Some wards still in play

By Darryl Holliday

50th Ward considers change

The race in the 50th Ward has been heating up ever since the Feb. 22 election. Alderman Bernard Stone, who won 37 percent of the ward vote, and Debra Silverstein at nearly 34 percent, have traded barbs and continue to make their case for why they should be chosen to represent the North Side neighborhood of West Ridge—one of the most diverse areas in the city.

The 10-term alderman was first elected in 1973 and is currently the oldest member of the City Council. Stone is known for his sometimes outlandish comments.

A recent legal complaint filed by Silverstein could prove troublesome for Stone if investigations into a political group in the 50th Ward show their non-disclosure of $12,000 from his campaign were used to attack Silverstein.

According to Silverstein, the ward is ready for change, as evident by the 63 percent of residents who didn’t vote for Stone in February. She also noted major economic development is needed in the ward that hasn’t been given enough attention under Stone’s tenure.

“This could be something really special and unique, and nothing has been done so far,” she said, also noting crime prevention and city services are issues residents have told her need improvement.

Stone said voters should re-elect him for an 11th term because of his experience and past accomplishments, which include his elimination of a food desert on the East End of his ward, relief of overcrowding in the local school system and an increase in construction on Devon Avenue.

Though Stone said he has little money left in his current campaign fund, he’s certain it won’t be a problem in April.

“We’re [going to] raise more money,” he said. “I’ve always been successful at putting on formidable campaigns, and I’ll continue to be successful.”

46th Ward vies for open seat

As one of four open-seat runoffs, the North Side’s 46th Ward—largely comprising the Uptown neighborhood—will see Molly Phelan and James Cappleman face each other on April 5. The two remaining candidates received the same number of votes in the Feb. 22 election—2,721 out of a total 13,866 ballots cast—or 19.62 percent each, according to the Chicago board of elections commissioners.

While a crowded field of 11 candidates vied for the position in the Feb. 22 race, both remaining candidates said they hope voters will take the opportunity to get to know them more personally in the coming month.

Crime in the ward is among the highest priority issues, according to both candidates, but they disagree on how to best achieve a safer neighborhood.

“The biggest difference between Mr. Cappleman and I is I’ve committed to using the $1.3 million in aldermanic funds to improve public safety,” Phelan said. “Mr. Cappleman is an avid gardener and wants to spend our money on flowerpots, decorative lights and sidewalk beautification.”

But according to Lauren Peters, Cappleman’s campaign manager, his long-term involvement with various community, police and governmental organizations is why voters should choose him against Phelan.

“We don’t have to reintroduce him to the community,” she said. “It’s just reminding them of who he is and the work he’s already done.”

Creating the groundwork for a ward masterplan and calling for a line-item forensic audit in city government are included on the list—which Phelan agrees should

be implemented.

Both candidates said they will position themselves as independent members should they be elected to City Council in April.

25th Ward alderman hangs on

Out of the 10 races in which an incumbent is trying to save his or her seat, the 25th Ward is one of the more interesting to watch in the coming month.  Alderman Daniel Solis, appointed to office in 1996 by Mayor Richard M. Daley, retained 49 percent of the ward vote—barely missing an outright victory by not getting more than 50 percent of the vote.

He will now have to face community activist Cuahutemac Morfin, who won 28 percent of the vote

in April.

“It goes to show people have deposited their trust in me,” Morfin said. “People know and realize we’re due for change here in the 25th Ward. We need real representation, accountability, transparency and a new vision.”

While Morfin said he doubts Solis would show up for a debate, he hopes a debate will be scheduled for the community in the coming weeks.

“I plan to run a very educational campaign and lay out the facts so we give people an incentive to come out and vote,”

he said.

According to Morfin, the environment and its affect on the community are two of his highest priorities. Mostly made up of Pilsen, the 25th Ward contains one of the two coal-fired power plants located in the city—the other is  around five miles away in neighboring Little Village.

“We’re talking about people dying [because of] the contamination from the plants, and there’s really no accountability whatsoever,” Morfin said, noting Solis has taken thousands of dollars from the owner of the plants,  Midwest Generation during the last 10 years and has so far refused to sign the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would regulate their emissions.

Solis could not be reached for comment as of press time despite multiple attempts.