- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 28, 2005


DURHAM, N.C. — Durham mayoral candidate Jackie Wagstaff donned bright-orange Chuck Taylor shoes and large gold earrings to announce her “hip-hop agenda” for City Hall.

Mrs. Wagstaff said she would use “gangsta” culture and rap music to appeal to disaffected youth, luring them away from crime with the offer of free studio time to record songs. T-shirt giveaways would serve as another enticement.

If elected, she would hold monthly meetings with her “hip-hop Cabinet,” streetwise teens with insights on how to improve Durham.

“You can always take something bad and find something positive,” said Mrs. Wagstaff, 46, who recently adopted the nickname J-Dub. “Gangsta to me is an organizational structure — not organized crime, but organized good.”

She said she will use her contacts, including active gang members, to help register 5,000 voters ages 18 to 21 to support her in the Oct. 11 city primary, challenging Mayor Bill Bell.

Mrs. Wagstaff, a former City Council member who has served the past three years on the school board, survived a 2002 effort to remove her from office after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts for doctoring check requests from the nonprofit North East Central Durham Reinvestment Inc. She also has been evicted several times for not paying rent.

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