URBANA – Council member Erik Sacks sent out an email Saturday morning to the West Urbana Neighborhood Association (WUNA) mailing list as part of his political campaign for the Ward 2 City Council seat.

Sacks alleged that his opponent for the Ward 2 Council seat, Christopher Hansen was part of an extremist Right wing group whose goal was to destroy our local government for nefarious purposes.

Sacks proceeded to suggest that the newcomer candidates running for council seats in the other Wards and official positions were also part of this conspiracy to attack our city.

“Moreover, if we look at the entire ballot, we can see that the problem is City-wide and not limited to just one Ward,” says Sacks.

Many of the candidates who he is accusing of being a threat to democracy are community activists and volunteers who are entering the political arena for the first time in their lives.

In the past year, the City of Urbana and City Council has faced backlash and criticism for their lack of meaningful action to address police misconduct, social issues such as utility shut offs and homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, violations of Urbana Human Rights Ordinance, disparity in traffic stops and actions, and issues of transparency and accessibility of public records and open meetings.

Dissatisfaction with the current government has spurred newcomer candidates to run for council, to represent the often-underrepresented voices of their neighbors. Week after week, they speak up at City Council meetings to bring attention to these issues.

Instead of addressing the concerns raised, Council member Sacks accuses concerned residents who speak at City Council meetings of “personal attacks, distortions of truth, and persistent stream of unsubstantiated allegations.”

According to Sacks, this advocacy for good governance and social justice is merely a strategy for extremist groups to infiltrate Urbana’s local government. He suggests Urbana is under attack by the “Patriot Movement”. The Patriots are a group of far Right wing extremists and are being called American Terrorists who are trying to destroy democracy, laws, and the government.