Our Readers Have Lots of Thoughts About Next Week’s Elections! | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week

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Our Readers Have Lots of Thoughts About Next Week’s Elections!

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This is our last issue before Tuesday's election—go vote, would ya?—so we're going to do our level best to squeeze in as many election-related comments as possible.

First up, Susan Bowers, who writes in about our coverage of the Wake County Board of Commissioners primaries: "Thanks for the great coverage and the context your article provides on the accomplishments of the Wake County Board of Commissioners and individual commissioners and the recent controversy over the Crooked Creek property. I hope comity returns soon to the Board of Commissioners. I support the Wake County commissioners' vote on the Crooked Creek property, which was clearly a good decision. I will vote with enthusiasm again for the incumbents."

Over to Durham, where Jonathan Espitia writes in support for Clarence Birkhead's bid for sheriff: "As the White House continues to roll out discriminatory policies against undocumented citizens we, as communities, must continue to protect the integrity of our towns and counties by rejecting such racist policies and focusing on keeping our communities whole. I am a graduate student at Duke University, and this semester I interviewed undocumented citizens in and around Durham County. From my interviews, it was apparent that the policies set forth and carried out by [Sheriff Mike Andrews] directly affect the well-being and safety of undocumented community members. These are people who belong to mixed-status families and experience extreme levels of stress and anxiety because of the constant threat of detention and deportation. Children are scared to travel to and through Durham because they fear their parents will be deported.

"I strongly urge my fellow Durhamites to go out and vote on May 8 for Clarence Birkhead for sheriff. If we believe Durham is an inclusive and welcoming community, then we must show it through our vote. 'Durham for all y'all' can be more than just a slogan."

Ken Rose, meanwhile, is backing Satana Deberry for district attorney: "I have spent thirty-seven years litigating cases as an advocate in the criminal justice system, representing death row inmates and advocating for criminal justice reform, racial justice, and the abolition of the death penalty. I support Satana Deberry for Durham district attorney. I believe that our criminal justice system is broken; the United States is responsible for 25 percent of the world's prisoners and a grossly disproportionate share of those inmates are people of color.

"In Durham, our jail and courtrooms are filled with black and brown people. Our prosecutors continue to employ many of the same punitive tactics that have failed for decades, including harsh and punitive sentencing, high bonds, cash bail, and maximum charges to induce plea bargains. For example, District Attorney Roger Echols's practice of initially charging many murders as potentially capital cases has cost the state and county hundreds of thousands of dollars in needless expense.

"Echols has supported some important Durham criminal justice reforms, including a misdemeanor diversion program for sixteen-to-twenty-one-year-olds, a mental health clinic housed in the jail, a restorative justice program, and detention-based or outpatient treatment for persons with drug addictions. But he has not embraced reform in a way that fundamentally changes the criminal justice system."

Commenter Tema Okum says our endorsement of Echols, based both on his record and on Deberry's plagiarism of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, is "shortsighted. Your endorsement should be based on what the candidates aim to do for Durham and how they conduct themselves in the public arena. We need someone who is actively and aggressively addressing the racial bias embedded in the system. We need someone who is able to admit mistakes and fix them. Our current DA would do well to follow the example Satana sets in both areas."

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