Published: May 19, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: May 19, 2012 08:44 PM
Teiji Kimballs column (DN May 12, bit.ly/JCIiIl
) was well written and made me think, but it missed the mark on objectivity. The fact of the matter is that, as my childhood teacher and mentor used to say (repeatedly), It takes two to pull. So you cant just blame the recent fracturing of the Durham community on the Peoples Alliance.
That said, I was at the PA endorsement meeting, and, after four hours of debate about the candidates that night, I know that the 751 South project was far from the only issue considered.
How easily pot-stirrers like Kimball have ignored the fact that the PA is responsible for ALL those blue anti-amendment signs (provided free to the public) that have dotted every corner of Durham throughout this election period, signs that clearly reflect the will of Durham citizens, 70 percent of whom voted against the amendment on May 8.
Regarding the precedent-setting 751 South development issue, the PA simply recognizes that economics and resources are inextricably linked. A toxic water supply (and/or exorbitant taxes to keep it at bay) is bad for economic development. Period.
Jordan Lake is Durhams emergency water source. Even if it werent, who are we to turn a blind eye to the health of a neighboring countys water supply especially when many of our friends and relatives live there and our own countys long-term economic health depends on it? Do you think that Durham alone will continue to thrive if the rest of the Triangle is a polluted mess where a person is afraid to swim in the lakes or drink from the tap!?
The PA also refuses to fall for the developers jobs argument again, particularly given that the developer has never legally committed to this promise (by putting it in writing in its rezoning/development applications). The bigger question to me is why the other two PACs arent concerned with getting any sort of legal commitment in this regard. In contrast, they are almost eager to take the developers word for it, despite a history that warns them otherwise.
For decades, developers have had their way with Durham County, and the job rate hasnt improved. In fact, the unemployment rate has nearly tripled over the last two decades (from less than 3 percent in 1990 to over 7.5 percent presently).
It seems to me that those projecting blame on the PA because, for once, the PA isnt dancing to every beat of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black Peoples music are actually the ones trying to fracture the Durham community in an attempt to get their way. But the primary election results show that the community at large doesnt agree with them at least not on all counts.
Remember that Brenda Howerton and Michael Page won the county commissioners primary as well as Wendy Jacobs, Ellen Reckhow and Fred Foster. Thus, regardless of naysayers like Kimball, the Durham community has found and voted for the compromise that the PACs have been unable to achieve.
As for the elections violations reports, the people who made these reports did so as individuals, not as members of the PA. If this is not acknowledged, then well have to presume that every individual action of every Durham Committee member speaks for that organization, and several committee members have insisted to me that this isnt the case. For instance, I am sure that the pollsters who were handing out committee endorsement fliers with candidate Fred Fosters name scratched out and replaced with Rickey Padgett (who was not endorsed by the Durham Committee) were not acting on behalf of the committee.
Furthermore, the reported election violations had to pass review by Board of Elections director Mike Perry before receiving any further attention. There was clearly evidence of concern for collaboration between the candidates campaigns and the 751 South Super PAC, because Perry did in fact pass the complaints on up the line.
It is scary that the state board of elections based its decision solely on whether the candidates campaigns were directly involved in creating and printing the Super PACs five mailings, not whether they collaborated with the Super PAC to distribute its mailings at the polls.
This could set a very scary precedent for future Super PAC dealings in Durham County, whether or not they agree with the most vocal committee members wishes.