University Centers and Institutes Transcript - Part 2


BOILARD:  All right.  Well, that was one of our major Institutes.  We now want turn to one of the--  another major Center for Collaborative Policy  and I'd ask Peter Detwiler to start the conversation rolling on that.  

DETWILER: Steve, thanks.  And thanks to President Gerth for hosting us here this morning.  We're going to talk here for about an hour or so about the Center for Collaborative Policy.  And I know you and David have put together this wonderful outline of the points that you want to cover.  But I want to start by asking you to tell me a story.  

SHERRY: I have stories.  

DETWILER: I want you to tell me the story.  It’s-- It's I think-- 1992, and you’re making your pitch to President Gerth about the Center.  Tell me that story and then that'll get us into, you know, the 1990 origins.  

SHERRY: OK. Well, we did have the two years to build up to that.  And so, it wasn't that I was coming in and asking Dr. Gerth to establish a Center out of thin air. 


SHERRY: We had done something incredible.  

DETWILER:  But, tell me about that day.  

SHERRY:  OK. That day, I went in to Dr. Gerth and I said, "You know, we don't know what this is and this is a new methodology; but, resolving problems through mediation and dialogue is something that can work in very tense political situations.  And, I would like to start a Center just to do that in our State Capital and in our State."  And I didn't have to sell-- he said,  "Great, go ahead and do it."  And he said, "Look, I'll give you three years of funding of a $100,000 and a half-time student assistant.  And, by January 1st, 1995,  you need to be 100% self-supporting."  And I said, "I will take that deal."  

DETWILER:  Now that happens at the first meeting?  

SHERRY: Yes. It happened in the first 20 minutes.  There was no sales necessary at all and this was partly  because Don was involved in what happened in 1990.  So there was a whole two-year sort of proof that this isn't just something that is a wild idea.  It had some resonance and we can talk about that-- how it influenced and really--  

DETWILER: OK. Well, now the back story.  Let's do the back story now.  

SHERRY: The Capital took notice, OK.  

DETWILER:  Right.  

SHERRY:  So, I was the Associate Director of the Center for California Studies.  And the legislature, I think it was Steve Thompson, under Willie Brown, called Don and said, "You know, we have dozens and dozens of growth management bills and it's very-- a volatile topic.  And would you just send someone from University to take all these people and legislators in a room for a weekend and get this all straightened out?"  And so, Don called the Center for California Studies.  And, at that time it was Jeff Lustig, 


SHERRY: -- and said,  "What we can do with this?"  


SHERRY:  And I think Jeff said, "Well, I don't know what to do with this."  But I had recently come onboard, and what's so interesting about how our personal path intersects with our professional and more historic patterns in history,  I had taken a little time off to figure out what did I really want to do.  I was always-- I knew my life was around politics and policy, but I took about six months off to really figure it out.  And, you know, when you that, you do different tests  and you look at different career books, and what kept coming up, which I didn't know up to this point, was that I had a passion for reconciling opposite positions and a real passion for resolving conflicts.  And it just kept coming up on all these things.  So when Jeff hung up the phone and said, "I just got this call from Dr. Gerth and I don't know what to do with it."  I immediately knew that was my life's work.  

DETWILER: Really?  

SHERRY: At that instant, I went, "This is it."  


SHERRY: And I was so excited because knowing that-- and I never thought I would do anything with It-- but it just, it was like manna, manna from heaven.  It was grace.  It was wonderful.  And so, I said, "I'll do it.  I don't know what it is but I will do it."  And then it went on from there.  It was very funny.  What, how this project came was that Willie Brown told Steve Thompson  to call Don Gerth and then he said, "Look, if you take these people into a room, what I'll do is through this—the Assembly Office of Research, and instead of Office of Research, I will give you the technical and policy support if you can somehow organize and provide some kind of mediation so that we can do something."  And what was particularly important was that, not only were there I think dozens of bills, but there were four very prominent legislators who had competing bills.  It was Willie Brown, Sam Farr, Marian Bergeson, and Robert Presley.  Well, these were very powerful people that had bills that were competing.  So it was Willie's way of trying to settle people down and be able to come forward with something that looked at California as a whole and tried to figure out land-use patterns that would support not only rational urban growth but preserve some of our hinterlands so that we didn't have growth that was just uncontrolled.  And I'll just stop there for a moment  because David was a big player in this project.  Unbeknownst to me at the time that I said I'll do it,  David was behind the scenes.  So David, do you want to talk a little about your behind-the-scenes?  

BOOHER: So, yeah.  

DETWILER: This is the story I want to hear because I never heard the story.  

SHERRY: Oh, this is a fun story.  

DETWILER: Oh, this is good.  

BOOHER:  Well, I was a lobbyist representing business interests in California around this time.  And I had been reading about interest-based-- new literature coming out-- a lot about interest-based negotiation and about consensus building where you bring stakeholders together and try to work through user-specific methodology to work through solutions.  And the earlier discussion about the culture was really--  is apropos, because the culture of the legislature was becoming very frustrated.  

DETWILER: Yeah, and increasingly adversarial?  

BOOHER: Adversarial.  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: And so, so I decided-- I was a player in these growth management-- there are actually 56 of them are--  

SHERRY: Fifty six bills.  

BOOHER: Fifty six bills.  And so, I had good relationships with the other stakeholders, other lobbyists.  So, I got them together in a room and worked out an agreement that we would go to the leadership, go to David Roberti and Speaker Brown, and ask for a moratorium on moving these bills, and set up this-- set up a consensus building process.  And I talked, talked to them and Steve about what that might look like.  And so they said, OK, they would do that.  And at the same time, there was a program in conflict resolution at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that had been started by-- the first president had started it because he had been in Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement and didn't want that kind of-- He wanted to have a resolution that didn't require so much violence-- violence.  And so, they we're providing funding grants for efforts in this consensus building.  And so, we went to-- we went to the Hewlett Foundation and got them to provide a lot of the funding for the technical support.  And the other logistic support, we got funding, actually, from the stakeholders.  

DETWILER: So the story I'm hearing are these threads that maybe start from some independent origins.  So we've got a political setting in the Capital and, and, Speaker Brown.  We certainly have sort of the-- technical is not the right word-- but the improvement in the procedure and the process of collaboration and mediation as an emerging field--  

SHERRY: Also, the field, it was not even nascent at that point.  I mean it was-- there were some academic articles about it.  

DETWILER: Really” Right. It was early in that process.

SHERRY: There was hardly anything-- any-- in an applied sense, there was--  there was just theory, but there was no apply--  nothing applied going on.  

DETWILER; And we have money available.  

BOOHER:  Money available.  

DETWILER:  Hewlett, and, I think later, maybe some of the other clients--  And then the campus is receptive.  

SHERRY: That's the key.  

BOOHER: That's right. That was the key.  

SHERRY:  Don didn't freak out and, you know-- And I--  

BOOHER:  I was the one to freak out because here I had put this together and was funding this.  And they told me, "Well, somebody from Sac State is going to lead this."  And I said, "What are you talking about?"  

SHERRY:  Well, here's what happened--  

BOOHER:  Sacramento State can't do that.  We need like UC Berkeley or somebody else.  

SHERRY:  And so what happened?  I-- On the first time I met David, the first time I met David, I come in and, you know, I'm all perky and hey, we're going to do this.  He goes-- He gets really grumpy and goes, "Well, who are you?"  And I said, "My name is Susan Sherry and I'm from the Center for California Studies."  And he said, "If you were any good, you'd be from the UC."  And I said—I said to him, "You don't know what you have here and I'm going to prove it to you and you're going to eat your words."  And from that point on,  David and I had this incredible partnership.  So I just fed it back in and he went, "I guess I'll go—I’ll go with this woman here."  That's the truth.  

BOOHER: Yeah, that is the truth.  

SHERRY: And so--  

BOOHER: Of course, it helped that Steve Thompson was--  

DETWILER:  Well, yeah, I mean--  that's the political game because I think what we know from-- what I know from growth management in other states, it takes a lot of strong leadership to either keep it from happening or to enclose it.  So, we've got this political situation.  We have the origins of the academic intellectual thinking about this.  We have money available.  We have the campus is receptive and all--  Are there other streams that come together to get this thing going?  

BOOHER:  Oh yes, there was.  One of my allies—slash, enemies-- from the business community didn't like this idea at all.  

DETWILER: Are we naming names this morning?  

BOOHER: No, we're not naming names.  


BOOHER:  So--  

DETWILER: I had to ask.  

BOOHER: There's somebody very powerful, somebody who is very powerful, and they didn't like this idea of doing this consensus building.  They wanted to fight it out in the culture of a legislature.  

DETWILER: The way we always--  

BOOHER: The way we always fought it out.  And we probably would have won.  I mean, all that-- the people who didn't want the growth management policy.  See, my clients wanted the growth management policy but there were other elements in the business community that didn't.  And so, this person who is very powerful called up Don and said,  "We want you guys out of this.  We don't want to do-- We don't want Sacramento State doing this consensus building."  Don, you don't know I know this but I found out about it [laughter].  And, so

GERTH:  I’m finding out about a lot of things I don’t know.  

SHERRY: I heard that it was at a Sac State football game that that guy came to Don and said,  "Get Susan Sherry out of here."  

BOOHER: So fortunately, Don was able to turn that aside and--  

DETWILER: Not only is the campus open to it-- but persists.  

BOOHER: Protects and persists.  And, that goes back to the other conversation, other conversation we had about the strength of being on the campus, because the campus is recognized as being independent.  And it has the leadership capability to maintain that stance to-- you know, if the client wants you to do something that's not legitimate, you just don't do it.  We've had that at the Center happen too where a client really doesn't want a collaborative process.  They want more of a public relations process.  That's not what we do.  And even if it's a state agency, we say, “No, that's not what we're going to do.  

SHERRY:  And we've turned down projects and said, "You don't want to play the way we want to play--  and that is authentic collaboration, where the outcome is not predetermined."  Agencies would come to us and want to do a process, a public process, but they wanted certain outcomes.  And we said, "That's not how this works because this is based on authentic relationships.  It's data-driven, policy-driven, and we don't play games that way."  And so we established our line in the sand many times, and what happened to our benefit was then the reputation became  is, "You can't buy these people.  You can't persuade them."  It's an honest process and that's how we got folks like environmentalists and the ethnic community and other communities that felt marginalized become part of our processes,  Before they felt that it was all rigged; and they knew if they came with us, it wouldn't be rigged.  

But, I'm getting ahead of ourselves.  So, we have this growth management consensus project  and it was about 50 to 80 people representing business, development community, environmentalists, agriculture, the housing community-- what other interests are there?--  air quality, transportation.  And it was primarily the lobbyists who came together because those are the ones that were negotiating these bills.  And we took them through a 6 to 12--  about a nine-month process of negotiating around these topics in caucuses.  And, what was really interesting was how captivated even the most curmudgeonly lobbyist became because there was a dynamic that they had never seen-- that people who they traditionally were-- traditional  enemies-- they finally had a space, a safe space to talk to them about difficult things.  And there was-- there's sort of a magic that's created when people talk with each other honestly  and when they feel that the other person is not going to betray them because we had ground rules that--  of how you behaved.  And part of that-- also a ground rule-- was that we understood that things had to happen outside the process.  And whatever happened outside these doors, that's fine.  But once you come in these doors, the rules change.  And we were-- and people enjoyed that and they listened to it.  And so, it was something they had never seen before.  

DETWILER:  So both you [Sherry] and David were saying that the academic literature or the intellectual advancements about mediation and being an honest broker and a convener were still emerging.  So, were you making this, these rules about--  Were you making that up on the fly?  

SHERRY: Yes.  

DETWILER: Or were you influenced by writings of someone else?  

SHERRY: Well, it was both.  There was one book that one person had written, Susan Carpenter, on public disputes.  And I read that book and I called her.  And I said, "This is what's happening in California."  And she said, "I will be your mentor through this whole thing for free."  So, I had one of the leading people in public dispute resolution on the phone with me  because I had, I had the people skills, I had the political skills, and policy skills but I never done this before.  

DETWILER: Well, no one had done this before in California--  

SHERRY: Right, right.  

DETWILER: -- I think is what I’m hearing.  

BOOHER: And I-- And there’s another interesting how things cross,  I was-- prior to lobbying, I was a professional planner and I had a relationship with Larry Susskind at MIT, who was one of the pioneers in this.  And he had written a book similar to Susan Carpenter's book and that's what I had read along with Fisher and Ury’s "Getting to Yes."  So there was-- That was kind of the state of the art at that time-- is what you could find in those, in that literature, works and--  

SHERRY: Two or three books, two or three articles  but they were seminal--  


SHERRY: -- especially the "Getting to Yes" book.  


SHERRY: That was-- It came out of Harvard and MIT.  

DETWILER: And so the growth management collaboration, this is ’90, ‘92--  

SHERRY:  '90 to the end of '91—so, yeah.  

DETWILER: '91, right, right.  I remember the painful years.  

SHERRY: Well, because you were part of the technical staff, Peter, that was--  

DETWILER:   I was staffing-- 

SHERRY: Yeah, yeah.

DETWILER: -- one of those legislators on this topic.  But this could easily have been a one-trick wonder, right,  a one-trick pony.  

SHERRY: Yes.  

DETWILER:  Right, a one-hit wonder.  


DETWILER:  I guess it's the right metaphor [laughter].  

SHERRY: Yes.  

SHERRY So, your record actually has a flip side.  It's got a B side here.  

SHERRY: Yes, a big B side.  

DETWILER: And how do you go from, OK this is something that worked to institutionalizing it, making it at a Center, how do you find your other clients?  

SHERRY: Yes.  

DETWILER: Tell me that.  

SHERRY: Well, the big thing was that Dr. Gerth provided seed money.  I can't emphasize enough the power of seed money, with limitations, that after a certain time, you are expected  to be self-supporting.  And, we could have never done it because I had a job being the Associate Director of the Center for California Studies, so I couldn't have dedicated all my time to this because there were duties that weren't fulfilled--  

DETWILER: Other things you were supposed to be doing?  

SHERRY: Yes, yeah.  So, basically, we had a three-year period to prove the concept.  And so that-- those were the heady early years and there were two projects that came about, for different reasons, that got us to the point by January 1st, 1995 we were totally self-supporting.  And the two projects were a project that came out of the growth management consensus project and then a project that was initiated by the City and County of Sacramento on water.  So, David, do you want to talk about the Economic and Environmental Recovery Coalition because that was one of the projects?  And so, these were profound projects in terms of their policy implications.  But, they were contracts that would make us self-sufficient because you had-- we had to do both through all the time at the Center.  They had to be relevant.  We want to make change in the policy system, but we had to bring in money through fee-for-service contracts.  And that was our model, fee-for-service contracts.  So, about the one project during those three years.  

BOOHER: Even though there wasn't a consensus that came out of the consensus [Recovery] project, there was a lot of agreement about what needed to be done.  And it's interesting, if you come now to all of the bills on housing and sustainable community, how much, intellectually, that grew out of the ideas-- and how to go about doing it-- grew out of that early stages.  But the most significant thing was that it wasn't just me, other lobbyist, other people working and including the employers of the lobbyists who had the experience of working this process like it a whole lot better than the legislative process.  And so, the ones that were in agreement that this was a good way to go formed another group, and as you know, Peter, began working on a package of two bills that involved the land-use component and infrastructure finance and agreed that both bills had to go because you couldn't do the--  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: -- land-use piece  if you weren't providing the infrastructure to support the development in those areas that were approved for development.  And so, people were happy, you know, and we liked this process so much better.  A lot of us who had been fighting vigorously with each other became friends through this process.  You learned a lot about the issues.  You learned about a lot about your opponents' positions and where they were coming  from because this is a very empathetic process.  And so, we agreed that they had to both move on because the infrastructure bill required new funding and two thirds vote, we just weren't able to get--  


BOOHER: -- two thirds—not quite two thirds-- of the legislature.  So, the agreement held and the bills were, you know, were not moved --at that point.  But even after that, later on, the stakeholders and the-- 

DETWILER: lobbyists

BOOHER: you know, continued to use this kind of a process.  

DETWILER: So part of the story then is the maturing of the institution which becomes the Center?  

SHERRY: Uh-hum.  

DETWILER: But another maturing outcome is the change in relationships of interest-based negotiation, mediation, and decision-making.  

BOOHER: Right.  


SHERRY: Yes, and it's--  

DETWILER: So it's relational as well as institutional.  

BOOHER: Very much.  

SHERRY: And the relational part goes on well beyond the project.  

DETWILER:  Right.  

SHERRY: Well, beyond the project.  The other project that helped us achieve self-sufficiency--  that had a profound effect on the region-- was the Sacramento Regional Water Forum.  And that was a project that actually started in 1993 and we signed the agreement at the Convention Center in 2000.  So this took six-and-a-half years to put together and I was the mediator on it.  And that was put together by the City and County of Sacramento, knowing, in 1992 or so, that they were blocked  by the environmentalists to put any more diversions into the American River because the American River which is a historic and a scenic river, the environmentalists were able to block any additional diversions.  Well, Sacramento was a growing region and we were coming to limits on our water-- ability to have a reliable water supply.  So the City and County pulled the watershed together.  Not-- There was-- When we talk about leadership, we're talking about the leadership of some people that really made a profound difference in the life of Sacramento.  And that is Bill Edgard—Edgar-- and Bob Thomas.  And these are folks who saw--  

DETWILER: So Bill was the City Manager.  

SHERRY: Yes.  


SHERRY: And Bob was the Assistant City Manager.  

DETWILER: City Manager

SHERRY: Right.  

DETWILER:  And later, County Exec-- 

SHERRY:-- Executive, all through this Water Forum time.  So, Bill Edgar and Bob Thomas were the folks that on the City and County were sort of like Don in terms of being open to something very new.  And so they-- About their--  They came to this idea that they need[ed] a collaboration completely apart from any interaction with me.  And they put an RFP on the street to do this.  And I had to compete and this was a person who didn't have a degree in mediation—I mean, I  had other degrees but not in mediation.  

DETWILER: There were no degrees in mediation.  

SHERRY: No, there weren't, not at that time.  And so, the Center won that contract.  And so much of the Center's history is based on winning that contract and that agreement being so successful.  It has changed water politics in the Sacramento region forever.  And I can talk more about--  

DETWILER:  So, going back to some of Carole's themes, so--  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

DETWILER: Again, it was-- Do you think you had a leg up because it was University-based?  

SHERRY: Oh, abso-- Well, we certainly did-- Yeah, I think we did there.  

DETWILER: Not in the contracting sense.  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

DETWILER: But in the credibility--  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

DETWILER: -- and legitimacy--  

SHERRY: I think so.  I think that in the Water Forum sense,  I think they were impressed what we did on the growth management project.  I would say the imprimatur of the University was more important-- a little later on when we started to work with state agencies--  

DETWILER: I see.  

SHERRY:-- because they trusted that we were more neutral.  


SHERRY: And that was really key, that was really a key, and that we had a value of public service, which--  


SHERRY: -- other folks don't have.  

DETWILER: Which maybe a private contractor or a--  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

DETWILER: -- or a firm--  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

DETWILER:  -- wouldn’t necessarily--  

SHERRY:  So, it was the public service and--  


SHERRY: -- neutrality ethic of the University that helped us.  Yeah, it really helped us a lot.  So-- But-- So through the coalition that David talked about in the Water Forum, I could go to Don on January 1st, 1995, and say, we are totally self-supporting.  I don't need any more money.  We are off to the races.  And we-- At that point, it was me and a half-time student assistant -- still, and--  but then based on the Water Forum and the amount of money that the City and County put into that and the Growth Management Consensus Project, our reputation started to grow.  And we started to get more and more inquiries about-- What's this thing that Sac State’s doing?  Maybe-- Could we do that too?  And so, the period from 1995 to the year 2000-- what I would characterize that as, that we did several multiyear projects that caught the state's imagination.  Not just the State Capital, but local government and regional governments too, because we were doing work at the state level that David has discussed.  And we were doing work at the regional local level that I discussed.  I was the mediator on both things at the time.  And both things were pulling in the kind of self-sufficient contracts that we needed.  But then there were other projects that came along and I will turn to David to ask--  to tell him-- to ask him, rather.  Sometimes he doesn't like me tell him stuff.  Yeah, we have a creative, creative relationship-- but one of the projects in that period that brought us a lot of recognition was the California Governance Consensus Project.  So, David, do you want to talk a little bit about that one?  

BOOHER:  Well, this was similar to the other projects--  


BOOHER: -- in the sense that I and a lot of other stakeholders, including my-- a lot of my clients and other lobbyists  across-- interdisciplinary, you know, different--  all kinds of different interests, continue to like this process better than the others, and the other-- better than their regular way of working in the Capitol.  And so, we went back to the Hewlett Foundation, got another grant and some, some of the organizations put additional money to form this California Governance Consensus project.  And, that was a much bigger operation because we hired an Executive Director.  

SHERRY: Director for that project under the Center’s office--  

BOOHER: Yes.  

SHERRY: -- with me doing the mediation--  


SHERRY: -- but a Director actually directing the policy direction.  And I came in for the mediation, so it was much more formalized.  

BOOHER: Yeah. And Betty--  

SHERRY: Betty Yee--  

BOOHER: Betty Yee was the-- 

SHERRY: -- current constitutional officer--


SHERRY:--  was-- was the first-- was the Director.  

BOOHER: -- was the Executive Director.  

DETWILER:  Oh, I see.  

SHERRY: She was the Executive Director of this project.  

DETWILER:  Oh, I'd forgotten that.


BOOHER: Yeah. And so, again, it was a great experience.  I mean, if you-- if we could get those people who are involved in together, we learned a lot and had--  both about the issue and about how the other interests were experiencing this and worked out a basic concept  of what governance should look like.  But, again, translating it into individual bills and actually get in through the political process was a different matter.  And so--  

DETWILER:  Is part of that because at the same time that there is interest in collaborative decision-making, the political process in Sacramento--  California, in general,  the United States, becomes more and more polarized, more and more partisan,  that the center does not hold, right?  

BOOHER: Right.  

DETWILER:  And so that, that pulling away of national and statewide politics creates this, perhaps, opportunity for governance-- collaborative governance-- in the middle, and yet you can't translate that into specific legislative or executive achievements.  

BOOHER: Well, actually, it -- two things, first are similar to the governance-- a lot of the ideas that grew out of that,  I'm sorry, similar to the--  

SHERRY: Growth Management.  

BOOHER: -- Growth Management.  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: A lot of the ideas that grew out that get carried on in a different way.  

DETWILER:  OK.  This is the relational--  

BOOHER: This is the--  

SHERRY: Relational and policy too.  

BOOHER:  And policy. 


SHERRY: And policy insights, yeah.  

BOOHER: You know, and I mean, there's a lot of those and we could talk about it,  but-- but the second, the second aspect of it-- In that case, we did make a big breakthrough because we all agreed that fundamental to this was infrastructure finance.  And, fundamental to that was making it easier to raise money at the local level.  And so, we all agreed that we were going to support an initiative to lower the vote for school bonds--  

DETWILER:  Right.  

BOOHER: -- from two thirds to 55%.  And before, that had not been possible.  

DETWILER: That's right.  

BOOHER: And before, proposals to do that had been stopped at the ballot.  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: But this changed that because the people who like--  Cities and Counties-- normally had opposed that because it was just schools.  They backed off and didn't oppose it this time.  A lot of businesses had opposed that--  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: -- prior -- They all backed off and some of them put up a lot of money to support that.  And in fact, it really came out of the business.  It's really--  

DETWILER: So that's a Constitutional amendment.  

BOOHER: That was a Constitutional--  

DETWILER: That-- OK.  

BOOHER: That had to pass at the ballot.  


SHERRY:  Yes.  And the people at the table for the California Governance Consensus project included the Chamber of Commerce, the realtors, the developers, several of the unions, the Teachers Union-- there was about three or four unions-- the Sierra Club, the major environmental organization--  

BOOHER: Low-income groups.  

SHERRY: Yeah, low-income-- all the social welfare advocates, and the League of Cities and CSAC.  So all the players that were involved in blocking any kind of fiscal reform in infrastructure were at the table.  And that's what made it so profound -- that we had all these people.  And, because of the process that we followed and because of how we learned to do the mediation, people came into the room and became different people in the room because we had this safe space that was created-- with phases.  For instance, we had a kind of thing where people had to learn about each other's perspective and learn about each of these policy issues before we would actually let people negotiate.   

DETWILER: Right.  

SHERRY: Because often, when people try to solve problems, they don't learn about the other person's perspectives, so they talk past each other.  So we have to get that done.  And also, what's really important with these processes are fact-finding-- so that you're always all working  from the same facts rather than having different facts.  And we actually have negotiations on facts, because, as you know, people come and based on where they wanted to go, they have their own facts to support where they want to go.  Well, what we did is-- we would have negotiations on what set of facts were we going to use for the negotiation.  So, it's a very structured process; but, within that structure, there's a lot of creativity and a free flow of ideas.  But it required a lot of policy work and that's why we had Betty Yee working on that because we would have to write papers so that they would--  what-- in terms of what we would negotiate each session had to have a lot of work and people had to read all the stuff ahead of time and we had certain topics that people needed information on.  And so Betty did a lot of that research.  

BOOHER: And the cultural difference is important here because, as she said, you had to have a safe space; and yet, all these people had to go out and fight in the Legislature--  

DETWILER: Yeah, they were also operating in these other-- 

BOOHER: -- arenas


BOOHER: So you--  


BOOHER: -- so we had ground rules about how we would relate to each other in the room and then ground rules about what we did in the courts or what we did in the legislature.  


SHERRY: And that-- I just want to interrupt.  

DETWILER: Please.  

SHERRY: We had-- and we called it living in two worlds--  and we had a sheet of paper that talked about how you live in two worlds in this process.  And we spelled out things like, you have to do what you're going to do outside these walls in the legislature.  And if you have to backstab someone, OK,  you have to do that out there.  And we made it legitimate that people have to do that so that if something happened outside the room, then it didn't corrupt what was going on in the room because everyone knew that everyone had to pursue their interest  outside the room no matter how maybe unpleasant or even a little bit under the table kind of-- kinds of stuff.  But we knew-- And so when people would get upset, we go, "Hey, wait.  You agreed to live in two worlds."  And so, all of a sudden, that took that steam out of that vengeful-- what you did wrong to me yesterday thing.  

DETWILER:  At least twice in this conversation, you guys have used this phrase about collaborative decision-making and formal mediation, “We don't know what it is—but.”  Right?  And you’ve said that twice.  

SHERRY: Oh, I have?  


SHERRY: What do you mean I don't know what--  

DETWILER: Well, you said you went in to President Gerth and said, “well, we don't know exactly what this means but we want to do it.”  So you do it, you start in the '90, by '93--  at some point-- how do you institutionalize--  tell me a little bit more about the Center's evolution as a Center.  

SHERRY: Right, OK.  Yeah, that's-- Oh, this is so exciting  because we were breaking new ground.  It still is exciting.   And, I mean, eventually, over years, we became the national model-- But that came-- we can talk about that later-- because people were so impressed with what we were doing here.  So what happened?  So during those-- '95 to 2000-- I was working on the Water Forum, I was working with David on the Governance Consensus Project.  We also had a full-time staff at Cal Fed-- that was also important.  But that was about the extent of it.  So what happened at the Water Forum, which was highly successful and it brought peace to the water wars in this region by basically having a deal between the environmentalists and the water purveyors and the business community, was that we could increase diversion of the river-- I mean take out more water if the fish and the habitat were protected.  Now, that's a very short way of explaining six years of work and 500 agreements.  We wrote an agreement that's 500 pages, which included a successor effort that's still in operation today because you just don't solve a problem.  You put out a framework for an agreement and then you have to work on that agreement every day, every year because changed conditions happen and then people want to feel like, “oh we'll throw out the agreement.”  So we had the wisdom to create this Water Forum successor effort.  So what happened in the Water Forum caught the water world by surprise and we had everyone calling us about how did you do that, would you do that in my County.  And then the other thing that happened that was so important was that the Executive Director of the Water Forum-- his name is Jonas Minton--  well, out of the Water Forum, Gray Davis asked him to be deputy director of the Department of Water Resources.  

DETWILER: Right.  

SHERRY: So we signed the agreement and then Jonas goes off to DWR.  Well, now he's become a convert to collaboration.  So he takes this collaboration into the Department of Water Resources, which is one of the biggest departments in California.  And so what he did was he took all the-- - He was the Deputy Director of Planning, so, any problem he had, he had the Center pull together a collaborative process to solve it.  So, we did the water plan-- the integrated water management plan for DWR--  a flood control management plan.  And to this day, we're still doing amazing things for DWR.   But, Jonas, again, the power of one person to change the culture of an organization.  


SHERRY:  So, not only were we able to take our work into DWR and change that culture over time, but it provided all those financial foundations for the Center.  And then what happened was other state agencies thought-- were looking at DWR and said, “Boy, you're doing something really different.  Can we have a piece of that too?”  And so, at that point, from 2000 to 2003, our work spread like wildfire in the state agencies.  We worked for the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Toxic Substances, the Department of Park and Rec, the Coastal Conservancy.  And we probably had worked over the years with 100, 200 state agencies.  

DETWILER: So these become state agency contracts, and, as Carole mentioned, then they become no-bid--  

SHERRY: Right.  

DETWILER:-- where it's easier--  

SHERRY: Right.  

DETWILER: -- to--  

SHERRY: Procure them.  

DETWILER: Right, OK.  

SHERRY: Yeah. Yeah.  

BOILARD: Something, real quick though,  I just want to make sure we don't lose sight of bringing this back to the campus.  

SHERRY: Yeah.  

BOILARD:  So you're talking about cultural change in the-- in these agencies.  At some point-- I don't want to derail where this is going-- but I just want to be able to think also about how this growth in connections that your Center is making-- changes Sacramento State.  

SHERRY: Right. That is a much longer story and it actually happened in 2007, when there was difficulties on campus and we were brought in to help settle it.  But I think that’s-- I don't know if -- 

DETWILER: That's beyond the Gerth era. 

SHERRY: it goes beyond-- but we did a lot of work in 2007 to create some peace at Sac State.  

SHULOCK: But what about the integration when the PPA program--  

SHERRY: Oh, yeah that comes [inaudible].  

SHULOCK: Were you going to talk about that?  

SHERRY: Oh, we are definitely going to talk about that--  


SHERRY: -- how we established the teaching program.  

SHULOCK: --the concentration in the Public Policy and Administration.  

BOOHER:  We were doing-- We were-- We wanted to do research and we wanted to be involved in graduate education.   And so, when Ted Lascher became the Chair of PPA-- the Public Policy Administration graduate program--  we got together with him and worked out, and began working in collaborative relationship, to create some courses for graduate students in collaborative policymaking-- you know, the-- how to-- how do you do this.  

SHULOCK: So was this kind-- were these kinds of courses and this kind of concentration starting to emerge in other--  


SHULOCK: -- universities around the country?  

BOOHER: No. The only other one that --  well, only-- they existed at MIT and at Harvard--  

DETWILER: that’s because of Larry Susskind.  

BOOHER: -- because of Larry Susskind, and Fisher and Ury, they were in the Law Department at Harvard.  So they existed in places like that, but not generally among public university or any university.  

SHERRY: And in what that resulted in-- David was the primary faculty-- that we institutionalized that and it's still going on today as a Certificate in Collaborative Governance that people can get their MPPA with a concentration  in Collaborative Governance.  So--  

SHULOCK: So just to kind of--  

 [unidentified speaker]: Yeah.  

SHULOCK: -- dive back to the theme of maybe some of the resistance on the campus to doing things like this.  Was that at all motivated by the need to kind of-- what are you doing for the campus?  


SHULOCK: Or was it really--  


SHULOCK:-- kind of grow your own--  

SHERRY: Yeah. Well, maybe what we should do, David, is get into this reimagining our work.  This was a piece of a much larger reimagining of what the Center could-- the potential could be.  So this comes sort of after this explosion as far as our work.  And then the work that I had to do, building the institution--  and that means hiring mediators and training them and making sure the contracts worked and making sure that I had people that could do that work, and then teaching a group of people from around the state how to do this work and do it at high quality  when there weren't any textbooks on it.  And so we had to, we had massive trainings and we had to develop whole policies around best practices, and how did you do these processes, and what were your ethics that you had to follow, and how did you do a joint fact-finding, and how do you incorporate science into a mediation?  So, that's a whole other thing that we can talk about.  But-- So, there were two things going on, the work was exploding, we were developing a real infrastructure for the Center, not only financial-- but a professional growth and education,  so the people who worked for us knew what they were doing.  And so that was going on.  And then what David and I realized was that some of the old models weren't working.  There was something about the field of dispute resolution that didn't fit what we were doing in California.  And it didn't fit from a lot of different perspectives.  It didn't fit because our name back then was California Center for Public Dispute Resolution.  What we found-- Well, what we were doing wasn't dispute resolution.  It was much larger and much more of a process than a dispute.  And so it-- our language didn't fit with what we were doing.  We found that we had to be politically savvy and very intensive policy information-- our mediators.  And that wasn't going-- what was going on the rest of the world in dispute resolution.  What they thought they had to be-- politically so neutral that they didn't know much about the politics and that they didn't feel  that they should have been policy experts;  where we felt completely different-- that our mediators had to know the policy as much as the people who were around the table.  Otherwise, it was going to be—“eat the mediator.”   And I mean, really, because, you know  the kind of people we were dealing with.  

DETWILER: Right.  

SHERRY: And also, what we realized is that when you're on the dime for-- and on the clock--  so that they're paying us good money, they wanted results.  So our whole style was much more directive, get down to cases, what do we need to do, let's do it.  And. other folks in the nation were sort of this, “it's OK,  people, circle the drain.”  Well, we don't want people to circle the drain.  We want to get into action so they're--  other mediators were being sort of distant and not engaged.  And we were like diving in and, you know, seeing people at home and calling them at midnight.  And this was a whole different way of doing it.  And so, David and I realized what we were doing wasn't dispute resolution anymore.  And so, David, do you want to talk a little bit about how we struggled during those years to figure out where do we go?  

DETWILER: This is about what era?  

SHERRY: This is about 2000 to 2003.  


SHERRY: This is-- Yeah, this is 2000 to 2003.  

BOOHER: So, we knew, we knew we needed a different focus on what the practice was.  It wasn't dispute resolution.  It was building capacity to problem-solve.  


BOOHER: And we knew we wanted to do research.  We wanted to be part of the research.  And we wanted to be part of the teaching, you know.  We had many students that on the campus, mostly from the Public Policy program, but Government and others, working on master's theses with us.  

DETWILER: Right.  

BOOHER: And--  

SHULOCK: That was before you set up the courses?  

BOOHER: Yeah. Well, about the same period.  

SHULOCK: When did the courses start?  

BOOHER:  Courses started about 2003.  

SHERRY: 2004.  


SHERRY: But, from 2001 we were working to get this through the committees so that they would let us teach..  

BOOHER: Yes, right.  

SHERRY: I mean, this took three years to get it so we could be in the classroom.  So, it really started in 2000 with this reconceptualization.  And with this reimagining, what David and I said to each other-- we know our practice is bringing the University a lot of credibility, we know we're doing good policy work, and what we're doing is making a difference.  But, how do we embed ourselves into the life of the University?  And that wasn't pressure from the University.  That was us saying, we're in the University, we want to take responsibility for that.  And so what we said was-- well, people talk about universities in terms of service, research and teaching.  And we knew we had the service down-- we're in the community.  But we knew we didn't have the research piece and we didn't have the teaching piece.  And so, those were the two pieces that we needed to expand on.  That was one piece.  The other thing were all of these new ideas  about-- not dispute resolution but capacity building.  And so, David approached the Hewlett Foundation and got a million dollar grant to do those things.  And I'll let David speak more about that because that was a huge breakthrough with the Center.  

BOOHER: Right.  They were—they still had this conflict resolution program going.  And they were funding-- by this time, there were other centers beginning to pop up.  

DETWILER: Are those others in California?  

SHERRY: No, no, across the nation.  

DETWILER and BOOHER [in unison]: Across the nation.  

BOOHER: And so they were funding some of these.  And we went to them again and said, "Look, we want to build the capacity of this program.”  And they said, OK.  They actually gave us two grants that totaled a million dollars.  And a big part of that was starting--  was starting-- getting the teaching piece going.  

SHERRY: They paid--  

BOOHER: Because, you know, clients are not going to support that.  

DETWILER: Right. They don't want to pay the overhead to do something--  

SHERRY: Yeah. So, the Hewlett Foundation paid David to start up the Collaborative Governance Certificate program, and paid us to do more research.  

DETWILER: through the auspices of the Center.  

BOOHER: Yes.  

SHERRY: Oh, yeah.  

BOOHER: So, so, that [inaudible] the research-- So, we knew there was a real opportunity here because there had been very little really solid research, empirical research, on this.  And so, I did-- in my moving around, I discovered the Institute of Regional Planning at Urban Regional Development at UC Berkeley was also interested in this.  And they had been doing research on this.  And so we formed a partnership with them--  and particularly the Director, Judith Innes, that I started working with at about '93, '93, beginning to do research including on: Cal Fed, which was one of the Center's projects; the Governance Consensus Project; and the Water Forum; and the water plans, the state water plan-- as a core.  And so from 1993 to, I don't know, well, until 2003, we did like 20 publications or presentations at national conferences, talking about this developing this field.  And the result of this development of these articles and journals and these presentations was--  really came in a book called "Deliberative Policy Analysis"  in 2003 that was published, I think, by Oxford.  That was a major text in the public policy area.   And we laid out a model for how to do this-- and the advantages and the pitfalls-- you know, in a chapter in that book.  

DETWILER: So this is very much the maturing of the Center?  

SHERRY: Yes. And what was so creative was that in David and Judy's research, they were studying our processes.  Judy would come and sit through these processes, and then take insights with what was working, and then translate it to theory.  And then the theory to research component kept-- and then when Judy would take that, then she would come back and talk to us about the theory and we'd say, "Well,  that's not exactly how it worked," or, "Oh, my goodness, that theory gives me an idea of what I can take into our mediation next week."  So this theory to practice to research was really important.  And the work that David did was--  and Judy did was-- very intellectually grounded in all the-- what it had philosophers-- and you keep mentioning that one philosopher, which one is it?  The-- Is that the German one?  

BOOHER: Oh, yeah.  

SHERRY: Yeah. So, anyway-- [crosstalk].  So, our work was grounded in so much theory because David and Judy plumbed that depth.  But then they brought it back and we brought it  into the real world and said,  "That's not really the way it works,"  and they would expand.  So, their articles were actually a study of our work, then taken back into theory and research.  

BOOHER:  So, this is-- The most interesting part to me is the policy of this because of the dissatisfaction that I had with the way bureaucracies were working and with the legislature.  And it all came back to an article, a classic article in public policy, by Rittel and Webber in 1973.  They introduced the idea of “wicked problems.”  It's now a classic article in which-- it's called "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning"--  in which they basically make the case that many of the policy problems we face are what they call “wicked,”  that is there is no agreement on means and end, there's no understanding of cause and effect, there is constant change.  And that, therefore, the traditional method of doing policy where you have experts who collect data and do analysis and formulate solutions and implement those solutions simply was ineffective in dealing with these wicked problems.  And they pointed to we needed a different--  they were systems analysts--  so we needed a new system, a third-generation system about how to do this.  And if you go back and read that article now, that's what they were talking about-- a deliberative multiple iteration type of process in which there's much more interaction and much more learning.  And what we realized was a lot of our problems in the culture of policy exists because we stick with this model of how to solve problems even though it doesn't work because that's what the culture says to do.  And so, when we, you know, wrote, wrote this book, you know, the last--  the most recent thing, the second edition of our [Innes and Booher] book,  "Planning with Complexity,"  the idea there was to provide a textbook; but it was also to provide policy analysts  with a different understanding of rationality-- collaborative rationality, instead of traditional planning adversary..  

DETWILER: We're about ready to take our second break.  


DETWILER: But in wrapping it up, I think we see in this last sort of 2002-2003 era, again going back to those original four or five threads of: dissatisfaction of politics as usual; certainly improvements in the theory-practice intellectual component, as you taught yourselves the procedure; the ability of having a campus that was not only open and receptive, but, as David particularly pointed out, persistent and protectionist when there was push back; and the availability of money.  So certainly, the seed money that the President's office made available, Foundation money and participants'  money and then actually being able to pay your own way-  

SHERRY: Yeah. It's so important.  

DETWILER: -- led to the maturing of the Institute-- of the Center.  

SHERRY: Right. It's true.  And just one point before we close.  It's-- through this process of reimagining ourselves we actually did a very intense 18-month strategic planning process so that these insights of how the field was changed,  we-- David and I, could figure it out, bring our staff onboard, bring our stakeholders and the University onboard through this 18-month process where we talked to multiple audiences about how we were changing and how we really needed to see this as collaborative policy, not dispute resolution and then--  and collaborative governance.  And then we changed our name.  We changed our name to Center for Collaborative Policy and that was a deliberate change that projected where-- what we had become..  

DETWILER: So, you had reimagined yourself?  

SHERRY: Mm-hmm.  

DETWILER: We're going to leave it there--

SHERRY: Yeah.   

DETWILER: --and take our break.  

SHERRY: Great.  

DETWILER: Thanks all very much.  

SHERRY: OK. Good.  Thank you.