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Larry Mason interview, September 14, 2018: transcript






Interviewed by Nathalie Martinez. Larry Mason is an Arizona native that moved to Las Vegas as a Higher Education Administrator. He was born in Tuscon, Arizona, but grew up mostly in East Los Angeles and his "Gramitas" ranch in Sonora, Mexico. He has a history in athletics as a basketball player in his upbringing which brought him to play at the New Mexico Highlands University and the European League. Earning a Masters in Education, Larry Mason came to Las Vegas to become the first Latino Director of Admissions at UNLV, first Latino President of the Board of Education, and first Latino Vice President of the Board of Education in the Clark County School District. He launched an incredible amount of movements within the educational field in Las Vegas including (but not limited to): the Mariachi program, the magnet school program, and the growth of the Diversity Division within the NSHE. Some of his greatest supporters and allies included Senator Harry Reid, John Lujan and Tom Rodriguez. Mason continues to work as a community leader for minority representation in STEM fields, as a board member for the Nevada STEM Coalition.

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Mason, Larry Interview, 2018 September 14. OH-03478. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH LARRY MASON An Oral History Conducted by Nathalie Martinez Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2018 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Nathalie Martinez, Rodrigo Vazquez, Elsa Lopez Editors and Project Assistants: Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Monserrath Hernández, Elsa Lopez, Nathalie Martinez, Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Rodrigo Vazquez iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE Larry Mason is not only notable in appearance but distinguished in his contributions to local history. He recalls his Mexican immigrant parents, Jesus R. Mason, a mechanic and bus driver, and Amanda Robles, to whom he was born in 1945. They worked hard to provide for their six children that they raised in Arizona and southern California. Larry did not physically resemble the stereotypical Mexican; he is tall, lanky, blue eyed, and fair skinned. However, he was the Mason child who chose to master speaking Spanish, despite the house rules to converse only English. He describes his early years as his athletic phase: his prowess as a skilled basketball player served him well. He received an athletic scholarship to University of New Mexico and used basketball as an opportunity to travel Europe. v His self-described “second phase” began with his move to Las Vegas in 1984 to become UNLV’s director of admissions. As he focused on the needs of the community’s diverse population, his political ambitions grew. In 1993 he became the first Latino elected to the Clark County School Board. Term limits forced him off the board after sixteen years in 2010. He simultaneously worked at the College of Southern Nevada as Vice President of Diversity and Cultural Affairs. At the time of this interview, Larry describes himself as being in his third phase—as that of a community leader and volunteer. His involvement with the community has made him fast friendships with other extraordinary leaders, from U.S. Senators to union members. Larry has been a true pioneer of the Latinx history of southern Nevada LEFT: Larry attending the kickoff of the Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada project in Sept 2018. RIGHT: Larry with his interviewer Nathalie Martinez. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Larry Mason September 14, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Nathalie Martinez Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Childhood: born in Tucson, Arizona to immigrant parents, one of six children; raised in East Los Angeles until received an athletic scholarship to attend New Mexico State University; played basketball in Europe in 1966 before enrolling at New Mexico State. Talks about being the only sibling to speak Spanish, English being the primary language spoken at home. Describes his grandparents, large ranch owned on his maternal side, where he learned to work with cattle; also experience picking fruit. Rattlesnake story and other anecdotes of lessons learned from his family. Discusses being tall, blue-eyed, and fairer skinned Mexican. Importance of athletics in his youth…………………………………………………………………………………………..1 – 8 Talks about his move to Las Vegas in 1984 to become director of admissions at UNLV; Coach Jerry Tarkanian relationship, importance of basketball in the community. Next step was to become involved in local politics and was first Latino elected to school board and served for sixteen years [1993-2010], opportunities to name schools after Latinx community members; mentions 1996 election of Shirley Barber adding diversity to the school board and how they worked together. Talks about Dr. Linda Young, former school superintendents, the low ranking of CCSD and being a fast-growing population. Explains how integration of “brown kids” occurred in the changing demographics of Las Vegas; talks about military serving of Latinos. Talks about his interaction with Dr. James McMillan on the school board; mentions Tom Rodriguez, John Lujan…… 9 – 18 Food discussed, menudo; parents immigration from Sonora, Mexico; grandmother distinguishing between Spanish and Mexican ancestry; land grant system; family ranch, El Cocoraque. Parents shared little of their immigration story, father worked for smelters in Douglas, AZ and Silver City, NM; chose to relocate to southern California; became bus driver and mechanic; mother was a housewife. Describes more about life in Los Angeles, youthful mischief, and gangs at the time; Art Laboe, Mexican DJ anecdote at El Monte Legion Stadium and attire of the 1950s. Compare his life-partner Eloise’s youth in east LA to his; why he learned to speak Spanish……….18 – 25 Talks about Sen. Harry Reid, Mariachi program and Javier Trujillo, Latin Vida program at Western High School; Richard Carranza; musical performances; Las Vegas Academy fighting the mariachi program at first……………………………………………………………………………..26 – 30 Discusses influence of church, mentions Father Pepe; mother-daughter program starting at UNLV, Beto Lopez, programs to boost retention of Latina students; Brenda Mason; Christine Clark and cultural diversity affairs for NSHE. Talks about festivals and celebrations, college fairs, car shows, Dr. Art Burr, Lawrence Weekly, Ruben Kihuen, CSN……………………………………..31 – 38 vii Mentions his other community activities: Southern Hills Hospital Board, STEM and involvement of minority students, John Garner, Jose Melendrez, community involvement important; being minority majority state; encouragement of young people to participate; Me Too Movement. Talks about Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, her father Manny Cortez and the Breakfast Bunch………………………………………………………………………………………..39 – 43 Talks about CCSD Supt. Jesus Jara, Richard Carrenza, formerly of CCSD now in New York City, visions for public education; Filipinos and Tagalog language; lists other names of importance in greater Las Vegas Latinx community who participate in the Breakfast Bunch gatherings. Talks about Culinary Union leadership, Cesar Chavez, and grapes. Recalls his youthful experiences in Europe, how things have changed, being the only Latino or first Latino to be involved in sports or UNLV……………………………………………………………………………………….44 – 48 Explores the history of pronouncing his last name Mason with a long a versus the more Spanish sound of Mazón with a tilde…………………………………………………………………49 – 51 viii 1 The date is September 14th (2018). We're here with Larry Mason in the Oral History Research Center. My name is Nathalie Martinez. And we're here also with... Elsa Lopez. If you could please pronounce your name and spell it, please. Larry, L-A-R-R-Y. Mason, also known Mazón (pronouncing), M-A-S-O-N, with no tilde. Thank you. I first want to start off with you telling us where you from, your childhood, and where your parents are from. I was born in Tucson, Arizona, to immigrant parents that left Tucson when I was six months old to move to East L.A. In East Los Angeles is where I did my K-twelve education, as well as two years of a JC, or community college. I was an athlete most of my life. The reason why I was an athlete was to keep me out of trouble. Growing up in East L.A., you either were in trouble or not in trouble, and I was one of those that was not in trouble. My parents basically said, "Just get involved. If you don't get involved, we'll get you involved." So they did and I was very happy with that. Because of athletics I got a scholarship to play at New Mexico State University. Before that I played basketball in Europe for six months before I went to New Mexico State, and that was in '66. But the six months prior to that I was asked to go and play basketball for some teams in Europe, primarily in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Yugoslavia at the time. And I really enjoyed it. I was eighteen, nineteen years old. I was very fortunate that they wanted me to stay and play ball professionally with them. I decided not to because I'm an eighteen-, nineteen- year-old, and what did I know about Europe at the time other than playing ball? I saw all of Europe and I enjoyed it very much. I asked my parents, and my dad basically said that he wanted me to come home, no if, 2 ands or buts. So I came home and that's when I got the scholarship to go to New Mexico State, basically to play ball and run track, which I did. I enjoyed it very much. I had an inkling that there were other things better for me. I was one of six children. Growing up in East Los Angeles, we all had different things to do in life, and we did, independently and jointly. We were pretty much the family of Masons that were interested in our culture, but I was the only one that spoke Spanish. My parents did not allow us to speak Spanish at home. Basically, you're here in the U.S. and you're here to learn English, which we all did. That was our primary language. The only time that I spoke Spanish was when I went to stay with my grandma, my gramita. My gramita, she only spoke to me in Spanish even though she knew English. That's all she did. I found out later on in life that she knew English. That was on my dad's side. There was Big Grandma and Little Grandma. Big Grandma was on my mother's side, because my mother was very tall; she was about five-ten. My dad was about six-two. For Latinas and Latinos that was tall back then. Big Grandma...One of the things, just to go back a little bit, as a teenager, one of the other things to keep me out of trouble besides athletics was I would go to the ranch. My mother's side of the family owned a substantial, large ranch in Tucson, all the way from parts of Sonora, Mexico, all the way up to Phoenix, something close to six hundred thousand acres. There were land grants back then when they owned it. They primarily did cattle, so I was raised learning how to handle cattle, horses, cars, guns, and the whole nine yards, and living outside rather than inside the house. My grandma was the one who basically said, "This is what you're going to do every summer." Intermittingly I missed a couple of summers because I picked peaches and oranges in 3 Central Valley of California. That was during the era where—well, Cesar wasn't even there at that time, Cesar Chavez. This was in '58 through '60. Then '61, '62, that's when I was at the ranch. That's where I learned a lot about myself and my cousins and, of course, my grandma. My grandma would teach me everything about the ranch either by my uncle teaching me how to ride and my grandma just teaching me about life and in a fun way. I always tell a story...We used to sleep outside at the ranch. We were sleeping. It must have been about ten o'clock at night. We had all gone to bed about eight. Grandma was there and my two cousins, Junior and Güero were there. I was sleeping there and I heard d-d-d-d-d-d (rattle). I go, "Junior, what is that?" He said, "It's a rattlesnake. Don't worry. Go get the flashlight." So I got the flashlight. When it d-d-d-d-d-d one more time, I put the light on it and there it was. It was a diamondback. It was about maybe from here to where Claytee is sitting right now. I'm just going...My cousin had a carbine and he shoots the head off. Okay, so we all lay back down again. Grandma says in English, not in Spanish, but English, "You have to know they always come in pairs." It wasn't true, but what did I know? I was awake all night listening for that second one. My cousins, they didn't say anything, and my grandma didn't say anything. The next morning, when we woke up in the morning, my cousins, Junior and Güero, would say, "They don't come in pairs, Larry." You learn from your parents, of course, and your grandparents. You learn about humor and you learn about humility and you learn about life. Those are some of the things that I learned from them. I never knew anything about riding a horse, never knew anything about how to drive a stick. When you're fourteen, thirteen, growing up in East L.A., what did I know? But I found out what it was like to do that and going out and herding in the cattle. Another little, short story: We didn't have a lot of grass, so they had to bring in the hay. 4 When they ran out of money to bring in the hay, because hay was very expensive—my grandma, when the hay truck would come, all she would say was, "Money, money, money, money." That's all it is. We were out bringing in the cattle. My uncle says, "Mijo, go over there and put on that makeshift fire flame thrower." Makeshift, okay? He said, "I want you to burn all the needles from the cactus so the cattle can come down and eat it." Since they didn't have any hay that's what I did. I was in there about half an hour playing with the flame thrower. Junior and Güero were way far away from me. They had never used the flame thrower. They used it on me, so if it blew up they wouldn't be anywhere close by. They just laughed through the whole thing. Later on, I'm going, "You had me do that?" And they were like, "Well, nobody else would." Again, you learn about your family. You learn about yourself. You learn what you can do. What I learned about is this is the ranch; this is part of my life; part of my mother's life because she grew up on the ranch. I wanted it to be—she laughed about it, but she understood that, hey, you learned. And you did learn. I did the thing with riding the horses. I was riding my uncle's horse Chino, and Chino was a big quarter horse, and it was a cutting horse. I don't know if you know anything about a cutting horse. Cutting horses, when one of the cows starts going away from the herd, the cutting horse goes and brings it back in, just like a sheepdog does the same thing. That's a cutting horse. But what did I know? I'm on the horse and the horse broke that. It broke; Chino to the right. And I didn't go anywhere but stay right there. He went without me. I fell off. I go, oh my God. Again, you learn. Again, you learn, in reference to being prepared. I learned to be prepared. I was always conscious of whatever I did on the ranch may it be putting in a fence post. I learned how 5 to put in fence post. When I brought in the mares to be mated with the studs—you have to do that. What did I know about it? They said, "Larry, go get one of the..." So I'm bringing it in. Then when she saw the stud, she reared back. Have you ever had a rope burn? It burned the heck out of me. Junior goes, "Larry, you've got to be forceful. You've got to be strong. If she doesn't pay attention to you, you've got to do something about it." I said, "What do you have to do?" You've got to hit her upside the head, but you have to hit it with a board. This is the ranch. So I go...And he says, "Cousin, this is what you do. You go whack right across." It went straight and went right to the stud; it was not a problem. I'm going, "Well, isn't that cruel?" He says, "Well, yes and no. The horses pretty much know, the mares pretty much know what they should be doing in reference to that. She just sensed that you were not someone that had any strength to holding her down. You've just got to be very forceful with the mare." So the next time I did it, I held her very tight and brought her in and it was not a problem. Again, you learn. I wasn't prepared. You assume so many things; that the horse is going to be really docile towards you. It wasn't. It just knew that I was...Animals sense your strengths. If you're the alpha male or not the male. It sensed that, hey, I'm not in charge. So she proved me and told me basically you're not in charge, and it happens. It happened again. We were bringing in the cattle and a lot of the cattle got stuck—not stuck but didn't want to come out of the tumbleweeds into the mesquite trees in the back. "Larry, go..." Again, I'm going, walking towards the cattle. Some of them come out. Well, one didn't want to come out and basically said, "I'm not coming out." So Junior and Güero go behind it and chase it out and it comes right towards me. I'm going like, okay, what do I do? It came at me. I had the lasso, and it comes right by me and I go like this (demonstrating). And it goes right 6 through there. And I'm holding on and it keeps on going. Junior and Güero go, "Hold on." I held it and it drug me across the llano. Again, I learned. They laugh about it today, but it's one of those things. Knowing what I did in Tucson and how I grew up in Tucson with those adventures and stuff like that, it just taught me that every moment you have to be prepared, and I was. Ever since then I started preparing for everything, when I went out for athletics and when I went to college, when preparing for tests and all of those things. At the same time, it was a great life, a great life as I grew up. Being Latino was probably the easiest thing for me to do because Dad and Mom drilled into us that Spanish is not your language. And at the same time, all my cousins—and there's a lot of them from Tucson and from Douglas and from Phoenix and Mesa and places like that—would say, "My mother said the same thing." But what we did, we had Grandma. I didn't have Gramita all the time. It was me. During the time I was in high school, 99.9 percent of the people didn't know I was Mexicano. They didn't. They had no clue until later on in life when we had class reunions and everybody started, "What are you...?" So you explain to them and they say, "I didn't know you were a Mexican, Larry." And I say, "Well, nobody asked." I didn't really give any information to anyone that I was Mexicano. He said, "Well, you don't look like one." What are you supposed to look like? Five seven? Five six? I'm six five. They go, "Well, you just don't." But my brothers could even sense the accent. One of the accents that I did have was—if you ever know anything about New Mexico, New Mexico has a different accent in reference to when you say certain things in English. When you live there for a long period of time, which I did, going to school and graduate school and undergraduate, you learn the nuances in reference to sounds are concerned, especially there, in northern New Mexico. When you're talking to the 7 guys and girls, you will say, (with regional accent) “¿Qué vamos hacer hoy?” You will do things like that. Then my brother noticed it. He said, "We're speaking like a Mexican now." Well, I am a Mexican. It's not that I'm speaking like a Mexican, I am a Mexican. That's what I got away from. It really upset me later on in life that I didn't come forth when I was in high school in reference to being a Mexicano and being stand-up-ish in saying that I am. Maybe I could have helped more back then when I was in high school. Later on in life it wasn't a problem because it was something that was in me all the time. That was primarily my...until I was a junior in college. When I graduated from college, it was an interesting event in itself. Then I found out—I found out—when you find out who your friends are—99 percent of my friends were Mexicanos. It just so happened to be that way. It was. Then I had some that were African American, some that were güeros. But the majority of the guys and women that I hung with were Mexicanos and Mexicanas. I didn't go out seeking, but we just melded together because we just knew each other. When they saw my dad, because my dad was about six two, six three, and yen breto--he was dark. He was dark. My mother was the güera--she was very light complected, blue eyes. You look at my brothers: My youngest brother was like my dad, very dark complected. Then my third youngest brother was blond and blue-eyed. Again, within the family we knew we were, but also—my youngest brother knew who he was, but he never really went out and did what I did or they did or he wanted to do. He was taller than I; he was about six seven. My other brother, who is about six three, the güero, didn't get along. They did not get along. Brothers, yes, but he did not like my brother, even to this day. No habla español; he does not speak any Spanish, for anything. He is a very ultraconservative right-wing crazy person, and that's my brother. My younger brother, it's who he is. He was very assertive, but, at the same time, he just didn't want 8 to have anything to do—because there was conflict. Physical conflict, I'm sure there was at times. The times that I was home, they were not easy. Even to this day he doesn't talk about him. My other brother passed away; my youngest brother passed away. We have alcoholism in our family and he drank himself to death basically. We all had it. Myself, I was a prolific drinker. A friend of mine, my wife's sister, would tell me, "You have to understand that to become sober you have to do it yourself. Don't do it for your family. Don't do it for your loved ones. Don't do it for your wife. Don't do it for anyone. You have to do it for yourself. If you do it for yourself, you can accomplish a lot. You'll find out. It's you that makes the decision of drinking or not drinking. Because if you do it for someone else, guess what? You're going to be looking for crutches all your life." That's what I didn't want to do. She taught me a lesson. I learned. Her sister was—my second wife. She was a lawyer in Santa Barbara, and she told me. She said, "You have to understand yourself. All the times that you were playing ball and you were drinking or all the times that you were hanging out with the guys and you were drinking, where did it get you? What did it get you? You have to understand, if it got you something, then you have to figure it out. What was it, what is it, and how does it impact you today?" I just noticed that and that's when I started going to AA and all that. Then I found out that the way I quit smoking is the way I quit drinking; I just stopped cold turkey. I said, "It's not going to rule my life. It's not going to ruin my life. Because it's something that is going to help me and then I can pass that onto my kids in telling them, 'Don't do as I say, do as I do.'" You've heard that before. Word for word. And it's hard, it's hard, it's real hard. Going through all of that, athletically and socially was...I was not inept, but I was shy. But, at the same time, what brought me out of my shyness was my involvement in college, athletics, and friends. Your friends for life are going to be your friends 9 no matter what. If you're gone for five or ten years and you don't see each other and you see each other finally, you go, "Nothing's changed." They're your friends for life. They are who they are and you are who you are. Again, it was an interesting time in my life when I was going through all of that. Then when I moved to Las Vegas, thirty-seven years ago, I was one of the first Latinos ever to become a director of admissions, which was here at UNLV. It was '84 through '94 or '95, I was director of admissions here at UNLV. At that time Robert Maxson was the president and then Jerry Tarkanian was here. In fact, it was interesting. When I was playing ball, I played against Jerry Tarkanian's team in Riverside, California. His wife, Lois, who is a good friend, was the cheerleader coach at that time for Riverside. Then when I came here, I was at a bar around the corner from the campus. It was off of Flamingo and Maryland Parkway. It was around the corner. Do you know where Skechers is on Flamingo? Yes. Right next door was a bar. That used to be the hangout for a lot of the university faculty and staff. I'm walking in and I'm sitting down and talking to a colleague in the admissions office. We're just talking. Then all the sudden, a drink comes to my table. I go, "I didn't order this." "Yes, well, he bought it for you. Who are you?" I go, "Why?" "He doesn't buy anybody a drink." "Who is that?" "Coach Tarkanian." He knew that I was Larry Mason who played against his teams in Riverside, which was interesting. We established a decent relationship because my second wife at the time, after I met her, was his academic adviser for athletics, Dr. Ann Mayo. It was interesting. That whole era of athletics, which ran this institution, it really ran this institution, good or bad or indifferent, it was a great time for the community. The community really adopted the 10 Runnin' Rebels. They adopted them. They could do no wrong. And if they did wrong, they could do no wrong. A lot of things did happen while they were here, good and bad, but the good is much better than the bad because it brought a number of great people to our campus academically, professors and other people and students. Our student enrollment jumped; it went from eight or nine thousand at the time to twenty thousand in ten years. It was because of athletics. What happens is that I would go to New York City to recruit. I came with pencils and banners. I'd go out to the convention centers or different places there in the city of Manhattan or on Long Island. All they wanted was the pencils or the banners. They would sign anything to get those pencils. Lo and behold, some of them did come. We used to have a service that we used to pick them up off the airplane as soon as they landed, or if they came in a bus, we'd go down and pick them up. They were really, really excited about being here because it was an opportunity, because about 95 percent of the basketball players were African American and a lot of them didn't have anything growing up in the Queens or Brooklyn or any of those places back then. It is pretty much the same. It hasn't changed that much. It's pretty much the same. They came out here with an opportunity to get a college education may it be one year, two years, or three years, or a graduate. It was entirely up to them. That's one of the things Tark did was that he gave students the opportunity. Now, people say, "Well, they didn't graduate." But they had the opportunity to graduate and that was the encouraging part. I believe in that, is that you've got to give people the opportunity and to know it's there, but it's up to you to take it further, wherever you want it to take you. They said, "Well, college is not for everyone." Well, give them the tools to make the decision if it is for me or not for me. Because if you don't have those tools, again, they say, 11 "Well, all you can do is play basketball." That was one phase in my life because people thought that's all you did is play basketball. What else can you do, Larry? That's when I got involved in politics. I got involved in politics here and became the first Latino elected school board member. I was the longest-serving school board member, one of the few in the state; sixteen years I served. It was a great opportunity for me and for other Latinos. Indirectly being Latino or another minority brings a lot of things to the forefront just because you're in charge. You don't have to say hire; you don't have to say fire; you don't have to say anything. They'll say, "Well, Mr. Mason likes that." And guess what? I never said I wanted it, but it happened. That's when had the opportunity to name at least ten Latinos that have schools named after them. The interesting thing is that my friends would say, other colleagues from across the country, "These people are still alive, Larry. How are you giving them schools?" Well, that's our city. That's our state. We're such a young state and a young city that you can do things like that. If you wait until everybody passes, God... And especially we were building ten schools a month for ten straight years. We had the opportunity to get some Latinos in there, not many, but we got ten out of…I don't know how many schools were built. It was, again, indirectly that things happened. Well, Mr. Mason, is a Latino. We need to do this. I was the only Latino on the board, only minority on the board until Shirley Barber came, and then Shirley and I were the only minorities on the board. We gave them heck. We wanted certain things to happen. Sometimes it happened, and sometimes Shirley and I would play this game that you be the bad guy this time and I'll be the bad guy next time, and it worked. You get up and then you can berate people for not being sensitive to our needs, African-American needs and Latino needs and Native-American and Asian needs. 12 It's got to be in you. I always say there's got to be fire in the belly to really get things done. Without saying that you are a...whatever...just by speaking your mind and talking about when they have zoning, why are all the good kids going to...? And why are all the low-income kids over here? We used to have a program for—not a zone preference, but it had to do with a school within a school, academies. I said, "If you put an academy at Rancho, if you put an academy at Chaparral or Clark or Valley, guess what? Then people would come." Then I would say, "Well, why don't we put an academy at Silverado or Green Valley?" They would say, "No, no, we don't want one them." I know why, because they don't want us there. They don't want us there. If you have an academy, a school within a school, like a Green Valley or one of the schools up in the Summerlin area, you have this opportunity to really integrate, cultural. The students could care less at times, but the parents said, "I don't want my sons and daughters associating with Mexicanos or African Americans or low income." Period, they didn't want that. So I said and Shirley supported that, and then she said and I supported that in different board meetings where we decided we're going to make some changes. Because if you don't want to make a change, guess what's going to happen? We'll have the community make a change for you. For sixteen years we did that. Shirley, God bless her, she's since passed. Then Linda Young, Dr. Linda Young, she understood the incestuous attitude that the school district had; that it takes care of its own. Why are we forty-ninth or fiftieth in the country? It's because of that things like that. It's that nothing changes. We had two superintendents, Carlos Garcia and Walt Rulffes, and now we have Jara. Brian [Cram] was the one that I thought was the beginning; he was about to make some changes. He was a poster child for school bonds, building schools. Brian understood what was 13 going on and he would have to find a way to do it. We used each other, again, good guy, bad guy. I would tell him before the board meeting, I would say, "I'm going to start yelling at you today and you're going to know why." And he understood. He kind of used it as a way to get things done because he would say, "Well, if you're not yelling at me, I'm not going to give it to you," to me privately, not at a board meeting. We just didn't do things like that. We were professional to the point of that we were upset with the process of not educating our children. CLAYTEE: Explain how integration of brown kids, Latino kids happened. Since we were hiring tons of Latinos in the back rooms of the hotels, working the beds, cooks, runners, et cetera, they were bringing families and they were getting hired, even locally outside the gaming industry, restaurants in town. I don't know what it is now, but back then you would look behind the counter at who was cooking, primarily Latinos, in Chinese restaurants and all-American restaurants. They were there and they would take any job that was given to them because that was the way they were making money and keeping their families locally and in their countries, whatever countries they were coming from. Most of them were coming