Devon Reid.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) retreated from some of his proposals to abolish various criminal offenses in the Evanston city code Wednesday night.

At the Human Services Committee meeting, he withdrew his proposal to repeal an ordinance that requires people to obey orders from the police in a public place. The committee instead voted to amend the ordinance to specify that only “lawful” orders needed to be obeyed.

And, instead of advancing to City Council his proposal to repeal a ban on stone throwing, Reid — after demonstrating his distain for the provision by tossing a paper wad from the dais and asking Police Chief Richard Eddington whether that would subject him to arrest — had the committee refer the measure to the Alternatives to Arrest Committee for further review.

That was also the next destination the committee chose for another Reid proposal, to limit the scope of an ordinance that bars resisting or interfering with police.

But Reid continued his push to eliminate an ordinance that bars women from going topless in public.

Reid engaged in an extensive discussion with attorney Julie Tappendorf from the law firm of Ancel Glink, who was filling in for the city’s legal staff at the committee meeting

She cited several cases in which such bans were upheld. But Reid continued to insist that the ban violates the state constitution.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) said it was very clear where Reid stood on the issue, but it would be up to the rest of the City Council to determine whether they want to repeal the ordinance or take the risk of a potential future court challenge.

On a motion by Burns, seconded by Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th), the measure was tabled until the committee’s August or September meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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16 Comments

  1. Reid’s insistence is extremely annoying no doubt a reason that so many realistic and sensible people are, and have been, leaving the city government. What does he actually do (or get done) besides constantly stir up of a pot of trouble over small and insignificant issues that take people’s time away from focusing on more pressing, urgent and serious issues at hand?

    1. Maybe he’s trying to point out hypocrisy in our laws and municipal codes. Why can’t we have these discussions and tackle bigger issues as you say? That’s what multitasking is. And why should women have to cover their tops but men don’t? Because of women’s breasts? Maybe it should be up to women to dress how they want at the beach. Never mind, I forgot how immature most men are in this country.

      1. I suggest you let women speak for themselves on this issue. Multi-tasking on trivial issue diverts time and attention from important matters.

  2. These are valid points and I’m glad Reid is putting an effort into to make changes that other’s have given up on or have deemed unimportant—they may not be important to you, but they’re important to somebody!

    1. Hey “Glad someone is trying” that’s not someone trying. That is someone who has no business in the position he is in. He wastes taxpayer resources, time, and money with his crazy ideas. Sorry Devon, I don’t want more freedoms for crime to be committed and go unpunished. That does not bring equity to all! Perhaps he needs to read a job description for his role as Alderperson.

    2. Since when does democracy legislate around an issue that is “important to somebody?” It should legislate around issues that are important to the majority while protecting the minority from infringements on their constitutional rights.

  3. I think it’s pretty fun to joke about Reid here, but he has a legitimate point. If there are things in the city ordinance which violate the state constitution, we should clean it up before it ends up in a lawsuit, which would just cost the city more. It sounds like the counsel indicated that it’s unclear whether it violates the constitution or not, so why not just remove it and move on? It’s not like anyone is kicking down the doors to go topless…

  4. He is constantly proposing solutions in search of a problem and to respond to the other Matt’s comment, the City has limited resources to address proposed ordinance changes. Every trivial proposal takes those resources away from something more worthwhile. For example, just with the topless issue, which I really don’t care one way or another about, the City law department has to vet the matter and in many cases pay outside legal fees. I’ve lived here for twenty years and have yet to hear anyone identifying as a woman say, gee, Evanston is nice, but what I really need is to be able to go to the beach topless. Don’t even get me started on the rock throwing nonsense. Can we please, please spend our precious resources on solutions to real problems!

    1. Thanks for your comment Matt – you are right on! Raising issues about toplessness and rock throwing is killing an ant with a canon. We should be aiming the canon at the bigger issues Evanston faces. We desperately need a city manager who can shut this guy down each time he insists on diverting time and resources away from pressing issues.

  5. If women can go topless, how about MEN going bottomless? Fair is fair and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This really is STUPID!

  6. Repeal the topless ban, and let women decide for themselves. Not every decision needs to be made by the government.

  7. Are there any woman asking to have this freedom, or is the push coming from men? I personally don’t know any woman that would take advantage of going topless. Evanston we can do better on what our government spends their time on.

    1. I personally know dozens of women who do go topless at private beaches when it is legal, safe, and socially acceptable.

      Your assumption that none of the women you know wish they lived in a society where women could feel as safe being topless as men do is probably wrong. Maybe they just don’t feel safe being topless around you.

      If no women want to be topless in Evanston, then removing the unconstitutional law from the books shouldn’t cause any trouble. And, if they do? It’s been legal in New York for 30 years, and it doesn’t seem to be causing trouble.

      Its not like we have hoards of men wandering around downtown Evanston wearing nothing but speedos just because it is legal.

      I also know many women who sunbath topless in the privacy of their backyards where you never see it. With this change, you still wouldn’t see them — but they wouldn’t have to worry about ‘getting caught’ by some nosy neighbor that is invading their privacy and having the police show up at their door.

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