DANVILLE, IL. (ECWd) -
During the April 6, 2021 Danville City Council meeting, Mayor Rickey Williams lied to the public about Christopher Hansen prior to reading only the parts of Hansen's comment that Williams thought the public had a right to hear, damn the First Amendment and Open Meetings Act.
After Mayor Williams finished, he asked the City Attorney, James Simon, if he had a response.
City Attorney Simon responded by correcting the Mayor's "thousands of FOIAs" comment, which the Mayor then went on to say he meant "hundreds of FOIAs" - which is still a wild, grossly exaggerated false statement about Hansen. Hansen has not sent "hundreds" of FOIAs to the City of Urbana - not even close.
Simon continued by opining on Hansen's FOIAs to the City of Urbana, claiming "his followers" submitted many FOIA requests. Pointing out that when Hansen doesn't like a FOIA response, he complains to the Attorney General's PAC (which is a right and spelled out in the Freedom of Information Act). Simon said Urbana wins some and loses some.
He finished by saying that apparently Hansen has nothing better to do but to harass the city - but failed to explain that it is the right and duty of every citizen to monitor their government. FOIA is not harassment, and demanding meetings comply with the Open Meetings Act is not harassment...unless you run your city like Urbana has, and complain about speech while public official spews out f-bombs, make unreasonable public comment rules, which the city attorney attempted to defend, but failed, got sued for unreasonable public comment rules, demand government issued photo ID for a FOIA request, losing a FOIA lawsuit, and illegally charge FOIA requesters for public records and getting sued for withholding those records, getting sued for concealing complaints of discrimination, even suggesting that the city sue residents who expose corruption.
Simon was blaming Hansen for his own client's (Urbana) shortcomings in FOIA and OMA - a really simple thing to accomplish once you realize it is the public's right to public records and open meetings.
Simon should issue a verbal apology at the next meeting.