That's when the village people, the good ol' boys, stepped in.
"Young Mark, there's a place you can go. I said, young Mark, when you're short on your dough. It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A."
Elections office records reveal that on December 27, 2006, Franczak changed his registration from his marital residence in Bushkill Township to a room at Nazareth's YMCA . The Y charges a $60 weekly room rental rate. So our contributions and membership fees help subsidize a politician seeking election to a judgeship outside his district. In fact, they subsidize a pol who doesn't owe a dime for his Bushkill Township home.
"You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, You can do whatever you feel ... ."
One of the village people popped on my blog to claim Franczak is "REALLY LIVING (eating, sleeping, etc.)" at the Y. Well, I have a copy of the standard Nazareth YMCA room rental contract. It prohibits cooking, even hotplates. You can't eat if you can't cook. The contract also prohibits female, as well as overnight, visitors. You're not really living if you can't enjoy your wife's company.
Franczak gets bad advice from the good ol' boys. First they have him drop off nomination petitions at a local business with no circulator in place to witness signatures. That's clearly illegal. Then they have him move into the Y to evade residency requirements in our Elections Code. But they apparently failed to read it. "The place where the family of a married man or woman resides shall be considered and held to be his or her place of residence, except where the husband and wife have actually separated and live apart, in which case the place where he or she has resided for two months or more shall be considered and held to be his or her place of residence." There is no record of any divorce action between Franczak and his wife.
Under our Elections Code, Franczak's residence is not the Y, but his family home in Bushkill Township. The obvious reason for this statutory requirement is to prevent the very kind of abuse that Franczak is trying to shove down our throats. Gazillionaires from Philly could rent rooms here and would control every office in this county. We'd no longer be a representative democracy. What Franczak is attempting is no different. If he moved his family into some apartment or home in Nazareth, I'd have no objection. I'd even help with the fridge. But Franczak doesn't want to do that because he might lose the election. He can't have it both ways. If he wants the job, he really must become a member of this community, and subject himself to the risk of losing.
Unlike many of our other laws, the Elections Code has some teeth. I don't believe Franczak has acted willfully, but has just followed some bad advice. After being put on notice that the Elections Code considers his residence his marital home, oaths or affidavits reciting the Y address could have serious consequences. He really needs to withdraw his candidacy.
"Young Mark, are you listening to me? I said, young Mark, what do you want to be?"
Regardless whether Mark rents from the Y or even sleeps there from time to time, our Elections Code considers his Bushkill Township home his true residence. And our constitution imposes yet another requirement. Anyone who wants to be a district judge must live in the district for an entire year preceding his election. Since Franczak didn't bother changing his registration until December 27, 2006, he's in no position to argue he's been in Nazareth for a year.
Yet he does. He claims to have moved into Nazareth in October. If so, and if Nazareth is truly his residence, where did he vote in last November's election? He's treading on very dangerous ground here. Once again, he can't have it both ways.