A Statement About Councilmember Alston's Seat

During a regularly scheduled business meeting on April 6, 2020, Durham City Council announced the resignation of our valued councilmember, Vernetta Alston, due to her transition to the North Carolina General Assembly.  We are grateful to her for her years of progressive service.

The Durham City Council must now fill the Ward 3 vacancy created by Representative Alston’s departure.  People in Durham and beyond are battling personal and financial uncertainties hour by hour, day by day.  We cannot let our privilege allow us to move forward without acknowledging and meaningfully responding to our current state of affairs. In light of this, the People’s Alliance PAC will not move forward with facilitating and executing an endorsement process at this time. 

Under the circumstances currently imposed upon us by COVID-19 and considerations for public health, public participation in and oversight of our city government is seriously curtailed.  Government operations have been reduced to a minimum and the City Council now meets virtually.  It is difficult for members of the public to communicate with government officials and to watch or participate in council meetings.  Given the importance of public involvement in government in Durham, the City Council should reduce to the barest minimum the business it must do while public engagement is so difficult. As a result, City Council should not undertake to appoint Councilmember Alston’s successor.  In a system of representative government, the people should select their council representatives.  

Under state law, the council may fill a vacancy through an appointment process.  The time allowed for the process, sixty days, is, under normal conditions, sufficient to provide ample opportunity for public input and the highest degree of public scrutiny.  But under the extraordinary circumstances imposed by COVID-19, the appointment process cannot be carried out with the level of public engagement necessary to make the selection of a new City Council member an appropriate exercise of democratic government.  

Fortunately, Section 13.2(d) of our City Charter provides that the City Council may call for a special election to fill the Alston vacancy instead of using the appointment process: “If the council fails to choose some qualified person within 60 days after the vacancy occurs, it may not fill the vacancy by appointment, but shall call a special election under the provisions of 13.3 of this charter…”  The election of Councilmember Alston’s successor may be added to the general election already scheduled for November.  And while we acknowledge that it is not ideal to leave a seat on the council vacant for a number of months, we feel that it is preferable to wait and let the people of Durham -residents of Ward 3- decide who should fill the seat rather than allowing the City Council to appoint a new councilmember without full public engagement. 


Why We Support David Price

The People’s Alliance PAC endorses David Price for the United State House of Representatives District 4. With the end to Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts, all of Durham County now falls with Price’s district. Representative Price’s determination to prioritize federal funding for affordable housing and public transportation addresses two persistent and critical concerns in Durham. We are impressed with Representative Price’s support of H.R.1 which would fundamentally change the role and power of money in elections. We support Representative Price’s commitment to free public education, a progressive tax system, Medicare for all, expanding civil rights legislation to protect LGBTQ people and climate change mitigation. We believe that Representative Price’s is able to leverage his role in the House and as a member of the Appropriations Committee to fight for legislation that reflects PA’s values.

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Why We Support Roy Cooper

The People’s Alliance PAC endorses Roy Cooper for Governor on North Carolina. We are impressed by Governor Cooper’s demonstrated support for all residents of our state as evidenced by his veto of HB370. We like his brave position against gun violence. With no support from the Republican-controlled General Assembly he issued an executive order strengthening background checks for firearm purchases. He has also used his executive authority to support the LBGTQ community by stopping state funding for organizations that engage in conversion therapy. Governor Cooper’s position on the minimum wage is aligned PA’s He is committed to signing legislation guaranteeing a $15 minimum wage. On voting rights, the governor has worked to expand access to the polls and in defense of the environment, he has pressed Duke Energy to remove coal ash from its ponds. Governor Cooper’s strong stance in support of teacher raises and Medicaid expansion strongly align with the PA’s vision of a just and equitable North Carolina where all people can live and thrive.


Why We Support Chaz Beasley

The People’s Alliance PAC supports Chaz Beasley for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor. We think it's a plus that Chaz has a Durham connection. He knows our city since he spent much of his youth East Durham. Currently, Chaz serves in the North Carolina House of Representatives, where he represents residents in part of Charlotte. He proved himself to be an able legislator during his first term in office by introducing and seeing passed into law a bill that modernized North Carolina's sexual assault laws. In addition to his role at the General Assembly, Chaz is an attorney working in the financial industry, where he helped reform lending practices. Through his work on complex financial transactions for businesses and banks, he is familiar with the investments needed to create and sustain jobs and how such transactions can be structured to protect the financial interests of working people. He recognizes the importance of building community through home ownership. Chaz also served on the staff of Senator Harry Reid former Senate majority leader in Washington focusing his legal research on issues relating to immigration and economic development.

His actions and values align with those of PA; he supports public education and higher teachers’ salaries. He will fight for a progressive tax system, to expand Medicaid, and will work to bridge the rural-urban divide to bring prosperity to all parts of our state. Chaz understands that current majority in the General Assembly has acted to undermine the right to vote, restrict women’s right to make their own health care decisions, and obstruct the rights of LGBTQ+ people in North Carolina, and he will continue to fight back when elected Lt. Governor.

 


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