Signs of the Times

Are the times a changin’ in West Ridge? There are signs…..

Ira’s office is for rent.




And then there’s Wednesday’s invitation from the alderman to joinTeam Silverstein and help her win re-election. I’ve never received a sadder, more desperate message from a politician. This is the first time she has ever asked the community at large for help, support, and money. I think she realizes it’s not going to be a slam-dunk this time.

But then I went to her new campaign website. It’s basically a rehash of the end-of-year newsletter / campaign puff piece she mailed a couple of weeks ago. Like the mailer, her website gives spin a bad name. (I’ll be addressing the issues raised by that campaign newsletter in a three-part Follies Truth Squad report beginning next Wednesday.)

The more desperate Silverstein becomes the more photos she publishes of herself doing the most routine aspects of her job, like posing for pictures with winning athletic teams, and the kind of hokey, staged photo-opps that embarrass everyone except politicians– posing with police roll calls, donning a hard hat and posing with construction workers. Her new campaign website is full of such malarkey.

There are solid candidates opposing her on the February ballot. They have ideas and plans for the neighborhood, and they are willing and able to discuss them with the community in open forums. Her opponents have been active in community organizations, and have pledged a new era of civic engagement in West Ridge.

Silverstein promises four more years like the last eight. She’s always absent when there’s hard work to do, and always sharp-elbowed when it’s time to claim credit. Her opponents have achievements to share, Silverstein has photos.

This should be an interesting campaign.




3 thoughts on “Signs of the Times

  1. A few years ago their was a bad storm that knocked over hundreds of trees and limbs. Trees blocked streets, truly a disaster for commuters. A few weeks later she sent out “advertisement” that bragged about how many branches they collected. It was THE most reactive piece of propaganda I had ever seen…boasting about collecting branches. That still takes the cake for me.


  2. As I’ve walked around the neighborhood over the last week, I’ve noticed more and more of the re-elect Debra Silverstein lawn signs sprouting up all over. How disappointing that our system is so broken that other candidates without a war chest can barely gain traction. I wonder if a lot of residents are even aware there are competitors or if they’ll simply vote the status quo without making an effort to find out who else is running.

    Without financial backing, it is nearly imposssib​le to mount a strong opposition, and with several candidates vying to replace her, without a single, strong candidate who can garner enough votes to offset her base, I fear her re-election is a fait accompli.

    Perhaps if there were campaign finance reforms in place another candidate would have equal footing to overcome ​this ineffective and feckless incumbent. The 50th ward deserves​ more than what the current alderman is offering. Wh​y can’t people see that we deserve an alderman with vision and a plan to revitalize our wa​rd? Alderman Silverstei​n has demonstrated over two terms that she possesses neither. Enough! Time for a change!


    • Derrick, your comment is thoughtful and well-reasoned. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Four more years of Silverstein will set the ward back immeasurably.

      Public financing of municipal elections is one way to prevent the special interests from maintaining control. Drawing ward maps fairly is another. Perhaps some minds can be changed during the debates. The demographics are changing in this Ward, and that may produce a more democratic process. On the other hand, it may produce more on fairness, as the ward is cut to maximize the alderman’s base.

      Unfortunately, there will be no unity candidate. But I strongly urge you and other like-minded individuals to contact the other candidates and schedule coffees or small group meetings so that they can present their views to voters. As of today, the only Silverstein challenger with a website is Andrew Rowlas,

      Zehra Quadri and Majid Mustafa are not yet certified for the ballot. Each of them challenged the other’s petitions, and Silverstein challenged both of them;a ruling is expected later this week.


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