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Title: Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Brookshire, Stanford Raynold, interviewee
Interview conducted by Moye, Bill
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 68 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
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Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-09, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0067)
Author: Bill Moye
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0067)
Author: Stanford Raynold Brookshire
Description: 68.5 Mb
Description: 18 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 18, 1975, by Bill Moye; recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series B. Individual Biographies, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975.
Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Brookshire, Stanford Raynold, interviewee


Interview Participants

    STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE, interviewee
    BILL MOYE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BILL MOYE:
Let me say for the benefit of the record that I'm Bill Moye and I'm talking with Mr. Stan Brookshire in his office in Charlotte on the 18th of August 1975. Let me say that I appreciate your taking the time, allowing me to talk with you a little bit. As far as your record, you were president of the Chamber, I guess, maybe in '58 or '59?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I was president of the Chamber in 1960.
BILL MOYE:
1960. Then ran for mayor in 1961 (That's right) and then won four terms (Four elections.). You've been active in Dimensions for Charlotte Mecklenburg since then?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Yes. Well, not since then. The Dimensions for Charlotte Mecklenburg was started about two and a half, well, a little over two years ago, and I served the first two years as chairman and still hold corporate office. Dimensions was incorporated as a nonprofit organization and serving as president of the corporation, as I facetiously said to somebody, meant only that I had to see that we lived within our budget. Cliff Cameron, chairman of the board of First Union Corporation, is presently our chairman.
BILL MOYE:
That's an interesting connection. He was chairman of the campaign committee for the consolidation.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Consolidation, that's right. A very civic-minded, very able man. Too bad that effort failed because he took that as something of a personal failure, I think. He shouldn't have.
BILL MOYE:
He had been involved in some of the planning before. Hadn't

Page 2
he been on one of the committees before?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Yes. I believe he was on the Chamber committee that proposed the consolidation.
BILL MOYE:
One question I have is why the attempt came up at that time. I seem to recall that it had been an idea that had sort of been around in the background and there had been a Chamber committee in maybe '63 or '64 which had done some studying on it. Then, all of a sudden there in '68-'69, sort of snowballs all of a sudden.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right. I believe that it was in '68, possibly '69, that the Chamber program of work for the year had that as one of the projected programs. You could check that with the record, of course.
BILL MOYE:
Was there a particular crisis? Seems that, perhaps, the watersewer between the city-county might have had something to do with it?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
No, really I don't think there was any such crisis. I'll add that if there had been it might have provided a better background for a successful effort.
BILL MOYE:
You think that one problem in getting the consolidation was that you didn't have some particular problem that you could point to and say, "This is really a crisis for us, and we need to…"
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I would say that the absence of any crisis, any real problem, or any great dissatisfaction on the part of the citizens toward local government…The absence of those things was largely

Page 3
responsible, or at least partially responsible for the failure of it. The second important factor that contributed to failure, in my opinion, was the fact that the Charter Commission, while they worked assiduously, worked hard, came up with a program that was just over-programed. It was too much too much of a change, too much modernization, too different from what we had in the way of local government for people to buy. It was not a plain merger. It was a reorganization.
BILL MOYE:
It went very extensively into just about every area, as I recall.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
That's one thing I'm wondering about. It seems that one interpretation might be that the Chamber started the idea but, once the Charter Commission actually got functioning, they went a good deal beyond, perhaps, what the Chamber would have liked to have seen.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
They went beyond the simple means of consolidation to develop a reorganized, modernized version of local government that was just too different from what we had.
BILL MOYE:
How did that happen? Were they, in some way, operating in sort of a void and were seeking, you might say, the perfect solution, the ideal solution?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
To a considerable degree, yes. I think they were very idealistic in their projections of the proposed new government. I think, perhaps, the broad representation we had on the Charter Commis|sion

Page 4
gave a very active voice to a lot of people who had never had an opportunity to have a voice in decision-making. They just simply went, in my opinion, a little overboard in suggesting or proposing a broad form of representation. I believe we were to have, what, fifteen or sixteen members of the commission or council, governing council as against a seven-man City Council and a five-man County Commission. A lot of people thought we didn't need a governing body of that size. And, too, there was objection in a lot of quarters to the districting plan.
BILL MOYE:
Now, as I recall, you were involved in appointing members to the Charter Commission.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right. Charlie Lowe, who was at that time chairman of the County Board of Commissioners, and I made the appointments, and we selected the chairman for the Charter Commission.
BILL MOYE:
Mr. Pharr.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Right.
BILL MOYE:
I wonder, why was it that you chose to go to this broadly representative commission? I mean, it seems like on other occasions in time of seeking a program or to come up with a solution, the approach has been a smaller, maybe a businessman or whatever primarily.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, it was simply an effort in democratic procedure to give various segments of the community a voice in the preparation of the charter. It didn't work too well. I would say that. I would also add that, and you may or may not want to use this,

Page 5
that pure democracy seldom seems to work, not efficiently at least.
BILL MOYE:
That, in a way, is why I was asking that. It seems that the group who wanted consolidation might have realized, before appointing such a broad commission, that by appointing such a broad commission you might open the door to getting beyond what they wanted into a sort of unworkable…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, I guess we just weren't wise enough or smart enough to see that. Didn't anticipate that. Back to the point I just made or the opinion that I expressed that pure democracy doesn't work, I'll illustrate that. During the hearings for the proposed goals for Charlotte Mecklenburg last May a year ago in one of the meetings which I attended, one man got up and proposed that one of the goals provide for a referendum on city and county budgets. That before adopting a city budget, for example, the City Council would hold a city-wide referendum to approve the proposed budget. That particular individual also wanted, after the adoption of such a budget, all expenditures of over $100, I believe he said, to be approved by referendum. Well, can you imagine…
BILL MOYE:
You'd have a hard time.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
The administration of city affairs would get stalled on the first referendum. But, that would be pure democracy if everybody had a right to say how the city money was to be spent under given budgets.
BILL MOYE:
Something of an unworkable situation.

Page 6
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Who were the strong…Were there individuals on the commission who were, you might say, stronger than others, more likely to get their views incorporated or to lead the others around to their way…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I never attended any of their meetings. Well, I did, too. I testified before the Charter Commission once or twice. I don't believe I can answer that question specifically. I'm under the impression that when they were debating any given matter relating to the reorganized government, after discussions, they would take a vote, and a majority out of that commission carried. It was a simple majority.
BILL MOYE:
You reckon anybody had special interests or axes to grind? In other words, were some of the sort of social implications involved in the number of districts and some of the guarantee of fair…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Definitely. I think that did have an important part. For example, I'm sure that our black citizens were much concerned with the districting to be sure that the weight of their total votes wouldn't be wasted. That some of the districts would be set up so that representatives from those districts most certainly would be black.
BILL MOYE:
As I recall, the proposed charter pretty much guaranteed there would be three districts or representatives on the council from…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
The black neighborhoods.

Page 7
BILL MOYE:
You think that that's part of the reason that the district representation became such a controversy during the…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Yes. I think that was primarily the reason. Then, of course, there was always the argument against district representation that we might be getting back to the old ward system, you know. Where people, representatives elected from given districts would swap out on a lot of issues. "You vote for me on this. I'll vote for you on that."
BILL MOYE:
That sort of argument…I wonder if there's the possibility that some of these slogans like "going back to the ward system" or complaining so much about gerrymandered districts or things along this line were sort of code words in a way involved with the school busing situation to sort of keep the agitation about black representation or black influence or whatever alive in the community and take advantage, perhaps, of the emotions…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I'm certain that played a part. Yes. The blacks at that time, and you can understand why because of the progress that had been made in providing blacks with equal rights and opportunities as citizens which is nothing but what we should have done…It was legal. It was moral to grant them those petitions in those regards. They began feeling they had gained a lot of ground, and they just wanted to make some more ground with this matter of representation in local government.
BILL MOYE:
I'm wondering…Were there arguments which perhaps the people who were supporting consolidation could have made? It

Page 8
seems that, perhaps, in a way, the campaign for the charter was sort of what you might call an educational, civic campaign. In other words, not really a hard-hitting, political, very practical campaign. Were there arguments that maybe could have been used to counter this in a better way?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I don't know. Of course, looking backwards, it's probably easier to tell what we should have done than it was at that time to tell what we should do.
BILL MOYE:
Monday-morning quarterbacks…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Monday-morning quarterbacking is quite an easy job. But, still, I think that perhaps the major reason the effort failed was that the people were too well satisfied with the honest government and, I think, rather efficient local government we had. No complaints, serious complaints about the form of city and county governments, and people didn't want to swap the known for the unknown.
BILL MOYE:
Was this effort for consolidation, then, sort of a next step sort of thing? A number of things had been achieved, mergers of functions one way or another, and this just seemed to be sort of a logical next step.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I think that's right. I believe there was and there still is a feeling that any over-lapping services ought to be resolved and that either the county or the city ought to be given total responsibilities in those over-lapping areas. We have succeeded in consolidating a great many functions of local governments, and that may be the way we will eventually arrive at consolidation.

Page 9
BILL MOYE:
Well, just who was pushing…Who was really behind… I know that the Chamber had established a committee, and Dr. Martin was chairman of a committee, and Mr. Griffith was chairman of a committee. Who was really behind this push for consolidation? In the end, it seemed to be a very few people, in a way, when it came down to a vote. Who was really behind? If there wasn't a crisis, and a lot of people seemed pretty well satisfied, who was really behind the push in the first place? Did they, to some extent, were they dissatisfied with what had resulted from their initiation?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, I would guess it was largely the officers and the board of the Chamber of Commerce who were primarily interested in consolidation. Even so, I know that there were some members of that political-economic group who thought that the proposed charter was just too elaborate, too involved. Even some of them who gave lipservice to it didn't care whether it passed or didn't. Did or didn't pass.
BILL MOYE:
I know there in December, just shortly before the vote, there was a Chamber committee came out recommending a number of changes, especially in the representation.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I believe that's right, but I don't believe the Charter Commission gave any heed at all to those recommendations, as I remember.
BILL MOYE:
I wonder sort of how that could be. I mean, it seems that a

Page 10
good deal anyway of what has been accomplished in Charlotte and in which you played a very large part over the last fifteen or so years…The Chamber, in one way or another, has played a very major role in a lot of this.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
They've very definitely given a lot of leadership to progressive measures in this community for which it has received small thanks from a great many people. I would account for that on the basis that the Chamber, in the minds of most people, the average voter, is the establishment or represents the establishment. It is that bit of jealousy, antagonism, you name it. Just natural personal opposition in a lot of quarters to the establishment.
BILL MOYE:
I wonder…I mean, since a lot of the officers or whatnot of the Chamber have been so important, just how it happened this sort of got out of hand on them? Did other interests sort of divert their attention while the commission was making or at least recommending all these changes? Seemed to be in a way a losw of communication between those who had been instrumental in making decisions and this group that was proposing some new…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, I guess it was just that the Chamber officials, the board itself and the officers, just didn't back this thing as enthusiastically as they might have if this proposal had been of a more modest nature, if it been a more simple merger rather than a completely rebuilt structure. I think that a lot of proponents

Page 11
of consolidation naturally lost interest and enthusiasm for it when it became too involved.
BILL MOYE:
That seems to be…That's, you know, sort of one… That's what I sort of see. It seems that the Chamber initiated the idea, and then the commission was established, got out of hand, and a lot of those who had initiated the idea rejected the recommendation, and the charter went down to defeat. Maybe these times are such that one looks for this sort of thing, I don't know. A lot of people look for conspiratorial designs behind…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I don't think it was that, no. Again I come back to the placid attitude of citizens locally, satisfaction with local government. If you study the consolidation efforts which succeeded in Nashville and Jacksonville, you'll find they had some real problems. They had the citizenry at large up in arms. There in Nashville, for example, and they don't have the sort of liberal annexation state statutes that we have that permit the city to take in suburbs as they were established, they were having a flight of wealthy people from the core city moving into suburbs. They were county residents only, out of the city and beyond the reach of the tax collectors.
BILL MOYE:
Yet, they still wanted the streets, and the sewers, and the schools, and whatnot.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right. They still wanted Nashville to be a progressive, growing city, and, yet, they weren't supporting it with their taxes. That was the big thing in that consolidation, I think,

Page 12
that enabled them to pass a consolidation vote. In Jacksonville, Florida, they actually had a lot of corruption. Their school system had lost its rating as first-class schools. Just such a bad local government situation that people, in effect, said, "Anything is better than what we've got."
BILL MOYE:
As I recall, several of the city commissioners or whatever had been indicted by the grand jury.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
They had. Here in Charlotte, there was none of that sort of thing. People just weren't concerned with swapping local government for something else that was so involved. Maybe a lot of them didn't clearly understand it. Maybe a lot of them had their fears that were groundless as far as that's concerned but they thought "We've got what's been good, sound, honest government. We're getting along okay. We haven't any particular problems. Why swap what we've got, what we know works, for something that may or may not work as well?"
BILL MOYE:
I remember from reading a bit on the Jacksonville consolidation and one or two people here in Charlotte have commented, too, that perhaps a mistake that was made…Seems that in Jacksonville, they had organized pretty cohesively before the …I forgot what they called the charter commission. I believe it was the Local Government Study Commission…Before they'd actually started work, you might say, they had organized a good deal of support and had gotten their war chest up, as it were,

Page 13
for the campaign. It was done differently here in Charlotte. I'm, to an extent, wondering why … A lot of people see consolidation votes and these sorts of referenda as real political fights and not something people, you know, sit down and think about and say, "This will give us better planning, and this will give us better services, and this sort of thing," unless its a crisis. It's a real organized political fight. It seemed that, in Charlotte, maybe the organization came too late, or by the time the organization came a lot of people were upset with what was being proposed. I'm, in a way, you know, wondering why in Charlotte, having some knowledge of the Jacksonville situation, it wasn't done, you might say, closer to the example of Jacksonville.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I don't know. We had sent delegations, of course, to both Jacksonville and Nashville to study their consolidation efforts and the results. I think those who went to both cities were convinced that a single government was the ideal government for a county like Mecklenburg that had two-thirds, three-fourths of its population, I guess, within the city limits. Well, let me tell you where some other opposition to it came also. The five small towns, incorporated towns in Mecklenburg were not enthusiastic at all about consolidation. They thought they might lose their own identity even though there was provision that they'd continue to, they could continue to operate as corporate cities. Then, too, the rural voters in Mecklenburg County felt

Page 14
like they might be saddled with heavier taxes to support the larger government without getting the benefits that would be comensurate with the services rendered. That in spite of the fact that there was provision for tax districts which, in theory at least, would lay the taxes on the basis of services rendered in a given area of the city and county. In other words, the county residents would not have to pay for any services they weren't getting, municipal type services.
BILL MOYE:
There was an urban services district and sort of a county services district. The idea was you'd be paying comensurate with the services that you…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right, but maybe that wasn't explained carefully enough, or wasn't sold, at least.
BILL MOYE:
One question that arises, too, I guess…Since a lot of this, the voting came up and aglot of the discussion came up during the school busing uproar…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That had something to do with it, the psychology of the situation, no doubt.
BILL MOYE:
I'm wondering…The question was at least proposed anyway to postpone the vote, postpone the referendum on consolidation in hopes that the atmosphere and the agitation and all would improve, calm down, or whatever. Allow for a more reasoned…
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Then, too, we spoke of this a little while ago, over the years, particularly in the last fifteen years, we had been able to allocate services and taxes between city and county somewhat

Page 15
in proportion to services rendered. Take the public library, for example. The services of the library and all of its branches are available to everybody in the county. That expense has now been shifted to the county. So has the health services. Delivery of health services now have been undertaken by the county. When I was in office for the first two, maybe three terms, the city was bearing all the expense of the city hospitals. Now the county has taken over that expense. The matter of city-county tax col|lection…The city has now given the county the authority… Under state statutes, the county makes all appraisals from time to time, evaluations. They now do that and collect the taxes for both city and county. So, in those areas where in the past county and city had split costs on a fifty-fifty basis, as they do in some areas, you find the city taxpayer paying in his city tax half of the cost. He is also paying in the county tax for the other half.
BILL MOYE:
Double taxation.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
The man out in the county is only paying once. The city tax-payer is paying twice. Those inequities have got to be resolved one way or another, and, of course, one way is to see that
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
consolidation was one of our first major consolidations. That was accomplished on the basis that everybody, child, in the county

Page 16
ought to have equal facilities and quality of teaching. Before consolidation, county school teachers were paid smaller salaries. Of course, that means attracting largely less qualified teachers. The city was paying more salaries because we had a city supplement tax that paid for the increased salaries for certain teachers. There was a considerable difference in the quality of education offered in the city and in the county. When the county took over and the supplement was made county-wide, teachers were paid the same in the city and in the county. Facilities were updated in the county to equal those in the city. Then, you do have an ideal situation where every child, whether he lived within the city or out in the county, had an equal opportunity for the same kind of quality education. Now the county… There's a difference between the two types of government. Of course, as you well know, the county government is an integral part of state government charged with the operation of the courts, for example, the Registry of Deeds, the Clerk of Court, those offices that serve citizens whether they are in the city or out of the city. Such services ought to be paid for out of county-wide collected taces. Whereas, the maintenance of city streets, for example, certainly belongs to the taxpayers of Charlotte properly even though county residents coming to town naturally do use those facilities. And, the county residents do get some protection from the city police department when they are within the city itself. It's real hard to delineate, to actually specify

Page 17
what services available to citizens should be paid in what proportions by the city and by the county whether you've got consolidated government or the two governments. It's still a big problem.
BILL MOYE:
You think that, to some extent, the success of some of these mergers and cooperations and the desire, perhaps, for more… You think there will be another attempt at consolidation?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Not in the foreseeable future. The failure of the, what was it, '71, referendum…That set back any efforts to consolidate for a long time.
BILL MOYE:
You feel mainly that the fatal flaw in that attempt was that the Charter Commission just recommended so many wideranging, so very thorough, almost a complete new form of government?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Recommended too much for the people to buy.
BILL MOYE:
It seems…You don't buy any sort of conspiracy? I mean, the idea has occured that perhaps that there were some people who realised that maybe the talk of consolidation was going to come up. So, perhaps, they said, "Well, we'll let them try to get consolidation. Probably figuring they're going to fail. Then…Now, we want those people out there in the suburbs. Annexation is really what we want. So, we'll let them try and fall on their face with consolidation. We'll sort of give some lip-service to it. Then, we'll hit those in the suburbs and the perimeter with annexation."

Page 18
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I don't believe that's true. I think our annexations have come about since 1959 under the new state statute that allows a city, a City Council to annex any given area that has become urban in fact. Incidently, that's one of the finest state statutes you'll find in any one of the fifty states. It's been pointed out as being the finest by the U. S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities.
BILL MOYE:
Both of which organizations you've been involved in yourself.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Thank you.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
You're certainly welcome. It's a pleasure to talk with you.
BILL MOYE:
I appreciate the time, and, again, like I say, I'm sorry about last week. I will transcribe this and send you a copy.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Alright. Good. If I see any errors in the way I've stated some things…
END OF INTERVIEW