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Durham Mayoral Candidates Square Off in NAACP Forum

Posted October 30, 2007

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— Durham voters will head to the polls next week to cast their ballot for mayor. Those vying for the job faced off in a forum Monday night.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Bell went head-to-head against his opponents City Councilman Thomas Stith and write-in candidate Minister Paul Scott.

“I think we need to have leadership that doesn't run away from the problem,” Stith said.

The race between Bell and Stith has been heated from the start, with Stith calling Bell soft on crime.

“I think the biggest myth is that Durham is unsafe as a city and I think it doesn't help when you have leaders doing programming on TV telling people that it's unsafe to sit on their porches for political gain," Bell said.

The candidates fielded questions about everything from immigration to jobs.

"On Nov. 6, I say vote for change. Vote to move our city forward. We can be better and we will be better with new, strong leadership," Stith said.

Bell said it will take more than a just a strong leader to turn Durham around.

"When you point your finger this way, you look that way also and you ask truthfully, what are you doing with this issue of gangs in this community, because it's a community,” he said.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted the forum.


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  • humbleblaklady Oct 31, 2007

    For Durham to recover, Bill Bell has to go! THEN, the recovery can have a CHANCE to begin.

  • humbleblaklady Oct 31, 2007

    I mean even Jessie Jackson was smart enought to camouflage his organization under the name of the Rainbow Coilition.--billfisher
    While i am no defender of all NAACP polices--the NAACP (and its name) came into being at a time when your people were hanging and killing black folks openly and at will. And while everybody is "complaining" about the NAACP hosting the event--I have seen NOTHING that even suggest that ALL people could not attend and express their opinions or raise questions. So what's the beef? Somebody had to be concerned enough to sponsor the event. Other organizations have also sponsored Mayoral debates. Racism can certainly cause weak arguments.

  • x Oct 31, 2007

    Maybe this will be around the 50th comment on this story. Seems everyone is in agreement ... why would Bell continue to be mayor of Durham after "leading" for the past 8 years while crime grows, corruption grows, and the reputation of the "city of medicine" goes further downhill. Durham needs to be remade, focusing on all the positives it does have with leaders who truly represent the whole constituency.

  • Billfisher Oct 31, 2007

    AmenMike, of all the people in Durham who have their stuff together I highly doubt that the NAACP is at the top of the list. As I previously stated due to their acronym, they lead off with an underlying agenda. They do not always stand for the best interest of the Bull City, but they always stand for their perceived "best interest" of "Colored People". How is it not racism or bigotry when the name of their club is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? I mean even Jessie Jackson was smart enought to camouflage his organization under the name of the Rainbow Coilition.

  • yukonjohn3 Oct 31, 2007

    Although I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, I keep up closely to happenings in NC. While I can stare down a grizzly bear, I would be terrified to walk down the street in Durham!! It seems that when one pays attention to the news, Durham has more crime than almost any city in any state! I would hope that someone could help turn your city around to the fine city it once was. Good Luck to all who live there.

  • daveraleigh Oct 31, 2007

    If I lived in Durham, I'd vote for Bell just b/c he doesn't have those stupid cringe-worthy ads airing!


  • casp3r Oct 31, 2007

    Nancy= You know as well as anyone that facts are not welcomed in these conversations. What I don’t understand is that everyone sees what all is going on in Durham except the people living there. To many people defending it just because they are apart of it. Turning a blind eye has never fixed anything.

  • iamforjustice Oct 31, 2007

    Ok people...what does "the hood" mean to you all. Give me a difinitive descripition of what it means.

  • iamforjustice Oct 31, 2007

    Thank U Geisha Girl

  • amenmike Oct 30, 2007

    Go down and look at the poverty in east Durham or anywhere pedwards8 and tell me it's just as simple as pulling yourself up. As a former teacher in poverty stricken areas I can tell you no how, no way. It just doesn't happen. By the way, you and I are discussing two different things...your talking about individual circumstance and I was discussing the greater good, the society.