Monday, October 30, 2006

A Candidate Calls Tully to Task

From yesterday's Indy Star, Clerk candidate Donna Edgar takes issue with Tully and his article from a few weeks ago. It is nice to see a candidate fight back.

Crime and the Clerk

I am writing in response to Matthew Tully's Oct. 13 column ("Candidate has odd take on duties the job entails'') in which he takes issue with my campaign's focus on public safety and declares, "Edgar doesn't know what job she's seeking." I want to assure Tully that I am very clear on the office I seek and the role it plays to keep our citizens safe.

This year we have seen more murders than in all of 2005. This is a clear symptom of the problems we face including everything from overworked and underappreciated police to jail overcrowding. Faced with this crisis, I believe that every elected official and candidate should be focused on finding ways to make the citizens of Marion County safer.

The County Clerk's office has a clear role to play in this pursuit. For example, let's look at the early release of prisoners from our jails. It is undisputed that the length of time that an inmate stays in custody awaits trial is a major cause of overcrowding and ultimately the early release of dangerous criminals onto our streets.

It might surprise Tully to learn that judges cannot conduct hearings without the necessary file from the clerk's office. The sheriff cannot move an inmate unless the clerk has transmitted an order from the judge with instructions for the inmate's incarceration. Even the prosecutor cannot file the most serious habitual offender charges without the evidence of prior convictions from the clerk. If these tasks are not handled quickly and efficiently, our jail population will quickly grow to the point where criminals are released into our neighborhoods.

If you still have questions about the role of the clerk in public safety, then talk to the men and women who know the most about public safety. The Fraternal Order of Police has chosen to endorse me for Marion County clerk, emphasizing in a letter to me that "We hope that you are elected so that the problems facing our public safety and criminal justice systems will receive the proper attention they deserve." I pledge to do just that. Our citizens and the brave officers who put their lives on the line every day deserve nothing less.

With all due respect to Tully, I believe that the question voters will ask is why my opponent is not addressing public safety when we are facing a crisis of crime.

Too often, public officials focus on public safety only in times of crises. However, I promise you, that I will make public safety a top priority every day.

Donna Edgar
Candidate, Marion County clerk

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