Park Ridge Park Board candidate to remain on ballot
Updated: March 2, 2013 6:20AM
PARK RIDGE — The Cook County Electoral Board last week rejected challenges filed against the nominating petitions of a Park Ridge Recreation and Park District candidate, allowing her name to remain on the April 9 ballot.
Joan Bende acknowledged that she had made errors when she filed her paperwork to run for the Park Board, but felt they were minor in nature and “overblown” by opponent Rick Biagi, an incumbent who challenged her candidacy.
“My intentions were good,” Bende told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. “If I would have known better, it would have been filled out correctly. I’m a novice at this.”
Biagi argued that Bende had filed the incorrect statement of candidacy, identified the city of Park Ridge rather than the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District as the unit of government for which she was running, and left the date of the election blank on her petitions.
By writing “city of Park Ridge” rather than the Recreation and Park District Board, Bende “confused the people who are putting her on the ballot,” Biagi said.
A written decision from the Electoral Board explaining the reason behind the decision to overrule Biagi’s challenge was not immediately available.
Biagi said he will not appeal the decision, but he did question the board’s rationale.
“It’s very frustrating that they have these rules and it doesn’t seem to matter if people abide from them or not,” Biagi said.
Bende said she was happy with the outcome, but called the challenges “a real waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Bende, a Park Ridge native and past member of the Park Ridge Women’s Tennis Association, said she was asked to run for the Park Board, but declined to identify who made the request.
As one of her main concerns Bende cited an ongoing and contentious legal dispute between the Park District and the Senior Services, Inc. over proceeds from an estate that were left to the Senior Center, of which Bende’s father is a member. Bende said she believed the money had been left to the Senior Center and its members should determine how it is spent. She questioned why the matter is being pursued by the Park Board.
Biagi has taken the opposite stance, believing the Park District should have control over the funds since the Senior Center is a Park District facility.