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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Twenty-Three People Want the Vacant Durham City Council Seat

Posted by on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 6:18 PM

The window to apply to be the seventh member of the Durham City Council has closed, and twenty-three people have submitted their names. Twenty-three.

An at-large seat on the council, with a term expiring in 2019, opened up when Steve Schewel was elected mayor.

The applicants are:

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president and CEO of El Centro Hispano and member of the city’s gang reduction steering committee.
Michael Levine, a chemist and member of the Stillwood Homeowners Association board of directors.
Fredrick Davis, pastor of First Cavalry Baptist Church and a former Durham Public Schools board member.
Pierce Freelon, a professor, musician and community organizer who started Blackspace. Freelon ran for mayor in the recent municipal election.
Kyle Reece, an advocate with SaySo Inc., a statewide organization representing youth who are or have been in the out-of-home care system.
Dwyian Davis, pastor at Christian Living and Learning Center.
Javiera Caballero, a program coordinator with an education consulting firm and a member of the Durham Open Space and Trials commission.
Nida Allam, a MetLife project analyst and third vice chair for the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Rebecca Reyes, a retired social worker and clergy member who serves on the Durham Parks and Recreation Commission.
Shelia Ann Huggins, an attorney and former city employee who ran for the Ward 3 seat in the recent municipal election.
Sammy Banawan, a clinical psychologist in private practice.
Carl Rist, senior director with Prosperity now, a think tank that focuses on addressing economic inequality, and a member of the city’s Poverty Reduction Initiative finance committee.
Yesenia Polanco-Galdamez, an immigration and criminal defense attorney.
Humberto Mercado, a case manager with Easterseals UCP, which serves people with disabilities.
Andrew George, a graduate researcher at Duke University.
Sheila Arias, who owns a cleaning services, works as a parent leader at the state Department of Health and Human Services and works with grassroots group MomsRising.
Nicole Netzel, program coordinator with Lutheran Services Carolinas’ refugee resettlement program.
Solomon Burnette, a legal consultant at the Law Office of James F. Cyrus IV.
Kaaren Mary Haldeman, an activist and community organizer.
Tyrell Golden, a substitute teacher.
Ricardo Correa, a minister at the United Nations Worship Center Ministry and a member of the Durham Human Relations Commission.
Ann-Drea Small, an IT consultant.
John Tarantino Jr., a retired teacher who ran for the Ward 1 seat.

The city clerk’s office is still evaluating whether each candidate is at least twenty-one years old, lives in city limits, is registered to vote in Durham County and is current on their taxes.

For comparison, four people applied the last time the council filled a vacancy, which was in 2013 when Mike Woodard was elected to the Senate.

Under city code, if the council doesn't appoint someone to the vacancy by February 2, a special election will be held.

Council members will review the applications after their work session Thursday. Everyone who applied and is eligible will get a questionnaire due back by January 2.

The questionnaire will ask candidates about their availability to meet the council's busy schedule, what they think the city's priorities should be, and their ideas on issues ranging from housing to economic development. It won’t ask applicants, though, about what books, newspapers and magazines they read, like the application for Woodard's seat did.

After a January 4 work session, the council will narrow the field of applicants to those they want to interview (city code limits them to no more than seven). Interviews will be held  January 11 at City Hall, with audio live-streaming.

The council is expected to swear in its newest member immediately before its January 16 meeting.

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