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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Indiana court says Voter ID illegal; Daniels fumes, Rokita wails, Blacks pleased

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A three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that Indiana’s Voter ID law is illegal!

Seems Indiana’s Constitution prohibits disparate or unequal treatment. The appellate judges ruled that since there was one standard for voter identification for those voting in person on Election Day, and another different standard of identification, or lack thereof, for persons voting by absentee ballot or who live in state-approved nursing homes that happen to be polling places, that unequal treatment violated Article I, Section 23 of Indiana’s Constitution.

The decision, in an appeal of a case brought last July by Indiana’s League of Women Voters, took the political world and our Black community by surprise.

Blacks and Democrats were elated. Republicans were livid.

Gov. Mitch Daniels who likes to come across as a reasonable Republican, reverted to the role of the old, meanie governor and blasting the decision, calling the judges “partisan” and attacking, in personal terms, the judge who wrote the unanimous opinion.

Some think the governor’s intemperate remarks were caused by jet lag from flying all day and night from his Far East trade mission. Others think all that talk by Washington pundits that Daniels is a potential Republican 2012 Presidential hopeful caused our governor to lapse into the politics of attack epitomized by Congressman Joe “You Lie” Wilson.

The Indiana State Bar Association sharply rebuked Daniels, a non-practicing attorney, saying his comments were “not the way to express disagreement with any court opinion.”

The author of the heinous, now tarnished Voter ID law, Secretary of State Todd Rokita vowed an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. And even though the appellate court ordered that an injunction be issued against the law, Rokita took it upon himself to tell Indiana’s 92 County Clerks to continue enforcing the law in the referenda elections coming up this November.

The Voter ID setback was the latest for Rokita. His vaunted effort to recharge the redistricting process is running into snags. On that expensive Web site he created, asking for feedback from Hoosiers, only 37 had commented by this column’s deadline. Not an overwhelming response for action.

Meanwhile, for the second week in a row, Rokita’s $110,000 taxpayer paid consultants still can’t produce a detailed racial breakdown for the legislative redistricting maps he introduced two weeks ago. Maps I blasted here last week.

Rokita’s tardiness in providing the data fuels suspicion that his sample legislative maps would retard the growth of Black elected legislators.

What I’m Hearing

in the Streets

Eli Lilly President John Lechleiter assures me that despite the restructuring of Lilly into five business groups and a dedicated research and development infrastructure, Lilly’s central core values, including diversity, will remain at the foreground.

At a media briefing last week before Lilly announced they would streamline the company to bring medicines to market sooner, while cutting $1 billion in expenses and nearly 5,000 employees worldwide, Lechleiter was adamant that Lilly’s diversity initiatives and values would thrive in the restructuring.

But I’m concerned.

One of the central points in the NAACP lawsuit against Lilly is that, despite Lilly’s strong diversity mandates from the corporate suite, at the operating unit level, mid-level and smaller level managers either didn’t get that message or chose to ignore it.

When big corporations reorganize to give more authority or semi-autonomy to people in the field, that’s when the central values and edicts of a corporation can breakdown. Let’s hope Lechleiter and the Lilly corporate management team can make sure that the values they stressed to me and our community, the values of diversity, tolerance and respect of people of races, genders, religions and orientations is maintained during this critical reorganization.

In a city with 236,162 youth under 18, the largest group of youth in Indiana, it’s conceivable that hundreds, maybe a few thousand youth, would need emergency help and services each year. Help and services that are needed after business hours at, say three in the morning, or weekends.

Indianapolis had resources to help these youth and their families. We had the Marion County Guardian Home. And we had an outfit called Youth Emergency Services (YES) that provided counseling and assistance at all hours of the day. YES provided those services for a cost effective $1.5 million yearly.

Now the Scrooges at the Indiana Department of Child Services, driven by head Scrooge former Judge James Payne, are cutting YES out of the picture of helping youth. An organization that Payne created 11 years ago.

If Payne gets his way, DCS workers will be the only ones authorized to help youth in need 24/7.

This bizarre arrangement is so ridiculous that Marion County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Moores, who replaced Payne as head of the Juvenile Court, blasted the decision last week. Moores told the Indianapolis Star the move “is 10 steps backwards” and is “shortsighted.”

To make the erratic DCS, with their track record of allowing children in their care to be harmed or die, the sole agency to handle the emergency problems of Indianapolis youth is dangerous and shortsighted. Our community should be outraged and worried!

Even though it was in my notes from the Labor Day Parade, I left out the fact businessman and Democrat Brian Williams, one of two who’ve filed paperwork to run for Mayor in 2011, was there. My bad.

From my first days in Indianapolis, Delores “Sugar” Poindexter served as one of my mentors. The down-to-earth gospel DJ at WTLC Radio provided guidance on many subjects. From learning how to survive in Indianapolis, to understanding the Black religious community and its unique role in our Black community.

For nearly a quarter century “Sugar” was the “mother” of the WTLC staff, in every aspect of what that word means. She was also an icon in the world of gospel music, here and across the country, as an artist and announcer.

“Sugar” survived personal travails, a stroke more than a decade ago, and fought a fierce fight against the cancer that claimed her.

Delores “Sugar” Poindexter was a lion of our African-American community. Along with my deepest sympathies to her family and many friends, comes the knowledge that this deeply religious woman is now at peace and rest in the Place God has for his most devoted angels.

See ‘ya next week!

Amos Brown’s opinions are not necessarily those of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper. You can contact him at (317) 221-0915.

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