Local Interest

CUCPJ Opposes Taser Purchase and Policy in Urbana

 

 

 

 

70 supporters gather for James Kilgore in anticipation of Board Meeting

James press confOn Monday, November 10, about 70 Friends of James Kilgore held a press conference outside the Henry Adminstration building on the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. They encouraged the Board of Trustees, meeting this Thursday, to reinstate Dr. Kilgore.

Decriminalization of Cannabis is Helpful, but Legalization and Regulation in Illinois Is the Answer

The Illinois chapter of NORML (National Organization to Reform marijuana Laws) fully supports Karen Lewis’s plan to legalize and regulate the adult cannabis market.  While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to decriminalize cannabis statewide is a step in the right direction it simply does not go far enough.  
 Decriminalization does nothing to curb the violence associated with the illegal cannabis trade and does nothing to prevent cannabis from getting in the hands of young people, especially teenagers.  While decriminalization would reduce the stigma of having a criminal record it would still be against the law to consume this plant, and the manufacturing and distribution of this product would still be controlled by criminals, often violent gangs and drug cartels.

“Academic Freedom & Political Dissent: A Conversation with Katherine Franke and the Community” AUDIO

 

What’s next, now that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has voted down Steven Salaita’s job?  September 18, Katherine Franke, a top national scholar of law, religion, and human rights, spoke at a community conversation focused on academic freedom, political dissent, and particular legal issues involved in political action on Israel-Palestine as well as the firing of Salaita from a tenured faculty position.

Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University, is paying her own way to speak at the
Independent Media Center in Urbana. Joining more than 5000 other faculty who are boycotting the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she announced her decision
to cancel a previously scheduled speaking engagement at UIUC in a September 2 letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise. (See Letter from Katherine Franke.)

Rauner says he would have vetoed medical cannabis law

via MPP email...

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner announced earlier this week that, if he had been in office, he would have vetoed Illinois' new lawwhich allows seriously ill patients access to medical cannabis. Rauner also said he preferred a system that would make business licenses available only to the highest bidders in order to raise money for state coffers.

Governor Quinn, who signed the medical marijuana bill in 2013, took exception to the comments, pointing out that the process is both competitive and transparent. His campaign called Rauner’s statements “heartless” and stressed that the law "will ease pain and provide relief for cancer patients (and) severely ill people."

Univ. of Illinois Admits Pre-Emptive Firing of Israel Critic Steven Salaita

by Ali Abunimah

Finally breaking its silence, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday claimed that the firing of Steven Salaita was “was not influenced in any way by his positions on the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel.”

Rather, it was, in effect, a pre-empetive firing based on the assumption that his tweets would make him a bad teacher.

This transparent use of “civility” as a cover to fire a professor with outspoken views on Israel is almost identical to the pretext that was given by DePaul University in 2007 to deny tenure to Norman Finkelstein.

In that case, DePaul denied Finkelstein tenure on the vague grounds that he lacked “collegiality.”

Passerine Stops in Urbana on Third U.S. Tour

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, Florida folk and Americana band Passerine lands in Urbana, IL, to perform at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. Show starts at 7:30pm. Admission is $5-10 sliding scale.

Dozens show up to learn how to create their own media at the IMC's imMEDIAte Justice Workshop

Dozens from Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, CU Immigration Forum, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, Citizens with Conviction and other groups working for social justice in Champaign Urbana, gathered for an all-day workshop to learn media production. 

In the IMC's newly created computer training classroom, participants used Audacity, free audio production software, to make short audio pieces.

DJ BJ showed people the ropes using the board in the WRFU 104.5 FM studio. Participants tried their hand speaking on air, then walked outside to view the 100 foot radio tower which broadcasted their message to all of Urbana, Champaign, and Savoy - all with 100 watts, or the power of a lightbulb.

ASA Gives D Grade to Illinois Medical Marijuana Law

Americans for Safe Access, the national medical marijuana patient's right organization has just released a national compilation of its evaluation of state medical marijuana laws. Although Illinois had a MMJ provision in its cannabis laws since the late 1970s, it was never more than a bit of window dressing and totally ineffective in protecting patients from prosecutors bent on running up their conviction rates. They simply ignored that part of the law, while prosecuting patients under the provisions of the law they are personally inclined to enforce.

That changed in 2013 when after years of trying, Illinois passed and Governor Quinn signed a MMJ law. While a small advance from the dreadful status patients faced previously, it is struggling to get off the ground, with significant doubts as to its ability to create improved access for patients, supply their needs at a reasonable cost, and prevent law enforcement abuse of patients.

ASA summarizes the current situation like this:

Serial School Privatizer "Chainsaw Paul" Vallas Gets Ready For His Next Job, IL Lt. Governor

After savaging public education in Chicago, Philly, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Vallas has been summoned home to Illinois by the Democrat governor as his running mate.

by Bruce Dixon

There are many things upon which elite corporate Democrats are in complete agreement with elite corporate Republicans. Often enough they are far more important to the way we live our lives than the cultural rhetoric and stylistic fluff that separates the two parties. Both Republicans and Democrats agree on empire and the wars needed to preserve it. They both agree gentrification, stadiums, and tax breaks for the wealthy are the only way to economically develop cities. They both know that poor and working people ought to subsidize a new round of predatory accumulation with lowered wages, plundered pensions, fiscal austerity and the privatization of public education.

A PROPOSAL TO REDUCE DUI BY 50%

A PROPOSAL TO REDUCE DUI BY 50%

10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZENS/POLICE RELATIONS

10 WAYS LAW ENFORCEMENT COULD IMPROVE CITIZEN RELATIONS

10 THINGS LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZEN-POLICE RELATIONS:
 
1) End the Drug War now. No one should be arrested or prosecuted for possession
or selling any recreational intoxicant to a consenting adult. Disband all narcotic units,
release all prisoners who are currently incarcerated for drug possession and drug selling,
and expunge all criminal records of everyone whoever suffered under this hypocritical, draconian and ineffective policy for the last 40 years. 
 
2) Publish the pictures, names, and badge numbers of all officers; and post this
listing in the lobby of the Champaign Police Department, the lobby of the public
safety building at the U of I and the sheriff's office or courthouse, like is done over at Urbana's 
municipal building. Police officers are government employees and, like politicians, have no reasonable expectation to "employee privacy." (residency exempted, of course.)

Study released on handling of minor marijuana cases in Illinois

Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.

by ICDP/Roosevelt University

Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.

An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.

Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice Stands in Solidarity with James Kilgore.

As a grassroots movement  working to address racial, gender, and economic injustices produced by our local criminal justice system, we have made one of our main efforts in recent years the prevention of new jail construction and the mass-incarceration mindset that goes along with it. Our ongoing effort has had remarkable success, thanks in great part to the tireless work and vision of fellow CUCPJ member James Kilgore.

In February 2014, a local right wing newspaper launched an attack against Dr. Kilgore, reporting as if it was news on his criminal background and political activities in the 1970s and questioning whether the University of Illinois―where he currently teaches―should employ him. Although in March a spokesperson for the University made a statement in support of Dr. Kilgore, in April in a private meeting with the University provost, James was informed without explanation that the University would not approve any future employment contracts with him.

May 3-14: Pete Seeger Events Provoke Memory of 1958 Concert

A series of May Day events is taking place May 3 to May 14 celebrating the life of legendary folk singer, banjo player, and political activist Pete Seeger, who passed away in January. After a flyer for the event was circulated, my friend Barbara Kessel emailed me about her recollection of Pete Seeger’s 1958 visit to the University of Illinois when he was banned from performing on campus during the red scare. The incident is a reminder of how widespread the blacklist was, even reaching this Midwestern college town. As the civil rights movement was gaining momentum and “the sixties” were just around the corner, Barbara recalled a “new world” opened up to her that night.  

Bob McChesney speaks at the IMC on the history and future of the internet

Dr. Robert M. McChesney, Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke to a crowd of people at the IMC Tuesday night. (Click on the whole story to view video).

Poll: Over 60% of Illinois Voters Support Marijuana Decriminalization

 

Supporters call on members of the House of Representatives to pass bills approved last week by the House Restorative Justice Committee that would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois with a non-criminal fine

By Marijuana Policy Project
[Note: Urbana provides a decrim option to its police, but this bill would make a much-needed, clear-cut break with past policy by removing all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis in every Illinois jusrisdiction.]

CHICAGO, IL — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.

Ammons Whips Mike Madigan's Money -- and Sam Rosenberg

News reports indicate that Carol Ammons -- and the mass of motivated citizenry supporting her -- has won the 103rd State Representative Democratic Primary when ballots were counted this evening. This hard fought victory against the Madigan machine came about despite the fact that Madigan spent roughly $100,000 more than the Ammons campaign was able to. The difference was people. People on the street. People door to door. People calling, emailing and messaging.

Is there hope for a Democratic Party that represents the people of Illiinois, rather than a weak alternative to Republicanism? There is now. The people of Illinois demand better.

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