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December 20, 2010


Rob Gillespie

One is left to wonder whether the rate of crimes committed by those out on bail has gone up over the past 12 months. We've had 5 very senior ADAs depart in an office that normally has [about] 20 prosecutors on staff. That's 25%.

We're very frequently told that the Administrative Office of the Courts is solely responsible for the long wait between arrest and trial. Yes, we're still short on courtrooms, clerks, conference rooms, and office equipment, but the loss of all these prosecutors can't help the situation.


I want to hear more about what exactly Mitch Garrell did that was so terrible that Tracy Cline fired him. From the N&O front page article, it sounded like he was doing his job, and a thorough one at that. Something really stinks.


At the risk of sounding uneducated, what was Ms. Forte-Brown's gaffe? If it was insulting Duke, I think Duke deserves the insult from our public officials after firing firing Michael Palmer and cutting back funding for community outreach.

And if it was the fact we're talking about a state championship vs. a national championship, I think it is a bigger deal that a bunch of high-schoolers born and raised in Durham at a public school won a state-wide title, compared to a private university composed of a significant number of out-of-state students. With a very well funded basketball team. (and add to that the town-gown tensions)

And if it was something else, then I've just missed it and will feel silly when BCR explains it to me.

Bull City Rising

@Matt: I'll be the first to admit this is just my opinion, but here's why I considered Forte-Brown's statement unfortunate.

There's nothing at all wrong with her having an opinion on the matter at hand, or on (if she were trying to comment on it) the Palmer departure, and I personally am fine with her expressing it in a suitable context, like a school board meeting, emails to public officials, comments to the media, etc. -- just like Pastor Davis did.

What public officials do is public, but to me I think of their work in private-public and public-public spheres.

Private-public is the work public officials do in support of their jobs as policymakers, in which disagreement happens and in which officials will take votes and find themselves on opposite sides of issues. (That's the context Frederick Davis' comments came in to me.)

But to me there's public-public, too -- ribbon cuttings, speeches to the Rotary Club or a visiting dignitary group, awards dinners, and yes, school pep rallies. I tend to think the actions elected officials take in those contexts should be broadly inclusive of all of the constituency, not divisive in nature.

Believing that Duke is in Durham but that it doesn't somehow matter to the community to the extent a state championship at Hillside does? That's a comment that, in the Durham context, carries layer after layer of spoken and unsaid meaning.

To me, public-public moments like pep rallies are about bringing the entire community together, not about making statements that can cause hard feelings or dissension.

The question is, was Forte-Brown speaking to what she thought was a community likely to agree with her, or to the entirety of Durham? Even if she assumed the former, you can't be chair of the school board without your comments being taken to mean the latter.

And that's what makes it, to me, a gaffe. Forte-Brown should have expected that her comment would get broader circulation, and I suspect, might have picked a phrasing more suitable to that broad-reaching, all-community role.

(As always, my comments at BCR reflect my opinions, not those of my employer, my neighbors, Gracie the gray-cat, etc.)


I totally agree with Kevin - comments like Ms. Forte-Brown's only further emphasize an "us vs. them" attitude in Durham, an attitude I find 1) regrettable, and 2) a hindrance to working together to solve common problems.


Greetings Bull City Rising from Washington, DC. I'm so proud of the 2010 Hillside High School football team!! I'm a member of the Class of 1997. Oh yeah, Durham, "born and bred" here.

"Hillside is Durham," I agree 110%!! Now as a politician, the councilwoman could choose her words more carefully on Duke and Durham, but for native "Durhamites," we know exactly where she was coming from. If you ask anybody who's lived in Durham for generations, its a good chance that they went, had a family member or knew somebody who went to Hillside. Hillside is the oldest school in Durham, that produced 115 graduating classes. I was in the 102nd class. Hillside was my mother's, my aunt's, my cousin's, and my school. This state championship may seem "small" for most, but for us, it’s a wonderful feeling. "Hillside" is a metaphor for "Durham." People make opinions, ridicule, and revile it based on rumors or other reasons that I won’t say...LOL. Despite that, WE LOVE DURHAM, WE LOVE HILLSIDE!!

Now, Duke doesn't have to worry about such things. The University enjoys a world-wide reputation. That's not even including the basketball program. Any Durhamite has a Duke connection but at times, the University can be so apart from the City. No College-Town relationship is perfect, but Duke tends to not help the situation. Take earlier this year, when the Devils won the Championship, only Duke Students were allowed on the West Campus to celebrate. Of course, Campus Police claimed it’s for safety, but how can you feel apart of a city, when you effectively cut it off during a happy moment. That's a problem. So, it means more for a city that here's an open celebration with students, families, alumni, and generations of Durhamites gathering to honor a State Championship, than a closed off bonfire to celebrate a National Championship. Just saying. This is my first comment here on BCR, WOOHOO!! LETS GO HORNETS!!


Sorry BCR...there is nothing to see here. I'm not a Hillside grad but I'm just as proud that they brought the title home to Durham. Same as when Northern brought it home in 1993. I hated hearing that it was the first FB championship for the Bull City in 17 years! Time Flies!!!

As far as the us vs. them, I will only address the Duke aspect because the other would require its own blog site. Only Duke can change their relationship with Durham. I personally understand most of the contributions by Duke but it is the attitude of the leaders that prevent harmony. They are just not community-oriented...they can pretend for a while and then walk behind the Gothic walls.

Side note: Does that disclaimer ever work??? I'm glad that I am an independent consultant right now. :)

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