Friday, December 19, 2008

Tracey Cline: Purge Ahead?

Employees of the Durham County district attorney’s office received a letter recently from the county’s soon-to-be “minister of justice,” Tracey Cline:

A few items to keep in mind:

1.) It is nothing short of laughable to believe that Cline—a figure who at best misled Durham voters about her role in the case and at worst outright lied about it—can evaluate anyone on the basis of their commitment to “justice.”

2.) Cline’s demand that all current employees of the D.A.’s office re-apply for their position, with a subsequent evaluation on the basis of their dedication “to the success of our team,” seems like nothing more than an ill-concealed rationalization for cronyism.

3.) Notably absent in Cline’s list of qualifications: a commitment to prosecutorial ethics. This oversight is unsurprising coming from Nifong’s key deputy, although for public relations reasons, Cline might have at least paid lip service to ethics. The omission speaks volumes of the direction in which Cline intends to lead the office. I emailed Ms. Cline to ask her why she declined to list a commitment to ethics as among her desired qualifications; she has not replied.

4.) Given Cline’s non-existent transparency (she still hasn’t provided an accounting of her role in the lacrosse case), it seems unlikely that Cline will provide public reasons for her demotions, promotions, and dismissals as the basis of her new standards.

5.) Two interim district attorneys, Jim Hardin and David Saacks, have presided over the office since Mike Nifong resigned. Neither conducted an office purge, although, based on her performance in the lacrosse case, Tracey Cline would have been an obvious candidate for dismissal. Neither required all members of the office to reapply for their positions, either.

6.) Why didn’t Cline reveal her plan during the primary contest?


Debrah said...

Tracy Cline supported and aided Mike Nifong during the Hoax.

The fact that she was elected to succeed him speaks to the brand of justice that exists in Durham.

Moreover, such a Hoax would happen all over again were it concocted tomorrow.

A related topic is Duke finances:

Duke's endowment tumbles; cost-cutting next

From staff reports : The Herald-Sun

Dec 18, 2008

DURHAM -- The value of Duke University's endowment funds has plummeted 19 percent amid the global market downturn. That prompted Duke President Richard Brodhead to direct upper-level administrators to consider delaying capital projects and to identify possible areas for cost-cutting across the campus.

"Duke is not immune from the powerful forces that are buffeting the economy," Brodhead wrote in a statement sent late Wednesday afternoon to the Duke faculty and staff.

"Duke's endowment, like virtually every other investment fund, has declined over the past few months," Brodhead wrote. "In addition, research universities such as Duke are also uncertain about the future of other funding sources, including federal research support.

"As of early December, the market value of the endowment was approximately 19 percent lower than it was on July 1. This is a serious concern, but the news could be worse," Brodhead said.

For example, he said, Duke's investment management has outperformed all but one university endowment over the past 10 years. Further, the decline Duke experienced this fall has not been as sharp as many peer institutions.

Brodhead noted that spending from the endowment historically has made up about 15 percent of the university's annual operating budget, which is a lower proportion than many peer institutions rely on.

"And finally, the impact of this decline on our activities will be tempered by our spending policy, which calls for paying out 5.5 percent of the average value of the endowment over a three-year period," Brodhead said. "This policy has kept us from overspending in years when the endowment earned large returns, and lessens our exposure to a sharp downturn now."

To offset the slide in the endowment performance, Brodhead said he directed "the university's senior administrators and deans to plan for various scenarios as we develop the budget for the next fiscal year. The specifics will vary by school and program."

The overarching approach includes:

-- Identifying cost reductions, savings and efficiencies in all school and administrative budgets.

-- Recognizing that the current downturn may be of sustained duration and to look for both one-time and more durable interventions.

-- Reviewing and potentially delaying proposed capital projects until funding sources are clearly defined.

-- Seeking resources for the most strategic priorities while continuing to protect core commitments, including faculty excellence and student financial aid.

"We need to regard this as a time of challenge, not of retreat," Brodhead said. "If we do it right, I'm confident that we can make this a time of opportunity, a chance to further strengthen this great school."

Duke's strong sense of community is its most valuable asset, Brodhead said.

He also pointed out that there continue to be positive developments on campus.

"With help from generous supporters, we crossed the goal line of our $300 million Financial Aid Initiative, which will help ensure that a Duke education will remain affordable for all," he said.

"Last month, a Duke student won the Rhodes Scholarship, and two others were selected as Marshall Scholars," Brodhead said. "And student interest in Duke has never been higher, with a 23% increase in early decision applications this fall.

More information on Duke's Endowment

Anonymous said...

Not very professional stationary - gaudy and egotisitcal...

Does the DA's office not have job descriptions (listing responsibilities) already in place?

This is pretty scary, sad and looks like we will be in for more of the same.

Anonymous said...

The use of the "evaluation" of current employees applies to non-union employees and those in exempted positions This been used to balance the racial percentages of public employees without encountering lawsuits. When Caucasians are not "retained", there's no problem; but when African-Americans are not retained, it is a 'racial incident' (case in point: Clayton County, GA). Could this be the transformation of the complexion of the DA's office?
This could also be how she's going to get rid of those that know what she did for Nifong, those that she doesn't trust and those that she feels offended her. Their replacements will be carefully screened so that she will have an office beholden to her.
The DA's office will have PC criteria for consideration before police incidents become cases that will be prosecuted. It has been shown that the crime rate statistics can be manipulated independent of the citizens expressed belief.
The taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the crime rate and paying the bill for law enforcement; it only cost Clayton County an extra $17M in 2006/7. That's why the people get to elect their representatives.

Big Al

Anonymous said...

she uses aol for official business...

Anonymous said...

Dishonesty rules in Durham. One more Big Lie.

bill anderson said...

As Jason Trumbour has written elsewhere, Cline was second chair in the Lacrosse Case, which means that she was involved up to her eyeballs. She was to be the main face of the DA's office in a trial, and her presentation was supposed to be based on the fact that she, a black woman, once had been raped, which was proof that Reade, David, and Collin were guilty of raping Crystal Mangum.

For those readers who might reply that Cline's argument would have been a non sequitur, you have to remember that such arguments already had successfully convinced most people in Durham that the lacrosse players were guilty, and that Durham was entitled to a conviction. Cline knowingly was going to try to throw innocent people into prison, yet she apparently has been rewarded handsomely by Durham voters for lying.

Gary Packwood said...

KC said..
Why didn't Cline reveal her plan during the primary contest?
Probably because the low level staff people in the DA office who were talking to the low level staff people at Duke throughout 2006 and 2007 would have revealed the extent of their work to coordinate the frame.

And that includes the Duke University Hospital SANE program people who needed Nifong to sign-off on their SANE grant application. You can't have a SANE program unless the DA is in the loop.

SANE: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

Anonymous said...

It must be remembered that Ms. Cline was elected into this office, so it seems to me, this is the kind of DA's office and "justice" system that Durham wants. I am so glad I live far, far away and can just sit back and look at Wonderland with amusement and amazement. Steve in New Mexico

Anonymous said...

No politics here, just a letter paid for by her campaign fund used to threaten county employees' jobs.
Who are the "Citizens for Cline Committee" ? Are they Communists ? or just another branch of the Durham NAACP ?

The clincher in her letter asking employees to e-mail her by December 12th:
"...most importantly,explain what you can add to the team".

I suspect if an attorney e-mailed her as requested and stated that he/she could add a dispassionate objective search for the truth, due process, and justice for all, that response would constitute grounds for immediate dismissal.


Debrah said...

Everyone get a load of this.

Read her political pitch, but most of all, look at the little show she's got going at the top of the page.

Be patient and after her photo, the Durham Bull and the skyline will emerge.

How silly!

Debrah said...

The Independent Weekly, Hal Crowther's lefty home and a paper that endorsed her, featured Cline in this Q&A last Spring.

Her answers are revolting.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why official business for the DA is done on stationery that says:

"Paid for the Citizens for Cline Committee" ?

And... why does she have to "make some hard personnel decisions"? Is the DA's office facing layoffs?

Anonymous said...

Is Cline a Communist?

Anonymous said...

I notice that her letterhead is supposed to be invocative of the American flag: It's red, white, and blue. It's even got red and white stripes. But its star is not white as on the American flag, but red. Why does she use a red star instead of a white one?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the voters of Durham truly were aware of her role in the lacrosse hoax? If they were aware then her election to the D.A. post foreshadows a dark future for the Justice system in Durham .

rabbit said...

This memo says "this office is dysfunctional and you are all presumed guilty of ineptitude until you prove your innocence".

Which, I think, is quite apt.

kenb said...

Following up to Bill Anderson's comment - I spoke a couple of days ago with a very senior professor in my university, who used to be at Duke.

He said the atmosphere in Duke and in Durham was "poisonous" and that Nifong would probably have gotten a conviction of the players - he would have done no worse for himself than a hung jury if he had been able to get the case to trial.

Anonymous said...

The Durham Cty. DA Office always struck me as the employer of last resort. Hard to imagine taxpayers actually pay for this.

Anonymous said...

Since when (duh, I forgot, this is the Kingdom of Durham) does an elected official send out letters on personal stationery to the employees of a city office demanding that they reapply for their positions?
Did the citizens of Durham realize that when electing her to office they had installed a Queen? Where are the revolutionaries who will take control and re-establish a democracy in Durham?

Anonymous said...

Transparency would appear to be a fraud in Durham as it is in so many other places in this country. The only thing that the young men had going for them in the lacrosse hoax was just that . . . it was a hoax . . . nothing and everything . . . was there anything that this solicitor's office got right?

Anonymous said...

"He said the atmosphere in Duke and in Durham was "poisonous" and that Nifong would probably have gotten a conviction of the players - he would have done no worse for himself than a hung jury if he had been able to get the case to trial."

Yet the people there probably consider themselves morally superior to the people of Alabama in 1931 (i.e., "Scottsboro II")

Anonymous said...

"Cline’s demand that all current employees
of the D.A.’s office re-apply for their position"

or "demanding that they reapply for their positions?"

Where does it say this in the above letter?

Debrah said...

Another heroine with Durham ties, no less.

I found this woman being touted on a blog of someone in the academy.

With admissions standards tanking at Duke as well as other universities, this woman's brand of "scholarship" is to where things will be descending if people don't wake up and changes do not occur.

Check out her then-forthcoming book published by Duke University Press in 2006---the year of Duke campus radicals that will live in infamy---called Soul Power: Cultural Radicalism of the U.S. Third World Left.

bill anderson said...

Following up to Bill Anderson's comment - I spoke a couple of days ago with a very senior professor in my university, who used to be at Duke.

He said the atmosphere in Duke and in Durham was "poisonous" and that Nifong would probably have gotten a conviction of the players - he would have done no worse for himself than a hung jury if he had been able to get the case to trial.

12/19/08 8:09 PM

Thanks for the comments. Had the powers that be at Duke and Durham actually cared about justice, there would have been no indictments and certainly no trial. After Steel and Brodhead decided that it was "best for Duke" that this railroad go forward, the die was cast.

It is hard for me to imagine people actually being so dishonest and so heartless as to want people to be framed for false crimes, yet that is what the "leaders" of Duke and Durham did. One can say they decided out of cowardice, but I think they decided so because they are dishonest people.

By kowtowing to the left and the NAACP in Durham, the leaders at Duke can more easily fashion their own radical agenda for the university.

Anonymous said...

Like OJ is still trying to find the real killers, I think Cline is just trying to find the true enablers of The Hoax. /sarc

Debrah said...

From the N&O:

Blog touts Cooper

An anonymous blogger is trying to draft Attorney General Roy Cooper to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Richard Burr.
Started on Nov. 15 -- just 11 days after the attorney general won his third term -- the Draft Coop blog aims to get the Democrat in the race.
The blog notes that Cooper won the most votes of any state Democrat in 2008 and argues that he was an effective legislator in the state Senate. A similar blog unsuccessfully attempted to draft Miller for a U.S. Senate run this year.
In an e-mail message to Dome, the blogger, reportedly a Democrat occasionally active in the party, claims never to have met Cooper and to have no personal stake in the issue.
"I'd rather not go into why I'm remaining anonymous (that would kind of defeat the purpose), but I will say that I have no connection to the Department of Justice or to Coop himself," the e-mail message reads. "I don't know how long I'll run the blog -- probably until Coop says that he's running or not!"

Anonymous said...

Anon: 12:32 on 12/20

The demand is in the fact that Cline makes it clear that she is recruiting a new team" only those who submit an application will be considered. Those who do not will be assumed to not be a part of her team that is committed to pursuing the goals to which the citizens of Durham elected her to pursue. Therefore, it follows that if one currently is employed in her office, one must re-apply for one's position, otherwise one will find himself or herself at the Unemployment Office.

Anonymous said...

Surely Cline will fall on her own sword given enough time.You just can't change the spots on this leopard can you ?

Durham it would seem, is infested with dishonor.

One Spook said...

Anon @ 12:32 @ 12/20 writes:

""Cline’s demand that all current employees
of the D.A.’s office re-apply for their position"

or "demanding that they reapply for their positions?"

Where does it say this in the above letter?"

Gee, what part of "Colleagues ... I will have to make some hard personnel decisions in the next few weeks. If you would like to be part of this most important endeavor, please e-mail at [my private personal, e-mail address, not subject to public examination] by December 12, 2008." do you think her "colleagues" didn't understand?

Never mind that the e-mail address as listed in her letter isn't an e-mail address at all. It's not a web site, either.

Cline isn't very bright and obviously doesn't understand the difference between a web address: (URL) and an e-mail address: (e-mail), but I think her "colleagues" understood the message that they have to "reapply for their positions."

(insert eye roll here)

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Yet another galling development in Durham. Thanks for posting the web site and Q&A, Deborah. Ms. Cline may not be transparent about her role in the Duke case, but her web site and Q&A were pretty revealing.


PS As a present to yourself during the holidays, pick up the non-fiction book Three Cups of Tea if you can and read it. Merry, merry to all.

Anonymous said...

Anybody got a handwriting analysis bent? Take a shot at Traci's signature. Interesting!

Debrah said...


Debrah said...

TO (12:44 AM)--

I noticed her signature as well.

Very artistic and creative.

And this might be the only positive thing I can say about Cline.

Typical Piscean. Overly emotional and sensitive, with very little backbone. Wishy-washy and dishonest.

Cline and Mikey---a deep-dish-stubborn Virgo---made quite a team.

The Emilio and Gloria Estefan duo of the Durham justice system!

That's my holiday astrological analysis.

Anonymous said...

Geeze Deb-
What if it turns out KC is a Pisces too?

BTW- what is your sign KC?

Anonymous said...

Cline's missive is just further proof that Durham is in deed a "wonderland" and that the inmates are running the asylum. When will common sense again pervade the region and the denizens of Durham County storm the barricades and demand a revolution? Perhaps there will be those who will reflect on events in France 220 years ago this next year and decide that the time has come for action.

river rat said...

It would be comical, if not so serious -- how many black "civil servants" are proving their most detested stereotypes to be more accurate than most folks will acknowledge.