Friends of Durham announce 2013 council slate
Ward 2 City Council candidate Omar Beasley and Ward 3 candidate Pam Karriker each picked up another endorsement Tuesday, receiving the support of the Friends of Durham.
Friends leader David Smith said the group – the most conservative and Republican-leaning of Durham’s big-three political organizations – also endorsed the re-election bids of Mayor Bill Bell and Ward 1 Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden.
Smith added that the Friends, on the whole, are satisfied with city government.
“We’re pleased with the way Durham is going right now,” he said. “It seems that it’s going in the right direction.”
The Friends slate is identical to the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People’s. The remaining big-three group, the People’s Alliance, is scheduled to decide its slate on Aug. 27.
Beasley is one of four candidates running for an open seat in Ward 2. The incumbent, Howard Clement, is stepping down after 30 years on the council.
Smith said Beasley, a bail bondsman, got the nod over fellow candidates Eddie Davis, Franklin Hanes and Del Mattioli because his job gives him “a unique perspective” on the city’s crime problems.
Friends leaders were “very impressed” with Davis, a former high school teacher, but think he’s better suited to a seat on the Durham school board, Smith said.
Hanes and Mattioli “impressed” interviewers but seemed “a little green,” he said.
“They need to find out a little more about what’s going on in the city,” Smith said, adding that Mattioli needs to research non-finance issues and Hanes appears to have a “narrow focus” on east Durham.
Karriker got the Friends nod for Ward 3 over appointed incumbent Don Moffitt.
Though the group “like[s] both” and has supported both in the past, it prefers Karriker because she’s “more solid with our philosophy on things,” such as zoning decisions, Smith said.
He confirmed that the Friends had given behind-the-scenes support to Karriker’s successful attempt in 2011 to secure an appointment to the County Commissioners. The group publicly endorsed Moffitt’s unsuccessful bid for election to a County Commissioners seat in 2008.
Moffitt in comparison to Karriker is “a little too far to the left” for the group, though he got credit for joining the majority that voted to establish a monthly solid-waste collection fee, Smith said.
Bell faces two challengers, Sylvester Williams and Michael Valentine, and got the nod for doing “a good job” overall and for having tried over the winter to orchestrate a compromise in the long-running 751 South dispute, Smith said.
Valentine skipped the Friends interview. Williams attended, but was passed over because his views and the Friends’ on city finances aren’t compatible.
“He’s still wanting to go into [the city’s] fund balance to pay for programs and doesn’t care about our AAA [credit] rating,” Smith said. “That gave us concern.”
Cole-McFadden, though she’s running unopposed, received an endorsement based on the Friends’ overall happiness with her and the city’s work.
But Smith added that he wishes the councilwoman would change her practice of nearly always echoing the mayor’s vote.
“It would be better if sometimes she voted the way she felt instead of always going along with him,” Smith said, alluding to a recent zoning decision that saw Bell and Cole-McFadden defeat an application near Bell’s south Durham home that had drawn a formal protest from his neighbors.