Thursday, December 13, 2012
Don Moffitt's comments cause for concerns among black voters
Within the next few weeks members of the Durham City Council will appoint a person to replace Michael Woodard. Woodard leaves to take his seat in the North Carolina State Senate. The race is between Don Moffitt and Anita Daniels.
Who wins will depend on the leverage of two of Durham’s Political Action Committees- the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the People’s Alliance.
To no one’s surprise, The Durham Committee has endorsed Daniels, who lost in a bid to become a member of the Board of County Commissioners. Moffitt, who has been running for public office since 2008, has been endorsed by the People’s Alliance. The council’s vote has bearing beyond selecting a black woman or a white man.
It’s true the city council will face tough challenges related to the race of its members after Howard Clement steps down. For now, the battle is a continuation of the rhetoric that consumed the race for County Commission.
Who holds the biggest stick in Durham?
It’s a question that Moffitt placed on the table on December 11, 2009. After the vote for leadership of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, Moffitt expressed his thoughts on the blog Bull City Rising.
“I got involved with PA because I wanted to help elect great people to local office,” Moffitt wrote. “PA is the only PAC in Durham that welcomes anyone's and everyone's participation. The People's Alliance is THE big tent in Durham.”
Moffitt’s comments regarding the affairs of the DCABP exposed his thoughts on the leadership of the most powerful black political action committee in the state of North Carolina. His criticism dug like a knife in the gut of the organization that has fought for the rights of black people since 1935.
“If you're fed up with other PACs in Durham, you can join PA at www.durhampa.org. You WILL be able to vote!,” Moffitt concluded in his post.
Moffitt made a valid point about the limits of the DCABP. It is true that only a few were allowed to vote the night Lavonia Allison was able to continue as the chair of the DCABP due to a controversial reading of the organizations constitution. I was among the many that attacked Allison and the DCABP for failing to rid itself of Allison’s ways. The difference between my comments and Moffitt’s is I’m not running for public office.
Moffitt’s pitted the PA against the DCABP, and, as a person hoping to lead all of Durham’s citizens, made it clear that he views the PA as a more advanced organization.
It’s that perspective that has Durham in a mess today. The battle between the two PAC’s has taken center stage over the selection of quality candidates. You’re left wondering if members of the Durham City Council will be able to make a decision based on the credentials of the candidates, versus the power of the organizations that help elect them to office.
Moffitt’s relationship with PA raises serious concerns in appointing him to the council. The best option is for the council to appoint Daniels, and allow Moffitt to prove his worth among voters by running for the office. Placing him on the council will cause tension that Durham can’t afford during a season of tremendous growth. His negative comments about the DCABP make it difficult to embrace an appointment to the council.
Moffitt’s 2009 statements regarding the DCABP are more than insensitive. They reflect the thoughts of a man who had already run for political office. He lacked the diplomacy to keep his thoughts about the DCABP to himself. You can make that statement among friends, but when you place it before the entire community you must face the consequences.
So, Mr. Moffitt, how do you feel about the DCABP? While you consider you answer, do members of the city council care?
If not, we have a serious problem in Durham.