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Interview with David Jones, October 17, 2007 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with David Jones, October 17, 2007
October 17, 2007
Interview with David L. Jones: businessman, philanthropist, and former mayor of Wilmington. Here, he discusses his relationships with and involvement in Wilmington and UNCW, as well as his family life.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Jones, David Interviewer: Jones, Carroll / Malpass, Christopher Date of Interview: 10/17/2007 Series: SENC Notables Length 60 minutes

Carroll Jones: Today is October the 17th, 2007. I'm Carroll Jones with Chris Malpass for Randall Library Oral History project. We're in the Special Collections Department with David L. Jones, businessman, philanthropist, volunteer and great friend of the university. Good morning, David.

David Jones: Good morning.

Carroll Jones: First of all, before we go any further, I want you to talk about your recent award and being made a member of the Hall of Fame. I haven't met too many people like that.

David Jones: Well, I was real honored and happy that the people in New Bern saw it fit. I played football for New Bern and of course had won about every kind of award you can win in high school: Shrine Bowl, East-West. And for them to honor me after this many years, I was kidding them the other day. I said, "You know, 40 years has passed, so you've forgot how bad I played." (laughing)

Carroll Jones: How did this come about?

David Jones: There's a group. There was 69 members. There's a group of people who have been recognized for their outstanding achievements in sports, period. And this group chose me as one of the four recipients this year of the-- to be put in the Hall of Fame. I have a real close friend, who I think dampened it was-- I had a real close friend named Bucky Stewart. Bucky played for the Seattle baseball team. Bucky was quite an athlete in high school. He was one of the best pitchers I've ever seen and a great guy and friend. And he's lived in Wilmington the last 15 years, but Bucky died four days prior to that. And that took a little bit of a fun out of it. But that's how it come about, and I was chose by my peers, Charlie Parker, which played for Wake Forest, quarterback; Lee Atkinson, which played halfback for East Carolina; Billy Axner [ph?], which played for Carolina; and George Slaughter, which played for East Carolina. They were the ones who recommended me, and they were the ones who had played with me. I felt real honored.

Carroll Jones: So you went to high school in New Bern, right?

David Jones: Sure did, yeah.

Carroll Jones: Well, I think that-- congratulations. I think at any time that's quite an honor.

David Jones: Well, it's always--

Carroll Jones: And it beats being a Kentucky Colonel. I'll tell you that right now. (laughing)

David Jones: Well, it's always nice to be remembered, and of course it was a wonderful night, and what a wonderful time. And a man who had a tremendous influence on my life, Joe Caruso, which is dead, he was the one who says that you got to be the best that you can possibly be. Don't try to be what somebody else is. Be what you can be. And then a man who I think had a lot to do with my moral fiber of the things that I believe in that's right was Dr. Will Pittman. He was assistant coach but a great human being and instilled in us winning was not everything. Winning in life was the most important thing. And Will's retired as superintendent of schools now in New Bern, and he was there Friday night, and it was certainly nice to see him.

Carroll Jones: Did you have some family with you?

David Jones: Yes, my son was with me. And then Linda, the lady I see, my friend, was with me. And then my sister, Edna, which is 89.

Carroll Jones: My love.

David Jones: She was there and her husband. So we had a wonderful evening.

Carroll Jones: Talk just a second about Edna, only because she is such an incredible human being, and so is Charlie. But Edna at 89, is she still playing nine holes of golf every day?

David Jones: Two to three times a week. Approximately three years ago, four years ago when I-- she lives in Miami in the winter and New Bern in the summer. And about four years ago when I was there, we had gone out to Coral Gables Country Club. We're talking about an 89-year-old lady.

Carroll Jones: I know. (laughing)

David Jones: And a lady about 44-years-old, she told me who she was, come over and she says, "You know, I hate your sister." And I knew it was a joke, and I said, "What do you mean you hate my sister?" And she said, "She gets out here, and she's won three years in a row the senior golf tournament here in Coral Gables." So she's remarkable, and Charlie is too. And they play two to three times a week.

Carroll Jones: I think that's-- they are just-- yeah, they are remarkable. I don't know what else to say.

David Jones: Well, you know, you got to--

Carroll Jones: She's a feisty lady too.

David Jones: She goes back more than that, because she had a breast removal from cancer. And that year she still won it, so (laughing).

Carroll Jones: She told me one time, she said, "Never complain, never complain, just go do it." And I will never forget, and I don't feel right. She took me home that day. (laughing). And Charlie is sitting in the car with his knuckles all white. And I thought, dear Lord, get me there. (laughing) Anyway, you come from quite a family, and I know you're proud of everybody.

David Jones: Yeah, it's a close family.

Carroll Jones: That's good. All right, since we do have so much of your early history, which is fascinating. And it really was a dedication with you and your brothers and the climb which should be mandatory reading for an awful lot of young people today. Don't get me started on that one. But anyway, let's talk about you coming to Wilmington. And I know that you have continued supporting sports.

David Jones: Absolutely.

Carroll Jones: And not just here at UNC-W but evidently from what I-- am I right in saying Carolina?

David Jones: Well, the others, community college, I've been very active in.

Carroll Jones: How do you feel about sports? You must feel very strongly about sports being a road to somewhere.

David Jones: Well, I do. I think sports is a vehicle and an opportunity for a lot of people who would normally not be able to achieve a higher education. But through their athletic abilities, they are able to. And that's why I think it's imperative for people in business and people who can afford it to give to the universities and to these athletes, because it is so important to have those funds available for them. But I think the greatest thing that I can see in going back, and I have been paying for scholarships at University of North Carolina here in Wilmington for about 25 years.

Carroll Jones: I was going to ask you to talk about that.

David Jones: About 25 years.

Carroll Jones: Do you have any restrictions or parameters, or do you let somebody else do?

David Jones: I don't do that. You know, I think it's very important for people who are giving to universities let the professionals run the how to do the funds. I don't put any restrictions on mine at all. They are to use it in the athletic department as they need it, as they see fit. But to me, it teaches you life. You know, we all get knocked down. We all have pluses and minuses times. And you've got to learn to pick yourself up by the bootstraps, as they say in the military, and pull yourself up and get back in to trying to achieve whatever goals you're trying to achieve in life. So it teaches you to win and lose. And it teaches the most important thing it teaches you is how to win, not at all costs. I don't agree with people who say well, you win at all costs. No, you have your standards and the principles you live by, and you win under those rules. So I just-- I think it ties with life. It teaches you there's going to be good times, bad times. You're going to get knocked down. You get up, and the key is you learn to play as a team. And that never leaves you.

Carroll Jones: That's true.

David Jones: I don't care whether you're in business or where you're getting along in life, in whatever phase. I am one who really believes there's no such thing as I. I believe it's we. I think it's all of us together in whatever we're going to try to accomplish in life.

Carroll Jones: I think this has been evident in your business.

David Jones: Well, it's very, very important, because it's important to have that team spirit. And I was looking just the other night with the players who I'd played with at this honor. And we were talking about it. It's been a closeness. You know, we're talking about 40 some years ago. And yet we're still close, and we see each other. It might be three or four years before we see each other, but when we do it's like we just did yesterday. That's been true in my life too, because I go back in my involvement in government. As you know, I was Secretary of Corrections for North Carolina from '72 to '77. And even Governor Hunt told me one time, he says you know, your name is still so strong in the Department of Corrections after all these years. And our group meets about every two to three years, and we're extremely close. So it goes back to the teams that you put together and the people you're involved with to make things happen.

Carroll Jones: Aside from these scholarships, which I know. I've seen-- well, I haven't seen you go out on the floor, but I think I saw Pete one time. And the truth of the matter is, I don't go to all the games.

David Jones: Right.

Carroll Jones: Wilbur does. But I know that you, along with a few other people, have been responsible for some additions in building.

David Jones: Right.

Carroll Jones: Can you tell us about that?

David Jones: Well, George Rountree, which is a close friend of mine, but-- and unfortunately who I have a total, a tremendous amount of respect for, he and his wife, they're very kind people. George is a tall, big man and comes across sometimes kind of strong, but he's not. He's a bowl of jelly. He's got a heart of gold, and George and myself got together and put in the money to renovate the men's locker room a few years ago. And there's no nicer locker room in this whole CAA than that particular one.

Carroll Jones: I've heard, having never seen it, but I've heard.

David Jones: Well, it's beautiful.

Carroll Jones: That's good. The university is pretty evident, from the lack of parking, is once again in a huge growing pattern and adding additional degrees and staff, et cetera. Are you on any committee for the university that, for example, is called upon to discuss the growth and some additions or things not to do? And would you talk about it? Not to give us any-- we're not looking for anything that you're not supposed to talk about. We're looking for something that we can look forward to down the road, things that are happening now to accommodate all of the growth.

David Jones: Well, you know, I learned years ago unsolicited advice is bad advice. And I don't usually take people in a responsible position and call and bother them on this is what we should or should not do. I don't do things like that. I feel like if someone wants to speak with me about a particular area, then they should feel comfortable about it by calling me. And we'll sit down, and we'll discuss it. I certainly had a great relationship with Chancellor Leutze, and of course, I started serving on the Board of Visitors at that time and have served the maximum amount of time that I can. And I'm proud to say my son, as of July, is taking my place.

Carroll Jones: Now, is this Scott?

David Jones: No, this is Pete.

Carroll Jones: Pete, excuse me.

David Jones: Yeah, he's taking my place on the Board of Visitors, and I'm glad it's a family tradition. But I'm also involved in a round table group with Chancellor DePaolo. And we have developed into a, I consider a real close friendship with her and her husband, Fred. And the involvement that we have is from a standpoint of what can I do to help the university. And there's times both chancellors have sat down, and we've talked about particular issues, challenging issues. So yeah, we talk.

Carroll Jones: Okay, so your connection here is still very, very strong.

David Jones: It will be until I die.

Carroll Jones: And it probably will be always.

David Jones: Yeah, always. And I think that's important. A lot of people are just like-- Chancellor Leutze certainly was a great chancellor and a good man and did a great job. But when Dr. DePaolo came in, I went with the same commitment. I see people every now and then that you change churches because they've changed pastor, which is ridiculous. And you change your interest in the university because you changed chancellors. Well, that's ridiculous. I personally think my involvement has been for the young men and women. And the other stuff I can deal with, and we can adjust to whoever's here. We just can't lose sight of what we're here for.

Carroll Jones: Are you one of those, or do you feel, just reaching out, that with the growth of this southeastern part of the state, which is tremendous, and it will be continuing to be-- as a matter of fact, I've heard figures where there's going to be a megalopolis from Jacksonville to Myrtle Beach, like Baltimore, Washington, New York, whatever, Philadelphia, Washington, which is a good thing and a bad thing, that along with it that this university, out of the 16 university system, will probably rise up to be number three after Chapel Hill and State. How do you feel about that?

David Jones: Well, I think they're probably second or third to us. (laughing) I say that kiddingly, but I think, first of all, as mayor of the town I said it, and of course, as former Secretary of Corrections I've seen the whole state from a different perspective than most people do. Wilmington, we sit in the middle of a grand opportunity. And you know, we talk about traffic, and we talk about growth.

Carroll Jones: That's bound to happen with growth.

David Jones: That's a wonderful thing. You show me an area that has no traffic, no growth, and I'll show you something that has nothing.

Carroll Jones: These people have never driven in Boston or Washington D.C. (laughing)

David Jones: Well, the amazing part is our influx of our people-- and let me say this right now.

Carroll Jones: From Long Island.

David Jones: I think the diversity of our people in this area is what's making the area great. They bring in not only money. They bring in tremendous knowledge. They've seen things happen in areas that they don't want to see happen here. They want to preserve it. But you know, the growth is obvious. You just got to make sure it's quality growth. And I would say all the time when I was mayor, I'll never apologize to you for growth or traffic, and I won't, because it's opportunities. It's presenting it itself. And I think the growth of the region-- and that's what we've got to understand, Carroll. We've got to stop talking about Wilmington.

Carroll Jones: It's southeastern North Carolina.

David Jones: It is. You take Duplin County, Brunswick County, and the four surrounding counties, Columbus County; we're growing as a-- and you know we were the second smallest county in the state of North Carolina.

Carroll Jones: That's out of there, right?

David Jones: We're running out of room. So we've got to have a relationship in growth as a region. And we may not be able to or may not want some of the other-- some of the industries that Brunswick-- that Columbus County would love to have, because they have a high unemployment rate. The economics are not great over there. But we've got to start thinking as a region. But the university, the importance, and our community colleges, we certainly can't forget they're part of our educational system. This is one of the fastest growing universities, university system, UNCW. We've got one of the fastest growing, Cape Fear Community College, community colleges in the system. And we have the opportunity to become, and I think we're becoming now, the financial hub for Eastern North Carolina.

Carroll Jones: David, I heard another set of-- I'm big on collecting figures and statistics, that out of a recent poll of some sort, and it escapes my mind. But it's pretty worthwhile, that New Hanover County, being the second smallest has, outside of Charlotte, not Wake County, the highest concentration of per capita income, the highest concentration of per capita education. Those two factors, do you feel that's correct? Do you have a feeling for that at all, or is that just someone-- I think they're basing this on growth in many areas. New Hanover County Medical Center is one, which is growing-- is now a teaching hospital.

David Jones: Tremendous asset to the area.

Carroll Jones: A cancer research hospital, and it's going to continue to grow. And to think that in 1962 two bond issues were floated year after year and turned down, and from the ashes have risen this. It's wonderful. But to get back to this, it's come-- these statistics have come based on the new growth, the new growth here, the people here. Does that make sense to you? Can you see this?

David Jones: It really does, and here's why I say we can become the financial up feast in North Carolina, and I think we are now. You look at all the banks that put a regional office here.

Carroll Jones: One a day.

David Jones: But look at the independent banks.

Carroll Jones: One a day.

David Jones: The independent banks in this area, and they're doing well. So there's no question about the financial hub. The other thing that I think you've got to add to, and you alluded to it a little bit, is we have a regional medical center, not a hospital. And we're very fortunate. We have highly professional staffs at these hospitals. We have a tremendous pool of qualified medical doctors coming in this area. There's just about no need to go anywhere anymore for any medical services. I feel very comfortable, if I had to have any major surgery of any type, I feel very comfortable having it done right here. I mean, their track records are fantastic. So when you add the fact that you've got an influx of people coming in from all over. We are living longer; we need better medical services. The hospital has done what it's done, but look at the part UNCW has played in that. You look at our nursing program. It's second to no one. We're building a new medical facility. Look at our educational-- to go in our educational building here at UNCW.

Carroll Jones: Well, it's new, and it's gorgeous.

David Jones: It's gorgeous, and it's state of the art. But you know what it says? It says where we put education as a priority. And I think that's so important. So yeah, we've got a lot of things here to draw a lot of pluses for us. And the economy, what people I don't think understand sometimes, where a major university is located usually in cases of recessions and economic downturns, it doesn't go as deep.

Carroll Jones: That's a thought to think about. As a businessman I'll take your word for it. That's something to think about.

David Jones: It's facts. It is absolute facts. So we're very fortunate. So our educational system is so important, not just for our kids who go to school, but it's underlining. Look at the property-- the average person would have had no idea the involvement in UNCW and the Cameron School of Business in what we-- the industries we have here, the upgraded industries, expansion of the industries. They're looking to us for our pools. Engineering is a perfect example. But I think all the areas-- I think UNCW today could double in size in 10 years.

Carroll Jones: Is that a good thing to become?

David Jones: No. I think absolutely Dr. DePaolo and trustees, from what I can tell, has got a plan of growth. I know the Board of Trustees-- I mean, the Board of Governors and the president would like to see us a lot larger a lot quicker. But we're not going to sacrifice quality for quantity. And I hope we stay on that course.

Carroll Jones: My granddaughter graduated from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She attended that school over the others that she was accepted to for one reason. They had the reputation of having the best school of education in the state. And by the time she graduated, magna cum laude, by the way, double majoring, she said well, this will not get me anywhere faster than if I had-- of course, it wasn't open yet, the school of education here at UNCW, which has now, from the last we heard this last year's graduating classes, had higher degrees than UNCG, which had led the field. And they were capturing professors from the University of Tennessee, University of Florida, et cetera. Now they want to come here. So I think that's a clear indication right there.

David Jones: Well, there's another clear one too, and we talked about sports and the athletic department. We have got a tremendous athletic department. You know, we talk about one of the best swim coaches in the country, one of the best track coaches in the country, one of the ladies' best golf coaches.

Carroll Jones: And you've got a new AD.

David Jones: Well, we have done this, and we graduate one of the highest graduation rates of any school in athletics.

Carroll Jones: Now, I was not aware of that.

David Jones: Yes, we are. And so we have said we want athletes, but we want ones that's committed to education. And I think that speaks well. But you know, some schools, and I say this in all honesty, they don't care if they've got the star athlete. The academic part is not as important. This school says we want the smartest, the brightest.

Carroll Jones: I think the UNC System, with their major universities, have that philosophy. And I've seen figures on that as well, State, Chapel Hill, and ECU is coming along. I mean, they were always down here kind of. But their athletes, whether it's football, basketball, whatever, they're graduating, and they're graduating with degrees. And you're right; that's a real plus. David, let me ask you about Cape Fear Community College. How do you feel about the expansion, their continuous expansion downtown raveling out Blue Clay Road?

David Jones: Well, you have to go back with a little history. Cape Fear came down there when nobody wanted to go down there. They came down and really helped develop the downtown area. But you know, it's on record, and I'm pretty clear on this. I think they really need to focus on the campuses, on the northern campus. And I'll tell you why, two reasons. Their presence downtown is always wanted and is wonderful, and a great, great community college system. But downtown has got-- you have to understand, when they went nobody wanted to go. The property value was dying. Now it's going through the roof. The taxpayers in the city and the county needs that tax base of revenue for us to be able to fund all these other things in the area. We need to keep the downtown waterfront development for a tax-base type business. And I feel very strong about it that the northern campus, it's beautiful. And I would like to see us expand that.

Carroll Jones: All right, that seems to be the prevailing thought. And even though nobody cares what I think, I agree. I think that the-- I'm sorry that so much of the downtown has disappeared. And I wish, like they had done in Charleston, they'd kept the old marketplace down there as well. There is a man in town who is very well known, and I will not say his name. He's got a lot of vision, and he had wanted so badly-- and he may still be able to do it, make a park downtown on the waterfront. And he envisions monuments and memorials to certain eras of the history and places where people can sit. And of course, it means taking down an old building. I heard another gentleman who is third, fourth generation here-- his family had been in business. There reaches a point, you want to preserve history, which is what we're all about and we're doing now.

David Jones: Right.

Carroll Jones: But there reaches a point when the building has no value. And it costs more to rehab or keep than to get rid of it and put something in its place. As a businessperson and as a former mayor, how do you-- and knowing downtown, how do you feel about this philosophy?

David Jones: Well, I think--

Carroll Jones: Of preservation?

David Jones: I think preservation is, like I say, we gave away history to Charleston and all these other places before--

Carroll Jones: We did, some of our homes.

David Jones: Sure we did, and then we woke up. And to me, it's so nice to go down there now and see so many homes being renovated, and I mean nicely done. And it's not cheap anymore. It's a very expensive place to try to own a piece of property. History is to preserve providing it really plays a part in history. I think sometime when the facility is completely-- has served its purpose, if you can put something in that replaces the quality of life for the people that's better for the people and really enhances the other properties you're preserving, then I think that's important, because-- and then I say at that point in time, I think we need to look at it. There's certain areas that I felt very strong about. USO was one of them that I thought we ought to preserve.

Carroll Jones: Have you been in there lately?

David Jones: Yeah. But I think we should have. And I think overall, we have really started addressing in the last 15, 20 years the real need for preserving. And this is another figure you may not be familiar with. But the convention center is very important to be downtown for this reason. Historically, where convention centers go, if it's downtown the tourists will usually spend a day and a half longer if it's downtown and in an historical area. Well, when you multiply $250-$60 a day, you're looking right at $400 additional spending. And then you multiply that, then it's a lot of-- and tourism is a big business with us. We know it, and--

Carroll Jones: And it's going to grow.

David Jones: It's going to grow, providing we keep doing things we should. But I think it's important to preserve the past and the beauty and the integrity of downtown. And this is what a lot of taxpayers don't understand. They say well, I don't believe in spending all that money downtown. And I say this with no investment do I have downtown, but I would buy one if I could afford it right now. But downtown is so important to-- if you stop and look back 20/25 years ago, the property was eroding at a rapid pace, but so was your tax base. If you do not-- if we had not had turned that around, and we didn't preserve the downtown, that's the further erosion of the tax base here. For example, look at PPD. Look at condominiums, 7, 8, $900,000. You could have bought off the lot 25 years ago for that.

Carroll Jones: How do you feel about those condos going up down there?

David Jones: I think it's part of it, because history shows that if you do not build in the clientele, you won't keep them. And I think if you look at New Orleans, I think if you look at the other areas, you'd find--

Carroll Jones: Old Town Alexandria, Annapolis, Maryland.

David Jones: They're building up.

Carroll Jones: And the Baltimore waterfront, they have all succeeded beyond the wildest dreams.

David Jones: It has, but it's been a mixed use. And that's the thing that-- and a certain once in awhile, well let's renovate this portion of it. But all of it is part of the ingredients and the excitement of living downtown. So the tax base has soared. This is the thing that people should understand. If we had not have invested in downtown and it further eroded, who do you think that tax liability would have fell back on, the average homeowner. But because our tax base has grown, and because downtown is just skyrocketing, it's relieved the burden on the taxpayer.

Carroll Jones: I gather then, from listening to you, that you are very pro convention center.

David Jones: That's correct.

Carroll Jones: Do you believe, as I've heard definite pros. And I have heard some arguments against it that don't really make a lot of sense for today's world but that it will provide jobs. This building or this group of buildings, structures, can be used year-round. It will open up all kinds of fascinating exhibits, meeting places. The kids-- we have another high school going up. The senior proms won't take three weeks to do.

David Jones: UNCW plays a big part in that.

Carroll Jones: UNCW right, okay, fine. For example, the art community has grown tremendously. I will include in the art community, and not just painters, potters, musicians, actors, et cetera. It's become a Mecca. I've talked to so many of them. Where are you from? How did you come here? What is special about here? And it is just unbelievable to listen to this, and without a doubt, they'll say we have no exhibit hall. We have no exhibit hall. Now, the architects have been removed, so what happens now? When you were mayor-- if you were mayor, what would happen? I mean, they say this can't be a people complaint. This can't be done with revenues from restaurants and hotels. Sure it can.

David Jones: Well, I think first of all, and I said it as mayor. You got to understand the broad picture. First of all, I think a mayor is the leader of the-- you got the city council, but your mayor is your focal point in the center. You've got to be able-- you should have knowledge that the average person-- and I think the average person doesn't expect to have the inner knowledge of what their leaders are, know. Vision does not come about off the street. Vision comes about because of the people in office making it a vision, making it obvious what we need to do. I think you can negative anything to death. I've always said a pessimist is the only person I've ever met that's 100 percent accurate.

Carroll Jones: (laughing) I'll remember that one.

David Jones: And yet, you've got to view everybody's opinion. But New Bern is a perfect example. The first year, year and a half it was built it was booked for seven years. Are you expecting a cash, profit-making thing directly off the convention center? I don't think you should expect it? The rippling effect of the tourists staying here a day and a half longer, of the conventions that we can't even get now-- and people got to understand, this is not a major, major convention center as Greensboro, as Raleigh, as Charlotte. And if you look at it, look at waterfront. And I felt real proud of being part of that waterfront wall, pushing that.

Carroll Jones: Which is used year-round, any weather.

David Jones: And it's beautiful. I enjoy going down there. My seven-year-old granddaughter and myself went down there a few weeks ago and just had a good time, stayed down there for about two or three hours. But the convention center is also part of a very important part of the puzzle, putting it together. PPD was a great move for downtown. But I don't think PPD, underneath the negative that some people try to project against the convention center-- and if we'd had had people in political office that projected that, PPD wouldn't be here, probably wouldn't even be in Wilmington. Their growth, they could have gone anywhere they wanted to. But I think they saw the beauty of it and where it could fit in and what it would be. And they have played a very important part in this town of developing that waterfront.

Carroll Jones: They have in many, many ways. How do you feel about financial incentives to bring industry here?

David Jones: I don't mind investing a dollar if I got a possibility of $100 coming back. Now, that's a business. And you know, I can sit over here and isolate myself and say well, I don't believe in incentives. But you know what, if we in business, you know what I'm going to do in our businesses? I'm going to do what's necessary to be successful. And if I'm competing against all these other businesses I'm in, I'm going to do what's necessary. So we can sit here and say I don't believe in incentives. I'm not going to be for incentives. And yet, you're going to see Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, you name it over and over again in areas that's going to give incentives. It's investments, and I think that's what you're looking at. It's investment, like the one recently where we put in what, $10, $20 million, and they're putting in over a billion. I mean, let's be realistic, that's a small return. What do you think we're going to get back when they build these facilities off the tax base. I mean, it's investments.

Carroll Jones: Well, and again, it is providing jobs for across the board all kinds of people. One other question I want to ask you about downtown, and then we can move onto something else. We read in the paper almost every weekend, or after the weekend is over, about the extreme number of bars and the young people down there and the filth that they cause, et cetera. Should there or are there in place any kind of limits as to the type of businesses that can be operated. I've heard so many people say well, we can't have-- you know, they're trying to revitalize downtown. We can't have stores open at night because, we can't do this because, because of the bars. How do you feel about this?

David Jones: Well, I think first of all you have zoning. That's where the city can take care of these things.

Carroll Jones: But they haven't.

David Jones: Yeah, they haven't. But I think, first of all, you got to understand part of the attraction of Savannah, Charleston, and those areas, they have night life in there too.

Carroll Jones: They do, but it's not concentrated one three or four block area.

David Jones: That's what you do through zoning, and you make sure that you've got your zoning in place that you don't have over abundance. Then, and I think the city has done a great job of this in recent years, they work extremely close with those owners in saying let's police yourself. And I think some of the people have really policed themselves. But you know, it's part of it. It's part of the excitement of being downtown. And at the same time, they've got to be realistic. It can't be something that gets out of control. And I think they're working on that, and I think they're constantly working on that. I am one, personally, who always concerned about crime. As for my Secretary of Corrections, I'm pretty familiar in those areas. But I think it's important that we recognize it takes all kind of ingredients to make a good tasting cake. And I think all of it can mash in, provided it's properly controlled. That's the key.

Carroll Jones: Put on your future glasses. What would you like to see happen, or how do you think we can take a look at Wilmington 10 years down the road? This project was started because of what's happened in the past 10 years. Things are moving so quickly that what's happening today is going to-- it's like the Internet. It's going to be history in 10 years. So what can you and I talk about 10 years from now? How do you envision what's happening here, what this place will be like, population, businesses, arts, anything at all? You're a businessman.

David Jones: My personal opinion that we're talking about in 10 or 15 years, and even today and tomorrow, we have got to figure out a way how to take our elder citizens, and I fall in that category now, and our young people. We have a lot of experiences. They're aggressive. They're young and have got a lot of energy. We've got to be able to figure out how to get our younger people involved with your older people in finding solutions to our problems, both in the city and outside the city, or in this world. I think that is a key, key element. We have a tremendous amount of resources in this town, in this area. Look at retired executives that's come here to live. We could run any corporation in the world, and a lot of them are running them through the electronic computers today.

Carroll Jones: I know a number of people who live here, and once a month or once a week take their private plane up to wherever, including New York.

David Jones: We've got to involve and get those people interested in solving our problems. Our number one challenge today is our crime, our drugs related crimes. We have got to look at crime as not something on Tenth Street or Orange Street. It's over there; it's not in my neighborhood. Any statistics in this whole area is next door to me, because if you don't think so, it will be there. Years ago, and I say this in all honesty, we whites did not get involved when it was in the black area. It was their problem. That's where we were wrong. That's why history ought to teach us something, because it's imperative today that we understand a child or a human being gets shot or get killed or get raped, it's our kids. It's our family, and it's not on the other side of town and not something we shouldn't take interest in.

Carroll Jones: May I stop you and ask you this? I believe this is true, they say we are our brothers' keeper. But I've also heard prevalently, and I've heard this from some blacks, mainly black women, in today's black-- predominantly black communities, there is a lack of male leaders, male fathers, grandfather figures. There are no mentors for these kids coming up. Do you agree with this or not?

David Jones: To some degree. I know, as Secretary of Corrections and involving in volunteer programs from the outside to try to get some participation with the inmates inside, a high percentage of population are black or minorities. Those people, we had a difficult time getting black communities to get involved on helping them. For whatever reasons, I look at it today as we're dealing in a different era, a different time. We've got a lot of wonderful, wonderful black leaders, or black people who can be leaders. And I'm not talking about political leaders, I'm talking about people who want to-- let's solve this problem. But I think we've got to get together, and our number one challenge for the next few years is saving our youth, and I believe that. And this takes the universities; this takes the government; this takes the people all together. But if we do not step up to bat, and what I'm saying to you know for the next 10 years, if we don't involve the people in the real rooted problems of our society, we are in for disaster.

Carroll Jones: I think you're probably right. I think there's a lack of-- I hate to use the word Christianity, because I should say just religion, the basic teachings. And but that's a whole other subject when we start talking about-- it stems from the top and comes down.

David Jones: No question.

Carroll Jones: Absolutely. It starts at the top and comes down. On this subject, not quite this subject, because I don't think we have time to get into the political arena, any plans to run for any office again?

David Jones: No.

Carroll Jones: None at all?

David Jones: No, I don't. I don't ever say what I will or will not do. I learned years--

Carroll Jones: I understand.

David Jones: My grandkids-- my kids did a good job teaching me that, but my grand kids have really taught me, because everything I said I wouldn't do, I've done. (laughing) So I'm awful careful not to say what I'm not going to do. I hope, at this point in time in my life things-- I can be of assistance. I certainly stand ready to help in any way that I possibly can. As far as me serving in a capacity, I have no plans at this time. But I'm not going to say that I wouldn't. I'm just going to say I have no plans. I really am enjoying being a grandfather.

Carroll Jones: That's pretty obvious. That's obvious.

David Jones: And it's nice to see my sons grow up. So it's a point in time in my life where I just spend more time being thankful.

Carroll Jones: You're going to live a little longer doing that too.

David Jones: Well, you know, the quality of life-- the peace that you find within yourself, sometimes it's difficult to get there. But when it does, you know it.

Carroll Jones: Would you ever have considered yourself a workaholic?

David Jones: No question about it, and I'm like a lot of other people. I can look back on my life.

Carroll Jones: Do you think this might be a Jones trait?

David Jones: I think it can be, but you know, we do the best we can. I always says, if God wanted me to look back, He'd a put one eye in the back. He made us. I can't say if I went back and went through my life, there are some things I certainly would have changed. But then again, I'd have probably made some mistakes just as bad. I'm human.

Carroll Jones: Yeah, that's a good thing.

David Jones: Yeah, that's the positive part about this life is it's been a wonderful, wonderful life.

Carroll Jones: That's great that you can say that.

David Jones: I've told a minister friend of mine, I said if something happens that I leave before you do, tell everybody not to cry for me.

Carroll Jones: Now, let's see. You were one of how many children?

David Jones: Eight.

Carroll Jones: And how many are surviving.

David Jones: There's four of us.

Carroll Jones: Four of you. And you get together often, as often as you can.

David Jones: Yes, and we talk all the time.

Carroll Jones: And you talk to each other. That's great.

David Jones: We do. And all of us are active. You know, Walter he's got--

Carroll Jones: You're all a bunch of characters.

David Jones: He's got three furniture stores, a lot of investments in Myrtle Beach now.

Carroll Jones: And how old is he?

David Jones: 75-years-old. And I just turned 72.

Carroll Jones: And Edna's 89.

David Jones: 89.

Carroll Jones: And Robert?

David Jones: And Robert's 80-- well, Robert says he's 39. But [inaudible] you, knowing Robert, you know what is typical of Robert. Robert's about 84.

Carroll Jones: That's amazing.

David Jones: Oh, yeah.

Carroll Jones: You're all amazing.

David Jones: Yeah, it's been a great life.

Carroll Jones: It's been hard work and a good outlook on life, and you've got one another.

David Jones: Well, you know, I look back, and I was talking to a group not long ago, and younger people. They said life has obviously been pretty good to you. I said it has. I hadn't been good to it sometimes. But I think the whole thing on going back on life, and we understand now what life is. It's a journey.

Carroll Jones: Is this what you tell your sons, and is this what you tell your grandchildren?

David Jones: Yes, it's a journey.

Carroll Jones: And this young man here.

David Jones: It's a journey. And what I challenge all young people everywhere is when the day comes that it's time for us to go, I think the key is not how much you left in inheritance or how much money you've got, but did you make a difference in the quality of life of other people? And if you can say yes, and you can put your finger on it, don't worry about your financial. The success lies in the fact that you made it better.

Carroll Jones: Do you think too many young people today are more interested in the money aspect and things than they are a quality of life, let's say building a family and a community, et cetera?

David Jones: Carroll, I honestly believe, and I am a strong believer in our youth. I think they're going to make it a better place to live than we did. We went through a time where The Depression, economics, there was no money, no nothing. We put ourselves so much in the grind that we kind of lost focus on the other things that's more important. And I think coming out of our youth today, you're coming out better educated people. You're coming out with people that understand some of the problems we have made. They are going to make mistakes too. I'm one who believes that our youth is going to have a better place in the future than we did for ours.

Carroll Jones: I hope you're right. David, if you had just one or two more things to accomplish, although I don't know where you'd have room for them, what would it be?

David Jones: Being a better person.

Carroll Jones: Oh, well you've done that.

David Jones: But it's--

Carroll Jones: Anything you haven't done in your life that you can-- we all look back and say I wish I'd done this, and it's never too late. I wish I'd done that. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to.

David Jones: Well, I go back, and you know, in pursuing my education, which circumstances says I couldn't. But anyway, that's one area that I can really stress to young people, get your education, because it's your vehicle to success in life. It's like I can't sit down and help with my 17-year-old grandson with his school work. He's beyond me with it. And a lot of people who went to college in those years, they can't sit down with their grandkids and help them today.

Carroll Jones: That's true. It's gotten beyond us.

David Jones: So I think if I sat down and thought about it a whole lot, what would I like to accomplish, I'd already had had the plans in place to try to do it.

Carroll Jones: Well, then you're a happy man, a contented man.

David Jones: Pretty much so, really am, very thankful.

Carroll Jones: It's been good to talk to you.

David Jones: Thank you, Carroll.

Carroll Jones: And I think you've lost your calling. You need to be not a preacher but I would say a speaker to the young people, say I did it, you can too, and you've got more than I've got.

David Jones: Well, back when I was Secretary of Corrections, I made over 300 speaking engagements in four years. And most of mine was focused to high school students, groups. I used to be involved very heavy with Dr. Caldwell that used to be at State. We had rap sessions on weekends with students. I never gave them as much as they gave me.

Carroll Jones: That's great. We're going to end on that one.

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