Durham Mayoral Editorial

Endorsements are important but not decisive.

So while I want to congratulate City Councilman Steve Schewel on winning the People’s Alliance (PA) endorsement for the Durham Mayoral election, secondly, and more importantly, I must take the Durham Herald Sun to task, particularly reporter Zachary Eanes.

Eanes perspective typifies the corporate media culture’s reading of events: the way it was will dictate the way it is.

This careless reporting replicates the game played by the national media in the Presidential Election.

The old party big-wigs say “X is true” ergo in the media “X” should be reported as fait accompli. Both the Republicans, with Trump stomping their traditional candidates, and the Democrats, with their short-sighted and egotistical attempts to suppress the Bernie Sanders campaign, have learned a lesson about disregarding the outsider candidate at their peril. So should the media!

editorial by our publisher: Aaron Mandel

In an article published a week ago today, the Herald Sun and their wet behind the ears, new to Durham reporter callously and carelessly dismissed Pierce Freelon’s candidacy for Mayor.

Eanes’s lead: “In terms of the mayor’s race, it’s going to come down to Farad and Steve (Schewel) end of discussion. That is it,” said Eugene Brown, a former city councilman.

I have not personally made up my mind who I am going to vote for amongst the candidates. I am a strong believer that we have multiple good choices. This article is not an endorsement of any candidate.

However, the Herald-Sun and Eanes (and to a lesser extent reporter Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan) have presumed to tell their Durham readership the race is over.

Vaughan led her article yesterday with the claim that no People’s Alliance endorsed municipal candidate has lost since 2009.

Eanes article Thursday asserted that Freelon’s candidacy is barely viable given that he did not win the endorsements of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the Friends of Durham. Candidate and former Councilman Farad Ali won those.

courtesy of Bill City Throwback

courtesy of Bill City Throwback

Eanes proceeds to quote a handful of old, exclusively male, politicians about how valuable the endorsements of Durham PACs are. These gentlemen, experienced and wizened as they are DO NOT represent the Durham of today. This handful, average age 61, includes former councilman Eugene Brown (74), as well as State Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr.(64), State Sen. Mike Woodward (58), and Omar Beasley (46). They have witnessed a Durham with an incumbent Mayor in the race seven times in a row. (Not this time, fellas.) Where were the opinions of younger politicians like Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece?

Beasley, it should be noted, lost his 2012 race for Durham County Commissioner despite the endorsement of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, which he now chairs.

Perhaps it is no surprise Eanes takes this perspective on Freelon, after all the Durham Herald Sun, is part of a huge national conglomerate, The McClatchy Company which is headquartered 3,000 miles from Durham. Eanes himself (according to his Linked-In) was interning for the national media in Washington D.C. less than a year ago.

It should be noted that City Councilman Charlie Reece took to Twitter to publicly note Bumgardner-Vaughn’s assertion didn’t mention the judicial races and county-wide races that People’s Alliance endorsed candidates lost since 2009.

It should also be recognized that the median age in Durham is thirty-two. We are a city filled with newcomers and young people. As Freelon also frequently notes, the median age on the City Council is sixty-two.

Durham’s population has grown by 65,000, more than 30%, during Mayor Bell’s sixteen year reign.

What the Herald-Sun’s stodgy reporting misses is Freelon surrounded by circles of admirers late every Friday night in front of Major the Bull leading the Durham Cypher.

Pierce Freelon with throngs at the Durham Cypher

Pierce Freelon with throngs at the Durham Cypher

What these senior citizen politicians might acknowledge, if they even knew about it, is fellow Durham rapper G Yamazawa’s claim that Freelon is from a legendary family.

The Durham community knows and not just the younger crowd.

Freelon’s rallies and events are peopled by the Durham cultural royalty like Branford Marsalis and Dasan Ahanu.

The Durham Mayoral election is far from over. And for the town’s only daily newspaper to treat it as otherwise is a shameful failure.

Freelon campaign event

Freelon campaign event

If you are interested in hearing from the candidates directly, please come to our MayorUP Durham mayoral forums. You will have an opportunity to ask all of the leading candidates questions.

MAYOR UP updated

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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