With the council's inaction, in my situation, I would suggest voting gainst all incumbents. I think these seat-holders change infrequently because most people do not know enough about the council to bother. If the everyday people of Durham voted out council members that seem disinterested in the problems individuals face regarding local government then I bet you'd see a much more attentive council. Unfortunately we have a council that is involved in major projects, like the highspeed rail system from Raleigh, through Durham, to Charlotte and my comparitively minor problem (for them, not for us) of faulty water meters/fittings are hard to prove and easily deflected.
The incumbents don't help the average citizen. If you live in the county they control any chance you have of getting help with utility errors but don't care because only city residents can vote.
I tried to vote in today's election but am not able to. Apparently county residents cannot vote for city council members--including the mayor. This seems wrong because if there is an issue with the water department or some other city function, like the one I am currently having, the people I am supposed to be able to rely on do not answer to me at all. I believe that if I was a city resident the council would still be indifferent toward my inaccurate bills but at least I could use my 1 vote toward ousting the incumbents whereas us county residents do not need to matter at all. Everyone affected by city services should have representation--even if that representation is poor.
If you live outside the city limits your elected officials don't need you or your approval--how's that for a smack in the face!
Current City Council Not Helping
Non-Credible Water Bills
I have been saddled with water bills that are not credible. The current city council has yet to intervene on my behalf. I am hoping that if my new meter continues to demonstrate my previous one was erroneous that the council may eventually compel the water department to refund some of our overcharges. Here is a small article on the matter:
I have been at my address for 6 years and our water bills must be inaccurate. There are 2 adults and 2 young girls here. We don't water the lawns and use bottled water for cooking and drinking. Despite this our water bills are excessive. 3 times in the past 6 years we got bills that claimed we used 4500 cubic feet of water. The last time was a few months ago and the bill was for over $700.00! During better months we are billed $200-300.00. It's almost like paying a second housing rent some months.
My neighbors report to me that their bills are usually a little over $100.00. I had Al Nelson from the Durham water conservation department look into it. He had our meter changed, then had it upgraded to an electronic meter to track usage better. He could find no leaks and no real explanation but says something isn't right. He says our usage is showing 6 times what is average for a family of our size--it's not like we are running a bottled water business out of our kitchen. He said billing should have got him involved a long time ago but he's stumped.
I was further upset after doing the math. They are claiming we used 4500+ cubic feet, that's 33,000 gallons in 61 days. That's 563 gallons every day! That would mean we were using 23+ gallons of water every hour, every day, for 2 months.
This is ridiculous.The bureaucracy here is a barrier to justice and fair treatment. No NC state senators or representatives have acknowledged my complaints. The billing department acts like we're just whining about our bill, the County Commissioners ignored my phone call and subsequent email, and the city manager Tom Bonfield referred me back to the water department. I feel sure that either our fitting have been incorrect or our meter has been malfunctioning. Either way we don't use hundreds of gallons of water daily, Durham doesn't care, and we've been overcharged by thousands over the past six years. This issue is widespread according to the news (including Atlanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia) and it is wrong that there is no oversight agency that can check for inaccuracies--if something is awry with a bill you typically have no recourse.
If anyone else in Durham is experiencing inflated usage claims please post a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
(The original page above, with working links, is at: http://ottoladensack.blogspot.com/2011/02/…)
Here are video links that further explain my situation:
The 3rd, 5th and 6th clip are most telling but all are concise. Thank you for considering my situation.
purple vs. gray, same width rules. i'm glad you agree it's subtle; i felt it would be unfair to less-than-subtly highlight incumbents.
kinda subtle there... purple vs. black (wider line?)
There is a purple box around the incumbents.
Double check the color coding. The actual incumbents are not shown in purple. No one is.
Look for our endorsements here later this evening and in tomorrow's print edition.
Has the Indy made it's endorsements yet? With Early Voting already going, I sure hope so.
Please make your endorsements easy to find on the website and ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO EARLY VOTE NOW!!!
Ryan O'Neal Echoles has withdrawn his name from the Senate primary against Floyd McKissick. Echoles, according to the News & Observer made his decision to withdraw after failing to recieve the endorsement of any of Durham's 3 major PACS and after "deep reflection."
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