PA Redistricting Statement, July 2011

PA Redistricting Statement

The PA Coordinating Committee sent the following statement to the state redistricting committee members. This case will likely end up in court. Our opposition statement, and those that you personally sent, will be in the testimony records.
The Durham People’s Alliance is firmly opposed to the proposed redistricting lines. This is due to the packing of African-American voters, which makes no sense. Durham has a long history of cross-racial voting. Split-precincts, beyond the administrative difficulties and costs, will make it extremely difficult for citizens to know whom they are voting for and to understand who represents them.

Durham voters are a distinct community of interest, and choose to vote on issues rather than race. Take a look at Durham city council, county commission, and our legislative delegation. Historically, Durham voters have chosen representation without bias to race or gender. People’s Alliance is an issue-based community organization, and we feel our current delegation represents our issues, our city, and our constituents very well. If these proposed lines are enacted, voters will be disenfranchised and polarized. The current proposed districts show a misuse and misinterpretation of the Voting Rights Act.

[signed] Durham People’s Alliance Coordinating Committee

Education Committee to Host Community Meeting

The People’s Alliance Education Committee is hosting a community meeting with DPS Superintendent Dr. Eric Becoats on Tuesday, August 16th. The Education Committee wants to learn about the new equity allocation plan. This plan is a formula for allocation of resources within DPS.

Here are some items that members of our group would like Dr. Becoats to address:

  1. 1. The “basics” of the allocation plan, including the formula and the kinds of teaching positions that are included in using it; for example, does the formula only allocate core teachers, such as a third grade teacher, or are other positions included?

  2. 2. What positions are allocated “outside” the formula? For example, how are AIG, ESL, special education, art, music, library, counseling and PE positions allocated?

  3. 3. We think there is a “supplies” component to the formula. Could you please explain this?

  4. 4. What effect, if any, does test performance have under this plan?

  5. 5. What effect, if any, does the General Assembly’s requirement for hiring in K-3 have on this plan? What effect does it have overall for staffing in DPS?

All are welcome. The meeting will be held at the Stanford Warren Library at 7:00 p.m. on August 16th.

751 South - City Council to Take Action June 27th

After previously deciding not to vote on annexation of the 751 Assemblage until the pending superior court case over the county’s rezoning is heard, the city council has now scheduled a meeting on June 27th to consider providing water and sewer to the project without annexation. (Update: They will also discuss voluntary annexation).

Recall how the developer bought up several low-priced properties within the watershed, zoned for low density housing specifically to protect our region’s drinking water. The developer then privately surveyed one arm of the publicly owned Jordan Lake to move their new property outside the watershed boundary, and had a former county Planning Director quietly approve it. A majority of our County Commissioners then obliged the developer by not performing an independent survey, and even rejected a citizen-paid survey! Suddenly the developer’s property allowed high densities and skyrocketed in value.

Rezoning the property for ultrahigh density demanded several tricks using the County Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the denial of citizens’ protest petition rights. That issue now sits before a Superior Court judge.

Meanwhile, the developers require several actions from Durham’s City Council. The first of many steps was shifting the Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundary where the city provides services. Once again Durham’s elected representatives could have said no, but with Council members Woodard and Catotti dissenting, the City Council favored the developer.

Sustainable development means protecting our drinking water and other needs, not just for the next 20 years, but for the next 200 years. People of this region will always drink the water from our reservoirs, including Jordan Lake, and increasingly that water carries many pollutants after running off paved surfaces or through sewage systems. Preserving the critical watershed protects our water resources from pollutants flushed from our clothes, bodies, and pavements.

The City Council can stop the damage this project will bring our region by refusing to supply water and sewer. The area’s soils can’t handle any more septic systems than the site’s original zoning allowed, and without municipal sewage treatment, density will be limited. That limitation will lessen the damage to our region’s water supply.

Please write Mayor Bell and the city council TODAY and ask that they vote NO on providing utilities without annexation. We ask that they postpone this vote until the Superior Court Case regarding the County’s rezoning has been concluded. Council@DurhamNC.Gov,

City council is scheduled to vote on this matter is at 3PM on June 27 in the Committee Room (2nd floor of City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza). Please mark your calendar and attend to speak against this if you are able.

The city should not provide water and sewer to an area that it is not guaranteed to annex. A thorough analysis of this project has concluded it will be a higher cost to the city than the money it will provide. This fact, in addition to it being an environmentally sensitive area and major water source for the Triangle, calls for a “NO” vote from City Council.


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