of Champaign County

    Steering Committee

Thursday, September 2, 2010

7:00 p.m.


Present: Carol Leff, Shirley Stillinger, Richard Schnuer, Barbara Kessel, Lynne Rudasill, Carol Inskeep, Paul Debevec, Ward Henson, Esther Patt, Carol Spindel, Bill Brown, Steve Portnoy

Guests: Jia Jia Fei, UIUC law graduate,  Theresa Ramos, UIUC Student senate, Brian Dolinar,  Public Eye,  Steve Briney, concerned Mahomet citizen about new Lincoln Trails Library fees


1  Minutes of the June 3, 2010 meeting were approved as corrected.


2.  Announcements & Communications

a) CU  Pride Fest report: Several members of both the steering committee and the chapter worked at the table set up for this event. (Steve and Esther Portnoy, Carol Leff, Marsha Woodbury, and Bill Brown)  Participants signed up ten new people for the email list.  The state organization sent down pamphlets (specifically addressing GLBT issues), stickers, statue of liberty crowns, and t-shirts.  The event was well-attended and the table was staffed at good time (3:30-8PM) in a good location with other civic groups.  It was felt that we should continue to participate in this event. It was suggested that we ask for more t-shirts to use as promotional material at the farmersí market.  We could ask passersby to show their membership card to receive a t-shirt.


b) The next steering committee meeting will be held on September 30, because the Rosenstein documentary will be shown at our normal meeting time.


c)  Esther participated in the reproductive rights bus tour in August.  Although most were prochoice, she indicated there were at least two anti-choice individuals there to observe.


3.  Old Business

a) Fall Gathering: Richard did not have a chance to check into the availability of space for the gathering at M2.  Susan Cohen was suggested as a backup (she is able to host November 14) as were Stephen Kaufman,  and Dirk Mol and Gerald Wray.   Bill will also look at the list of last yearís attendees to see if anyone who participated might have an adequate facility for the event.  Richard will call M2 tomorrow.  We assume they will have tables that we can use and Richard will assure them that we will clean up afterwards.  Bill Brown indicated a desire to send out the postcard about the Rosenstein film in the coming week, and it would be nice to be able to have people save the date on their calendars for either November 7 or 14.  We will be sending out a newsletter in mid-October.  If the fall gathering is held on the 7th, it would be an opportunity to talk after election and it wonít interfere with any fund raising activities.


b) Status of final report on traffic stops study (state input)

Bill Brown reported that after viewing the statistical report from last spring, the  ACLU lawyers did not like the report drawing attention to criticism of driving population estimates.    Bill was trying to go through the report and remove things they think we cannot use.  We certainly could use the information on a summary sheet that Bill passed out at the meeting and the state chapter did provide us with a statement that agrees with everything that we have in our report.  Bill will send the statement out to us by email so we can get a better understanding of its contents.   Plans are to put it up on the website, as well as links to the official state traffic stop data.  The Illinois ACLU Chapter would view a call to end consent searches quite favorably.  There was discussion of the information provided on the handout we received at the meeting which included remarks about the relative sizes of the police departments and the fact that more Caucasians who agreed to consent searches had contraband in their possession than African Americans, yet African Americans are asked for consent to search more often.


Brian  Dolinar from the Public Eye voiced the opinion that the News Gazette has stopped covering the issue.  He suggested filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the districts for every incident would provide a better understanding of the situation.  The sheer number of University of Illinois police and the number of consent searches is out of proportion.  One of the guests at the meeting, Theresa Ramos from the Illinois Student Senate indicated she had introduced a resolution to that body regarding racial profiling.  They will be voting soon on the issue and she suggested that it would bolster her case if any ACLU members could attend the session.  It was suggested that the results of the consent searches should be highlighted.  In addition to putting a summary and the brief report (about 18 pages) on our website, the committee decided to write directly to the Chiefs of Police and shortly afterward do a press release.  Primarily, we want to indicate that we are looking at the issue again and we are likely to get the press release played on WILL, in the Daily Illini, and maybe a few other TV stations.  We will see if Ed Yonka wants to write the press release as a starter.  If we had an intern again, it would be great if they could do FOIA requests to get more detailed information such as date and time as well as, perhaps, location about stops and consent searches.


Introductions  -- Since it appeared that the University Director of Public Safety had forgotten the meeting, guests introduced themselves.


Jaijai Fei graduate of the Univ. of Illinois Law School.  She is exploring the possibility of an internship due to an interest  in civil liberties in United States.  She has general information about civil liberties, but is seeking to understand "what happens in real life."  Bill has her resume.


Steve Briney from Mahomet indicated he had an issue he would like to explore with us although he was not sure we were the right people to talk to.  (See New Business)


Brian  Dolinar from the Public Eye was present to cover the meeting and provided some input on the issue of consent searches.


Theresa Ramos is a member of the University Student Senate and was also in attendance due to an interest in consent searches.


The members of the Steering Committee introduced themselves as well.


c) Farmerís market: Oct 2 & Nov 6 Esther has table and chairs.  It should be staffed from 8:00 a.m. until noon.  Steve, Carol Leff, and possibly Mark Leff and Lynne Rudasill volunteered to work the table at the meeting.  If others wish to do so, they should e-mail Esther.  November 6 is the last day the farmersí market will be held outside.  There was discussion of staffing something in the mall over the winter months but no resolution was reached.


d) Rights of Protestors  (Paul Debevec): This wonít happen this fall since he has two out of country trips and not much positive response from those contacted so far.  Paul passed around a California-based activists guide, it was suggested that this guide might provide a template to do something similar for Illinois if we have an intern this year.  Barbara Kessel will send out information about some recent legal opinions regarding trespassing and picture taking.  The IMC has an article about it as well in the Public Eye.   We will continue working toward a spring rights of protesters conference.


4.  New Business

Steve Birney, a guest and a resident of Mahomet, Illinois questioned whether the new practice of the Champaign Public Library charging Mahomet and Tolono residents $200 per year to check out books in person from the Champaign facility was an issue that the ACLU might get involved in.   The feeling was that this was a tax and reciprocity issue rather than an issue the ACLU should tackle, although there was an extended discussion of the issue.  Esther Patt summarized the groupís suggestions about actions Mahomet citizens could take, including contact with Mahometís library board.



Thur Oct 7,  7:00 PM at the Art Theater

Tickets $6 available in advance at box office

The documentary is about the winner of the Stone Award in 1998 and the controversy over release time for religious studies in public schools.  This will be the filmís first public screening. Carol Inskeep is doing a press release and publicity for the film.  Tickets can be purchased in advance, but only from the box office.  Since we will be at the market on October 2, Carol will do a foam board poster for the table.  Rosenstein will be doing a question and answer period after the film and it was suggested that Bill be there to do a brief pitch for the ACLU and then introduce him.  We could also have a table in the lobby.  CU-ACLU is getting the first shot at tickets with the distribution of a postcard about the film.  We will see if we can buy tickets for sale at the farmerís market the previous Saturday.  Bill and Carol I will work on getting the cards out next week.  If we can set a date for the fall gathering, a mention to save the date could be included on the card.  In addition to the postcard, the event will be posted on the list to our members.  Profits from the showing will be given to the CU-ACLU chapter.  It was moved (Esther) and seconded (Carol) to direct any money from the proceeds to the Roger Baldwin foundation.


b) Intern Interest (Carol L)

Carol does not have anyone doing an internship with her this semester, but may have someone in spring.


5.  Adjournment at 8:50 p.m.