County Council member accused of making anti-gay remark

2012-05-23T17:00:00Z 2012-05-24T12:39:04Z County Council member accused of making anti-gay remarkBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Council has been called on to pass a resolution admonishing member Jim Polarek, R-4th, for making a comment during Tuesday's meeting that some interpreted as an anti-gay slur.

The comment came after Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper said, "There may be some low hanging fruit we can get out of there," during a discussion about relieving overcrowding at the jail.

Polarek responded, "Are you telling me that there are fruits in the Porter County Jail?" according to Curt Ellis, who attended the meeting and requested the admonition.

Ellis, who is paid by the county to maintain the county animal shelter's Facebook page, said when he told Polarek following the meeting he was offended by the remark, Polarek responded it was a joke, chuckled and walked away.

Polarek said Wednesday the remark was not referring to gay people, but rather to "nut jobs," "fruitcakes," "wackos" and other criminals at the jail.

He said this was clear to those attending the meeting.

He further said Ellis was not a fan of his recent failed shot at the Republican nomination for south district county commissioner.

Council member Karen Conover, R-3rd, who was leading Tuesday's meeting in the absence of President Dan Whitten, D-at large, said she agrees the remark was inappropriate and believes Polarek should apologize at a public meeting.

Whitten agreed and said Polarek should explain himself as well.

Whitten, however, disagreed with further claims by Ellis that there has been a lack of professional decorum at the council meetings, with a few members making deprecating "one liners" that attempt to elicit laughs at someone else's expense.

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