Not supporting Catotti for Durham City Council

I disagree with the Independent that a vote for Diane Catotti is a vote for smart growth or inner-city neighborhoods (see Our Endorsements, Sept. 26). As a community activist who recently helped organize my own inner-city Durham neighborhood, Cleveland-Holloway, I was shocked and saddened by the lack of concern, respect and understanding so consistently shown by Catotti, someone I voted for previously. Catotti has not shown sincere direct interest in any of the activities to which she has been invited by the neighborhood. Other members of the council have come to dinner, attended National Night Out, sat on porches, talked to neighbors and toured the area with residents. They have answered and returned phone calls and e-mails. Catotti has only intermittently shown this basic level of involvement by acknowledging receipt of e-mails and occasionally providing a response beyond “I’ll look into it.”

While residents within my small neighborhood two blocks from Durham City Hall were struggling to understand how our voice and input had been disregarded yet again, Catotti was singularly unhelpful. She blindly supported the nonprofit groups and was completely uncritical of the ways in which these organizations were working to further concentrate social services within one small geographic area, a strategy that has been repeatedly proven ineffectual when dealing with the provision of social services. She also showed no concern regarding the ways nonprofit groups in Durham utilize public funds to accomplish municipal mandates without oversight from the city as to whether or not the funds are used appropriately or in fact contribute to the desired outcome.

It still saddens me that someone who to all appearances and claims should represent me, my neighborhood and our concerns was actively antagonistic concerning my neighborhood’s plight. I will not vote for Catotti and strongly urge others to reconsider.

Natalie Spring