PA Endorses Don Moffitt for Council Vacancy



At its meeting Thursday, December 6, the Durham People’s Alliance endorsed Don Moffitt for appointment to the Ward 3 City Council seat soon to be vacated by Mike Woodard.  Woodard will resign the seat effective December 31 in order to take his new post in the North Carolina Senate.  The city council will appoint someone to finish the remaining year of Woodard’s incomplete term, then Durham voters will decide who will fill the Ward 3 seat in the 2013 council elections.


Moffitt is one of four applicants vying to fill the vacancy.  The other three are Anita Daniels, Edward Kwon, and Jason Melehani.  Of these, only Daniels and Moffitt actively pursued the People’s Alliance PAC endorsement by completing candidate questionnaires and meeting with the organization’s leaders.  After an hour of debate Thursday night, the PAC’s members voted to endorse Moffitt.


During discussions it became clear that People’s Alliance members want someone who, like Woodard, will earn the trust and respect of the whole Durham community.  Moffitt was praised for his ability to move between activist groups and the business community.  “In Don, the savvy of the chamber of commerce and the progressive’s desire for economic and social justice come neatly together.”  said PA PAC coordinator Tom Miller.  Moffitt has a degree in architecture from the University of Texas and an MBA from the Keenan-Flagler Business School at UNC.  He was for many years an executive of Whole Foods and oversaw the company’s expansion into North Carolina and the southeast.  Currently Don is a business consultant with a client list that includes local businesses in Durham and Chapel Hill, regional players such as Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh, and national giants like Whole Foods and General Mills.  At the same time, Don has been active in Durham non-profits.  He has been the president of the Eno River Association and recently served as that organization’s treasurer.  He is also a former president of the Durham People’s Alliance.  “Wherever Don has been involved, he has used his business experience to put the group on a sound organizational and financial footing.” said Milo Pyne, who shares PA PAC’s gavel with Miller.  “If Don is appointed to fill Mike’s unexpired city council term, I expect him to be a serious watchdog over the public’s money.” Pyne added.


Moffitt served two terms on the City-County Planning Commission, considered by many to be a stepping stone to council service.  There he quickly earned a reputation for patient fairness not only among the citizens who appeared before the Commission, but also among his fellow commission members who twice elected him to chair the body.  Don often led the commission through a code-based analysis of the merits of sometimes contentious zoning cases.  This leadership through patience, knowledge, and trust makes a strong argument in favor of Moffitt’s bid for the Ward 3 council appointment.


On the issues, Moffitt’s questionnaire responses indicate that he is well-informed and ready to step into the council’s business.  “Don’s positions on thorny problems, like the need for low-income housing and the extension of water and sewer services beyond the boundaries set out in Durham’s comprehensive plans show not only knowledge, but a thoughtful decisiveness.” said Miller.  “Don is not someone who just repeats back to people what he thinks they want to hear.  He is methodical.  He studies.  He listens.  He applies his considerable skills.  And then he decides.  When he decides, he can tell you the reasons and they always make sense.” Miller continued.  “But he is not doctrinaire.  This is the practical, business side in him coming out.  As chair of the Planning Commission we frequently saw Don not only urging zoning opponents to compromise, but suggesting to them the areas where compromise might satisfy both sides.”


According to Milo Pyne, “Few people are better prepared as Don Moffitt to hit the ground running as a city an appointed city council member.   Durham People’s Alliance PAC urges the City Council to appoint Don at its earliest opportunity.  The community will not regret it.”  Longtime PA member Mark Hellman added, “Don has the same position on a number of important issues as the Council member he would replace.  So I hope the Council will honor Mike Woodard's work by appointing the candidate who can best continue it.”


The People’s Alliance and its PAC have been active in Durham political life for nearly 40 years.  Candidate endorsements are made by the members of the organization in a democratic process where every member who desires to speak is guaranteed the right to do so.  In preparation for endorsement debates, the PAC researches candidates’ backgrounds and challenges them on the issues with interviews and questionnaires.

Click to read Don Moffitt and Anita Daniels PA-PAC Questionnaires.



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