Mr. Don Bryant was elected to the Charlotte City Council in 1961, in which capacity he served until 1965. During his first term on city council, Bryant held the only opposing vote to the Urban Redevelopment Plan in Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood. He agreed with the other city council members on the issue of destitution and poverty in the Brooklyn neighborhood and the importance of urban redevelopment, but disagreed with the council’s ideas and methods in achieving the desired goals and objectives. He sums up the interview with a statement that the urban redevelopment plan was a step in the right direction for Charlotte during the 1960s, but was not a perfect plan. Bryant was born on April 10, 1923, in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of James R. Bryant and Lillian C. Bryant. He is the husband of Frances V. Bryant, and the father of Melissa Bryant and Cameron Icard. He entered Davidson College in 1942, but left during his sophomore year to serve the United States in World War II as a B-17 pilot. Returning in 1946, Bryant resumed his courses at Davidson and graduated in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Since 1948 he has made his career in the funeral home business, Harry and Bryant Company.
Tape Log: Oral History Interview with Don Bryant
Interviewed on Friday, March 26, 2004
Interviewed by Jason L. Harpe
Interviewed for the Urban Renewaland the Brooklyn Neighborhood Oral History Project
|Time||Description of Interview Contents|
|0||Beginning of interview. Bryant family’s move to Charlotte from Greenville, South Carolina. Father’s participation in the funeral home business, and the effects of the Great Depression on the family business. Education at Myers Park Elementary School, Alexander Graham Middle School, and Central High School. Entrance on Charlotte’s City Council in 1961, motivation to run for public office, politics in Charlotte, and other members of the city council in 1961.|
|5||Discussion of Brooklyn neighborhood as “unbelievable situation.” Expresses view of method used in urban redevelopment (Eminent Domain). Public opinion of Bryant’s stand on urban redevelopment in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Discussion of conditions in Brooklyn neighborhood. Description of Bill Vetter as Charlotte City Manager, and Vetter’s work on the urban redevelopment project and the Brooklyn neighborhood.|
|10||Charlotte’s Chamber of Commerce members’ contribution to the integration of Charlotte’s restaurants. Discussion of Fred Alexander as a man “trusted by both races,” and “of good will.” Notifying the Brooklyn neighborhood of the urban redevelopment process, and the relocation of Brooklyn’s inhabitants.|
|15||Discussion of the sale of Brooklyn property, and comments on the positive and negative sides of urban redevelopment. Briefly discusses Mayor Stanford Brookshire, John Belk, and Pat McCrory. Discussion of Charlotte’s ability to annex.|
|20||Discussion of decision not to run for a third term on Charlotte’s City Council. Proposal for a Blue Law in Charlotte during time on city council. Mention of Congressman Charles Raper Jonas. 25.0 Sums up Charlotte Urban Redevelopment Plan and mentions a meeting at Steve Dellinger’s place for the purpose of discussing Bill Vetter’s position.|
March 26, 2004
JH – Jason Harpe (Interviewer)
DB – Don Bryant (Interviewee)
Tape One, Side One
JH: Today is Friday, March 26, 2004. This is Jason Harpe conducting the first interview with Don Bryant, former Charlotte City Council member, for the Urban Renewal and Brooklyn Neighborhood Project, Dr. Karen Flint’s Oral History and Memory Class.
JH: I see that you were born in Greenville, South Carolina. When exactly did you come to Charlotte?
DB: Well I was about six months old and I realized that I’d made a mistake, and that I moved to Charlotte at age six — I don’t remember anything about Greenville.
JH: So I was gonna ask what you thought was different from Charlotte to Greenville, Charlotte, but you wouldn’t remember.
DB: Well, Greenville’s a great town. We still have relatives there, but, but, most of them are gone too, but [cough], I had an uncle who was a lawyer, and, and two or three cousins, well, one of them taught at Furman, and that kind of thing.
JH: Now was your mother and father, most of your family originally from Greenville?
DB: Yeah, they came to Charlotte to work for Mr. Harry of Harry and Bryant [cough]. And, you can, that was back in 1923. And, ended up [cough] buying out Mr. Harry’s interest in the business back in the early 30s when he died.
JH: Now was your father involved with the funeral home business before?
DB: Yes, yes, very beginning.
JH: Had he, in Greenville, did he operate his own funeral home?
DB: No, he worked for a Mr. Thomas McAfee.
JH: You say he started working for Mr., for Harry in 1920, or came to Charlotte in 1923?
DB: Well, came to Charlotte and bought into the business in the early 30s and Mr. Harry died, he bought the rest of it.
JH: How did the – – I don’t know if your father ever mentioned this – – how did the, did the Depression affect the business at all, the funeral business at all?
DB: No, no, no, you know that’s one thing about it, that’s a pretty steady situation. So the profession, of course everybody suffered from the Depression, and of course inflation was – – it was deflation rather than inflation – – and it was unreal the things you could buy with a dollar in those days. I can remember driving after the, after the war really, driving in the service station and givin’ him a dollar and ask for five gallons of gas, you know, twenty cents a gallon. So, inflation has really changed things around.
JH: Where did you go to primary school in Charlotte?
DB: Went to Myers Park Grammar School, and then went to the old A.G. (Alexander Graham) where the Dowd branch of the Y.M.C.A. is, and the Central High School.
DB: And this is [cough] we do have a bunch of guys that were graduated in the 1941-42, get together for breakfast once a, once a month. We have about 50 or 60 guys who still get together, and it’s a lot of fun.
JH: Now when exactly did you become a city council member, what year?
DB: [cough] It was 1961. I was about 37.
JH: What motivated you to, was there any particular motivation for running?
DB: It’s interesting. Politics in Charlotte to my memories followed a pattern. Business people would get involved, get things setup, and in pretty good shape, and then people who were not necessarily business people, but their people too that, the things would begin to go down, then there would be a businessmen’s group that would get together and elect a majority and they would get things straightened out again and, and then go from there. So that’s what happened about the time that I was involved, that there was a slate that ran, and there was seven people on the council at the time, and four of them – – the four that ran as a slate – – were elected and they were able to make some changes that were, I think were good.
DB: One of those members, Randy Babcock, dropped out and didn’t want to run the second time, and they talked with me about taking his place. So we ran as a slate again, and [laughter] I was the only, one out of group elected which I don’t know what that means, it certainly doesn’t mean that I was everybody’s favorite, because I think I was either sixth, or sixth, or seventh high man, so I was able to squeak in there then I ran one more term, which was all I wanted to run, and I was second in the running after that.
JH: Who were the, when you were elected in ’61, who was on the council at that time, do you remember all their names?
DB: I think I can remember them. Of course John Thrower as you mentioned, Gib (Gibson) Smith, Steve Dellinger, Claude Albea, Sandy Jordan…How many is that?
JH: Five and then you, then one more.
DB: Who was the other one? It’ll come to me.
JH: Now, have you or your family been involved with politics before?
DB: Dad was interested, and served on a very loose knit steering committees a couple times when, in one of those situations where they, businessmen would get together and offer a slate.
JH: But had you served on any before the city council?
JH: So you said they were, their folks were friends or the other business individuals, the folks involved with the business community encouraged you to run.
DB: Uh-huh, Uh-huh.
JH: Were there certain issues that, like you said, that they felt like needed to be addressed that…?
DB: Most of those had been addressed by the group that was there before me, before they elected, and there were things on the way. So I just continued in essence with the program that they had been elected to.
JH: And one of those being the Urban Redevelopment?
DB: Urban Renewal they called it.
JH: And when you went in, what was your, how did you conceive that plan? Did you…
DB: Obviously didn’t know a whole lot about it before I got involved. I’m a big one for less government. As a result, I have a little bit of a jaundiced eye about it as far as the method of moving people out of a certain area. I know you know a lot about Brooklyn from what you’ve heard, which was an unbelievable situation. They had a culture all its own as you know. They even had a language almost all its own. But the poverty was unbelievable. But this was an area that was [cough] obviously very important to the development of downtown. As a result, with the federal money to buy land, we got involved. I was not against urban renewal, I was just against the method that they used to get it, and that was to buy people out regardless, you know, right of Eminent Domain, that kind of thing. As a result, my theory was that let’s tax that land for what it was really worth, which was a lot more worth to the downtown than it was to, to the individuals who owned the property there, and the people who lived there, in my opinion, because when you move a whole like that that’s pretty poverty-stricken they’re just going to go some place else and start it again, in my opinion. So my idea was to tax it, but as Mayor Brookshire kept telling me said “You know if we don’t get the money somebody else will.” I said, “Yeah, but if there’s a dozen cities that would not take it and do it by another method, I think that we could turn that around.” That was ‘pie in the sky’ I’m sure, but I held out for that ‘cause I knew it was going to pass anyway, and it needed to happen by some method of means. It was pretty interesting time.
JH: Now when you say pretty interesting?
DB: The comments you’d get from people, people’d think I was being an obstructionist to some degree. But that’s just one of those thing I wanted to express another opinion because if, if everybody would say I don’t want your money government, we going do it ourselves, you’re better off, but that’s gone by the wayside a long time now I’m afraid.
JH: You said the people that voiced that…were those other city council members or people who were in support of the urban renewal outside city council?
DB: Of course, the city planners and all were for it very big. The rest of the council was for it too. It was one of those situations where, as I told you, I was the only one of that four to get elected, so I tell people that I was thrown in with a bunch of Philistines. That I was representing just myself and that was all on the council. I sometimes took a contrary view to the rest just in order to have somebody to look at the other side too, which some people liked and some people didn’t like. But it was an interesting period of time.
JH: Now, when you came on the council, did the council ever speak of, almost, I guess I might say, whose brainchild was the Urban Redevelopment Project? I know it was, if there was one particular city council member who pushed it early on, in like 1960 maybe?
DB: [cough] Yeah, not to my knowledge. It was pretty well established as far as a method of making change to that particular parcel of land. As far as I know, I don’t know who instigated the idea. It was something that was prevalent in that period, you know over the whole country, is my understanding.
JH: I don’t know that…I guess…for the Brooklyn neighborhood, it being one of those, it being the area that was targeted as one of the first, maybe because of its size or where it was located.
DB: Well, because it was such a great deal of poverty there, so they needed to clean it out. It was unbelievable. I would take my children, back when they were like third and fifth grade, to ride through there once or twice. I wanted them to see what real poverty looked like. Boy, it was an eyeopener. It was a regular little enclave in there. They had their leaders. It was pretty bad.
JH: Now when you mention the leaders of the Brooklyn neighborhood or that community, did you as a city council member or the council as a whole receive any comments individually or collectively from the leaders in the Brooklyn neighborhood about what was going on, or what can we do as a…?
DB: One of the things that the crowd that was in there just before I was…hired a man named Bill Veeder. Have you run across that yet?
JH: Bill Veeder?
DB: Yeah. They hired him as city manager.
DB: And, [cough] I think he did a magnificent job of bringing the city government out of, out of the dark ages as far as, as systems and all such as that was concerned. And he did a lot of those contacts during the, during the integration times when things would occur that looked like there was going to be a problem.
DB: One time for instance he, he went down on his vacation and didn’t tell anybody this, things were beginning to boil in some of the black neighborhoods and he went down and walked in those, those, those districts for hours on in, for two weeks. And he would find out who were the leaders in this block and who was the leaders – – talk to them. The result – – we had, had a pretty – – that was just one of many things that happened during – – that was another episode in it obviously – – but we were able to avoid some of the problems that occurred in some cities by his actions.
JH: And Mr. Veeder went to actually talk to the leaders about what was going on?
DB: Yeah, and listening to them what was their problem. Matter of fact, nothing that any one particular one of us had any leadership in, but he pretty quickly brought to us a motion, got someone to make a motion that we strike from all the ordinances, any ordinances, the mention of race, or creed, or color. And with one fail swoop, one Monday we did that. Wiped out everything that had to do with race which would had been restrictive for the black race. That was a good thing to happen.
DB: Charlotte did a pretty job with that, I don’t know that you’re aware of that or not. But one of the things they did, the Chamber of Commerce got twelve men and called twelve restaurants, and told them that one of the Chamber members was coming to eat in their restaurant with a black man as his guest, and they did, and it was no, no upset whatsoever, and integrated the town’s eating places, which was pretty, pretty, courageous.
DB: Most of those men that, they were the generation ahead of me, most of those are gone now I think. But that was a good move in right in keeping with the kinds of things Bill Veeder was involved with. That was a Chamber of Commerce move.
JH: Now, was Fred Alexander on the council with you?
DB: No he wasn’t. He came on just after me. And he was a great, great individual. He, he was really essential in the…what was going on in those days. He was a man who was trusted by both races, whites and the blacks. He meant a lot. He was one of the outstanding people of the times I think.
JH: What was his opinion, or his take on – – I know he was from the Brooklyn neighborhood?
DB: Well, I, I don’t think I can give you any individual situations, it’s been so long ago but, but he was just a man of good will. And by acting that way and ‘putting his money where his mouth was’ and everything else, he accomplished a lot. He was good and steady in influence.
JH: What did you know of the Brooklyn neighborhood before you…?
DB: Very little. Like I say, I knew it was there, that is I knew the conditions that were there, and I didn’t certainly early on, didn’t think I’d be involved in doing anything about it. But it certainly came to focus with urban renewal. But, I, I didn’t, I knew very little about it.
JH: You mentioned what, how you could basically consider, would you say that you consider Brooklyn sort of a liability, in a sense, in terms of the city? The city’s appearance?
DB: Oh yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. It was disgraceful.
JH: Now, when the council made the decision to begin the, the movement of urban redevelopment, how were the folks in Brooklyn notified of what was going on? I know you mentioned Bill Veeder going to talk to the leaders, but were the homeowners – – I don’t know how many of the neighborhood actually owned their homes or how many business owners owned their businesses. I don’t know if they were owned by white business owners or whatever, but were they notified by letter or…?
DB: I think by, if I remember right, by letter. They, of course, they’d have people appraise the residence, they was probably fair prices for what they, they were paid.
JH: How did you or the council decide how the process of working with the folks on relocating them?
DB: I’m not sure I understand that.
JH: The folks in the Brooklyn neighborhood, when the redevelopment plan, was there a process of working with the folks in the neighborhood to relocate?
DB: To relocate, no question about it, and it was well done I think. And they tried to disburse it but weren’t completely successful in my memory, they weren’t completely successful, there were some other places that, that, none of it was bad, had gotten as bad as Brooklyn was, but I think there’s still some poverty places that…blights that we wish we could do something about. But that’s a long, long process you know, the education of people and everything else. Of course we, the city and county’s been somewhat responsible for some of it with their public housing. But they’re doing a, they, they’re struggling against some real big odds and, and they’ve done a pretty durn good job all told. But there’s still some pockets of poverty that we wish we could remedy.
JH: But did, was there city staff who met with these folks? Did they assess their needs? And then they tried to locate…
DB: Right, and helped them move. And that was a pretty good effort I think. So they tried, tried to make the best of a bad situation.
JH: Were there any time that you remember anyone from the neighborhood, maybe complaining because they didn’t like where they were relocated?
DB: Didn’t come in contact with any that did.
JH: Now, with the sale of the property, do, how did the, the bidding process, did the folks in the Brooklyn neighborhood have an opportunity if they – – I know it was a – – I don’t know how many of them actually could have anyway, but did they have an opportunity to buy any property if they could or the business…Say if you had a black, an individual operating his business in Brooklyn, maybe he didn’t, maybe he owned, didn’t own the property, did, was there any opportunity to buy it or…?
DB: I think, I think as I recall it, the, the city staff did their best to accommodate those people. If someone had a little grocery store, it’d be certainly a small one, they would try to make sure he had an opportunity to do something at another location.
JH: What about the, the tracts of land, did, did the city come and appraise those and then work individually with business owners, outside, you know, like if somebody wanted to, to move their business in the Brooklyn neighborhood, I guess the Brooklyn neighborhood was basically razed, and then tracts of land were sold. I know Mr. Short mentioned they originally had it setup so that legislation was setup so that it was to be sold at public auction, but went and they worked it out with the state legislature so they could work on an individual basis with a property owner. Do you think that was a good idea?
DB: Yeah, that’s, that’s really about the only way they could have done it. And obviously government had the upper hand in that, and, but, but there was, there was some good profit to be made from it obviously. And that was just really prime land as you can see, see what’s on there now.
DB: So, so I think the owners came out very well. The people came out pretty, pretty well, but it did, disrupted a whole culture. It was a culture! No question about it.
JH: Now, would you consider, looking back now, and looking back at the time you were on the council, and looking at the situation now, would you consider it a successful movement?
DB: Yeah, in the long run it, pluses had to exceed the minuses. The only people who could probably, the loss would be the residents. And, it was a new beginning for a lot of them, but a lot of them were not equipped to, to, to do any better than they were doing. That’s, that’s the sad part. Education was not as good as it could have been, or should have been. I, I think the residents probably benefited less than anybody else.
JH: Say for example at any of the city council meetings, did any, any one at all, any leaders of the community, were they overall in the support of it?
DB: Well there were those who were for it but most of ‘em were probably against it. And that’s, that’s hard to say, that, that was just a more gut feeling I had rather by any numbers.
DB: I, I think the news media and all was for it. And matter of fact, about everybody was for it but me. In, in my, I know it was going to, going to pass, but I just wanted to make a point of, let’s do our own thing rather than do it through the federal government. But it’s, it’s no question about it, it was certainly a plus for the commerce of Charlotte.
JH: Did you get any negative feedback as one of the only ones that…?
DB: All of the guys on the council gave me a bad time, and my friend Mayor Brookshire said, “Don, you oughta go on and vote for this because if we don’t get the money it’s, somebody else is going to get it.” I said “Yeah,” but, said again, “that if a dozen of us in cities like Charlotte, said we’re going to do our own thing, maybe we, we could inspire other cities to do that.” But you know that, that was ‘pie in the sky’. I mean I knew it.
JH: So you were good friends with Mayor Brookshire outside the council?
DB: Yeah, oh yeah.
JH: What kinda, what kinda guy was he?
DB: He was a wonderful Southern gentleman. He was my dad’s age, and they played golf together some as a matter of fact. He, he was a real, real gentleman, never got flustered, did a wonderful job in my opinion, and did a lot of things for the city. We benefitted from him. He and John Belk were two of the, of the better mayors we’ve ever had. I think Pat McCrory’s doing a fine job. I think he’s, he’s done some pretty, pretty darn good things, pretty courageous things really. But Mayor Brookshire was a, was a great guy.
JH: Well is there, is there anything memorable during that time of the urban redevelopment that, anything that really sticks out in your mind about…now you served two, now served from 1961 to…?
DB: No. It was just a period that there was a lot going on as far as development was concerned. One of the best things that ever happened to Charlotte was the annexation law. Are you familiar with that? They let the city annex rather than to have a vote by the people outside. Instead of turning into an Atlanta we’ve gotten an opportunity to move on out. You know Charlotte’s bigger than Atlanta. People don’t realize that. They’ve got such a small area. I understand that, that a couple of folks in city government have told me that there won’t be any just plain county land by the end of 2010 or 12. It’ll all be either Charlotte or one of those communities like, like Davidson or Cornelius or whatever.
DB: It was an interesting experience. I’m really glad I did it. But, four years, I had no intention of going on with it. Although some people were nice enough to talk with me about maybe Congress or something like that, or Mayor, but I didn’t want to bother anymore with that.
JH: What made you decide not to run again, just the stress, was the business…?
DB: One is our business was going pretty fast and that was taking more time. Although my dad and my brother took, took part of my duties for me to do that, but I did it. I’m glad I did it, but just soon not go anymore. But I continue to stay active in the community.
DB: I had the pleasure of being chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, president of the United Community Services, and a few like that.
JH: Is there anything that I didn’t ask that…might…that I failed to ask that you…?
DB: You know just in general, is that what you mean?
JH: Yeah, just in…
DB: Well, one of the interesting episodes was, there were a group of, of business owners and, and religious people who wanted us to institute a blue law. You know what a blue law is? What that, that’s where everything closes up on Sunday, and you give everybody an opportunity to have one day that they don’t have to work. Well, a number of merchants asked us to do that, so it looked like there was enough of a ground swell that we did it. And, boy all hell broke loose.
DB: Okay, what you going to do about people who need a prescription on Sunday and all this kind of thing. Telephone calls like you wouldn’t believe, and it got pretty hot and heavy, and one night I was at home – – at that point my children were like eight and ten years old I guess – – and one night about eight thirty the telephone rang and somebody just really gave me a working over on the telephone. That was about quarter of nine. The telephone rang and somebody else just gave me a fit. So I would try to listen to them, but boy they were irate, and I thought well as a good councilman, I’m going to continue to answer the telephone. Well, when it got to be about two thirty in the morning, and it was going, [laughter] I began to realize that this was a plan, that I’m not that dumb. It was too regular, and too, and too organized. So I won’t even mention the name of the company that it was, but they, I knew the owner. [laughter] By about three o’clock in the mornin’ I dialed his home phone number, I asked him – – he answered the phone and I didn’t identify myself at all – – I said, “I hope you’re having a good night sleep like I am” [laughter], and I hung up on…[laughter]. Well that stopped it for that night. But we let it hang on for two or three more weeks and I had read somewhere that, that back in the early days, the Greek days, or Roman days that law is only a law if people accept it.
DB: So at the, the next council meeting I told them that, and I said its obviously, their not accepting this. So I made the motion to do away with it. That was kind of an interesting thing. It was out of the ordinary. It was a great opportunity to learn something about government, to be a part of what was going on.
JH: You didn’t receive any of those calls like that for when that was, the redevelopment plan was going on in Brooklyn?
DB: No, not at all. Not at all. But we, you know you, you get a fair number of telephone calls everyday. I remember Mr. Charlie Jonas, you remember him?
DB: He was a good friend of mine. Matter of fact, I headed the Democrats for Jonas three or four different terms that he had before I changed parties to the Republican Party. But he told me one day, he said “You know I’m lucky,” he said, “You got your constituency right where you live,” and he said that people think twice about a telephone call to Washington. It would cost them money. But he said they don’t worry about that, [laughter] they live in Charlotte.
JH: Charles Raper Jonas?
DB: Yes, Raper Jonas. Great man! Had everybody’s respect including the other party and people in Washington.
JH: From Lincoln County.
DB: That’s right. Wonderful man. We’ve had some good people in, in Washington.
JH: Well, that’s really all I have again, I just wanted to talk with you about the Urban Redevelopment Plan. And I know you coming on in ’61, I think the plan basically started in ’60, from my understanding. And coming in just trying to get all sides of the feeling of the council, and, and…I guess to sum it up, what would say about that Urban Redevelopment Plan?
DB: That it was, it was the goal, was admirable and, and I’m glad it happened. The way we got there left something to be desired as far as I’m concerned, but I was in the minority. [laughter] It’s beside the point that I’m interested in this except it’s just one of those instances.
DB: Back in the days that I ran it was customary for the candidates not to go to every precinct in the city. A friend of mine had a, who collected old automobiles, had a big old long Rolls Royce, open seating you know, and he said why don’t we have a sign since you’re going to have to ride around there, on both sides of the car saying “Bryant For Council,” and I’ll chauffeur at all those different places. So, I said “Man that’d, that’d be great.” My brother Bob was going to ride with me. Well we went first to Myers Park School since it was the closest to where we were, and then got in the car, made the stop, and all the sudden I began to feel awful. I was just, I just really, I said, “Bob I hurt so bad I can’t stand it.” Well, we went right to Presbyterian Hospital and I told them how I was feeling and they gave me a shot to kill the pain. I had some kidney stones that were coming there which, you ever had one? Ain’t any fun. [laughter]
JH: That’s what I’ve heard.
DB: And, so I was in the hospital all day long waiting to try to pass ‘em, which I fortunately did rather than have to operate to get them out. So one, one of my doctor friends poked his head in and said “Well I’ll be damned,” he said, “I voted for a lame horse.” [laughter]
DB: Traditionally, used to get the winners down to the Observer long about nine o’clock once, once the polls were in to take a joint picture, so the doctor said “if you’re careful and come right back, you can go down and take 30 minutes, but I want you back in 30 minutes.” Those were some interesting times, and fun times too.
JH: Do you have any pictures at all of the council members together, or your, during the time you were a council member?
DB: I’ve got ‘em somewhere. If I can find ‘em, do you want a copy of them.
JH: What you can do is when, if you find them, just, I’ll again give you my phone number so you can call me and we’ll maybe setup a time when I can scan them so we don’t actually have to take your originals.
DB: That’d be great.
JH: We can bring it here, scan them here, and then take them back.
DB: That’d be great. I’ve got them somewhere, I got a, I got a lot of work to do on that kind of thing.
JH: I appreciate you affording me the opportunity to talk with you today.
DB: I’m glad to get to meet you. I’m glad somebody is doing that kind of thing. You know, history is an interesting thing, and I’ve lived long enough that, that some of it has gotten to be history.
DB: And it is interesting. I’m tickled to death somebody is interested enough to, to want to record some of it some way or another.
JH: We appreciate your, your being cordial enough to let us…
DB: I think I haven’t told you any, anything that’s wrong. I’m pretty sure what I told you is, is what happened. It’s a good city we live in, I’ll tell you that. It’s a good town. I’m glad that I’m here myself. [Break in tape]
DB: The crowd that was in before me just, they didn’t even worry about the other three, they, they hired a new city manager as I told you. They hired a new police chief. As far as the other three, they didn’t have a chance to get to know anybody, it was heavy-handed. It was probably what needed to be done. Well, we went down, let’s see, the first, first meeting I went to they said “we’re going to a meeting out at Steve Dellinger’s place, and nobody knows we’re going to have it.” [laughter] That was the first experience for me. First thing they talked about was firing Bill Veeder. He’d been the one choice of the other four. He didn’t have a chance.
DB: So, we got out there and that was the first thing we talked about. How can we get rid of Bill Veeder?
JH: Why did they dislike Bill Veeder?
DB: Well, he’d, he’d been forcing it on them. They had no opportunity to talk to him or anything else. It just was an accomplished fact ‘cause the four chose him, and that was it.
DB: Couple of them, the first thing they knew who he was, was when the motion was made to hire him. [laughter] I mean it, it was a heavy-handed deal. End of Interview Approximately 24.4 minutes.