Weather delays crucial court hearing in lawsuit over Porter County Council districts
BY AMY LAVALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent January 6, 2014 5:52PM
Porter County Councilman Jeremy Rivas has filed suit over new district lines. | Post-Tribune File Photo
Updated: January 7, 2014 8:28AM
Mother Nature’s chilly wrath is closing LaPorte County government offices Tuesday, postponing a court hearing for a lawsuit filed by Porter County Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, against the county’s board of commissioners, over their redistricting of the council seats last month.
The move bumped Rivas into District 4 just weeks before filing for the upcoming election starts on Wednesday. A handful of county residents joined Rivas in the suit, because their districts will change as well.
Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled before LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos.
“What we asked the court to do is to declare the ordinance invalid, which would have put us right back with the old ordinance,” said Crown Point attorney Edward Hearn, who is representing Rivas and the county residents.
“If the hearing is off (Tuesday), I am going to ask the court to reschedule as soon as possible, because I think it’s going to cause a lot of chaos in the Voter Registration Office when people come to register.”
The county’s four district council seats are all up for election, and filing continues through Feb. 7. Hearn said he had hoped to have a ruling on the lawsuit before filing started so candidates — and voters — would know what district they are in.
The drawing of the district lines can mean a decision on whether to run for office, he added.
“This causes a lot of confusion by not having a ruling by the opening day of filing, but what are you going to do? Mother Nature intervenes.”