PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The public got a first look this week at an organization working to curb violence in Peoria.
It’s called Safety Net, or S-Net. The group, organized by Peoria’s Mayor Rita Ali, let the public in for the first time to its Friday discussion.
50 community partners (including the Peoria Police and the Peoria County Health Department) make up S-Net, with the shared goal of trying to find solutions to lower crime in Peoria.
“It was related to trying to find, trying to connect the community with the police and other resources to reduce gun violence in our community,” said Mayor Ali.
During the usually-closed S-Net meetings, the work group found out about Cure Violence, an anti-violence initiative. However, the $25,000 assessment for the initiative has been shot down twice by the City Council. Some council members said they are concerned about its price tag, amongst other things.
Mayor Ali discussed at the open S-Net meeting the possibility of find the $25,000 elsewhere.
“We don’t need to just rely on funding from the city, there’s other sources through the state and we need to capture this funding,” said Ali.
Councilman Sid Ruckriegel said he thinks there are many unanswered questions about Cure Violence, hence his “no” vote on the assessment. But Mayor Ali said she hasn’t received any specific questions from council members.
Mayor Ali encouraged Ruckriegel multiple times to ask his questions.
“No more lies, honesty, no attacks, this is not personal. I want to work with you, I want to know what the questions are. Please send me a list of the outstanding questions so we can begin to move forward.”
Ruckriegel responded that he had questions, but wouldn’t specify his concerns beyond that.
In the place of Cure Violence, Mayor Ali organized and trademarked S-Net to get the community to come together and lower violence. Ruckriegel and Councilman Zachary Oyler questioned the legality of the trademark.
“The complete set of information was hidden from the council, you’ve owned this trademark and program, it then turned into a cover-up by the manager to hide it and the city to take ownership of this trademark. It is completely unacceptable how this has been handled,” said Oyler.
WMBD spoke with Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich, who said there were originally some concerns about money being allocated to S-Net: would it go to the mayor, or the city?
Because of these concerns, the city asked Mayor Ali to hand the trademark over to the city. She did so, and now, the city owns the trademark.
Mayor Ali stated, “The trademark S-Net does not belong to Rita Ali. It belongs to the city of Peoria.”
There will be a closed executive session on Saturday, July 9, according to Urich and Oyler.
“Saturday morning we have an executive session to deal with the legal issues that transpired here that our own city attorney says there are clear violations that need to be dealt with here,” said Oyler.