Raising awareness and funds to oppose the Cane Creek Reservoir
Crawford describes the initial organizational efforts of the group of Chapel Hillians later named the Cane Creek Conservation Authority. Crawford describes how they put together a slide show in order to raise awareness of the environmental issues surrounding the effort of OWASA to put a dam in Cane Creek. Additionally, he describes the process by which they raised two hundred thousand dollars to bolster their battle against OWASA.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
In the interim time, what we
did was we started forming a committee of people, who were interested in
being, by self selection I guess, interested in being people who ran
things. Started organizing the first Farm-City Day. Starting trying to
put together a sorta constitution and then a bill of, you know, it was
just guessing. [Interruption]
We were meeting on a somewhat periodic basis, weekly or biweekly. Also,
putting together a slide presentation and trying to do whatever we could
to get some sorta public notice, you know, trying to force …
See, there was never a public hearing about this, about whether we
should do this or not. [Build the dam.] The only public hearings were
after it was decided to already do it. We were trying to force at
least some sorta public forum. The way we did that
was that Ed Johnson went to all his friends in the Lions Clubs and said,
we want to come talk to you and things like that. We put together a
slide show, which I think was a very good slide show, that
doesn't exist anymore. It got dismantled. I'm
sorta glad and I'm sorta sad, somehow. But our first real
public forum was at the League of … I think the League of
… No, Patty, what was the name of that group where we went
for the first public presentation. Beth Qualic (sp?) read it but it
wasn't this, the People's Alliance or something
- PATTY CRAWFORD:
- SAM CRAWFORD:
Yeah, The People's Alliance. Chapel Hill's
People's Alliance had the first one. That was the first sorta
public debate on the issue. We went and the OWASA people came. And the
OWASA people [blaked?] around. It has never really been a defensive
position, and when you have people stand up and talk about it, it gets
less defensible all the time.
We showed our slide show, and we sorta talked about the issues.
I'll never forget it, and if I ever get a chance I will
strangle Dan Okun. Dan Okun sat in the back the whole time we were
giving our presentation acting like a twelve year old. I mean, he would
sorta sit there and go AK AK AK. I couldn't believe it, I
could not believe this grown human being was doing this. I never will
forget it, the image is indelibly placed in my mind. He was just being
like a twelve year old obnoxious person. And, that has been the kind of
attitude we have dealt with all the time, is that people out here have
no idea what they are talking about. There is one
right answer and that is our [OWASA's] right answer.
So from that we went to a series of speaking to everybody who would
listen, 'till people got tired of listening. Writing ads in
the newspaper, taking ads in the newspaper, raising money. And money was
always an issue, dealing with how to get money. And it still, you know,
that is still the thing that has defeated us, is that OWASA has no
qualms about spending all the money that they needed to spend and they
have access to it. They can demand it of you and users, and from the
town of Chapel Hill, and from the University and from people like that.
Our money had to come strictly from what we could glean together. The
majority of our money came from the Farm -City days and from the Craft
Fair, which we started up that fall. And most of our money came from
food. [Laughter] You know, ham biscuits,
and barbecue, and pies and cakes and quilt raffles. That is where the
majority of it, and then out of pocket contributions I don't
know how, and I have never really set down and figured out what the
whole expenditure has cost us because there is no way to figure it out.
There were a lot of in kind contributions of things that there is just
no record of. Money that comes through the kind of bookkeeping system
that we had really only reflects a portion of the actual money that got
dealt with. So, I don't know but I would imagine it probably
came to something like two hundred thousand dollars.
- JUDITH WHEELER:
That you raised?
- SAM CRAWFORD:
That we raised or contributed or wrote off or something… and
that is a lot of money.
- JUDITH WHEELER:
It is amazing.
- SAM CRAWFORD:
But, considering, we once figured OWASA spent something like six and one
half dollars for every dollar we spent. It is like the Congressional
Club Campaign, well it is the same mentality.