Rating Silverstein on Public Safety

Our alderman gives herself high marks as a crime fighter. It’s best to read her Web site and campaign puff pieces, including her weekly newsletter, together to see how easily the truth is manipulated.

She claims on her Web site that she “organized several revolutionary multi-jurisdictional public safety stings “ that resulted in arrests for various illegal activities, and that she “paved the way for greater communication and collaboration between law enforcement in multiple cities.” She does give credit to law enforcement professionals like 24th District Commander Waldera and Cook County Sheriff Dart for their help. One of her mailing pieces softens that “organized” claim considerably, stating that she “hosted” the task forces.

It’s hard to believe that a woman with no law enforcement background played any significant role in organizing police stings. Did she really advise Waldera and Dart on police tactics? Did she suggest targets and monitor operations? Was she in a flak jacket at command central when the raids went down?  This exaggerated claim is either pure fantasy or pure baloney.  Maybe she hosted a meeting at which she was informed about what was about to happen or did happen. Maybe the cops just dropped in to tell her about it. But making herself seem central to police operations is just plain silly.

She also takes outsized credit for her role in “the dangerous situation centered around Sibling’s Bar on Howard Street. “  Silverstein notes that “she received a Partnership Award from the Evanston Police Department for her work…collaborating between different cities and multiple police departments to address a pressing problem….” She doesn’t always include the fact that the award was presented to the 24th District CAPS office as well.  It’s likely that the CAPS officers had far more to do with it than she did.

Does she really meddle in police business to such an extent? Is she really in contact with police officials from Evanston and Lincolnwood, actively “collaborating” in police investigations? Should any politician be so involved in police affairs? Meeting with the commander is a standard part of an alderman’s job, but are her claims of “organizing police roll calls” in areas with gang activity legitimate?  Or is she just exaggerating again?

She applauds herself for sponsoring safety and crime prevention seminars. She also attends CAPS meetings and meets regularly with business owners to discuss crime prevention. How effective are such activities? How many seminars did she sponsor? She refers to only two for the year. How many people attended? Ten? Twenty? Does she need to be a presence at CAPS meetings?  What particular expertise does she bring to crime prevention meetings with business owners? Wouldn’t they be better off talking to police officers? The CPD has a speakers’ bureau for just such events.

She just can’t resist bragging about her importance. She started a recent newsletter by claiming that she “met with leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at a press conference to discuss local and global anti-Semitism….” In fact, she attended the press conference, held in Chicago to highlight the existence of anti-Semitism in the Midwest. She was no doubt there because of the recent incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in our ward. But the wording in her newsletter suggests that she played an important role in the discussions.  It’s this need to impress voters by putting herself front and center at every event that’s so irritating.

Of course, if you’re busy organizing police stings, sponsoring seminars, and discussing crime prevention with business owners you don’t have time to develop an economic plan. It’s another example of how she wastes her time with activities that don’t need her input while the important work of her office is left undone.

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