By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Organizational management.So you got that in 2002?
I’m receiving it now.Meaning that you’re just completing your course work?
I just completed it. Yes.Have you worked for Nate since 1988?
1988. Yes.What has been your range of duties for him?
Well, I started out, as I stated, in 1988, removing trash and graffiti from the streets and from the walls.Literally, or arranging to have it removed?
Literally, every single day. That was my job. That was my actual job every day. See, I wasn’t –So he had someone in the council office employed to physically remove graffiti?
Yes. That’s where I first came in. I came in as a young man from South Central Los Angeles. I grew up in a broken home. I didn’t have a mother or a father literally in the household. My dad actually left home. I didn’t really know him, period. My mom, she used to leave me over at family and friends’ house, whom she hardly knew, from time to time. She used to tell us that she would be back in an hour or two and sometimes she’d go down and get her some potato chips. And it took her sometimes three days. It took her a week, sometimes it took her about a month to come home. We hung in there.So who raised you?
My older sister as well as myself.How much older is your sister?
My sister is four years older.So how did you escape the negative influences of the streets?
Well, it’s difficult to escape the negative influences of the streets when you’re young and you grow up, however –Did you escape?
Yes I did. To a certain extent you can say yes I have. But there’s a lot of peer pressure growing up in the inner city. However, not having someone to really guide me, focus me, my focus was sports. I played baseball, basketball and football ongoing. And on Fridays and Saturdays we had a church in our community . . . where we had an opportunity to go there. And on Wednesday we had Bible studies, and if you went to Bible studies on Wednesday, on Saturday, you had an opportunity to play sports. That actually gave me an opportunity really to focus and structure myself and not get involved in gangs.There must have been somebody who was sort of your moral and ethical guidepost and center. Was it a family member?
I didn’t have that in my family. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, I chose good things out of people and bad things. You saw a lot of bad in the inner city. But I used to say I liked that person with that – this person is negative, I don’t like that.So you didn’t even have grandparents?
My grandfather, well, he was an alcoholic. He recently passed, but it’s just a long story where it relates to my family history. I could tell some things that happened, but there were some problems there as well.Some coaches or something?
I had some good influences in my life, as I mentioned earlier, individuals that I saw throughout our neighborhood, where I took those positive things and applied them to my life. Literally, they had faults as well, but I didn’t use their faults against them. I just chose the good.How’d you do in school with all this going on in your personal life?
I did great. Through elementary, through high school received about a 2.7 grade-point average. I didn’t have anyone to do homework with me every night. I’d do it myself. My mother and sisters didn’t graduate from school. But –How did your sisters end up?
[In the 39 words of this response Williams characterized the problems his siblings suffered in childhood and adulthood. These details are omitted because Williams’ siblings were not available to verify this account of their lives.]So you have three siblings?
Yes, I’m the youngest . . . Well, I had, uh, no, I don’t want to mention . . .Do you drink at all?
Occasionally, occasionally.Are you scared of having a problem with alcohol?
At a young age I was. I was traumatized by it. I always said when I got older I wouldn’t drink, because I saw a lot of negative influences in my life. At the age of 14 I moved in with my aunt, and she was an alcoholic as well. I was mentally abused. So the environment I grew up in wasn’t [great], but I made sure I hung in and stayed with my children so they can have a positive influence.Was Nate a kind of father figure?
No, we had individuals on our staff, a gentleman by the name of Ira Massey, who passed a couple of years [ago]. He really was the one who actually mentored me, who actually gave me the opportunity to be there for me on a daily basis . . . I’ve learned a lot from working on Councilman Holden’s staff.
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