Social Justice

May 16, 2004

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition

Citizens Action Coalition, Indiana's largest consumer protection group, has named Grant Smith as its new executive director. Smith has been with CAC for 17 years, including the last four years as its utility and energy program director.

Current executive director, Chris Williams, is retiring after 25 years with the organization, 18 of those years at the helm. Williams was honored with a roast on May 12 in Indianapolis.

April 25, 2004

Huge news in Bloomington this past week. A respected community figure publicly recognized the longstanding, ever-escalating abuse of power by local police. Special Prosecutor Barry Brown says two Monroe County jailers should be criminally charged for the Nov. 6 jail death of James Borden Sr.

As significant as the fact that battery charges are being sought against the two is the personality seeking the charges. Brown is a legendary local barrister whose move legitimizes citizen complaints that a significant segment of local police is dangerously out of control.

April 3, 2004

Women cannot be caregivers, the elderly cannot be feeble, men cannot be lawyers or doctors, and no one can live in the mountains. These are just a few of the rules governing American textbooks, according to Diane Ravitch's recent book The Language Police.

The book's publication in April 2003 caused much hand wringing and national soul searching. All of this made me wonder how textbooks in Monroe County measure up to Ravitch's indictment. I wanted to see if the $120-per-child textbook fee is money well spent. I also wanted to know how Monroe County teachers felt about the textbooks they currently use.

March 27, 2004

A conversation with ICLU Executive Director Fran Quigley

In 2003, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union celebrated 50 years of service to the cause of freedom in the Hoosier State. This year, the organization faced a new challenge: finding a replacement for John Krull, who resigned his post as executive director to become the director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism.

After a lengthy search process, the ICLU named Indianapolis journalist Fran Quigley as executive director in February. Quigley, an attorney and former chief of staff for Congresswoman Julia Carson, had only been on the job a few weeks when he discussed the challenges and opportunities he faces in safeguarding our civil liberties.

March 27, 2004

Watching the Monroe County Jail videotape of James Borden's death conjured up vivid memories of a conversation I had with a Monroe County Commissioner in the 1990s. We were in the Courthouse Meeting Room just after a public discussion on a request from the County Sheriff to arm his deputies with Uzis.

Drug dealers had 'em, the argument went, so the good guys needed 'em, too. "Oh Steve," the commissioner said, touching my forearm, looking me directly in the eye. "Could you imagine?"

February 28, 2004

It took some pushing, but citizens concerned about the electroshock death of a 47-year-old Bedford man who was "Tasered" in the Monroe County Jail last November got the public forum they sought last Tuesday. They forced the issue onto the public agenda at a meeting of the Monroe County Justice Coordinating Council.

After telling the citizens that the council--a public body holding a public meeting in a public building--had no room for public comment on its agenda, Council President Joe O'Connor acquiesced to requests from Monroe County Councilmen Mark Stoops and Scott Wells. Not only were the citizens allowed to speak with committee members O'Connor, Charlotte Zietlow and Charles Brown, the discussion was videotaped by CATS and covered by both the Herald-Times and the Indiana Daily Student.

February 21, 2004

HUNTINGTON - Facing the challenge of expressing idealism in the often cynical, apathetic "real" world, a group of 34 Hoosiers answered the call to learn about the proactive activism practices known as procott at the first-ever Procott PlayShop held February 7 at Victory Noll Ministry Center, here in Dan Quayle's hometown.

February 21, 2004

Some left-leaning individuals are finding inspiration this winter in the Presidential campaign of Howard Dean, a man whose reputation is far more progressive than he is. Personally, I found the news indicated by the following headline to be far more inspiring: "Marriage Mania Grips San Francisco: Over 1,700 Gay Couples Tie The Knot."

February 7, 2004


Two weeks ago, in his State of the Union address, President Bush called for renewal of the U.S. Patriot Act. Last week, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins struck down part of the act as unconstitutionally vague.

The attorney general and FBI can force your bank, Internet service provider and telephone company to turn over your records, merely by writing a "national security" letter.

February 7, 2004

To view pictures of the injuries Monroe County Councilman Scott Wells sustained during his arrest in downtown Bloomington last September, go to: ...

Remember that arresting officer testified, under oath, at Wells' sentencing hearing last month: "When it comes to the state police and myself, you're just another law violator who was caught and sent to jail."

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