Local Politics

Durham election features mayoral rematch

Posted October 28, 2013

— The stage is set for an Election Day rematch in Durham, as local pastor Sylvester Williams challenges Mayor Bill Bell for the second time in two years.

Bell, who has served as Durham mayor since 2001, easily defeated Williams in 2011, and he said Monday that he enjoys the challenge of leading the city.

He said he has tried to focus on improving inner-city neighborhoods in recent years, and he gives himself a B grade on the effort.

"There are so many areas we have to work with, and when you try to redevelop neighborhoods, it takes a much longer period of time," he said.

If re-elected, Bell said, those neighborhoods and downtown development will remain a priority.

Williams said he wants to spread the wealth beyond Durham's downtown.

Durham skyline Durham development key issue in mayoral race

"We have uneven growth in Durham," he said. "Look at downtown Durham – great growth – but then in surrounding areas, you don't see the same type of growth."

Following several complaints against the Durham Police Department, Williams said he would also work to improve community relations.

"There needs to be a level of accountability that someone answers questions so the citizens can be reassured that the police department is on their side." he said.

Bell says such work is already being done through the work of the city's Human Relations Commission.

"I'm convinced we will address those," he said.


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  • Hill55 Nov 5, 2013

    Williams is to the left of Bell.

  • jackaroe123 Oct 30, 2013

    "Durham is a FAR better place to live and raise a family than it was 20 years ago. Thanks Mr. Bell.. ============================================================ ===

    And you base this on WHAT?!!!"

    I can only speak for myself, but my personal experience and everything I've witnessed aligns w/ what ABM said. ABM went into more detail in the sentences directly before the one you quoted above. He JUST explained what he was basing it on. Why would you need to ask that?

    Your experience may be different, but it sounds like you don't want to accept others' experience. Odd how you went on to claim in another post that people will only vote for Mayor Bell b/c they don't think for themselves. You think if people think for themselves -- allegedly for the first time -- that they'll all think exactly like you?

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 30, 2013

    From http://www.sylvesterwilliamsformayor.com/

    "He also has a desire to: Reduce the crime rate for ALL of Durham; Increase Police Salaries to be comparable with neighboring counties"

    Increasing Durham City Police officer's pay is one positive thing I read on this website. For those that don't know, Durham is known for training officers for many police departments in North Carolina at the cost to the city of Durham. Officers are trained here and once they get a little experience they look for work else were because other departments pay more. This actually costs the city of Durham more than it would to pay officers comparable to other departments because it takes a lot of money to train officers and new officers can't patrol on their own until they have a certain amount of time on the force.

  • stymieindurham Oct 30, 2013

    Durham is a FAR better place to live and raise a family than it was 20 years ago. Thanks Mr. Bell..

    And you base this on WHAT?!!!

  • stymieindurham Oct 30, 2013

    Bill Bell will most definitely be re-elected in a landslide.

    Only because people don't think for themselves. They vote according to how they are told to vote. Try thinking for yourself one time.

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 30, 2013

    True Downtown is safer than it has been in a very long time by using bond money and federal dollars to for urban renewal (buying out poor people's land owners and relocating section 8 to other parts of town). The crime didn't go away it was just moved to other parts of town. Is this a measure of success and a good use of tax dollars? Guess that's in the eye of the beholder.

  • ABM Oct 29, 2013

    Bill Bell is the main reason "Main ST" is safe to walk around in downtown Durham between the hours of 10pm and 3am.. Nice new places to visit, bars, mix use all over the city.. All everyone else will focus on is crime, there is crime all over our state. Durham is a FAR better place to live and raise a family than it was 20 years ago. Thanks Mr. Bell..

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 29, 2013

    Bill Bell will most definitely be re-elected in a landslide. So don't expect any changes any time soon.

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 29, 2013

    "Does neither candidate have a vision for eliminating the endless crime in Durham?"

    No more than either candidate have a vision for eliminating the endless city debt?

  • issymayake Oct 29, 2013

    Most Durham citizens are fine with the leadership of Bill Bell. The proof is in his continued popularity. Even past politics, Bill takes his time to visit community groups, to support small businesses, to promote cultural activity, and encourage revitalization, renovation, and innovation.

    lol @ endless crime in Durham. There is endless crime in every city in North Carolina; whether it be random arson and making animal pornography in Fayetteville; attempted robbery of a movie theater; photographing little boys and sex slavery in Raleigh; or stealing steel in Goldsboro.

    Even with the crime, long-term Durham citizens can see the progress of the city under Bill Bell's tenure. It is consistently voted among the best places to live, work, start a business, and the most tolerant city in the United States and the population is over 230,000 and still growing.

    Bill Bell will likely be re-elected in a landslide. And that's alright with me.