Prospective developers of the controversial 751 South subdivision have created a political action committee of their own in time for the county commissioner elections.
On Friday, The Durham Partnership for Progress registered with the Durham County Board of Elections as an "independent expenditure political committee."
Treasurer is Rhonda Hall Sisk of 9222 N.C. 751, a residence owned by Southern Durham Development at the 751 South site that is also the company's registered office. Assistant treasurer is Tyler Morris, a partner in Southern Durham Development.
The filing forms list a $100 cash donation from Southern Durham Development as well as the company's in-kind contribution of $2,500 for services of Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh survey and robocall company.
In a formal statement, Southern Durham President Alex Mitchell said the PAC will make candidate endorsements "in the near future."
Three incumbent county commissioners running for re-election have been strong 751 South supporters and have said during the campaign that they would continue that support: Joe Bowser, Brenda Howerton and Michael Page. Candidate Rickey Padgett has said he supports the project "100 percent."
Mitchell's statement described the Partnership for Progress's purpose: "to foster a political environment in Durham that encourages equal opportunity, job creation, smart growth, new business and industry, affordable housing and education while protecting property rights."
It also alluded to "an alternate political action committee" that has made opposition to 751 South "their primary election issue." The Durham People's Alliance endorsed four candidates who oppose the project – Fred Foster Jr., Wendy Jacobs, Will Wilson and incumbent Ellen Reckhow" and listed candidates' positions on the project among the factors considered in making the PA's endorsements – along with "tax fairness, remedies for homelessness ... responsible government and the Constitutional Amendment."