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Durham Committee aiming for big GOTV push?

Over the past day, an intriguing rumor has started wending its way through the local political community -- one which could, if true, be of more than a little bit of interest for seven-tenths of the Board of County Commission candidates.

We've heard from multiple sources that the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People -- whose ability to get-out-the-vote and gain support for their PAC's nominees -- is planning a massive, 35,000 home mailing targeting Durham's black community and containing the full slate of the DCABP's endorsements.

If the Committee could pull this off, it'd be a startling show of vitality from the Durham institution, around the borders of which elected officials and elected-wannabes genuflect and tread carefully.

And that "if" is part of the problem: the DCABP has made similar promises in the past, and hasn't followed through. Instead, community networks, churches, the local news and poll workers have been key carriers of the Committee's endorsements.

Still, if they have found a funding source to get the message out, could it have an outsized impact on the election? Perhaps.

Certainly, the dynamics of this election are going to be unusual, given the massive African-American turnout we're seeing in other communities throughout the southeast U.S. due to the presence of Barack Obama on the ticket.

Additionally, since this year's BOCC election essentially happens during a primary election -- and not a general, GOP vs. Dems election -- the role of the parties to organize and endorse candidates is non-existent, taking away one of the methodologies by which folks get heuristics to help them make voting decisions.

At the same time, given that so many of the voters turning out are regular participants in the election process, and that so many are geared up strictly for Obama, there's a very real question as to whether an endorsement from a committee that they aren't closely aligned with will actually induce a straight-ticket vote.

One local pol suggests it's far more likely that any such DCABP mailing wouldn't be sticky very far down the ticket.

If that's the case, the current "conventional wisdom" -- that we'll end up with three incumbents (Heron, Page, Reckhow), newcomer Moffitt, and either Parker/Howerton/Foster for the last slot -- looks likely to hold.

If that's not the case, and the Committee makes an impact? I'd suspect Heron and Moffitt, in that order, to take a hit.


Trinity Rez

What I find to be appalling is the double standard regarding this bigoted organization. Considering the black community is not a minority in Durham and the representation in city government is not lacking from the black community, how can this double standard exist without a challenge from "fair minded" people? If we had a committee for the advancement of white people would, so called, liberals passively allow such a group? Or would the black community scream racism?

In my view Durham (see past actions by this committee and the LAX fiasco) houses some of the most bigoted blacks and guilt ridden whites. But you know do not let a person like me that goes about life not seeing color stand in the way of feel good politics.

Lavonia Allison's Underpants

The Durham Committee hasn't got a pot to piss in. IF they are doing this -- and I doubt it -- they are using someone else's money and taking the credit for it. They haven't even got the money to pay the pollworkers they usually scrape up from the shelters and day labor spots to fill in for their shrinking pool of volunteers.

My guess is that another organization entirely is doing it -- like Acorn, or the Durham GOTV Coalition, which consists of about ten non-profits working together, or Durham for Obama, or some other group -- and the Durham Committee is going to try and take the credit for it.

And if it's the Democratic Party giving them the money? I hope the Democratic candidates the Durham Committee failed to endorse raise holy hell as the party is not supposed to take sides during a primary, and bankrolling a PAC that does take sides is a clear violation of this rule.

The stupidest thing about this is that it's all wasted effort -- for the past months, so many people have been canvassing and conducting GOTV work in Durham, you can't drop a flyer on a doorstep without fallin over three other groups.

If people had any sense, they'd be spending time and effort getting the people of Durham to reach out beyond our blue borders to our family and friends in other parts of the state that aren't so enthusiastically blue.

Kevin Davis

TrinityRez: Look, I'm not the biggest fan of the DCABP's recent track record under the current regime. But I don't think it's easy to make the jump to the idea that it's an irrelevant idea or a "wrong" thing to have such an organization. The Committee has a long and proud history in Durham; personally, I'd like to see them move closer towards having that relevance again under strong and modern leadership. But that's just me.

(BTW, I don't seem to recall that the Committee was involved in any significant way in the LAX case -- Duke's timeline mentions that Brodhead met with a number of local leaders, including members of the Committee, but I don't recall that it was the DCABP out on the forefront of the case.)

LAU: From what I understand, the Dems _can't_ be behind it, as the party can't use its money to endorse candidates in a party primary.

I'm working to confirm this, but I have some late-breaking info suggesting that there were indeed postcards from the Committee making their way to the post office today. I'll post an update in the story once I have this for certain, but this rumor is now double-sourced from reliable correspondents.

Trinity Rez

History? If you want to gauge worth by history can we discuss the republican party? I am talking about 2008. I like history books but I have no time for the past when I am talking about an organization, if the roles were reversed, would be violently run out of town in 2008.

I know the discussion was not designed to take this road but this organization bothers me every time it is mentioned and no one seems to acknowledge the double standard and bigoted philosophy. When is the white guilt going to be cured and people demand equality? Durham lacking in black representation to the point we need a racist organization is a joke. I say give me a counter group with white in the name and see how far that goes. Yea, like that would gain traction in this two sided city.

Not that I am all things knowledgeable about the LAX case but I was not referring to the bigoted committee in referencing the fiasco that blatantly showed how lunatic whites and racist blacks could become in the city of Durham. The committee, if I remember correctly, endorsed Nifong when only willfully blind ignorant individuals thought that these young men raped that prostitute. What I was referring to was the actions of the committee, from what I remember, not allowing whites into a decision making meeting. If that is true, that is a the epitome of bigotry.

Lets reverse the roles and see how any sane person would feel about both the LAX telling fiasco and the selective meeting.

I am just a person that is tired of the bullshit in Durham and American, in general, regarding race and the double standard.


To be perfectly fair, Trinity, it is not the Durham Committee that is virulently racist -- it is only its leader, Lavonia Allison, and the handful of kooks who agree to do her bidding in exchange for favors from her (all sane people have broken from her and since she's recently screwed Victoria Peterson and Keith Bishop over, expect the fringe element to desert soon). She is so relentless in what she will stoop to do in order to hang on to her power that the good people on the Durham Commitree -- and there really are many -- are either shouted down by her or simply not willing to go to the mat with her because they know she will never, ever stop until she gets her way. But good people are there, and they are biding their time until her fingers can be pried from the throat of the Committee, and they are not racists at all. They are reasonable, humane and much younger people who do not identify themselves solely - or even first -- by the color of their skin. But they have the misfortune to be in an organization with her and they have no hope of taking power from her unless they are willing to turn into very ugly human beings indeed. She will bend every rule and try every trick to hang on to power over the Committee, including telling people to boycott businesses of blacks who do not kowtow to her and lying about what time the meeting to elect new officers starts so she can arrive early with her sorority sisters and have herself re-annointed. She's that crazy and that nasty.

Until she dies, the white and black communities of this town will never come together because that is the last thing she does not want to see happen. If we come together, she loses all power -- because all of her power is predicted on fear: "the whites are taking over our precincts!" "the white progressives are trying to take over our town!" Which is why, if a leader in the white community comes along who tries to build a bridge between our white and black communities, she does everything in her power to destroy them. And, I am sorry to say, she is often helped by a handful of white people in the progressive community who benefit from back room deals with her. You know who you are, boys.

If people would just ignore her and start working together on common political interests, she would have no power left. But people still believe in the racism and hate she spreads around, and the fear it generates, and the hate it sparks from the other side, and that keeps her in business. So long as people react to her hate with the same, she will continue to hold power and you will be giving her exactly what she wants.

But, honestly, it's not fair to say the whole Durham Committee is like that. There are people who have been beaten down and humiliated by her on that Committee who hang in there despite their treatment at her hands because they want to change things from within. I hope they keep hanging in there. She's got to die sometime and, when she does, things will finally change. In the meantime, and I know it's hard, ignoring her and refusing to acknowledge her as any kind of leader -- and encouraging the media to look beyond her to other black leaders in Durham -- is the only way to not play into her hands.


Okay, I just when poking around into the Durham Committee's last finance report (their reports are always filed late) -- anyone can take a look at it by going to the state board of elections website and doing a campaign finance report search.

Despite hefty contributions by Farad Ali, Freda Black and Bill Bell toward the end of last year, they ended the year in the hole by several thousand dollars and there are a number of insufficient funds charges by their bank listed (along with a $160 expenditure for voter education paid out to... the Chicken Hut). So it will be interesting to see who forked over the money for this mailing -- I hope Hampton Dellinger had better sense than to give them money, given all the support he has from other black leaders and committees, not to mention John Hope Franklin. But some candidate probably gave them a big contribution to cover the mailing costs.

I'm betting Freda Black will think twice before she writes them another $500 check.


When I first voted in Durham, I was surprised to see people handing out voting lists on the sidewalks as I walked by. I thought this was some kind of NC tradition.

One of them pulled her hand back as I came up so I said with a smile "none for me?". "They're only for special people", she said.

I later found out that she was the representative of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.

How freaking un-American can you get?!

Go to the Herald-Sun website, find out who they endorse and vote against every last one of them.


"And if it's the Democratic Party giving them the money? I hope the Democratic candidates the Durham Committee failed to endorse raise holy hell as the party is not supposed to take sides during a primary, and bankrolling a PAC that does take sides is a clear violation of this rule."

All of the candidates for the Board of County Commissioners are Democrats. The Democratic Party is not endorsing any of these candidates over any of the other candidates, nor is it paying for any mailings that endorse any of these candidates, whether done by DCABP or anyone else.

As for TR, if he really thinks that committees for the advancement of white people don't exist in virtually every nook and cranny of American life, he is willfully blind and ignorant.


That's a little strong, Barry -- unless you have been here a fair number of years, you'd have a hard time figuring out the Friends of Durham was pretty much the equivalent of the Committee on the Affairs of White People. To a relative newcomer, who didn't know the (much prouder) history of the Durham Committee and was only going on their actions in recent years? Yeah, if you ask me, the Committee would seem extremely racist to any reasonable person, not just willfully blind and ignorant people. I think T.R.'s reaction is understandable considering the crap the Committee's been shoveling out in recent years. As you reap, so shall ye sow.

Trinity Rez

Barry just feels everything is for the advancement of white people (If it is for accountability and based on merit....hell no cannot have that. Some, in Barry's eyes, are just a little more equal than others). He is, I can almost assume with a 100% certainty, voting for Obama because Barry wants change (I like to see some past history of Obama bringing race relations to a different level other than associating with racist individuals. Unlike some I do not fall in love with words just action) If Barry isn't mature enough to get over his white guilt there is nothing I can do to help him. I am not sure if he really wants any help.


Since every comment you leave is dripping with condescension, I assume you're not really looking for any sort of dialogue here, are you?


Who said i was equating the Friends with the Committee?

Hey TR - when you read about this guy, do you think that all white people are totally fucked up? Neither do i. But then, when i read about Michael Vick, i didn't think he represented black people any more than Josef Fritzl does whites.


btw, you know what happens when you assume, right? I'm voting for Obama because i think he's the best remaining candidate. I certainly don't feel guilty for being white, or for being smarter than you. That's just the way things worked out.

If we lived in a society where accountability and merit were the determining factors in success, i'm pretty certain that George W. Bush would have been selling slushies down at the 7-1, not making Cs at Yale, n'est pas?


I don't think Barry's comment that another poster is "willfully blind and ignorant" really helped advance the dialog here either, to be honest.

Nor do I think that the presence of racists on one side of the fence justify the presence of racists on the other. It's wrong no matter who practices it.

Interesting how just the mention of the Committee can turn people on each other: united we stand; divided we - well, you know the rest.

Trinity Rez

Best candidate? How so? Great campaigning and great feel good slogans doe not equate with presidential performance. W won twice (none from my help)so what does that say about performance =campaigning? But just cause I call bigotry from both sides of the fence as I see them does not mean I am a republican supporter.

Smarter than me? Yea voting for a candidate that preaches racial harmony while attending a church that preaches racial hatred and you do not see a problem. I think I will count that lack of logical deduction against you. Hell I could campaign for racial progress and fool everyone. I have just as much, well probably more, experience and track record as Obama in fostering racial peace.

But we all know in Barry's world equal really isn't equal until the color of the players is known.

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