Durham mayoral candidates discuss issues facing the city
The Leesville Coalition is holding a town hall on Tuesday night for Durham's mayoral candidates.
because we are now more fragmented than I have ever seen. Uh if you could allow me to see those questions again, I want to make sure that I answer them when I talk about whether I am a progressive, a conservative or a moderate. I think I'm a little bit of both. I think I'm a little bit of all three. I have progressive morals. Um, I believe that people have the right to live and love who they choose. I've also been a judge. So in that vein I've been a very conservative person. I believe in law enforcement. I worked with our law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the FBI. Uh during police department and our county Sheriff's Department where I evaluated their behavior on a daily basis for 24 years. And I do believe that we have some of the best law enforcement agencies in our state. I've had opportunity to review other law enforcement agencies around the city, around the state of north Carolina as well as around the country as a commissioner for the cavalier organization which accredits law enforcement agencies. So I also uh motivated to run for this office because of the distinct skill set that my town has trained with. I have a math degree. So I am very familiar with numbers and budgets and I also have a law degree which allows me to benefit of being able to not only to be the shot caller in the courtroom but also the interpreter, the interpreter of law. So I believe that I am the best candidate for this time in our city because I do, I have maintained my street cred and I can also go into all areas of the community including the boardroom and be able to unify our community. Thank you. I'm sorry to have to cut you off, but I'm gonna try and keep us going here. Mr Lane. Yes, good evening everybody. My name is Jamal blank. The reason why I was motivated to run for public office is because I was one of the people who are complaining about the crime and the problems that are enduring. When you look at all the shootings, the gang violence and crime that's here in Durham, someone had to speak out and I was the one that was constantly always speaking out, always saying something and I said you know what it's time to put my mouth and it just instead of just talking, start running for office to try to change things. One of the reasons I ran for Durum marriage because I have two little girls and I don't want my two little girls growing up in the area where they have to duck bullets like it's a common everyday thing, I'm one of those people, I am conservative, I am conservative because I've seen the policies of progressives and I've seen how they destroyed. I look at my community right now, I look at the black community right now and I've seen what liberals have done to my community at one time, my community, we work more married, we were more in church and we will get more educated, getting toward education. They don't look at us right now because of liberalism, We are 74% born out of Wedlock, single parent homes and you can thank liberals for that, conservatives won't bother, conservatives won't bother in our community like that. One thing Malcolm X said, great, one thing Malcolm X said, great when he was talking about a liberal and a conservative, many liberals suffer from, I like to call a Savior's complex. They like to look at themselves as the saviors when they come to the black community and they ruined it. Look at my community now, one of the reasons why I'm running for Derm males because someone has to stand up and say what has to be said, these activists, city council members when they're trying to take words and twist them around, they said, well we're not going to fund the police were gonna reallocate the money. You're talking about the funding, the police, look Edgar, look at them right now? Yes, I am an outsider. Yes, I am looking in and I live here on the outskirts of dorm, but do you have to not do you, can you see what is going on if I am elected mayor of Derm, I will let the police know I have your back my past when I'm when I'm pretty sure I would have a chance to answer, I used to be on a little piece of trash drug dealing. That's how I describe myself. Because that's what I used to be and that's what they are today. They are parasite. Now, leeches to the community. I do not care about who feelings. That has to be told that. Yes, your son, your daughter is destroying and the community and destroying Derm and I will encourage the police and I will back our city police. I will fight for them to get raises and also get more police because look at Durham, we're losing police officers. All these positions we have available. It's not because the people are Derm don't want them. Is because a certain political section. Don't thank you. Mr Lane. Uh three minutes or sub. Let me circle back if I may with Ha Viera Viera. Have you joined us? No. Rebecca Burns. Have you joined us? Um, charlie to burrows? Have you joined us? Wow, carol quick. Have you joined us? That's right. Well, this is unfortunate. Sabrina. Davis, bree! You are on. Hopefully we can hear you this time. Can you hear me? Oh, perfectly brilliant. Yes. Uh huh. Put on my headphones. Good evening everyone. Um thank you again for the opportunity to meet with the Leesville Coalition. Um my name is Sabrina Bree Davis. I have lived in Durham 12 years October 1, 2009 and like many folks who come to Durham, I arrived on seeking opportunity and also someone who could appreciate the history of Durham. Originally, I'm from sunny south florida. So I am no stranger to places where there are lots of different types of people, diversity, diversity and thought and dress in an occupation which a lot of times makes for or you know, a mix of a murky mix uh, when it comes down to policy and politics. Uh, originally my father was a minister in Liberty City and his church friendship missionary baptist church was a hub for Haitian immigration. I mentioned that because he was an architect or considered an architect of Little Haiti uh, fast forward To 2009 on arrival. I found out that the Durham community celebrated Haitai. Uh, and I saw that there was a connection there, but what I also saw was a community that was blighted uh, that had been uh marred with racial inequities. Um, and it was a place that I knew that I could try to help to fix my background is a social entrepreneur. I am also a researcher. I've worked in a variety of different research opportunities for some of the most uh the largest global researchers in the world, um which I found out our here uh, in the RTP. So I worked for Research Triangle International and I've also done research globally with UNc Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Uh, I have a lot of experience. I'm also one of those folks that believe that scientists must also be a poet on artists in order to get those things out uh that we must uh you know, work towards, I have solutions for Durham with those many backgrounds. I'd like to get serious a lot about what we're seeing um with the progressive agenda that has taken over Durham, the progressive agenda has allowed itself to take money from outside places and international places uh in the name of Durham has allowed people to come to Durham um with their own agendas to buy out. That's a man. Good question. Um I'm sorry somebody has taken their self off a mute. Will you please put it back? I'd like for us to to be serious in what we and when we say and how much we say, we love Durham because a lot of folks move here to Durham for those same opportunities for uh to thrive and to celebrate. But what we're finding out it it is uh those progressive policies that are uh hampering the growth or stalling the growth, we have a were full with the city council uh that I believe should all be voted out every last one of them should be removed because the inability To work together to find the solutions and resources for the blighted community. Sorry, I'm going to have to I'm gonna have to stop you if I may Sabrina three minutes and we've got a lot of ground to cover here, although we may have some extra time at the end because we have for no shows. So here's my first question. So everyone knows how this is going to work the order. What I'm doing is I'm gonna first, I'm going to follow the listing of their register, the clients, right. I'm sorry, the candidate's registration with the commissioner. So I'm following that order because obviously the first person is a little bit of a disadvantage. Won't have as much time to consider the other ones. I will go in that order and then I will come to the second person who registered and then to the third person, etcetera. So everyone has an equal chance. Our first question is on public science, public safety. And I'm going to ask for your responses in a minute for in one minute gang violence in Durham is increasingly a threat to our society. I've heard from some informed sources within the city government that we know who the leaders of the gangs are, but we don't arrest them. Further shootings in Durham are also increasing increasing clearly what we've been doing isn't working. So, my question to you first, uh, uh, Sabrina, because you're the first one that's here. Uh, what will you do to turn the tide and fix these problems As we continue to experience the crippling effects of a COVID-19 pandemic. We also have seen a spike in violent crime. Whether or not it can be directly correlated, uh, to the gun violence that kind of remains to be seen. But what we are seeing are Cyclical effects of trauma experienced with these 12 or 13 gang factions that have taken over your um, uh, we're seeing residents monitoring uh, their ring doorbells a lot more often and fighting crime via the neighborhood apps and that is unacceptable. We do need more police, but we also need a hybrid approach as well for our crisis interventions because not everyone is a low down dirty criminal. A lot of folks are actually mentally ill and may need services uh, to prevent additional crisis. Um, and that's one of the things that I think there um, represents. We also call ourselves the city of medicine where I believe we should be the city of health and wellness um, and tackling gun crime um, would be the top priority getting those illegal guns off of the streets and out of the hands of folks that should not have them in addition to strengthening our police departments and strengthening our community health areas and agencies like social services, where folks are falling through the cracks and ending up in situations where they are loose on the streets again. Uh, they're not being Miss Miss Davis's mistakes. Thank you Mrs mrs O'Neil please. For 24 years, I had an opportunity to look into the world that most people can only talk about and begin to address some of the issues facing some of our most important poverty citizens. For one thing, a lot of the young people that I saw those 24 years have lost trust in the government if they ever had it. And one of the things we must do is begin to go back into those communities and begin to give to build trust with these young people so that we can understand that the gun violence is rooted in poverty, it's all connected. You have a group of young people who do not have a stable place to live. You have a group of young people who don't have skills in order to be able to transition into jobs. I am working now with former police chief Steve Chalmers and a group of about 25 persons who have been on the ground during this work for several years. We are going to address those issues by sending our folks into those communities to begin to do just that we must begin to train. We must begin to help them to understand how to cross cultures. And so I am already out there, my campaign headquarters, please come by and see me as at 9 45 Main Street Mr Lane please. Yeah, the problem with the greens is that activism don't work. We need the police to do, stop and frisk if I'm elected mayor. One of the things I will do is I will do a curfew For T. s. 18 and under, there is nothing good out there on a school night hanging out in the streets. I will encourage the police to stop these young men and women walking around this late at night after nine, stop them fresco. You go after the gangs by you harass them, these gang leaders, these gang leaders that we know who they are and we're not arresting them. That's because of activism, that's because they're told the police is the problem in the community. The police are not the problem. The problem is when you have a community that's you trying to make excuses for criminal behavior, there are too many people have been poor, homeless and down and out then break laws didn't shoot people and if you can afford a gun to shoot somebody, you can afford you something to eat. Thank you sir. I assume that means you were done. I appreciate that. Uh let's circle back. I'm just gonna ask. Uh huh Vieira, are you on Miss Burns Mr Burroughs? Oh I'm sorry I missed you. Thank you. Please answer the question, who who are you speaking to? Because I think Javi Era is here now as well. I apologize. I had the forum down for 7:30 p.m. Okay, well, welcome in uh, I'm sorry you missed the introduction but let's jump right into the questions if we may. Well, I'll give you some extra time heavier at the end to your conclusion. I appreciate that. And again, many apologies thank you. So I assume you can see on your screen the question I can't. Good so please have at it one minute please. So I think that first um gang violence in Durham and it is unfortunate. I think we do see cycles of gang violence um and I think that it's tied to issues in poverty, I think when young folks don't feel like they have access to opportunity, when our education system is not educating them at the level that they need, they feel frustrated. I'm a mom of three Children. And so I see that very very clearly in our schools. I think what we are doing right now as a council and I'm a council member currently is that we are putting more resources into prevention this past year. We we added an extra million dollars to the county's violence interrupter program to expand the existing program that they already had. We did also add six police officers to the gang unit, realizing that we needed to expand the capacity of that piece of the police department. And then we launched our community Safety Department which is currently going to be running nine different pilots after we did a deep dive of our 911 call analysis last fall, all of those presentations are open to the public, there's minutes, there's recordings of those conversations for anyone interested. Um So those are some of the things we've done right now, we're gonna try and hold it to a minute because Perfect, thank you. Thank you. Uh Didn't Miss Burns join us. Mr mr Burns, thank you. Um So I agree with uh Miss Davis on her um her point that a lot of the root causes of gang violence uh are coming from mental health issues that folks have. I agree with MS O'Neil and with MS cabaret leah that a lot of the root causes that we see also come from um from from poverty. Um And so uh I appreciate the fact that ha Vieira was here and was able to say a little bit about what city council has already been doing because what I would do would be to continue the work um that the city council has begun. Um I would work closely with the the incoming Chief of Police to make sure that we have a police department that is fully staffed very well trained and that we have all of the resources that we can going toward the community safety programs that have begun to be implemented in all of the pilot programs that you see happening. I appreciate Mr Lane's suggestions. Uh But I also think that um yeah, to respond in such a way might have detrimental. I'm sorry my parents, I've got to cut you off holding to one minute uh is ah Miss Boris or mr quick with us. Okay, we'll move on to the next question. We're going to start with you, Miss Burns. So you can't agree with anyone in advance An experiment approved by the city council includes unarmed police and investment in mental health funded by decreasing the number of police. Meanwhile, we have about 90 unfilled positions. Today. I've heard members of the council say this is a national problem, but there's, there are those who say our problem is more acute because we pay by far the lowest salary in the triangle. We lost our celebrated Chief of Police have done things like allowed to defund police sign painted on the streets to stay up for three months. And the calls with the Beyond Police policing organization to disband the city police are certainly not helping morale. Various groups have requested City council to reallocate vacant Durham police positions to a new Department of Community Safety. The two questions are, do you think it's wise as a community, as growing community to reduce headcount in the Durham Police Department before the Department of Communities Safety has been, has been has proven value. And what are the success metrics of our experiment? And if I may have pleased with, I'll start with Eunice Burns. So the question, the question of, do I think it's wise to reduce head count of the D. P. D. Before knowing the the value of the community safety program. I would respond to that by saying absolutely, we need to increase the headcount of D. P. D. But we also need to increase the funding for the community safety program. I think that across the board public safety and Durham needs to be addressed um uh Emphatically and with a tremendous amount of resources um and there's no question in my mind that that both of those things need to happen. Um An increased headcount in the D. P. D. And uh increased resources for community safety. The success metrics of the experiment. I don't I don't really think I even understand what that question is. So I think you'd have to elaborate a little bit mr sperling on on that for me because um it sounds as if you you have uh some information that you're trying to get at but I'm not really sure what your question is. No I'll answer the question. But we're going to have to move on. I'm not aware of any success metrics in most. Anything that comes out of our city council, you know? So what success metrics mean to me is if we do this here's what we're going to get out of it. And ideally it's empirical so that we can measure it because if there aren't measurements and I don't know what success or failure is. So that's what's meant by it and if it is successful what are we going to do to increase it? And if it's a failure, what are we going to do? And in a reaction to that that's what the question answer. Well let me let me know let me please finish saying what I was going to say because I think then I answered that question with my statement to the first question. So yep, thank you. Mr Davis. Uh Yes, I'm here. Uh just recovering, you know, basically from um what you said, you know, there's very little success um as we see with the spike in crime um and the attention to the number of police officers on the street um that is unacceptable because there are funds that are being utilized in other ways. Why can't we fund these positions? What is going on with the allocation of resources in Durham by the progressive agenda? We have to be firm and voting these folks out. We need a new start, we need more structure. We need folks that are going to be on the ground, boots on the ground, folks that are caring enough uh to apply for positions and be able to surviving and have a livable wage. We have to pay more and the funds are there and that's what I don't understand, you know, uh running with success metrics um and a lot of folks are patting themselves on the back. We see a lot of cookouts with hot dogs and hamburgers and t shirts and bounce houses three or four times a year. It is unacceptable to leave these areas the way that they are. So thank you. Sabrina, I'm sorry, I have to cut you off. Thank you. Yeah. Ah Miss O'Neil the first question I would answer. No, I do not think it is wise to reduce headcount and to the second question I will uh answer the latter part which is do you support for your police? No. Um and I will tell you why um first of all, during police department has not really had the problems that we see at the national scale. We have a professional law enforcement agency here in Durham who is uh credited by Scalia and have been for years and years. All of our uh the law enforcement agencies are credited by clear and I do believe that we can do both. It is good to innovate so but not at the expense of community safety and we must begin to look at how we front load solutions rather than put them on the back end, front loading means that you have a one stop shop in some of these most distressed communities. You send in your police officer, you're sending your social worker, you're sending a lot of people in the community organizations who already are doing this work and we align them so that we scale it and you have to cut you off. I know this is one minutes very short. Thank you. Mr Lehne, can you please take the question I think it's the most dumbest thing that you can do simple and plain you to reduce the head count of the Durham Police Department. I do not know who came up with that idea but they need to be removed immediately. That is the most dumbest idea. You can never have. No it didn't work, look at the crime. No it didn't work as someone who used to be out there is someone who used to be out there and I can tell you they love it when the police are so hesitant and do something because someone is going to call them Racists, someone's going to say they're doing their job too bad, they're picking on me. And this is one of the most dangerous thing of candidate can say when Miss Elaina was a judge, she was an outstanding judge and I told her that before and that's the type of judges we need. But what type of judges do we have now they sit there are more concerned about how it's going to impact the criminal instead of how the victim got impact. Thank you Mr Lane I'm sorry to have to cut you off. So impassioned about this is great. Uh Miss caballero please thank you Thank you for the question. So the way we've structured it right now and it is tied to data and we did the whole um to say that it isn't tied to data. It's not tied to metrics. I kind of find offensive because we use public money to hire our T. I. And to do a deep data analysis in our 911 call centre so that we could understand what what is actually happening, what I believe we need to do and it is what we are doing. We need to ensure that when someone calls 911 the correct response is what shows up. If you are having a public, excuse me, a mental health crisis and armed police officer isn't necessarily going to be the right resource. If it is a situation where uh gun violence is at play, then an armed police officer may be the right response. And so that is the endeavor we are on right now. We are running nine pilots for a reason. The reason we have not scaled it up is because we absolutely need the data to understand which one of those pilots is effective. Which one can we implement efficiently and which one can we scale that meets the context of Durham. So that is what we have enacted. That is the plan that I would continue, whether I'm mayor or city council member, um and the positions that are frozen and I do agree with one part of this, we are very much in need of an increased pay raise, not only for our police officers, but for our firefighters, that's already started that process. Thank you Sorry to have to thank you very much. Okay, that's that one. We're going to. The next question is if I miss anyone, I'm just trying to find out if people are joining. Okay, another one on public safety. The news has been reporting the calls to 911 at times go unanswered that first responders are a time sent to the wrong locations and that it has been necessary to forward Durham calls to Raleigh's call center and they're no longer willing to accept that burden. This is clearly unacceptable and blaming staff shortages and covid his leadership, not taking responsibility. And with the prospect of the increased work to support the more complex surfaces to be offered under the beyond policing programs, the situation is likely to get worse questions. What do you see as causation? And secondly, how do you specifically propose to fix 911? And let's start please with uh, Miss Davis, thank you again for the question. I am a former communications officer dispatcher. Uh, did that for a couple of semesters as a criminal justice minor at florida A. And M. University. I worked with the leon County Sheriff's office. Um, specifically I was on the other end. Uh, some of the worst calls you could possibly have the most, um, that we really can do is take an accurate call answer in the time frame needed. We have to have folks that are trained to do that and to have folks that are trained. We have to understand what's going on inside of our uh, our safety department. What's going on inside of those boardrooms and those meetings? What is holding up folks that are trained and can be compassionate and our alert uh and have the expertise and taking on a 911 E. M. S. Position. Um We would need to understand those files and what that data is representing. Um and what I've seen a lot of is a lot of research, a lot of data, a lot of a lot of uh questions um that have already had answers to them. It's about utilizing the funds correctly, utilizing the resources correctly finding the right people for these positions. We don't have time to keep data and holding on and continue to compute as lives are being lost. Thank you. Thank you Miss O'Neil please. Yeah I see the causation uh that we are we have not professionalized our department to the extent that we can and allow folks to feel that they are valued employees and are able to move and move in that arena to to the to the self satisfaction of themselves in our community. Those are very hard jobs to take those calls. So the one thing that I would suggest is one that we also look at what Scalia can offer in terms of accreditation to our communication center. We already have done that with the police department and in that thing, what we do, what happens is you spend time assessing your department for a year and you professionalize it. Number two. We also must look at how we're hiring and who were hiring. Are we getting the best candidates for our money. And if not we need to incentivize that. We also need to make sure that our employees are feel value. Uh right now 911 has been under a lot of scrutiny. What exactly is going on in that department that causes this department to differ from the other 50 departments that we have in in uh in city government. So I do think what we need to professionalize it, I have to cut your throat. I apologize. Mr Lane. Okay. One of the problems is that we have, we need to have a big hiring fest so we can bring in people to do the jobs. Now, one of the things with so many people have mentioned if some of these 911 calls are traumatic. We need to take the people that are in the positions right now who are Dealing with the calls will have the experience buck them up to a higher position which gives them more money so they can take the traumatic calls. Every call into 911 isn't Oh, help me, my husband's trying to stab me or help me, my wife trying to stab me for women. Stay up until two. Um, so they're going to have someone that's going to be there to deal with that. We need a bit hiring. So we can bring people in, get people in at 20, get some of these college students in working for you. Um North Carolina Central University Duke And other places come in, bring in, put it on the bus line so people can be able to come and get these jobs because anyone that remember the old 1930, 56 is the only the operators and operating, answering the phone calls. We need to incentivize bring these people in and once with experience we need to take them and raise them up and bring in people the lower level. Thank you. Mr Lane, I appreciate your response. Uh huh. Vieira, please. Thank you. Thank you for that question. I know it's been at the forefront of not just the communities, but city council, we got a very good presentation last week at our work session. Um we were not operating at the best potential we could before covid hit. And then that created um a pretty big pain point as far as our capacity to have enough folks trained for that job, it is an extremely challenging job. One of the things we have done is restructure how many call takers we can take in one training session or one class of trainers. I mean call takers and that is underway right now. We should be able to add up to six more trainers in september Uh and then in December we will be able to train up 12 people. So we've made a lot of really important internal shifts that we can train more call takers and then one of the other things and this is actually an interesting thing and um what we do know that some of the calls that come in Need to be routed in a different way. And that's one of the things that the pilot, one of the pilots that were doing in community safety is what we're calling a nurse at dispatch so that there could be a medical professional within our 911 call center that could potentially answer those types of calls that aren't emergency. Oh my house is on fire. Someone is having um you know, there's been a gun violence. Thank you, that's fine, thank you please. But the in in the thing that I would add in addition to uh acknowledging the fact that the work of a nominal and dispatcher is extremely difficult and that it requires tremendous training and that there needs to be a pipeline and adequate pay for anyone in that position. The only thing I would add um and I am so excited about what Durham is doing with the uh with the pilot program of of having someone who is in the room who can help assess what the best call response would be. But I'd like to say that we need to make sure that the folks that are in the position of taking these calls are actually in addition to being paid adequately uh that they're being taken care of as far as their own personal mental health, their own personal time and and need for uh for a break. I think that we as a culture and a society, we work ourselves to the, to the bone and people who are in positions like this, they are in as as much need as reprieve as anyone else. We as a city have got to take care of the people that are doing the hard, difficult work of public safety. Uh and I just have to cut you off. I hate to do that. I hate to do that but I have to cut you off. Okay, we're going to our next question please. And this one we're going to start off with mrs O'Neil according to Oxford dictionary, the word equity means the quality of being fair and impartial but has also been used to mean reparations exclusions, grants, opportunities, education jobs and specific social actions. What do you mean by the term equity? And what specific programs or initiatives will you support? And which do you oppose? Miss O'Neil please As a judge. That was basically the only comment that you could say when you was running when you were running a political campaign and that is you will be fair and impartial. That is what equity means. And that is the space that I have lived in. I have lived in for the last uh 30 or more years specific programs and the nick uh, and or initiatives, I will ask that you would take a look at the racial equity task force. I was asked to chair that by mayor steve Sure there were 18 citizens who sat around the table and we uh developed a loving and urgent letter to Derm. Uh and within that it was the, We have 64 pages of recommendations breaking them down into seven different standing committees. Were still continuing network and I would invite you to take a look at that and you will understand exactly how we, as 18 citizens of Durham defined equity and I was the head of that task force. Thank you, wow. When you were five seconds ahead of time. Thank you. Mr Lane, please to me, Equity is nothing. Can you hear me? Yes sir. Okay, to me, I'm against Equity. I'm totally against the equality and Equity are two different things. Equality says, I will start you both on the same line and you have a chance to compete. Equity says, oh, because of your past or because of this, you get a chance to go ahead of someone. You get an extra push. No. Equity tries to keep everyone miserably equally. No. If someone who just happens to have, um, was born in a single parent home, they shouldn't give more of a push because someone was born in a home with both parents and they were married when they had a child? No, I'm against Equity, I support equality. Not Equity Equity is Equity. A lot of people that, um, C. R. T trash push their equity crap. I'm against equity. I am for equality, not equity. Thank you sir. Have a era. Please thank you. I find it interesting. Um, some of the analogies that were used. So for me, and this is just my definition and I think about it often when when I went through race equity training, I think all council members actually have gone through that and several of us have gone through it. You know, several of council members have gone through it more than once. Uh, is the idea of, you know, the monopoly board and where you start, or one of those images where you see the folks with the different supports and who actually needs and supports and who does actually need more because of life circumstances. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. I think it's an acknowledgement that sexism, racism, homophobia, anti Semitism, that these are all realities in our society and we need to deal with them. Um, what specific programs or initiatives will you support? Or do you suppose uh, proposed the city of Durham has done as Judge Lane O'neill has already stated. We've already started this work. We have a department of inclusion and Equity. We have a now permanent race equity commission that is both city and county. It is how we have reoriented the work of city government and county government and it's what a lot of government is doing across the country. And I don't think it's bad. I think it's necessary and I think it captures the moment we are as a country and really recognizing what our history is. I have to cut you off. I apologize. Miss Burns, Please Rebecca, are you there Rebecca? Did we lose you? Uh anyway, uh, a chat mrs saying that she had another commitment and she will be leaving. She did put it in the shit, who is that? Miss Barnes? She left her. She said she had a previous commitment and she was leaving the track. Okay, so what I'm now gonna do is I'm going to increase the time to a minute and a half for each of the questions. So we're going to the next question and I did not have a chance. Herman to to speak. Who is this? I'm sorry. So what? Sabrina? I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Thank you. Go ahead. Thank you. Um, for a long time, I just wanted to briefly say that our new census data shows that 19% of Durham's black folks live in the poverty under the poverty line. Um, I I use the term equity very loosely and I am not appreciative of our efforts with our racial equity task force. We could do more. We have yet to demand what the obvious is uh, we have resources here that the city of Durham, a lot of $6 million to work with historically black black communities. That is simply not enough when we're seeing the effects of poverty? Uh two and three generations later, again, cyclical parts of violence. Uh, places where there are uh notorious um, issues with uh just, you know, the darker end of what it means to have inequality. And I'm talking specifically about ah The Harriet Tubman at 3 12. I'm State Street. Um that used to be a space. I used to walk my son from school to the library. And this is one of those places that uh, when you speak about equity, it's about righting the wrongs. Um and I speak specifically to that. Um and writing the wrongs means putting the money where the problems are uh the resources uh again, should be allocated. Uh I'm sorry, I have to, I don't trust me guys. I don't like doing this guys and gals. Okay, A large portion of this one is going to start off then with uh Mr Lane, a large portion of our tax increases for debt servicing on the $95 million dollar bond that was approved two years ago and has yet to issue the City council has applauded developers in Southeastern for building affordable, often is defined by Around $200,000 starting price in southeast term and for contributing to affordable housing elsewhere. And yet we see reports of health and safety hazards and our existing subsidized and affordable housing questions are who is in charge of these programs, Who are they accountable to and when will we? The people see a timed measurable plan mr lane. Okay. What we have to do when it comes to affordable housing, we here in Durham, every time you came here in Durham is always something affordable housing, affordable housing, affordable housing. Yes, that's good to focus on that. But let's also focus on getting people in the community where houses, they were people with jobs so they can't afford regular homes. We do not need to have the image of term looking at, oh, it's just for people that live in doing which is not Now when it comes to the housing, when it comes to the 90-95 million that hasn't been used. Why aren't they using it? What is the holdup and please stop blaming covid for everything. You know, that's the covid excuse is getting bad. The coach, this is getting ridiculous. People have to take you can buy warehouses, the old warehouses, convert them into apartments. So that way there are help up, people have to understand affordable housing, things like welfare was never meant for you to live on it and be on it. It was a way for the government to reach their hand out, help you up and you going now, while you're in these areas, we need to do more housing checks, we need to check for Cleveland. We need to check and making sure the maintenance, like the one in Oland Retirement Center that trash cans and stuff went out and they couldn't dump trash. We need to take those who want crimp on who I have um community service, help them helping out and clean out. So you have to cut us off. I apologize. But you know, just for everyone knows I'm allowing now a minute and a half because we're missing some people Habanera please. Yes, thank you. So there is actually a really good um website up called Forever Durham. It lets everyone capture everyone in the community see exactly where we are within our affordable housing strategy. I think who is in charge it is a joint effort between many different partners. We have affordable housing partners including habitat for humanity. Obviously, Durham Housing authority is an extremely important partner, the city of Durham And I think obviously we are accountable to the voters because we put the bond in front of you all and there was 76% approval. Uh the reason it hasn't been issued yet, the debt is because we just decided to increase as everyone probably remembers in this in this call. We put the bond forward in 2019, it passed but we did not increase property taxes in 2020 because we understood the context in the moment we were in which was we were very much in a pandemic and did not feel that it was the responsible thing to do or a kind thing to do when we knew so many folks were suffering economically in that moment. So we put it on pause. We did make that increase this past year with our July one. Uh you know the july the fiscal year 21 22 budgets that started on july one. And I think the issue of the part of it where the 200,000 in South east Durham that is a standard market rate units these days. I know that it is extremely expensive. I understand that it is out of reach for many residents and I often say I couldn't afford to move to Durham today. The way I did, you know over a decade ago. Thank you brie thank you again I'm here uh again uh the delays, the stalling, it has to stop the resources are there and should be allocated accordingly. An overwhelming number of Durham residents voted for it. We have a group of folks that are sitting at the helm who have no clue how to use the resources to get to the people they like to sit and discuss data a lot. I'm a data person. I am a researcher. I've worked for R. T. I. U. And see. All The point is to get the resources after you're done studying the problem for 10 years. Again. Ha Vieira, I've been here a decade as well. It is they're very different. Germs to move to uh and being defined by 200 K. And you're not even bringing in three or 30,000. I've seen a lot of folks and spoken to a lot of people in Durham uh Fedex drivers and and and and professors who cannot afford to live in Durham and these are honourable professions who is accountable. Again, we have to use our public officials that we elected. We have to aggressively and assertively encourage them to do their jobs. Uh And when will we see a time to measurable plan? I believe once we vote these folks out, um we can get folks like myself in there um who will will make an unrelenting effort to to balance out what we see um here, you know, as an issue with our affordable housing. Um Most folks, I want to see a better Durham. They want to see us do better. They want to live in a place where they're safe and they can afford to. Thank you. I'm sorry to have to cut to thrive. Thank you Miss O'Neil, please. Yeah. Who is in charge? I probably can speak for all of us to say, I don't know who are they accountable accountable to all of us when we when will the people see a time miserable plan under my leadership? Within six months. I would hope to have a plan. I have put myself in housing school because this is a very complex and fragmented issue. I have been sitting with attorneys who are working uh daily to help our people who are being affected by the eviction process. Uh Chief Judge Pat Evans has convened a group who is talking with our leadership in those arenas to try to figure out what that arena is doing. I've also sitting with private developers and also who are in the term housing authority. I will be meeting with mr Anthony scott in the next couple of weeks. We are very fragmented but there are, there are answers, this is not rocket science to have decent and affordable housing for all of our citizens and I aim to get in there and figure out how we're going to move that forward. Thank thank you very much. I'm going to issue one of my few commercial announcements here and that is that I have been arguing for three years that there are two paths to affordable housing. One is to reduce the cost of housing, but the other is to help people earn more money. Uh I am working with uh President Braxton of Durham Tech. Uh We have already gotten agreement with him and the the S. P. A. S. Score a group and I'm working on, how do I Lincoln with Criminal justice to help fill our our pipeline with people that are being released from prisons into a program which will take them all the way from training into internships or other job creations. I hope I get to work with one of you on making this a reality. Moving off to the next question, which will start off with Javi era please. Durham is developing a strategic plan for most of the year. It has been presented as a summary of the interests of the citizens. I might add that. I think, I think you just got off of the phone call on this hobby Europe. Anyway, the Leesville coalition has argued in public meetings that the study is statistically irrelevant and likely biased as a result, the most generous of evaluation shows that only .0265% of our population in southeast term has had any input. Southeast term is one of the fastest growing areas of Durham being quickly transformed from farmland to suburban sprawl and yet other than a lift station and fire station, that does not to be, that does not appear to be any improvements in infrastructure. The city council has now overridden Advice from the Planning Commission eight out of eight times in the southeast terms. They've they've approved new developments As mayor. How will you plan on working together with the Planning Commission to build a better working relationship. And secondly, do you see .265% as a fair representation for the need of southeastern, if not, what do you suggest be done to fix it? I have some clarifying questions. Are you talking about the comprehensive plan? Are you talking about the focus area for Southeastern focused area. Okay, so today and I'm surprised that more Leesville, maybe some Leesville coalition folks were watching today. We actually had a meeting with our planning commissions, City staff specifically around the focus area. There are now developed guidelines that will help us and they say guidelines because it won't be officially adopted until the comprehensive plan is complete. So what staff did was they kind of moved this focus area ahead of the trajectory of the full comprehensive plan because we realize that this part of Durham is growing very, very quickly. Um and we wanted to be responsive to community need. Planning Commission need so happy to share those documents with you. It was very um I think was a very helpful meeting. I think the work that staff has done on this issue is tremendous. They have a lot on their plates and they have been they have executed it very very well and I was very pleased to see what I saw today. And I think Planning commission was also very pleased to have this conversation with City Council and it will not be the only one we will we all decided today that having these kinds of open conversations on pressing planning issues and zoning issues uh would be helpful for everyone. Great, thank you so much. And bob You were fast. Uh Sabrina please, I'll make this brief um working diplomatically with are Planning commission would be my top, my top concern. I have a background and advocacy specific advocacy um, and a place like Leesville Road Coalition. I've been out past and met a lot of folks and I see the issues um, what we don't see is a lot of attention to it and you can see with that percentage um, that is not a fair representation. It is not and and also across the board that a lot of these meetings and a lot of the issues, um Judge Neil says she can call meetings with all kinds of people where the average person can't do that. They don't have access to these folks like myself. We have to demand that they see us, we have to demand that they take interest in what we're saying. Um, and as mayor, that wouldn't be the case. Uh, just now getting started to to to hold these meetings as important. That is unacceptable. That's all I have to say. And as mayor, you know what I would work to correct that. Thank you very much, Miss O'Neil, one of my uh mantras is that the people closest to the pain must be closest to the power I see you. I hear you and I also live in Southeastern and I watched the Leesville community growth. Therefore, as a as a city, we must pay close attention to those areas are experiencing those types of growth by having building relational e you must be a part of the conversation. Your voices must be centered not only for how leaves bill is growing but to provide us baseline data on how we help other areas of Durham broke. We can learn from you all and those voices must be centered. Thank you Mr Lane. Okay When it comes to the city council overruling the Planning Commission eight times. Not surprised. The city council has been given us this debacle mess we've been dealing with for the longest time when it comes to the police when it comes to housing, making sure things are done right. And now it leads field the people of leaves feel who live in that area. If you travel up the road some of them guess what they do have a farm, some of them they do have and so we do need their impact. We need to go to the people and ask how is this impacting if someone wants to stop development stop building because it's a spotted who out and it made me the last spot at who are all in the tree in Germany. And that little area development should not stop because of some environmental wacko wants to stop. I do believe I would work with the planning commission. I will also talk to the people because like MS Elena said she lives in southeast. Um Durham. So yes I would come to people of Southeastern and say hey tell me what's wrong, tell me what you think myself for development, let's develop let's build and let's move forward with building homes. But you also have to listen to the people who say they don't want this bottleneck and traffic. Mhm. Yeah, thank you sir. Thank you. Okay, next question, this one we're going to start off with um you Mr Lehmann. Durmus diverse city from Bragg town and by the way, we've had some internal questions about how to properly spell brag town. I guess there's two different spellings with two Gs from Bragg town to Southeastern from Hope Valley to McDougall place. Well, our city council has both at large and ward representation. All members of the council are elected and are therefore accountable to the entire city. Question, how does an area like Southeastern that is growing disproportionate, disproportionately to the legacy, voting blocks of the city get a proportional voice on the council. As I indicated. Mr Sperling, we have to center your voices and that has to be intentional. There have to be regular meetings with folk. Uh well we dig deep and we come up with plans on how we're going to make sure that your voices are always counted. I cannot guarantee that we can change. How were elected. That's not something that a layer can do american do. But what I can guarantee is that you will have a voice at the table consistently regularly, as long as I am Meer, your voices will be centered and we have to be a relational e thank you Mr Lane. Okay. Like I said before my previous comment, people who are living in south east term in those areas. They need to be involved. They need to be brought into it when you have voting when both the way we do when it comes to getting awards and things. However, we have to make sure until they get the proper ward representation like they deserve. We have to make sure there's Emeritus says, hey, hey Miss Davis, how are you doing? How are things going in your area of southeast? Hey Miss O'neill how are you doing? Tell me what's going on. Tell me what do you see? And you have to be willing to listen now. Sometimes they may, they may say something or or one of the people. That area may have something that others may consider meaning. But I'm a blue collar worker. That's I'm a blue collar worker. I'm H B A C. I call upon the house installed H B A C. So I'm used to be held accountable to the people are service. So the same way if I install your H. V. A. C, you can call my job and say, oh no, he did a horrible job. And I can get punished. The people of Durham and people in South East Durham can punish me as well. So that's my attitude when I come. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you sir. Have era. So I think the question you're asking is you want a true award system meaning that your award to you all are in ward two. Let me let me I'll give you a few more minutes seconds here. But I'm not trying to say what the cure is. That's your job. Well, I'm saying that the cure is not at the local level, you would have to go to the general assembly. So charlotte Raleigh uh, some other cities I think Winston Salem all have what you would call like a true district. So your word Representative while right now, the only rule is that they have to live in the world. Everyone votes for them and really they act as an at large member. There are plenty of municipalities that are structured differently in north Carolina. Um, but that is not set that would go because it would be a charter change. It would not be something that we could just do on our own. It's the same as there's been conversations on changing the mayor's term to four years to two years. Um well, we could put that in front of the voters that when we can do in front of voters. So those are things that we could do. Uh, if there were organization around that, but just as a mayor, I think judge o neill said that already it is not something I would have the power to do based on the question that is shared here. Thank you brie again, simply put put those folks that we vote into council. Put them to work. We have to we have a candidate so that that that's voting across the slave. These people need to be voted out. It is not that hard to do. Your job to represent your community. And that's what we're trying to vocalize during this, this municipal election. It's very important that we have folks that represent the total general, not just folks who were born here, but people who are from here who have moved here uh would be considered uh transplant folks. Um and a lot of those folks may actually be uh living in Southeastern. Um, but you know, I think accountability has to be had with the folks that are already in existence. There already sit in these seats. Um and like I said, we have folks that are advocating for you to vote for them again, absolutely not. Let's get folks that are actually therefore more inclusive Durham and not just there for their best friends in their backyards and who has what in the zoning and who doesn't I'm going to be one of those folks that represent as a mayor. I represent the people of Durham. I don't represent my job that I used to have or my current alliances in progress. That is not so progressive. It's not progressive. It's done us a great deal of harm and it's left important communities like South East Durham out of the loop. That is unacceptable. Vote them all out. Thank you, thank you. Mr Lane, there will be the first on our next question still about an inclusive Durham. Most of us think that forcing people out of their homes because of increasing tax rates in their area required by state law is not acceptable. However many of us feel that statements such as the following from our mayor, pro TEM is recent twit to be in the least troubling to quote, gentrification is just capitalism by another name. It is a fundamental tent of free market economics than when you make X more desirable. You also make it more expensive. We won't get out of this without transforming our whole economic system. So for you, Mr Lane first, what would be a response as mayor to our mayor? Pro TEM. And secondly, what solution to gentrification do you suggest? Okay, He said, right Mr Herman. Right, yes, sir. Okay, I'm gonna make shopping my time. All right, okay. First of all, we all have experienced what we've seen when it comes to, when it comes to right of the home, the homeowners and the right of the landlords. We've had the Supreme Court come again and tell this administration and others that people have a right to collect their rent. People have a right to get their rent. You can't sit there and dismiss it because right now we have people have jobs that have so many opens. So right now we need to bring these people need to get back to work and stop using excuse. Oh, it's covid No. Now, when that statement about capitalism, listen, capitalism is the reason why America is a shiny hill on the shining line on here. That's why capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than the old system. That's why that's why capitalism is good. Now, I'm against. One of the things, what you heard, what the uh people say earlier about raising tax rates. I am against raising property taxes and I'm against put that on the ballot. Because why should people be voting on property taxes, who don't own property taxes while people voting on property taxes, people home taxes and they don't have it. Let's do something. That's fair. So everybody can feel it and make it. Thank you Mr Lane. I'm sorry to interrupt. I gave an extra 10 seconds because of the confusion in the beginning. Ha, Vieira, can you please address the question? So, I think in the sense that gentrification is a systemic issue, it's correct. Our housing market is uh, you know, it is not driven to provide housing for everyone, as everyone in this called, probably knows there is no guaranteed uh, right to housing. FDR tried to include that in his second bill of rights during um, his tenure during the Great Depression, but it did not succeed. So, our market, our housing market is tied to profit. People build cell design, real estate, all of that is around making a profit, not necessarily providing housing for folks. And so that creates a lot of problems for communities when the wages, which we've already mentioned in the community, you can't access that market rate housing. So what we have done in Durham, which is why we put the affordable housing bond on the ballot, is to help mitigate for part of that problem, will never be able to solve it solely at a local level, because we do not have the resources to do so that's why we have to have a better state General Assembly. We have to have partners at the federal level who all think in similar ways around how do we really solve our housing issues? What things are we doing within our economic system? Okay, I'm sorry, somebody just a muted, There's microphone. Please mute your microphone. Thank you. I apologize. I'm sorry for the interruption. That's fine. Um, so to me, it's, it is a, it is a systemic issue because we are dealing when we, when we deal with housing and general general and gentrification is essentially when folks movin who are of an income bracket, uh, the folks who were already there. And so then it pushes the housing, the local housing cost at a higher level and the folks who were there are priced out either through rent or being able to purchase a home and can no longer stand the communities maybe that they've been in for a long time. I have to interrupt you. Thank you. Um breathe again. My apologies. I'm very passionate about this, this gentrification uh conversation especially when I consider our mayor pro tempore gentry fire. I believe a lot of the folks that are aligning themselves with this new progressive agenda are guilty of the very things that they claim that they want to read Irma, they benefit holistically all around Durham and you see it, it's absolutely disgusting. So for her to make a conversation, you know, a topic of conversation or tweet around it and be just as guilty of it. I think it's hypocrisy and what we will see uh with the new mayor of leadership. And again, I I still strongly advocate us voting that whole block out um is representation people with the energy and expertise to solve the problems to get the resources to the folks. This is not hard, the money is there, the money is there? You all voted it into the budget? We you want us to apply this budget and when you really break it down, are the resources getting to the places that they need to get to uh or or will it be stalled again because their differences, You need effective leadership, You need people that are actionable and what they say and what they do uh and and and and as I mentioned a solution obviously is poverty reduction. People have to earn more. They have to be able to afford to live in the communities, they have to have opportunities for additional resources being ah allocated to that, you know, and I think one of the failed projects was, was near Enterprise Street when they had the Duke graduate students. Um and on this self help deal and we see the effects of that still pushing people out of Durham. Actually I have to start. Thank you. Thank you. Ah Miss O'Neil please. Yes, thank you so much. Um, I like to cite the withstand community that I grew up in my property. Also, my family's property also abut the mayor proteins property where she is building and has built 23 story houses on her property. Um, that was not possible years ago. We've lived in that community for 45/45 years, but that recently became possible and that's what you're having. That being said though. The West End does provide us some lessons on gentrification because we actually have is not perfect, but it actually has been done pretty well. We still have like my family still own some home there and there are other ones who have been there for as long as we have. What we did have though was a partnership with Duke University to do land trust, habitat for humanity and self help. So right beside my house, our house, there's a Vietnamese family whose habit whose house was built by habitat for humanity up the street, you have some private developers who have the $300,000 home. So we are a mixed uh, neighborhood that is trying to figure it out. It's not a perfect system, but it is working and we can use that as an example. But I do have to agree with breed on this one. People who say they're not for they're actually doing it. They're talking out of both sides of their mouth and you can come on the whiskey and on our near the avenue and more hair than you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I'm seeing it every time I go to the west of here. Thank you. Uh huh. Um, increasing. Okay. Uh, we're going to start this question than uh, with um, ha, Vieira Police. It's wonderful. That term is increasing investment in public transportation, but there is essentially none in Southeast term. Not only does that mean more traffic as our area grows, but also means that people who can't afford a car, can't afford to live in most parts of south east. Durham, let alone the quote affordable and quote housing developers are building. What do you propose? So, as you know, um, this is an issue that comes up often in our, our zoning greek are rezoning cases. Uh, that part of Durham does not have enough density in our current way of thinking when we think about transit to be serviced. So one of the things we can do, which is what we are doing, even though this group is not a huge fan of it, as we do have to create more in full development so that we would have adequate ridership to make it possible to get uh buses out that way and extend transit in general. We are in the middle of the transit plan, update the city's role in that is an adjacent fashion because the county collects that tax. Um and it is a county transit plan. We have votes through go triangle and on the MPO board, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, we are also in conversations on restructuring the role of the city so that we can have more say in the transit plan, but essentially what we would need for that part of Durham is to have more housing and more residents out that way so that we could run transit out there. And I think that that's a conversation that happens pretty often during our rezoning cases because it's it's challenging when we think about the environment, when we think about uh you know, alleviating the burden so that more folks who have, who are lower income can live in that community. It is a very hard and tense situation because you have to have one thing before you can provide the other thing and what we need out there are more is more commercial businesses, more housing, more development so that we can allocate the resources and extend transit that way. Thank you. Um Oh, and if I still have time, the other thing that we also have to do and you've been part of these conversations um is that a lot of those roads in that part of town or state roads? And we have had lots of conversations on the status of those roads, but those are all N C D. O. T owned and operated roads. And so the improvements that need to happen in that part of the county unfortunately are often not a priority for N. C. D. O. T. Thank you. Uh bree, may I ask you to answer the question please? Um again, my I propose uh to alleviate the public transit issue, we would have to model um, what we see in a lot of metro city's Ginny's and trolleys and area hubs that can be put into place. Uh Again, the commercial property development is also an environmental issue, but there's nothing wrong with building a hub of transportation for uh data resources, Durham County transit resources to to come in and out and and but the folks in and out, we see this in small villages around the world. This isn't hard. The things that we're doing here are, are not doing here, I should say are being done in other places against uh more impossible odds, but we're seeing a lot of excuse with our city council. Uh the idea is that they're the innovation is there, the resources are there, they should be allocated appropriately. And what we're finding a lot of uh with with this affordable housing issue again, we're getting back to economics, we have to pay folks more the the average income uh for someone living there would would probably median about 40 45,000. Um and and that's even high for for some parts of of of Durham that we see. Um so we have to address economics efficiently in order to talk more about transportation. But to solve those problems, you know, we can look at other places and see their models. Um and uh thank you MS O'Neil, please. I am proposing what we call a gap system. I don't I do not think that we can wait until the federal