WBEZ | George Janiec http://www.wbez.org/tags/george-janiec Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hammond mayoral dispute heads to Indiana Court of Appeals http://www.wbez.org/story/business/hammond-mayoral-dispute-heads-indiana-court-appeals-84575 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-31/George Janiec.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.7738663897975478" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">George Janiec is taking his fight to get put back on the Republican primary ballot for Hammond mayor to the Indiana Court of Appeals.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">At a brief hearing Thursday, Janiec’s attorney, Cordell Funk, said his client is appealing a ruling issued by Lake County Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando Jr. That ruling has kept Janiec’s name off of ballots issued for the start of early voting April 4. It is too late for Janiec to be on those ballots, but Funk said Janiec hopes to appear on ballots for election day polling on May 3.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Obviously, not being on for any part is a problem,” Funk said. &nbsp;“But we think given that it’s a primary, those that support Janiec, knowing that he’s appealing and trying to get on the ballot, will hold off voting and won’t run in and vote for somebody else.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Funk said Janiec’s appeal could be taken up by the Indiana Supreme Court.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“We may ask the Supreme Court to remove it from the Appeals Court and hear it without getting an Appellate Court ruling,” Funk said. “We’re weighing that option. There is a procedure to do that. We’re also weighing the timelines of what would happen or not happen. So, we have to think about that Saturday and Sunday while we’re putting stuff together.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Villalpando upheld an early March ruling from the Lake County Election and Voters Registration Board that removed Janiec’s name from the primary ballot.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec’s candidacy was challenged by a Hammond resident. The basis of the challenge was that Janiec could not run because he is a member of the city’s nonpartisan school board, which prohibits members from engaging in political activity.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Villalpando ruled Wednesday that if Janiec wants to run for mayor, he must first resign his school board post.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec's lawyer contends Indiana law does not prohibit school board members from running in partisan elections.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">But election board attorney Jim Wieser said Janiec got it wrong. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“In Hammond, (school board) policy specifically says that you must be nonpartisan and you cannot be engaged at all, in any way shape or form, in partisan politics,” Wieser said. “I think if you’re someone who holds himself out to say ‘I’m nonpartisan. I’m going to only represent the schools’ interest’ and then spends eight months of the year running for a partisan mayor’s office is probably not fulfilling his oath of office.”</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">There are, however, current school board members in neighboring communities who are running for partisan offices. The county’s election board did not remove those candidates in those races.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Wieser said that’s because those candidates did not face challenges, and it’s unknown if those school districts prohibit members from engaging in partisan politics.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“In the judge’s order, (Villalpando) was very careful to say that this order applies only to this specific and unique set of circumstances,” Wieser said.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Four years ago, Janiec narrowly lost the general election to Hammond’s Democratic incumbent &nbsp;Mayor Tom McDermott Jr., who is also the head of the county’s Democratic Party.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec, said the fight over his access to the ballot is now out of his hands.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“I have never been through this nor do I know of anybody who has been through this,” Janiec said. “I leave it in my attorneys’ skillful hands in maneuvering through this judicial maze.”</span></p></p> Fri, 01 Apr 2011 02:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/hammond-mayoral-dispute-heads-indiana-court-appeals-84575 Hammond GOP mayoral hopeful out http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-gop-mayoral-hopeful-out-84515 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.7241763980135641" style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">A Lake County, Indiana judge says George Janiec is ineligible to run in the Hammond mayoral primary because he is a member of the city’s nonpartisan public school board.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Lake County Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando Jr.’s ruling says if Janiec wants to run in the race, he’ll have to resign from the school board first.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“Janiec is the person who created this controversy and logically is the only person who can remove the condition undermining his municipal ambitions. He still has time to help himself,” Villalpando wrote in his ruling released Wednesday afternoon.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Four years ago, Janiec came within 500 votes of upsetting incumbent Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec won a seat on the Hammond school board just last year, but in February, he wanted another crack at trying to become mayor of Northwest Indiana’s largest city.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Earlier this month, his candidacy was challenged by a Hammond resident on the grounds that Janiec could not run for a partisan office while holding a position on a nonpartisan board.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">A majority of the Lake County Election and Voters Registration Board agreed and voted to remove Janiec from the primary ballot at its meeting in early March.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec challenged that ruling in Lake County Superior Court.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">“On the day before filing closed in February, 2011, as Janiec himself told the court on March 29, Janiec broke that pledge when he filed his Declaration of Candidacy for Municipal Election, declaring himself a partisan candidate for Mayor, City of Hammond,” Villalpando wrote.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Villalpando had said last week that he would rule by this Friday, April 1; instead, he ruled two days earlier than that. The judge has noted that, in this case, “time is of the essence” because early voting ballots have already been printed without Janiec’s name included.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Early voting starts Monday, with the primary opening on May 3.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Villalpando has scheduled a final hearing on the case for Thursday at 3 p.m. at his downtown Hammond courtroom. </span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> </span></p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 00:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-gop-mayoral-hopeful-out-84515 Hammond mayoral ballot issue heats up http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-mayoral-ballot-issue-heats-84467 <p><p>A would-be candidate for mayor in Hammond, Indiana, will continue to spend precious time fighting to stay on the ballot.</p><p>George Janiec had been booted off the ballot in Hammond’s GOP mayoral primary.&nbsp;And he’s under serious time pressure - the race is in five weeks but early voting begins Monday.</p><p>So, Janiec was hoping a Lake County, Indiana judge would look at the facts of the case and place him back on today.&nbsp;But on Tuesday, Lake Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando says he’ll need until the end of the week to make a decision.</p><p>Villalpando called an emergency meeting Monday to settle a dispute between the parties. The dispute was settled but that won’t mean an earlier decision by Villalpando who has acknowledge, “time is of the essence,” since next month starts early voting with the actual primary on May 3<sup>rd</sup>.</p><p>That’s welcome news to Janiec’s likely Democratic opponent - Hammond’s incumbent Mayor, Tom McDermott Jr.</p><p>“I think I can beat George Janiec if he’s lucky enough to get back on the ballot. I’m not afraid of him,” McDermott said.&nbsp; “But if he’s on the ballot, I’ll take it to him but right now, there’s no guarantee he’s even going to be on the ballot.”</p><p>McDermott beat Janiec in a close general election four years ago winning by a mere 500 votes.</p><p>The Lake County Election and Voters Registration Board removed Janiec from the primary ballot in early March, saying he is ineligible to run in a partisan race because he sits on a non-partisan school board.</p><p>Janiec says there is no state law prohibiting him running in a partisan election while holding a nonpartisan seat.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 23:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-mayoral-ballot-issue-heats-84467 Republican challenger gets day in Indiana Court http://www.wbez.org/story/cordell-funk/republican-challenger-gets-day-indiana-court-84226 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.48907773357390727" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">April 1st will be no laughing matter for George Janiec: That is when he will likely find out whether he&rsquo;ll be back in the race for mayor of Hammond, Indiana.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec is challenging a March 7 decision by the Lake County Elections and Voter Registration Board to remove him as a candidate in the Republican primary, which occurs May 3. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">After more than an hour of testimony Thursday in Hammond, Lake County Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando said he will make a ruling Friday, April 1&mdash;just three days before early voting is start.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec attended the hearing with his attorneys, including Cordell Funk.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Funk argued that the election board&rsquo;s decision is not based on an Indiana law.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">&ldquo;The statutory qualifications are that you have to be a registered voter and a Hammond resident. He meets both of those and there&rsquo;s no grounds to take him off,&rdquo; Funk said. &ldquo;Unless there&rsquo;s a statute that states you can take him off, he should stay on there and the voters should have a right to decide.&rdquo;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Election board attorney Jim Wieser pressed to keep Janiec off the primary ballot. He contends Indiana law aims to keep politics from interfering with school board business, and running in a partisan race jeopardizes that. The election board used similar reasoning in its March 7 ruling. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a legitimate disqualifying factor,&rdquo; Wieser said. &ldquo;[Janiec] is a nonpartisan person that wants to be allowed to run for partisan office. That&rsquo;s not the spirit of the law.&rdquo;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Some speculate that Janiec was removed from the primary because he came within 500 votes of upsetting incumbent Mayor Tom McDermott, Jr. during 2007&rsquo;s mayoral election. McDermott heads the Lake County Democratic Party.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The election board&rsquo;s original decision was approved along party lines, 3 to 2.</span></p></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cordell-funk/republican-challenger-gets-day-indiana-court-84226 Hammond mayoral candidate gets booted from GOP primary ballot http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-mayoral-candidate-gets-booted-gop-primary-ballot <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.01580413871288422" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">George Janiec ran for mayor four years ago as a Republican in Democratic-leaning Hammond, Indiana.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">He lost by less than 500 votes to the current mayor, Tom McDermott, a Democrat.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec wants to run against McDermott once again. But to do that he needs to win the GOP&rsquo;s primary, which will be held in May. </span><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">But Janiec may not be able to go up against McDermott after all. Lake County&rsquo;s election board Monday voted in favor of removing Janiec&rsquo;s name from the GOP primary&rsquo;s ballot.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The partisan board&rsquo;s Democratic majority said Janiec shouldn&rsquo;t be allowed to run because he already serves on the city&rsquo;s non-partisan school board. The Democrats said if Janiec wants to be included on the ballot, he must first resign from the school board.</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec contends he shouldn&rsquo;t have to do that. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">&ldquo;Why should I have to when there is no state statute that I&rsquo;ve violated or any laws that I&rsquo;ve broken,&rdquo; Janiec says. &ldquo;Obviously I&rsquo;m a significant threat to the incumbent mayor.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec says he plans to hire an attorney to help him fight the election board&rsquo;s decision. He also wants the U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s office in Hammond to investigate.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Janiec says McDermott has too much influence on the election board since he is also the Democratic party chair for Lake County. The party chair can appoint members to the elections board.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Tahoma; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">McDermott has appointed one member since taking over as chairman two years ago. He told the Times of Northwest Indiana he supports the board&rsquo;s decision.</span></p></p> Wed, 09 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/george-janiec/hammond-mayoral-candidate-gets-booted-gop-primary-ballot