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Durham Black Leaders Back Bonds

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

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

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

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

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

He also criticized the six black city council members who cast theirvotes at the committee meeting to back the bonds. "We would never havelost," Anderson said, "had it not been for the city council voting. Theyshould not have been voting on the issue. They have a conflict ofinterest."

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

Council member Howard Clement responded that he and his colleagues wereexercising their rights as elected officials to participate in theproceedings.

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

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

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