Alderman Arena only candidate in 45th Ward race facing a nominating petition challenge
by BRIAN NADIG
45th Ward aldermanic challenger Robert Bank has filed an objection to incumbent John Arena’s nominating petitions and statement of candidacy this week.
Arena is the only candidate in the 45th Ward race facing an objection to his or her nominating paperwork. Chicago firefighter Jim Gardiner and Chicago Park District regional manager Marilyn Morales are also running in addition to Arena and Bank, who is the former president of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.
Joining Bank in the objection to Arena’s petitions is resident Ron Ernst, who has a pending lawsuit against the zoning for a planned 16-story building at 4849 N. Lipps Ave., next to the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal.
In their objection, Bank and Ernst allege that Arena has an insufficient number of signatures on his nominating petitions. Arena’s campaign spokesperson did not immediately return messages asking for a comment.
The minimum number of required signatures is 473, and Arena reportedly submitted the signatures of 2,086 individuals, but Bank and Ernst claim that many of the petition sheets were not properly notarized and that the petitions reflect a "pattern of fraud." The petitions allegedly include duplicate signatures, incomplete addresses and signatures which are "not genuine," according to the objection, which was filed on Dec. 3.
The objection also states that Arena failed to submit a valid statement of candidacy because the signature of the person notarizing the document is not valid due to a missing middle initial. The objection also includes a document form the Cook County Clerk’s office stating that the "signature on the (statement of candidacy) does not correspond with the signature of the Notary Public as registered."
An election board hearing on the objection has not been set.
In the 2003 aldermanic election, Ernst tried unsuccessfully to knock then-45th Ward aldermanic incumbent Patrick Levar off the ballot, claiming that Levar’s stack of petitions was not properly bound as required by election law. The case resulted in a hearing that last about 7 hours, and at issue was a missing shoelace that reportedly had been used to bind Levar’s petitions.
Also in the 38th Ward, Randy Hipman filed an objection to the nominating papers of Ralph Pawlikowski, who is the only challenger to Alderman Nicholas Sposato.
Hipman claims that Pawlikowski’s nominating petitions have an insufficient number of signatures from qualified voters. In some instances, the nominating papers allegedly include the signatures of individuals who previously had signed a petition for Sposato, according to the objection.
Also in the area, no petition challenges were filed in the 36th, 39th and 41st wards.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas is running unopposed in the 36th Ward race, while in the 41st Ward, Democratic Committeeman Tim Heneghan is running against Alderman Anthony Napolitano. Running in the 39th Ward race are Samantha Nugent, Robert Murphy, Jeff La Porte, Casey Smagala and Joe Duplechin.