WBEZ | Berny Stone http://www.wbez.org/tags/berny-stone Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aldermen slam Daley administration in affordable housing flap http://www.wbez.org/story/berny-stone/aldermen-slam-daley-administration-affordable-housing-flap-85046 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100708_cmitchell_2343721_Hous_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Some Chicago aldermen lashed out at the Daley administration Monday for putting the brakes on an affordable housing bill, while pushing the mayor's own proposal.</p><p>Ald. Walter Burnett from the West Side's 27th Ward, has long championed what's called Sweet Home Chicago, a proposed ordinance to require some economic development money be spent on affordable housing. His efforts stalled in negotiations with the Daley administration. Then the mayor put forth his own plan - to give people some money to buy and rehab vacant houses.<br> <br> Daley's proposal came up in the City Council Finance Committee on Monday morning. Though Burnett says he supports the goal, he got angry. The alderman told Daley's staff that he feels like he's "playing with some rotten kids."<br> <br> "The other ordinance had a lot of aldermen signed on to it," Burnett said. "So you're just like, 'Forget what you all signed on to. We're just going to push this, and you all just take this and do it.'"</p><p>Ald. Berny Stone from the North Side's 50th Ward expressed other concerns with the content of the bill, while also complaining about transparency.</p><p>"If this is your answer to Sweet Home Chicago, you should have met with us, should have met with Walter [Burnett]," Stone said. "And we'd have sat down and we should have figured it out. [Don't] try and slip it through on a Finance [Committee] agenda. I'm sorry. This stinks."</p><p>Even the chair of the committee seemed to be frustrated with the administration's handling of the issue. Ald. Ed Burke from the Southwest Side's 14th Ward joked that it is a "time honored process around here" for someone to "take your idea and then they rework it and it becomes somebody else's idea."</p><p>A city official testified to the committee that the mayor's vacant building proposal was not intended to be a response to the Sweet Home Chicago plan.</p><p>"We have a big vacant home problem out there in many, many neighborhoods as you all know," said William Eager, deputy commissioner at the Department of Housing and Economic Development. "We're simply trying to come up with additional tools to deal with that. This is one."<br> <br> Regardless, the criticism from Burnett and others took hold. When Burke asked if any alderman had a motion, everyone sat silent, leaving the mayor's bill stuck in committee.</p></p> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 20:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/berny-stone/aldermen-slam-daley-administration-affordable-housing-flap-85046 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 BREAKING: Alderman Ed Bus to host 'tryout' talk show on WBEZ - this Saturday night http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-04-08/breaking-alderman-ed-bus-host-tryout-talk-show-wbez-saturday-night-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-08/bus-king-01.gif" alt="" /><p><p>The news broke yesterday that <a href="http://www.wlsam.com/article.asp?id=2154680">Alderman Berny Stone will be trying out a new career as a talk show host on WLS-AM</a>. This news comes after a bitter defeat in the runoff in the 50th Ward. Stone is looking for a new career at the age of 83.</p><p>It's this Saturday night, 7pm-9pm, which gave me an idea. I know an alderman who also has a desire to host a talk show. He's 53rd Ward Alderman Ed Bus and he has been hosting his own talk show in the 53rd Ward for years called <em>Ward Issues</em>.</p><p>On behalf of the alderman, I rushed up to WBEZ boss Torey Malatia's office and demanded a tryout. A tryout at the same time, on the same day as Berny Stone's show. Torey must have been hopped up on cough syrup, because he agreed.</p><p>So ladies and gentleman, callers/readers, tune in (for real) to WBEZ, 91.5 FM Saturday night from 7pm-9pm to hear a radio tryout for Alderman Ed Bus and his show, <em>Ward Issues</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-08/bus-king-01.gif" title="" width="350" height="527"></p><p>It's a call-in talk show where Bus answers your questions about the 53rd Ward. Do you have garbage pickup problems? Is there a rat in your toilet? Want directions to the closest Dominicks?</p><p>Bus will take your calls and talk about his life in Chicago politics, in which he has served for 40-45 years. This will be radio history. Or at least, history on the radio. Or at least, a really funny, fake experiment.</p><p>Best part? The show will be co-hosted by former alderman (he's real) <strong>Burt Natarus</strong>. Hold onto your hats. Bus and Natarus vs. Berny Stone.</p><p>Tune in. Call with your questions. 312-832-3124. 7pm-9pm, Saturday April 9, 2011.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pzyLPdRAdxE" title="YouTube video player" width="498" frameborder="0" height="311"></iframe></p><p>This past year, Alderman Ed Bus ran an unsuccesful campaign for mayor. You can see all his videos and position papers on <a href="http://www.53rdward.com">www.53rdward.com</a>.</p></p> Fri, 08 Apr 2011 14:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-04-08/breaking-alderman-ed-bus-host-tryout-talk-show-wbez-saturday-night-8 What a runoff! I had no idea voter apathy could be so hyper-local! http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-04-06/what-runoff-i-had-no-idea-voter-apathy-could-be-so-hyper-local-84788 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/Rhymefest-boe.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wait, I thought runoff was what was in my yard after a rainstorm, not the MEDIA EVENT OF THE CENTURY!!!! Alderman Freddrenna Lyle lost????? Michael Chandler is back???? Smith beat Egan??????? My world is going to change foreeevvvvveerrrr!</p><p>I understand that this is hyper-local news at its core. The people who care about the runoff election in the 24th ward are either a) voters or b) niche blog editors. I'm not sure a random Chicagoan could name more than three alderman. So the loss of Lyle, Dixon and Stone probably won't change much. Listen, we have a new mayor and it's probably okay that some of the resident alderman shuffle out. Hopefully the newcomers can either a) be better than the old alderman or b) be as good as the old alderman.</p><p>So instead of the mayor appointing aldermen, 14 percent of the ward chooses who gets paid $119,000.</p><p>Funny story: I talked to a friend today who said she didn't have a runoff in her ward, because her alderman, Mike Quigley, had already won. I told her Quigley was her U.S. Representative, not alderman. She then said, "Oh!!! I meant Deb Mell." Nope. Deb Mell is her state representative. "Oh. Wait, so who's my alderman?" Good question.</p><p>I think the better question might be, are we over-represented?</p><p>Here are my quick, random observations from the 2011 aldermanic runoff:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="375" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-06/Rhymefest-boe.jpg" title="" width="500"></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/20th-ward/che-rhymefest-smith-vows-election-challenge-84796">Rhymefest lost by 300 votes in the 20th ward</a>. Well, he isn't conceding because his camp is claiming "massive voter irregularities." They pulled a mini-Tony Peraica last night and stormed the Chicago Board of Elections. Well, by stormed, I mean they brought a couple lawyers to a closed door meeting. I was hoping Rhymefest would come down, someone would throw a chair through a window and then have an impromptu rap concert.</p><p>So I was disappointed when I tagged along with Tony Arnold to cover the event. I recuse myself on covering Rhymefest because we are friends. He's a funny dude and we do a lot of performing together, even before he ran for alderman. We <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-04-05/new-video-alderman-ed-bus-how-raise-big-campaign-cash-featuring-rhym">released a video last night of my character, Alderman Ed Bus (fictitious 53rd) teaching Rhymefest how to raise money</a>. Anyway, the reporters grilled Rhymefest's lawyers about what could actually be done and it seemed that this was more for show, less for changing the vote. Ah, well. Rhymefest got more pub for running for alderman than he did with his last record. So something tells me he knows what he's doing.</p><p>Berny Stone has left the building! The<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/50th-ward/stone-loses-50th-ward-offers-no-apologies-84802"> elder statesman of the City Council was trounced last night</a> by Debra Silverstein. So another of the Daley rubber stamp City Council members rides off into the sunset. It's kind of like Jedi when Luke sees the glowing images of Yoda and Obi-Wan. In this case, Waguespack will look over his shoulder and see images of Burt Natarus, Bill Banks and Berny Stone. And oh how the Ewoks will dance.</p><p>I think I will like this <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/john-rice/chicago-firefighter-upseat-incumbent-alderman-ward-organization-84800">Nicholas Sposato</a>. He is a firefighter who beat Bill Banks' chosen one, John Rice. Sposato should be a fun guy to cover. Rice's loss is more symoblic than anything, as he was backed by big Chicago machine committeeman. Emanuel also endorsed Rice, but - according to the latest state records - gave no money. Not a huge vote of confidence in the machine, eh?&nbsp;</p><p>And how 'bout this for an internship coup? This photo was on the front page of the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> today. Stone is talking to the media. Next to WBEZ's Odette Yousef (red jacket), stands our new intern, Kate Dries. Find a paper copy and put that in the ol' scrapbook, Dries!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-06/trib-odette-kate.jpg" title="" width="500"></p><p><strong>B story</strong>: Enough elections. Let's get to the real stories of this city. As you may have heard, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-05/entertainment/ct-live-0406-batman-pittsburgh-20110405_1_dark-knight-rises-local-film-industry-richard-moskal">Batman is not coming back to Chicago</a>. They are shooting the next installment of the Batman movies in Pittsburgh. See what happens when you lose a series at home to the Pirates? Boom, $50 million in lost revenue.</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheBlog/archives/2011/04/05/local-reggae-club-returns-to-its-african-roots">The Reader reports that the Wild Hare is closing</a>. The Wrigleyville reggae bar was a destination spot for touring bands and adventurous Cubs fans who couldn't get into Sluggers. I raise a Red Stripe in your honor, out-of-place reggae bar. You treated me well a few times. Is Exodus 2 still open across the street? <a href="http://www.exeduslounge.com/">Indeed it is</a>!</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: They did it! <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blewt/dont-spit-the-water-lets-make-a-pilot-and-get-on-t">Blewt and Steve Gadlin</a> raised enough cash to produce a pilot for WCIU! We should be seeing a new gameshow called "Don't Spit the Water" soon. GM Neil Sabin will have to honor his word. Wait - what?&nbsp; Want me to back up? Ah, just click the link (above).</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: Don't look now, but a young star is budding on the North Side. Starlin Castro has been lights-out at the beginning of the season. He is hitting over .500 and leading the charge for a Cubs team that is 3-2. Can it continue? Will this be the best shortstop the Cubs have had since swingin' Shawon Dunston? And in college basketball news, a <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/cbsports-illinis-richmond-declares-for-nba-draft-20110405,0,4658309.story">guy from the Illini squad is going pro</a>. I wouldn't know him because he didn't play in either of the NCAA tournament games because of a suspension. The paper told me he averaged 7.6 points a game in his freshman year in Champagne. Sounds great.</p><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: Have you been out to Wrigley yet? I want a progress report on our new PA announcer. <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/sports/mlb/cubs/chicago-cubs-wrigley-field-home-opener-opening-day-redford-bellison-fans-20110401">Andrew Bellison was chosen as the winner</a> of the Cubs' contest to take over duties announcing at the ballpark. Here's his audition tape, where he tells the world that he "I always idolized Paul Friedman as a kid growing up." Paul works with us at WBEZ.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="450" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-05/Friedman.jpg" title="" width="300"></p><p>And now, he's an old man. Hilarious.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/adHdypzE774" title="YouTube video player" width="425"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 15:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-04-06/what-runoff-i-had-no-idea-voter-apathy-could-be-so-hyper-local-84788 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 Horse urine, breathalyzers, media wars and ALL CAPS liberal bashing http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-03-31/horse-urine-breathalyzers-media-wars-and-all-caps-liberal-bashing-84 <p><p>Today we have some great content on wbez.org to round out March. Seriously, I have over 10 blogs publishing today. All top notch (except this one, of course). Take a look around if you have time. May I suggest "<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cabrini/teardown-begins-last-cabrini-high-rise-84447">Top 5 dinosaur myths</a> from Clever Apes, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-31/top-5-chicago-bars-serving-above-average-food-84103">Top 5 above-average bars</a> from Dolinsky and the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-03-31/skyscraper-jailhouse-harry-weese-de-luxe-compartments-sky-84478">jailhouse skyscraper</a> from Lee Bey.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rotatingframe/5573349634/" title="full serve by Rotating Frame, on Flickr"><img alt="full serve" src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5226/5573349634_1397634710.jpg" width="333" height="500"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><sup>(Looks like I'm filling up with ultimate! Photo by Rotating Frame/Flickr)</sup></p><p><strong>Top story</strong>: I forgot this from last week, but did you see the story of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's favorite choice for police chief <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2011-03-24/news/29181749_1_dui-cases-breathalyzer-machines-hundreds-of-drunk-drivers">botching eight Philadelphia breathalyzers</a>? Apparently an officer (a lone officer, according to Charles Ramsey) was responsible for not properly calibrating eight breathalyzer machines and it was giving bad numbers. Therefore, the Philly police may have to throw out 1,100 drunk driving charges. So if you are a drunk driver in Chicago, Ramsey might be your guy.</p><p><strong>B story</strong>: <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-longtime-chicago-magazine-editor-stepping-down-20110330,0,4300169.story">Richard Babcock is stepping down as the editor of Chicago Magazine</a>. He held the position for over 20 years and is moving on. The media vultures are circling, asking if <a href="http://www.chicagocurrent.com/articles/31504-Does-Chicago-mag-have-a-future-">Chicago can survive in this new media age</a>. Of course, <a href="http://twitter.com/ourmaninchicago/status/53206205438500864">Chi Mag takes offense</a>. Ooooh, media fight!</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: Alderman Brendan Reilly is on a hot streak! First, he succeeded in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/chicago-childrens-museum-_n_839671.html">finishing off the Children's Museum's idea to move to Grant Park</a>. Then, he stepped up to the plate to put into law that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman-brendan-reilly/chicago-ordinance-cracks-down-smell-horse-urine-84506">horse urine be deodorized</a> on the spot where it falls. I remember Alderman Natarus (former 42nd Ward alderman) making a stink about horses and urine/diapers back in his heyday and the Chicago media (including me) laughing him off the City Council floor. But somehow, Reilly is serving his constituents on this very, very serious manner. Hey, you have to hand it to Reilly. His first two campaign points that won him the election were 1) Keep out kids, and 2) No more horse piss. I remember the campaign signs.</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: I don't want to be insensitive and this is mainly directed at the media: But how many times can it be the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cabrini/teardown-begins-last-cabrini-high-rise-84447">end of Cabrini Green</a>? I swear we've covered every building that has been knocked down with that emphasis.</p><p><strong>E story</strong>: Funny little point - yesterday, an NPR newscaster stumbled on the phrase "Tea Party-backed candidate..." She stumbled on the word "party" &amp; "backed" and irate listeners, callers and e-mailers thought she wanted to say "tea baggers" because according to their rants, she is a lefty, pinko, communist, elite, liberal, biased NPR scumbag. I'm paraphrasing, of course. The calls to our newsroom (it was a national newsreader, not us, but thanks for listening) reminded me of this gem of a comment, left on a post I did last week about Berny Stone:</p><p><strong>"I'm here to tell you that you ,Justin Kaufmann, aren't fit to discuss Berny Stone. You're a LEFT-WING PUNK blogging for a soon to be DEFUNDED Cesspool,NPR"</strong></p><p>May I respond?</p><ul><li>What's with conservative commenters and using proper names. I ran into this last time I ticked off this crowd. They must have been taught an SEO class on "how to drag one's name through the internet mud." Was that class offered at the Discovery Center, right after "How to use ALL-CAPS effectively."</li><li>LEFT-WING PUNK? I may be a punk, but left-wing is a bit much. I don't consider myself left or right wing, but the goal is to be in the center. I mean, who would want to be out on a wing? You don't hear of a core or heart or soul being in a person's arm or shoulder.&nbsp;</li><li>Finally - last I checked, Berny Stone was a liberal Democrat from Chicago. If I am a left-wing punk as you say, how would I not be fit to discuss Berny Stone? It took one sentence for you to contradict yourself. Awesome.</li></ul><p>Okay, so you've been served. Thanks for reading, though!</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: Oh no, it's now supposed to rain and perhaps snow tomorrow for the Cubs' opener.</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: The Bulls bounced back with a <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/4587090-419/bulls-head-off-slippage-with-rebound-win-over-timberwolves.html">huge rout last night</a> to protect their #1 seed status in the Eastern Conference. In other news, Bruce Weber says there is no truth to rumors about him taking Oklahoma head coach job. Darn.</p><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: Now that @MayorEmanuel is taking a breather, may we turn our attention to our real mayor, White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen. Comics and impressionists are working hard, including this gem on Vimeo where fake-Ozzie hosts a book club:</p><p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21379297?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="600" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-03-31/horse-urine-breathalyzers-media-wars-and-all-caps-liberal-bashing-84 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