to him and there's nothing said about it and nothing done.

So we managed to get, you know, density control, land set aside for

single family homes rather than just apartments all the time. It was

a lots involved into that, you know, zoning and that land use plan that

we got-adopted.

I: So it was adopted?

W: It was adopted. All--mostly all these things was accomplished, excepting

the annexation, and I almost won that annexation, but they had a help from

the state legislators and even the governor and some of the other people.

I: I got a couple good questions about that you may want to answer.

W. Yeah. Boy would I love to.

I: Okay. These questions are asked to determine some of the conditions which

have enabled blacks to win office in Florida. How were you elected, at

large or by a district?

W: At large. It was--you run from a district, but you was voted up on as at

large. And this to the district then. The only thing that,

you know, like our--it's divided up into three districts. You must belong

within-live within=-reside withinvthat district.

I: Uh huh.

W: But then you're voted upon citywide. This is why I say, as far as

districting, it doesn't have any effect on voting. Just a matter that

you got to live where you running from. And I don't mind that 'cause I

don't want to live anywhere else but in my district anyway.

I: How many people are here in your district?

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W: I have no knowledge how many are in the district because that thing changes,

you know, almost every time the wind blows. adds on a new

condominium then district three grows and this thing. So I wouldn't

really have any idea.

I: You don't have any idea. Okay.

W: I wouldn't even want to guesstimate at this point.

I: Okay. Do you know what percentage of the population in your district is


W: I'd say about 17 percent.

I: Seventeen?

W: Uh huh.

I: Okay. About what percentage of blacks are voting age in your district--

are registered to vote?

W: What percentage of blacks are--

I: Of voting age.

W: Of voting age? I'd venture to guess about, I'd say about 60 percent 'cause

there's really not a lot of, you know, it's not a young--this is not a

young community. Most of these are my age and older, you know. We're

considered, you know, some of the younger groups of this, you know, the

city. And I'm well over the voting age and my kids are almost at voting age.

And there's not too many young ones coming on.

I: What percentage would you guess blacks are registered to vote, do you

estimate, actually voted when you were elected?

W: Let's see. It's a little bit easier to go find the documents and find out

than it is guessing, but I would guess--I'd say about 15-25 percent. I'd

say 25, you know, that's--

I: Do you think you got any votes from whites?

W: Oh yeah. I'd never got elected otherwise.

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I: Okay. About what percentage-from whites?

W: What percentage of my votes were from whites? I'd say probably about.

60 percent.

I: Sixty percent? Okay. In the election in which you won office, how many

opponents did you have?

W: Well, you see, you're always eliminated-you eliminate them until one.

I: Right, but when you started out.

W: When you first start. Okay, the first time I ran, there must have been

about thirteen. I think I was the thirteenth candidate who filed. And I

was, you know, it boiled down to myself and my opponent who eventually won,

who was a previous mayor and also he was a, oh, hard line politician from

his heart.

I: Uh huh.

W: I mean, you know, he was a pretty tough guy to beat. He had all the

organized structures behind him. And at that time, I knew nothing about,

you know, really politics or political strategies, the terminology.

I: How many were white of the original thirteen?

W: All of them. I was the only black.

I: You were the only black?

W: The second time there was only two guys, me and my opponent. And that

time I was able to beat him because I didn't have to divide up my votes

among all of the other candidates. Second, there is no chance for them

to see my strength until the final day, you know, because, you know, in

th previous election where I run against William Aserdoff and he won and

beat me. We had a primary so they saw how strong I was. And they went

back and really went to work and got the party together. And I think the

party really got involved because there was a'lot of literature running

around with the republican stamps and prominent republican figures writing

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and endorsing it. But uh, and the second time around, it's me and George

Fiveck. And see, there was no primary.

I: Uh huh.

W: And I had worked real hard to try to lay the groundwork to see that, you

know, we got the black votes out much more heavily than we did the first

time, see. And we won. We concentrated much heavily, see.

I; Little more effort.

W Yeah.

I: Okay. Do you know what percentage of the total vote you received when you were

finally in office?

W: What percentage of the total vote that I received?

I: When it was down to the two.

W: I beat him more than two to one. I must have had about 60 or 70 percent

of the votes.

I: Okay. These 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?

Would you discuss a few of those?

W: Yeah. I think I've been able to help to them tremendously in, uh, number

one is establishing a line of communication between the community and city

hall. Whereas before, there was no line of communication at.all. And,

you know, and the black people were just in the community pulverized

almost each year. And then almost inevitable there was always a riot.

See, and this is one of the things I was trying to ward against is to

open up these lines of communication whereby these people can express

themselves to the proper authority rather than having to take it out,

you know, on the guy on the street. This was a major accomplishment.

There is ears open down in city hall, even now, you know, even without

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me being down there. There's a lot of improvements that was gotten during

my administration which was never thought and even gotten, you know, prior.

Improvements like sidewalks in the community, beautification, the water

pressure was upgraded, areas that was never had water at all finally got

in the water. Like some of these unincorporated areas that I was talking

about. These people had been drinking contaminated water, and we even

went as far as Rogers in Washington, but finally we got water through.
Many of the people/are talking about annexation, they see the advantages

of annexation of these outlying areas. The businessmen are thinking

toward the community now. And this-- a lot of it was even started before

I, you know, got on the commission, simply because, you know, through

business and my own self I was showing them that black people could

produce and that they were able and capable of, you know, doing these

type things. And so, you know, some of the businessmen were beginning

to look toward the community. These type of improvements were-they

were able to benefit from.

I: Were you the first black man elected in Pompano.

W: Yes. Uh huh. The first one.

I: Okay. What, if anything, has prevented you from doing a better job,

especially in regard to benefiting blacks in your district?

W: Communication is the--has been the most, to me, the most difficult thing

to try to accomplish. And there's a number of reasons for that. As a

rule, most black people don't read the paper. They won't pick it up. They

will not read it, and then they reads it, and half the time they don't

understand. And that's just not unique with the black community.

I: Right.

W: It's also with the white community, but I'm saying that this is the

problem. You know, and it's not really a black problem, but it is a

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problem that confronts the black also-more so than others. I just can't

even hardly think of anything else that's--

1: What about money, funding?

W: Well, money--your money itself is, you know, like economics. It will

always be a problem as far as this community is concerned. It's just

about the, like they say, root of all evils. If you don't have the

money, you know, what can you do. But I do think that, you know, a lot

of the monies that were sent down through the way of federal revenue

sharing and other federal monies--that they weren't getting their' share

of it which would enable them to do a much better job. Because I really

feel that, you know, if the city would just put forth some of the efforts

that they could have with some of the federal money they have, it would

have helped these people over the hump enough whereby they could have

become much better in producing citizens which the city would have then

benefited from in the long run. See, and uh, but they couldn't see that.

I' Okay. Here's another check list.

W: Okay.

I: Please rate how important you think the following items are in preventing

you from doing a better job benefiting blacks. How about the office has

no real authority. By that we mean not much power in getting things done.

W: Well, I think this is a--okay, I think this is really uh, I'd say it's very

important because with the type of set up that we have, a city manager

form of government, the commissioners really don't have that much power.

You can tell that city manager what to do, but you know, you have to

almost threaten with a recall or something-not a recall but a-something

to terminate his wages in order to be able to-

I': What about out voted by white officials? Do you find that the whites were

cooperating with you on the commission?

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W: I'd say that's very important because I was outvoted most of the time

by that.

I: What about, well, we've already mentioned not enough revenue. You thought

that was important also.

W: Yes, uh huh.

I: What about unfamiliar with administrative duties when you took office?

W: I don't think that was important 'cause, I mean, you know, I was pretty

much familiar with, you know, with the procedures 'cause I've always

attended city commission meetings and sit in and watch. And I observed

so I knew what they were doing and what they had to do. I just wasn't

familiar with the back room deals, you know. I didn't know how, you know,

I didn't know they were pulling the wool over my eyes then, see so.

I.: T1ght.

W: I mean, as far as what they kept above board, I knew what, you know, I

was familiar. So I'd say that was really fairly important because I

learned my lessons that, you know, all it is wasn't really made up on

that podium.

I: What about lack of cooperation from whites?

W: I think there is more of a lack of cooperation from blacks than there was

a lack of cooperation of whites. So I'd have to rate that not important.

r: OKay. You say the next question--lack of cooperation from blacks was


W: Okay. So I'd say very important.

I: What about lack of cooperation from the state officials?

W: I'd say that's very important.

I: And what about lack of cooperation from the federal officials?

W: And that's-I can't go beyond very important, but I'll put very important.

I: Do you want to comment on that a little bit?

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W: I'll comment on it because, you know, the state and federal officials,

they're the next step higher than our local government. And if you finding

the local government is not complying with the law-the constitution, number

one, which they supposedly swore to uphold and follow as well as the guide-

lines sent down by Lederal government and by state government. And they

fail to make them comply, then where do you have to turn to. Then that

starts undermining the whole concept of a democracy of having government,

you know, by the people, you know. And I just--I was furious with the

lack of federal government and the state government in taking proper
actions in order to help, you know, rectify/situation in which I felt

was badly in need of rectifying.

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

you in holding office, that is, do some blacks not cooperate with you

because they feel you're only a token in government and have no real


W: No, I don't find many of them with that attitude. I've found that, you know,

it's just a lack of being unaware. You know, people who just didn't really

know what to do and how to do it, and you didn't know how to get to them

to communicate 'cause they wouldn't get involved. You'd try to send out

leaflets and you'd talk on radio shows, and there was just no way of

communicating with them. So consequently, they didn't know how to support

or, you know, to cooperate with you. And their lack of cooperation hinders

you from getting much of the services that they would have gotten because,

you know, if they'd have showed support for things like annexation, you know,

or fluoridation to the water. That was one that really infuriated me

because of the fact that I was the only one on the whole commission fighting

to have the water-have fluoride. And because I felt that it would

basically help, particularly our poverty children who couldn't afford to

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go to dentists and have their teeth treated with fluoride and so forth.

So- they had the most benefit from it, and I don't think ten of the

people went to the polls to vote it, and then they just--you know, they

just went down the drain. And I fought the thing, you know, tooth and

nail. It's the same way with the, you know, that candidates who were

running and running on an anti-annexation platform, they should have

automatically, without a doubt, without question, voted these people-

against these people, but they didn't. They voted for one guy who

swore that he would not go for annexation. I don't say they voted for him,

but they sure didn't vote for the other candidates so, you know, silence gives
I: Are there any other examples you think of offhand that were-

WI: Whereby the lack of support from the black community?

I: Lack of support. Uh huh.

W: Well again, during election time, you know, my re-election. I could have

been easily re-elected had the black people went out and voted because,

you know, during the primary I was something like almost 2,000 votes more

than the other candidates which astounded most of them 'cause they had

felt I would be defeated because of you know, an issue--a stand I took

on a controversial hotel issue. But then I showed strong even in the area

where they were expecting me to get defeated. But the black people didn't

go to the polls. And see, and that was my strenght, you know. This is

where I had to rely on my base, and then, you know, I think organized labor

had an effect, you know, had a part in it.

I: Against you?

W: Against me, yes. A lot of the black-this is why I'm making the economic,

uh, it's pretty much, you know, I'd say very important. Because many of

those guys jobs was depending on, you know, they told them that, you

know, Weaver was anti-builders and anti-this. And the only thing I was

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anti was the fact that these builders who were just really littering up

the earth, and no .place to stay. And just building a bunch of slums and

taking off somewhere else, and leaving you to suffer with it. And this I

didn't like. I didn't care whether they was building it over here in the

black community or they was building it over in the beach. And I just

took a stand and they didn't like that. You know, not being informed and

knowing what my real stand and my real stand motive was cost me an election

because, you know, they didn't know.

I: Do you feel that white officials treat you differently from other officials?

W' They do. Yeah. More ways than one. I don't say they treat me in a hostile

And then many times I could go to stuff like League of

Cities, you know, they were real friendly. And they all spoke, and we

talked issues, just like, you know, you and I would sit down and talk any

issues. But then, you know, they'd try to make exceptions. I don't like

to he treated any different. I don't want you to say, well, gee, that's

a black commissioner. Or that's commissioner, the first black of Pompano.

You know, Karl is just a commissioner. He's a guy on the commission just

like I am. And if he's a problem there, you know, we got a problem, not

Karl's problem. And I didn't like the idea of the commissioners always

saying, well, okay, it's in the black community, Karl, what should we do.

Look, that's what should we do, you know.

I: Well, do they consider you a spokesman for the blacks?

W: Yes. Uh huh.

I: What services did you provide for the blacks in your district that they

did not have before you took office?

W: Voting in the voting places in your own district. Because before they'd would

never put a polling place in the black community. And that was held--that

was worked against us, see.

I: Right.

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W: We always had to cross Dixie Highway, and then the most-they didn't

see the pattern of the black vote. They had to either vote early in the

morning or late in the afternoon after they got off of work 'cause-during

the day, you ain't going to hardly get any voters. So late in the

afternoon, Dixie Highway, which is a northwest, uh, a north-s6uth artery.

Then the polling place was located on the east side of that artery which

makes it highly difficult for a person to get across that track and vote.
So we either had a long lines, and we got/that long line and they're already

tired from a hard days work. It discouraged them so they went back home. So

managed to get polling places located within the black community whereby

the people can go right out early in the mornings and vote in the mornings

conveniently. And as when they come back in in the afternoon, they can

vote, see. So that's something that they didn't have which I thought was

a very important thing that they didn't have.

I: Yeah. Mostly-

W: As well as, you know, some of the other things that they're getting now.

I: Would you give me a couple examples of those things?

W: Well, I don't say that they didn't have them exclusively, but--

I: No, better if we could say also.

W: Well, yeah, one community, which is Carver's home, is a black community

which didn't have drinking water. And now they have city drinking water

which kind of guarantees them they won't have to be drinking hepatitis

for breakfast, see. So this was good for them. I think we have better

police protection now than we have had before. It was always a pretty

bad atmosphere between the police community and the black community. And

there was constant friction, and every time, you know, this is always a

point for violence.

I: Uh huh.

FB, 50A Bridges

Page. 19

W: So I think I kind of built somewhat of respect for the black community

from the police department as well as trying to get black people to

respect law and--as they-that they should. You know, and respected

their authority. Although the authority shouldn't abuse it, see.

1: Right.

W: And this is where, you know, this is one of the big problems that we had

in the city. And I was asking for state investigations and I was also

asking for federal investigations.

I: Was there police brutality reports?

W: I had many reports of police brutality, both in the black and white


I: And harassments?

W: And harassments and actions which I felt was unbecoming of.police officers,

and that got to be one heck of a controversy in Pompano for a while.

I: Here's the last of our little check boxes.

W: Okay.

I: Okay. Could you please rate how effective you think you have been in each

of the following services in terms of benefiting blacks. Police protection.

We just-

W: II'll say somewhat effective because I still--I'm still not satisfied that

we have the type of protection that I love to see.

I: Okay. What about streets and roads? Do you have any problems?

W: I'll say somewhat effective because there's many streets that we had prior

to my election was nothing but dirt. At least now we have tar and gravel,

and we've been able to get street lighting and something. They all go in there.

1: Okay. Are they-are the streets up to par with the white streets or main

streets or--

W: In general, yes. There are still a lot of areas whereby that the area

FB 50A Bridges

Page. 20

still needs--

I: Do they have sidewalks on the street?

W: Some--well, I would say school routes have sidewalks. There's still

other areas that doesn't have sidewalks. They could have them, and we

wished that they did.

I: What about housing?

W: Oh, let's see. I better check these off. Our streets and roads, we

put somewhat effective. Housing-I'll say somewhat effective because of

the fact that at least now we have zoning whereby that person can build a

house which they want to, and they are building some houses. It's public

housing are poor. We doesn't have any. Welfare--I'll have to put not

effective because the welfare is terrible. The city constantly refuses

to set up a department of community affairs whereby that they could

advise citizens as to what they were entitled to, how they go about

getting aid and assistance for employed and assisting the elderly and

so forth. And they'll just tax it. Even this year, when the budget,

you know, when I wasn't down there, they turned down hot lunches for

the. old people. And this is something I've always fought for. They cut

it out one year, but, you know, by me being there, I was able to get a

hold of Nan Hutchinson and some of the others who were in the Division of

Family Services to come up and speak on the issue. And then they put it

back in the budget. But this year, you know, with nobody there, the watchdog

and so forth, they cut it out of the budget.

I: So there is a welfare problem.

W: There is definitely a welfare problem in the city of Pompano Beach. And

it really needs something drastically done and fast. Now I'd say that's

one of the most critical areas right now facing Pompano Beach's black


FB 50A Bridges

fage- 21

I: What about employment?

W: This is basically the same. I'll have to say somewhat effective. I won't

say not effective. I'll say somewhat effective for the simple reason that

we were able to get them to adopt affirmative action program through the

city whereby they would put on paper that they would not discriminate or

that they would, you know, give equal opportunity as far as trying to hide.

They did put forth some efforts to try to go out and recruit some blacks

for oettain jobs and so forth, but how it really honestly was, I don't know.

But at least they went through the motions, and so I can't say that they

didn't do it honestly so I'd have to say effective, but they're still no

blacks in the fire department. There's very few in the police department.

And practically none in administrative positions and so forth.

I: Do you think the police, because they're black, their promotions come

slower, from let's say, a white officer?

W: Well, I had one complaint to that effect while I was in office. Now,

whether or not that's, uh, there hasn't been that many black officers down

there. So I mean, you know, it's kind of hard to answer a question like

that. I know Officer Chriswell, who was a member of police force for a

number of years, claimed that, you know, and he did. He had quite an

educational background and the degrees to prove it, and he's never gotten


I: Well, we could say, then, it would be fair that it could use a little more

equalization in the police department.

W: Well, I think the somewhat whitewash of an investigation that the justice

department did that was one of the errors that they did point out--that the

city of Pompano Beach should correct or look into something. That, you know,

it was ridiculous.

1: What about parks and recreation?

FR 50A Bridges

Page. 22

W: Parks and reareation--I'll say that we were somewhat effective because of

the fact that they did put in the budget's monies to develop Apollo Park.

We impwaved Westside Park. We got a recreation program started in the

northwest area which we'd never had before, you know. So there were some

improvements made during the, you know, my administration.

I: What about water, sewage, and garbage in the black area?

W: I'd say that was somewhat effective. One of the complaints that the

black community have often had was the fact that poor garbage pick up.

The fact that there were many areas which were allowed to litter. You

know, like, you know, some people, you know, even in the black community,

they just throw out old refrigerators and garbage around the house. And

didn't put it in proper containers. We felt that the city's--it was the

city's responsibility to enforce the law. The law says that you're not

allowed to litter, and allow your property to be littered like that.

They would enforce that in the white community. We were wanting them to

enforce it in the black community whereby that we could upgrade our

community. And this is something that's till lacking in this community.

You ride around in this community and you'll see people are allowed to

spill piles and piles of litter and trash along the side of the streets.

We should prohibit it. Old junk cars-this was something was allowed to

do. And many of the things that I've fought for while I was in there are

now beginning to appear back on the scenes, see, and which is disheartening.

I: Right. What about health and hospitalization? Did the city commission

have anything to dowith that?

W: No, not really 'cause, see, we have a hospital district which in

our hospital district is set up to handle this under a county fund. The

city has nothing to do with it. And the others are just private hospitals

in the areas so the city doesn't have any--

FR 5QA Bridges

Page 23

I: What about health clinics?

W: They did, uh, well, they had--they did add on to our fire department's

paramedic program at extra cost to the citizens which I opposed.

I: Yes.

W: You know this is an emergency medical service. They could have gotten

the same service through the Broward County medical service at no extra

cost to the taxpayers, and that's what I was looking for. The same service

at no cost.

I:: Why didn't they want the no cost?

W: Well, they wanted to maintain control, and I think this is a--see, under

the Broward County, they would have had to extend that service to areas

such as Christhaven, which is an elderly white neighborhood north of us,

Kendall Green, which is an area that's white, north of us. Even west to

black community, and I think this was more of a hinder than you was these

other two because they have entered into mutual agreement pacts with these

other communities whereby they won't enter into mutual agreement pacts

with the black communities. So I feel that, you know, this is basically

th&ir reason. They didn't want to have to afford these services to the

black community.

I: How about education?

W: They have nothing to do with education. I don't know. I should check this

one off first, then maybe health and hospital. I have to put not effective

because we don't have a program under this one.

I: Okay.

W: In education, again, the city has nothing to do with it, as far as the

education procedures. Although they have shown willingness and cooperation

to work with the school board in trying to make situations around school

areas, you know, safer. Or one instance of Pompano Beach High School had

FP 5.A Bridges

page 24

a problem with water on one of the streets. They did say that, you know,

they'd come in there and grade it, possibly put in some type of a drainage


I: Uh huh.

W: They tried to cooperate as much with school officials as they could as

commissioners. I think even went so far as to give city funds to the

school to go on band trips, which is really illegal, in my opinion. And

I voted against it again, too. 'Cause Avin plays. Some school officials

sent my nephew over to-in one of the groups that solicit the funds, and

I still said no because, you know, again, it was wrong. It's--you're not

to take tax-supported money to support things like that.

I: What about fire protection? Is the fire protection-

W: Fire protection--I'm going to have to put not effective for the simple

reason that we fought, and this is one of the main issues that I rallied

behind and fought for during my campaign was a fire station located west

of Dixie Highway, which I was referring to basically the black community.

But then they went west of Dixie Highway, but they went clear west out into

a white neighborhood. I don't know. It was so far west it's almost not in

the city.

1: Could you tell me about how far away that is from the black community

that we are in now?

W: It's roughly around three miles.

I: I didn't see fire hydrants.

W: There is some fire hydrants in the black community. They're located fairly

good. I mean as far as the fire hydrants are concerned. They are here.

But the fire apparatus you need is not here. And you got two railroad

tracks which would prohibit along with 1-95, they would prohibit adequate

service to the black community. And this is one of the things that I

FB 50A Bridges

Page 25

feel is going to happen in the future. That we're just going to be

trapped in here if a real disaster happens--getting emergency medical

service as well as fire protection in here. And this is your more fire

prone area, too, by the way.

I: Would you say that it looks good in the near future for getting a fire

house or it doesn't look good or-

W: I'd say it doesn't look good for the simple reason that, you know, they

claim that the money is getting tight and there's no question about it.

And before they went so far out west, I thought they just should have

build that fire house on the city of property up near Copence Road,

which would have been much more centrally located. And they'd have been

able to respond to even the areas out south of here, you know, where they

put the fire house.

I: Right.

W: But the way it is now, we won't get one, and they even attempted to cut

out the closest one to us then. So you-so then you going to have one

furthest west that you can get and one furthest east as you can get, and

we sitting in the middle where all the fires are. And no fire protection.

I: That's another good come back for that. Maybe even a good question. I

guess the obvious one is why? 'Cause it's the black community? They feel

they can get away with it or-

W: Well, there was one statement made by the fire chief. I think 'cause I

read it, and the fire chief said, you know, once you locate a fire department

in the black community that you are subject to political pressures of the

black community and so forth, which I doubt very seriously. There isn't

any black political pressures. I'd love the black people to get involved

politically, aid I think they could really see a change made. But that's

hogwash. I: think he's just, you know, that's just pretty much a racist

FB 50A Bridges

Page 26

type group of people, and !they just don't intend to have any blacks in it.

And I don't think they would have felt safe to have a total white operation

in the black community. It's as simple as that.

I: Well, you'd think they'd had a black fire department in the black community.

W: They could very well have one if they'd give them the money to do it

because I'm sure there's blacks who could easily quality and try and, you

know, do it. But for some reason or another, blacks can't even pass their

examinations. And a lot of them were college trained and so forthwho

took it intentionally and couldn't pass it so.

End of Side 1-FB 50A

FR 50A Bridges

Page 27-Beginning of Side 2

W: Well by surprised because I just couldn't imagine that anything like

that could even happen.

I: Do you think that possibly the applications or the tests that they give

could be different between the blacks and the whites?

W: I don't have any knowledge as to whether or not they were using double

standards or two different types, you know, type tests, but I do know

that there's many people who took the test and was unable to pass who

r thought should have been able to really pass the test. I would have

loved to go in there and asked the, you know, personnel director as to

what are the questions--what are some of the questions, and what type of

information that he is looking for, the qualification he was looking for

in a person to serve on the fire department. But I never did go that far.

I had so many other problems that I felt that it was-

I: Have you gotten any federal funds for your district?

W: Yes, we've gotten quite a few federal funds. Mainly revenue sharing funds.

We have gotten an EPA grant to build a transmission line which amounted to

something like about three million dollars. We've gotten, uh, we've

authorized the county to utilize the city as a party in application for

a block grant which you would apply to the city, and you get monies for

that. Then I've gotten quite a bit of federal and state monies in the way

of parks and recreation, and beach erosion. I think the city's gotten its

share of federal and state money.

I: Did this help the black community? Did money come in?

W: It helped the black community some. I don't say it helped them tremendously

because actually, this is one of the complaints that we had with the

justice departments-that the revenue shared monies that were being received

by the city was spent to unequalize the services rendered to the black

community and the white community because every budget, every fund that

FB 50A Bridges

Page. 28

was earmarked was a project that was in the white community. There was

none in the black. And se, uh, and we set out to prove it, and nobody has

disproved us yet. And the federal government hasn't said anything. I

think they're giving the city directions and plenty of time to comply or

to give some kind of excuse for not complying so.

I: Have you as an elected official been able to bring industrial retail stores

into the area?

V: Industrial retail stores?

I: Industrial or retail stores.

W: Oh.

I: Is that appliable to--

W: No, because industrial I got out of the community because of the fact

that they were in one stifling. I think--I can't personally claim credit

for any industry nor retail stores come into the community. I do feel that

many of them come in the community since my election mainly because of the

attitude of the people in the community. And they felt that, you know, it

was profitable to go into that community. But per se to say that I went

out and solicited and got John X industry to come and locate within the

black community, no, I didn't.

I: Have you been able to see that blacks were hired fairly in local government

while you were in office?

W: Well, we tried. You know I tried to get to do that. Now whether or not--

and I think them that were hired were hired fairly. They're trying. It's

kind of hard. They get a lot of them down there who consider themselves,

I guess, die hards and--but they're changing slowly.

I: Okay. Just a couple more questions here. Has the federal revenue sharing

helped your district-your district right here in the black community?

W: Yes, it's helped it. Like I said, we've gotten, through federal revenue

K 50A. Side Two
bd Page 29

sharing money at no cost to the tax payers, uh, school sidewalks

which we didn't have any Before and the kids had to walk to school

in the middle of the street along with all the trucks and cars and

everything else. And we've gotten some street improvements through

federal revenue sharing -money I think, I'm not:sure. Yeah,

right, (chucklel, I have to think. about things cause sometime, you

know, they usually do a road improvement it's always through special

assessments, you know, the property owner pays 100% of

assessments so you really ain't giving them nothing.

I': Has there been any Black protests, sit-ins, boycotts, or riots in

the city in the last ten years?

W~ Oh my gosh yes.

I, (Laughterl. Could you tell me maybe a couple of the major ones and

what were the issues, and after thing settled did it help the blacks?

W. Uh, One was my year in, the first year in elected, uh, the issue was

again police brutality, which is the same thing with the major issue

in, uh, in the previous riot which claimed national, which I didn't

think.they should have ever gotten coverage even in the local news-

paper. Uh, one of the policemens shot and killed a guy, a black guy

here at a local bar and they rioted behind that and they claimed

during the riot that the city was not providing recreation, they wasn't

providing street light, and they wasn't giving 'em police protection

and that they were being harassed and Beaten by the policemens, uh,

they didn't have fire protection, and mainly some of them just, pretty

VB.5QA Side Two
bd Page 30

.uch the usual gripes that you here in a black community, which many

of them I think was. founded.

I. And did the, uh, did, after the riots did the effects...

WF .Tlh, the riots had some effect, uh, it kinda woke up a little bit of

the white community to the fact that, you know, sooner or later we

won't Be able to survive unless'n something is done over there in

order to try to make the conditions livable for them people, you know,

that theydon't Become so hostile, see. Cause there were many white

owned and merchants who had stores and businesses in the black community

who was pretty much forced out behind those riots and so they were

the target of fire bombings and harrassments and boycotts and this

type thing.

I} So it did have some effect and it helped.

W. Definte, no question about it. I don't say it helped, but it had an

effect on...

I, Kinda waking process.

W. Yes, it had awakening, no question about it. And them that did stay

and relocated they, they built much more decent type business esta-

blishments. I think they kind of treated people more like human beings

,more so than somebody:out there that they, they make me a dollar off

of, and so forth.

1: Okay, what is your opinion of Governor Ruben Askew? .And, well, does,

do you think that he has favorable attitude, policy.towards blacks

in Florida?

B. 50QA Side Two
bd Page 31

W. I tell ya, I got kinda of turned off of him, and uh, I don't even

read about him, no, you know, uh, lately. Other than I did kinda

read about, you' know, what he was doing in this Pitts and uh...

I: Lee case.

It ...and Lee case. But uh, I feel that Governor Ruben Askew let me

down, uh, and many other people in this state when he dispelled to

do anything for the Black communities. I: don't see anything his

administration has done to help better the situation of the black

community. In fact now' I think it's worse, my own opinion.

I: What is your opinion of other state officials or state representatives?

W Well, mainly for me are the ones in Broward County and I think they

all stink.

1 ((Chuckler. ___._ ___ Okay do you think.that winning and holding

office in Florida has Been worth the effort? Or would you rather

comment anymore on the other state officials or...

l, No, I uh, r don't want to comment on any other state official other

than what I've already commented on, but they can be expanded upon.

Uih, now what was the second question, excuse me?

I: Do you think that winning and holding office in Florida has been worth

the effort?

Wt. yes, I say it was worth the efforts although I would never do it again.

I'think it was worth the efforts by the simple reason it taught me

that a democracy is not what we taught in fifth grade that, this is

how-our government work, and this is how-it should work, you know,

FB .50A- Side Two
bd Page 32

and I just, you know,, I'm still getting over that and uh, you know,

Because, you know, I:was a believer in the free enterprise system,

I took the courses, I love it, I figure that, you know, this is what,

you know, our country was all about. But then I got an inside look

at least 1' felt the inside look, the piece that I saw I didn't like.

And so, I say if this the way our government has to work and the

way our free enterprise system really is all about, then I don't

know. I don't want communism I don't think, I don't know that much

about them other than what I've read and what I've seen and I've seen

other countries that, you know, their system of government don't

seem to Be producing that much. I think, this is the best type system

that I know-of, Bit I don't, I just don't feel like you should say

that this is the utopia when you know' that it's not no where near being

what you say, it is.

I- Okay, these questions are asked to complete an.overall group profile

of black elected officials in Florida. No individual answers will

Be reported. TU, could you tell me the type of office that you held?

W. .h, city commissioner.

I- What was the first elected?

W. What?

I': When were you first elected?

Wi: In 1973.

1: Do you remember the' month?

W: February.

FR 5QA. Side Two
Nb Page 33

I:- When did you first take office?

W. Urn,...

I' February '73?

W It was in February '737 later that month, but I' think I: was elected

on the twenty-third and we took office about a week later.

I Oh, you know sometimes there's a lag of a few months.

W Yeah, no there wasn't.

I': Uh, number of times that you ran for the office.

W1 Twice.

I? Okay, your age in oneof these categories, 18-29, 30-49...

W: 30 to 42.

I: 3C0 to 4% occupation before election?

W- Self employed child care center.

I; And what was your father's occupation?

I. He was a carpenter, laBorer, any where he could work to make a

dollar to feed the kids.

I' Is this your school?

W- This is my school.

I. It's really nice.

W Thank you.

I:5 They're gonna love that on the tape. Education, high school, completed


W Yes.

I' Completed college?

F&. 5.0A Side Two
bd Page 34

1 yes.

I- Okay, uh, salary relieved from your elected position when you

were a city commissioner.

W. Salary relieved, uh, seemed like it was $5,010, something like that.

1: Were you active in the civil rights movements of the sixties to '66.

W. Um, somewhat in college we did some protesting about, you know, sit-

ins on resturaunts and carried picket signs up in Daytona on Morrisons

and one weekend up to Daytona, not to Daytona, but uh, St. Augustine

there, but uh, .that's aEout the extent. I was more less interested

in trying to get the people registered to vote, now I took an active

part in that because I'.felt that this is really where the key was,

and r still feel.that's where the key is.

I Do you belong to the NAACP or the SCLC?

W: No, no.

I: Never have?

W: Yes ,I have belonged to the NAACP.

1. Would you tell sme when?

W Probably in the sixties. Probably all in the sixties because I, you

know, once I become, you know, active I, that was about the only or-

ganization I think you could, you know, send them two dollars and you

can become a year member. So I did that.

I: Uh, do you belong to a.church?

W: es, -I dol

I W.iich church?

F. 50A Side Two
hd Page 35

W Bethelamy Church, it's an African Methodist Episcopal.church.

I: Are you an official in your church?

W. Steward, yes, IAin a steward boy, steward.

I: I' don't know what that is.

W W-ell, it's a representative body of the church.

I' Oh, okay- thank you. Are there any other.community organization

activities that you are involved in?

'. Well, actively not at the moment because, you know, I just ceased

all activities until I get my facalties hack together and, uh, feel

like, you know, I can make some worthwhile contribution to the

community, uh, but uh, I have in the past, you know, belonged to

Kiwanias, uh, Jaycees, I' belonged to North.Broward Community Action

Committee which is a committee compiled of both Blacks and whites

who are trying to solve problems, which was an outgrowth of a riot.

tIh, I: Belonged to the Northwest Community Organization Council which

was a group organized by myself and another guy, pat Larken in order

to give me support at City Kall that I needed, you know, in order to

as a sounding Board from the community so that I wouldn't have to be

a spokesman from the community as well as trying to be commissioner,

which was a hardship for me to try to do is to separate the two and

not.Be a spokesmen for the community and be a commissioner at the same

time. I was forced on both ends to do them Both. Forced by the

commission.as to 6e a spokesman for the community as well as by the

commission was Being a spokesman for the community.

B& 504Q Side Two
bd Page 36

I: What effects did running and holding office have on your family

and on yourself?

EW It had a, I don't say a dramatic experience, hut uh, it has, uh,

it had an effect to the point where one point my wife was almost

a nervous wreck from recieving calls and abuses and things on the

telephones that, uh, which she actually knew nothing about, you

know, and uh, for that reason I think..that I wouldn't even, you

know consider -making a...

I': Another election

W: ...another attempt.

I: What aBout on yourself?

W: Uh, even on my children, they even to the point in school, one, on

one instance, I'have a son Keith who plays football, and he's an

outstanding football player.

I: Yeah, I saw his tropheys.

W Now he in one game, now-without a doubt was the outstanding player,

then the officials said that we couldn't give it to your son because

if we'd have give it to your son, you know, he would have, you know,

they'd have thought, you know, he was being favored. But, you know,

and that hurt him, you know, and it hurt me too. Because, you know,

here I've denied him something of Thich he should be entitled to.

Cause that's a Big part of his, you know, could have, you know, could

have had some effect on him, But, you know, he's, he Bounced back

beautiful from Because we tried to play it off, play it down. And

F&L 5A. Side TWo
bd Page 37

there's a couple of, -my oldest son who had a run in with one of

his teachers- wo because of the fact that, he said, you know, you

think, you're Carl Weaver's son, or something, you know, the commissioner's

son, you know, heat's always, apparently he must didn't like my style

one commission because that's what he referred to that, you know,

that I was down there trying to run city hall and this kind of stuff,

and he. better not come in his class trying to do that, which he felt

that, you know, he didn't have no reason to say that. And there's

me, I just, I don't know, it's done a lot to me. Cause it, from

number one, I'was a kind of a, much like a blind believer in anything

you said about America that, you know, this is what we stood for and

that, you know, we were people who were, was the champions of democracy

and justice and then I found out what justice was like and what all

was involved in trying to get justice and, Because I got quite involved

in prison reform and this kind of thing too while I was in there and

from what I can read even in the papers now-that, you know, I just

don't, I don't have very good taste for it because I would have rather

stayed ignorant to the fact then just believe in, I think I'd been

more willing to kind of go along with some of it, but right now it's

hard for somebody to convince me that, you know, this is the truth

and this is what you're trying to say and what you don't. You know

yod-always have to kind of, you know, you're wondering whether or

not what their real -motive as to why they're doing a thing because

really on many instances I even refused to interview with people, you

FBSQA. Side Two
bd Page 38

know, particularly just before the last election because I would

suspect, I was suspicious of one guy who was asking me a lot of

questions as to -my procedure as to what I went through and how

successful in Being elected and come to find out that I felt that

many of the procedures and the thing that I did in that successful

election when I' ran this time, those ways were blocked, and I got,

I don't say that that was the absolute truth, but then I: was suspicious

and I think.much of that effect came from knowing how politics

operate and the system operates, and I was, you know, I just refused

to. But me, know-I don't care, you know, I just, you know I know

that I don't intend to run again and I; hope I'm not doing anything

to hinder any other black..official or white official or anybody from

ever wanting to serve and, you know, and do a job, you know, for

the American people. I have no intention of become a, somebody to

overthrow the government, but I still don't want to be one to become

a part of those officials anyway.

1' Okay, do you know any other black officials around this area?

Wt Uh, Silvia Portier who is in Deerfield.Beach is a commissioner there.

She's the first black, no she's not the first black. She's the first

black.woman to be elected to that commission and uh, she was successful

the year I lost. But she had been running quite a time too.

1 Whiat about down south at all?

W, South, John Sanders is down in, uh,-..

I- HIe says hello also By the way. I was him last night.

F& 50A Side Two
bd Page 39

W I: can't think.of anybody, Boise Waiter, who's no longer a city

official, he was one at one time.

I: What's his name?

: Boise Waiters.

I. Aid where was he from?

W. He was from Kallendale.

I, _Boise Waiters?

W: Yeah, uh, Dania, excuse me, John is from Hallendale. Yeah, he was

from Dania, right next door to here.

I; Okay, thank you that's all. TMere's just one more thing. There's

an oral project at the University of Florida called Oral History,

and we're thinking about having these tapes transcribed if you'd

Be interested in it. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna send

a copy of this as it is, have somebody just take it right off the

tape and send it down to you, and you'll be able to read it, your


W Hopefully. (Chucklel.

IT And then...

W Little snurs and all?

I' Teah, chucklee. And they'll uh, we'll send-it down and then you

can okay it or not okay it depending on it. Uh, would you be interested

in having that done?

I1 PSd be interested in helping anyway that I: can in order to help any-

body understand the system.

Fl 50A. Side Two
bd Page 40

I: Okay so...

W.t What's it all about,..

I: What is this:, after it's documented we put in the library and, you

know, people will be able to read it for research in ten, twenty

years, and we'll see how it goes.

W: QOkay.

I. Thank you Mr. Carl .eaver.

WK Alright thank you very much.


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