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Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Durham Mayoral Candidates Have Raised More Than $260,000. Where’s the Money Coming From?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:53 PM

This year's mayoral race in Durham is shaping up to be one of the city's most expensive municipal elections yet, as candidates vie to set the tone of the Bull City after sixteen years of Mayor Bill Bell's leadership. According to the most recent campaign finance reports—which cover campaign contributions through August 29—Farad Ali's account holds $109,484.86; Pierce Freelon's, $96,676.59; and Steve Schewel's, $74,074.50. Other candidates in the race have raised no more than $1,600. With so much cash flowing into the election, we decided to map where each of those donations is coming from. In order to do this, we deducted...

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Housing Inequality Exhibit Opens Friday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 3:17 PM

With municipal elections coming up, there’s been a lot of talk in Durham about equity, particularly as it relates to housing. But the current landscape of housing inequality in Durham was set in motion long before this election cycle. An exhibit opening Friday seeks to fill in that history. “Uneven Ground: The Foundations of Housing Inequality in Durham, NC," is the work of Bull City 150, a collaboration between the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University that explores the historical context of current issues facing Durham. At its core, Bull...

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Southern Environmental Law Center: RDU Rejected Land Deal in "Unlawfully Held Closed Session Meeting"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 6:22 PM

The Southern Environmental Law Center is asking the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Authority board to rescind any decisions it made in closed sessions over the past two years after questions were raised about a decision not to sell a tract of land by Umstead Park to the Conservation Fund. In a letter sent on behalf of the Umstead Coalition to the board's chairman, Farad Ali, who is running for mayor of Durham, the SELC sets a September 19 deadline for a response. The Conservation Fund in July made a more than $6 million offer for 105 acres of land between Umstead...

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“Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 4:11 PM

Nine people facing felony charges in an August 14 demonstration that saw a Confederate monument toppled appeared in court this morning. Their cases were continued until November, but that didn’t stop them from taking a victory lap. The group, united under the banner Defend Durham, marched from the courthouse to Central Park along with supporters from Greensboro, Raleigh, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. They detoured by the site of the monument (now just a pedestal) to give remarks and honor Heather Heyer, an antiracist protester who was killed one month ago during the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in...

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Chief Davis: The DPD Thought Info About the Rumored Klan Rally Was “Not Worth Putting Out,” But the Sheriff’s Office Did It Anyway

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 6:58 AM

Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis presented an after-action report on the anti-hate rally in downtown Durham last month to the City Council on Tuesday. Among the highlights: The initial information received by law enforcement suggested the Sons of Confederate Veterans, not the KKK, could be coming to town. Reports of a possible Klan rally that originated with the Durham County Sheriff's Office prompted hundreds of people to converge on downtown within a matter of hours. Davis says her agency would not have shared unconfirmed reports of a possible rally. "We just felt from the beginning that this was going to be a...

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wildin Acosta’s Asylum Hearing Has Been Postponed Until October

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 9:21 AM

Without giving a reason, an immigration judge in Charlotte last night postponed an asylum hearing for Wildin Acosta that was scheduled for this morning. Acosta, a Riverside High School graduate, had fled his native Honduras under the threat of gang violence three years ago. He was expected to testify this morning on his application for asylum, but Judge Stuart Couch has delayed that hearing until October 3. In a video posted last night by Alerta Migratoria, Acosta says he got a call at about seven p.m. from his attorney telling him Couch has continued his case. "We don't know...

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, Friends of Durham Release Municipal Endorsements

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 12:12 PM

Two of Durham's three most influential PACs have released their endorsements for the 2017 primary elections. Both Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and Friends of Durham are backing Farad Ali for mayor. Ali is a former city councilman and the CEO of The Institute, a management consulting firm with a focus on promoting diversity. Ali is facing six contenders in the October 10 primary: Steve Schewel, Pierce Freelon, Sylvester Williams, Tracy Drinker, and Shea Ramirez. (Schewel currently holds an at-large seat on the council and will retain his seat if he is not elected mayor). The two...

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Durham Mayor Seeks Guidelines on Social Media Use Following KKK Rally Reports

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 9:08 AM

Mayor Bill Bell says he'll be asking for a discussion on how city officials use social media after Friday's spontaneous protest in response to reports of a potential KKK rally. "We, as elected officials, have got to be more responsible, in my opinion, in how we use social media when it comes to instances such as this," Bell said during the city council's Monday night meeting. " ... We have got to look at ourselves in terms of what we do on social media and how we spread things, whether they're rumors, facts, whatever." The remarks were made after Chief C.J....

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Sheriff's Office Confirms It Started Those “Rumors” About a KKK Rally in Durham

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 6:17 AM

Hundreds of people converged on downtown Durham Friday afternoon, ready to stand up to white supremacists. But as they stood on the street baking in the midday sun, waiting for something to happen, many began to wonder whether the Klan was actually going to show. Throughout the day, government officials, including the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, stressed that there had been no confirmed reports of the KKK coming to town and launched a social media campaign warning people not to spread “rumors.” But information about the white supremacists’ potential arrival began with the Sheriff's Office itself. Friday morning, reports...

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Duke University Removes Robert E. Lee Statue

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 11:50 AM

Early this morning, Duke president Vincent Price authorized the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue that had stood at the entrance to Duke Chapel. The figure, one of ten that surrounds the entrance to the chapel, had been vandalized Wednesday night amid nationwide calls for the removal of Confederate monuments.  "I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university," Price said in an email to the Duke community. "The removal also...

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Durham City Council Member: White Supremacists Rallying in Durham at Noon

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 10:37 AM

This morning, INDY reporter Sarah Willets was at the Durham County Courthouse, where she heard that Sheriff Mike Andrews had confirmed that a hate group—possibly the Klan—was going to hold a demonstration at noon. A few minutes ago, Durham City Council member Jillian Johnson and Scott Holmes, the attorney representing the eight who were arrested for toppling a Confederate monument Monday, tweeted that it’s happening.  Willets reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for confirmation. Spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs responded with a statement attributed to Andrews: “The Sheriff’s Office is thoroughly researching the potential of several groups with opposing viewpoints holding demonstrations...

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Eight Now Face Charges in Confederate Monument Toppling

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 6:44 AM

Four more people were arrested Thursday in connection with the removal of a Confederate monument in Durham on Monday, bringing the total number of demonstrators charged to eight. The four people charged yesterday surrendered to authorities as part of a symbolic mass turn-in this morning. They are Taylor Cook, Aaron Caldwell, Raul Jimenez, and Elena Everett. The demonstrators are charged with property damage in excess of $1,500 (a Class H felony), inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (a Class F felony), injury to real property (a misdemeanor), defacing a public monument (a misdemeanor), and injury...

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bree Newsome, Who Pulled Down S.C. Confederate Flag in 2015, Salutes Durham Demonstrators

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Demonstrators who tore down a Confederate monument in Durham Monday have the support of someone who knows a bit about taking on the symbols of white supremacy: Bree Newsome. Newsome, who was born in Durham, famously removed a Confederate flag flying above the South Carolina state capitol two years ago. Images of Newsome scaling the flagpole with a climber's harness spread like wildfire in the wake of the murder of nine people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Via Twitter, Newsome has been sending messages of support to the activists who on Monday toppled the Main Street statue dedicated...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Durham Sheriff Identifying Demonstrators, Pursuing Felony Charges

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said this afternoon that he had considered ordering his deputies to "engage the crowd" last night in a rally that saw a Confederate monument toppled, but he opted instead for "restraint" in order to prevent injuries. Andrews, along with county manager Wendell Davis, spoke Tuesday afternoon in a brief press conference on the demonstration and the removal of the monument. Andrews said his agency had identified some demonstrators and would be pursuing felony charges. "We can all agree yesterday went too far. Yesterday was not the Durham that I know," he said. Monday's rally was...

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The Durham County Sheriff's Office Says It Will Seek Charges After Removal of Confederate Monument

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 10:24 AM

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews says his agency will use video taken Monday of demonstrators removing of a Confederate monument in front of a county building to seek charges against the protesters. The statue, erected in 1924, was easily toppled Monday night during a rally held in response to deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday. In a statement, Andrews says he is "not blind to the offensive conduct of some demonstrators, nor will I ignore their criminal conduct." During the demonstration, officers largely stood by, with at least one filming the events. Andrews's posture is...

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“Make Racists Afraid Again”: The Scene as Demonstrators Toppled a Confederate Monument in Durham Monday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:20 AM

Chanting "make racists afraid again" and "no cops, no KKK, no fascist USA," demonstrators toppled a ninety-three-year-old Confederate monument in downtown Durham Monday night. After a demonstrator climbed to the top of a ladder and looped a yellow rope around the hollow figure, a crowd gathered outside of the Durham County government building cheered, with a few kicking the statue, which was erected in 1924 "in memory of the boys who wore the gray."  The rally was organized by several groups, including the Workers World Party Durham Branch, in response to the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in...

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Video: Demonstrators Pull Down the Confederate Monument in Front of Durham County Building

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 7:26 PM

More info to come, but INDY staff writer Sarah Willets reports that leftist demonstrators have pulled down the Confederate Monument on Main Street in downtown Durham in protest of the events in Charlottesville. Under a state law passed in 2015, local governments are not allowed to remove Confederate monuments without permission from the legislature. The demonstrators apparently didn’t care. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available....

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

City Manager: Batalá Durham Can Rehearse at Durham Central Park Monday Night

Posted By on Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 9:38 AM

In an email to Durham City Council member Charlie Reece yesterday, city manager Tom Bonfield said that Batalá Durham would be allowed to rehearse at Durham Central Park Monday without receiving a citation or being shut down by the police. The samba-reggae percussion ensemble had received permission from Durham Central Park to practice on Monday nights this summer. But on three occasions, complaints from a resident at the Liberty Warehouse Apartments across the street has prompted the police to shut the rehearsals down; on Monday, the Durham Police Department warned Batalá that any further complaints would lead to a citation....

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Durham Will Spend Nearly $2 Million to Help Homeowners Left in a Lurch by a Bankrupt Developer

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 5:07 PM

After a heated debate Monday night, Durham City Council members narrowly approved spending more than $2.16 million—of which $1.8 million will come from taxpayers—on improvements in the Ravenstone and Stone Hill Estates subdivisions, after the subdivisions’ developer, MacGregor Development, left that infrastructure unfinished. The city will now pay 85 percent of the cost of repairing roads and adding stormwater drainage; in a 6–1 vote in 2015, with Mayor Bill Bell dissenting, the city council had agreed to pay only 50 percent, with the homeowners paying the rest. Council members Steve Schewel, Jillian Johnson, and Charlie Reece opposed the decision. “I...

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Report: Electronic Voting System in Durham Targeted by Russian Cyberattack. Officials Say No Vote Counts Affected.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 6:40 AM

You might remember hearing about voting issues at several Durham precincts on Election Day—particularly, screw-ups with poll books, the electronic systems used to check voters in. Now, NPR reports that the company responsible for providing the poll books was the target of a Russian cyberattack. According to a leaked NSA report, Russian hackers tried to break into VR Systems, the company that provided the poll books for more than twenty North Carolina counties, in August of last year. State officials didn't learn about the attack until nearly a year after it took place—when the news site The Intercept published a...

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Durham City Council Votes to Provide Grants to Some Southside Residents Struggling with Property Tax Bills

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 3:29 PM

The Durham City Council voted Monday to sideline a program that would have extended loans to Durham homeowners suffering from the increased taxes that come with higher property valuations. Instead, on a 4–3 vote, the council approved a proposal from council member Steve Schewel to give residents of the Southside neighborhood grants for the difference in their 2016 tax bill while the city develops a more comprehensive housing stabilization strategy. “I am in strong support of figuring out a comprehensive, efficient, equitable, and cost-effective program to keep our low-income homeowners in their homes, and I know that is a goal...

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Carolina Jews for Justice Says NC Pride Schedule Fix Isn't Enough

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 6:14 AM

Carolina Jews for Justice, which had been outspoken about this year's NC Pride festival being held on Yom Kippur, says a schedule change announced last week is too little, too late. The annual festival has been held in the past on the last Saturday in September. This year, that's September 30, which is also Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and one of the holiest Jewish holidays. Carolina Jews for Justice was among several Jewish groups that spoke out against the timing, calling it a "very significant and hurtful oversight." In response, NC Pride (about a month after the snafu...

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Service for Durham Activist Umar Muhammad Set for Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 6:52 AM

A memorial ride, service, and celebration of life will be held Saturday in honor of Umar Muhammad, a Durham activist who was killed in a motorcycle accident on July 17. Muhammad, who had been a community organizer for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, fought for the rights of the formerly incarcerated. He had recently joined Forward Justice as a lead community organizer and campaign strategist. The thirty-year-old raised twin boys and had a two-month-old daughter. "Umar connected movements and grassroots groups across the country," Forward Justice said in a statement. "He brought to every space a transformative vision for...

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Durham Cops Close Down Mangum Street After Shooting Near City Hall

Posted By and on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Durham police have closed down a section of Mangum Street near City Hall Plaza following a drive-by shooting at about nine this morning. WRAL has reported that a suspect is on the loose, though the Durham Police Department declined to confirm that information to the INDY. WRAL reports that there was one victim, though neither that person nor his or her status has been identified. WNCN reports that there is a gray sedan with at least seven bullet holes in it near the intersection of Trinity Avenue and North Duke Street. A Durham detective who arrived at the scene shortly after...

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Durham Will Have to Wait Another Week for Sunday Morning Drinks

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Sorry, Durham, but you'll have to wait a little longer to imbibe at brunch on Sunday mornings. Durham restaurants and residents had been calling on the Durham City Council to pass an ordinance allowing alcohol sales to start at ten a.m. on Sundays, but at its Thursday work session, the council declined to suspend its normal rules of procedure and vote on the measure. Instead, the council will wait until its August 7 regular meeting. Among other provisions, Senate Bill 155 (aka the brunch bill) allowed Sunday morning alcohol sales but said local governments would have to pass ordinances to...

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Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

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The Veil of Secrecy Has Been Lifted....
After many decades of secrecy and operation in the shadows, we, the illuminated …

by Excellency Mexico on “With DACA, I Feel Like I Have a Superpower”: After Trump Ends DACA, Triangle Recipients Tell Their Stories (News)

Look Lisa, your grandfather's story is tough. I would suggest however that he is a victim of capitalist oppression, not …

by CPF (CommiePinkoFag) on “Durham’s a Bright Light for Our Movement”: After Their Cases Were Continued Until November, Defend Durham Activists Took a Victory Lap (News)

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