In our paper two weeks ago, writer Matt Hartman took a look at Durham’s scandal-plagued city council as PACs begin to make endorsements and voters gear up to cast their ballots in the municipal election this fall. Readers had some thoughts about the story. 

From reader Lee Peterson, via email:

Can we please have Mayor William Bell back to resume Durhams’ path to excellence?

Perhaps some public citizen speaker should hold a large picture of Mayor Bell up and show it to the current administration.

They could remind these officials that Mayor Bell put Durham solidly on the path it has taken to this point.

And they could further admonish them that the shameful pettiness of personal politics is taking Durham in exactly the opposite direction.

One of the administration stated that it was up to the voters to hold other officials accountable. Unfortunately it won’t work that way.

The voters will not be aware of the intimate details of the animosity of petty conflict extant in Durham City government.

It would be better if those putting their own interests above those of the City of Durham would take the lesson of the Mayor Bell story and hold *themselves* accountable—resign, if they can’t clean up their act.

The current administration lives too much in their own personal moments. Adopting some temporal perspective might foster humility and better behavior.

And from reader Susan W., also via email:

I was confused about the August 9th cover page and editorial Chaos in the Bullring. When I watch the recordings of City Council meetings on YouTube, I am always impressed with Mayor O’Neal’s calm voice, emphasis on respect and values, and her warm treatment of persons who come to speak. The article quoted James Chavis correctly about people treated with disrespect, but it seemed to deflect to all of Council when Mr. Chavis specifically mentioned Mr. Williams. In fairness, I appreciate that this was written as an opinion piece. Even so, the editorial’s references to the mayor as a “stern parent” and Dr. Holsey-Hyman as “almost in tears” places an emotional veil that undermines the calm, thoughtful discussions of important items including the budget issue when Mayor O’Neal, and Council members Freeman and Holsey-Hymen were the only ones to vote for raises for first responders whose low pay is causing understaffing.  

Be sure to check out the second installment in Matt’s series that takes a look at the impact of crime and policing in Durham—and how those issues could affect the upcoming election—this week. 

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