Mayor Bill Bell has provided steady political leadership for the City of Durham, and has presided over a period of growth and economic revitalization. His approach is sensible and effective. Even in a period of economic downturn, Durham’s transformation while Bill has been mayor has been nothing short of remarkable. Few can match his record of public service. He should be re-elected for another term.
Diane Catotti is the anchor of the progressive viewpoint on Council. She will continue to work for affordable housing, thoughtful and balanced development, transit, and improvement of roads, parks, and other services. In her two terms on the council she has established herself as someone who does her homework and who is always ready for hard work. We are happy to endorse her re-election.
Steve Schewel is a committed, thoughtful, and practical progressive. He is an educator, a journalist, and a businessman. His Independent Weekly has long provided special insight into Durham affairs—always quick to cheer our successes and shine light on our difficulties. He is dedicated to community service and as an elected leader he will not shrink from tough decisions. As a member of the Durham School Board his patient and respectful style brought peace to a body paralyzed with infighting and got it working again. Count on Steve to work to improve neighborhoods at risk and to enhance programs and opportunities for Durham’s youth and those most in need. His run for council is a stroke of good fortune for the community.
Eugene Brown is an independent voice on Council and provides a significant viewpoint on issues of fiscal responsibility. He asks hard questions and makes sure important issues get aired. As the owner of a successful real estate business, he knows Durham and is a jealous guardian of the community’s welfare, special heritage, and reputation. Gene is an advocate for neighborhoods and growth when it makes sense. He deserves another term.
These three candidates will become part of a strong team that will help formulate progressive policies for Durham in these fiscally challenging times.
Durham Sales Tax Referenda
On November 8, 2011 Durham County voters will have the opportunity to say “yes” for increased transit service to Durham through increased bus and rail service, and to support our local schools and teachers.
In the current political and budgetary climate in Raleigh and Washington, conservative legislators are blocking progressive taxation of upper incomes. Our local governments can expect little help to prevent cuts in major areas, including education and transit. In response to this, the Durham County Commissioners have placed two sales tax proposals on the November ballot. One is a one-half cent addition to support a variety of enhancements to the transit system. The other is a one-quarter cent addition to support education. This local sales tax will, in effect, replace three-quarters of the one cent state sales tax that the state legislature did not renew.
The Durham People’s Alliance supports these sales tax referenda. The passage of the Transit referendum is a-once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our future, to ensure a modern transit infrastructure for the region. The action of the Durham electorate will spur our sister counties to adopt similar and compatible measures. The revenue generated by the other referendum will save jobs in Durham Public Schools, allow Durham Tech to give scholarships to DPS grads and will provide about $400,000 to pre-kindergarten programs, which have lost 20% of their funding from the state.
More information on transit.
Rougemont Town Council Endorsements
Linward Hedgspeth is a lifelong resident of Rougemont and was an early supporter of incorporation. His first concern is the provision of safe and reliable public water and sewer services for the community. He would look to Durham County government for land use regulation while the new council builds public consensus for the establishment of local policies. He opposes merger of municipal and county governments.
Lee Holden has for years been one of Rougemont’s head cheerleaders. He is the webmaster of the Rougemont community website and uses it to keep the community informed. He strongly believes that incorporation is necessary to give Rougemont’s people a genuine say in the development and welfare of the town. He loves Rougemont’s rural character and would like to see it enhanced with local shops and a farmer’s market and a public park. He believes the water question is of prime importance and believes that it must be addressed even if incorporation fails.
Linda Huff has demonstrated ability in land use regulatory affairs. She has served on Durham’s Planning Commission where she established a reputation for doing her homework, asking hard questions, and putting public good ahead of other considerations. She sees protecting Rougemont’s rural heritage and the larger Durham community’s water resources as priorities. Until Rougemont handles its own land use and zoning matters, Linda wants to see Rougemont representatives on Durham’s planning agencies. We agree.
Edgar Johnson is a life-long resident of Rougemont. He is business owner in Rougemont and surrounding communities. Edgar has served as chair of the Board Trustees of the New Red Mountain Missionary Baptist Church for the last 31 years and served on the Board of Directors of the Little River Community Center for the last 17 years. He wants to assist in developing emergency plans for the Rougemont area and to secure a permanent solution to the community’s drinking water problem. He will listen to the citizens needs and be the voice for the people to the council.
Patricia Russell - Update - we chose to endorse Patricia Russell in August. She recently withdrew her name from the race.
PA-PAC would like to thank all of the PA members and progressive Durhamites who donated to PA-PAC and therefore made it possible to print and mail 15,000 of these attractive cards!