Local News

Durham mayor heading to Saudi Arabia

Posted April 20, 2009

— Durham Mayor Bill Bell will join 10 other U.S. mayors on a trip to Saudi Arabia May 7-14, thanks to an invitation from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington.

The mayors will learn about the Saudi economy, its educational system, culture, people and government, the City of Durham announced Monday.

They will meet high-ranking Saudi business people and government officials, as well as high school and university students.

The delegation will also travel to one of the world’s largest oil fields, which is in the Eastern Province. Delegation members are guests of the Saudi government, which is providing all funding for the mission, Durham officials said. 

“This mission will make it possible to learn more about this important long-term ally of our country,” Bell said in a news release provided to the media. “We appreciate this opportunity to gain insights into the government, culture and people of this important Middle Eastern nation.”

Other members of the delegation include:

  • J. Christian Bollwage, Elizabeth, N.J.
  • Ardell F. Brede, Rochester, Minn.
  • Mark Burroughs, Denton, Texas
  • William D. “Bill” Euille, Alexandria, Va.
  • Bill Gluba, Davenport, Iowa
  • Phil Gordon, Phoenix, Az.
  • Mark Mallory, Cincinnati
  • John Marks, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • James J. Schmitt, Green Bay, Wis.
  • Mark Stodola, Little Rock, Ark.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • schoobydooyellow Apr 20, 2009

    Durham will get as much benefit out of this trip as North Carolina got out of the Easley's going to Russia. Remember all those jobs. We got our money's worth there. UDI will benefit I'm sure.

  • Phrostbite Apr 20, 2009

    Denial gets us no where. Let's first admit that Durham has a serious crime issue & then plan how we can change this. If you don't believe it pull up the crime stats & compare for yourself. It can be turned around, but there needs to be a serious & comprehensive plan to do so.

    A trip to Saudi Arabia isn't it, unless Bell intends to start chopping off hands & other offending limbs!

    "Maybe while he is there he can ask them how to reduce the murder and violent crime rates in Durham. Sidekick Raleigh and Cary are no better, get off the Durham crime and worry about you own little world. Check the news
    iron fist"

  • Scrapper Apr 20, 2009

    I think the local mayors should pay more attention to local policy and not waste their (and our) time on Saudi publicity stunts.

  • SaveEnergyMan Apr 20, 2009

    Learn from the Saudi's? Here's the low down on their system. The economy - if it's black and comes out the ground - sell it. Otherwise outlaw it. Education - if you're male then we'll tell you what to know/believe. If you're female, then too bad. Justice system - see education. What more do you need to know? Give me a break.

  • colliedave Apr 20, 2009

    Perhaps he can learn how they keep their crime rate low.

  • HeelandPirateMan Apr 20, 2009

    @HeelandPirateMan: Your tax dollars are not being used. Re-read the article.

    No, my tax dollars are at work when the mayor is not doing his job. Though all expenses are being covered by the Saudis, this is a complete waste of his tax funded salary tb4unc. With the current fiscal crisis, he and other elected officials should be at home doing what is immediately needed in their city or state, versus completely unnecessary trips such as these, or governor vacations, however far in 'advance' they were planned.

  • Z Man Apr 20, 2009

    Good thing Mr. Bell declared 'Durham does not have a crime problem'. If Durham didt have a crime problem that would of course interfere with this vacation er-uh goodwill trip.

  • whoami1969 Apr 20, 2009

    How nice. Saudi Arabia has long been known as the hub of all innovative solutions to the world's problems, so it is only natural they Durham's mayor would feel drawn to them for guidance. Especially since Saudi has the lowest rate of ride-by shootings. Those camels just don't know how to run fast.

  • iron fist Apr 20, 2009

    Maybe while he is there he can ask them how to reduce the murder and violent crime rates in Durham.
    Raleigh and Cary are no better, get off the Durham crime and worry about you own little world. Check the news

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 20, 2009

    I don't understand. I thought you partnered with a foreign city, that was similar to your city, so you can learn how they handle similar situations? Durham, NC and Saudi Arabia are as different as night and day. There's no HUGE resource in Durham, and the Saudi's actually get punished severely if they commit crime. There in, much less crime in Saudi. Where's the common link? So what can Mayor Bell learn other than having fun with Royalty? Personally, I hope he loses his Visa and gets charged with a crime. Hope he like the desert.