Board upholds petition objections at special meeting Candidates say they were following ‘nonpartisan’ election codes
By Jane Charmelo LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
Members of the Village of Lombard Municipal Officers Electoral Board on Tuesday, Jan. 3, held a special hearing to vote on each of three nominating petition objections after Lombard resident Amy Le Beau, on Dec. 27, filed objections to the paperwork . According to the village, Darryl Holloman was seeking to run for District 1 trustee, Kali Emerson was looking to run for village clerk and Ben McAdams sought to unseat village President Keith Giagnorio. The objections, according to village documents, state that the paperwork did not contain the required number of signatures. Le Beau was not present for the hearing, although she was represented by attorney Peter Breen, who outlined the resident’s objections. A court reporter was also present to document the proceedings. As the cases were presented, seemingly at the heart of the matter was whether the village is “independent” or “nonpartisan” which, according to village attorney Jason Guisinger, are defined differently by the Illinois Election and Municipal codes. Municipalities are deemed nonpartisan only by referendum, Guisinger highlighted, adding that Lombard uses an “independent candidate system”; candidates can run as part of an established party. In Holloman’s case—presented before an electoral board of Giagnorio as chairman, District 6 Trustee Bill Ware (longest-serving trustee) and Lombard Village Clerk Sharon Kuderna—Breen said this case was “not a difficult challenge” in that the candidate did not obtain sufficient signatures on his paperwork. That is, he was required to obtain no fewer than 76 signatures of “duly qualified registered and legal” Lombard voters from District 1; his petition contained 32. “The election code is clear,” Breen added, referring to Page 25 of the state’s candidate guide to election codes for independent and nonpartisan municipalities. Holloman cited that when he went to the village hall to obtain the paperwork, he requested information on the number of signatures required to submit his petition for nomination. However, he said he was referred to the DuPage County and Illinois election commissions for that information, after which he was referred back to the Village of Lombard. Staff “could not verify nor contradict” the number of signatures needed, he added. Figures show that in the 2013 election, 1,538 votes were cast in District 1, and Holloman said he thought that based on the nonpartisan election code, he had to have enough signatures equal to 1 percent of that number. However, Holloman—and the other two candidates—picked up packets labeled as independent, and election codes, Breen said, indicate the petitioner needs no less than 5 percent nor more than 8 percent of that vote total in signatures to submit nominating papers. The 1 percent figure would amount to roughly 16 signatures, Breen rebutted, adding, “That is laughable.” He cited Holloman as being a member of the Democratic Party of DuPage County, saying, “The [party] should be aware of the process of getting petitions.” “I don’t see how the Democratic Party membership is relevant in a nonpartisan race,” Holloman stated. The bottom line, he continued, is “I requested [information] twice from the village clerk’s office … they refused on both occasions.” Holloman reiterated that from his interpretation he needed to obtain signatures equal to 1 percent of the vote totals from the 2013 election. “I’d like to know the basis of the statutory numbers,” Holloman said. “I request that I would be allowed to remain on the ballot given the circumstances,” he told the electoral board. Holloman did not follow correct procedure—nor did he seek counsel —so this case is “not something where there was an honest mistake … this was nowhere close,” Breen commented. “For that reason the objection should be sustained and the candidate’s name stricken from the ballot.” “Clearly the village comported itself appropriately,” the attorney said, in handing Holloman the appropriate (independent versus nonpartisan) nominating papers. He said Holloman, along with Emerson and McAdams, were reportedly attempting to run on a “slate,” but to hold an elected office in village politics, “You have to show a level of support and a level of diligence” to be able to fulfill the duties of a trustee. Immediately prior to the board’s vote sustaining the objection, Giagnorio commented, “I think it’s pretty clear it’s just a lack of signatures.” Emerson was not present to speak before the electoral board, which in this case included Giagnorio, Ware and District 3 Reid Foltyniewicz who, as the second-longest serving trustee, replaced Kuderna. Breen pointed to Emerson’s absence from the proceedings, saying it was “a pretty good indication of what the candidate thinks of the objection.” He stated that in this candidate’s case, the number of signatures she obtained, 81, was “grossly insufficient, not even a quarter of the needed numbers” in meeting the minimum of 385 signatures required for independent-system candidates to meet the 5 percent threshold, based on 7,698 resident votes cast in the 2013 election. One percent, he added, would amount to just over 76 votes. The petition objection was quickly sustained; Foltyniewicz—who for the 2013 election experienced a candidacy objection—commented, “I wish the candidate was here so [she] could give [her] input.” In McAdams’ case, Breen told the electoral board—Foltyniewicz, Kuderna and Ware, replacing Giagnorio as chair—that “this is another similar case” in which 385 valid signatures were required. McAdams secured 97. “This is a terrible disregard of our process,” Breen said, adding that the office of village president in a village of over 40,000 people requires being responsible for millions of dollars and that it is “a sacred duty to exercise that office.” “You just don’t do business this way,” he continued.“At its root, it’s just a legal issue.” McAdams was represented by attorney Justin Major, who told the electoral board that on the “sole basis of insufficient number of signatures … [that] assertion is incorrect” with regard to the number of signatures required. He maintained that under the election code, McAdams’ 97 signatures met the 1 percent criterion for submitting his nomination for village president, saying the objection should be overruled. Breen proceeded to call McAdams as a witness, asking if he, too, is a member of the DuPage Democratic Party. McAdams said no, and that he is not part of a slate but was “running alongside” Holloman and Emerson. He also said, when asked by Breen, that he had not sought the advice of counsel prior to obtaining the signatures. Major again stated that this case is “a matter of law under the Illinois municipal and election codes,” and that the number of signatures meets the minimum requirement under the law. At the request of Foltyniewicz, Guisinger emphasized how Lombard does not use the nonpartisan state and municipal election code requirements, but follows the independent system, saying that each packet given to the candidates was labeled independent. Breen concluded by saying of McAdams, “He was not misled in any way” by the village, and added that by not getting the required number of signatures, the candidate hopeful displayed “a disdain for the process … [he] did not identify the correct section code.” The objection to McAdams’ nominating papers was sustained.
In-house maintenance with lift truck to cut costs
By Jane Charmelo LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
At the Thursday, Jan. 5, Village of Lombard Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved a measure to buy a new lift truck that will be used for street light maintenance, and while there will be capital outlay toward the purchase, officials say savings in maintenance costs will help offset the expenditure. According to Lombard Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith, the village was looking to purchase a new truck, as part of its vehicle replacement schedule, to replace a pick-up truck that is currently being used for maintenance of village property. Goldsmith said that when having to reach high places, the public works employee responsible for the maintenance would either have to use a ladder—which he said brought about safety concerns—or borrow a lift truck from the forestry division, which “took away from our ability to address forestry issues.” Goldsmith said that around November-December 2016, public works launched a pilot initiative to see how the village could save money by handling street light maintenance in-house, and during that time, the monthly bill to the contracted vendor went from $9,000 to $2,000. In other words, he added, “The scope of what they’re [vendor] doing is greatly reduced.” Typically the village would trade or sell the “retired” vehicle to help pay for the new one, but in this case, it is estimated that with public works handling street light maintenance—within their scope, such as bulb replacement—the village could save roughly $4,000 per month or $48,000 a year, so the village would be able to keep the pick-up truck for now. The director said the village had budgeted $120,000 toward the purchase of a lift truck, but the actual cost will be $97,213. “We always look at ways to improve the process and reduce costs,” he commented, adding that dealing in-house with street light issues will “improve the level of services residents receive.” Mike Fugiel, District 2 trustee, explained to the board that “it was determined that the service vehicle wasn’t going to be enough for the job to be done, so there was a lift truck component added to that vehicle.” “Our public works found a savings…in which we would do the work and not pay the contractor that amount of money,” the trustee continued. “The payback on the vehicle is roughly two to three years,” he said, reiterating Goldsmith’s explanation in outlining how public works maintenance savings will help pay for the new lift truck. “I want to commend staff on a great thing,” Fugiel commented. “And, I wish I would have thought of it.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS: • District 3 Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz commented on a special electoral board meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 3, that addressed objections to the nominating papers of three candidate hopefuls planning to run for offices in the April 4 General Election. All three names were removed from the ballot after the objections over lack of sufficient signatures by the petitioners were upheld. “Difficult decisions were made,” he said. “For me it was difficult, and I’ve been on both sides of that equation.” However, the trustee encouraged the three individuals to stay involved in the Lombard community, saying, “We do have plenty of committees.” • Village Clerk Sharon Kuderna made a reminder announcement that village board and plan commission meetings will begin at 7 p.m. this year. She also noted that residents can have their live Christmas trees picked up on their regularly-scheduled trash collection day through Sunday, Jan. 15. The trees need to be free of decorations and must not be snowed in. Residents, she continued, may also turn in old holiday lights and extension cords for recycling through Jan. 15 in front of the public works building at 1051 S. Hammerschmidt Ave. Kuderna noted that the village hall will be closed Monday, Jan. 16, in observance of the Martin Luther King birthday holiday.
Celebrate National Blood Donor Month at Lombard’s Winter Community Blood Drive and address current blood shortage
Celebrate National Blood Donor month with the Village of Lombard and donate blood to the annual Winter Community Blood Drive on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Blood centers are need of donors to address the current critical blood shortage. The Blood Drive will be held at Yorktown Center, (upper level by Carson’s Entrance 2), from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then at the Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson Ave., from 1:15 to 7 p.m. American Red Cross and Heartland Blood Centers are currently reporting a critical need for blood and platelet donors. Officials are urging all eligible donors, regardless of type, to give now for patients to receive life-saving treatment. While winter is always a challenging time to ensure enough blood and platelets are on the shelves, early onset of illness and severe weather have dramatically affected collections with blood reserves running dramatically low. To address the emergency blood shortage, the Village of Lombard and Heartland Blood Centers need all healthy and eligible donors to roll up their sleeve and save a life. At the winter blood drive, every donor will receive a $10 Noodles & Company gift card and a coupon for a free pint of Culver’s frozen custard as a thank-you for your life-saving donation. In addition, all donors will be entered to win a gift card from Yorktown Center. Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. A photo ID is required. For more information or to book a donation time slot, call Blood Drive Coordinator Carol Bauer at (630) 620-5712.
Duckworth sworn in as state’s new U.S. Senator
Just a few minutes after noon in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 4, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth was sworn in as Illinois’s newest U.S. Senator by Vice President Joe Biden. Following the official swearing in ceremony, Sen. Duckworth and the vice president were joined by her family for a traditional re-enactment inside the historic Old Senate Chamber. “I was proud to be sworn in today to represent the great state of Illinois in the United States Senate. I am eager to get to work—with members on both sides of the aisle—to help Illinois families with common-sense policies that grow manufacturing jobs, invest in communities that have been ignored for too long, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and help make college more affordable for all Americans,” she said. “I will also continue my life’s mission of supporting, protecting and keeping the promises we’ve made to our Veterans and ensuring we fully stand behind the troops we send into danger overseas.” After she was sworn in, Senator Duckworth spoke briefly about her priorities in the Senate. Duckworth begins her six-year term in the Senate as a member of several influential committees: Environment & Public Works; Energy and Natural Resources; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. These committee posts will provide the senator with an important platform to push for Illinois priorities like rebuilding our state’s infrastructure, keeping the water system safe and lead-free, helping grow minority- and Veteran-owned small businesses, investing in advanced manufacturing and championing Illinois’ crown jewels of scientific innovation: Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.
Illinois set to lose one, maybe two seats in Congress
ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
With Illinois losing residents at a pace much faster than any other state, it is sure to drop at least one, if not two, members of Congress after the next census, in 2020. According to the most recent census’ numbers, Illinois suffered a population loss of 37,508 over the 12 months leading up to July 2016. Years of consistent losses like this mean the population measured U.S. House of Representatives is likely to lose at least one voice from Illinois. “Illinois would lose one for sure; there is a chance that we could lose two,” Southern Illinois University Professor John Jackson said. “The state’s consistent population losses make Illinoisans have less impact in Washington.” The last two districts to be dissolved were in downstate Illinois. Jackson thinks it could happen again in 2020, but a second would likely have to come from Chicagoland. “Southern Illinois, central Illinois — wherever this sacrifice comes from, you’re going to lose one, maybe two,” he said. “Then you’re going to start eating into the possibility of losing one from the city.” In 2012, Rep. Tim Johnson decided not to run against Republican Rodney Davis when their districts were consolidated after the 2010 census. Democrat David Phelps lost to Republican John Shimkus when their districts were merged in 2000. Currently, only four of the state’s 18 representatives reside south of Interstate 80. Population loss is also likely to decrease the number of Illinois delegates for the Electoral College, making the state less significant to presidential candidates looking to court votes. Because of legal challenges led by associates of State House Speaker Madigan against redistricting reform in 2016, the next congressional maps will be determined by whichever party maintains majority control after the census.
Voter assistance available for elderly, handicapped
Robert T. Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission, has announced that special assistance in voter registration is available to the elderly and handicapped through the commission’s office. The commission can assist in the arrangement of “in-home” registration appointments with deputy registrars for the upcoming election. In addition, arrangements can be made to become an active member of a program for voters that may experience difficulty in going to their respective polling places. The close of voter registration for the Feb. 28 Consolidated Primary Election is Tuesday, Jan. 31. Registration re-opens on Thursday, March 2. All eligible registered voters, including those who are physically unable to get to their polling place, are entitled to vote early or cast a vote-by-mail ballot. Vote-by-mail will begin Jan. 19 and continue through Feb. 23. Early voting will only be available at the office of the election commission starting Jan. 19 through Feb. 27. If an individual is not registered or his or her registration is not up-to-date after the traditional registration has closed, “grace period” registration and voting will be available at the election commission office beginning Feb. 1 through Election Day. It will also be available at their designated polling place on Election Day. Voters may request assistance with marking their ballot. At the polling place on Election Day, assistance may be given by judges of election (one from each political party), a friend or a relative. Assistance with marking the ballot will also be available at early voting and grace period voting sites. For additional information, contact the election commission office, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton, IL 60187 at 630-407-5600, the TDD number at 630-407-5631, or visit the voting section of the election commission’s Web site at www. dupageco.org/election/voting.
Deal to break impasse could be in works, state rep says
ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
A plan could be coming together to end the 18-month-long state budget impasse, but one lawmaker is still concerned the logjam may continue. State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield,) said he hears a deal is being worked amongst legislative leaders in the State Senate as a means of circumventing the bad blood between House Speaker Michael Madigan and the governor. “It does kind of make sense that maybe there would be some shoots out of the Senate because the relationship there is a little more cordial, to say the least,” he said. While the exact details of the deal are not yet known, in the past Gov. Rauner has expressed openness to considering an increase in the state income tax, if it were paired with significant economic reforms, such as property tax freezes, workers’ compensation reform or term limits. However, Batinick is cautious. “You never know what’s going to brought up during lame duck (session). We could have great compromise or we could just be sent home early,” he said. The final two days of Illinois’ 99th General Assembly were Monday and Tuesday. That’s when legislation can pass with simple majorities. Batinick has a measure freezing property taxes across the state set for a committee hearing Monday. The bill would require a voter referendum for any increase. “Frankly, freezing it is not enough. I think we need to lower property taxes, but I am going to do my little part to try and move the state in a positive direction,” he said. Batinick said his property tax freeze measure could be part of other movements by rank-and-file to get a deal together to end the budget logjam. “The Titanic is sinking and something needs to be done soon,” he said. “There’s just been a lot more talk between rank-and-file lawmakers about brainstorming of ways to solve the impasse.” Batinick’s bill is just one in the House Revenue and Finance Committee. Another measure from state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) amends the state’s income tax, but no further information was immediately available. Other possible reforms that could happen during so-called lame duck session change how the state funds K-12 education.
Rauner says he’s hopeful rumored deal will change broken system
ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
Gov. Bruce Rauner said he’s hopeful Democrats and Republicans can come together to fix the state’s broken system in the short time they have before the end of this week’s session. The scheduled two-day session could open with a deal being revealed to possibly solve the state’s 18-month-long budget impasse. Media reports indicate a deal could include legislative leader term limits, workers’ comp reforms, a temporary property tax freeze, an increase of the income tax and a tax on sugary drinks. Rauner said last Friday he’s been briefed on the summary by leading Republican state Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. “I’m not familiar with all the detail. I think it’s still being worked out. I think some legislation is still being drafted. But I’m heartened by that,” Rauner said. “I’m optimistic that Democrats and Republicans are negotiating in good faith to come up with changes to our system so it’s not broken anymore.” Several lawmakers in the House confirmed rumblings about the deal. Leading Republican state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said there’s a lot of speculation of what leading Senators will produce. “They may be poised to present and vote on a budget possibly Monday or Tuesday, but that is all the whispers that are going on the chambers right now because it’s very tight lipped.” Messages seeking comment from Senate leaders were not successful.
22 years for man found guilty of burglary from Wheaton apartment complex
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced last week that a Melrose Park man was sentenced to 22 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for stealing a universal remote control from a Wheaton apartment complex common area. On Nov. 9, 2016, after approximately 25 minutes of deliberations, a jury found Eric Bramwell, 35, guilty of burglary following a two-day long trial. The trial was held in front of Judge Robert Miller, who handed down the sentence. Because of sentencing guidelines in relation to the defendant’s past criminal history, Bramwell was eligible for Class X sentencing, or up to 30 years behind bars. On Aug. 1, 2015, Bramwell entered the common area of the Wheaton apartment complex located at 121 Cross Street. Once inside, Bramwell stole the remote control to the television set in the common area and then fled the scene. While at the complex however, Bramwell dropped a glove which was later recovered by Wheaton police officers. Authorities were led to Bramwell when a DNA match was made from DNA collected from the glove to the State’s convicted felon DNA database. He was taken into custody on Oct. 2, 2015, and has remained in custody at the DuPage County Jail since that time. At sentencing, prosecutors offered evidence that beginning in 2014, through his arrest, Bramwell had committed similar burglaries at other apartment complexes including stealing televisions off the wall. Those complexes are located in Wheaton, Lisle, Aurora, Bloomingdale, Downers Grove and Oakbrook Terrace. “Mr. Bramwell’s illegal activity and his history have finally caught up with him,” Berlin said. “Regardless of what was stolen, Mr. Bramwell repeatedly thumbed his nose at the law. He took what he wanted time and time again and expected to avoid the consequences. That’s not how it works, as Mr. Bramwell has now found out.” Bramwell will be required to serve 50 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.
Krishnamoorthi takes oath of office, declares commitment to the middle class
Last week, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi took the oath of office as a new member of Congress for the 8th District of Illinois and reaffirmed his focus on growing and strengthening the middle class. “Thanks to the voters and support of so many friends and family, I am proud to now be able to represent the hardworking families of Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs in Congress,” he said. “I will continue to focus on the middle class and our commitment to ensure that hard work is rewarded. I am ready to join and lead the efforts to make sure that working families who play by the rules are not left off the agenda in Washington. I am humbled by the trust the people of our district have placed in me to fight for them in Congress. “Standing up for the families of the 8th District means always being ready to listen and never forgetting that I’m here for them. My offices in Washington and Schaumburg are now open, and these offices will be places where my constituents can be heard and find the help they need.”