Earlier this year, Cora Cole-McFadden, the longest-serving city council member, passed up an expected mayoral bid to seek reelection. She deserves credit for being a voice for equity, both on the council and in her previous job as the director of the city's Equal Opportunity/Equity Assurance Department. She was a trailblazer, the first African-American woman to run a city department. In office, she's pushed to bolster the city's women- and minority-owned businesses.
Still, we think it's time for a change in Ward 1—a decision owing primarily to the quality of her two challengers.
First, we want to give a shout-out to Brian Callaway, the coordinator of energy and sustainability for Durham Public Schools and an impressive newcomer to the city's political scene. Callaway has offered thoughtful ideas for tax reforms and policing concerns. His criticism of the Sheriff's Office—over which the city council has no control—is spot-on, and he has smart proposals for downtown development.
But we're endorsing DeDreana Freeman, a well-connected, well-regarded community organizer and nonprofit administrator. She was instrumental in helping her Golden Belt neighborhood receive a historic designation, she's served on the city's planning commission for the last three years, and she's also been president of the InterNeighborhood Council of Durham. She's a strong advocate for affordable housing and rightly argues that the "penny for housing" the city passed in 2012 didn't go far enough.
With her background on the planning commission and her pledge to take direction from her constituents, Freeman would be a strong voice for responsible neighborhood development.