Bill Bell (mayor)
Mayor of Durham, North Carolina
Preceded by Nick Tennyson
Born 1941 (unconfirmed)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Judith C. Bell
Children William V. Bell II
Tiffany Anne Bell
Anjanee Nicole Bell
Kristen Vaughn Bell-Hughes
Alma mater Howard University, New York University
Profession electrical engineer
Born "William V. Bell," Bill Bell is the current mayor of Durham, North Carolina. Mr. Bell holds a Bachelor of Science and Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Howard University and New York University, respectively.
Formerly a senior engineer for IBM, Bell was first elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 1972, where he served until 1994, and again from 1996 to 2000. He was the chairman of the Durham County Commissioners from 1982 to 1994. Bell was first elected mayor of Durham in 2001 and has been re-elected six more times.
Bell is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UDI Community Development Corp., a non-profit organization. He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition was co-founded by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
1 2007 Mayor Re-election Campaign
2007 Mayor Re-election Campaign
In 2007, Bell was challenged by Republican Thomas Stith, III. Thomas Stith attacked Bell over several city issues including violence. During the weekend of October 13 and October 14, two people were murdered in Durham. On October 15, Bell tried to calm the public about the murders, claiming the city was safe and the weekend murders were not random. The next day, Stith went after Bell, pointing out that Durham's murder rate was up nearly 50 percent over the previous year. Stith and Bell continued to argue over how to deal with Durham crime. Stith consistently claimed that he would fight crime more consistently than Bell had, while Bell said that Stith had six years on the town council to do that. Stith said he wanted to see more police officers on the streets, while Bill Bell said the current police officers are well equipped.
In late October 2007, after lead was found in Durham drinking water, Stith sent out a campaign mailer that said in bold letters: "Bill Bell knew and didn't tell us our water was dangerous to drink." Bell responded to this by saying, "That mailer sent out by Thomas Stith was a complete lie." Bell also said that Stith had no leadership experience.
Bell was re-elected in the November 6, 2007 election, getting 58% of the vote as opposed to Stith's 42%.
It was later revealed that Bell endorsed and donated money to now-disgraced, former district attorney Mike Nifong during his reelection campaign surrounding the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case.
Bell also has been accused of being anti-preservation, as his company, UDI, gets many Durham contracts to demolish historic structures.