Diversity, equity, and inclusion was the focus of Monday afternoon’s meeting of the county council’s justice fiscal advisory committee (JFAC).
The highlight of the committee’s meeting was a presentation on racial disparity at the Monroe County jail. Presenting the information was former attorney Guy Loftman, who serves on the legal redress committee of the Monroe County Branch of the NAACP.
A key fact presented by Loftman, based on Monroe County jail statistics from earlier this year, was the disparity between the percentage of Black inmates and the percentage of Black residents of Monroe County.
As measured by the U.S. Census in 2020 about 3.9 percent of Monroe County residents are Black. But for the 3-month period between Jan. 1 and March 31 of this year, Black people made up on average 26.5% of the inmates in the Monroe County jail.
JFAC’s Monday meeting was the first of three meetings this week when local officials will have criminal justice-related matters on their agenda.
On Friday at noon, Bloomington’s city council has a work session scheduled, to hear from county officials about options for locating a new county jail.
Bender had previously said—through his Taft-Jaffe attorney—that he intends to withdraw as the Democratic Party’s nominee after the May 2 primary. His name appears on the ballot as the sole candidate for the District 6 nomination, because no challenge to his eligibility was made in a timely way.
No Republican declared a primary candidacy for District 6 city council.
But Bender’s April 6 letter says, “I write this letter to clearly communicate that I no longer intend to withdraw my candidacy from this election.” Bender’s letter continues, “If the voters see fit to elect me as the next Councilmember for Bloomington’s Sixth District, then I believe I am fully able, willing, and indeed eager to serve.”
Election board meeting on March 31, 2023 in the Nat U. Hill Room of Monroe County courthouse where the proceedings are displayed on screen with closed captions.
Monroe County election board members Donovan Garletts and Guy Loftman (serving as proxy for David Henry)
At its meeting last week, Monroe County’s election board voted to set a hearing for May 18 on the matter of Democrat David Wolfe Bender’s residency, as a Bloomington city council candidate for District 6.
This week on Friday, the board revised the list of specific Indiana state election laws that it wants to cite for its determination “that there is substantial reason to believe an election law violation has occurred.”
A list of four statutes that the board had previously cited was revised to two different laws that are the basis of the board’s determination:
A hearing on the matter of Democrat David Wolfe Bender’s residency, as a Bloomington city council candidate for District 6, has now been set by Monroe County’s election board for May 18.
The three-member board set the date on a unanimous vote taken at its Thursday meeting.
The date falls roughly two weeks after the May 2 primary election, which will undoubtedly make Bender the District 6 city council nominee for the Democratic Party. He’s the only candidate on the ballot.
But Bender previously conveyed through his attorney, an intent to withdraw as the District 6 nominee: “David [Wolfe Bender] has decided to withdraw his candidacy for Bloomington Common Council District 6.”
Bender’s name will appear on the primary ballot, because the questions about his residency, which were raised by an Indiana Daily Student article published on Feb. 17, 2023, did not come to light until after the Feb. 10 deadline for challenges to be made.
Assuming Bender does withdraw as the nominee after the primary, the Democratic Party could place an alternate candidate on the November 8 city election ballot.