Christopher Evans recently defeated two primary challengers to become the Democratic nominee for Urbana City Council Ward 2. Ward 2, which covers a relatively small geographical area just west of U of I’s campus, has had a bit of turnover. Eric Jacobssen vacated the seat last summer, and Julie Laut was appointed to fulfill the remainder of the term. Laut stepped down in December, and Erik Sacks was appointed to the seat. Evans ran against Sacks and CheckCu.org founder Christopher Hansen, and now faces Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate Colin Dodson in the April 6th election.
Smile Politely: Tell me a little about yourself and your background.
Police Reform– poor communities and communities of color are sick and tired of resolving every social problem with an arrest, a prosecution, and an incarceration. And rightfully, poor communities and communities of color are asking their government for a financial investment into their communities like governments have in the white suburbs, the downtown business area, and the Campustown business area. It can’t just be that the only thing government has to offer poor communities is a free car ride to the county jail. Serious investment into education and housing will be needed. This will be a longer conversation and require continued public pressure at all levels of government.
- set clear standards for how the city honors FOIA requests.
- make procedures, policies, and directives available for public review
- reform police contracts that unreasonably restrict police terminations or erase police complaints or disciplinary records.
- enact a “duty to intervene” policy requiring officers on scene to attempt to stop fellow officers from applying excessive force and report misconduct to superior officers.
- equip Urbana’s Civilian Police Review Board with subpoena power to monitor discipline and internal investigations of police shootings.
- establish civilian governance boards to guide police policy according to local priorities.
- prohibit the use of no-knock warrants for drug searches and other police functions where they are not essential to protect public safety.
- avoid using military equipment and military-style uniforms for nonessential purposes.
- wherever possible, remove policing of social issues from the scope of police responsibilities. Promote funding of social service agencies and implement evidence-based interventions to address substance use, mental health crisis, and homelessness.
- provide academy in-service de-escalation, communication, and mindfulness training.
- address officer mental health to prevent self-harm and trauma-related escalation.
SP: Why do you feel you are the more qualified candidate?
Evans: I don’t compare myself to Colin Dodson. If voters were to elect Colin, Urbana would be in great shape. In fact, all the candidates for Ward 2 this year have been excellent choices. All I can say is I do feel I’m qualified for city council because I have lived in Urbana for a long time, I love the city of Urbana, I know a fair amount of local history, I enjoy doing research, I enjoy looking for solutions and crafting policy; and as a poor person myself, I recognize the needs that if met, can reduce crime, can give everyone an opportunity to become the best they can be, and we can design a sustainable future. I’m optimistic we can do this. I am at a point in my life that I have the time to be a city council person. I lost my two part-time jobs to the pandemic so I am readily available to do the work. Thank you Smile Politely for taking an interest in local politics and giving the candidates a chance to speak.
You can find information about all candidates on the ballot at Champaign County Voters Alliance.