WBEZ | 50th Ward http://www.wbez.org/tags/50th-ward Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Long-serving Alderman Berny Stone dies at 87 http://www.wbez.org/news/long-serving-alderman-berny-stone-dies-87-111284 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bernystone.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans are remembering former Chicago Ald. Berny Stone.</p><p>Stone died early Monday morning at the age of 87. Stone served as the 50th Ward alderman for almost 40 years until he lost his bid for re-election in 2011.</p><p>After that 2011 loss, Stone summed up his political career to reporters.</p><p>&quot;I&rsquo;m proud of the services that I&rsquo;ve rendered in my ward. I&rsquo;m proud of the things we&rsquo;ve built in my ward. I&rsquo;m proud of everything we&rsquo;ve done. I don&rsquo;t want to apologize for anything I&rsquo;ve done. I&rsquo;ve made mistakes but I&rsquo;m human. Humans makes mistakes,&quot; Stone said in 2011.</p><p>He also described himself as &quot;full of pee and vinegar.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;My dad lived and died, mainly on his terms. He was a great example for his family and friends on how to live with courage, loyalty, honor and principles,&rdquo; his son Jay Stone said in an email.</p><p>Stone was an old-school Chicago lawmaker, known for his hands-on approach with constituents, and for always speaking his mind.</p><p>He was a veteran both of World War II and Chicago&#39;s council wars, and a council ally of Chicago political powerhouse Ald. Ed Burke.</p><p>&quot;[Stone] was an outspoken, forthright advocate for the people of his ward and he embodied a deep sense of sincerity for his mission of public service, Burke said in a statement. &quot;He unapologetically believed in candor and personal loyalty. And, in the best sense of the word, he stood for many of the old-fashioned principles of the Democratic party and Chicago politics.&quot;</p><p>Ald. Joe Moore of the 49th Ward said Stone wore his heart on his sleeve.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the thing I remember about Ald. Stone the most is his unspokenness and his, either unwillingness or inability to couch a lot of the things he said in more diplomatic terms,&rdquo; Moore said.</p><p>Moore and Stone&rsquo;s wards shared a boundary, and the two worked together in city council for 20 years. Moore said his favorite memory of Stone was when he issued a public apology for not speaking out against segregation during his time serving in World War II.</p><p>Berny Stone&#39;s son Jay said his father was &quot;at times brash.&quot;</p><p>&quot;But I would think his political style is loyalty. He was honest and hard working and he cared about people.&quot;</p><p>Jay said he was dedicated to providing city services for his far North Side ward, and seeking input from constituents at frequent ward nights.</p><p>&quot;I remember iun his last term we were eating in a local restaurant and a man came up to my father and said &#39;I dont know if you remember me but 10 years ago you helped my mother get into a senior citizens building and she&#39;s still alive.&#39; And he thanked my father, and my father was so excited he started jumping up and down and said, &#39;That&#39;s why I do this job!&#39;&quot; Jay Stone said.</p><p>Berny Stone was admitted to the hospital on Sunday afternoon after falling in his condo.</p><p>He died at 1:30 Monday morning from pneumonia and complications from the fall.</p><p>&ldquo;It took three hours for him to crawl on his hands and knees to get to a phone to call for help,&rdquo; Jay Stone said. &ldquo;At age 87 and in very poor health my father still had plenty of fight left in him.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite his poor health, his death was a shock to the family.</p><p>It is especially difficult for his family because one of Berny Stone&#39;s daughters died just five weeks ago from advancing Multiple Sclerosis.</p><p>In tears, Jay Stone said his father spent almost half of his salary to provide care for her, keeping a pledge he made to his wife not to ever put their daughter in a nursing home.</p><p>&ldquo;If I learned one lesson from the sudden deaths of my sister and father, it is, don&#39;t wait to tell the people you care about that you love them,&rdquo; Jay Stone said.</p><p><em>WBEZ&#39;s Andrew Gill and Odette Yousef produced this video of Stone&#39;s last campaign in 2011, when he lost to Debra Silverstein.</em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/t_avAKeS6Lg" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a></em></p></p> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/long-serving-alderman-berny-stone-dies-87-111284 Stone to try new stint: talk show host http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-try-new-stint-talk-show-host-84954 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-08/for web.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Outgoing Chicago alderman Bernard Stone (50th) will have an audition of sorts for his next job Saturday night ... as a radio host. On Tuesday Stone lost his bid for an 11th term to political newcomer Debra Silverstein. The 83-year-old alderman said he may be serving his last term on City Council, but he’s not yet ready to “pack it in.” Shortly before he called Silverstein to concede, he reminded reporters, “You remember when I started this campaign I said I was full of pee and vinegar? I’m still full of pee and vinegar.”</p><div>As of Thursday, it seemed Stone already had his next opportunity locked up. On Saturday, he’ll host a call-in show on WLS 890AM, from 7-9 p.m. “I’m &nbsp;hoping that it will result in a stint that will continue on, but we’ll see,” said Stone. “This is, I guess, a one-time shot to see how well I do.”<br> <br> What’ll he talk about?<br> <br> “Politics, what else?,” Stone said wryly.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Stone says lots of people have asked him to share what he has witnessed over his nearly 60 years in politics, and he expects to expound on that during the program. He also professes to enjoy being on TV and radio. If his new gig works out, Stone will have a place to continue a campaign theme: his dislike of mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.</div></p> Fri, 08 Apr 2011 20:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-try-new-stint-talk-show-host-84954 Stone loses 50th Ward, offers no apologies http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-loses-50th-ward-offers-no-apologies-84802 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/P1000355.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In a race that dislodged Chicago’s second-longest serving member of City Council, &nbsp;Alderman Bernard L. Stone lost his seat of nearly 38 years to a political newcomer. Debra Silverstein, a certified public accountant, swept the ward with 62 percent of the vote, against Stone’s 38 percent. For many residents of this ethnically and religiously diverse far North Side ward, Silverstein will be the first new alderman within their lifetimes.</p><p>“This has been a very tough campaign,” Stone told reporters from his campaign headquarters, which adjoin his ward office in the Lincoln Village shopping center. “I’ve never had the situation where I’m up against the machine. I’ve always been the machine, this time I’m against the machine,” he said. Throughout the race, Stone railed against Silverstein’s endorsements from mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, labor unions, and the political apparatus that her husband, Ira Silverstein, commands as Democratic Committeeman of the 50th Ward. Stone was committeeman until he lost that post to Ira Silverstein in 2008.</p><p>Debra Silverstein ran on a largely negative platform, often claiming that Stone’s office failed to provide basic constituent services, such as street cleaning, filling potholes, and baiting alleys for rats. “The people of the 50th Ward are really ready for change,” said Silverstein at her campaign victory party at Great Chicago Food and Beverage on Devon Avenue. “There are so many things that we can do for this ward, and somebody has to get in there with the vision and the determination to turn things around for the betterment of the community, and I hope to be that person,” she said.</p><p>Stone has called this race against Debra Silverstein the most “personal” of his political career. “I started her husband in politics,” Stone said, referring to Ira Silverstein, who is also a state senator. “I gave him his first boost, and in turn what they did is they stripped me of everything. So why should I do anything to help her?”</p><p>After conceding to Silverstein over the phone, Stone walked from his campaign headquarters to Pure Cafe, around the corner, where his supporters gathered for food and muted reflection. Stone sat with his family and ate soup between interviews and phone calls. “I’m proud of services that I’ve rendered in my ward. I’m proud of the things we’ve built in my ward. And I’m proud of everything we’ve done,” said the 83-year old politician. “I don’t want to apologize for anything I’ve done. I made mistakes, but I’m human. Humans make mistakes.” Stone gave no concession speech.</p><p>In the following interview, WBEZ’s Odette Yousef asks Stone whether he will help Silverstein transition into office and what he hopes his legacy will be.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483432-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-06/berny-two-way.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 06:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-loses-50th-ward-offers-no-apologies-84802 Stone: “I’m the aggrieved party” in attack ad campaign http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-%E2%80%9Ci%E2%80%99m-aggrieved-party%E2%80%9D-attack-ad-campaign-84510 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-30/for web.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone testified under oath Wednesday that he had no idea his reelection campaign was paying an outside committee to attack his opponent. Stone testified in a public hearing at the Illinois State Board of Elections as part of an investigation into Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward, a political action committee that originally filed as independent of any candidate. But Stone’s campaign manager, Abrar “Adam” Quader, admitted he directed about $13,000 from the Bernard L. Stone Campaign Committee to pay for mailers, robocalls, and other communications that explicitly attacked Debra Silverstein, Stone’s opponent in this year’s city council race. Quader said he was responsible for the content of those materials and for the funding of the PAC, even though its papers were filed under the name of a 22-year old student at Truman College.</p><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">Stone said at the hearing that he is treasurer of his own campaign committee, and signed the checks that ultimately went to Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward. But under questioning by the attorney for the complainant, Stone admitted that he had absolutely no knowledge of what one check, for $4000, covered. </span></div><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">“I never reviewed their invoices,” said Stone. “I put my complete trust in Mr. Quader.”</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The Board investigation was prompted by a complaint by David Lifsics, a volunteer with the Silverstein campaign. Debra Silverstein has complained in several interviews about the shadowy organization that blitzed ward residents one week before the February 22 election. Prior to Lifisics’s complaint, the shadowy organization had not filed any financial disclosure forms, as required by the State Board of Elections. It also did not establish a bank account to accept contributions until after the complaint was filed. Its chairman, political science student Erik Avila, said all its funds came from the Bernard L Stone Campaign Committee. Avila said Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward still has between $15,000 and $16,000 debt.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">But under oath Wednesday, Stone said he was the victim in this matter. “What I'm saying here is that I'm the aggrieved party. Money was misdirected, my instructions were not followed.” Stone blamed Quader, saying Quader had led him to believe that the checks were being used to pay for mailings directly from his campaign. </span></div><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">“Everything that Concerned Citizens put out in those brochures was true,” said Stone. “I didn't say it wasn't true, but it was... negative campaigning. I refused to have gone down to that level.” </span></div><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">Stone said once he found out that Quader had routed money to Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward, after the Feb. 22 election, they severed ties.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">Stone also told reporters that he was hurt by the signs produced by Concerned Citizens of the 50th Ward, because they showed his name alongside that of Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel. </span></div><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">“They cost me votes by putting out those signs, which show ‘Emanuel and Stone,’” said Stone. “All the Orthodox Jews did not support Rahm, because Rahm had done stuff that was negative, as far as the Orthodox Jews were concerned.” </span></div><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent; "><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">The 50th Ward has a significant population of Orthodox Jewish voters, and both Stone and Silverstein are from that community. Emanuel has endorsed Silverstein. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; ">This race, which has gone to a run-off, has become a tight one. Stone has held the seat for almost 38 years, and argues his experience is more critical than ever because the city’s budget troubles are mounting and Chicago will see new leadership under Emanuel and a slate of new city council members. But many in the ward point to its physical appearance and say it has deteriorated under Stone, and that they’re ready for someone new. Silverstein, a certified public accountant, has latched onto that sentiment in her campaign. A political newcomer herself, Silverstein still brings significant political power to her bid from her husband, Ira Silverstein. Ira Silverstein is the area’s state senator, as well as the 50th ward’s Democratic committeeman. That has concerned some ward residents, who worry too much power would be concentrated in one family.</span></div></p> Wed, 30 Mar 2011 22:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-%E2%80%9Ci%E2%80%99m-aggrieved-party%E2%80%9D-attack-ad-campaign-84510 Long-awaited Devon garage remains closed, despite political hoopla to the contrary http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/long-awaited-devon-garage-remains-closed-despite-political-hoopla-contrary <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/forweb1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In the election rush last week, I fell behind on reading the free local, ethnic papers that I usually pick up every week from stores along Devon Avenue. I finally got around to picking them up on Thursday, and to my surprise, found that I had apparently missed a big story on Devon Avenue&mdash;perhaps the biggest it&rsquo;s seen in years. &ldquo;Alderman Stone opens major parking complex on Devon Avenue,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.indiatribune.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=5216:alderman-stone-opens-major-parking-complex-on-devon-avenue&amp;catid=25:community&amp;Itemid=457">touts</a> the India Tribune. Another local publication, <a href="http://www.hiindiaweekly.com/">hi India</a>, plastered a photo on the cover of its <a href="http://www.hiindiaweekly.com/show.aspx?pageID=1&amp;edition=02/18/2011">Feb. 18<sup>th</sup> issue</a> of Stone cutting a red ribbon in front of the garage, flanked by the project&rsquo;s developer, Mohammad Tariq Siddiqui.</p> <div>To understand why this is such a big deal, you have to rewind several years. Devon Avenue shoppers used to have a choice of several city-owned, metered lots when they patronized businesses along the street. But by 2006, Chicago had sold those properties to private developers. This particular lot, at Rockwell and Devon, was among them. In 2005 Siddiqui was awarded a contract that came with millions of dollars in tax increment financing. His design for the six-story complex would include retail space on the ground floor, condos above, and more than 230 parking spots.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>That was more than six years ago. In the meantime, Devon Avenue merchants have complained the parking situation has only worsened. They lost the city-owned lots, they&rsquo;ve seen parking meter rates increase, they feel that ticket enforcement is more aggressive than elsewhere in the city, and they&rsquo;ve watched the city restrict parking on more and more side streets to local residents only. Few merchants were happy to see the city sell the lot at Rockwell and Devon, but now they&rsquo;re just impatient to have it finished. &ldquo;Once they open, it will be no problem,&rdquo; said one business owner, who, like others, believes easier parking can help redress some of the difficulties brought on by the economic downturn.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But here&rsquo;s the thing: the day I saw the headlines announcing the garage&rsquo;s opening, it was actually closed. In fact, the part of Rockwell Avenue that drivers have to turn onto to enter the complex was blocked off with a &ldquo;Do Not Enter&rdquo; sign. I went back a few days later to find that sign was gone, but I went inside the garage to take a gander, and the gate arms were up. There were a couple of cars in there, but construction materials still lay about. A bobcat machine blocked the exit. As I wandered out, I ran into Siddiqui, who confirmed that, despite the announcement to the contrary, the garage wasn&rsquo;t actually open and it might not be for a couple of weeks. So what was that hoopla about, a week before the election? &ldquo;It was just a ribbon-cutting,&rdquo; said Siddiqui.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Greg Brewer has a different take. &ldquo;They did the same thing four years ago,&rdquo; said Brewer, who just came off a second unsuccessful bid to unseat 50<sup>th</sup> Ward Ald. Bernard Stone. &ldquo;They had the big groundbreaking about two weeks before election, and then it just sat there.&rdquo; Brewer headed a lawsuit against Siddiqui in 2007, in which residents claimed the development violated local building covenants. The suit failed in court, and Stone blames it for delaying the project. Brewer dismisses that claim, saying that the group only sought an injunction for a couple of months.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Brewer isn&rsquo;t the only one that thinks the ribbon-cutting was just a politically-motivated charade. A business owner on Devon, who asked to remain nameless for fear of reprisals by city inspectors, sounded jaded when he talked about the whole thing. &ldquo;The alderman, he wanted to show it,&rdquo; the business owner said. &ldquo;Before the election, he wanted to show it.&rdquo; Stone tallied 38 percent of last Tuesday&rsquo;s vote, putting him in a runoff with challenger Debra Silverstein. Silverstein garnered 33 percent of the vote.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Stone and Siddiqui both deny shenanigans. &ldquo;It has nothing to do with the election,&rdquo; said Stone. &ldquo;I didn't set the ribbon cutting, the owner set the thing.&rdquo; Siddiqui says he set the time for the ribbon-cutting months ago, but that last month&rsquo;s blizzard kept the project from completion. &ldquo;The weather has created all kinds of time drama,&rdquo; said Siddiqui. &ldquo;This was planned because all the people that were willing to come (to the ribbon-cutting), they could come that day.&rdquo; So&hellip; keep your eyes open? Parking may (or may not) soon come to Devon.</div></p> Tue, 01 Mar 2011 17:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/long-awaited-devon-garage-remains-closed-despite-political-hoopla-contrary North Side Aldermanic Highlights http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-02-22/north-side-aldermanic-highlights-82748 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/rsz_bernystone3_50th_yousef.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img height="463" width="500" alt="Ald. Bernard Stone" title="Ald. Bernard Stone" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-23/rsz_bernystone3_50th_yousef.jpg" /></p><p><strong>50th Ward</strong></p><p>After a tight race, incumbent Ald. Bernard Stone will face a runoff for his seat on the city&rsquo;s far North Side.&nbsp;When Stone declared he would run again for an eleventh term, the 83-year-old said now was &ldquo;&shy;not the time for change.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>In his last election Stone also found himself forced into a runoff. Later, he lost the Democratic Committeeman seat to State Senator Ira Silverstein. In this race, Silverstein&rsquo;s wife, Debra, ran against Stone, as did a one-time Stone ally, Michael Moses. Both of those challengers hail from the area&rsquo;s Orthodox Jewish community, a development which may have peeled off &nbsp;votes from Stone&rsquo;s traditional base. &nbsp;Stone will face Silverstein in the runoff.</p><p>Stone set the tone for the runoff against Silverstein at his campaign gathering last night. &nbsp;He said, &quot;That'll be an interesting campaign because she's gotta talk about those slum landlords that have been furnishing the money for her first campaign.&quot;</p><p>Silverstein dismissed Stone's accusations and lobbed her own, &quot;And with all of the dirty tricks that the alderman did through this race, we still came closer than anyone has come to beating him in decades.&quot;</p><p>Also running were Greg Brewer, an architect who unsuccessfully bid for Stone&rsquo;s seat in the last election, and Ahmed Khan, a young community organizer of Indian-American descent.</p><p><strong>47th Ward</strong></p><p>In the 47th ward, 35-year incumbent Gene Schulter dropped his re-election bid in January to make a play for the Cook County Board of Review. That unsuccessful run set up the first wide-open race since the 1970s in this ward that includes Lincoln Square, North Center and Ravenswood. Schulter threw his support behind Tom O'Donnell, a longtime ally who is president of the Ravenswood Community Council. Schulter gave O'Donnell at least $15,000, helping set up a huge money advantage for O'Donnell. He raised more than $100,000 since jumping into the race just over a month ago.</p><p>His biggest competitor was 30-year-old Ameya Pawar, a program assistant at Northwestern University who bills himself as young, savvy and reform-minded. He collected endorsements from both major daily papers and managed to raise about $30,000 without the backing of an established political organization. Based on unofficial tallies, Pawar netted just shy of 51 percent of the vote, to O&rsquo;Donnell&rsquo;s 44.&nbsp;</p><p><img height="450" width="500" alt="Ameya Pawar" title="Ameya Pawar" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-23/rsz_pawar_1.jpg" /></p><p>At his de facto victory party last night in front of a North Center bowling alley, Pawar seemed as surprised as anybody, &quot;I really didn&rsquo;t prepare for this moment. We were just keeping knocking on doors, and (seeing) what happens. I mean this ward in many ways is a sleeping giant. I think they were just waiting to get more active.&quot;</p><p>Activist Matt Reichel and Northwestern University administrator Tim Jacks also ran for the seat.</p><p><strong>46th Ward</strong></p><p>This ward is largely contained within the Uptown neighborhood, which entered the election at a crossroads. For years it&rsquo;s been under pressure to preserve a tradition of taking care of the economically and socially underserved. At the same time, young homeowners want to see new businesses that can serve them, and raise their property values.</p><p>Outgoing Ald. Helen Shiller had championed keeping affordable housing in the 46th Ward, and she won her final battle most recently with the creation of the Wilson Yards mixed-use development. The development brought in a Target and an Aldi grocery, but it also includes low-income and senior housing. Shiller&rsquo;s decision not to run left the door open to eleven candidates. Candidates&nbsp;Molly Phelan and&nbsp;James Cappleman both recieved about 20% of vote and will face each other in the runoff election.</p><p><strong>41st Ward</strong></p><p>This ward includes far-Northwest Side neighborhoods like Edison Park, Norwood Park and Edgebrook -- largely white, middle-class areas home to many cops, teachers and city workers. There, the City Council's only Republican, Brian Doherty, gave up a re-election bid for an unsuccessful run for the state legislature. He threw his support behind his longtime administrative aide, Maurita Gavin (who, it so happens, took Alderman Doherty to prom back in the 1970s). She ran on a platform of continuity, promising even to keep largely the same staff.</p><p>She faced a huge field of 11 challengers, but it was Democratic committeeman Mary O&rsquo;Connor who emerged as the top vote-getter, with 30 percent. Last night, she told assembled supporters she doesn&rsquo;t plan to take a day off &hellip; and perhaps they shouldn&rsquo;t either. She said, &quot;We were in the office, getting the numbers, and Owen said, 'Should I start printing out the April 5th voluneter sheets now?' And I&rsquo;m like, 'Get &lsquo;em going! Get &lsquo;em going! Lock the door!'&quot;</p><p>She&rsquo;ll face Maurita Gavin, who&nbsp;got 25 percent of the vote,&nbsp;in the runoff.&nbsp;Both candidates say they&rsquo;ll fight to improve city services, and to keep local police from being redeployed to other, higher-crime wards.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef and Gabriel Spitzer contributed to this story.</em></p></p> Wed, 23 Feb 2011 04:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-02-22/north-side-aldermanic-highlights-82748 Crime issue boils in some ward races, simmers in others http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/24th Ward forum 2cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans who punch cards for their favorite aldermanic candidates might have the issue of crime on their minds. But depending on where they live, they will have heard more&mdash;or less&mdash;about crime from their candidates. Talk of crime is loud on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, where there&rsquo;s relatively little violence. And some say there&rsquo;s complacency among candidates in West Side neighborhoods, where there&rsquo;s more crime. Two WBEZ bureau reporters, Odette Yousef and Chip Mitchell, look at this mismatch between crime and election talk. We start with Odette on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.<strong><br /></strong><br />AMBI: Ready? Front! At ease.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Thirty or so police officers from the Rogers Park police district are on hand for an outdoor roll call. They&rsquo;re at Warren Park on a freezing night.<br /><br />AMBI: Twenty-four oh five, Twenty-four twelve...<br /><br />YOUSEF: Normally, police hold roll calls inside the district station. But 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone asked them to do it here this time.<br /><br />STONE: On behalf of the entire 50th Ward, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do for us.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Usually, shows like this only happen when a jarring crime rocks a neighborhood. The police and community all come out to show criminals that law-abiding citizens still own the streets. But no major incident has happened recently in this police district. Ald. Stone is running for reelection. One of his opponents thinks that&rsquo;s the real reason he called this show of force: A little politics before a scheduled CAPS meeting. CAPS is the city&rsquo;s community policing program.<br /><br />MOSES: I was very disappointed in Ald. Stone trying to take CAPS and make it a political event. CAPS and politics do not mix.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So candidate Michael Moses leaves after the roll call. But he&rsquo;s the only one. The other four candidates all stay through the meeting. It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly how residents and politicians in the Rogers Park police district should feel about crime, because the stats are kind of all over the place. In 2010, general &ldquo;violent crime&rdquo; in the district fell more than 5 percent from the previous year but murder went up 75 percent. In another North Side police district, murder increased 400 percent. But consider this: That&rsquo;s from only one murder the previous year. So, we&rsquo;re talking about five murders in one North Side district in 2010. But some West and South side police districts saw dozens of murders last year. Still, crime is one of the top issues in North Side races.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: Too often the media and everybody in this business, we talk about violent crime rate in Chicago. And the reality is that crime is more complex and neighborhood disorder is complex.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Dennis Rosenbaum. He&rsquo;s a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosenbaum says even when violent crime may be low, residents feel fearful when they or their neighbors are victims of lesser offenses, like graffiti, car breakins, and auto theft. And, that fear translates into politics.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: In times of fear and external threat, we tend to turn to authority figures to give us guidance. So it&rsquo;s a way of taking control over issues.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Rosenbaum says it&rsquo;s little wonder North Side politicians are talking about nonviolent crime&mdash;after all, their constituents take it seriously. But there&rsquo;s another reason why North Side candidates are talking crime and safety. For two years, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has advocated so-called beat realignment. It would involve redrawing maps of where cops patrol, so there&rsquo;d be more officers and cars in high-crime areas. One fear is that the North Side would lose officers to the West and South sides, where there&rsquo;s more violent crime. Previous efforts to realign beats have fallen flat, but there are rumors Weis is still trying to make it happen. Weis declined to confirm those rumors for WBEZ this week, but here&rsquo;s what he told us a couple months ago.<br /><br />WEIS: What we think by moving people around from districts that are not necessarily the quietest districts, but districts that have an abundance of police officers, we think we can move them over to the districts that are shorter, we can start attacking the whole image of Chicago.<br /><br />YOUSEF: The future of beat realignment in Chicago is unclear. For one, the two frontrunners in the mayoral race are against it. And they say they want to dump Supt. Weis. Still, North Side aldermanic candidates continue to talk about realignment and run against it. One of them is Michael Carroll. He&rsquo;s running in the North Side&rsquo;s 46th Ward. He&rsquo;s also a cop.<br /><br />CARROLL: As a police officer, I know, absolutely, putting more police officers in high-crime areas to bring down the crime rate works. However, I have a very hard time sending our police assets from our community, when we have a clear problem with gang activity and violence somewhere else.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Carroll says his ward has pockets of violent crime that are just as bad as parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West or South sides. He fears losing cops on the North Side would make those places more dangerous. Carroll&rsquo;s opponents are pretty much of the same mind. Most want the city to hire more officers, rather than shift existing officers around. But those same candidates concede that could be tough because the city&rsquo;s faced with a $600 million deficit. Not many have detailed roadmaps for how they&rsquo;d overcome that tricky problem. But in the 48th Ward, one candidate does. It&rsquo;s Harry Osterman.<br /><br />OSTERMAN: What I&rsquo;d like to try to do is see if we can modify state law to use dollars for public safety. There&rsquo;s a surplus in TIF funds for the city of Chicago, and potentially using some of that to hire police officers is something that I think would be worthwhile.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Osterman&rsquo;s goal of hiring more police is popular on the North Side. But using TIFs to get there may be less so. Tax increment financing districts have a bad reputation for being slush funds. So, maybe it&rsquo;s telling that Osterman wants to use them. On the North Side at least, the debate about crime and safety is so loud that candidates will turn to whatever tools are around to ensure police resources stay put. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell at WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau. The political talk about crime is a lot different in this part of Chicago. Not many aldermanic candidates are hollering for more patrol officers. There are some loud voices on the issue. They&rsquo;re regular folks or community activists, like a woman named Serethea Reid. She moved into the Austin neighborhood a couple years ago.<br /><br />REID: There were people on the corner, drinking, selling alcohol out of the trunks of their cars&mdash;partying, loud music&mdash;two blocks from the police station.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): So what have you done about it?<br /><br />REID: I started by calling the police. We&rsquo;d call, wait 10 minutes, call, wait 10 minutes, call. And the police were not coming.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid started attending local meetings of CAPS, the community-policing program. She soon noticed a stronger police presence near her house, but she wanted more help for the rest of Austin. So, last summer, Reid formed a group called the Central Austin Neighborhood Association. It meets in a church.<br /><br />AMBI: Today, I wanted, I was going to start with reviewing and sharing what our mission is....<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid&rsquo;s group shepherds Austin residents to Police Board meetings, where they demand better service. She&rsquo;s writing various Chicago agencies for data to see if police response times are slower in Austin than in other neighborhoods. And Reid wants information about that beat-realignment idea police Supt. Jody Weis talks about.<br /><br />REID: All the responses I&rsquo;ve gotten were that it was going to take a few months before he&rsquo;s done: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not finalized. We can&rsquo;t talk about it because he&rsquo;s working on it.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid says she feels like officials are giving her the runaround. She says her alderman isn&rsquo;t helping much either. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that it&rsquo;s election season, when politicians tend to speak up about nearly everything. So I&rsquo;ve been checking out West Side campaign events to see whether aldermanic candidates are pushing for police beat realignment.<br /><br />AMBI: I want to say thank you to each and every one of you candidates. Let&rsquo;s give them a round of applause.<br /><br />MITCHELL: This is a high-school auditorium in North Lawndale. Sixteen candidates crowd onto the stage to explain why they would be the best 24th Ward alderman. The forum lasts more than two hours, but not one of the candidates brings up the idea of realigning police beats or other ways to bring in officers from lower-crime areas. After the forum, I ask incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon why.<br /><br />DIXON: I can&rsquo;t answer that question for you, but that is a very good question. I can&rsquo;t answer it but it certainly should have been on the radar here, seeing that Lawndale is a high-crime area with lots of homicides and drug activity, etc. So that should definitely be a concern.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve reached out to aldermanic incumbents in five West Side wards with a lot of crime. All of the aldermen express interest in shifting police to high-crime neighborhoods. But none is trying to organize any sort of campaign to make it happen. In the 29th Ward, Ald. Deborah Graham points out that any organizing would meet resistance from people in low-crime areas.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Some of our aldermen on the north end [of the city] are fearful of losing their police officers.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Graham wishes police Supt. Jody Weis would lay out his plan and build public support for it.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Having a clear understanding of why we need the realignment&mdash;to ease their discomfort of possibly losing squad cars&mdash;would be very helpful.<br /><br />MITCHELL: But there may be another reason why so few West Side candidates are pressing the issue. 24th Ward challenger Valerie Leonard says many constituents don&rsquo;t want more officers.<br /><br />LEONARD: Talk to younger people, especially on the street. They say they&rsquo;re scared of the police. They say that the police are always picking on them and...<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): It&rsquo;s not a winning campaign issue.<br /><br />LEONARD: That&rsquo;s true, given the history.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The history includes a point in 2003, when Mayor Daley was running for reelection. He promised to realign police beats. That riled aldermen of lower-crime wards, including some on the North Side. After the election, Daley backed away from his promise. Instead of realigning beats, his administration set up elite police teams to rove across large swaths of the city, from one crime hotspot to another. That way, the low-crime areas didn&rsquo;t have to give up patrol cops. One reporter called it the path of least resistance. But Chicago police SWAT officer Erick von Kondrat points to a downside.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: These teams out there&mdash;whether they&rsquo;re area gang teams or some of the other citywide teams that move from district to district on a need-by-need basis&mdash;they don&rsquo;t have that opportunity on a day-to-day basis to make the connections that are really going to bolster the trust between the community and the police department.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Officer Von Kondrat says distrust in the police partly explains why West Side aldermen don&rsquo;t campaign for more beat officers. But he says there&rsquo;s another reason. He noticed it when he was a 24th Ward candidate himself (before a challenge to his nominating papers knocked him off the ballot).<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: A lot of these incumbents, because Mayor Daley is leaving, they don&rsquo;t really know what they&rsquo;re going to be stepping into at this point in time.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Again, the mayoral frontrunners don&rsquo;t support beat realignment. So, Von Kondrat figures, no West Side alderman can afford to be on the new mayor&rsquo;s bad side.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: Going against that force is probably not in your best interest. It wouldn&rsquo;t make much sense to bring that issue up.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The beat-realignment idea has stalled, time and again, since the 1970s. The alternative would be to hire more cops for high-crime areas. That&rsquo;s basically what the top mayoral candidates are suggesting. In this economic climate, though, it&rsquo;s not clear what option the city can afford: financing a larger police department or shifting around the cops it already has. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others Sound bite of the day: Berny Stone botches opening statement http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/sound-bite-day-berny-stone-botches-opening-statement <p><p>50th ward Alderman Berny Stone took part in a WBEZ&nbsp;forum featuring 50th ward candidates vying for the seat in 2011. It is expected to be an intense, hard-fought election in the West Rogers Park area of the city.</p><p>The big question earlier this year was whether or not Alderman Stone was going to run for re-election. The 83 year-old alderman decided to run again, <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheBlog/archives/2010/09/17/alderman-stone-my-reelection-would-be-a-savings-to-taxpayers">citing that it would be cheaper for residents</a> for him to continue, rather than paying for a new alderman AND&nbsp;Stone's pension.</p><p>So the sound bite is Stone's opening statement at the forum. It's not pretty. In fact, it's a little sad. The first line is something that comedy writers would use for a skit about an old politician who doesn't have it all together. And if I were casting that skit, I&nbsp;would definitely cast Berny Stone.</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 21:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/sound-bite-day-berny-stone-botches-opening-statement 50th ward candidates talk business http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/50th-ward-candidates-talk-business <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Picture 041b.JPG" alt="" /><p><div>Aldermanic candidates for Chicago&rsquo;s 50<sup>th</sup> Ward held their first public forum of this election season at a luncheon organized by the <a href="http://www.westridgechamber.org/">West Ridge Chamber of Commerce</a> and WBEZ.&nbsp;All six registered candidates were on hand at the Croatian Cultural Center in Chicago's West Ridge neighborhood to answer questions about how they would help the ward&rsquo;s business community. The election will be February 22, 2011.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The registered candidates are as follows. None had a challenge filed against their candidacy up to the date of the forum.</div> <ul><li><a href="http://www.gregbrewer.org/">Greg Brewer</a>, architect. Brewer ran for 50<sup>th</sup> Ward alderman in 2007.</li><li><a href="http://www.electahmedkhan.com/">Ahmed Khan</a>, community activist.</li><li><a href="http://tommorris4alderman.webs.com/">Tom Morris</a>, City of Chicago hoisting engineer. Morris ran for 50<sup>th</sup> Ward alderman in 2003. He also ran for both 50<sup>th</sup> Ward committeeman and 16<sup>th</sup> District State Representative in 2004.</li><li><a href="http://www.michaelmosesforalderman.com ">Michael Moses</a>, attorney. Moses ran for 50<sup>th</sup> Ward alderman in 1995. He also ran for 16<sup>th</sup> District state representative in 2004.</li><li><a href="http://www.debrasilversteinforalderman.com/">Debra Silverstein</a>, Certified Public Accountant.</li><li><a href="http://www.goodforthe50th.com/">Bernard Stone</a>, 50<sup>th</sup> Ward Alderman</li></ul> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Candidates introduce themselves starting around 2:15 in the audio.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Here&rsquo;s what the moderator Odette Yousef (WBEZ), the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce and audience members asked the candidates:&nbsp;</div> <ol type="1" start="1"> <li>What would you do about empty storefronts in the 50<sup>th</sup> Ward&rsquo;s retail corridors, and what do you think of proposed redevelopment plans for Western Ave.? (Answers start with Michael Moses around 09:00)</li> <li>What would you do to combat the perceived increase in gang activity, graffiti, and panhandling in the ward&rsquo;s business corridors? (Answers start with Bernard Stone around 19:56)</li> <li>What is your solution to the perceived parking problems in the ward&rsquo;s business areas? (Answers start with Tom Morris around 27:30)</li> <li>What would you, as alderman, do to help an entrepreneur who has hit city roadblocks in an effort to open a business in the 50<sup>th</sup> Ward? (Answers start with Greg Brewer around 34:55)</li> <li>How would you, as alderman, help to find more financial support for the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce? (Answers start with Debra Silverstein around 42:07)</li> </ol> <div>The candidates concluded with closing statements, beginning &nbsp;around 49:26.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many expect this race to be close, perhaps closer than the last one in 2007. In that race, incumbent Bernard Stone was forced into a run-off with grassroots candidate Naisy Dolar. This time, Stone is in a different position. He lost his seat as the 50<sup>th</sup> Ward&rsquo;s Democratic Committeeman a few years ago to State Senator Ira Silverstein &ndash; husband to Debra Silverstein, who now challenges Stone. There are also more candidates in this race than last, which could force a runoff election in April of 2011.&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 20:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/50th-ward-candidates-talk-business