How much do you know about Debra Silverstein’s performance as alderman? Take the Follies quiz!
1. As she has demonstrated over the past eight years, Silverstein’s vision for the 50th Ward includes:
(a) an economic development plan that includes all major commercial corridors and brings residents a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment choices;
(b) a community development plan that involves residents in ward governance and promotes civic engagement through her Zoning Advisory Board, her Resident-Business Economic Development Council, her Youth Advisory Council, and the 50th Ward Participatory Budgeting Committee;
(c) keeping residents advised on government issues through her weekly ward newsletter that focuses on City and Ward business, emphasizes major issues before the City Council, and reports on Silverstein’s votes in committees and the City Council during the previous week;
(d) none of the above.
2. The Devon Avenue streetscape is a major accomplishment because:
(a) gridlock gives drivers and passengers more time to look at empty storefronts;
(b) the widened sidewalks and ample seating areas west of California are lovely to look at and not cluttered with shoppers;
(c) Silverstein says it is;
(d) grocery tourism is our ward’s primary growth industry.
3. Silverstein styles herself a law-and-order alderman and believes that community safety is best maintained and advanced by:
(a) photo-ops of herself at outdoor police roll calls;
(b) glorifying routine police business like serving warrants and checking on parolees by rebranding such activities “multijurisdictional task forces” or “police stings” and claiming she “organizes” them;
(c) hosting community meetings with police brass to address property crimes occurring north of Pratt while ignoring any and all crime south of Pratt, including murder;
(d) talking to and/or texting the 19th and 24th District police commanders on a daily basis;
(e) all of the above.
4. Over the past 8 years, Silverstein has used her power as alderman to support which of the following charitable activities:
(a) giving away turkeys to the less fortunate at Thanksgiving;
(b) organizing coat drives for adults and children facing winter without warm clothing;
(c) arranging for a neighborhood warming/cooling center for the homeless and those without adequate heat or air conditioning;
(d) creating a neighborhood food pantry;
(e) none of the above.
5. Silverstein brags endlessly about the 50th Ward’s diversity, which is best exemplified by:
(a) buying fruits and vegetables from immigrant-owned stores;
(b) finding new ways to get to work when Devon is closed for parades and religious festivals;
(c) attending one or more of the many cultural festivals Silverstein organizes;
(d) marching in the ward’s annual Fourth of July parade alongside friends and neighbors from other lands;
(e) associating only with people who look just like you;
(f) all of the above.
Sorry–this was a trick question. Options (c) and (d) do not exist.
6. Silverstein’s claim that “people from all over the city and beyond” are flocking to our “unique stores” are:
7. Claiming personal credit for the delivery of routine city services is acceptable because:
(a) an alderman is entitled to claim credit for everything except the rising of the sun;
(b) these things would not happen if anybody else were alderman;
(c) she was elected primarily to ensure that the City does not slack off on tree maintenance and sewer cleaning;
(d) Silverstein has nothing else to brag about.
8. Silverstein enhances the educational opportunities of 50th Ward students by:
(a) giving them a chance to take part in participatory budgeting so they can get a sense of how government works;
(b) helping them earn community service credits through year-round projects such as her snow shoveling corps, ward beautification and cleanup projects, and connecting young people with senior citizens who need occasional help shopping, using computers, etc.;
(c) hosting an annual pizza-on-paper-plates lunch for 50th Ward school principals;
(d) insisting she personally “fights” for every dollar from any source spent on any ward school at any time.
9. Silverstein improves residents’ quality of life through such initiatives as:
(a) paying close attention to the environmental pollution generated by traffic gridlock, and seeking ways to alleviate the damage to public spaces, private yards, and residents’ lungs;
(b) waging a public information campaign to encourage residents not to toss household garbage in street corner trash cans, thus improving the cleanliness of our streets and decreasing the amount of food available for rats;
(c) working with the CTA to ensure that bus routes are adequately staffed, reasonably timed, and available to residents 7 days per week;
(d) hosting multicultural events for residents, helping to break down ethnic and religious silos and fostering neighborliness;
(e) none of the above.
10. Which of the following is not true: Driving around the ward looking for potholes is:
(a) an important aldermanic function neglected for many, many years before Silverstein was elected;
(b) the ward superintendent’s job;
(c) a distraction from the more important work Silverstein should be doing;
(d) an overwhelming personal obsession.
11. Silverstein has not yet been endorsed by any mayoral candidate because:
(a) she’s a machine hack, and the reformers won’t go near her;
(b) an endorsement from Daley, Mendoza, or Preckwinkle would remind voters that Silverstein is part of the Chicago Machine;
(c) Silverstein wants to be absolutely sure who the next Boss will be before kneeling in supplication;
(d) all of the above.
12. There have been no public meetings on the fate of the old Northtown Library building because:
(a) none are needed– Silverstein has already promised the structure and will announce her decision after the election;
(b) Silverstein’s been too busy counting the number of tree limbs removed in the past 4 years;
(c) Silverstein’s been focused on how City Council reforms might limit her power and force her to actully work;
(d) Silverstein can do only one thing at a time, and the building isn’t empty yet.
13. Which of the following is not true: Silverstein has not revealed her economic development plan over the past eight years because:
(a) she has absolutely zero interest in planned economic development;
(b) she’s busy supervising police activities;
(c) an occasional store opening is fun, while economic planning is work;
(d) the ward’s economy is fine just the way it is;
(e) she has no clue how to begin;
(f) she learned her lesson with the Devon Community Market;
(g) the plan is in development.
14. Silverstein deserves reelection because:
(a) Ira lost his job;
(b) she doesn’t want to be a CPA any more;
(c) she loves the unchecked power she has over others and uses it to benefit her friends and punish her enemies;
(d) she qualifies for a pension after one more term;
(e) all of the above;
(f) none of the above.
15. Silverstein’s commitment to transparency in government is best demonstrated by:
(a) using a private email address rather than her City-furnished email address to conduct public business;
(b) ignoring community input when approving any and all zoning changes;
(c) using a private ward website that collects personal information from users not collected by the ward website provided by the City;
(d) appointing a committee to advise her on final decisions for the new Northtown Library, then swearing its members to absolute secrecy about who they are and what they discuss;
(e) blocking the opening of a medical marijuana clinic and then secretly changing the zoning for that parcel of land from commercial to residential;
(f) what transparency?
1 – d; 2 – c; 3- e; 4 – e; 5 – f; 6 – d; 7 – d; 8 – c; 9 – e; 10 – a; 11 – d; 12 – a; 13 – g; 14 – f; 15 – f
Give yourself one point for each correct answer. A score of 12-15 makes you an expert. If you scored 6-11, you’re ready to vote for someone else. Did you score 1-5? It’s okay, you’re beginning to catch on and glossy mailers won’t fool you.