Local News

Durham Black Leaders Back Bonds

Posted November 3, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— A five-part, $86.3 million bond issue got a boost Saturday, when Durham's most influential political group pledged its support. The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People voted "overwhelmingly" to support the bond package, according to Kenneth Spaulding, the group's chairman

The package covers playgrounds and recreation equipment, improving city streets, increasing affordable housing, financing arts projects, and building a combined train, bus and taxi station.

Between 150 and 200 committee members met for almost six hours at White Rock Baptist Church.

Durham Mayor Sylvia Kerckhoff, predicted victory for the bond package in Tuesday's elections. "I think it will give us a real chance to get all the bonds passed," she said.

Franklin Anderson, a first vice-chairman of the committee, has led a campaign to defeat the bonds. He accuses city leaders of not fully disclosing the effect bond passage will have on the city tax rate.

He also criticized the six black city council members who cast their votes at the committee meeting to back the bonds. "We would never have lost," Anderson said, "had it not been for the city council voting. They should not have been voting on the issue. They have a conflict of interest."

The vote was 24-22 to support the bonds, Anderson said.

Council member Howard Clement responded that he and his colleagues were exercising their rights as elected officials to participate in the proceedings.

In other moves, the committee will support only Sen. Jeanne Lucas for the state Senate District 13 seat, not state Sen Wib Gulley. Both are Democrats. They endorsed Paul Luebke, Mickey Michaux and George Miller for N.C. House District 23 seats, and MaryAnn E. Black, Bill Bell, and Joe Bowswer for the Durham County Board of Commissioners.

They voted against support of a $950 million bond package for state highway construction.