Ald. Devon Reid’s push to end the ban on women going topless in public will be back on the agenda of Evanston’s Human Services Committee Tuesday.
Reid — who has insisted he doesn’t “want” topless beaches, although his proposal would eliminate the city’s only barrier to having them — has claimed that the public nudity ordinance is constitutionally defective because it treats men and women differently.
The proposal got a chilly reception from Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) the only woman on the committee, when first introduced in June.
And the city’s Parks and Recreation Board spoke out against it later that month.
For July’s HSC meeting, Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings prepared a memo challenging Reid’s claim that the ordinance is constitutionally flawed.
Cummings said he was confident the city could defend it in court.
But Reid, who represents the city’s landlocked 8th Ward, hasn’t dropped his push to repeal the ordinance.
So, for this week’s meeting, the city’s interim legal team — Julie Tappendorf and Derke Price of the Ancel Glink law firm — has prepared a two-page memo again explaining why the existing ordinance is defensible.
But the memo notes that it’s ultimately a “policy decision” for the City Council whether to modify or eliminate the current restrictions.
That suggests that those in favor of topless beaches — or opposed to them — may need to turn out for the committee meeting to expose their views on the question.
Last spring voters in Nantucket, Massachusetts, approved a measure to permit topless beaches in that island community.
But it requires the approval of the Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey to take effect, and she has delayed a decision on the proposal until December, after the November election in which she’s running for governor.
The Human Services Committee meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.
The committee is also scheduled to consider proposal to:
- Amend the city’s fair housing ordinance to match provisions of the Cook County code regarding protections for ex-convicts and for domestic violence victims.
- Prohibit police use of no-knock warrants.
- Require police to provide Miranda warnings.