WBEZ | Debra Silverstein http://www.wbez.org/tags/debra-silverstein Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en West Ridge residents angry over zoo plans http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/west-ridge-residents-angry-over-zoo-plans-108180 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Indian Boundary Park Zoo.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid--6c218be-162f-17c1-9598-56468885ec20">A meeting Wednesday night to discuss what to do with the small zoo in the Indian Boundary Park on Chicago&rsquo;s far North Side turned heated, particularly during a short appearance by the district&rsquo;s alderman. The meeting was called by the Indian Boundary Park Advisory Council, a nine-year old volunteer organization that helps advocate for the park. It came in response to the Chicago Park District&rsquo;s plan to dismantle the zoo and replace it with a nature area of trees and plants.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The zoo is one of the things that made our park special,&rdquo; said Ron Rogers, an attorney and 20-year resident of West Ridge. Rogers said he used to take his children to the zoo when it had much more exotic animals like swans and llamas. When the zoo was first built in the 1920s it housed a single black bear. Today, the zoo is home only to a couple of goats and some chickens that live in fenced enclosures along the north border of the 13-acre park.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of the few treasures that we&rsquo;ve got,&rdquo; continued Rogers. &ldquo;All you have to do is go up and down Western Avenue, Touhy, Devon, see how the commercial district is eroding, some housing stock isn&rsquo;t what it had been. But it&rsquo;s the one thing that sets this neighborhood apart, that makes it a draw, that makes why people would choose to move up here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Many of the more than 100 people who packed into the Warren Park District fieldhouse voiced a similar sentiment. Throughout the crowd, distrust of the Chicago Park District&rsquo;s motives and its commitment to executing an alternative plan for the site, ran high.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is unfortunately part of the systematic dismantling of the zoo given to us by the Chicago Park District,&rdquo; said Advisory Council President Jennifer Albom, referring to the decline of the zoo. &ldquo;They have presented us with nothing, they have not paid for maintenance, they have not supervised or encouraged Lincoln Park Zoo to do what they should be doing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Lincoln Park Zoo is responsible for the maintenance of the animals at the Indian Boundary Park Zoo.</p><p dir="ltr">Albom and others were also highly critical of Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who called two community meetings with the Park District to discuss the future of the zoo. Silverstein made a brief, unexpected appearance, prompting a barrage of criticism from constituents who felt they had not been adequately notified of her meetings.</p><p dir="ltr">Silverstein countered that she included the discussion of the zoo plans in her weekly newsletter. But some at the meeting, like Albom, said their attempts to share their concerns about those plans were ignored. Many asked the alderman to consider calling another community meeting with the Park District where they might be able to present their opposition to the nature area proposal.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Parks District claims it would cost $2 million to make infrastructural improvements to bring in more animals, such as cows. Currently, the agency says it spends $90,000 a year to maintain the zoo.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A responsible agency does not maintain status quo simply for the sake of maintaining status quo,&rdquo; wrote Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, spokesman for the Chicago Park District, in an e-mail. &ldquo;The Chicago Park District must constantly evaluate its parks and facilities to make certain that we are responding to the needs of the community while making fiscally responsible decisions.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">A visit to Indian Boundary Park Wednesday afternoon found dozens of families enjoying the expansive playground, picnicking, and children playing in a fountain. A handful strolled slowly by the enclosures in the back, hoping to catch a glimpse of the goats or chickens.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t live in the area, I live up by Logan Square,&rdquo; said Mario Meza, who was there with his young daughter. Meza said he grew up near the park and his children look forward to seeing the animals.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I wish they would have kept it maintained better,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;Maybe it could have drawn more people.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Indian Boundary Park Advisory Council has organized a <a href="http://www.thepetitionsite.com/225/705/785/save-indian-boundary-park-zoo/">petition </a>to challenge the zoo&rsquo;s closing, and plans a march at the park on Sunday at 10am.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 09:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/west-ridge-residents-angry-over-zoo-plans-108180 No more trash superpowers for Chicago aldermen? http://www.wbez.org/story/no-more-trash-superpowers-chicago-aldermen-93430 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/garbage truck - Flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen are very protective of their trash pick-up powers. And so, a plan to take some of those powers away was greeted a bit coldly at a city council hearing on Monday evening.</p><p>Trash pickup is now done ward-by-ward, allowing individual aldermen control over the politically important service. That goes away under Rahm Emanuel's proposed budget, which his administration tried to sell to aldermen. A handful of them weren't buying it - at least not yet.</p><p>"I don't feel at this point that I have enough information," Ald. Pat Dowell (3) said.</p><p>"I think a lot of us need to get some more information," said Ald. Debra Silverstein (50).</p><p>Alderman John Pope (10) said, "I would really like to have a briefing so we know what's in play, what's the general concept."</p><p>Alderman Latasha Thomas (17) insisted the briefing take place before the council votes on the budget.</p><p>Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne couldn't answer a lot of aldermen's questions about how the new trash pickup would work - and most importantly, how their special trash requests would be granted. He said a consultant is still drafting the plan.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said grid garbage pickup is more efficient, and would save $20 million a year. But aldermen were even skeptical of that number.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 00:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/no-more-trash-superpowers-chicago-aldermen-93430 Future of Devon’s parking garage in limbo http://www.wbez.org/story/future-devon%E2%80%99s-parking-garage-limbo-90533 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-12/5446005553_e7e07c2b9f_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Devon Avenue regulars may feel like they&rsquo;ve fallen for a sort of tease this summer. Residents and business owners have long awaited the completion of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/long-awaited-devon-garage-remains-closed-despite-political-hoopla-contrary">seemingly endless construction</a> at the corner of Devon and Rockwell St. This summer, there have been signs that the multi-use project was getting there: in particular, its parking garage finally opened for public use. But just a few short weeks later, the City of Chicago&rsquo;s Building Commissioner slapped a bright orange &ldquo;Do Not Enter&rdquo; notice by the garage entrance. Now, the future of the construction is a big question mark.</p><div>&ldquo;All the businesses are just furious. So furious,&rdquo; said Amie Zander, executive director of the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce. She says ever since the city sold its public parking lots at that and other sites in the area, business owners have complained that their customers have fled to suburban strip malls, which offer similar South Asian, Jewish, and Middle Eastern stores, along with ample parking.</div><div><br />Although few were enthusiastic about the boxy, technicolor aesthetic of the structure at Rockwell and Devon, many store owners conceded that it could alleviate the business corridor&rsquo;s parking limitations.<br /><br />&ldquo;The merchants are frustrated because they&#39;ve been without parking, and this was the promised prize,&rdquo; said Zander.<br /><br />The garage&rsquo;s builder, Asat Inc., promised more than 200 parking spots, well above the capacity of the city lot it replaced. According to the company&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/T_076_DevonRockwellParkingRDA2.pdf">redevelopment agreement</a> with the city, the whole project &ndash; including retail space at ground level, and condominiums above &ndash; was supposed to be finished and operational nearly two years ago.</div><div><br />The closure notice for the garage was issued July 24, after the Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Buildings found that the developer had violated terms of his agreement with the city.</div><div><br />&ldquo;A partial certificate of occupancy was issued with understanding that it wouldn&#39;t be open to public but could be used for valet parking,&rdquo; said Buildings Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey. &ldquo;It was determined that it was open to the public and was therefore closed.&rdquo;<br /><br />Asat&rsquo;s president, developer Mohammad Tariq Siddiqui, did not respond to interview requests.<br /><br />McCaffrey said that while it had been open for public use, the garage&rsquo;s elevators had not yet been inspected or approved, which meant that the building was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th)said the elevators are among her biggest concerns about the structure. &ldquo;The most important thing is safety, and if the building&#39;s not safe, the last thing I want is for an accident to happen in the garage,&rdquo; said Silverstein.<br /><br />But the developer&rsquo;s problems appear to run deeper than that. &ldquo;They were issued a letter on March 31 notifying them that they were in default of the redevelopment agreement, and that we wanted to meet with them as soon as possible,&rdquo; said Peter Strazzabosco, spokesman for Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Housing and Economic Development.<br /><br />Under the terms of the 2007 agreement, Siddiqui&rsquo;s company stood to win up to $3.45 million in Tax Increment Financing. But, said Strazzabosco, &ldquo;The TIF assistance is contingent on them completing the RDA according to its terms.&rdquo;<br /><br />In other words, Siddiqui&rsquo;s lost the TIF money because he didn&rsquo;t deliver what he promised to the city.<br /><br />According to Strazzabosco, the city found that Asat Inc. violated its agreement by:</div><ul><li>abandoning construction of residential units;</li><li>failing to meet the completion date;</li><li>failing to obtain approval for changes to the original plans;</li><li>failing to provide written quarterly progress reports;</li><li>failing to provide employment commitment reports</li></ul><div>With its funding in jeopardy, it&rsquo;s not clear how, or whether, the development will be completed.<br /><br />So where to from here?<br /><br />&ldquo;There have been meetings set up for all parties to come together and meet,&rdquo; said Silverstein.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Strazzabosco, several city departments will meet with Silverstein and the developer&rsquo;s representatives in coming weeks to consider options. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re working on making what&#39;s been built a viable part of the community,&rdquo; said Strazzabosco. &ldquo;How is the best way to complete the project? Is it going to be completed as the way it was designed? Is there something else that can be done to it?&rdquo;</div></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 19:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/future-devon%E2%80%99s-parking-garage-limbo-90533 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 Voters push out some Emanuel-backed aldermen http://www.wbez.org/story/berny-stone/voters-push-out-some-emanuel-backed-aldermen-84801 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-31/Lyle-Sawyer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated with endorsement of Ald. Dixon at 7:47 a.m. </em></p><p>Several incumbent aldermen backed by Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel appear to have lost their seats.</p><p>Emanuel invested more than $280,000 into runoff elections, using a political action committee he called New Chicago Committee.&nbsp; The total includes some $46,000 for South Side Ald. Freddrenna Lyle in her 6th Ward battle against Roderick Sawyer, son of former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer.<br> <br> Lyle is losing, as is John Rice, another Emanuel endorsee. Unlike Lyle, though, Rice hasn't reported receiving any financial support from the mayor-elect. And the results from Tuesday show Rice well behind firefighter Nicholas Sposato in the Northwest Side's 36th Ward.<br> <br> According to an Emanuel spokesperson, the mayor-elect also backed 24th Ward Ald. Sharon Dixon. She was soundly defeated Tuesday by the ward's former alderman, Michael Chandler.</p><p>In all, Emanuel endorsed candidates in ten runoffs; seven appear to have won, including the only challenger he endorsed - Debra Silverstein in the North Side's 50th Ward. With the help of close to $50,000 from Emanuel, she unseated longtime Ald. Bernard Stone.</p><p>(For more on endorsements and money in these contests, check out <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/SUPPORT%20CHART%207AM.pdf">Chicago runoff muscle: Who's backing whom and with how much?</a>)</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 06:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/berny-stone/voters-push-out-some-emanuel-backed-aldermen-84801 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 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