The alderman released a campaign video last week with high production values and nothing to say, except that the 50th Ward is the most diverse ward in the City, she is proud to represent our diverse community, diversity, diversity, diversity.
Last week The Center for Racial and Gender Equity released its report ranking the City Council and each alderman on support for diversity as demonstrated by their support for political and economic equity for Black Chicagoans. Overall, the council received an “F.”
Silverstein earned a “D.”
Individual aldermen were ranked by their sponsorship on key issues identified by the Center, which points out that “…the vast majority of aldermen rarely act independently, but rather vote with the mayor and council leadership over 90% of the time.” (Silverstein voted with Rahm 96% of the time according to a recent UIC report.) One point was awarded for each time an alderman introduced or co-sponsored an ordinance aimed at improving black communities. Silverstein co-sponsored 10 of 35 bills tracked by the Center, and did not receive any points for introducing any bills.
As usual, Silverstein was careful not to be a prominent co-sponsor of any of those ten bills. She’s always hiding in the middle of the pack, careful not to offend the mayor and incapable of taking a stand on any issue. She plays as much of a leadership role in the council as she does in the ward.
Silverstein constantly babbles about diversity because she has no accomplishments to talk about. The streetscape is old news and the library was brought to the ward by the LEARN Coalition and the Mayor, although Silverstein would have residents believe it was all her doing. On her watch, the sole cultural asset in the less affluent, more racially mixxed. south end of the ward was relocated to the mostly white north end. Affordable housing has been built for seniors–but not families–on the north end, and a new luxury housing development is being constructed just a stone’s throw from the new library.
On the south end, whose residents are primarily Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, and Black, with a heavy population of immigrant families, there is no new cultural institution or affordable housing being built– or even discussed. The alderman has remained silent amid persistent rumors that the fate of the old library building has already been decided, and that it will not become a community center or cultural center as mamy residents had hoped. Silverstein has never held a single public meeting to get input from the community on this issue.
Silverstein doesn’t seem to understand that her attendance at an Iftar dinner does absolutely nothing to help struggling non-white families or promote intercultural or interracial harmony. But then, she stays away from her white constituents, too–except at election time. She has never organized a single event that promotes and celebrates all the ethnicities and races within our Ward. Yet she attempts to use that same diversity to get herself reelected.
Do we really want an alderman with a sorry record like Silverstein’s representing the values of the 50th Ward to the City? Diversity is yet another issue on which Silverstein talks a good game, but doesn’t deliver.
A “D” for support of racial equity should rate an “F” for reelection.