Local Politics

Durham City Councilman Announces Mayoral Campaign

Posted July 10, 2007
Updated July 15, 2007

— Durham City Councilman Thomas Stith announced Tuesday that he plans to run for mayor.

Stith said current Durham Mayor Bill Bell has been ineffective in fighting the Bull City's rising crime rate. Stith said that if he were mayor, he would make sure the city had enough resources to wage an all-out assault on crime.

"We need a mayor who will make sure our neighborhoods are safe, who will make sure our families are protected," Stith said. "We need a leader who will work to pull together the community by focusing on the major issues of crime, operating an efficient and effective city government, jobs/economic development."

Stith said he would work to restore the public's confidence in city government.

"We must show that we can operate effectively and meet the needs of our citizens without costly budget overruns and missteps such as our yard-waste facility and the multimillion-dollar overrun of our downtown streetscape," he said. "This will take time, but it is something we must accomplish before we can be successful in changing the minds of our citizens and people who are looking at Durham for business and economic opportunities."

Stith has served on the city council for two terms. He stood as a Republican for lieutenant governor in 2004. Bell, who has not filed for re-election, declined to comment on Stith's candidacy.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Nancy Jul 11, 2007

    I don't consider Bell a good leader, especially considering that he is operating as Chairman of the Board of a bank in Durham that has run afoul of the FDIC and is operating with net losses.

    That's not good leadership.

  • Karmageddon Jul 11, 2007

    I think Jackie Wagstaff would make a good mayor

  • 63 Jul 11, 2007

    I disagree with HP227; Bill Bell has provided solid leadership for Durham (much more leadership than Stith has ever shown) and deserves reelection. But people can have honest disagreements.

    What is totally incorrect about HP227's post is that Bell "always votes on" contracts with UDI CDC. In fact, he *never* votes on those contracts, and in most cases actually leaves the room when the contracts are being discussed.

  • choppa Jul 10, 2007

    A couple of months ago I attended a forum on the city's incarceration process held by the local League of Women Voters.
    At the forum was Mayor Bell and State Senator Floyed Mckissick Jr. After the forum was over I approached them separately to talk to them about an out-reach program I volunteer at. Mayor Bell was very interested, he was engaging, gave me some contacts to get in touch with, and even gave me his private number in case I ran into any problems. Senator McKissick was the total opposite. He was standoffish and when I told him I represented poor people he looked like he wanted to throw up. He told me I'll have to talk to him while he walked to his car. When he got to his car he just got in and pulled off.

    That was my only experience with both of those men. It's not enough to confidently say who I am going to vote for but I sure can tell you who I would NEVER vote for.

  • hp277 Jul 10, 2007

    I am glad to see Bell getting some real competition. He has been all but unopposed every election cycle since he defeated Nick Tennyson.

    Bill has some real conflict of interest issues with his role at UDI and city contracts issued to UDI that he always votes on. Bell is also chairman of the board for Mutual COmmunity Savings Bank, which the FDIC is after for gross mismanagement. Bell has not provided very good leadership for Durham City government.

  • tooblessed Jul 10, 2007

    I though for a minute Nifong would be getting a rest. Guess not

  • djofraleigh Jul 10, 2007

    Is Nifong going to run for mayor? He would get votes, might even win. Durham has voted for him before.

  • tooblessed Jul 10, 2007

    Just for your info, 2/3 of Riverside grads for 2007 had a 3.0 or better. I don't think Jordan can beat that.

  • tooblessed Jul 10, 2007

    Thanks Conundrum
    I agree. We get some of the "trash" one wants or need.

  • tooblessed Jul 10, 2007

    TCH74 For you info, Durham has had Year round schools since the eightys that why I don't understand all the hoopla with Raleigh. Durham also was first to get the Early College Program wherein High School graduates attend NCCU and finish Hight School with an Assoicate Degree. There is also a Middle College @ Durham Community College. You often here so much negative things you don't hear about the good. One of the graduates from Hillside was awarded the Gates Millenium Scholar."Great things are happening in Durham"