Durham election features mayoral rematch
Posted October 28, 2013
Durham, N.C. — 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.
"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.