Friday, October 26, 2012
Steve Bocckino's unfair assumption about Omar Beasley
Am I the only person fed up with the rhetoric surrounding the 751 South project? Proponents of the controversial project have made it the litmus test in qualifying those willing to serve on the Durham Board of County Commissioners. The most recent attack proves that they are willing to win by any means necessary.
Who made them Malcolm X?
Steve Bocckino recently questioned the motives of Omar Beasley after the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black people received an $8,000 donation to help the group push their slate of candidates. The gift came from Neal and Janet Hunter, backers of the 751 South project. Boockino claims the gift raises a red flag related to Beasley’s position on development.
“I believe Mr. Beasley would like to keep his support of 751 South – and vice versa – a secret, but no one is buying it,” Bocckino told the Herald-Sun.
Bocckino’s attack of Beasley is based on the presence of paid poll workers distributing copies of the Durham Committee slate. In response, Beasley told the Herald-Sun he is using a combination of paid and volunteer poll workers.
The use of paid poll workers is a common practice. The People Alliance and white candidates have employed black poll workers to distribute literature to give the impression of black support. It’s common for candidates to pass out literature with an endorsement. Bocckino’s comments regarding Beasley are speculative.
It’s the type of low blow political maneuvering that has plagued this election. Sadly, the war between the local political action committees is a distraction from the most important election – the Presidency.
Bocckino and members of the People’s Alliance are unfair to expect Beasley to respond to a decision he did not make. He has promised to review what is placed before him, and to respond in a way that is best for the citizens of Durham. That’s all that can be expected. No candidate should be forced to have a platform based on a decision they are not forced to make.
What Bocckino fails to respect is the power of the Durham Committee during a presidential election. Beasley didn’t need the endorsement of the People’s Alliance. He gains nothing in hiding a pro-growth agenda. There are enough votes to win without the blessing of the People’s Alliance.
To imply that Hunter’s contribution to the Durham Committee proves the theory that Beasley is in the pocket of developers is unfounded. It’s unfair, malicious and has no place in this election. It’s rooted in speculation and is designed to prevent Beasley from taking additional votes away from Fred Foster.
No laws have been broken. A donation was made to support the slate of the Durham Committee. Would the conversation be shifted if Foster was on the Durham Committee slate? A more important question involves the validity of engaging in a deeper discussion about how growth can be done in Durham.
What is the relationship between developers and government? Do we want to become like Chapel Hill, and reject any movement toward development? Or, do we assume that developers are the anti-Christ and reject any thought of compromise.
If Beasley decides to have that discussion, does that make him wrong? Or, does that make him open to new possibilities. Bocckino and his anti-development thugs should back off the negative rhetoric long enough to give the process a chance to play out.
With that being said, I am opposed to 751 South. More conversation needs to be had. I think that will happen, but it can’t when people are holding a pistol at your head while forcing you to state your claim devoid of any conversation.