Sunday, July 27, 2008

Police as immigration agents in the Triangle

The Durham BORDC meeting yesterday focused mainly on local police agencies that have joined the Federal 287g program and strategizing to support the human and Constitutional rights of immigrants.  It was a large meeting and had representatives from other groups and Orange and Wake counties.  Below is the situation according to the speakers and my notes, but I have not verified everything.   
287g was created in 1996 and apparently deputizes local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants, and provides a 4 week training course and funding for this.  There are two models for this, detention, in which trained officers look for undocumented immigrants, and field, in which officers begin the deportation process against people who have already been arrested.  The Durham Police have one anonymous trained officer, and use the field model.  The Durham Sheriff has apparently joined the program also, but no deputies have been trained yet. 
There have been two cases in Orange County, which is not part of 287g, only one case involving Latinos.  In one case people were held in Alamance County because of lack of space or specifically to get them deported.  I think it was also said that Durham sends people to Alamance to be deported.  Another person overstayed a student visa, and she was arrested after being found in a background check for paperwork of some kind, and it fell to neighbors to tell her 11-year-old daughter where her mother was.  The mother was held for 4 months.   
Wake County recently trained 14 officers and I think Wake County is one of the places that sets up supposed DWI Sunday checkpoints near churches with Latino parishioners.      
In 2007 the General Assembly (I think recommended by a committee which current Democratic candidate for US Senate, Kay Hagan, was a member of, and the Democrats control the legislature) gave $270,000 dollars to the non-governmental Sheriff Association.  Despite this amount not being completely spent, the Assembly gave them another million dollars recently!
After discussing the whys of the issue, we discussed actions to take, but I don't think this is the place to speak about preliminary plans.  If you want to get involved, the next meeting will be at one of the libraries at 3pm on August 23rd.    
Because of the heat around this issue, it is one of the main points where the right has to be opposed.  As the country gets into worsening economic and international crises, immigrants, especially Latinos, are being scapegoated as the cause of problems, not the system or those in power.   Many capitalists and their politicians in various parties want to split the working class by telling native-born workers that getting rid of immigrants will improve their lot, or that the immigrants are trying to replace them, and telling immigrants that they will be deported if they stand up for their rights.  There is a battle going on in the dominant media, with some villifying immigrants (like talk radio, where it would apparently be a "revolution" if paramilitary vigilantes go patrol the border with Mexico) and others being less radical right or in the middle (like local news media), but not defending human rights.  The Democrats won't fix the immigration problem.  David Price apparently only wants to deport felons, but I wonder if that means they will escape their sentences and it legitimizes the idea of 287g, and Price has not opposed building a wall along the southern border. As with making Bush-Cheney accountable for their crimes, Price puts up some resistance, but is against a full progressive counterattack.   
People think that something like the Nazis attacking the Jews, leftists, homosexuals, Roma, etc. as the source of Germany's problems or the detention of Japanese-Americans and expropriation of their property during WWII can't happen in 21st century America, but the villification of immigrants is well underway and who knows how bad it could become if the economy gets much worse and the people are too divided or  to fight back effectively.    

BOCC meeting Monday - $2M for Merck?

Yet again Durham is considering giving out economic incentives, this time as much as $2 million dollars to Merck, for a $300 million project with about 150 positions.  The IBM incentive was approved a while ago, though from the coverage in the Herald-Sun it sounds like the project will have more of an impact than the few positions it will create.   

           [Please contact the Clerk to the Board at (919) 560-0025 for information related to items on the agenda.]


(See Item No. 13)





Monday, July 28, 2008

County Commissioners' Chambers

200 East Main Street, Durham, North Carolina


"Public Charge"


The Board of Commissioners asks its members and citizens to conduct themselves in a respectful, courteous manner, both with the Board and fellow citizens.  At any time, should any member of the Board or any citizen fail to observe this public charge, the Chairman will ask the offending person to leave the meeting until that individual regains personal control.  Should decorum fail to be restored, the Chairman will recess the meeting until such time that a genuine commitment to the public charge is observed.


As a courtesy to others, please turn off cell phones during the meeting.


7:00 P.M. Regular Session


1.     Opening of Regular Session—Pledge of Allegiance                                                                    5 min.


2.     Agenda Adjustments                                                                                                                   5 min.


3.     Announcements                                                                                                                          5 min.


National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility:

The Department of Homeland Security will hold a public meeting for comments on the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility on Tuesday, July 29, 2008, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Butner-Stem Middle School, 501 East D Street in Butner, N.C.  The meeting will take place in the gymnasium.


Durham Neighborhood College:

The Fall 2008 deadline for Durham's Neighborhood College is Friday, August 1.  Interested citizens should submit their applications to the Durham County Clerk to the Board of Commissioners at 200 East Main Street, second floor.  Applications can be downloaded from the County website at or the City website at  Those selected for this unique opportunity will learn more about the operations and services of local government.


Public Meeting at Main Library:

On Tuesday, July 29, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., Durham County Library will host a public meeting to gather citizen input on the renovation of the Main Library.  To determine the needs of the community, the library staff desires to hear your ideas on what you want in your new library.  The public meeting will be held in the auditorium of the Main Library at 300 N. Roxboro Street in Durham.


4.     Minutes

                                                                                                                                                       5 min.

a.  May 28, 2008 Budget Worksession

b.  May 29, 2008 Budget Worksession

c.  May 30, 2008 Budget Worksession

c.  June 23, 2008 Regular Session


5.     Left Blank Intentionally


6.     Recognize Tax Administration Staff for Excellent Collections Year

                                                                                                                                                       5 min.

The Tax Department has achieved a collection rate of 98.87% for fiscal year 07-08 compared to a collection rate from the previous year of 98.74% for the County.  They also accomplished a collection percentage of 98.70% for the City of Durham compared to the previous year collection rate of 98.59%.


The contribution of all staff members within the Tax Department has ensured that Durham County and Durham City achieved this outstanding collection rate.


Resource Person(s): Kimberly Simpson, Tax Administrator


County Manager's Recommendation: That the Board recognize Tax staff and congratulate them on a job well done.


7.     Consent Agenda

                                                                                                                                                     20 min.

a.   Little Mountain Farm Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant Agreement (authorize the execution of the CWMTF Grant Agreement, approve the acquisition of CWMTF conservation easements for the riparian buffer portions of the farm at the full appraised value, and authorize an interfund loan from the General fund to the capital project until the reimbursement funds for the project are received from CWMTF and the FRPP program);

b.   Matthews Road Open Space Clean Water Management Trust Fund Grant Agreement (authorize the execution of the CWMTF Grant Agreement and approve the conveyance of conservation easements to the State of North Carolina on the North Triangle Realty property);

c.    Modification to NCHFA Loan Documents (approve the modifications to the Installments Financing Agreements with NCHFA dated April 9, 2001 and the corresponding modifications to the Deeds of Trust; authorize the execution of the modifications to the loan documents);

d.   Approval of a Grant Agreement to Project Access of Durham County for a Coordinated Specialty Care Access Program for the Uninsured (authorize that the County enter into a grant agreement in the amount of $451,000 to support operational costs for July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009);

e.   Contract—Turner Business Appraisers Inc. (approve the renewal of the contract to conduct audits and consulting; the contract amount is not to exceed $50,000);

f.    Contract—County Tax Services Inc. (approve the renewal of the contract to conduct audits and consulting; the contract amount is not to exceed $77,000);

g.    Contract—American Solutions for Business (approve the contract to design, print, and mail forms for the Tax Administration Department; contract amount is not to exceed $132,000 for design, printing, and mailing and $200,000 for postage);

h.   Property Tax Releases and Refunds for Fiscal Year 2007-2008 (accept the property tax release and refund report for June 2008 as presented and authorize the Tax Assessor to adjust the tax records as outlined by the report);

i.    Appointment—NCACC Annual Conference Voting Delegate (appoint Commissioner Becky M. Heron as the voting delegate for the annual conference and Assistant County Manager Deborah Craig-Ray as the alternate);

j.    Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 09BCC000001 and Capital Project Amendment No. 09CPA000001—$426,945 Appropriation of General Fund Mental Health Designated Fund Balance to Increase the Mental Health Crisis Center/Oakleigh Building Renovation (No.: DC091) from $2,800,000 to $3,226,945;

k.   Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 09BCC000002—Appropriation of General Fund Fund Balance ($850,000) to Durham Public Schools for City of Medicine School Academy Lease Payments (to support lease payments through June 30, 2011);

l.    Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 08BCC000077—Bethesda and Lebanon Fire Districts—Appropriation of Fire District Fund Balance (approve in the amount of $24,400 for FY2008 to appropriate fire district fund balance to Bethesda and Lebanon Fire Districts in order to satisfy the final payment to the General Fund for reimbursement of volunteer salaries);

m.  Revised Interlocal Agreement for Little River Regional Park (approve the Interlocal Agreement between Durham and Orange Counties for the management and operation of the Little River Regional Park);

n.   Approve the Sale of County Surplus Property (approve the sale of 2230 N. Oak Ridge Boulevard to P.A.P.'s Custom Home Building for $15,000, 1908 Essex Road to P.A.P.'s Custom Home Building for $6,500, 1750 &1756 Ruffin Street to P.A.P.'s Custom Home Building for $6,000, 1200 Grant Street to Sweet Ivory CDC Inc. for $1,020, and 1101 Hazel Street to Sweet Ivory CDC Inc. for $728);

o.   Third Amendment to Interlocal Agreement with Durham Public Schools (approve the amendment and authorize the execution of said amendment);

p.   Resolution for Issuance of Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs) (approve this resolution and authorize the execution of the required documents); and

q.   Approve the Work First Planning Committee as recommended by the Department of Social Services.


8.    Public Hearing to Consider Allocating Economic Development Investment Funds to Merck & Co. Inc.

                                                                                                                                                     15 min.

Merck & Co. Inc. is considering an expansion to its pharmaceutical manufacturing facility on its existing 257-acre site located in Treyburn Corporate Park.  A new bulk production building would be constructed as well as additions to the warehouse, lab, and administration and utility buildings would be constructed to house this expansion.  Merck develops, manufactures, and commercializes pharmaceutical products.


The proposed new investment for the Treyburn campus is estimated to be approximately $300 million.  Upon completion, Merck would manufacture a vaccine for chicken pox.  In addition to the capital investment associated with the construction of the building, it is anticipated that there would be approximately 150 new jobs established in Durham County. 


Merck officials have stated that Durham County's financial support for the project is a key consideration in finalizing the decision.  Merck is requesting that the County participate in the costs of site preparation activities, such as site clearing and grading, and extension of utilities.  The competing site in Pennsylvania would not incur such expenses.


Staff is recommending that the County participate in this economic development project by reimbursing Merck & Co., Inc. up to $2 million for the costs of site preparation activities and extension of utilities.


This public hearing was advertised on Friday, July 18, 2008 as required by Statute.


Resource Person(s): Carolyn P. Titus, Acting County Manager


County Manager's Recommendation:  Hold the public hearing, and based upon the information received, approve the reimbursement contract between the County of Durham and Merck & Co. Inc. in an amount up to $2,000,000 to allow for the reimbursement of costs associated with the site preparation, such as site clearing and grading, and the extension of utilities.


9.    Public Hearing—Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Text Change—Commercial Neighborhood Minor Special Use Permit (CN mSUP) (TC0700018)

                                                                                                                                                     10 min.

Receive public comments on Text Change – Commercial Neighborhood Minor Special Use Permit (CN mSUP) (TC0700018) and adopt an ordinance amending the Unified Development Ordinance, incorporating revisions to Article 3, Applications and Permits, and Article 6, District Intensity Standards.


Resource Person(s):  Steven L. Medlin, AICP, City-County Planning Director, and Julia Mullen, Planner


County Manager's Recommendation:  Conduct a public hearing on the proposed UDO text change and, if appropriate based on the comments received during the hearing, approve the change.


10.   Resolution Calling an Advisory Referendum on Imposing a Local Prepared Food Tax

                                                                                                                                                     30 min.

       The General Assembly has enacted Session Law 2008-116, which authorizes the Durham County Board of Commissioners to call an advisory referendum on levying a prepared food tax of one percent.  The Board of Commissioners and the Durham City Council have previously adopted an interlocal agreement which sets forth the expenditures of revenues which would be generated by the tax.  In addition, the County has procured an opinion poll which indicates that a majority of the voters in the County are in favor of a prepared food tax.  Presumably, part of this support is because 40 percent of the proceeds of the prepared food tax proceeds are expected to come from out-of-county residents.  If the referendum is favorable, then the Board of Commissioners could subsequently levy the tax.


        Resource Person(s): S. C. Kitchen, County Attorney


County Manager's Recommendation: Adopt the resolution calling for a referendum on the prepared food tax.


11.   Major Site Plan and Preliminary Plat—Bhangoo Property (D06-929)

                                                                                                                                                     10 min.

Approval of Major Site Plan and Preliminary Plat for "Bhangoo Property" submitted by Coulter Jewell Thames, PA, on behalf of Bhangoo Development Company LLC, to develop 51-single-family lots on 25.12 acres zoned Planned Development Residential 2.09 (PDR 2.09) and Rural Residential (RR) and Eno Protected Area (E-B) watershed overlay.


[The site is located on the east side of Guess Road between St. Albans Court and Prologue Road.  PINs 0825-01-15-3374, 0825-01-05-9160, and 0825-03-04-6658.]


The Development Review Board recommended approval of the site plan on November 30, 2007 by a vote of 8-0.


Resource Person(s): Steven L. Medlin, AICP, City-County Planning Director, and Anne Kramer, Planner


County Manager's Recommendation: Approval of the site plan and preliminary plat.


12.   Settlement of 2007 Property Taxes and the Charge of 2008 Property Taxes to the Tax Collector

                                                                                                                                                     15 min.

As required by G.S. 105-373, the Tax Administrator is herewith submitting the settlement report of 2007 property taxes.


G.S. 105-373 (h) further authorizes the Board of County Commissioners to relieve the Tax Collector of the charges of taxes on classified motor vehicles that are one year or more past due.


Additionally, the General Statutes bar use of any remedies for collection enforcement that is not instituted within 10 years of said taxes becoming due.


Furthermore pursuant to G.S. 105-321 (b), the Board of County Commissioners charges the Tax Collector with the 2007 Property Tax Receipts.


The Tax Administrator requests authorization to relieve charges of taxes that are beyond the statute of limitation of 10 years and those vehicles that are more than two years past due.  This request is consistent with last year's settlement, which was authorized by the Board.


Resource Person(s): Kimberly H. Simpson, Tax Administrator


County Manager's Recommendation: Receive and approve the 2007 Property Tax Settlement Report; charge the Tax Collector with 2008 Property Taxes; and authorize the relieving of taxes that are more than 10 years past due and motor vehicles taxes that are more than two years past due.


13.   Board and Commission Appointments

                                                                                                                                                     10 min.

Vonda Sessoms, Clerk to the Board, will distribute ballots to the Board to make appointments to the following boards and commissions:


·      Alcoholic Beverage Control Board

·      Area Mental Health Board

·      Citizen's Advisory Committee

·      Civic Center Authority

·      EMS Advisory Council

·      Library Board

·      Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee

·      Women's Commission


Resource Person(s): Vonda Sessoms


County Manager's Recommendation:  Vote to appoint members to the above-mentioned boards/commissions.


14.   Closed Session

                                                                                                                                                     30 min.

The Board is requested to adjourn to closed session to consult with an attorney regarding claims and to preserve the attorney-client privilege pursuant to N.C. General Statute § 143-318.11(a)(3) and to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of business or industry pursuant to 143-318.11(a)(4).




Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BORDC and anti-war events

The Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee has its first meeting in a while this Saturday, the 26th, at 2:30 at Southwest Library.  On the agenda are strategizing with a representative of the Southern Coalition and others against Durham law enforcement policing immigration rules, through ICE's 287g program, discussion of the pros and cons of Instant Runoff Voting, rendition flights from NC, and other issues.
The commemoration of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks are coming up early in August, and there will be a demonstration against an attack on Iran on the 2nd in Raleigh.  
"The NC Coalition to Stop War on Iran invites you to:

WHEN: AUGUST 2 at 2:00pm
* The U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue to fail thanks to the resilence of the people there and massive opposition here at home. These wars are producing a deepening economic crisis affecting working people in this country, with billions of dollars being spent on wars abroad rather than on peoples' needs at home--the unemployment rate had its highest spike in 23 years, fuel and food prices have shot through the roof, and home forecloures and evictions are increasing.
Despite this, the U.S. appears to be poised to attack yet another country  in the Middle East, this time taking aim at Iran. The Bush administration continues to levy public threats against the people of Iran and Congress is currently debating a bi-partisan resolution that calls for a total land, air, and sea blockade on Iran, similar to the resolution passed before the invasion of Iraq . The possibility of war on Iran seems more likely each day, and we must take action to stop the U.S. from waging another imperialist war on the backs of working people here at home.
On August 2nd, people around the country will be organizing demonstrations in a coordinated day of action to demand no war on Iran. Over 40 cities are participating in this day of action and more are signing on to the call each day. Join us in the Triangle on August 2 at 2:00pm at the State Capitol building in Raleigh for a march and rally to say "NO!" to the U.S.'s plans for war on Iran and to demand an end to the bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Only the people can stop the war!""
As always there are anti-war protests on Fridays in Chapel Hill at the corner of East Franklin Street and Elliot Road (Village Plaza) from 5-6pm and on Saturdays in Durham at Brightleaf Square from 12-1pm. 
The Triangle Socialist Forum is not meeting right now, but there will probably be a meeting in September in Chapel Hill. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Write-in candidates for president

Saturday the Green Party nominated former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her running mate Rosa Clemente as their presidential and vice presidential candidates.  For more information, see the post below, from  Because of North Carolina's discriminatory ballot access laws, now they have to get 500 signatures (but really 1000 just in case), due July 28th.  To volunteer locally, contact the Triangle Greens (
Nader, who the Under the Dome column in the N&O mistakenly called a Green, is also seeking write-in status, and a few days ago got on to the ballot in South Carolina.  He was also in Raleigh recently.  The Socialist Party has also been petitioning.  I don't know if any Marxist parties are petitioning, but at least there are some options.  

Cynthia McKinney Wins Green Party Presidential Nomination

July 12, 2008


Cynthia McKinney won the Green Party of the United States presidential nomination at the July 12 GP-US Convention in Chicago. McKinney, a former Member of Congress from Georgia, received 313 of 532 first round votes to earn nomination by Greens delegates from across the country excited that she will be their standard bearer this year. Hip-hop activist and journalist Rosa Clemente was selected to be the vice-presidential candidate of the Greens.

McKinney served six terms representing DeKalb County's 4th Congressional District before moving to California and becoming a Green. About 800 Greens are attending the convention at the Chicago Symphony Center.

Clemente said she accepted McKinney's invitation to be her running mate because she believes the former Georgia Congresswoman's platform addresses issues not addressed by Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

"I chose to do this, not for me, but for my generation, my community and my daughter," said Clemente, 35, in the statement. "I don't see the Green Party as an alternative, I see it as imperative."


Friday, July 04, 2008

Celebrate the 4th in struggle

Though hostilities began earlier and Mecklenberg County declared independence May 20, 1775, today celebrates our Independence Day. It was one of the first national liberation wars, though since then our country has been the enemy of the independence and sovereignty of many countries for more than a century.  The War for Independence, the American Revolution, was also one of the first bourgeois democratic revolutions, the type of revolution in which the capitalist class seizes power from the declining feudal elite and - ideally - creates a more or less democratic political system and advances the capitalist economy.  The French Revolution and the English Civil War are two other famous examples of bourgeois democratic revolutions.  Our revolution was further advanced when the Northern industrial capitalists had to help destroy slavery and temporarily advance democracy in the South in their struggle to seize national power from the Southern agricultural capitalists.  Equality before the law was also advanced in the Civil Rights struggle, Gay Liberation, and other movements after WWII.  
These revolutions are part of the progressive role of capitalism and the capitalist class in history.  But in countries that still have feudal remnants and imperialist oppression, the capitalists are increasingly willing to settle with feudalism and imperialism, because they correctly fear that once the people rise up in revolution, and mass action is required since there are not enough capitalists to carry out a revolution on their own, the people will radicalize and also overthrow capitalism.  Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is a rare capitalist leader of a modern-day revolution, while Maoists are a leading force in Nepal's bourgeois democratic revolution. 
But the bourgeois democratic revolution is only the first of two stages in modern revolution, and the advanced capitalist countries have one step left.  In the Russian Empire, the bourgeois democratic revolution failed in 1905 but succeeded in 1917 and the capitalist and republican Provisional Government was established.  But a few months later the proletarian or socialist revolution, led by the Bolsheviks in alliance with other groups, seized power from the capitalists and created the Soviet form of working class democracy and advanced the socialist economy.  Revisionism has triumphed in every socialist country, resulting in counter-revolution, just as reaction sometimes temporarily succeeded in reversing capitalist revolutions, such as in France.  Because of the popularity of socialism, many capitalist revolutionaries have called themselves Marxist and said they were leading socialist revolutions, such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.       
Now the question is, when will we claim our own power, like the patriots did in the 1770's against Britain, and realize that we don't have to accept the present order and that "another world is possible," and that it is socialist?   
At present, we are facing rearguard action just to safeguard the level of democracy and rights we have left from attacks by the Bush Administration and the majority of the Democrats in Congress, so below is a notice from the national Bill of Rights Defense Committee about an ad in today's New York Times and the People's Campaign for the Constitution.  The capitalist parties say they uphold the gains of the American Revolution, but most of their politicians are enemies of democracy and the Bill of Rights, but in the popular movement fighting for those rights are those supposedly no good communists, so which parties are really patriotic and democratic?  I say what I mean, unlike some of the Democrats in Congress.     

Dear [ ],

Our signature ad, "A Declaration for Our Times," is in today's New York Times on page A-17.  You can see the ad with its nearly 600 signatories here.

You can also use our audio and video recordings of the declaration to spread its message  beyond the pages of the Times.

The declaration will help bring the administration's constitutional violations into focus.  Just as importantly, it will promote the People's Campaign for the Constitution (PCC) as a means for people to act locally, within community coalitions, to hold incumbents and candidates for congressional seats accountable for the oaths they must take to defend the Constitution. Correcting the unbalanced concentration of executive branch power that this administration has amassed will be extremely challenging, no matter who wins the presidential election.

We ask you to support this grassroots organizing and education campaign by bringing it to your community.  With the Constitution on our side, we can reverse the freedom-robbing government actions and policies that are threatening our nation's future. Please sign the pledge for the People's Campaign for the Constitution if you have not already done so.

Please forward widely.

Thank you for all you do.

Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Address: 8 Bridge Street, Suite A, Northampton, MA 01060
Email: info at bordc dot org
Telephone: 413-582-0110
Fax: 413-582-0116