of Champaign County
    Steering Committee

Thursday, June 3, 2010

7:00 p.m.

Room 3405 Siebel Building




Present: Shirley Stillinger, Stephen Portnoy, Paul Wisovaty, Stuart Laird, Bill Brown, Marc Ansel, Marsha Woodbury, Esther Patt, Carol Leff, Richard Schnuer, Ward Henson, Lynne Rudasill


1.  Approval of minutes of April & May meetings. Approved as written.


2.  Announcements & Communications

a) Bill Brown contacted UI Director of Public Safety Barbara O’Connor, who was unable to attend the June meeting to discuss traffic stop data, but said she would be happy to come to our September meeting. Bill Brown will arrange that.  We intend to invite police chiefs from Champaign and Urbana at subsequent meetings.


b) Letter to Editor—The letter to the News Gazette criticizing Obama administration’s Miranda rights policy for interrogating terrorist suspects was published in full in today’s (June 3) News Gazette.  It was noted that Ed Yonkha will draft and/or accuracy-check material that our chapter wishes to make public.  The original draft of the letter to the editor was his, streamlined by the steering committee to fit the newspaper’s word limit.


3.  Old Business

a) Champaign police personnel policies—Per our discussion at the May meeting of the police personnel policies regarding the availability incident reports and public complaints on police conduct, we briefly reprised the issues: In particular, we decided in May that we could not sign on to the personnel policy proposal of the Peace and Justice coalition.  That proposal could not be supported because the language on the court ruling on access to incident reports was inaccurate.


We discussed communicating with Steve Carter (negotiator for the police union) about compliance with the court ruling.  Richard Schnuer suggested that the City Manager might be the most appropriate person to contact with any concerns about the availability of incident report information.  We then considered whether to take any further action on the issue at this time; for example, should we request the Carrington shooting incident report(s)?  It was decided that it wasn’t useful to submit such a request just to see whether the police would comply, since we have no current plans to make use of such information. 



b) Final report on traffic stops study—Bill Brown, intern Matt Miller and Stephen Portnoy have completed a summary of the more extensive analysis of racial differences in traffic stop data that Matt conducted this semester. It was circulated to the steering committee by e-mail June 2.  Several committee members expressed the need for a “catchier” paragraph-length executive summary at the beginning of the document to highlight key findings and the policy recommendations that might stem from them. It was agreed that this summary, as well as the raw data and additional analysis, be posted on our website to facilitate public access. Each year, the annual state data could be added to the site for those interested in tracking longer-term trends. The summary report will also be sent to police chiefs prior to meetings with us.


c) Farmer’s market – August 21 and October 2 will be the dates to staff tables at the Urbana Farmers’ Market.  Volunteers should e-mail Bill Brown if they are available to help on either of those dates.


4.  New Business

a) Treasurer - Ward Henson will be moving to San Francisco, although he will be in CU at least one-half of the year.  Steve is willing to become the new Treasurer.  The action was was moved and approved to proceed with this and to provide the appropriate forms that need to be signed for the bank records.


b) CU Pride Fest will be held August 20. 


c) The idea of holding a panel discussion regarding the rights of protesters was explored.  Clark McPhail was mentioned as a possible discussant for this.  Topics might include local reporting n protests, the Westborough protests as well as anti-war or pro/anti Chief protests.  There was some hope expressed that this might also draw in some international students.  The major question related to finding a venue for the event which might be related to the Fall Gathering.


d) Fall Gathering – This year’s Fall Gathering will be held on November 7 or 14th depending upon what venue can be found.  Bill will email the list of prior attendees to look for possible hosts for the event.  Richard Schneur mentioned the possibility of using space in the M2 building in downtown Champaign.  He will contact them as well and email the list.


d) Budget balance – Ward indicated that there usually is a low balance just prior to the Fall Gathering each year.  He suggested taking stock of the budget after this event to decide if surplus should be donated to the Roger Baldwin fund.  Some discussion ensued regarding this fund and its purposes.


5.  Adjournment at 8:35 p.m.