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At the May 5 Human Services Committee meeting, aldermen on the committee voted 4-1 to recommend a resolution calling for opposition to U.S. military intervention in Iran.

The Iran Resolution

The resolution was proposed by the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice, said Dickelle Fonda, a representative of the group and an Evanston resident, in collaboration with the Chicago-based No War on Iran Coalition.

Ms. Fonda said the resolution is only advisory, and while it alone cannot prevent a military attack on Iran, it “makes visible the opposition to such an attack” as well as demonstrates to the country’s elected leaders that there will be “serious political consequences” if such an attack were to take place.

The resolution follows the trend of the Evanston City Council’s addressing other national issues such as recommending adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and opposing the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq. Berwyn and Urbana are other Illinois cities that have adopted similar resolutions, Ms. Fonda said, and the Chicago City Council will be addressing the issue on May 12.

The resolution was passed 8-1 at the May 12 City Council meeting. Many speakers at that meeting, including some Northwestern University professors, urged the Council to approve the resolution.

Professor William Irons said, “Destabilizing [Iran] would be an even bigger disaster than Iraq or Afghanistan. … We should open channels of communication. There is no reason why the United States and Iran should be enemies.”

Robert Adkins urged the Council not to approve the resolution, saying, “You were not elected to put us in a political stance.”

‘Fighting’ Ordinance

Also up for consideration by the committee was an ordinance on “fighting” proposed by Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington. The ordinance suggests a fine of $100-750 for any person who “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly fight[s] or brawl[s] with another.” Chief Eddington said the ordinance would give his officers a tool to remove and arrest the combatants when no one at the scene elects to sign a complaint, thus preventing the fight from re-escalating and having his officers “called right back to the scene 15 minutes later.”

Some members of the committee were apprehensive about giving Evanston police officers the power to arrest someone without a complaint.

“I’m concerned that, without a complaining witness, we’re violating a person’s civil rights,” said Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Bernstein.

Chief Eddington told the committee that his officers are “particularly astute at figuring out what happened and to whom.

“The whole point is to maintain order in the neighborhood, not bump up arrests,” he said.

The committee directed Chief Eddington to consult further with the City’s Law Department before it makes a final recommendation.

Other Matters

• The committee agreed to the concept outline for the Citizens Police Advisory Committee. The committee is to consist of 4 to 9 members with no more than two citizens from any one ward. The committee approved a minor change to the wording in which the members will be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Human Services Committee. The Council will consider it at their May 27 meeting, Chief Eddington said.

• Committee members, particularly Ald. Bernstein, and Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall continued to wrangle over the Assessor’s budget for 2008-09. Ald. Bernstein proposed significant cuts to most items in the budgets.

Ms. Eckersall warned against the cuts, saying her office will be unprepared if a bill in Springfield, which she said is likely to pass, changes property assessments in Cook County from its current three-year cycle to annually.