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Title: Dale Minami Interview
Narrator: Dale Minami
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Margaret Chon (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 8, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mdale-01-0030

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DM: We had differences with the other groups. Part of the difference revolved around my leadership style. I think I, I was in such a rush, and I thought I had such a clear vision of what we should be doing that I didn't use the process correctly and plus there was a problem of distance, and there could be some gender issues, too. Because, in a sense, Kathryn used to be my law clerk, but I, of course I shouldn't have been treating like my law clerk in this context, 'cause she was a full-blown lawyer representing Gordon Hirabayashi. But I wanted to encourage the other side -- this is my perspective of doing, to seeing this as a political case, to doing publicity. Publicity is really important about this case. So we had some differences about those issues.

MC: I wonder how much of that might be style differences, too, between Seattle, which is a much more laid-back place than San Francisco.

DM: No question there were style differences. We were on the same train in San Francisco. We knew what we were gonna do politically with these cases. We had mapped it out. We knew politically how it's gonna affect redress. We knew how we were gonna use this to publicize it. We hired, had one guy specifically doing all media stuff. That was Don Tamaki. So we knew that we had an educational component that was just as important as the legal component. But we didn't, I don't think we processed it right in terms of explaining it to the other people who perhaps maybe didn't have the same concept or didn't quite understand it the same way we did.

MC: Do you think you understand where they were coming from, what their vision was, perhaps that they didn't think of law as much as a political tool?

DM: I think that's part of it but I think a large part of it, too, was, when you look at the magnitude of what they had to do in both Portland and Seattle, they had a huge, huge task with much less resources than we had. It was just enough that they, dealing with a novel issue like we had, I think it was enough for them to just keep their heads above water. They couldn't, they didn't have the luxury of thinking these other grandiose thoughts about education as much. 'Cause if they didn't do the legal work, they're out of court. And that would be the very, very worst result. So I think it was the fact that they didn't have the, partly, they didn't have as much resources as we were able to throw at the government.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.