The Problem With Stith

Resurrected by James from 2007, in honor of Thomas Stith's new gig working for Governor Pope.

If you haven't read about Thomas Stith, you should. He has long been the token black guy a star in Jack Hawke's Civitas Circus, which itself is an appendage to the Art Pope Puppetshow. He's running for mayor of Durham. Since I live only a mile from the Bull City, I was inspired to read more about Mr. Stith by this post from Barry Ragan. When I got to Stith's website, I found this welcoming letter:

I also realize that we can do better. Durham is a city that continues to struggle with the horror of violent crime and gang activity. We are literally losing our children.

Sounds good, right? After all, the horror of violent crime and gang activity really is a problem and we should be doing everything possible to stop it. So imagine my surprise to find a slightly different interpretation of Stith's voting record in yesterday's Durham Herald:

Stith's campaign slogan from the '90s -- "People Before Politics" -- is a good example. I guess he couldn't keep using that one with a straight face, given his votes against budgets that favored after-school funding for kids at-risk of joining gangs.

I'm sure Tom Stith has a very good response to this criticism, but as I looked through his discussion of issues, I couldn't seem to find it. All he talks about is making government more efficient in Durham, which is the secret Puppetshow code for cutting costs, cutting staff, and cutting programs. For example:

We cannot continue to waste and mismanage millions of dollars and then raise taxes to pay the bill. We must pursue a strategy that includes independent performance audits of city departments along with a comprehensive organizational assessment to address the chronic operational problems we face in the operation of city government services.

Sorry, Tom. But if you can't write more clearly than that, you have no business trying to improve anything. What's the matter? Are you afraid to say what you really mean - or do you even know?

And then there's this double-talk about infrastructure. Where are you going to get the money to do this if you're all about cutting stuff?

The necessity to get ahead of street, drainage, and sewer development and maintenance is vital for a growing city. We can only grow if we have the ability to sustain our fundamental services. We must provide the necessary infrastructure to support our desired economic growth. Infrastructure includes transportation (roads, easing of congestion, connectivity), utilities (water, wastewater/sewer, electricity), and parks. Through the improvement of our infrastructure, economic growth will follow and enable the lowering of homeowner taxes which leads to affordable housing, support public safety needs, city staff and services, and help support infrastructure needs.

It looks to me like the would be mayor of Durham is just another government-hating hypocrite who doesn't have a clue about what it really takes to build a safe and sustainable community. From what I can see, he's staying true to his Puppetshow roots: he's against planning, he's against zoning, and he's against taxes.

Durham has plenty of problems, there's no question about that. Unfortunately, Thomas Stith appears to be one of them.

(Updated to reflect Token's comments below.)


Gang violence?

Maybe the do-gooders should have stayed in Durham and marched against violence instead of taking a vacation to Louisiana. But I guess the only thing that gets Durham riled up are accusations against Caucasians. I have photos of the pretty protests, including the crowd displaying the "Castrate" sign, if anybody emails me. Now, let's look at the idea of "Castration." Some, of course blow it off as a funny concept, because men aren't supposed to be vulnerable. It didn't help that John Wayne Bobbit had his own penis cut off and then used the incident to make money, including making a porn film. But, in fairness, is it really any different than the removal of any other limb? An arm or a leg? Isn't it a form of mutilation? If a woman in Bobbit's position had had her breasts cut off, would we make jokes about it? Would she have them re-attached and then make a porn film? Do we joke about the female castration and mutilation regularly practiced in Africa? Of course not. My point is: for Durham to promote (or at least allow) such activity (especially after making the home addresses of 40 individuals available to every Durham psychopath) and then to complain about civil lawsuits is unreasonable.

Start your own blog

The next time you try to hijack one of my posts with your rich white boy obsession, I will delete your comment. And the time after that, I will delete your account.


does this have to do with the issue outlined in A's post????

You know - you've got some serious issues

No one here had anything to do with any of them. I think you need therapy, man. Go get some. Seriously.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

A, as you know, I am very familiar with Civitas.

While I will refrain from commenting on most of what you wrote, I feel it is important to point out that Thomas was not the "token black guy" at Civitas. While Thomas was there, there were four African-American employees: Thomas; Terri Harris, office manager; Dennis English, Leadership Institute Coordinator, and; Dion Taylor, Citizen Legislature Coordinator. While Thomas may have left, as has Terri, Dennis and Dion are still hard at work.

Also, Thomas is not likely coming back. He has been replaced with Francis DeLuca. I am certain you are familiar with him.

Of a sort.

I guess in spirit, at least.

It's considered bad to just delete info.

Better to strike it out in most cases.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

That's right.

I generally try to avoid deleting things because it makes it impossible to understand downstream comments.

A lurker writes more about Stith

Stith will be decimated by Bill Bell.

Apparently, Stith has done some good over the years, including work on Urban Ministries to help people in Durham who are less fortunate. But this year, things are different.

This year Tom is being used to subvert and divide the Committee, just as they used to do with Howard Clement, twenty-five years ago, but it is not going to work.

Bill Bell (the incumbent) is politically savvy, honest, very bright and helpful to all of Durham’s community and people, respected by conservatives and liberals, town and gown, being a great mayor irrespective of race, sexual orientation, or economic status. He did not rush to judgment in the Lacrosse sadness. He leads in a positive manner, increasing our tax base, improving our city’s security, reducing tension by promoting mutual respect and understanding between black, Hispanic, and white citizens.

In short he is the best, most dedicated, mayor Durham has ever had. Every PAC in town will endorse him, and he will again win in a landslide, because our voters here in Durham are really not stupid.

I don't know the writer, but it sounds like s/he knows both men pretty well. Any others have thoughts to share?

More on Stith

For those who have fallen for the "Durham City Council" description of Stith, you need to look deeper. Sure Stith was on the council ... he was put there by Art Pope as part of his leadership pipeline development strategy.

The only thing your really need to know about Stith is the fact that he is and always has been a loyal Pope Puppet. And that's what Gary Pearce means about shadow government.