Local GOP takes aim at Champaign council members

Another round of quick takes on the people, places and things being talked about in the news over the past week:

Not going away

The wishes of Champaign City Council members Alicia Beck and Michael Foellmer are not coming true.

Community critics outraged by their comments at a Feb. 15 meeting insulting Champaign residents Albert and Claudia Morr won’t shut up and go away. The couple received a hostile response after they appeared before the council to complain about a shootout between two rivals groups in vehicles outside their residence at 1601 W. University Ave. that left bullet holes in their front window.

The incident was one of numerous episodes of gunplay that have occurred throughout Champaign-Urbana over the past two years.

On Feb. 22, a chorus of critics showed up at the city council meeting to challenge the pair’s derogatory comments. Now the local Republican Party is conducting a petition drive urging their resignations and will present it at a future council meeting.

A release issued by the Champaign County GOP states that it organized the petition drive “to give the entire community an opportunity to provide additional support” to the Morrs and their neighbors.

“It is not a formal petition in the political sense, as it is not a collection of the voters responsible for putting council members Beck and Foellmer in office,” the GOP said, describing it as a “no confidence” vote as well as an expression of “profound disappointment” in the city council.

After the Morrs spoke, Beck said she was dismayed they only spoke out after the shooting at their residence and not earlier. She suggested they were unconcerned until a bullet went through their front window.

Beck said until the Morrs express greater concern about violence in other neighborhoods occupied by “Black and Brown” people, she didn’t want to hear any complaints from then.

“Don’t come back,” Beck told the couple.

Foellmer, the representative for District 4, which includes the Morrs’ house, immediately seconded Beck’s remarks.

After public controversy broke out over the remarks, Beck and Foellmer issued a statement expressing regret that the Morrs mistakenly reacted badly to their comments.

When the council met Feb. 22, other council members expressed their dismay about what had occurred. Beck said nothing, and Foellmer was not present.

So far, a little over 250 people have signed the online petition. Organizers said they are seeking support from Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans. The petition is available at the local Republican Party’s website,

Jim Dey, a member of The News-Gazette staff, can be reached at [email protected] or 217-393-8251.

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