Smile Politely

In response to traffic stop disparities in Urbana

For the past three years, we have systematically fixed fundamental problems that threatened our city’s ability to provide core services to residents, businesses, and visitors to Urbana. We eliminated a $2.5 million structural budget deficit, restored pension funding so that future taxpayers would not be saddled with the burden of catch-up, rebuilt the city’s emergency reserves to required levels, and expanded our tax base through several major developments, including affordable housing. We began addressing neglected infrastructure needs by assessing the condition of every city-owned facility, mile of pavement, and the entire storm water system. We now have a stronger financial foundation, accurate information and a plan for systematically repairing or replacing core infrastructure for the next decade.

Racial disparities are unacceptable. We will tackle disparities revealed in the traffic stop data by focusing squarely on the policies and practices that created them. We will bring to this process the same discipline and honesty that we used to address the financial and infrastructure challenges described above. I’m sorry we did not focus on traffic stops earlier,  but the financial foundation had to be built first. So we built it. We now have begun to fix the Civilian Police Review Board and will plan for a restructured emergency response system that better meets the needs of our community. We also will bring a proposal to City Council in August for the mental health response component of that new system.

In short, we are committed to building a better, safer, healthier, more welcoming Urbana.  Eliminating racial disparities in traffic stops is an essential part of the journey toward racial and social justice.

Diane Wolfe Marlin is the Mayor of Urbana.

Photo from City of Urbana Facebook page.

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