Letters to the Editor

Feeling unsafe after police officer hiring

I am a retired pastor who spent over 23 years guiding people to not only love God, but to also love others. When I decided to retire last year my friends and family said: Come to Jeffersonville, it’s a great place to live. Well, I heard them and moved to Jeffersonville. I have lived here exactly one week and what do I hear? A police officer has been hired who has a reputation for mistreating and racially profiling people of color (ex. Latino’s and African Americans). If this is accurate, then I suspect this community is not a safe environment for me or anyone else who could potentially be injured by this officer.

I wonder how many other officers who work in this community fit the profile of the officer accused of displaying bigoted and racist behavior. It seems this community is not safe for anyone not white. I didn’t move here to be and or hear of people being hurt physically or racially profiled by officers of the law (or anyone else). Maybe Jeffersonville is not a nice, safe, diverse community. If those who hired this officer knew of his alleged negative behavior and hired him anyway, well that tells me this may not be the community for me.

Oh, in case you are wondering, I am not only a retired pastor, but a sociologist as well. As a sociologist who has often been involved in testing theories on social issues by looking at groups, cultures, organizations, institutions, and other social processes that humans develop in society, I am wondering if persons who hired this officer have behaviors and thoughts similar to his. In other words, I am wondering if birds of a feather truly flock together. For those who hired this officer, I hope they care about all the persons who live in this community and not just a select few.

— the Rev. DESIREE CARTER

A Latina, African American and concerned citizen of this great community

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Referenda belong in General Election

An open letter to: Indiana State Representative Ed Clere and Indiana State Senator Ron Grooms:

Floyd County is facing the prospect of another referendum for public school expenses. The publicized purpose, as you know, is enhanced protection from violence on our school campuses; a commendable purpose. The approach to this purpose is the questionable part.

Will the money be spent on a firm plan that is presented to the voters before the election, or will the money be procured and then spent at the unchallenged discretion of the school administration? An example is the $3-plus million soccer field that was not in the last referendum but was built with “leftover” money from the budget that was obviously made more than ample at the beginning.

Floyd County voters would support a practical, carefully conceived structure of safety measures, but might balk at the prospect of having hired consultants try to convince them to vote for vague, generalized platitudes. Why should we pay for consultants whose purpose is not to inform but to win votes by whatever means, when our electorate is quite capable of deciding if a plan is acceptable?

Another suspicious move that is too often employed is having the referendum on the Primary ballot instead of the General Election ballot, such as the maneuver employed by the school administration in the 2015 and 2016 primaries. In this particular case the argument will be that safety can’t wait. That is a valid argument that will be used by the same people who have allowed it to wait this long. Given the urgency of this matter, we must note that the administration preferred to use the aforesaid $3.2 million to build a soccer field and postpone attention to our students’ safety.

Using the Primary ballot instead of the General Election ballot for referenda may not meet the definition of voter suppression, but it certainly is voter avoidance. In this real world Primary voter turnout does not remotely compare with the General Election’s, which is what the administration is apparently counting on, with only 15 percent voter turnout compared to 55 percent for general elections. In view of this unfortunate fact our state Legislature should enact an overdue law requiring that referenda be on General Election ballots. The more voters employed in decision-making the better the public interest is served.

You men can make the voice of your people heard in our Legislature and leave a legacy to be proud of.

— GEORGE MOUSER

Floyds Knobs

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