The Trial of Dan White: Trial Testimony of Supervisor Carol R. Silver
Source: The Trial of Dan White by Kenneth W. Salter (1991)

Q Miss Silver, did you have occasion to see Mr. White often while you were on the Board of Supervisors?
A Yes. His seat was next to mine at the Board. He sat on one side of me and Harvey Milk sat on the other side of me. . . .
Q Would you venture or be able to venture and estimate as to how often on a weekly basis you had occasion to see him?
A Well, every Monday we sat next to each other from 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon until 6:00 at night, or 10:00 o'clock at night, whenever the Board would adjourn. Never less than four hours; sometimes as much as 12 hours. On Wednesdays when I-either Wednesdays or Fridays when I had of­fice hours, my secretary would just set appointments for me, I would be in my office constantly during that period of time, and I would be in and out and walking around and going and getting coffee and receiving calls, and he would generally be there with the-also do­ing approximately the same kind of thing, and we would pass in the halls and exchange pleasantries, and so I would say on an average three days a week I would have seen him to some extent.
Q Miss Silver, did you have an opinion as to how he regarded his duties on the Board of Supervisors?
A Very seriously.
Q Did he take an active participation in the meetings at the Board of Supervisors?
A Yes, I would say he was not as vocal as some of the older members of the Board in the beginning, and as the year-and I don't mean in age, I mean in terms of how long they had been on the Board-as the year went on he became more-it was easier for him to stand up on the microphone and make speeches.
Q Did he seem to progressively and assertively take positions for legislation in which he and his constituents were interested?
A Yes.
Q In connection with his attitude, could you describe that for us, that is, whether he was cheerful or anything other?
A He was always pleasant and always courteous and always-­he wasn't cheerful in the way that some of the other Supervisors were-are always kind of joking around, like Supervisor Dolson, or Supervisor Milk, for that matter. But he was always pleasant and charming and nice.
Q Did you ever find him or observe him to be depressed?
A No.
Q Did you ever find him or observe him to be what sometimes is described as withdrawn?
A No. Sometimes quiet. But, I think, there is a difference bet­ween not saying something and not being-not participating by listening.
Q Did he ever appear to you to seem in a state of disappoint­ment which lasted for any more than a part of a meeting for that matter?
A The only time that-that that kind of thing occurred was when he was involved in a-a very heavily politicized battle over something called the Youth Campus Issue which was a building out in the District that, I must admit, I can't remember whether he was for or against its being used in a particular way.   
I don't remember how the vote came up, but he wanted to have it be done one way, and there was substantial opposition to what he wanted and he had organized the community and he was constantly lobbying members of the Board to vote his way on the issue. And it finally came to a head, and after that vote he was-he was quite angry and-and for at least two or three meetings he was in the Board meeting itself as opposed to off the floor, he was-he kind of ex­pressed hostility toward those of us who had opposed him.
Q Among those who had opposed him on the Youth Campus Issue, whichever side he took, do you know where Harvey Milk stood and voted on that?
A Well, Harvey had been lobbied-Harvey and I had both been lobbied by Dan very heavily, and we had discussed it and we had both answered to Dan just because his lobbying was so heavy that we would consider his position.
Both Harvey and I had been involved in this from the beginning on the opposite side from Dan, and there was no question in my mind, and I don't really think there was any question in Harvey's mind at any point, that he was going to vote on the same side as Dan. But Dan's lobbying was very insistent, and it becomes difficult to maintain working relationships with someone who keeps saying to you, "Do something. Do something." So the way that politicians do that is by using what are sometimes called weasel words. You know. So we said, "Well, I'll consider it,” and that simply means, you know, I will think about it, which I certainly did, and Harvey certainly did.
And then we voted the way we were always going to vote. And Dan seemed to have counted on Harvey's vote in the Campus Issue and had told some people before the vote had occurred that he had Harvey's vote. And he was very­-
MR. SCHMIDT: Your Honor, I think this is non-responsive to the question.
THE COURT: All right. Let's have the next question.
Q All right. Was there ever any other issue that you recall wherein Mr. White, well, had expressed himself somewhat vigorously or vocally?
A Oh, I know what I was saying. As a result of the Youth Cam­pus Vote Dan was very hostile to Harvey, and in the next-in Oct­ober when the Polk Street closure came up­-
MR. SCHMIDT: She wants to tell the story, so it's not respon­sive to the questions.
A He asked in what other case did a dispute be­tween the two of them arise. And it was the Polk Street closing was another occasion when Harvey requested that Polk Street, which is a heavily gay area in San Francisco, I am sure everybody knows, and on Halloween had traditionally had a huge number of people in costumes and so forth down there and has traditionally been recommended for closure by the Police Department and­
MR. SCHMIDT: I am going to object to this, your Honor.
THE COURT: Just ask the next question.
Q Did Mr. Milk and Mr. White take posi­tions that were opposite to each other?
A Yes.
Q Was there anything that became, well, rather loud and perhaps hostile in connection or consisting between the two?
A Not loud, but very hostile.
Q Explain that, please?
A You have to first understand that this street closure was recom­mended by the Police Chief and had been done customarily in the years past, and it was-came up as an uncontested issue, practically. However-and ultimately Dan White voted for it. But in the course of the debate- . . .
MR. SCHMIDT: I object. First off, it's inaccurate, probably. I don't think he did vote for it. Also­-
THE WITNESS: I checked the record.
THE COURT: Please. Just make your objection.
MR. SCHMIDT: There is an objection.
THE COURT: All right. Sustained. Let's ask a question and we will get an answer. . . .
Q Miss Silver, did you ever know, or did you ever see Mr. White to appear to be depressed or to be withdrawn?
A No.
MR. NORMAN: Thank you.
Q Is it Miss Silver?
A Yes.
Q Miss Silver, you never had lunch with Dan White, did you? I mean the two of you?
A Did I ever have lunch? I-I can't recall having done so, but I-I would not want to say for sure that I didn't because it was something that happened fairly regularly. Not with him in particular, but we often-I often had lunch with other Supervisors. I can't recall at the present time.
Q You can't recall having done it with any degree of frequency?
A No, certainly not.
Q Did you socialize with him frequently? Did you go out to the theater or go swimming?
A No. When his son was born I went to a party at his house, and that kind of thing. . . .
Q Did Mr. Norman contact you last week, or did you contact him?
A On Friday morning I called his office to-because I was read­ing the newspaper­-
Q Yes.
A And it appeared to me­-
THE COURT: Don't tell us.
A I am sorry.
THE COURT: The jurors are told not to read the newspaper, and I am hoping that they haven't read the newspapers.
THE WITNESS: I apologize.
THE COURT: Okay. . . .
Q In any event, you contacted Mr. Norman, did you not?
A Yes, I did.
Q And at that time you offered to Mr. Norman to round up people who could say Dan White never looked depressed at City Hall, is that fair?
A That's right. Well, I offered to testify to that effect, and I sug­gested that there were other people who could similarly testify to that fact.
Q In fact, you expressed it though you haven't sat here and lis­tened to the testimony in this courtroom?
A No, I have never been here. I have never been out there or here before Friday when I was subpoenaed and spent some time in the jury room.
Q But to use your words, after having read what was in the paper you said that the defense sounded like "bullshit" to you?
A That's correct.
Q Would you suggest-would that suggest then that, perhaps, you have a bias in this case?
A I certainly have a bias.
Q You are a political enemy of Dan White, is that fair?
A No, that's not true.
Q Did you have any training in psychology or psychiatry?
A No more than some of the kind of-C.E.B. courses, lawyers' psychology for lawyers kind of training.
Q I mean, would you be able to diagnose, say, manic-depression depressed type, or could you distinguish that from uni-polar depression?
A No.
Q Would you consider yourself a confidant of Dan White's? Or intimate acquaintance of his?
A No. Although I did try to help him when he was-when he resigned and wanted to get his seat back. I forgot now.
Q Did you ever talk to him about his sleep habits?
A His sleep habits?
Q Sleep habit, yes.
A No, sir.
Q How about his dietary habits or anything like that?
A I remember a conversation about nutrition or something like that, but I can't remember the substance of it.
MR. SCHMIDT: I don't have anything further.
Q Miss Silver, how did you offer to help him get his seat back?
A Well, I felt that he was getting a-from the point of view of a lawyer and a due process-I contacted Dan by telephone and I said to him that the newspaper accounts as reported seemed to me to in­correctly state a legal position that was being taken by the City At­torney and that, therefore, I felt that he was being denied due pro­cess and that he had certain remedies, and I suggested to him that although I could not represent him and would not want to represent him because of the politics involved, that he ought to contact an attorney and discuss the failure to provide him with due process under the circumstances. And I laid out some of that to him. That was the extent of it.
Q You were asked if you had a bias in this case. Miss Silver, you knew Harvey Milk very well and you liked him, didn't you?
A I did; and, also, George Moscone.
Q Miss Silver, speaking of a bias, had you ever heard the defend­ant say anything about getting people of whom Harvey Milk numbered himself?
A I never heard anything directly.
Q Was there something in connection with the Polk Street Oc­tober incident?
A I am sorry, except that. That was-what I meant was, I never heard anything on a one-to-one conversation. In the Polk street debate Dan White got up and gave a-a long diatribe, just a-a very unexpected and very uncharacteristic of Dan, long hostile speech about how gays and their lifestyle were-had to be contained and we can't encourage this kind of thing and­-
MR. SCHMIDT: I am going to object to this, your Honor.
THE COURT: Sustained Okay. . . .
Q Miss Silver, you are a part of the gay com­munity also, are you? . . .
A You mean am I gay?
Q Yes.
A No. I'm not.
Q This Youth Camp situation that came up, this was in March of 1978, was it not?
A I don't recall the date. . . .
MR. SCHMIDT: I have nothing further.