Dirty Tricks

Thank goodness this election is nearly over. The two candidates with money have also turned out to be the two candidates who told the biggest lies, repeated them often, and spent thousands to make those lies seem like truths.

That’s bad enough.

But let me tell you how power and money influenced the electoral process in this ward.

Take Pete Sifnotis. Nice guy. No money. No lawyer. Two challenges. Both scheduled at the same time. Two different places. This was no accident. This was the big guys jerking the new kid around. He’s now a write-in candidate.

Take Fuji Shioura. Nice guy. So determined not to be corrupted by money that he won’t take donations. No lawyer. Two challenges. One Board of Elections examiner behaved so badly she had to be removed. He’s now a write-in candidate.

Take Zehra Quadri. Challenged a carpetbagger with clear and convincing evidence of his duplicity. The Board of Elections waived its own rules and kept the guy on the ballot. She appealed to Circuit Court. The judge ruled that the guy had good intentions, so never mind the law. The case is now in the Appellate Court, which will not rule until after the election.

Quadri’s campaign office is located in a building which has been without water for the past week. The owner has twice called the city, and twice his requests have been cancelled by another caller. Sixteen other offices are located in this building. The city will not fix the water until after the election.

Quadri lives in one of the buildings at Winston Towers. The morning before the election, copies of Jewish News, which has endorsed another candidate, were left for every resident of the building, including nonsubscribers. But Quadri’s supporters have been told that they may not distribute her campaign literature, and residents who support her have been told that they will be fined $300 if they do–and every time they do. Building management denies knowing who delivered and distributed the papers. Building management did not order the papers removed.

Powerful interests do not want positive change in this ward. The usual suspects have endorsed and contributed thousands of dollars to the incumbent. Wealthy interests from outside the ward have contributed enormous sums of money to buy this aldermanic seat for another.

The three candidates without money have shown the highest ethical standards. The two candidates with the big bucks have demonstrated the lowest character.

Remember that when you vote.


Quadri to Bring 500 Jobs to West Ridge

Zehra Quadri announced yesterday that she is opening a new business in West Ridge that will create 500 to 1,000 jobs. Quadri’s business will produce linens for hospitals in the United Arab Emirates. It will be the first factory in West Ridge to produce American-made goods for the UAE.

“I am very happy to create so many permanent, skilled jobs in the 50th Ward,” said Quadri. “These positions offer full on-the-job training, good pay, and benefits, and will enable members of our community to support their families, ensure themselves a successful future, and earn a part of the American Dream.”

“Just imagine: American goods produced by American workers right here in the 50th Ward!”

“I am so proud that we were able to create this opportunity for our community. I used my own contacts in Dubai to secure this contract. My neighborhood needs jobs, and we can build on this opportunity to open more small manufacturing facilities in West Ridge, thus  creating more jobs. We’ll be turning vacancies into revenue-producing businesses.”

Positions to be filled will include production work in sewing, quality control, shipping and receiving, administrative work, including accounting and managerial jobs, and security. She also expects to train a sales force to help grow the business.

“I’m looking at different locations in the ward to set up shop,” Quadri said. “I think that one of the large vacant buildings on Western would be good, but I haven’t decided yet.” The factory is expected to open later this year. “They are as eager as we are for production to begin.”

Quadri won the contract over competition from other countries, including China, which has been producing the linens. “There is a market in the Middle East for goods made in America. The high quality of work produced by American workers is known and valued throughout the world.”

When I spoke to Zehra she told me that the factory is an example of the kind of business mix she believes the ward needs. She said at the candidates’ forum that her full economic development plan will be available on her Web site on Friday.

Snow, Constituent Services, and Business Sense

It snows in Chicago every winter. Why aren’t the businesses on Devon prepared for it? Why doesn’t the Chamber of Commerce arrange for snow removal on what is supposed to be the main shopping street in the ward?  Where’s the alderman’s office when it comes to clearing crosswalks and bus stops? Doesn’t the business community understand that shoppers can’t get down streets that aren’t shoveled? Don’t they care?

Pedestrians and shoppers can barely move on some sections of Devon Avenue, and getting across the street is virtually impossible at most intersections. Some businesses shovel, some don’t. Nobody clears crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street until they can find an opening that allows them access to the sidewalk. Bus stops are inaccessible, forcing riders to board from the street. Most businesses don’t even salt the sidewalks, making them dangerous for pedestrians.

It’s too bad the alderman put her discretionary funds into the Devon street scape. Otherwise she’d have the money to provide a real service to her constituents and provide some much-needed income to high school or college students or the unemployed by hiring them to shovel snow from intersections and alley crosswalks, to dig out trashcans and bus stops.

These pictures were taken on Tuesday, February 3.


From Campbell to Maplewood, south side of Devon.

From Campbell to Maplewood, south side of Devon.

Devon, Talman to Washtenaw. Note riders waiting for bus at Washtenaw. the stop's not shoveled out and they will board bus by getting out on the street.

Devon, Talman to Washtenaw. Note riders waiting for bus at Washtenaw. The stop’s not shoveled out and they will board bus by getting out on the street.

Devon and Washtenaw. None of the crosswalks are shoveled out.

Devon and Washtenaw. None of the crosswalks are shoveled out.

Dangerous for pedestrians crossing either side of Devon.

Dangerous for pedestrians crossing either side of Devon.

Abandoned shopping cart

Abandoned shopping cart.

Closed business. Building for sale. Who's supposed to shovel?

Closed business. Building for sale. Who’s supposed to shovel?

Crosswalk, Artesian and Devon.

Crosswalk, Artesian and Devon.



Minimum Wage Redux

The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that the awful mailing piece in which Silverstein takes credit for giving Chicago a hike in the minimum wage has also been used in other wards. Seems that it comes from Rahm’s Chicago Forward super-PAC that plans to spend tons of money promoting re-election for those alderman who give him unquestioned support–the rubber stamp City Council members. Read he full story here.

This is just pathetic.

Do the Mayor and his high-priced marketing team think the voters will fall for this? Yes, they do. Enough of them, anyway.

Are the alderman who let this dreck go out in their names shameless in their determination to hold onto power? Yes, they are. Especially if they have nothing else to brag about.

Will the shame be ours if we re-elect these people? Yes, it will.



Election Facts

50th Ward

  • Total Residents                                               55,000 (approximate)
  • Total Registered Voters                                  24,000 (approximate)
  • Total Precincts (2011)                                     45
  • Total Precincts (2015)                                     40
  • Candidates on the ballot (2015)                        3
  • Write-in candidates (2015)                                 2

Past Elections 

2011 General Election

  • Total Voters                                                    11,487
  • 5 candidates, including the incumbent alderman
  • Ald. Bernard Stone placed first in the general election, winning 37.48% of the votes
  • Debra Silverstein placed second, with 33.64%
  • With no candidate having a majority, a run-off election was necessary 

2011 Run-Off

  • Total Voters                                                      9,698
  • Silverstein won the run-off, with 61.37% of the votes
  • More than 50% of the ward’s registered voters did not vote in the general election
  • Almost 16% of voters who participated in the general election did not vote in the run-off
  • Silverstein was elected by  less than 20% of the ward’s residents

2007 General Election

  • Total Voters                                                    10,489
  • 5 candidates, including the incumbent alderman
  • Ald. Bernard Stone placed first in the general election, winning 48.33% of the votes
  • Naisy Dolar placed second, with 28.24%
  • With no candidate having a majority, a run-off election was necessary

2007 Run-Off

  • Total Voters                                                    11,325
  • Ald. Stone won the run-off, with 53.11% of the votes

2003 General Election

  • Total Voters                                                      7,558
  • 2 candidates
  • Ald Bernard Stone won 76.14% of the votes

Campaign Update

When will our final candidates be determined?

Another hearing is set for Monday

Has Shajan Kuriakose been able to prove that he is a bona fide resident of the 50th ward?

Another hearing is set for Monday

Will there be debates?

Maybe yes, maybe no

Will the alderman appear at debates that include the two write-in candidates?

One candidate says she won’t come if he does but he’ll be there even if no one else shows up.

It just might be the high point of his campaign