Friday, September 18, 2020

Bravo Bonfield!

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield retires at month’s end. His twelve year tenure in the Bull City caps a career that spanned forty-two years of local government service. He was surprised with a Zoom tribute this afternoon.

Here’s what I offered:

Thank you, Tom, for your personal support of...

The Miracle League project and recreation for special needs kids. You “got it” from the very beginning, and the City did a half million dollars in utility work to get the site ready at Morehead and Blackwell. I predict, finally, an “opening day” next spring at the new Miracle League Field in downtown Durham, and you will be an honored guest.

Creation of the Durham Sports Commission five years ago. We’ve sponsored and hosted the first marathon in Durham, a national youth track meet and the ACC baseball championships...and we’re even doing eSports tournaments during the pandemic.

Looking back, 7-8 years ago...

You worked with the Bulls on a new 30 yr lease for the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and that triggered extensive stadium renovations.

In 2009 the historic DAP was renovated, saving that facility for recreation and preserving the legacy of “Bull Durham” and baseball in Durham.

Both NC Central and Duke now play baseball in downtown Durham because of these enhanced facilities, and the Long Ball program for at-risk kids is based at the DAP.

Most everyone knows you played baseball (in the Yankees farm system.) It’s been great to have you as a fan, but more importantly, to work with you professionally. You are analytical, the straightest of straight shooters, steady, remarkably above politics and a solid administrator. You have been a leader worth following! 

Thanks for you many contributions to Durham, especially to the renaissance of our downtown. Godspeed in your retirement!  

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Spirit of ‘76

...been thinking about the underpinnings of my patriotism this morning - the what and why of America.

I’m of that generation that started each school day pledging allegiance to the flag, and my first career as a journalist began as the nation readied for and celebrated the Bicentennial. I lived in Charlottesville for eight years where Thomas Jefferson’s presence was palpable! An enduring memory is covering citizenship naturalization ceremonies on the steps of Monticello.

While the American flag seems to have become a military symbol (almost exclusively these days) I still hear “liberty and justice for all” and I feel the Spirit of ‘76 inspired by the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For sure, our slave holding Founding Fathers were parsimonious with those unalienable rights, but their noble, compelling concept was destined to spread, foreordained for expansion.

My forbears were Germans who ran afoul of a Kaiser and indentured servants from Italy and England. In rural Virginia, they staked a claim to those rights, to some measure of liberty and to their own pursuit of happiness.

I celebrate that heritage today!

And I believe the opportunity my ancestors found here is owed to ALL Americans and to those who seek sanctuary in these United States. 

We have work yet to do...