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Title: Oral History Interview with Allen Bailey, [date unknown]. Interview B-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Bailey, Allen, 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 Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 92 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-07-20, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Allen Bailey, [date unknown]. Interview B-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0066)
Author: Bill Moye
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Allen Bailey, [date unknown]. Interview B-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series B. Individual Biographies. Southern Oral History Program Collection (B-0066)
Author: Allen Bailey
Description: 116 Mb
Description: 23 p.
Note: Interview conducted on [date unknown], 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 Allen Bailey, [date unknown].
Interview B-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Bailey, Allen, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ALLEN BAILEY, interviewee
    BILL MOYE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BILL MOYE:
Let me say just a bit about what I'm trying to do myself. I am trying to write something of a history of Charlotte for the period about 1957 to 1972. There was a big annexation vote in '57 and sort of culminate with the consolidation.
ALLEN BAILEY:
It wasn't '57. Annexation in '57 and consolidation in '72. Yes, I see.
BILL MOYE:
And sort of tie several things. . . . it's going to be a lot of getting into the urban renewal and whatnot. And also involved in that is what's been happening to the local Democratic party. And also I want to tie in some of the state . . . some of the relationship between what's been happening in the city with the rest of the state, maybe with legislation or with political candidates and whatnot. I certainly appreciate your taking . . . [Interruption]
Just to sort of establish a little bit of a statewide relationship initially . . . In '64, you were Mr. Beverly Lake's campaign manager?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. I participated in his campaign in 1964.
BILL MOYE:
Have you participated in other . . . I believe you were active for Pat Taylor?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. I participated in the last gubernatorial campaign. I've participated one way or another, mostly on a statewide basis, in all the elections since 1960.
BILL MOYE:
That was the first Lake campaign? (B: Yes.) On the local scene . . . Oh, also on the state scene, is this your . . . have you been president of the State Baptist Convention? Is that this year?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. I'm president of the Baptist State Convention. I was vice-president for two years, and I'm now president of the Baptist State Convention.
BILL MOYE:
Locally, I guess maybe the two big things that I'm interested in is the consolidation, which I believe you were one of the major figures in

Page 2
that, and at least touch tangentally on the school busing issue, but I haven't really . . . I've been reading the Observer . . . I started in '57 and I'm now up into '66, so the more recent period I'm not especially clear on. As far as local politics, is your orientation more towards state or more towards local politics?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I participate in support of candidates on the local level. You know, every time we have an election as far as that's concerned, I make my financial contribution and work for the local candidates of my choice. I do this. I'm not, I've not taken office, that is campaign chairmanships and so forth, of local candidates over the years, but I've aided and assisted those candidates.
BILL MOYE:
Is this mainly within the local Democratic party, or this also involves the local nonpartisan city elections?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I'd say it involves the nonpartisan city elections, also.
BILL MOYE:
One thing I'm sort of wondering about . . . is the activity more sort of a . . . would be with a candidate who is sort of philosophically agreeable or . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, any candidate I support has got to be kind of philosophically agreeable with my views . . .
BILL MOYE:
But, I mean . . . this isn't because of some connection with an organization like the Democratic party . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
No, no, has nothing to do with that.
BILL MOYE:
What types of candidates, maybe, would you be more likely to support? I mean as opposed say to a downtown candidate . . . I don't exactly know how to characterize some of the . . . Would it be maybe more of an anti-establishment sort of some way?
ALLEN BAILEY:
No. That has nothing to do with it, I don't think. I . . . when you try to put labels on candidates you start getting in trouble, but certainly I would . . . I'm a fiscal conservative as far as that's concerned, and I'm not

Page 3
very much in favor of wasting money, ah, taxpayers' money and putting it where it's not needed or where people can provide for themselves. I think people ought to be given an opportunity to provide for themselves and in the event of course where they cannot, why then they ought to be assisted. But . . . so from that standpoint, I characterize myself as a fiscal conservative. When it comes to basic human needs and human rights, individual rights, I'd probably classify myself as a liberal . . .
BILL MOYE:
The more historical, traditional liberal as opposed to the more recent. . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Right.
BILL MOYE:
Along the line of a sort of fiscal conservatism . . . What was your stand on urban renewal? Were you in favor?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. I felt like that . . . the urban renewal program had something to offer to the cities, and here is where individual property rights and the overall need of the cities and the welfare of the community as a whole came into conflict. But, so where that happens, one or the other has to give and here I saw the overall good to the city outweighing the individual right of property ownership. So I support it and do support urban renewal, urban renewal projects. Not on a . . . I mean in situations in which there's a real need for rebuilding and restructuring the city and a community . . .
BILL MOYE:
What about the use for downtown commercial redevelopment?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think here we get into a grayer area. I think a lot of the people in our city have felt that here individuals or individual corporations have prospered as a result of the downtown urban renewal projects that are proposed and have been undertaken. But I suppose that this would be true in any city where you have an urban renewal project in the downtown area. Some businesses that have remained there

Page 4
would be benefitted. So I don't know if this is a real objectionable feature. I . . . there may possibly have been conflicts within our city . . . those in political positions and some of the urban renewal projects downtown . . . I think that may be what has caused some of the complaints . . .
BILL MOYE:
One group wants a certain thing done and maybe another group wants another thing done, ah, something along that line . . . where the civic center should be, and things along that line?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. Yes. Right.
BILL MOYE:
I reckon you find that most . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
You find that most . . . most places. Like I say, the thing that our people have complained about or have recently complained about it, some probably to a greater degree than ordinarily would be the case is that some of the people who have benefitted downtown are in the political structure.
BILL MOYE:
Is this, when you say the political structure . . . are we talking about, say, the Belks?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Oh, yeah. You're talking about the Belks basically. I think that's what the basic complaint is.
BILL MOYE:
Do you . . . I mean, do you think that one reason that John Belk is in the political process is in order to . . . or do you think this sort of comes as a part of . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think it's probably twofold. I think it would naturally come as a result of urban renewal projects. The Belks are so totally financially in the city in so many different ways until I think that any program of upgrading will of course increase their interest, enhance their interest. I think also that they're not blind to the fact that being in public office gives one an opportunity to feather his own nest to a certain degree. I do not say that that's the reason for John's being in political office. I think that he honestly and sincerely

Page 5
thinks that he has some time and ability to give and Charlotte has been good to him and he has given a lot. Any mayor of the city of Charlotte sacrifices a lot.
BILL MOYE:
Takes a lot of time . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Takes a lot of time. I have to say that the mayor has been most diligent in that respect.
BILL MOYE:
They have so many interests that it's almost impossible to do anything in Charlotte . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
That's true . . . without affecting their interest.
BILL MOYE:
I was told one time that he would like to have been state highway commissioner, but the people in Raleigh said "no way" 'cause we can't buy any right-of-way anywhere without getting close to some of your property.
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah, that's true.
BILL MOYE:
You said that there had been some resentment about the urban renewal in the downtown. Is there any sort of organized resistance, somebody like Albert Pearson or somebody like that . . . I mean, is there any organized group?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. In the downtown, in the business community downtown, there was some organized resistance led by Albert Pearson and some of the others. I do not know that this was resistance against the program as much. I think it was resistance against, I know it was resistance against some of the smaller merchants being ejected without compensation or plans made for their relocation.
BILL MOYE:
They saw the bigger interests as the ones who were profiting (B: Yes.) and they were, to some extert losing (B: Yes, I think this was true.). How would you characterize . . . Who makes the decisions in Charlotte? Is there a power, this is sort of a political science question . . . is there such a thing as a cohesive power structure, real estate interests

Page 6
or something like that controls to any extent?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I'd say there is a strong cohesive real estate lobby, if you will, or power structure. I do not know that they themselves wield a great deal of influence. I'm sure they do some. It's always been felt that here in Charlotte the Chamber of Commerce exercised a greater influence, I believe, on local government than most people felt that they should. All of the people that we're talking about, the real estate folks and people of this nature, by and large, are members of the Chamber of Commerce, and I think there is probably where the input is . . .
BILL MOYE:
At one time it was said that it was more important if a man really wanted to do something in Charlotte that he be president of the Chamber . . . that is was more important to be president of the Chamber than to be mayor of the city.
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think probably that this still remains true to some extent. I know that time has been in this city that unless you were a member of that august body or at least subservient to it that you, your chances of political success were not as good as otherwise. I have a feeling that, to some extent that is, the political influence of the Chamber of Commerce. . . . I have a feeling that it has probably eroded some in the last few years due to, I think, a more independency of mind of the average voter. I don't think he any longer relies upon the word from the Chamber or the word from the media to make up his mind about what he wants to do. I think he does his own thinking, votes what he wants to more than ever before.
BILL MOYE:
This may not necessarily be a connection . . . also, I wonder . . . there are more people living in the surburbs, and they've got shopping centers nearby, and they don't see the need for the rebuilding downtown or whatever.

Page 7
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. You have this. Matter of fact, a lot of people contend, you know, why spend these millions downtown when the people don't even come downtown anymore to do their shopping . . . do it in the suburbs. I think there's a lot to be said for that. By and large, our downtown community is as it is being rebuilt, is being rebuilt to where an office, institutional type (M: Those big bank buildings?), yes, complex, more than shopping center, more than a shopping area.
BILL MOYE:
I've noted on just a couple of occasions where you have represented. . . . Let me ask you, how much time? (B: All you want. I'll give you all you want.) Now this was several years ago and, like I said, I haven't read recent years, represented groups, neighborhood groups or whatever, fighting zoning changes and things like this. Is this . . . I mean, do you get this business, I mean, because you're a lawyer or is there. . . . Do you enjoy this sort of thing, sort of fighting city hall?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think . . . I never have really been a joiner. I went for twenty years and the only thing I was a member of in the city of Charlotte, besides the bar association offices and so forth that I have . . . that I belong to in connection with my profession, was First Baptist Church, so I'm not a (M: That's the big downtown . . . ), yeah. So I'm not a joiner as such, and I never was much for inside power politics through the Chamber or through any other organization. So I guess I could say that I got a great deal of joy out of, you know, taking on the power structure from time to time as the representative of the so-called classes or people. I guess this is the way it came about.
BILL MOYE:
Do you see yourself, to some extent, attempting to represent . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think I have seen myself from time to time as representing an interest that was not represented in the power structure and giving a voice to them in the community.

Page 8
BILL MOYE:
I am wondering, too . . . I was just reading over some notes last night, this doesn't necessarily follow at all from what we were talking about but . . . The comment was made that the firemen are an important political factor.
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. I'd say, you know, any group that constitutes a few hundred in number in a city, if they're really joined together in a cohesive group, have a tremendous amount of political impact. Firemen have had the capability of organizing themselves into a very sophisticated political group over the years.
BILL MOYE:
They've tried on occasion to unionize . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
They've tried on occasion to unionize. That's right, and of course, there's always been some problems there. But, even so, they have political influence to wield and have very effectively used it from time to time.
BILL MOYE:
What about the police? Are they in a different situation?
ALLEN BAILEY:
They're a little bit different situation. Of course, they never . . . it appeared to me, they never have been able to quite organize themselves in the same way, make sacrifices. They're sacrifices to make by individuals whenever groups start getting together and wielding political power . . . Individual considerations have to go out the window for the benefit of the whole. It doesn't seem to me that the police have been able to very effectively do that as has the fire department over the years in the city of Charlotte. I don't . . . I think the fire department has had the genuine interest in political affairs to a great extent and become more involved than the police department. I think this is probably because of the nature of law enforcement over the years. They've been supposed to have kept themselves detached from politics as such.
BILL MOYE:
And, then, just in the period that I've read, there have been . . .

Page 9
There was a big rukus with Littlejohn one time, there was a big rukus with Ford at one time . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
This was all local, purely local politics.
BILL MOYE:
The City Council . . . are they trying to keep their hands to some extent on . . . I know there was talk one time of a change in the charter that would put all the police stuff under the Civil Service Board, applications and whatnot, and the Chamber didn't go along with that . . . a couple of big hassles about when . . . when Littlejohn retired, or was retired or whatever . . . and appointing a new police chief . . . then when Hord retired, when Hord was appointed, I guess, after Jesse James was chief. Is this because the Council tries to, wants to keep a handle of some sort?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think the Council feels that they are the governing body of the city and that most of the city functions, including police and so forth, has to be kept connected to a body that is responsive to the people. And, I think there's a lot of merit in that. Anytime you set a segment of your government aside with nobody running it, that is, responsive to the people, you've got problems.
BILL MOYE:
As I recall . . . read a note that when Jesse James was hired, about '60 or '61 . . . there was a lot of sentiment for appointing instead Ernest Selvy, I believe. And, I believe, according to the newspapers, you were to some extent involved. I believe presented a petition or something along that line . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. I've always been one that if there is ability within an arm of the government where there's a promotion that's available that promotion from within is a great incentive for people to perform better in their services (M: Helps the morale . . . ). Helps the morale. I don't think top positions ought to be out of the reach of people in any department. And, I felt like we had here in the city people who could,

Page 10
with proper chance, fulfill that position. That was probably the reason that I took the position that I did.
BILL MOYE:
That doesn't fit into this sort of taking on the power structure or taking on somebody in city hall?
ALLEN BAILEY:
No. I don't really think that I would . . . that would necessarily go together. I have been, over the years, a great supporter of law enforcement, and I just like to see an opportunity given to those down in the ranks to progress, and that's all that is, you know as a . . . I didn't want it necessarily to be a political position as such without reach of the rank and file of those who assert themselves and gain the ability and experience to occupy the office. I don't want it to be out of their reach, strictly a political plum for somebody.
BILL MOYE:
Are you . . . Do you maintain membership or whatever in . . . Is there an ongoing political organization on the local scene or is it still sort of ad hoc, issue-oriented?
ALLEN BAILEY:
It's a kind of ad hoc, issue-oriented type of situation.
BILL MOYE:
I've just . . . There's certain . . . Seems like every time there's an issue there's a group, but the group doesn't seem to carry forward.
ALLEN BAILEY:
No. That's right.
BILL MOYE:
Now, sort of to change a little bit. I believe you have said at one time that maybe the Boy Scouts are probably as influential as the local Democratic party. Something like that. Indicating that the party is rather inept. [unclear] . . . so much splintering (maybe?).
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, it is. There really is no Democratic party. Whenever I speak of party, I'm talking about organization as such in Mecklenburg County. Now, there're a great number of people who are interested in politics and interested in the Democratic party. But there is no one, or has been no one at the helm of the Democratic party who either has the ability or the desire, he may have the desire but doesn't have

Page 11
the ability or vice versa . . . to pull the groups together, work toward a common goal. That is the way that it has been. That's the way that it is.
BILL MOYE:
Who do you see as . . . pull the groups together . . . Who are the competing groups? I presume there must be sort of a conservative side and something of a more liberal side . . . Is it that crystallized, or is it sort of a nebulous . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I don't think it's necessarily that crystallized. I think this about the failure of the Democratic party in Mecklenburg County. I think that there is, and has been, a great difference between the Democratic party on the national level and the Democratic party, or the thinking of the people on the state level. I think, by and large in Mecklenburg County, those that have been within the framework of the Democratic party, who are it's so-called leaders, have destroyed the Democratic party by trying to follow the philosophy of the national Democratic party to which the people on the local level cannot be led, would not be led. And, instead of remaining loyal to the Democratic party, they have become disorganized, disenchanted . . . little or no faith in the leadership of the Democratic party. Many, many of them, all you have to do is look at the vote, find out how many Republicans are registered here and find out how many Republicans vote. (M: A lot more Republicans vote in the general election . . . ) Than there are registered, certainly. So, there's no question but what a tremendous amount of Democrats are and have been voting Republican. Now, you can criticize those people all that you want to. You can say that the Republicans register Democratic. I've heard that! (M: So they can vote in the primary?) So they can vote in the primary. Well, that's not true. There are people who would like to be loyal to the philosophies of the Democratic party that they knew and that does not exist anymore.

Page 12
BILL MOYE:
It's moved away?
ALLEN BAILEY:
It's moved away from them, and they do not and have not followed it. They have found the Republican party and its candidates more palatable, and for that reason, they've been voting Republican. They have seen the Republican candidate as more representative of their views than they have the Democratic candidates. It's just that simple.
BILL MOYE:
Who are some of these people that you see as pushing the national line? Are they . . . I presume there are whites as well as blacks in the part of the party that push . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. Well, 'course, all you have to do is go back and find out who the leadership of the Democratic party, the so-called leadership of the Democratic party has been over the last several years. I hate to name names and so forth, but that is in fact the case.
BILL MOYE:
The primary in '64 seems to have been quite a . . . perhaps a turning point. I'm wondering, maybe both locally and statewide in a way because you had a fairly liberal candidate, you had a pretty much middle-of-the-road, and you had a fairly conservative, and it seemed to sort of split the party pretty much. I know here in Mecklenburg Mr. King, Ray King, who had been chairman of the Democratic party, (B: Quit.) resigned that and ran the Preyer campaign.
ALLEN BAILEY:
Which was a . . . you know . . . In so far as the Democratic party was concerned is . . . I think the party was forgotten. Any man that . . . elected to leadership in a party and then resigns in the middle of an election . . . to take on a candidate, in my humble judgment, forsakes his party. I think that, as much as anything else, struck the death knell of the Democratic party in this county, and it's been going down ever since.
BILL MOYE:
I'm wondering, I just happened to notice, in the paper last night, Mr. Charles Lowe, who was chairman of the County Commission has announced

Page 13
that he would offer for the party chairmanship . . . . ah, is it on Saturday, the local convention? Is this a good sign in any way in your estimation?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think it's a sign of frustration on the part of Charlie. I think Charlie sees the very same thing that I have seen, that the Democratic party in this county is giving no leadership, and he's frustrated by what he has seen and is seeing. I'm sure that he would like to remain in the wings, he'd rather be doing some of the pushing rather than the leading. But, I think his candidacy is just brought about by the simple fact that he sees the job not being done. And, this is the way that I've become involved in so many things. You know, I found out a long time ago that if you felt strongly about something, you wanted the job done, you'd better do it yourself. (M: Not count on somebody else?) Not count on somebody else, `cause chances are they're not going to get it done. This is the reason I was involved in the liquor issues and the consolidation issues and other issues. I think Charlie sees the very same thing that brought me, you know, that compels me to get involved. I think the same thing is compelling him to get involved in the Democratic party because he loves the Democratic party, and, yet, he sees there is no organization as such. I think he's genuinely interested in trying to bring it together.
BILL MOYE:
Do you think there's a possibility of his doing that?
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think there's a possibility of Charlie doing it. I don't know that, you know, he has really any ax to grind himself other than just simply one of service because I don't know of anything that Charlie would want. He held local offices here for a number of years. I'm satisfied that if he wanted to be elected to some offices that he could be. So, hopefully, it is just a real desire on his part to put together an organization. Now, that's what it's going to take. As long as . . . I won't say as long as . . . If we have people heading up

Page 14
organizations that are using those organizations for their own selfish interests, then you have what we have right now . . . nothing.
BILL MOYE:
You seem to be, maybe, indicating that maybe some of the previous leadership maybe was using this sort of as a stepping stone perhaps in their own political career?
ALLEN BAILEY:
`Course I see it as their having aspired to a position of leadership that required and demanded such . . . demanded substantial amounts of their time and their talent if that organization was going to succeed, and they have not given it to it. Yet, they have held on to the position and in the interest, I suppose, of speaking for the organization.
BILL MOYE:
Well, let me ask you this. Is it a question of some other organization maybe getting the best leadership in the community . . . the Republican party gets the best young men . . . the United Appeal gets the best young men? Or, is it that most of the young folks are so tied up in making money that ah'm . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
No. I don't think that's the case. I think there are innumerable people in this county who have substantial ability and are willing to give the time, but you cannot have an effective organization which requires a broad spectrum of the community working together to achieve certain goals and have a small group of people maneuvering that organization for their own selfish interest. You can't have it. It won't work. Over the years, people who have been interested in the Democratic party and who have given to it have seen decisions being made without consultation with them or others who had been working for it in behalf of the party. When you can't have some input at decision-making times, why, then you find very little reason to fight for the party when it needs you.
BILL MOYE:
Some people characterize sort of part of the problem both at the state and the local level within the Democratic party as a situation

Page 15
where the more liberal candidate can win the precinct meetings or whatever and get the primary nomination, but then come November, he's sort of used up what he had. In other words, that bloc can get him the nomination, but he can't deliver on the . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think that's exactly what's been taking place in North Carolina. There has been enough liberal support . . . unless there is a real issue-oriented campaign with maybe one or two strong conservative issues, if that's the case, then chances are you are able to nominate a Democratic nominee with that strong issue. But, it seems to me that there has just been enough liberal support in the primaries, by and large, to nominate the more liberal of the candidates, and, yet, when it comes to the fall (M: The more conservative Democrats and the Republicans . . . ) combining together.
BILL MOYE:
I'm wondering if it sort of fits in the same thing. If you mount an argument that maybe the media campaign that Skipper Bowles had in his primary in '72 and maybe if you say that most of the newspapers generally gravitate towards the more liberal candidate . . . Do you see that as being . . . maybe they are able to sell themselves, but . . . to a certain bloc of people with this media campaign. They're sort of nice looking men, and they come across well on t.v., but maybe when it comes down to mixing with the people or something . . . When they come down off the studio stage or something to shake hands with people and really get down to the gut issues . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
No. I think it's more of a . . . There is that liberal bloc within the state, and I think it's a powerful minority. Of course, in any campaign, you're going to have a certain amount of fallout from the other side go with that group for selfish reasons and first one reason and then another. With the . . . as you've indicated, with media gravitating to that side basically, most of the time and projecting that candidate

Page 16
as a palatable individual, his chances of success are good, but then when you come to the fall, you know, I think the people just naturally start weighing the two candidates who are left and say which one of these really thinks like I do or more nearly represents my views.
BILL MOYE:
And, now, if we take that the state party is badly splintered, which it does . . . in fact, if there is a state organization . . . part time most of the time as a political organization is sort of now (unintelligible).
ALLEN BAILEY:
There is no state organization except that which is, ah, exists on the local level. Then if doesn't one exist in a hundred . . . in the county, there is no state organization. The state organization is just a culmination of what each county's doing, and if each county doing what Mecklenburg County's doing, there isn't any organization in the state of North Carolina.
BILL MOYE:
Now, is there any possibility that Robert Morgan can put some of the pieces back together on the state level . . . bring in . . . Obviously, to some extent, he represents a more conservative bloc in a way. He's lately been appealing, to some extent, with the consumer activity possibly to the . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yes. I think Robert Morgan has the potential to do this. I don't think this is something that any candidate or any individual can do over a short period of time. In order to build the kind of organization that the Democratic party has always been famous for, you're going to have to start at the local level, and it's going to have to be done precinct by precinct and county by county. This requires leadership from the local level.
BILL MOYE:
O.K. If we can sort of skip around a bit . . . If we could get back to the local level to some extent, I guess the one major issue which I'm as interested in as any other is the consolidation attempt, which I understand is coming up possibly again. There's been talk about

Page 17
again, possibly some negotiations between the city leadership and the county leadership. From what I gather as to your comments during the consolidation campaign for the vote, it was sort of the radical, this radical change in the whole structure of the government . . . the county-wide council and the district representation. You seem to kind of favor a continuation of functional consolidation rather than a radical shift (B: I do.). As I recall, one of your dissatisfactions with the charter was that you thought the mayor . . . under that there would be a strong mayor (B: No question about that. Yeah.). I'm wondering . . . It was, what, a mayor that was going to be fulltime with a salary and all as opposed to a, theoretically anyway, a parttime mayor (B: Umumph.). There are those who argue, this is sort of a political science argument again, that a fulltime . . . making the mayorship fulltime would perhaps allow somebody perhaps from a lower economic status, or open up the mayorship, to an extent, to other people who may have the ability to do it but they don't have the resources where they can go into the theoretically parttime job as it is now set up . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think it'd do that. I don't recall exactly what position I took. I know I took a position against a strong mayor because my view was it was consolidating too much political power within one man, as I saw it back then. I suppose it was just one of those things you grabbed on to as you went along, you know.
BILL MOYE:
I'm wondering, too, sort of the same argument can be made for the district representation. I believe one of your charges was that this would be going back to the old ward system. (B: There's no question about it.) Some I think would argue maybe that those who . . . I mean it does . . . It seems that most of the leadership for the Council and for the county, too, comes out of right back over in the Southeast

Page 18
here. This would open up . . . I mean, if you're dissatisfied to some extent with city government
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ALLEN BAILEY:
and perhaps . . . you mentioned groups being dissatisfied with urban renewal and the downtown redevelopment or whatever. Some would argue that this would give them more of an input into these decisions . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, of course, that was the argument . . . the other argument. On the other side of that is simply that the man should not be eliminated from serving the city with the ability, irrespective of what, which side of town he lives on. As far as I'm personally concerned, it doesn't make any difference to me whether that man is from the east, west, north, or south. If he's the man the citizens think is most capable of serving them, well that's . . . where he lives is immaterial to me.
BILL MOYE:
Some people perhaps would argue that maybe a lot of people were against the Charter because they were, not only were they satisfied perhaps. . . . or at least not sufficiently dissatisfied with the present condition, but under the new Charter there would be other groups brought in, perhaps more lower-class, if there is that type group . . . lower-class white group in Charlotte. There would be more black representation, and maybe that was a major factor in the . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, I think the people . . . on that issue, expressed themselves as I just have. The man most capable of governing ought to govern. Where he lives or what color he is should not govern whether or not he is in fact a representative of the people. Now, obviously, under the system proposed, it was the old ward system all over again, and, you know, we went through that and saw the corruption involved in that thing many, many years ago. Anybody who's a student of history will know that it didn't function, and I don't know of any reason to believe it'll be more functionable today than it was then.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you . . . This is off the subject of consolidation a little

Page 19
bit, but . . . The issue of partisan local politics seems to keep popping up to some extent. There was mention of it in about '65 in a charter revision. There was some at least discussion of it. I believe in the last legislature, I believe Craig Lawing introduced and I think the bill passed to allow partisan local city elections. Are you in favor of that, or do you see the same type of thing? In other words, if a man's a Republican and he's the most qualified, you know, . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I don't . . . It would seem to me that it would have been wise to continue to have our municipal elections nonpartisan. What was the reasoning behind changing it, I was not in on it. I don't know. I suspect it was the fact that the local Republican party felt its muscle and would like for its candidates to run (M: As Republicans?). As Republicans. The argument is made that this would tend to give you a stronger party organization if you had your local elections partisan, and I think maybe this might well be true. I can't conceive of why a Democrat in this city would want a partisan election (M: The way things are going now.). Yeah. With the Democratic party as it is.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask, along that very same line, talking about the partisan . . . The News apparently seemed to think the anti-consolidation campaign . . . that the Republicans were very much involved in the anti-Charter campaign. Is that a valid observation?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, there were Republicans involved, but I recall the night that a group of us met. There was, in addition to some Republicans, there was Ray King who had been chairman of the Democratic party and who actually gave his support and so forth in the effort to defeat the Charter. He later withdrew it under local pressure and stayed out in left field, didn't do anything. So, he certainly was not a Republican. I can recall people like Bill Pop who's a strong Democrat. Myself. You know, I think that it's unfair to say that it was a Republicanorganized

Page 20
defeat of the Charter `cause that really isn't true. It was a . . . It could not have been defeated as decisively as it was unless it had been a cohesion of Democrats and Republicans. That was the way the organization was put together.
BILL MOYE:
Do you think . . . You just mentioned something about Mr. King being under some pressure. Do you think it would be fair to say that, generally speaking, Republicans were more likely to be opposed and Democrats were more likely to be in favor, in any way?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Consolidation? I really don't think that you can divide it along those lines.
BILL MOYE:
I was just wondering . . . You know, the argument that the Republicans might be stronger in the county, and maybe that was a factor in the tremendous county . . . (B: I don't think . . . ) You don't see much. . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think the county voted against it because the foresaw it as not being in their best interest. As it obviously was not.
BILL MOYE:
Back to a comment you made while ago when you were talking about, I believe it was the strong mayor, you said that was something we caught as we went along, or something along that line. The News seemed to think that the "anti-" leadership were better practical politicians, and the Observer, which I presume was very strongly in favor of the consolidation, they used a phrase, something about the "emotional strategy of Mr. Bailey". How much, would you say, of the "anti-" campaign was a real philosophical opposition to, say, big government and how much of it was sort of issue-oriented, sort of . . . You didn't want it, but you sort of pulled all the stops out?
ALLEN BAILEY:
Well, this is, . . . this is exactly what we did. There is some (unintelligible) of truth in everything they say there. You see, whenever we began the organizing to lead, I'd rather put it on the basis of leading a discussion of the merits and demerits of consolidation,

Page 21
everything that I'd seen in the press indicated that the overwhelming majority of the people were in favor of consolidation. I don't know whether you've run across that or not, but here, at one time, I think it was felt that there was at least a 70 or more per cent of the people . . .
BILL MOYE:
I've read some discussion that sort of indicated that initially, when it was a sort of nebulous thing, a lot of people were in favor of it, but later on, when you got down to the . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah, that's the point, yeah. Before we started discussing the specific document, there was a percentage of somewhere between 70 and 80 per cent of the people who were in favor of consolidation. We had been brainwashed in this county about the need for consolidation for years and years before it ever came, through the press. We didn't have a substantial period in order to get organized and do all the things you have to do in order to conduct a campaign. It's well, you know, to go about it in a methodical way and this kind of thing, educate people slowly and so forth, if you've got that kind of time. But, if you're working in a short framework of time, you know, you have to arouse the emotions of people as you get to them because you're not going to get back to them, chances are. Of course, this is done in all political campaigns, work on the emotional aspect of people and on their reasoning and philosophy and everything else.
BILL MOYE:
One of the arguments, or one of the factors that is pointed as a reason, to some extent, for defeat of the Charter was that your side was better able to develop the emotional issues, and maybe the pro forces were talking about "we need more efficiency in government", "need better planning", which, you know, are nice sounding phrases but don't . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
We did develop the emotional issue. We developed the issue that concerned the people, that got to the people.

Page 22
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you this. How . . . Now, "the issue that got to the people", how much of that was the race factor? I mean, that apparently comes up in district representation, in the board . . . What was it? There was a piece in the Charter that would . . . a fair representation guarantee without respect to . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think you would have to say that all those things played an underlying part in the defeat of the Charter. Who can say what, I don't know. I know that they were never openly discussed or debated, but how much, you know, the people thought about those kinds of things is something of a different thing, but I'm sure they must have given thought . . .
BILL MOYE:
Were some of the phrases maybe . . . I mean, if we say that we're going back to the old ward system, in a way, perhaps, under the ward system, the blacks would be guaranteed a person on the Council, and maybe that was one of the reasons for using that phrase . . . to make people aware of that possibility without really coming out and saying, you know, "we don't want blacks on the council" . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
I think it was a way of saying that you don't want anybody on the city council who's not qualified to govern. I don't care where he lives or where he comes from. Now that may encompass a lot of other things, too. But, that was the way that it was sued. You can put any kind of interpretation on a phrase you want to, and, as long as the people interpret it to your advantage, I don't suppose you're opposed to that. That's the way it is.
BILL MOYE:
Let me ask you this . . . I presume, then, whether you would support a new charter attempt would entirely depend on the type of charter that was eventually presented? I mean, I believe you were quoted at the time as saying you would like to see a new charter commission. This was immediately after that election in '71.

Page 23
ALLEN BAILEY:
Yeah. I think there are advantages in consolidating certain facets of our government if not all of them. Now, what else goes along with that is a different question. As to whether we want to change our form of government, that's an entirely different issue. What we were doing, we were not only consolidating but changing our form of government, and that's what I was opposed to.
BILL MOYE:
That pretty much covers what I had in mind to ask. Is there anything that . . .
ALLEN BAILEY:
As far as I know, none.
BILL MOYE:
Well, I appreciate your taking the time and talking to me. I enjoyed it.
ALLEN BAILEY:
When does your book . . . You say you're writing a history, is this in connection with a doctorate or some other . . .
BILL MOYE:
Right.
END OF INTERVIEW