WBEZ | Gary Mayor Rudy Clay http://www.wbez.org/tags/gary-mayor-rudy-clay Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois casino bill has Indiana nervous http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-casino-bill-has-indiana-nervous-93262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-18/P1000160.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s announcement that he supports a Chicago casino and one in the south suburbs has some politicos in Northwest Indiana worried. That’s because Northwest Indiana’s five floating casinos on Lake Michigan depend heavily on customers from Illinois.</p><p>Gary Mayor Rudy Clay says one way to keep Illinois gamblers crossing the border is to build land-based casinos.</p><p>“We should have gone land-based long time ago. It should have been land-based the first time. We never should have been on the water,” Clay told WBEZ Tuesday. “Indiana has got to come into the 21st century and start building land-based casinos.”</p><p>Gary’s lakefront is home to two casinos, the Majestic Star I and II.</p><p>Clay’s been pushing Indiana lawmakers to approve land-based casinos for the last several years but each time, lawmakers decline passage.</p><p>One of the reasons may be that not all Northwest Indiana politicians are on board with land-based casinos.</p><p>For example, the mayor of Hammond, Thomas McDermott Jr., has come out opposed to land-based casinos, primarily because his city’s casino, Horseshoe, has invested $500,000 in recent years to upgrade its property on Lake Michigan.</p><p>Nonetheless, Clay, who will leave office in January, says building land-casinos is the only way to stay competitive with a casino built in Chicago, one built in a south suburb like Harvey, or both.</p><p>“Chicago is going to take some revenues out of Indiana. I can’t blame the governor of Illinois. He’s trying to bring money to Illinois,” Clay said. “We should be trying to bring money to Indiana.”</p><p>Clay says a land-based casino provides an experience that's different from that of a floating casino.</p><p>“On a land-based casino, you feel like you’re in Las Vegas. But a riverboat is what it is: It’s a boat. You don’t feel the Las Vegas-aura there,” Clay says. “It makes economic sense. It means more money for the state of Indiana and more people coming out of Illinois.”</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he’s open to the idea of land-based casinos.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he supports a scaled-back version of a casino bill Illinois lawmakers proposed to him.</p><p>Quinn supports five new casinos in and around Chicago but opposes slot machines at area airports, racetracks and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.</p></p> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 23:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-casino-bill-has-indiana-nervous-93262 Gary Mayor Rudy Clay not seeking re-election http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-mayor-rudy-clay/gary-mayor-rudy-clay-not-seeking-re-election-84924 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-08/92429857.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gary Mayor Rudy Clay announced Friday morning that he is suspending his re-election bid due to continued treatments for prostate cancer.</p><p>“I owe it to my family, myself and the great people of Gary to suspend this campaign for another term as mayor,” Clay said at an emergency press conference at Gary City Hall.</p><p>The 75-year-old Clay intends to finish his current term, which ends Dec. 31.</p><p>Clay said his actions were prompted by a strong recommendation from his physician, Dr. Walter M. Stadler of the University of Chicago.</p><p>Clay shared excerpts from a letter he received from Dr. Stadler: “Given your age and medical condition, and to avoid any potential reversal or harmful setback, it is my professional opinion that you give strong consideration to a less demanding routine when your current term as mayor expires.”</p><p>With his wife Christine by his side and many city department heads in attendance, a visibly shaken Clay said, given the situation, he has little choice but to follow his doctor’s orders.</p><p>“Stadler, Dr. Edwin Posadas and Carolyn Marinier successfully guided me through a grave and difficult challenge in my life and I completely value and trust their judgment,” Clay said in a written statement.</p><p>Clay will remain on the ballot with nine other Democratic candidates in May 3 mayoral primary, however.</p><p>“His name will just stay on at this point,” said Sally LaSota, head of the Voters Registration and Election Office in Lake County, Indiana.</p><p>LaSota said she conferred Friday morning with board attorney Jim Wieser.</p><p>There’s also one lone Republican candidate in the primary.</p><p>Early voting in the race started this week.</p><p>Clay came into office in April 2006, after the city’s Democratic precinct committee selected him to complete the term left behind by Scott King, who left office after serving more than 10 years office. King said he wanted to return to practicing law, so he could earn enough money to finance his child’s education.</p><p>Clay won his first election to the mayor's office in 2007.</p><p>Clay is also the former head of Lake County’s Democratic Party. He’s also had a long political career, including stints as a state senator and county commissioner.</p><p>Clay’s decision to suspend his campaign comes while the city is facing serious financial challenges. In less than a week, the city will learn if it will receive property tax relief from the state of Indiana. Gary is seeking about $11.1 million in tax relief through the state’s Distressed Unit Appeals Board.</p><p>Gary’s budget has dwindled in recent years due to a loss of residents, decline in property tax collections and a state-mandated property tax cap of one percent. Industry is also paying fewer taxes to the city than it had in previous decades. The city is also in a dispute with the owner of its two casinos for millions of dollars in revenue that has yet to be paid to city.</p><p>The city has had to reduce city services and cut staff, including firefighters.</p><p>Clay is also trying to fend off his city losing its status as Northwest Indiana’s largest city. Figures recently released by the U.S. Census show the city lost more than 20,000 residents during the past decade. That puts its current population at 80,000, or about 500 less than the neighboring city of Hammond. Clay has vowed to appeal the U.S. Census for a recount.</p><p>Clay is also in the process of trying to prevent the closure of a U.S. Postal Service sorting facility that employees hundreds of workers.</p><p>“I want to sincerely thank the God fearing people of Gary who always supported and voted for me to serve my community as Indiana State Senator, County Councilman, County Recorder, County Commissioner and Mayor of Gary,” Clay, whose public persona is usually optimistic and joyful, said. “The decision to cease my campaign is most difficult and disappointing but maintaining good health is my top priority. I have faith that my supporters will understand this decision and recognize there is no other option for me at this time.”</p><p><em>A correction has been made to this story.</em></p><p>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the year Rudy Clay first won the popular vote for mayor. That year was 2007.</p><p>Here is the text from a Media Release provided by the Office of Gary Mayor Rudy Clay:</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">CLAY SUSPENDS CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR<br> Prostate cancer treatments and the dynamics of a political campaign do not mix according to Mayor Rudy Clay: Clay said' "lowe it to my family, myself and the great people of Gary to suspend this campaign for another term as mayor." Clay said these actions were prompted by a strong recommendation from Dr. Walter M. Stadler, an expert in prostate Cancer at the University of Chicago. Dr. Stadler is an Internist, Oncologist, Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, and Chairman of the Cancer Research Center.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">In a letter from Dr. Stadler he wrote: "Given your age and medical condition, and to avoid any potential reversal or harmful setback, it is my professional opinion that you give strong consideration to a less demanding routine when your current term as mayor expires." Clay said "Stadler, Dr. EdWin Posadas and Carolyn Marinier successfully guided me through a grave and difficult challenge in my life and I completely value and trust their judgment." I want to sincerely thank the God fearing people of Gary who always supported and voted for me to serve my community as Indiana State Senator, County Councilman, County Recorder, County Commissioner and Mayor of Gary. The decision to cease my campaign is most difficult and disappointing, but maintaining good health is my top priority.</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">I have faith that my supporters will understand this decision and recognize there is no other option for me at this time.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">God Bless Gary, Indiana...The City I Love</p></p> Fri, 08 Apr 2011 16:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-mayor-rudy-clay/gary-mayor-rudy-clay-not-seeking-re-election-84924 Gary’s demolition derby: 101 buildings down, 300 to go http://www.wbez.org/story/evan-bayh/gary%E2%80%99s-demolition-derby-101-buildings-down-300-go <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bayh 1_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s not every day you see a sitting U.S. senator take a sledgehammer to a building, but that&rsquo;s exactly what Evan Bayh did Monday on his last visit to Gary, Indiana, as a senator.</p><p>Like a kid hitting a piñata, Bayh gave four good swings at wooden planks of an old, burnt-out home on the city&rsquo;s northeast side.</p><p>&ldquo;There we go!&rdquo; Bayh said as the sledgehammer struck the plank with force.</p><p>Bayh said he wants the structure to come down so neighborhood children could have a better environment to live in.</p><p>The house Bayh helped demolish represents the city&rsquo;s 101st to come down, thanks in large part to more than $2 million HUD provided the city in recent months. Back in June 2009, Bayh had visited the same neighborhood with Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The two toured abandoned houses and storefronts to see what more can the federal government do to turn around decades of disinvestment and decay. The answer they came up with, like so many times before in Gary&rsquo;s history, was money.</p><p>&ldquo;I was very touched to see those children growing in an environment like this. I was touched to see some of the homeowners trying to do the right thing but struggling because they were living next to abandoned properties,&rdquo; Bayh said. &ldquo;Those are the people we need to help.&rdquo;</p><p>Gary officials hope the HUD money can be used to tear down up to 400 structures and, eventually, make way for new development.</p><p>Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said the city appreciates the efforts of Indiana&rsquo;s outgoing senator.</p><p>&ldquo;(Bayh) lit the spark to make all of this happen. He realized that Northwest Indiana can&rsquo;t be all that it can be without Gary, Indiana, being all it can be,&rdquo; Clay said.</p><p>The mayor said tearing down the abandoned structures reduces crime and makes it easier to attract new development.</p><p>&ldquo;Gary&rsquo;s going to become a better city because of this,&rdquo; Clay said.&nbsp;</p><p>Bayh&rsquo;s visit to Gary caps off more action than just tearing down buildings in Gary. This was the Democrat&rsquo;s last visit to Northwest Indiana before retiring from the U.S. Senate on Jan. 1. The visit comes just days after senators voted to repeal the Don&rsquo;t Ask Don&rsquo;t Tell law, which barred gays from serving openly in the military. Bayh voted in favor of the repeal.</p><p>&ldquo;My attitude was if somebody wants to give their life to this country and defend America, that&rsquo;s good enough for me,&rdquo; Bayh said. &ldquo;Their personal life is their own. I think it&rsquo;s a step in the right direction.&rdquo;</p><p>Bayh said his relationship to the people of Northwest Indiana will not change because he&rsquo;s leaving the Senate.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve come to Northwest Indiana since I was a little boy and that&rsquo;s not going to change. I&rsquo;m just going to be doing it in a different capacity,&rdquo; Bayh said. &ldquo;I love the people of Northwest Indiana and I&rsquo;m going to be looking forward to that continuing for a long time.&rdquo;</p><p>Republican Dan Coats will replace Bayh in the Senate.</p></p> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 12:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/evan-bayh/gary%E2%80%99s-demolition-derby-101-buildings-down-300-go