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Durham candidates reply to People's Alliance questions

The Durham People’s Alliance has posted on its web site ( the questionnaire responses from candidates in this fall’s city elections.

According to the PA, questionnaires were sent to all candidates in the mayor and City Council ward races. Replies were in from all except Ward 2 candidate Franklin Hanes as of Thursday afternoon.

The PA is holding a meet-the-candidates mixer Aug. 21 (see prior to its Aug. 27 endorsements meeting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Hillandale Road. Anyone who wants to join PA may do so at the door, but, according to PA bylaws ( only those who have been members for 30 days or more are eligible to vote on the endorsements.

Durham PA blames conservative agenda for city's fiscal problems

The People’s Alliance, one of Durham’s three major political-action organizations, wants the City Council to tag conservative legislators and members of Congress for creating fiscal problems for local authorities.

In a statement released this afternoon, the PA reiterated its objection to the city’s proposed $1.80/month garbage-collection fee as imposing a greater relative burden on the poor than on the affluent.

The statement goes on to say, “We also recognize that conservative legislators in Washington and in Raleigh are working to starve local governments of the federal and state aid they need,” and calls on the City Council to “publicly identify this agenda as the cause of its fiscal problems … and the resulting social problems.”

Here’s the entire statement:

Durham PACs all in with primary endorsements

Durham's big three political-action organizations have made their endorsements of local candidates in the upcoming primary, with two state Senate candidates the only consensus picks.

District 20 incumbent Democrat Floyd McKissick is favored by the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, the Durham People's Alliance and the Friends of Durham over challenger Ralph McKinney. No Republican is running, so the primary will decide who holds the seat for the next two years.

All three also favor City Councilman Mike Woodard over attorney Kerry Sutton for the new Senate District 22. The winner faces Republican Milton Holmes in November.

Durham PA opposes fracking permission

The People's Alliance, one of Durham's three major political-action groups, has taken a stand against fracking.

In a resolution released Friday, the PA calls on the General Assembly to take no action on legalizing the process "at least until" the federal Environmental Protection Agency finishes research on hydraulic fracking's effects on "the full water life cycle" is finished "and then, only if new regulations, agency funding and enforcement policies and procedures fully protect our waters, land, people, and local economies."

The resolution also asks that the Durham City Council and Board of County Commissioners take similar positions.

People's Alliance makes picks for election

The Durham People's Alliance has endorsed Mayor Bill Bell for re-election, along with incumbent City Council members Eugene Brown and Diane Catotti and Council candidate Steve Schewel.

Endorsement selections were made at a group meeting Monday night.

Bell "has provided steady political leadership for the city of Durham, and has presided over a period of growth and economic revitalization," the PA said in a statement announcing its choices.

The left-wing PA described the Council favorites as "part of a strong team that will help formulate progressive policies for Durham in these fiscally challenging times."

A half-cent sales tax for public transit and a quarter-cent sales tax for Durham Public Schools and Durham Tech also got PA endorsement.

In the race for Rougemont Town Council — which takes office if voters approve the community's incorporation — PA endorsed  endorsed Linward Hedgspeth, Lee Holden, Linda Huff, Edgar Johnson and Patricia Russell.

"This is a diverse team of active community members who care about the rural character of Rougemont and northern Durham County," the PA stated.

751 developers want hearing deferred - again

The county commissioners’ public hearing on the 751 South rezoning, which was supposed to be held June 23, is being rescheduled yet again.

Attorney Patrick Byker, representing the project developer, requested a 30-day deferral on Friday. Under Durham’s Unified Development Ordinance, the request must be honored – as was project opponent Melissa Rooney’s request that deferred the hearing from its original date in May.

Since Rooney’s request, the hearing has been set for June 14, June 1 and June 23. Meantime, the date was apparently headed through a Board of Adjustment hearing in late July until Rooney dropped her appeal of the June 1 date after other opponents filed a protest petition which, if valid, would require a 4-1 commissioners vote to pass the rezoning.

At the same time, the Durham People’s Alliance – which opposes the project – arranged a protest relay run that is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

For the time being, that is. The run was scheduled to precede the June 23 hearing, and had already been rescheduled once due to the movable dates.

The People's Alliance relay starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Holton Career Resource Center at 401 N. Driver St. and finishes at 7:30 at 8606 Fayetteville St. Runners are going by way of the County Administrative Complex on Main Street, the American Tobacco Trail and Fayetteville Street.

Protest runners will wait, as well

In light of the 751 South hearing postponement, the People's Alliance is postponing its protest run until closer to the hearing date. The run had been planned for May 27, next Thursday, but a route and start time had not been announced.

In the meantime, the PA is still circulating a petition against rezoning for the controversial development, and selling "Vote No" T-shirts.

Opponents running vs. 751 South

The Durham People's Alliance is organizing a run to publicize its opposition to the 751 South (a.k.a. 751 Assemblage) subdivision, and selling T-shirts for the occasion.

Some details of the run -- like location, route and distance, aren't settled yet, but the date is tentatively set for May 27.

Durham legislators talk legislation Wednesday

The Durham People's Alliance is holding a public forum for Durham County legislators Wednesday night.

State Sen. Floyd McKissick and Reps. Larry Hall, Paul Leubke and Winkie Wilkins have confirmed they expect to be on hand to talk and take questions on the just-past General Assembly session and whatever legislative issues the audience has on its mind.

The forum runs 7-9 at the Stanford L. Warren branch library, 1201 Fayetteville St.

Peoples's Alliance endorses incumbents

The Durham People's Alliance has endorsed all four incumbents in this fall's City Council and mayoral elections, spokesman Milo Pyne said Tuesday night.

Mayor Bill Bell and council members Cora Cole-McFadden (Ward 1), Howard Clement (Ward 2) and Mike Woodard (Ward 3) got the Alliance's nod after a unanimous vote, Pyne said. 

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