Oral Histories

Interview of Francine Diamond

Founding member of No Oil Inc. and instrumental in the successful passage of a ballot proposition preventing oil drilling in Santa Monica Bay.
Environmental Activism in Los Angeles
Social Movements
Environmental Movement
Biographical Note:
Founding member of No Oil Inc. and instrumental in the successful passage of a ballot proposition preventing oil drilling in Santa Monica Bay.
Collings, Jane
Diamond, Francine
Persons Present:
Diamond and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Diamond's home in Pacific Palisades, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, interviewer and senior editor, Center for Oral History Research. B.A., Communications, Antioch College; M.A., Communications, University of Iowa; Ph.D., Critical Studies, UCLA.Collings prepared for the interview by reviewing newspaper articles about the work of No Oil, Inc and reading materials published by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board about their work and mission. Collings also reviewed Diamond's master's thesis on the interaction between government agencies and grassroots environmental groups.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Diamond was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
2.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The series documents environmental activism in the Los Angeles area from the 1970s through to the present day. The majority of interviews are with either founders or knowledgeable participants in major regional environmental organizations. Represented groups embody a wide range of issues, including conservation, restoration, environmental justice and toxic waste disposal.Additional partially processed interviews are available through Library Special Collections.
Recording and transcript of interviews conducted April-May, 2008, under the auspices of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Family background—Parents and grandparents’ immigrant backgrounds—Impact of war experiences on Diamond’s father—Diamond’s anti-Vietnam war activity—The Boyle Heights community demographic—Religious background—Family’s history of persecution in Europe—Tradition of family support for Israel—More on family background—Diamond’s educational background—Meets future husband, Roger Jon Diamond, at high school—A matriarchal family structure during Diamond’s early life—More on educational background—Diamond’s interest in work in public policy—Diamond’s anti-Vietnam war position—Husband’s draft status—A uniform anti-Vietnam war position within Diamond’s friends and family—Husband’s early law career—Diamond’s life at home with a new baby—Husband’s concern with the environment—The importance of personal motivation in mobilizing communities around issues—The assassination of President John F.. Kennedy—The religious and ethnic makeup of students at Hamilton High School—Robert F. Kennedy—The Diamond’s participate in the RFK presidential campaign—The assassination of RFK—The Martin Luther King assassination—Husband runs for State Assembly.
Participation in the founding of No Oil, Inc. —The unlikely success of Proposition O—Widespread support for Proposition O—A wide range of community efforts and volunteer work on behalf of No Oil inc. —The Ward Valley nuclear reactor issue—The work of the water board—The environmental advocate’s success in getting the message about the War Valley reactor to elected officials—The issue of public health—Meets [Governor] Gray Davis—Davis’ commitment to stop oil drilling on the California coast—Celebrities come out for the Prop O vote—City council views on the issue of oil drilling off the coast—Vote trading at the LA city council—Political contributions to the city assembly members from Armand Hammer—Diamond’s Democratic party political involvement and interest in supporting women candidates—Fran Pavley’s environmental record—More on Democratic political work—Supports Clinton in his first run—Diamond’s master’s thesis on the interface between politics and the environmental movement—The birth of the environmental movement in 1972—The usefulness of environmental organization newsletters for abreast of fast moving events—How advocates keep pressure on regulators—Women’s career trajectories as different from those of men.
The interface between community groups and political policy makers—The policy and structure of the Regional Water Quality boards—Diamond brings an environmental perspective to the water board when appointed—The importance of bringing community organizations before the water board—The ideological makeup of the board—The board’s reputation as one that protects the environment—More on the importance of bringing community organizations before the water board—The board’s decision in favor of the community on issues surrounding a landfill in Granada Hills—More on the ideological makeup of the board—The impact of the appointment to the board made by Governor Schwarzeneggger—Storm water permits—The passage of Proposition O for water quality improvement—More on the interface between community groups and policy makers—The increasing effectiveness of environmental groups—The impact of environmental education—Strong support for environmental legislation from communities—The emerging linkage in the public mind between public health and the environment—The role of the water board in a housing project built on contaminated land—The environmental justice movement—More on the emerging linkage in the public mind between public health and the environment—Conservationism versus—environmentalism—Drinking water—Efforts to re-charge the groundwater in LA—The impact of celebrity involvement in the environmental movement in LA and nationally—Personal choices made from an environmental perspective—Future environmental battles.