Silverstein ousts longtime Ald. Stone in 50th Ward
BY NATASHA KORECKI, STEFANO ESPOSITO AND DAN ROZEK April 5, 2011 7:46PM
Debra Silverstein celebrates her win over Bernard Stone for 50th Ward Alderman Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at a restaurant on the 3900 block of W. Devon Ave. in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: April 6, 2011 12:05AM
With tears in his eyes and leaning on his cane, 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone walked into his crowded ward office Tuesday night and told his staff his 38th year in office would be his last.
“I had a good run,” said Stone, 83. “I’m not going to cry over spilled milk. ... It hurts to laugh, but I’m not going to cry.”
But nor did Stone have any plans to reach out to the woman who beat him, CPA Debra Silverstein.
Stone — the City Council’s elder statesmen — said Silverstein will be “a disaster for this ward. There’s no way I’ll help her. She knows nothing.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Silverstein won 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Stone.
In her victory speech, Silverstein told cheering supporters “change has come to the 50th Ward.’’ She was interrupted when one supporter yelled, “Time for Berny to go to Florida!’’
Asked to respond to Stone’s comments, Silverstein said, “He should wait and see what happens because I think there’s going to be some good things coming around here.’’
In the bitter lead-up to the runoff, Stone described his opponent as a “housewife” without the qualifications to handle his job. Silverstein, who is married to state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), said the ward — which includes Rogers Park, West Rogers Park and a small portion of Peterson Park — was falling apart. With Mayor Daley’s help, Ira Silverstein unseated Stone in the 2008 race for Democratic ward committeeman. A bitter Stone called Daley’s involvement a “betrayal.”
Debra Silverstein was later backed by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.
Tuesday night, Stone said it pained him to lose after being targeted by both Emanuel and Daley.
“Instead of King Richard, he’s now Emperor Emanuel,” he said. “If guys like Eddie Burke are pushed around by Rahm Emanuel, then this city is in for some rough times.”
At the end of the night, as Stone sipped ginger ale at a nearby bar surrounded by family, he was again asked if he’d help Silverstein.
“No. Listen, that family stripped me of everything I had. Why the hell would I help them?” Stone said. “I’m not being bitter. It’s not a question of being bitter. It’s just a question of tit for tat.”
Meanwhile, in the 43rd Ward, former federal prosecutor Michele Smith apparently defeated health care executive Tim Egan. Smith had 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Egan, with 98 percent of precincts reporting.
Smith said she was expecting a close race, and she said she’s now preparing for a “very smooth transition,” having been offered assistance from Ald. Daley.
“As soon as we take office, it’s time to tackle the very difficult issues that our city is facing, and I’m looking forward to being a very constructive member of our City Council in solving these problems,” Smith said.
Both ran for the seat in 2007, with Smith losing out to incumbent Vi Daley in the runoff.
Much of the debate in the North Side ward centered around plans for two key parcels in Lincoln Park. Egan supported one developer’s plans to put condos and a grocery store in the shuttered Lincoln Park Hospital, while Smith opposed the project. Smith said she’d rather see a grocery store where Children’s Memorial Hospital is set to vacate its campus next year.
In the 46th Ward race to replace retiring Ald. Helen Shiller, social worker James Cappleman beat property tax attorney Molly Phelan — the candidate he bested by only a handful of votes in the February election.
Cappleman won 55 percent of the vote, compared with 45 percent for Phelan, with all precincts reporting.
After his victory, Cappleman said those who have been long-time supporters of Shiller should have nothing to fear from his administration.
“I’m all about building bridges,” Cappleman said. “I’ve said that from the very beginning and I mean it. I’m a man of my word.”
Cappleman said he hadn’t received a call from Phelan, with whom he fought a fierce and, at times, bitter campaign.
“It was a tough campaign, but I’m all about moving forward,” Cappleman said.
It’s Cappleman’s second try for the seat in a ward that includes Uptown, part of Edgewater and Lake View. In 2007, he lost a close race to Shiller, a strong advocate for the poor. Cappleman and Phelan have both been highly critical of Shiller in the past. But in an interesting twist, the candidates both tried to win Shiller’s backing. Shiller, who co-moderated a candidates’ debate in March, chose not to endorse either candidate.