More Challengers for Silverstein

Two new challengers have entered the race for 50th Ward alderman, Lawyer Ira Piltz and former candidate Ahmed Khan.

Ira is a graduate of DePaul University Law School and has a wide-ranging practice that includes real estate, corporate law, estate planning, and civil litigation. One particularly important court victory resulted in a change in Illinois law to allow religiously observant women to cover their hair in State ID photos.

Ira’s announcement notes that he is not running against an individual, but for the 50th Ward. He cites ” traffic, parking and zoning” as among his concerns, along with education. He notes that housing affordability and taxes are key issues in the City. As alderman, he would address the needs of the various communities within the ward and encourage contact between the various groups.

He intends to run “a campaign of ideas,” noting that “fresh ideas” are needed. As he said in his announcement, “We are all in this together and it is my goal to create a coalition that represents the entirety of our community.”

Ahmed Khan, who challenged Ald. Bernard Stone back in 2011, has also joined the race. One of four challengers in that election, Khan finished in fifth place with just under 6% of the vote. That race resulted in a runoff between Stone and the eventual winner, now alderman, Debra Silverstein. The other challengers were Michael Moses and Greg Brewer.

Khan recently received a Master’s degree in Communications from Northwestern University, where he is employed as assistant director of the alumni reunions program. He was a field organizer for both Bob Fioretti and Chuy Garcia in the 2015 mayoral election, and deputy executive director  for the Draft Biden campaign. Although he has considerable organizing experience, he has never worked on a winning campaign.

He is also a former chairman of the West Ridge Community Organization.

Piltz and Khan join Andrew Rowlas and Jason Honig as potential candidates for alderman.

Ald. Silverstein is seeking re-election to a third term.


6 thoughts on “More Challengers for Silverstein

  1. I’m a Rowlas man but this certainly changes things. Ahmed Khan could lock down a significant percentage of voters, while Piltz could split the Orthodox vote. My fear is that Deb squeaks out of this untouched. She is so average that I find it disturbing that she could be a three term Alderman.


    • I don’t think Khan has much of a following. Ask yourself what he’s done for the community in the past 7 years that would merit widespread support. I don’t like identity politics. It’s one of the things that’s killing American democracy. The notion that one cannot be represented by someone of another race, ethnicity, or religion is absurd.

      Debra has been a do-nothing alderman for two terms. She claims credit for two major projects: the Devon streetscape and the new library. In truth, the streetscape was initiated under Stone, and the new library / senior housing building was as much of a surprise to her as it was to the rest of us. She’s done nothing to merit reelection.

      With five candidates in the race, we could see another runoff. I think the debates will sort things out. Debra will have to participate this time around. She’ll be up against some savvy opponents who have their own records to run on.


      • Khan I would guess gets a significant amount of the Indian/Devon vote. Zehra Quadri had 17.6 percent the last time around. You put another candidate plus Deb and I’d expect the same results but with different names on the jerseys. Sure, we all know she’s terrible but her “home runs” could be enough especially with a voting electorate that wants to keep the status quo. Consider this, she had over 5000 votes last time, that is significant. If you add together the votes of her challengers you’d fall well short of that number, 3000 give or take. It is really difficult to energize an electorate that fails to vote against their race/ethnicity/ or religion.


      • You make a good argument, but I think that this time around the majority of voters are not looking to retain the status quo. The 50th has failed to keep pace with its neighbors, the 40th, 48th, and 49th Wards, in terms of economic and cultural opportunities for residents.

        In 2015, two Indian candidates, Zehra Quadri and Shajan Kuiakose, together pulled one-third of the votes. Both had more than ethnic appeal, Zehra because of her association with Stone and her social work, Shajan because of his business experience. Khan may pull the South Asian vote, especially if he has Villivalam’s support, but lacks appeal beyond that. His talent lies mostly in self-promotion.

        Debra has simply failed to deliver in too many areas. She’s been lazy and ineffective in representing the interests of the 50th Ward. I get the sense that the neighborhood is ready for change. This time around we have strong candidates who are actively involved in the community. I don’t think Debra could even make a runoff, considering that Ira and Rahm can’t give her any political cover or muscle.


  2. New vibrancy in the 50th Ward race. Good to see, and I hope you are correct, Follies, that a debate among the candidates will clarify things in this voter’s mind. Please keep up the great work of blogging on the candidates as they come forward and stake out their positions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t get me wrong, I’m not voting for Deb. But…but it is really difficult beating an incumbent. Ameya Pewar didn’t face an incumbent when he won, and he became the poster child for beating the establishment. I honestly don’t think money is all it takes. It takes name recognition and getting out in front of constituents. A person literally has to meet 5000 plus people to have a chance as most people won’t attend any events. I’m w Dan…KEEP up the great work 50thwardfollies!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.