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Roy Kiesling (1934-) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Roy Kiesling (1934-)


Historical Note:

1934 - Born March 11, 1934, place unknown; Raised in Houston, Texas, after the Second  World  War.  Roy Kiesling graduated Yale University with a major in English and a self- described "overwhelming fascination for sports cars." Thereafter, he briefly taught English before entering the University of Texas Law program

1960 - Completing his course of legal study in three years with a Bachelor of Laws degree, he moved to San Francisco and worked as an administrator of research contracts for then-Lockheed Missles and Space Company

1961-1966 - Enrolled in San Jose State College as a student of engineering, but later switched majors to Physics

1966 - The University of Texas retroactively granted Kiesling status as a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

1970 - Worked as a volunteer for Paul Ehrlich's Zero Population Growth (ZPG) organization, eventually becoming the spokesman for the ZPG's task group on Consumer environmental responsibility

1970 - Attended the ten day "Summer Alumni College on Environment" conference at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

1971-1972 - Co-founded the Consumer Alliance with Paul Ehrlich and Richard Harriman

1971- Sparred with congressional representative Peter McCloskey over the contents of  the federal legislature's Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) bills

1971 - April; Met with Ralph Nader over his opposition to the Consumer Alliance's organizational structure and anti-lobbyist stance. Soon after Nader created a counter-organization, called Public Citizen.

1971 - December; Attended the Ad Hoc Food Labeling Conference at which he  became friends with Helen Nelson, then-Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs to California Governor Bobbie Brown, and Consumer Movement leader Esther Peterson

1972 - January; Liaised with Walker Sandbach, Executive Director fo the Consumer Union and Consumer Federation of America President Helen Nelson at the Consumer Federation of America Conference

1972 - Donated $1,000 to the presidential campaign of George McGovern

1972 - Worked to resolve "The Great Chevrolet Engine Mount Controversy" in which the car company released cars for sale with defective engine stabilization parts

1973 - Invited by Virginia Knauer the White House Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs to attended a special meeting of the Consumer Federation of America held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the meeting, attendees split into factions with competing visions of the Consumer Movement. The incident has often been called "the Milwaukee Massacre"

1973-1974 - During the Tucson Symposium, a dozen individuals, including Currin Shields, Louis Meyer, and Fr. Robert McEwen, form the Conference of Consumer Organizations

1973-1976 - Represented the Consumers United of Palo Alto and the Consumers Cooperative Society of Palo Alto, California against  government protectionism of American agribusiness

1974 - Participated in the renewed congressional fight for a consumer-oriented federal agency

1975 - Researched consumer Co-ops in response to discussions during a January Consumer Federation of American meeting

1976 - Summer; Participated in the "Consumer '76 conference sponsored by the California State Department of Consumer Affairs

1976 - Summer; Attended the JC Penny Consumer Affairs Forum

1976-1985 - Served on the advisory board and staff of the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) in the Department of Consumer Affairs

1977 - Inaugurated as president of the Consumer Federation of California

1977 - Invited to participate in a White House discussion, attempting to reinvigorate the  debate for a consumer-friendly federal agency

1977 - Inspired by a meeting with Colston Warne on the campus of MIT, Kiesling began writing an autobiography of his time in the Consumer Movement and the direction the movement should next take. The unpublished manuscript, entitled "Report to Those Most Concerned", describes his time in the Consumer Movement

1978 - The Federal Consumer protection Agency Bill was defeated in the House of Representatives

1978-1983 - Served on the Consumer Advisory Council of the AT&T divestiture Pacific Telephone

1980 - Completed writing "A Report to those Most Concerned"

1980-1988 - Provided consultation for various organizations on Intermittent Ignition Devices and California's Car Lemon Laws

2007 - Lobbied to ban genetically engineered drug-producing safflower

2007 - Lived in Santa Cruz, California

2010 - The Dodd-Frank Bill, calling for the creation of a Consumer Affairs Bureau, passed both houses and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.






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