The People's Alliance's interview committee recommended that the PAC endorse pastor and longtime activist Mark-Anthony Middleton for the Ward 2 seat. But then, at the group's endorsement meeting, some McDougald Terrace residents made a persuasive case to PA members for John Rooks Jr.
With much respect for their enthusiasm, we think the PA's interview committee had it right.
Both talk about the need to address the city's equity and income gaps, but Rooks is floating a naïve idea to enact a five-year moratorium on downtown development. While he's correct that the city needs to focus on revitalizing underserved neighborhoods, it's not an either-or situation.
Middleton has many of the same overarching goals, but he also has the experience to achieve those goals in practical and realistic ways. He has a proven depth of knowledge and has long been a fixture in conversations about housing and policing through his prominent role in Durham CAN; he often clashed with former police chief Jose Lopez and was part of the city committee that selected C.J. Davis to replace him.
Middleton has offered a detailed proposal to link police budgets to "things that lessen the likelihood of contact with law enforcement," including job training and education. In addition, he's proposed what he calls the Ready Durham initiative, a "partnership between the city, educational institutions, and exceptional corporate citizens to prepare our low-income, educationally challenged, and unemployed residents for participation in our renaissance above and beyond housekeeping, food service, and other low-wage jobs."
He'll serve Durham well on the city council.